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About Me titleIn case you haven't noticed this entire site is about me, but if you haven't had enough yet, below is a brief biography, and there are links at right to other interviews and articles.


Born in 1951, I grew up in a rural area of central New Jersey that is now overrun with suburban sprawl. I spent equal amounts of time exploring the woods and fields near home, and reading every work of imaginative fiction I could get my hands on, including comics. My grandfather, Rex Derr, a part-time jewelry engraver and sign painter, told me stories illustrated with quick sketches, and encouraged me to draw and write, and also introduced me to lettering. My parents, Phyllis and George, were also encouraging in all these things. I have two younger brothers, Doug and Russ, and the three of us enjoyed our childhood and remain close to each other. Doug works in advertising and Russ works in banking.

Klein Brothers

Todd, Russ and Doug Klein, 1957

After discovering in high school that I had no particular interest in other careers, I spent two years in art school at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the Kansas City Art Institute (1969-71), before running out of tuition money. I then worked at several boring jobs, including putting together instruction manuals for air conditioners. In my spare time, I began submitting art, and occasionally writing, to science fiction, fantasy and comics fanzines, with some success. In 1977, after putting together a portfolio, I applied for work at several New York comic book publishers.

At DC Comics I was offered a two-week trial in the Production Department, doing art and lettering corrections and paste-ups, to fill in for a vacationing employee. At the end of the two weeks, that employee decided not to come back, and a glorious career in comics began. Not well paid, then, but certainly glorious for a comics fan, where I met and worked alongside John Workman, who got me started with lettering, as well as many other comics professionals. I became a devotee of lettering master Gaspar Saladino at that time, and still cite him as inspiration and favorite letterer, though I also learned a lot by studying the work of others.

Todd at DC

Working at DC Comics, 1979. Photo by Jack Adler

While on staff at DC from 1977 to 1987, I developed a freelance lettering career, working on many titles for DC, and also tried a few other things, such as writing comics, beginning with a few short mystery/horror stories for the DC anthologies like HOUSE OF MYSTERY, and continuing with a number of short backup stories in GREEN LANTERN on the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps. Eventually I bothered enough editors long enough to be offered a regular writing assignment on THE OMEGA MEN, which I wrote for it’s final year and a half. While a great learning experience, and a lot of fun, I found writing much harder than lettering, and since the mid 1980s I've stuck mainly to the latter.

In 1987 I left staff to become a lettering freelancer full time, mainly for DC, but for other publishers as well. It was during this time that I landed the dream assignment of lettering SANDMAN, written by Neil Gaiman, as well as BLACK ORCHID, BOOKS OF MAGIC, and two Death mini-series, all of which were much more interesting to work on than a great deal of my previous assignments. I felt an immediate connection to Neil’s work. Of all the writers I’ve worked with, Neil most often creates the kind of stories I’d like to read and even write myself, if I could. Neil and I continue to work together from time to time.

In 1986 I met Ellen Smiga, and found a soulmate and new life partner. We were married in 1989, and moved to the southern end of New Jersey, in an area that is less urban, and has the type of environment we both enjoy, being near both forests and the ocean, and having lots of wildlife and birds. In fact, it's one of the best areas in the country for birdwatching. Our one-acre mostly wooded lot includes a nice home for us and our pets, and with an addition in 1996, a great studio for me. Ellen has worked at several jobs here, and is now retired. I am mostly retired myself, still doing a small amount of lettering and logo design work, but much less than in the past.

Todd and Ellen, 1989

Todd Klein and Ellen Smiga-Klein, 1989

Another major career venture began in the mid 1990s when I was teamed with famed comics writer Alan Moore on the title SUPREME. I had worked with Alan a few times previously, but this was my first regular series with him. We formed a partnership that continued into the launch of the AMERICA'S BEST COMICS line published by WildStorm/DC from 1999 to 2006, and encompassing four major titles and several spinoffs. For the ABC line I also served as designer on covers and some interior pages, a new challenge that I enjoyed. Alan and I continue to work together.

In 2002 I began a new writing project, the Lettering half of THE DC COMICS GUIDE TO COLORING AND LETTERING COMICS, published in 2004 by Watson/Guptill. This was a lot of work, but a satisfying endeavor that allowed me to think through, condense, and convey what I've learned about lettering comics in 30 years in the business.

I continue to keep busy with personal projects when I'm not doing paid work, including lots of comics history articles and book reviews for my blog. You can also find me posting daily on Facebook as myself or as Todd Klein, artist. I hope to be able to return to comics conventions in the future.

Todd 2007

Todd Klein 2009


All text and images © Todd Klein, except as noted. All rights reserved.


Jump to one of these topics in About Me:




Sequential Tart

Balloon Tales

CBR Pipeline

CBR Comic Wire

Robot 6 @ CBR

An article/interview in Spanish:


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