Pulled From My Files #96: METROPOLIS POSTCARD

This and following images © DC Comics.

In 1998 I was asked to design logo-style lettering for a promotional postcard advertising the four-issue series SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS. Here’s a tiny thumbnail layout from DC’s Brian Pierce, top, and the art for the postcard with my lettering laid over it in Photoshop. This is what I sent back to Brian to show how it would work on the art. Continue reading

Rereading: DR. DOLITTLE AND THE GREEN CANARY by Hugh Lofting

Image found online, my copy is a much newer paperback.

This is the last of the Dolittle novels, not quite finished at the time of Lofting’s death, completed by his sister-in-law Olga Michael. Despite that, it’s one of the best, in my opinion.

Pippinella, half canary and half greenfinch, was introduced in “Doctor Dolittle’s Caravan,” where the Doctor found and bought her in a pet shop, and was so astounded by her singing voice (despite the fact that it’s usually the male canaries who sing), that he made her the star of an all-bird opera. The book begins with Pippinella telling her life story, and an amazing one it is. She begins her adult life as a popular attraction at a coaching inn, then is purchased by a Marquis for his wife. The Marquis and his family are forced to flee from rioting workers from his mines. She is then taken by soldiers, and becomes the mascot of the troop, and later stolen again to become a “canary in a coal mine,” present to let the miners know if there is any dangerous coal gas around. And that’s only the beginning.

Pippinella’s favorite owner was a window-cleaner who was actually a writer living in a lonely windmill. When she has told her life story to the Doctor and his animal family, he agrees to try to track down that man, and the second half of the book is a cracking good detective story in which several of Dolittle’s animal friends get starring roles of their own.

One more Dolittle book to reread, the Doctor’s “Puddleby Adventures,” a short story collection, and I could also reread “Gub-Gub’s Book,” in which Dolittle’s pig takes center stage, but it’s largely about vegetables, as I recall. There’s one other non-Dolittle Lofting novel for children I plan to reread, “The Twilight of Magic.”

This one is definitely recommended.

And Then I Read: CAPTAIN GINGER #2

Image © Stuart Moore, June Brigman and Ahoy Comics. Main story written by Stuart Moore, art by June Brigman & Roy Richardson, colors by Veronica Gandini, letters by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt. Backup written by Tom Peyer, art by Randy Elliot and Andy Troy, letters by Rob Steen.

After a vicious fight between the Captain and his right-hand cat Sergeant Mittens, The latter is assigned to the ship’s equivalent of latrine duty, in this case cleaning litter. The population explosion among the human-like crew and the regular cats on board are creating all kinds of systemic problems, as every space on the ship is full of cats doing what cats do. At least Tribbles did not make a smelly mess…! Meanwhile, Science Cat is trying to decode information in the ship’s computers from their former masters, “the feeders,” to understand a message they’ve received from another ship. Could there be more cats out there?

This series is growing on me, and I like the mix of cat-related humor and character interplay. Well done and recommended.


Here’s a book that will interest almost no one, but it’s of great interest to me. Lavinia R. Davis is a favorite author of books for children, and I particularly love her novels about children and animals beginning with “Hobby Horse Hill” in 1939. Her books are mostly long out of print and she is largely forgotten. This book, privately published by her family in 1964 about three years after her death, is composed of excerpts from her journals. Often the subject is the author’s continuing struggles to be a better writer, but many entries focus on her family, children, and extended family, animals, the places she lived and visited, friends, nature, the seasons, and anything that interested her. References to specific books of hers are few, but the writing is appealing and the life described is worth reading about for me, and I suspect for any other fans of her work. There is little information to be found about her elsewhere. It was edited by her nephew Samuel Sloan Walker Jr., and contains a fine photo of the author at the beginning, the best one I’ve seen:

At the end is a complete list of her books, including some titles I haven’t seen (A few were written under the pen name Wendell Farmer.) I thought I’d list them here for others, like me, in search of more Lavinia R. Davis books, though many of these definitely do not interest me as much as my favorites. See end of list for key to symbols.

A Biography of the Writings of Edith Wharton  1933

The Keys to the City  1936«

Skyscraper Mystery  1937^

Adventures in Steel  1938«

Americans Every One  1938«

Hobby Horse Hill  1939*

We All Go Away  1940^

Buttonwood Island  1941*

Grab Bag (co-editor and contributor)  1941«

Pony Jungle  1941*

We All Go To School  1942^

Plow Penny Mystery  1943*

The Surprise Mystery  1943^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Stand Fast and Reply  1943‡

Round Robin  1943^

Spinney & Spike and the B-29^  1944

Bicycle Commandoes  1944^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Evidence Unseen  1945†

A Sea Between  1945‡

Fish Hook Island Mystery  1945^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Barren Heritage  1946†

Taste of Vengeance  1946†

Roger and the Fox  1947**

Melody, Mutton Bone and Sam  1947*

Threat of Dragons  1948†

Wild Birthday Cake  1949**

Reference to Death  1950†

Peppermint Pond  1950^  (by Wendell Farmer)

Sandy’s Spurs  1951*

Summer is Fun  1951**

Secret of Donkey Island  1952*

Danny’s Luck  1953**

Hearts in Trim  1954‡

Donkey Detectives 1955*

Janey’s Fortune  1957*‡

It Happened On A Holiday  1958«

Come Be My Love  1959‡

Clown Dog  1961**

Island City: Adventures in Old New York  1961« (This may be a reprint of “Keys to the City” from 1936.)

* Novels about children and animals (my favorites)

**Picture books for young readers

^Non-animal-focused stories for children

†Adult murder mysteries

‡Teen romance novels

«Short story collection



These and all images © Marvel.

We begin with two more practice pages by letterer Denise Vladimir Wohl making up pages 65 and 66 of the Danny Crespi files, a collection of cover and other lettering from the files of the Marvel letterer and staffer collected by his work-mate and friend Phil Felix. We saw some of Denise’s work in Part 16 of this series. She began working in the DC Comics Production Department in the early 1970s, and then moved over to Marvel by 1975. Much of the work on these practice pages is copied from POWER MAN #27 cover-dated Oct. 1975. Here’s the first page: Continue reading