Category Archives: Lettering/Fonts


This and all images © Marvel.

Continuing my ongoing series about the cover lettering of Danny Crespi at Marvel Comics, mostly from 1974-1978. Photocopies of saved cover lettering from Danny’s files were compiled into a collection by letterer and friend Phil Felix during the 1980s when he worked with Danny on staff at Marvel, and Phil sent me copies. This time I’ll look at pages 37 (above) to 40. On page 37, one item is not like the others. It has a much narrower panel border, the open lettering outlines are also narrower, and the textures are more delicate and perhaps a bit more artful. If you spotted it as “INFERNO,” you’re correct. That’s the work of Gaspar Saladino, clinched by his particular style of open R where the break in the right edge is below the center of the middle stroke, as if it was a P with the right leg added. Here are the sources I’ve found. Continue reading

Old Tools

Did some cleaning in my studio today on and around my drawing board, which doesn’t get much use these days. I reorganized a drawer and some containers to put like things together. Here are some lettering tools that I will probably never use again, but I’m keeping them just in case. Speedball nibs and pen holders, and technical drawing pens, all but one my favorite Castell TG-1. I have newer tech pens, these are the “retired” ones kept for parts, the points are probably all shot. The nibs are a mix of ones I used and probably some I never even tried.

Lots of other things reorganized: brushes, pencils, markers, and so on. Here are lettering tools at the top, extra pencils, X-Acto blades, ballpoint pens, regular markers, calligraphy markers and pencil leads (they go in a lead holder, which I like for drawing).

I even found the cover for an outlet in the floor I used to use for my drawing table lamp. I haven’t used it in years, and now I can finally put the cover on it again. I knew it was in there somewhere…


This and all images © DC Comics.

In some 1940s National (DC) titles I’ve found Ira Schnapp story lettering beginning as early as 1945, but in ACTION COMICS I don’t see any until 1947. Many of the mid-40s stories are instead lettered by an unknown person I’m calling Proto-Schnapp for convenience, example above from ACTION #110, July 1947. Proto-Schnapp shares style similarities with Ira, and at first glance this could be Ira’s work. Notice the very regular and classic lettering and the balloon shapes with large scallops that sometimes overlap the panel above. My theory is this was an older letterer who Ira used as a model for his own work, but that’s just a guess. Continue reading


This and all images © DC Comics.

Continuing my research into the work of lettering legend Ira Schnapp, I’ll discuss cover lettering for ACTION here and interior lettering in Part 2. Many National Comics (now DC Comics) in the 1940s were “poster” covers rather than scenes relating to stories inside, but ACTION did buck that trend sometimes, as seen above, and used cover lettering more than many of the others. Issue #75 dated Aug. 1944 has the first example I think might be lettered by Schnapp. Continue reading

My Most Challenging Two Pages

Images © America’s Best Comics/DC Comics.

I don’t have anything prepared for my blog today, so I thought I’d reprint this from my website.

The most challenging and time-consuming two pages of the series PROMETHEA (written by Alan Moore, art by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray), and in fact probably of any in my career, were the all-lettering spread in PROMETHEA #23. Alan’s script provided a list of about 30 “prayers” or the equivalent, and his instructions were to get these translated into as many languages as possible and fill the two pages with them. J.H. gave me the idea he had in mind for the layout: circular balloons gradually reduced in size radiating from a central point on the left side, and the rest was up to me.

The first challenge was getting the translations, and I enlisted the help of Assistant Editor Kristy Quinn, her friends, and some online contacts of my own, as well as online translation programs like Babelfish to come up with versions of Alan’s text, or parts of it, in over 50 languages. In some cases I had to invent shorter phrases or just use single words, and I added a few music examples as well. Once that was assembled, I began lettering, stopping often to consult the reference, as I was using languages and even alphabets that were new to me. The whole process took about two weeks. I’m sure there are mistakes, and a few were later pointed out to me by readers in the Hebrew translations. Mostly, though, my own personal prayer near the lower right corner, “God, I hope I’ve lettered this right…” had been granted, as far as I know.

A larger version of the two pages is HERE.