Images © DC Comics, Inc.
This arrived last week from DC with copies of work I’ve lettered, and I was surprised to see it. I don’t usually receive books like this unless I worked on them, and if you held a gun to my head, I’d have sworn I never worked on a Steve Ditko “Creeper” story, but when I checked the table of contents, sure enough I had. “Beware Mr. Wrinkles!” from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS 254, Feb.-March 1979. Cross-checking my own Lettering Archive page, it’s there all right, but only the story title, so I wouldn’t have known it was a Creeper story without more research. I knew I had lettered at least one Steve Ditko mystery story, but had completely forgotten this one! Being a Ditko fan, I’m sure I enjoyed doing it, though it was early in my lettering career, and the work isn’t anything I’d boast about. Frankly, Ditko’s own work on that story isn’t terrific, either, it’s much simpler and more cartoony than what he was doing on the original Creeper run.
At any rate, this looks like a nice collection, and I think I’ll reread at least some of these stories, maybe all of them. Above is a nice page from issue 2 of 1968. Ditko was only two years away from his work on Marvel’s Spider-Man then, and his art skills were in top form. I don’t recall thinking much of the stories when I read them originally, so it’ll be interesting to see how they read now.
The reproduction and coloring on this book is excellent. DC would have had the film negatives, and probably used the black line art from those to digitally create the black line art for the book, but it’s been recolored. The credit for that is to “Digikore Studios Limited” for color and selected art reconstruction. Looks like they followed the original coloring as closely as possible, but things like the soft edges of the blue and yellow colors in the panel above give it away as computer work. Another clue is the size of the dot screens in the colors, much smaller than they would have been in 1968. An excellent job by Digikore, which seems to be in India.
I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as they say, but I can’t resist commenting on the comic book font usage on this title page. Whoever designed the page has made the most common mistake I see in the use of such fonts, and in such an obvious way it’s hard to miss. The “I” with crossbars is supposed to only be used for the personal pronoun I and contractions like I’m and I’ll, not as it is here, in the middle of other words. There’s a version of the I without serifs for that purpose in the lower case i spot on the keyboard. Making every i the upper case one with serifs, as was done on this page, is a sure sign of ignorance about how comics lettering should look. I see it often when comic book fonts are used in places other than comics, but it’s surprising to see it at DC, where everyone should know better. I know the serif-less I exists in the font, because it was used on the table of contents and indicia pages at least some of the time. And, how does it not look wrong? Perhaps it’s the fault of the omnipresent Microsoft font Comic Sans, where there is no upper case I without serifs, making the error not only common but unavoidable, and one of the main reasons that, despite the name, it’s perhaps the worst possible font to use for lettering comics. Ah well, there you go. The book looks great, otherwise.