The Danny Crespi Files Part 20

This and all images © Marvel.

We’ve reached the final part of this series, showing the last three pages that include cover lettering, and one bonus page. About 20 more pages came with the original photocopies from letterer Phil Felix, a friend and workmate of Danny’s, but they contain mostly logos by other people and I won’t be covering them here. (If I knew for sure which of them were by Danny I would cover those, but none are credited, and it’s a lot harder to guess styles with logos than with cover lettering.) This collection was compiled by Phil while he was on staff at Marvel, and it represents a great resource for people like me who are interested in who lettered Marvel covers, something Danny did a lot of from about 1974-1979. Above is page 77 which is all lettered by Danny. Sources follow.

“Kid Colt and the Rawhide Kid” is the page 1 top blurb from KID COLT #229, April 1979. These were pasted onto finished stories at the same time as the indicia, seen at the bottom of the page. The trick was to make them easily readable, which Crespi succeeded with here.

“Shocking Mystery Super-Villain” from WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #25, Jan. 1975. The first line is white, reversed out of the red and yellow printing plates by the color separators.

“Triumph of the Toad” from INCREDIBLE HULK #191, Sept. 1975. Here the words “of the” are reversed out of the blue and yellow printing plates. Note on the original lettering the way Danny extended the lines at the corners of the caption box. He liked to do that so they formed a sharp corner when they were cut and pasted onto the cover art. Danny is the only cover letterer I know of who did that regularly.

“The Deadly Space Turnip” had to be lettered as the last page bottom blurb for HOWARD THE DUCK #1, Jan. 1976, but the only image I have for that page has a different version. It looks like Danny’s original blurb was too tall and it was redone to better fit the space. Next issue blurbs were done by the story letterer when they were in the script, but in cases like this, the title probably wasn’t decided yet when the rest of the page was lettered.

Page 78, three cover blurbs by Danny. Sources below.

“Mister Morgan’s Monster” from WEIRD WONDER TALES #10, June 1975. By filling the background of the caption black, some of Danny’s line work on MONSTER is lost, and the entire caption has been made very small to fit the available space, which is a shame. Note “A Shocker!” has been added above, perhaps right on the cover art..

“Death in White” from WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #31, July 1975. This caption, in contrast, is larger and more effective.

“The Totem Strikes” from WEIRD WONDER TALES #13, Dec. 1975.

Page 79, the last one showing cover lettering. I believe these are all by Danny Crespi. I don’t have a source for the top section “Vampires?” etc., but it looks like it’s for a house ad. “The Black Panther” is a page 1 topline blurb, but I can’t find it in a printed comic. Sources for the rest below, thanks to Michael Styborski for his help.

“2nd Startling Issue” from SPIDER-WOMAN #2 dated May 1978. I like the idea that this round blurb has some ribbon ends at the bottom, suggesting a medallion you might award to a horse at a horse show, but I doubt many readers noticed that.

“Chariot of the Fire Stallions” is from RED SONJA #9, May 1978. The flames add that extra touch that makes it more than an average bit of open lettering.

“A House There Was” is from MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS #70, May 1977. A great title nicely lettered.

The bottom banner and “Man-Dragons” are from CONAN #83, Feb. 1978. Here the filling of the “Man-Dragons” caption box with black works better. And that wraps up the cover lettering pages in this series.

One bonus page, here are parts of photocopies of Danny’s standard block letters, something he made so that Marvel production artists could cut and paste them into new cover blurbs as needed, perhaps when there wasn’t time to have one lettered fresh, or if a minor addition was required. While block letters such as these were pretty standard in comics, every letterer gave them his or her own minor tweaks. When you look at Marvel covers from the mid 1970s on, you might find them in use.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have. Thanks again to Phil Felix for providing me with the photocopies of his Crespi lettering collection.

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