THE DANNY CRESPI FILES Part 5

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This and all images © Marvel.

To recap, in 1984 letterer Phil Felix put together a large collection of photocopied cover lettering while working in the Marvel Bullpen alongside Danny Crespi, the Production Manager at the time, and a fine letterer himself. Most of the lettering is by Danny, all of it is on this page, #17 in the collection, and it comes mainly from 1974-1978 when Danny was lettering most of Marvel’s covers. I’ve found many of the covers where it was used, and I’ll show them after each page. This article covers pages 17-20 of the Phil Felix collection. Note that the original lettering in black and white often looks better than on the printed covers where it sometimes gets lost in color and surrounding art.

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“Doctor Octopus” from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #158, July 1976. Note that, as here, multiple word balloons were lettered separately. Photostat copies were made at the size needed, and connectors and tails were then added when it was pasted on the cover art.

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“he Stays Dead!” from MARVEL TEAM-UP #29, Jan. 1975. The top line of lettering has been reversed by making a negative phototstat, and the arrow has been filled with black around the rest of the open lettering.

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Two word balloons from KID COLT OUTLAW #197, Aug. 1975. The bold word UP on a single line is an unusual choice for Danny.

“Nightmare” from INCREDIBLE HULK #191, Sept. 1975.

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“Mr. Fish!” from POWER MAN #29, Feb. 1976. Danny had a distinctive burst balloon style, and this one looks great.

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“Psycho-Man” from MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS #59, Oct. 1975. There’s a lot going on here, but the lettering still works.

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Page 18. I really like the “MARVEL COMICS” at the bottom, but don’t know where it was used. I think these are all by Danny.

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“Day of the Devastator!” from THE INCREDIBLE HULK #186, April 1975. Another handsome burst.

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“Battle of the Brutes” from THE INCREDIBLE HULK #179, Sept. 1974.

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“Revealed!” from FANTASTIC FOUR #194, May 1978.

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“Arena” from CAPTAIN AMERICA #189, Sept. 1975. Thanks to Kurt Busiek for finding this and several others! “For a Fallen Hero!” is set in headline type, so it may have been a last-minute addition.

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“Behind the Locked Door?” from CRYPT OF SHADOWS #12, Sept. 1974. Note the top line has been changed from what Danny originally lettered.

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I believe Page 19 is again all by Danny Crespi. Note his style of running straight caption borders beyond the corners. The extra lines could then be trimmed off to form a sharp corner on the photostat when pasting it on the cover art.

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“Panic in the City” from GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #4, May 1975. This lettering is in a banner, something Danny didn’t do often.

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“Blood Church!” from MARVEL TEAM-UP #35, July 1975. The drop shadow helps this display lettering stand out and read well.

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“Jester!” from DAREDEVIL #136, Aug. 1976. I like the green fill on the word, tying to the character’s costume.

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“Impossible!” from THE HUMAN TORCH #8, Nov. 1975.

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“The Trap is Sprung!” from GIANT-SIZE MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION #2, July 1975. And what an overly long title that is! Lots of lettering work for Danny on this cover montage, which I think is kind of a mess visually.

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“Shoot on Sight!” from WESTERN GUNFIGHTERS #30, July 1975. The organic feel of the open lettering and the ragged paper caption work very well on this western cover.

“Avengers” from MARVEL DOUBLE FEATURE #8, Feb. 1975.

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Page 20 is again, I feel, all by Danny Crespi. I’m getting pretty good now at noticing quirks of his style, like his tendency to turn up the right leg of the letter R, his distinctive burst shapes, and his wide, classic regular lettering. “Showdown Day!” shows the influence of veteran Marvel cover letterer Artie Simek. Unfortunately, it wasn’t used. See below.

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“Attack of the Midnight Monster!” from CONAN THE BARBARIAN ANNUAL #2, 1976. Another nice banner.

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“Megaman!” from NOVA #9, May 1977.

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“Trouble Times Two!”  and a word balloon from FANTASTIC FOUR #187, Oct. 1977. The dot shading on this caption works well against the white letters.

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“Monster Spawned in Hell!” from KULL THE DESTROYER #18, Dec. 1976. The word “MONSTER” has been relettered to work better in reverse white against the green background, which I don’t care for.

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“Fear in Funland!” from THE HUMAN FLY #6, Feb. 1978. I love this lettering, both in the original black and reversed and filled with orange on the cover. FEAR shows the influence of Gaspar Saladino, I think.

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“Night of the Gorilla God!” from MARVEL PREMIERE #34, Feb. 1977. A simple thing like those little crack lines at the top and bottom of the open letters adds a great deal of character.

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“Showdown Day!” is the title of CAPTAIN AMERICA #210, and I think Danny lettered it in the style of Artie Simek to match the Jack Kirby art, but the cover copy was later changed. Too bad, I like what Danny did better! The revised lettering is also probably by Danny.

More when I have time to research them. Other parts of this study and more articles you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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