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View Poll Results: Who is your favorite comics letterer?
Ken Bruzenak
1
6.25%
Janice Chiang
0
0%
John Costanza
1
6.25%
Todd Klein
2
12.50%
Bob Lappan
0
0%
Jim Novak
0
0%
Ben Oda
0
0%
Tom Orzechowski
6
37.50%
Joe Rosen
1
6.25%
Artie Simek
0
0%
John Workman
2
12.50%
Other
3
18.75%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

Who is your favorite letterer?

Old 05-17-12, 03:26 AM
  #1  
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Who is your favorite letterer?

This question may be a little too geeky, and I admit I myself don't know all the ins and outs of lettering. The only letterers I used to be able to recognize were John Costanza (because of the sloping letters) and Tom Orzechowski (because of the square blockiness). I remember Artie Simek because of all the jokes in the early Marvel stories but can't say I would recognize his style.

I restricted the poll to dedicated letterers rather than artists who also letter, and tried to get a representation of the biggest names. Sorry if I missed a favorite.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:22 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?



yeah. This threads gonna get a lot of hits.

Hard to choose a favorite.
My favorite letterer might just be Robert Crumb. He took Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie narrative block serif style and made it synonymous with his own style. I not only like the kind of rustic, formal look of it, but it 'colors' the satire, making it seem even more irreverent. Take that lettering away and replace it with traditional Marvel/DC sans serif style and the material would have a much different feel. But he's an artist, so I guess he's off the list.
Ben Oda's name showed up a lot in the books I collected as a kid, and for nostalgia alone I'd probably pick him. However there is one run that sticks out in my head, where the lettering made a distinct an impression and seemed to be inseparable from the panel art. That would be Simonson's Thor with Workman doing the honors.
It's so crisp and precise, that it almost looks computer generated. The style also meshes beautifully with Simonson's linework to make the whole product look remarkably cohesive.


Lettering is a more significant part of the end product than most fans realize, even though it's now so automated. Which is a bit sad to see, though there's no going back now. It's a big time saver to do it on computer, but doing it manually always gives the work a warmer, hand crafted feel that makes the reading experience seem more personal and intimate to me.

I also remember Tex Blaisdell, who taught lettering at Kubert many, many years ago, telling us if we wanted to be famous, become a penciler. If we wanted to make a good living, become a letterer. Because based on the page rate and how many a good letter could usually finish per day, they would usually make far more per/year than 95% of the pencilers out there. I thought learning to letter would be tedious, but it's actually one of things I most fondly remember about my time there. Like taking typing in High School, it's a nice skill set to have, though I should buy some grid paper and practice more frequently to keep in shape.

Last edited by Paul_SD; 05-17-12 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:48 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Hand lettering really makes the difference in my opinion. It feels more cohesive with the art, but when done on the computer with standard fonts it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Orzechowski is my favorite, since he was lettering Spawn. Very stylish and every sound effect had it's own design.

Comicraft is great too but I dunno if they do it all digitally. Alan Moore's Glory had some excellent lettering from Comicraft that helped enhance the experience of reading the story.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:20 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

I picked Orzechowski as he was probably the first letterer that stood out to me back on the Claremont/Byrne/Austin X-Men. Costanza is also one of the best, unobtrusive letters I've ever seen. A Workman is great for flashy design. Bruzenak has an uncanny ability to adapt his lettering to the fit the piece he's working on. His work on Mr. Monster is some of the best I've ever seen. All the others listed above are top notch letterers and I'd be happy to read their work any day.

One person you left off your list that I think is excellent is Gaspar Saladino. Some of his cover copy can be seen at the following link: http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=1764

I'm almost certain Comicraft does all their work digitally, brayzie. While they do good work, I miss hand lettering.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:46 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Jim Aparo was one of the few artist that did his own lettering.
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Old 05-17-12, 11:52 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

I never paid much attention to lettering until I read The Sandman. I think Todd Klein did some great stuff on that title.
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Old 05-17-12, 03:14 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Dave Sim
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Old 05-17-12, 03:26 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Stan Sakai.

Ok, I'll admit it, I only picked him out because I like Groo and I like Usagi Yojimbo. Lettering doesn't stand out to me that much, except for that run in the early 90's where some independent comics went with digital lettering, which was just awful and made me appreciate traditional lettering.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:44 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Good lettering should be unobtrusive. That said, I always enjoyed John Workman's collaborations with Walt Simonson and Bob Lappan's work with Giffen/DeMatteis.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:02 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Todd Klein, since I've read interviews with him/seen his site. Plus he's the only one I know from that list.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:03 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Wait. You went to the Kubert School, Paul?
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Old 05-18-12, 03:14 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

I've read thousands of comic books in my life and could not tell you the first thing about any of the named letterer's styles or any others. It has to be the most invisible job in the industry. I could name you editors before I name any letterers.
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Old 05-18-12, 11:04 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I've read thousands of comic books in my life and could not tell you the first thing about any of the named letterer's styles or any others. It has to be the most invisible job in the industry. I could name you editors before I name any letterers.
This is a perfect example of what's wrong in the comic book industry.
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Old 05-18-12, 12:24 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by madcougar View Post
This is a perfect example of what's wrong in the comic book industry.
Sarcasm?
JasonF is right, lettering shouldn't call attention to itself. After 40 years of comic reading/collecting, I still had to pull some books off the shelf and check the credits. The names were familiar, but I couldn't remember off hand who did what. I noticed Klein did Kingdom Come, and utilized several styles depending on the narrative voice. All distinctive and easy to read. Good work!
Alex Toth was another artist, like Aparo, who frequently lettered his own stuff.
Wait. You went to the Kubert School
Yeah, briefly in the late 80's. When I was there, they made sure to teach you 'fallback' courses so that if you didn't cut it as a hotshot penciller/inker you could still find some graphic design work. One was lettering and another was paste-up/mechanicals...by hand, using a waxer
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Old 05-18-12, 01:47 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post


yeah. This threads gonna get a lot of hits.
I know! I was going to put the over/under at 10 votes, but now we have 12 and outed you as a Kubert School attendee after your tremendously cool and nerdy stories.

I meant to add some pics. Here's Orzechowski:



I googled "John Costana lettering" only to find this forum where users named "t_orzechowski," "Todd Klein," and "Clem Robins" were commenting on him.

http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums...d.php?t=159064

Anyway, here's Costanza's slopey style.

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Old 05-18-12, 03:35 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
Sarcasm?
Yes. Just sounded funny in my head.
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Old 05-18-12, 06:10 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
Yeah, briefly in the late 80's. When I was there, they made sure to teach you 'fallback' courses so that if you didn't cut it as a hotshot penciller/inker you could still find some graphic design work. One was lettering and another was paste-up/mechanicals...by hand, using a waxer
Forgive me if I've missed the stories or forgotten even direct exchanges, but can you expand on that time?

Did you ever work in the field? Are you famous? Can I borrow some money?
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Old 05-19-12, 09:37 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Gotta give it up for Todd Klein for his work on Sandman.

The lettering on that title was outstanding, and a storytelling device on its own. Very cool the way he gave certain characters their own unique "voices" through different lettering styles.
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Old 05-20-12, 04:55 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

That's Stan "Paul" Lee I believe.
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Old 05-21-12, 05:00 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Chris Eliopoulos, plus he's a good cartoonist too.
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Old 05-22-12, 02:55 AM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post

Did you ever work in the field? Are you famous? Can I borrow some money?
No.
No.
Sure! Just PM me your PIN and bank account # and I'll do a direct deposit when I get a chance

I was going to toss a few anecdotes off here, but in deference to David, I'll just start another thread and not yank this one OT.
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Old 05-22-12, 12:26 PM
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Re: Who is your favorite letterer?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
I was going to toss a few anecdotes off here, but in deference to David, I'll just start another thread and not yank this one OT.
Wow, I don't know if I've ever received deference before, and I've yanked more than my share of threads OT
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