Friday, 16 January 2015

Todd Klein: My Five Favourite Letterers

(from Comic Book Artist Vol 2 #1, Top Shelf Productions, 2003)

From the early 1950 to the present, Gaspar has set the bar for creativity, energy and style in comics lettering. During his prime period from 1967 to 1987, Gaspar's logos and cover lettering for DC were particularly inspiring to a whole generation of letterers, including myself.

Before Gaspar, Ira was THE lettering stylist for DC, with his logo's and cover lettering gracing nearly every DC cover from the late 1940s to his death in the late 1960s. He also created many of the memorable DC house ads. Reportedly trained as a stone-carver, Ira's letters had a classic style redolent of the art deco era.

3. Dave Sim
In comics, no one has made lettering such an important part of his work as Dave Sim in Cerebus. He continues to experiment with lettering style in delightful ways, evoking a wide range of voices, emotions and moods. Were it not overshadowed by his writing and art, Dave's lettering would be more celebrated.

From his early work with Jim Starlin, through decades of X-Men books to his ever creative work on Spawn, Tom has continued to put a great deal of thought and craft into his work, drawing on styles from the past, but imbuing them with his own personal stamp. Tom's lettering is always neat, concise and attractive.

John's angular and stylized lettering has always appealed to me since I first saw it on the Englehart / Rogers / Austin stories in DC's Detective Comics in the 1970s. John's best work has often been when teamed with Walt Simonson, where his style finds the perfect artistic complement.

Only five? If I had a few more numbers, I'd certainly add Bill Oakley, John Costanza, Richard Starkings, Dave Gibbons, Dave Lanphear and Robin Spehar to the list, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other favourites.

Todd Klein is the multiple Eisner and Harvey award winning comics letterer and logo designer.

1 comment:

John Mosher said...

In no particular order, my favorite letterers are

Tom Orzechowski
Dave Sim
John Workman
Ken Bruzenak (sp?)

Everyone else, while no doubt competent and professional, seem to me to be just that. Competent. Neither elevating nor harming the work. The work of the four mentioned above is always an integral part of the story, making it hard to imagine the same story being as good with a different letterer.

As always, these are matters of taste. I am not going to say anyone else's favorite list is incorrect.