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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 7:21am | IP Logged | 1  

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I agree with him.

Another reason 21st Century comics are dull.

For the record, the Kupperberg era of JB comics is probably my favorite JB vintage...he was doing EVERYTHING BY HIMSELF except the colors.

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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 7:22am | IP Logged | 2  

(The IDW age is gaining fast, though!)
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 8:46am | IP Logged | 3  

JB did the same thing with JBNM, DU, BABE, and 2112.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 4  

I lettered a chunk of NAMOR, too. And SHE-HULK (second run).
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Chris Geary
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 5  

JB,

Did you also letter 261 of Iron Man?

Thanks.

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Mike Bunge
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 1:34pm | IP Logged | 6  

I think comics have lost something with the computerization of lettering, but I think those Moebius pages in the interview pretty much disprove his point.  I'm all for an artist lettering his own work if he can do a top flight job of it.  Mediocre or substandard lettering, however, doesn't magically become any better just because it's being done by the guy who drew the page.

 

Mike

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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 1:37pm | IP Logged | 7  

I read the title as "Moebius on Letterman" at first!  Now that would be cool! 
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Knut Robert Knutsen
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 8  

If Moebius as an artist feels that his own lettering better complements the art, I'm not one to argue. Most of his work that I've read have been translations, some of them handlettered in a different style and some typeset.

And personally I feel his own lettering, after I've seen it, is inarguably better than most of them, albeit less legible than the best of the others.

Certainly, from an artistic point of view, when lettering and/or colouring is done by someone other than the artist, they should still take their cues from the artist, directly or indirectly, and the artist should be able to object to lettering and colouring that interferes with storytelling and have it altered.

Of course, Moebius makes reference to Caniff (through Jije), who employed many assistants, one of whom did the lettering. If his aside had stopped at Jije, it might have supported his point (I don't know) but as it seemed to extend to caniff, he undercuts himself.

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Pedro Bouça
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:02pm | IP Logged | 9  

In France there are no letterers, that's for sure. Maybe some of the bigger names use assistants to do that (and other things), but most artists do their own lettering.

I've heard about writers who do the lettering themselves (Darko Macan comes to mind), but that seems to be unusual.

On the other hand, colorists are as common in Europe as in the US, although most artists use the same colorists all the time. It's fairly common (as it was in the US at a time) for them to be the artists' wives (even nowadays, most writers and artists are male and most colorists are female).

The Jijé reference is probably about his lettering style. There is a resemblance between Jijé's lettering and the one Caniff's letterer did. Jijé, of course, had no way of knowing at the time who did Caniff's lettering.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:13pm | IP Logged | 10  

I think comics have lost something with the computerization of lettering, but I think those Moebius pages in the interview pretty much disprove his point. I'm all for an artist lettering his own work if he can do a top flight job of it. Mediocre or substandard lettering, however, doesn't magically become any better just because it's being done by the guy who drew the page.

••

My own actual hand lettering SUCKS!! See WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH, DOOMSDAY + 1, or SPACE: 1999. Even making a computer font of it didn't help.

So, yeah, I would definitely agree that lettering, like inking or coloring or writing, is something the artist should do only if s/he's GOOD at it!

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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:17pm | IP Logged | 11  

You may not like your lettering JB, but I was always dazzled by the fact that you took the time to "create" it the way that you did and I actually liked how it was so easily recognizable as yours(once I knew).
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:25pm | IP Logged | 12  

You may not like your lettering JB, but I was always dazzled by the fact that you took the time to "create" it the way that you did and I actually liked how it was so easily recognizable as yours(once I knew).

••

Alas, there was no "creation" involved. That might have been part of the problem, in fact!

I just PRINTED, using a Rapidograph pen.

This is why I was so happy to discover computer lettering. I started making my own fonts -- dozens of them it seems! -- as soon as I understood how to do it.

(Back in the Charlton days, I had an IBM Selectric typewriter, with the letters on a spinning ball. That ball could be changed for different letter styles, and I heard it was even possible to get custom balls made. I thought about having one done of my own lettering. But two problems suggested themselves immediately. First, as I proved years later when I made a computer font of my own lettering, even tidying it up and making all the As, Bs, Cs etc the same didn't make it look any better. And, of course, on a typewriter there was no adjustment for kerning, which would produce those dread gaps we see even now when letterers don't do it properly. W AS, T A TTER, V ALVE, etc.)

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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 13  

I enjoyed your lettering the most on WW, once you started doing captions with little hands pointing fingers.

Now, THAT´S comics!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2011 at 3:36pm | IP Logged | 14  

As I recall, the font I used on WONDER WOMAN was the one I made based on Jack Morelli's lettering. He asked me what I would charge to make a font for him, and I said "I get to use it."

For most of the fonts I created, I would scan some lettering I liked from a comic or strip and build a font out of it, adding little modifications to make it "mine". In the beginning, I was not sure this was entirely ethical, so I didn't use any of the fonts. Making them was mostly to develop my skill in, well, making them!

Then a little history research revealed what I was doing was basically how fonts have been created since Day Two. Take an existing style, and modify it. Looking at the vast sea of professional fonts available, I sometimes could not even find the difference that qualified as a new font!

Anyway, history eased my conscience, and I started using the fonts I had made more liberally.

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