Michael Stock

Comic Book Lettering

Comic Book Lettering

Comic Book Lettering Services

I have been providing a professional comic book lettering service to an international client base since 2011. Services include standard lettering (dialogue, captions, SFX), compiling books for print and digital sales and submissions (Comixology), and series/title logos.

If you are thinking about hiring a letter, I’d love to hear from you.

What is comic book lettering and why do I need it?

Comic book lettering is an art form that is often under appreciated. Professional comics are a team affair… this includes, but it not limited to: writers, artists, colourists, letterers, editors, flatters and inkers, to name a few. At the highest level, every part of the process is split. This ensures the highest quality throughout, and allows regular releases of multiple titles.

Just like with artists and writers, the history of comics is full of great letterers. For instance, the first comic book letterer I heard of was Ben Oda, but it doesn’t does take much digging around to find out about the likes Ira Schnapp and the late, great, Gaspar Saladino. Modern comics has its own heroes too, the likes of Todd Klein, Tom Orzechowski, and Nate Piekos/Blambot are on a bunch of your favourite comics.

Modern comic book lettering is largely digital, but not entirely, and knowing that the aforementioned Blambot generously produces free-to-use comic book fonts for the small-press and independent comic book scene does not a letterer make. Hiring a professional comic book letterer is, in my opinion, one of the quickest ways to make your comic look professional.

Standard Comic Book Lettering

This involves the placement of elements like dialogue balloons and captions boxes in a manner that means everything is read in the right order, in a style that compliments the art and genre, and with as little of the artwork is obstructed as possible. Another important aspect of comic book lettering is creating a seamless reading experience… essentially, the reader shouldn’t realise they are reading the lettering at all. Seamless.

Comic Book Lettering - Lettering Captions

A series of captions from Samurai Slasher Vol. 3 – the style is aged to suit the time period of the story.

SFX

Another important element of comic book lettering if the sound effects. These are the visualisation of onomatopoeic elements of the story. As a rule, these are used for emphasis, when the art cannot convey the moment, or creatively for shock or humour. This an area of comic book lettering where you can tell a really good letterer. My personal preference is to try and integrate the SFX into the artwork where possible, I think this helps keep readers in the story whilst retaining the impact of the moment.

Comic Book Lettering - SFX

An explosion SFX integrated into the artwork of The Samurai Slasher Vol. 3.

Series and Title Logos

Another important element of a comic that is often under appreciated is a good logo. Series logos are the ones you will see on the covers, on merchandise, and any other marketing collateral. These are charged separately from any lettering. Title logos are the credits within a story and aren’t logos specifically, but require the same knowledge and skills, and usually come as part of the lettering (depending on the number of pages).

Comic Book Lettering - Logos

Title logo for a bonus story in The Kill Screen

Book Production

One of the only steps in production process that comes after comic book lettering is the compiling the completed comic. That’s not entirely true, much of the work that goes into it is done whilst the comic is being made, but the final tweaks and exporting happens after everything else. The amount of work involved can vary from job to job but can often involve the dressing of the cover (arranging logos and credits etc.), designing and laying out interior pages and, more often than I’d like, resizing artwork. The final book is usually formatted for both printing and for digital distribution, either via the creator or publisher’s online store, or for submission to digital comic services like Comixology (which has its own set of requirements), and requires a fair amount of technical knowledge.

If you are thinking about hiring a letter, I’d love to hear from you.

Credits

The following are lettering credits unless otherwise specified.

  • AfterDeath (2015)
  • Afterlife Inc. (2012-14) – lettering, series logo design
    • Dead Days (2012)
    • Genesis (2012)
    • Heavenly Chord 1 & 2 (2013-14)
    • Laika (2012)
    • Life Blood (2013)
    • Near Life (2012)
    • Up The Hill Backwards (2013)
  • Bubbles O’Seven (2016-present) – series logo design
    • Dr O (2016)
    • Baboon Taker (2016)
    • The Ape Who Punched Me (2017)
    • You Only Swing Twice (yet to be released)
  • Capitalism and Other Stories (2014) – logos, book production
    • Capitalism (2014)
    • Destiny’s Fate: Ravenous (2014)
    • Dragon Slobber (2014)
    • Punking Santa (2014)
    • To Ride a Cloud (2014)
  • Clockwork Watch (2014-17)
    • Countenance (2016) – lettering, book production
    • Evolution (2017) – lettering, book production
    • Tick Tock 2 (2014) – lettering, book production
    • Tick Tock 3 (2015) – lettering, book production
  • Collider (2011)
  • Cursed Land (yet to be released) – lettering, series logo design
  • Day and Night (2012-13) – lettering, series logo design
  • Dead Roots (2011-14) – lettering, series logo design, app development, book production
  • Departure (2015)
  • Destiny’s Fate (2013-14)
    • And Another Thing (2014)
    • #3 (2013) – lettering, book production
  • Doomed Romantics (2012) – logo design
  • Embrace the Dark (2012)
  • Eponymous (2012-13)
  • Feeding Time (2013)
  • FutuReality (2017)
  • The Gee Bees (2013-15)
  • Ghost Club (2013)
  • Gods (2017) – book production
    • Intention (2017)
    • Pandora (2017)
  • Groundhog Day Machine (2011)
  • Halloween (2014) – cover design
    • The Kill Screen (2014)
    • The Gee Bees: The October House (2014)
  • Hangover (2017) – book production, cover design
  • Happy Birthday (2013)
  • Heretics (yet to be released) – lettering, book production
  • Horror Stories (2015)
  • How the Other Half Live (2017)
  • The Hitmen (2015)
  • Ice Cream Bros Forever (2015)
  • Identity Thrift (2017)
  • The Kill Screen (ongoing) – series logo designs
    • Volume 1 (2014-16)
    • Volume 2: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (2018)
  • La Belle Dame Sans Mercilogo design, book production
    • #1 (2012)
    • #2 (2013)
    • #3 (2017)
  • Life of the Dead (2012) – lettering, logo design
  • Life or Death (2014)
  • The Magician (2015)
  • Many Happy Returns (2015)
  • The Mike Weiringo Tellos Tribute: Volume 1 (2017)
  • Monsters (2017) – book production
    • Dumb Parasites (2016)
    • The Arena (2016)
  • Pandaki (2014)
  • PI Charles (2016)
    • The Cabin (2016)
    • The Hand That Feeds (2016)
    • Retirement (2016)
    • The Sister (2016)
  • The Pride
    • #1 (re-release: 2016)
    • #2 (2013) – lettering, book production
    • #3 (2013) – lettering, book production
    • #4 (2014) – lettering, book production
    • #5 (2015) – lettering, book production
    • #6 (2015) – lettering, book production
    • Collected Edition (2016) – lettering, book production
  • The Pride Adventures
    • #1 (2013) – lettering, book production
    • #2 (2014) – lettering, book production
    • #3 (2015) – lettering, book production
    • #4 (2016) – lettering, book production
  • Protectors of the Realm (2014)
  • Raygun Roads (2013)
  • Samurai Slasher (2014) – lettering, series logo design
  • Scarlet Falls (2013)
  • The Sentinel (2013)
  • Sgt. Steel / Radium (2015-16) – lettering, series logo design
  • Shackleton’s Hooch (2013)
  • Shiver (2014)
  • The Six (2013)
  • Sleeping with the Fishes (2012)
  • Snowmanilas (2011-13) – lettering, series logo design, book production
  • The Stiffs (2013-14)
    • #2 (2013) – lettering, book production
    • #3 (2014) – lettering, book production
  • Swan Song (2012-2013)
  • Theta (2015) – series logo design
  • Trolltooth Wars (2017) – book production
  • Urbanality (2012)
  • Vampire Boogie (2014) – lettering, series logo design
  • VS Comics (2012-13) – series logo, book production
  • Why You Hitting Yourself (2017)
  • Wolalina (2012) – lettering, book production