The letterer also writes, part 3 – GODZILLAAAAAAA!!!

Well here’s something a bit different!

Every now and then, I like to get stuck into a just-for-fun comics project. You may well have seen some stuff I wrote, pencilled, coloured or lettered for things like the old Transformers Mosaic project, which I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some really talented people on. But a while back – last year, in fact – I decided I fancied stepping away from shiny metal robots and tackling big, scary monsters instead by writing a Godzilla story.

I’ve been a fan of the King of Monsters since I was a kid. Those movies are a lot of fun, and I’ve been very avidly following the most recent comics put out by IDW under license from Toho. These fostered a desire to tell my own little kaiju story, and before long, a bouncing baby 5 page script was born.

This went off to my pal Roy D. Stiffey, a fellow fan who just happened to be filling up his DeviantArt page with some cracking kaiju artwork. We’ve both been pretty busy since we started this thing up, so it’s been buffeted about in our schedules a bit. But it’s finally ready to unleash!

More about the production of this in a bit. But I’d better let you read the darned thing first!
Godzilla Worse Things P1 Final-01
Godzilla Worse Things P1 Final-02 Godzilla Worse Things P1 Final-03 Godzilla Worse Things P1 Final-04 Godzilla Worse Things P1 Final-05

Roy and I have collaborated on several short fanboy-centric projects before and, not to gush,  every time has been an absolute blast. He tackled this short comic with real enthusiasm, which was ridiculously evident as it neared completion.

If you’d like to check out more of Roy’s work, you can find him on DeviantArt here:

He’s also been working very industriously on his own book, entitled Anonymous Nancy. You can check that out here:

As for this strip itself, and the all important lettering (I figure that’s still what a lot of folks swing by this blog for, right?) it was a pretty easy project to approach – but not exactly the kind of thing I can do on autopilot.

The first thing you might notice is that the story is entirely told in captions. It had actually been on my mind for a while to set myself a challenge of telling a story without using speech balloons, and as I found myself writing this, it seemed to organically go that way. But it did raise a question of how I would make the captions mesh with the artwork. We decided pretty early on that we were going to keep the art to grey tones and not go full colour. So I was limited to using black and white. I opted not to use any grey tones in the captions themselves, because that might have made them pop off the art less. When working with colour in lettering, high contrast schemes a are always best. And that’s hard to do when you’re working in monochrome. You very quickly realise how limited your choices are.

Initially, those captions were going to have a tattered look to them, but this was just too much visual overload on top of Roy’s artwork. So I kept to straight (boring) rectangular boxes and opted to use a more characterful font to add interest.

Now, I’ve done two things here that I’m usually very, very reluctant to do on most projects. One is that I’ve used a typewriter style font. The other is that the captions are all rendered in sentence case.

My objections, generally, are that typewriter fonts can easily look hacky and over-done. I used ths same font recently on Spazdog Press’s ‘Nothing Can Stop Me Now’, a collection of short stories inspired by the music of Nine Inch Nails. In that instance, I had lettered several stories in that book, and going for this weathered, typeset look added a bit of variety. Here, I like the businesslike feel of it. The idea of the story’s narration being lifted from a typed report seems to support the use of lower case letters, and the worn look seems to be a good fit with the theme of monstrous carnage.

Lower case letters usually make me put a comic aside in a huff. I’m not a fan of the approach, and while I’ve seen it used on mainstream books before (it was a stylistic choice dictated by Marvel for a while) it’s never looked as elegant or immediately readable as all caps.  But I’m never one to throw an idea out completely. Here, as I say, it seems to fit. Just don’t expect to see it again from me anytime soon!

Anyways – there it is. Hope you all enjoy the comic!


Astronauts and mounties!

Alright everybody?

It seems like an age since I last updated the blog. What can I say – I’ve been in demand!

The last few months of 2014 proved to be exceptionally busy for me lettering-wise, what with a combination of ongoing projects, some new books, and even preparing a few things for print in non-english speaking territories.

For this entry, I thought I’d showcase some of the work that’s been keeping me so busy of late. One of the books in question is Kenneth Brown’s Judas Breed: The Awakening, a sci- fi story about an intrepid team of space explorers who, while on their travels, stumble across something VERY nasty indeed.
Issue 1 page 1
Page 10 Page 10 Issue 1 page 4 - 5-01

There’s a very heavy flavour of the Alien movies and Prometheus about this book. So if you’re a fan, you’re more than likely to enjoy what you see.

I’ve remarked on this blog  before how much I love lettering science fiction comics. I get to think in terms of what I can do to add to the futuristic aesthetic. It’s often tempting to really go overboard with crazy effects, but in this instance, I found myself actually scaling things
back. For a story with this kind of tight focus, I didn’t want to over-egg things. Thanks to the series artist, Ryan Best, the story already has a pretty distinct visual style. So it only really needs a little extra salt and pepper.

You can find out more about the book via Facebook:

Next up, here’s a look at Steele #1, which carries the sub-title ‘Dead Horse Trail’. This is the second of Scott R. Schmidt’s tales of Canadian mountie Sam Steele.The book continues his interesting approach, first established in Steele #0, of pitting him against a combination of challenges posed by the unforgiving setting and antagonists with a supernatural aspect.

Steele #1 pg1-01
Steele #1 pg2 Steele #1 pg3-01

It’s worth mentioning here that Steele #1 was a pretty easy book to whizz through. I’d worked on the zero issue for Scott, and we spent a long time honing the design of it there.
This time around, there were still a few pages where I had to come up with something new, but it was pretty smooth sailing. I’m very proud of the results.

Once again, you can find out more via Facebok:

And that’s all for this update. Look out for another coming up soon, to showcase some more recent work, including Escape from Dino Isle #1 and Salvagers #3.