Questions about a character or place??
for all the answers.
erhaps many of you, my faithful readers (down to five
now, one got run over by a stampede of wild K-cars) have noticed the amazing
consistency and neatness of my lettering. Hopefully, all of you realize
that it is all done on a computer using several, different, nifty fonts, and not
by my having exceptionally steady penmanship. I used to do it all by hand,
with my trusty Ames Lettering Guide; in fact, all eight parts of "The
Culmination" were lettered by painstakingly by hand and the first parts of "Maldren's
Tale", but a friend put a bug in my ear.
It was a very
persistent bug, concerning the script lettering of Maldren's narrations
in the Historia Parveriae. He said that reading more than a few
pages of it at a time tended to give him a headache, and suggested-for
everyone's well being-that I should try using a computer generated text, at
least where the narration blocks were concerned. I resisted for a good six
months (that was before I got my new Hewlett-Packard), my artistic
integrity slightly bruised, and then I gave in.
We sat down, my
friend and I, with page two of "Marriage" as our guinea pig, and began
searching the vast files of both his and his parents' computers to find a proper
replacement. While we were at it, for a hideously foreshadowing lark, we
also speculated at several to use for the word balloons and even the narratives
of The Parverian Tales. In the end, we had printed out several
pages of likelies, mostly in the form of that first paragraph typed over and
over and.... Eventually, of those, I settled upon the ones I'm currently
using, (please, keep the applause down).
But, the job
wasn't done yet. We still needed to set a standard in size and format that
would conform to the already existing art. This took as long, if not
longer, than going through all the fonts, whereas my friend wasn't used to this
particular application of the work processing functions, and, at the time, I was
almost completely a new computer illiterate (I hadn't so much as touched one
since the early Apple IIe days). We typed and re-typed and shaped
and molded (keeping in mind that this would all get shrunk down to 67% of the
original), and, after long, arduous hours of even longer, more arduous work, we
finished a couple of narration blocks and a handful of word balloons. I
used the top of a lit glass display case in lieu of my light desk to shape the
blocks and circles, cut them out, and set them in place. It only took a
few seconds of admiring the fruits of our labor to make me shout: "By
George, I think we've got it!"
I'd like to say
that was the end of the story, that I got right to work, and BAM! ZOOM!
everything was done and shiny, but it wasn't. It was another several
months before I bought a computer (a scary and expensive proposition at best)
capable of handling my do-dad needs, and, in the interim, the same friend
offered to do the lettering for me on his "in his spare time". It was a
gracious offer, but I don't think, even to this day, he knew what he'd have been
getting into. Once I'd got the computerized ball rolling, it took me
almost tow months of intensive work to get the first three complete issues
re-lettered. It was touch and go refitting (the script font particularly,
which had an irritating tendency to be much taller than my own scrawl), tracing,
cutting, gluing, re-refitting, etc., but I've, since those early days,
streamlined the process considerably* (I re-outfitted "Storming to a Cell"
in about four days). I even tried something new this time around:
composing the generated lettering right from the script using the barest layout
for a guide, and then, in turn, using those to dictate the layout of the final
draft (kind of a Zen thing), so I don't end up with vast areas of wasted space
or run myself short. I don't know if this is accepted comic book decorum,
but it sure saves me a heck of a lot of headache and time.
In any case, I
hope my Herculean efforts to bring you the highest quality reading matter in the
clearest, most effective form was worth all the trouble. In other words,
John, if you're looking in, I hope this is a little easier on your eyes.
If not, you'd better start looking very carefully when you cross a street from
now on. Remember, this was all your fault!
*Even more so now that I do
everything right in Adobe Photoshop, no more gluing or cutting or...well, you
get the picture.
So until next time,
PS. If you
haven't already gathered for the title: "Requiem for a Friend", one of
the good guys doesn't make it through the next issue-and I ain't gonna say who.
Cabal Rote's throne room is decorated in a quasi-Egyptian manner, but
it is not to insinuate in any way that Cabal Rote is Egyptian any
more than I was insinuating that the Goblin soldiers were Japanese.
Sheesh! People are so touchy nowadays. All kidding aside, old
skinny, gray, and nasty goes back thousands of years, probably predating even
the early Egyptians, and, also, he isn't completely human, so I doubt he
would qualify to fall under any of the houses of Man.