Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Letters of Stantis

Scott Stantis is the editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune and he produces other drawings for the paper also. Recently he drew a full-page special-feature autobiographical strip entitled The Beatings Never Really Stop. A portion of his page is shown above and you can see the piece in its entirety over here. What impressed me on first sight was the lettering. It exuded a warmth and friendliness that reminded me of Charles Schulz lettering at its very best.

Editorial cartoonists employ so few words in their panels that I (perhaps wrongly?) believe most of them employ hand lettering and not computer lettering in their work. It was with this mindset that I viewed the Stantis page and I said to myself that Mr. Stantis had distinguished himself with some beautiful hand lettering. Then I looked closer.

In fact the page is computer-lettered with a font designed to simulate hand lettering. How do you distinguish between hand lettering and computer lettering? My method is to examine the letter S. From just a cursory inspection of the above it is readily evident that all the S's are identical. No letterer could ever make all his S's identical, not Ben Oda, not Gaspar Saladino, nobody (and that lack of lockstep uniformity is what makes hand lettering superior!). Conclusion: computer lettering. It's good computer lettering, but still.

It has been my pleasure and mission to write often about comics lettering and I will continue to do so in the future.


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