Saturday, April 04, 2020

Who Was Jean Hipp?

Something I noticed in a 1976 Marvel comic I was readying for auction on ebay sparked my curiosity and I knew I had to investigate. The page 1 creator credits in Marvel Two-in-One #17 specify that the lettering is by Jean Hipp


I thought I knew the names of all comics letterers. Who in the world was Jean Hipp? The first stop on my investigative journey was the Grand Comics Database, and it's there that I found information that piqued my curiosity even more!

The GCD entry for Jean Hipp consists of eight entries from the mid-1970s and that's all; it struck me as unusual that a letterer would complete eight jobs and then never letter again. But possibly even more interesting was that on almost all of those eight jobs the first story page was lettered by the legendary Gaspar Saladino and then Jean Hipp lettered the rest of the comic. Whoa! Maybe, I though to myself, just maybe Jean Hipp was Mrs. Gaspar Saladino? Both Carl Barks and Dick Sprang famously taught their wives to become letterers so why not a third instance of such a family affair? But no.

A closer look at one (but only one) line of the Jean Hipp GCD page evaporates this mystery once and for all: the lettering credit for 1976's Ghost Rider #19 specifies "Jean Izzo [as Jean Hipp]." Well there's a familiar name! Jean Izzo has 622 entries on her GCD page. Jean was related to a legendary comics letterer after all, but not as wife; she was the daughter of Art Simek and she has 633 GCD entries under her maiden name Jean Simek.

The one question that remains unanswered is why this talented letterer took on the pseudonym Jean Hipp for exactly eight comic books.


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