[Editorial comments in boldface text.]
How did you ever get into the lettering business?
(Comics Interview #44 Interview, August 1987 FIXME Broken link.) Well, I started off as a letterer. I've been lettering Groo ever since it started with Pacific. I've just started lettering a new series from Eclipse called Kamui, which is a Japanese series that they picked up to translate for the U.S. market. I also letter the Spider-Man Sunday newspaper strips.
I've done lettering for the strip, Mr. Abernathy. I did the lettering for the presentation for another strip called Sherman on the Mount. I think it was the first three weeks. I do the lettering for the Masters of the Universe giveaway books.
How did you get involved with Samurai: Son of Death?
(WWW Board March 2001) I got involved because the I knew the writer, Sharman DiVono. That was actually the first comic/graphic album to have such a Western/Eastern collaboration. Also, I was and still am a great fan of Hiroshi Hirata's art and the opportunity to study his originals was too great to resist.
Incidentally, he changed the story dramatically, giving Sharman quite a headache rewriting the dialogue to fit the new story. From what I understand, the story took about 4-5 years to complete.
Eclipse was originally intending to use type for the title page but I had scribbled the title with a brush on the envelope containing the original art (so they'd know what's inside). They liked that brushwork and went with that for the title.
How about The Legend of Kamui?
(WWW Board March 2001) Basically, Viz (and at that time co-publisher Eclipse) liked my lettering and knew I could do the art corrections for Kamui and so approached me. They actually let me have my pick of projects as they had about 4 series they wanted to launch. I chose only Kamui as I thought it would be fun and it still gave me enough free time to work on my own projects.
Incidentally, the series began with the third Japanese collected volume. The first two looked dramatically different and I actually prefer those earlier books which were never translated.
How did you get involved with lettering a comic strip like Spider-Man?
(The Comics Journal #192 Interview, December 1996 FIXME Broken link) I've been working for Stan
for about 12 years. Stan had needed a new letterer for the Spider-Man strips and Scott Shaw!, who was working at Marvel Productions at that time on Muppet Babies, referred me and Stan gave me a call, I went down and I picked up a Spider-Man strip that day and I've been lettering it ever since. He's a neat guy. I really like Stan. The strangest thing is that he was exactly how he was hyped up to be...very energetic, very friendly. I used to love going into Marvel Production on Fridays; whenever I'd come in with strips, he'd drop what he was doing, if he was in a meeting he'd excuse himself, and we'd spend a few minutes together. I remember one Friday he had to leave early that day and his secretary apologized, so I just drew a little picture on a Post-it note which basically said, "Sorry I missed you, here are the strips", and the next time I came in, he'd had that framed and mounted on his wall. He's a terrific guy. He wrote the introduction for Usagi Yojimbo Book Five. He writes a lot of introductions and much of them are all hype, but the introduction he wrote for me was very sincere, it was very nice; I really thank him for that. I had sent him a note saying that my son, Matthew, has just gotten into superheroes and he watches Marvel Action Hour on TV and the next day, Stan sent a Spider-Man backpack full of toys and cards and things, and everything was signed by Stan. Matthew uses the backpack whenever he goes to conventions.
(Amazing Heroes #187 Interview, January 1991 FIXME Broken link) Oh, yeah, Stan Lee called one day and said, "Hi, Stan Lee here. You want to letter my strip?" So we got together and I've been lettering Spider-Man for five or six years now -- Sundays only. I really enjoy working with Stan. He's a nice guy. Also, Stan
's probably the first name I associated with comic books. I grew up with his name, and to actually meet him and find that he's really a nice guy -- it's funny, he's exactly the way he's hyped up to be, which suprised me. He's terrific. I've enjoyed working with him for these past few years.
(Comics Interview #44 Interview, August 1987 FIXME Broken link) The main reason why I agreed to do Spider-Man was that I would work with Stan
. I've turned down a lot of lettering assignments just because I don't want to do that all my life -- I want to get into more artwork -- but when the opportunity came up to letter Spider-Man I jumped at it. He just called out of the blue, saying, "Hi, this is Stan Lee, do you want to letter Spider-Man?" So I said, "Sure, I'll do it!"
I guess the main reason I'm doing Spider-Man is because of Stan
You also find the time to letter comics such as Sergio Aragones's Groo and the Spider-Man newspaper strip. What is it about lettering that appeals to you?
(Sequential Tart Interview, Feb 2001 FIXME Broken link) Lettering is actually relaxing in many ways. It is more mechanical than creative and uses another part of my brain. I guess it proves the whole left brain/right brain theory. Anyway, I enjoy lettering and it let's me work with terrific creators such as Sergio
, Mark Evanier and Stan Lee.