Comicon’s Best Comic Letters Of 2019

by Erik Amaya

Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of 2019. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Comic Series,Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, and Most Progressive Comics.

Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards this year include: Brendan Allen, James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Noah Sharma, Rachel Bellwoar, Tito James, Tony Thornley, Richard Bruton, and Erik Amaya.

The following are Comicon’s Best Comic Letterers of 2019.

 

5. Travis Lanham for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel Comics)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was a wordy comic. That’s in no way a slight, though. Thanks to Doreen’s belief in people, conversation was as powerful as fisticuffs. And coordinating all that talk was letterer Travis Lanham, who always made those big blocks of text feel like a natural part of the page. But beyond giving the regular lettering the required illusion of invisibility, he also managed Marvel Comics’ various special typefaces for Asgardians, robots, Galactus, Foom, Doom and all the other specialty characters who found their way into Doreen’s orbit. And in playing with all those various types — and the accents they are meant to convey — Lanham also found the latitude to poke fun at Marvel conventions the way writer Ryan North and artist Derek Charm did with their duties on the title. And if nothing else, Lanham deserves recognition for lettering all of those jokes at the bottom of most Squirrel Girl pages.

— Erik Amaya

4. Ellie De Ville for 2000AD (Rebellion Developments)

Sadly, over Christmas, we heard the news that Ellie deVille, better known as Ellie de Ville, the long-standing letterer extraordinaire of 2000AD, passed away on Christmas Eve from pancreatic cancer.
The loss of Ellie is heartbreaking for those that knew her and a true loss to the comics medium. Her work over the years was everything great lettering should be; adding so much to whichever strip her fine work adjourned, week after week in the pages of 2000AD, monthly over at the Megazine, and through many other titles in her illustrious career. In typical fashion, she’s reported to have been hitting deadlines to the end, finishing her last work for 2000AD in her hospital bed just four weeks ago.
Her first work for 2000AD was all the way back in 1992 and she’s been a mainstay since then. When it comes to her work, she was a perfect exponent of the art of invisibility in lettering. And that’s far from an insult when it comes to the art of lettering — hers was perfect, no matter the strip, making reading the strip effortless, just as any great letterer’s work should allow. And Ellie de Ville was a great, great letterer.
She’ll be missed by all who knew her, all who worked with her, and all of us who were fans of her work. And the outpouring of love and respect for her over the last few days has shown just how important she was to comics and how much she’ll be missed.

— Richard Bruton

3. Jim Campbell for Giant Days (Boom! Studios)

As with the rest of the Giant Days team, Jim Campbell’s contributions to the series reflect the need for the mundane and the surreal to collide. Across his time on the book, the lettering could be used to convey emotions, drug trips, and even the sensation of infatuation. It was often beautiful — even when it was meant to illustrate ugliness — and showy in all the right ways. But even when the lettering pulled back into the more mundane aspects of Susan or Daisy’s lives, it always maintained a certain liveliness; almost as though it knew a surreal moment was waiting on any given page.

— Erik Amaya

2. Aubrey Aiese for Jumberjanes (Boom! Studios)

Kids don’t speak like adults. They can stammer, yell, and whisper all in one sentence. Aubrey Aiese captures that speech pattern with ease in Lumberjanes, adding to the never-ending adventure of this summer camp full of gods, magical creatures, and pun-filled merit badges. Aiese letters the book in proper case, with more intense or loud words shown in all caps. This is more in line with how people speak so there’s a great flow to it. This makes it so easy to get wrapped up in the fun of the campers as they head into another crazy quest for fun. It’s impossible to read the book without a smile on your face and a big part of that comes from the letters and how they appear on the page.

— James Ferguson

1. Aditya Bidikar for These Savage Shores (Vault Comics) and Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown)

Aditya Bidikar has continued to show he is one of comicdom’s best — and hardest working — letterers around. Whether he’s deftly balanced the oft-times heavy reliance of narrative with the delicate, watercolored-like artwork of Sumit Kumar on These Savage Shores, or adding to the stronger, bolder artwork of Martin Simmonds on Punks Not Dead, Bidikar has certainly shown his versatility on these titles and so many others across the past year too. 

— Olly MacNamee

Erik Amaya

Host of Tread Perilously and a Film/TV Writer at Comicon.com and Rotten Tomatoes. A former staff writer at CBR and Bleeding Cool, and a contributing writer at Fanbase Press and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.

%d bloggers like this: