We Talk About Lettering Grimm Tales of Terror with Micah Myers
Micah Myers is relatively new to the field of comics, but he has already made his mark. Working primarily for Zenescope he has lettered many of the company’s newer offerings and has already built up a portfolio of over twenty issues, including a quarter of the Grimm Tales of Terror issues. We were pretty interested to talk him because we don’t usually get to talk to letterers and to see what goes on inside their world. He gave us some insight as well as some of his own personal goals
Graphic Policy: How did you decide to become a letterrer? And what training did you receive?
Micah Myers: I became a letterer after I realized I couldn’t draw, and the process of coloring comics was too complicated for me to figure out.
MM: But really, I have always been interested in graphic design and typography. I enrolled in school to learn it after failing at a bunch of other careers. At the same time I was looking into lettering in comics. I had bought a few books about it, started following letterers on Twitter and asking them advice, and practicing as much as I could. After a year or so, I thought I had gotten good enough to apply for jobs, and after a while I started getting work.
GP: How much input do you get into the layout of an issue? It would seem that you would need to discuss with the illustrator and writer what will fit and what not?
MM: For the most part, letterers don’t really have any say in the layout. We just get stuck for the room we are given and make it work. Most artists are smart and leave the room, but if not, then it is my job to make it work. That is why we get paid the medium bucks.
GP: In certain cases the text changes based on who is talking (for instance with Keres in Grimm Tales of Terror.) How is it decided how to represent this?
MM: For Keres, I am matching it with Jim Campbell’s previous work on the book. On other things, sometimes it is in the script that the writer wants a certain color or font style for a character. Other times, it is up to you. You get a feel for it. If a character has a big scary look, he would have a rough balloon and/or a black balloon. Mostly though, it is up to the letterer’s style choice. Goofy characters would get a silly font, robots would get a computer font, and supernatural characters would get a spooky font.
GP: Does changing the tone and format of the text make it easier or harder to represent?
MM: It makes it easier, but when it is overused, like for every character in the book getting their own lettering style, it makes the book look cheesy.
GP: While there are sometimes very noticeable changes such as this kind of text, are there less noticeable ones that letterers will use?
MM: I am not too sure. There is bolding the words for emphasis or yelling.
GP: How much input does the letterer have into the actual text? There must be times that the writer wants to say things that just don’t make sense for some reason or another?
MM: There have been times when the artist has changed the character’s positions from the script. Like the character saying “Get off the floor” but the artist already drew the other character standing. I would say something to writer about it. Simple stuff like that. I don’t give any input on the dialogue quality-wise. I am not qualified to critique another person’s writing.
GP: Do you find that you get to like certain characters more than other after adding in the lettering?
MM: I do feel a bit of pride for the comics I have done. When I see other people lettering the books after me, it is like someone else is playing with my toys. Even though, I have no ownership of the characters and play a small part in the comics.
GP: Are there characters that you would like to get a chance to letter?
MM: My favorite character is Green Arrow so I would love to be involved in a Green Arrow comic. Even more of a dream come true if Mike Grell was also on the book. I also would like to do the yellow balloons for Deadpool.