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  1. #1
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    Default Can Anyone ID This Silver Age DC Letterer?

    I can't really tell the difference between 99% of comic book letterers, but this DC lettering from the 60s is pretty distinctive, even to my untrained eye.

    Can anyone ID it for me?

    This page is from B&B 65.

    Thanks.

    Update: I think he also lettered B&B 67.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DC Letterer.jpg   B&B 67.jpg  
    Last edited by Red Oak Kid; 05-07-2007 at 11:22 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member prince hal's Avatar
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    Offhand, no, ROK, but I remember this style from Doom Patrol and from other offbeat things like House of Secrets. I don't ever recall it being used in, say, Batman or Superman titles. I identify it with Bruno Premiani and Mort Meskin stories. I don't know that Premiani would've lettered his stuff as well as others, given that he (I think) lived in Argentina, but is it possible someone like Meskin lettered his own stuff and did other assignments?

  3. #3
    Frugal fanboy Cei-U!'s Avatar
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    I don't know the letterer's name but I've seen his/her work in many titles edited by Jack Schiff and his successors Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan, including some of the pre-New Look Batman material. Whoever it is has the double virtue of clarity and aesthetic appeal.

    Hopefully Rob Allen will see this and pass the question on to Tom Orzechowski. If anyone knows, it'll be Tom.

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  4. #4

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    Can Anyone ID This Silver Age DC Letterer?
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  5. #5
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    When I first encountered this lettering style in the early Doom Patrol comics, it seemed a bit odd. It fit in well with the overall style of the Doom Patrol and I did find it had a certain charm. But it was way different from the clean lettering of Sam and Artie over at that "other" comical company.

    I think it is Stan Starkman's fine work and if Tom O. can't confirm perhaps Mike Tiefenbacher is reachable on one of those many lists that Rob subscribes to.

    - jb the calligrapher's bump ib -
    Last edited by InfoBroker; 05-07-2007 at 12:17 PM. Reason: clarification of thoughts
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  6. #6
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    Hmmm....

    Because of the different balloon lines in your second example, I wasn't sure at first if these were the same letterer. I checked a lot of the detail structures of the letters themselves (slants, size of ascenders and descenders, "kerning", the negative to positive balance, the openings inside certain letters like R P and B, the use of drop caps, and just overall skootch, leading and other spacing aspects to balance and improve readability), and if that part isn't the same person, then someone was working real hard to make it look like the same person.

    The balloons are interesting thou, especially the long tails which showed up in a lot of the comics that Carmine illustrated circa 1965-67. The amount of air is similar, but this seemed to be a guideline for a lot of DCs at the time. But the swish on the balloon lines is different. Not so free and loose on the Bats/Flash panels as it is on the Doomy ones captions.

    It was pretty standard practice that the letterer did the balloon lines and the panels. Maybe DC had a different policy and left it to the inkers. Especially considering those extra long tails.

    -jb the ( and the difference could be by choice, not by changing who did it) ib -
    Last edited by InfoBroker; 05-08-2007 at 11:33 AM. Reason: added some lettering terms
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  7. #7
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    It was the distinctive "boomerang" shaped balloon outlines that caught my eye. Also the letters seem to have a pronounced slant.

    I have never heard of Stan Starkman. But his credits on the GCD jive perfectly with Cei-U's memory of pre new look Batmans.

    I have Batman 135 which the GCD credits to Starkman. The lettering and balloons look nothing like the stylish work in B&B 65, IMO.

    However he is also credited with lettering Teen Titans 4 and Blackhawk 223, both of which I have. These two books do resemble B&B 65, especially the TT issue.

    I was assuming just one letterer used the boomerang and or kidney shaped balloons and the long tails. But perhaps Infobroker is right that this could have been some sort of specific look that was used by DC on certain books, and other letterers were asked to use it.

    But at the moment Stan Starkman looks like the most likely candidate.
    Last edited by Red Oak Kid; 05-07-2007 at 12:58 PM.
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  8. #8
    19th Century Internet zilch's Avatar
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    I WAS going to say Starkman, only because he did a lot of Tomahawks and it looked awful familiar.

    However, my id of letterers is just guessing. Same with most pencilers and inkers.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Oak Kid View Post
    I was assuming just one letterer used the boomerang and or kidney shaped balloons and the long tails...
    Boomerang and Kidney shaped ballon types need to be added to the lexicon of Comic Book Lettering. You gotta, just gotta head over there Red Oak and get John Roshell to include them. They will fit in nicely with Sam Rosen's trademark Loaves of Bread, especially since these three types tend to get stacked a lot one on top of the other. It will also be a nice way to get more coverage of DC's silver-age letterers.

    Yeppers, John Roshell is the same guy who created the Astro City and Herocopia websites and I am long overdue to include addition entries for the later, so don't mention me when you head that direction.


    But at the moment Stan Starkman looks like the most likely candidate.
    I think it was the style of a couple of the writers at DC that lended itself to the need to do balloon-stacking, particularly when a panel had to contain more than just one moment of activity.

    I'm still pretty sure that this is Stan Starkman's work, but I can think of a couple other letterers at DC who stacked balloons. Maybe not this stylistically, but I have a short list of others who did this during the 60s at DC.

    -jb the (ames lettering guide in hand) ib -
    Last edited by InfoBroker; 05-08-2007 at 11:57 AM. Reason: forgot the link to the Comiccraft Balloon Tales web page
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  10. #10

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    It's Starkman.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the confirmation Mark.

    And oh my goodness, I just took a peek at your website this morning, the Griffith Park fire is closer to the observatory than I expected, and wow, it really looks nasty, thanks for commenting that its not really that close.

    I am wishing the best for your friend living nearby.

    -jb the ib -
    Last edited by InfoBroker; 05-10-2007 at 01:46 PM.
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  12. #12
    "I like to... watch..." Kirk G's Avatar
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    Mark Evanier:
    Save the comic books, buddy....
    Get them out of the path of the fire NOW, or else we'll all come over with garden hoses to defend the stash!

  13. #13
    CotM Member Rob Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cei-U! View Post
    Hopefully Rob Allen will see this and pass the question on to Tom Orzechowski. If anyone knows, it'll be Tom.
    I did see it, but I've been slammed with work recently and so has Tom, so I haven't sent it to him yet. It looks like the question has been answered, but I'll still get his opinion.
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  14. #14
    New Member sabreboy914's Avatar
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    Default Stan Starkman - Letterer

    Sorry to drag up an old thread but Stan Starkman was (and is!) my father. I remember as a kid watching him in our basement letter hundreds of comics. It was fascinating then and I recognize the comics posted by Red Oak Kid as those on which my father worked. He is 83 y/o and still has the best handwriting of anyone I know.

  15. #15
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabreboy914 View Post
    Sorry to drag up an old thread but Stan Starkman was (and is!) my father. I remember as a kid watching him in our basement letter hundreds of comics. It was fascinating then and I recognize the comics posted by Red Oak Kid as those on which my father worked. He is 83 y/o and still has the best handwriting of anyone I know.
    Awsome!!!

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