Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Zuda: Hammer Sound

[image: banner ad for Hammer Sound; illustration by Evan Bryce, design by myself]

This month's Zuda competition features Hammer Sound written by Doug Wagner and drawn by Evan Bryce with myself on the letters. It’s a great step in the right direction for us; it could be the door that opens up a lot of opportunities for us. Though I’m going to need your help in opening that door. As I said, Zuda is a monthly competition. So I need everyone to go to Zuda, register (it’s free and the don’t spam you), and give your vote/favorite to Hammer Sound. If we win, we get to develop the story further and get PAID for it! What is up now is essentially a pilot; winners become a continuous update with a printed collection at the end of the story. And I can’t stress how cool that would be.

Hammer Sound
Zuda Page
Media Page
Facebook Event
MySpace Group

Hammer Sound has been in development for a while; Doug approached Evan about working on something together after being inspired by one of Evan’s sketches. Evan's art has come a long way since they started talking about the project. He’s worked really hard to get where he is and to help him with this latest project is a real honor. Zuda is a branch of DC comics, so this is a big deal/opportunity. Or it could be, it’s a fairly new program so a lot of it is untested. But the very fact that the story got picked is an indication of where his talents are going. And Doug’s writing is the hyper-fuel that feeds that fire.

As for my small part in this, I’ve really developed a kick out of lettering comics. There’s a real, gratifying challenging is trying to enhance the story without being too overt about it. Good lettering will go unnoticed, bad lettering will glare at you with the evil i. It’s taking all that I learned as a good designer and applying them to a field that I loved since childhood. Comic book lettering doesn’t have to be “comic book-y”, there’s no reason to not apply the same finesse that is used for high-end design concepts. At the core of it, it’s about using type to rely and enhance a message to the audience.

A big influence on this project was Todd Klein’s run on The Sandman. The different lettering for the characters really added to the their personalities and became a real integral part of the character’s identity. I wanted the robot to have it’s own particular identity; I hear his voice as a modulated British accent. Though I wanted to keep the corners of his word boxes round because I find him rather endearing and softhearted. Jonah’s size and shape demanded something with a heavy timber; so his typeface is a bit bolder than the rest. On the other end, I hear Polly as a soft, cute whisper. So there is a bit more open space in her balloons and the type is slightly smaller. Nothing that would be noticeable right away, but hopefully just enough for you to sense it when you read over the text. All the balloons are set at a small transparency; I think word balloons should set back a bit. Using start white makes them pop too much, hence the small decrease in opacity.

Granted, I’m probably one of the few people who put this much thought into lettering a comic. But that’s okay, I’m weird like that.


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