We’re in a golden age of comics right now and in an age of geek none of us could have ever imagined, but with the good comes the bad. As our geek news sites become more corporate they tend to focus less on comics and in some cases less on independent creators. My goal is to never shy away from giving a soapbox to those starting out, the independent, the unsung and the creators trying to carve a niche for themselves.
In this edition of Lettering With Style, I am interviewing Micah Myers a fantastic letterer in this industry. He’s lettered stories and books for Dark Horse, Devil’s Due, Zenescope, Scout, 215 Ink, and a bunch of other companies. Most recently he’s worked on Mercy Sparx for Devil’s Due and Elasticator and Welcome to Paradise for Scout. Among the creators, he’s worked on comics with we have Mark Bertolini, CW Cooke, Shane Berryhill, Hoyt Silva, Eric Esquivel, Jason Copland, Michael May, Josh Blaylock, and much more.
Besides being one of the best letterers in the business he’s also ventured into writing his own comic series about a D-list supervillain team that accidentally kill a superhero called The Disasters. After a successful funding on Kickstarter, the book is nearing completion.
Some of you may be wondering why interview letterers? Well, that’s simple. They make the words writers type come to life. Good dialogue is crucial in comic books but great looking dialogue that flows and has its own look and feel and is as natural on the page as the art that surrounds it. Well, that’s a necessity and something not everyone can do. It’s a thing of beauty when done right and a horror show when handled by someone who thinks it’s as simple as reading a comic. The logo on the cover, the dialogue on the page, and the sound effects all exist because of the hard, dedicated, and creative work of letterers.
And with that said let’s get on with this interview.
Marco: My first two questions are easy questions. They’re your basic starter questions designed to let the readers get to know you. So, what made you fall in love with comics and how did you get your start in this business?
Micah: I read comics when I was a kid like most little boys, but I fell out of it as I got older. In 2006, I saw Comedians of Comedy and in it, Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn talk about going to comic shops every Wednesday. That sounded like such a cool thing so I started to look into comics and what was going on. I read the trade of Watchmen and saw that DC put it out. So, I went to the store and picked up a bunch of stuff that DC was putting out at the time. So, the first trip to the store ended up with me buying the first few issues of Countdown. Somehow, I still was into comics after that, and it grew and grew until I was a fully diversified comic buyer who was buying stuff from multiple companies.
I got into working in comics when I was looking for some kind of direction in life. After high school, I had about 10 different careers in 10 years. I was in school for graphic design and started looking into what I could do with it. I can’t remember how but I started looking into comic book lettering. I wrote into the Crankcast, and asked how to break into comics. Chris Crank gave me a bunch of good advice, and I started practicing my skills. After a while, I started applying for jobs, and eventually got hired. One job turned into another into another, and eventually, I had a career.
Marco: Lettering is something that to me doesn’t get enough praise in this industry. There is a craft to it. One of my favorite moments when making comics is getting the pages back from the letterer. It’s just so much fun to see how the dialogue, captions, and sound effects are interpreted on the page. There’s also quite a bit of misconception to novices when it comes to lettering.
What are some of the misconceptions you’ve run across as a letterer in this business and if you could what’s something you would like to see changed or improved upon when it comes to letterers in this business?
Micah: A misconception that comes with lettering, at least with my family, is that it is done by hand. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell my grandfather that I use computers he will always talk about how nice my handwriting is. Anyway, a real misconception with some creators and some fans is that by lettering on computers vs hand lettering that I am not an artist or less than a hand letterer. That is one of the more annoying things. The belief that guys like me, Taylor Esposito, Marshall Dillon, Nic Shaw, and so many others are not artists. It infuriates me so much. Also, something else that could be improved is letterers getting proper credit in comics. It would be nice to be on the cover of the comics, but a small first step would be to have us credited in reviews and online listings of the comic. We are part of the team so it would be nice to be included when the rest of the team is talked about.
Marco: Now outside of being a letterer you’re also a writer and you’ve been working on a creator owned book The Disasters. Tell us a bit about how that book came to be, and the team you work with and what led you to also want to pursue writing?
Micah: Well, Disasters started out as an idea to make a lettering portfolio with my own story. The idea was to have four 5-page stories all by a different artist to show off lettering in different styles. It grew a little bit as I started picking my team and posting some art.
Facebook friends were excited about the designs, and it made me decide to put more thought behind it. I picked four artists to handle the four different characters: Bobby Simpson was put on Enforcer, a former pro wrestler out for revenge, Marie Enger is on Bimara, a young superpowered thief that gets in over her head. Morgan Sawyer has Glider Hench #4, a life-long henchman looking for his chance to move up. And Joe Badon works in Snow Globe, a criminal demolition expert.
I also got a bookend page done by the amazing Hoyt Silva. The story is about these four supervillains accidentally killing a superhero. We had a successful Kickstarter this time last year, and after some delays, we are so close to being finished with the book. The last few pages are being completed by Morgan Sawyer and then The Disasters will be unleashed on the world.
Marco: Given the Kickstarter success you had with this comic and the interest in it. Is writing something you’re looking to do more of? Will this be one of many stories we see coming from you involving these characters?
And do you ever see yourself going full-time with writing at any point (in the future) and putting lettering to the side? Or will it always be a part of you? Kind of like how Richard Starkings writes Elephantmen but also has his brilliant lettering company Comicraft.
Micah: I definitely plan on doing more stories with these characters. The first issue ends with a cliffhanger so there will be a continuation of this story. At current, I have 4 issues planned for The Disasters. I also have at least one other story for a character, Pantherman.
He is the first character that I thought of when I got into the idea of writing something, but then the idea of Disasters came to me and took over my attention. I would definitely be using Kickstarter to fund the comics. Hopefully, people won’t be burned out by me. We have suffered from some delays in the learning process of how this all works.
I don’t have any plans to stop lettering. I love it. The writing is just a fun thing to do, and it is so cool to have a book that is mine. If somehow a company wants to carry the Disasters, I would be super excited, but nothing will take me away from my first love of lettering.
Marco: I don’t want to but I must. It’s time to wrap things up. I want to thank you so much for letting me interview you, Micah. This is just one of what I hope will be many successful series of articles interviewing letterers, colorists and hopefully editors. They work just as hard as the writers and artists on a book and should be given just as much as respect and press.
But before we go this last question is what I like to call the PIMP YOUR WORK section. So, with all the passion you have let the audience know why they should check out your work, what you’re currently working on, and what you have coming up.
Micah: Thank you for helping to spread the word. It is so much fun to be able to talk about my work especially as a letterer, we don’t get to talk about our part in comics much. You can find out more about me at my website. There are links on there for my portfolio, all my social media, all the pages for my books, and a store that has some of my books and the buttons I make.
Follow me on social media to see what I am working on. Currently, I am lettering the second storyline of Amerikarate from Action Lab so keep an eye out for that. Thank you again!
And that’s the end of that. I want to thank Micah Myers for letting me interview him and I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Lettering With Style. Don’t forget to check out The Disasters when it’s released. Also don’t forget to follow Micah via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.