Saturday, 8 October 2016


I don't like the balloon placement in panel 2, but I merely lettered
within the existing speech balloons on the page so don't blame me

During my 15 years as a professional comics contributor, I lettered a couple of regular strips for LOADED magazine, which was published by IPC, I think.  This was well-after the infamous ROBERT MAXWELL had bought their YOUTH GROUP, the division responsible for the various comic periodicals that IPC created for the nation's youth.

What you're looking at above, is a scan of a photocopy of a strip which appeared in Loaded mag, which I took it upon myself to re-letter as the original lettering was pretty poor.  I then sent it in to the magazine and it was this that led to them asking me to letter a couple of strips for them as they were quite impressed with my calligraphic skills.

When I spoke to the editor about remuneration, I quoted him £20 per page, this being the going rate for 2000 A.D. at that time.  The editor (whose name I forget, sorry) told me to invoice for £50 and I wasn't going to argue with him.  So each page I lettered for Loaded was worth a fabulous £50 per pop, a very nice paying gig indeed.

However, I'm not here to rub your faces in what I was capable of earning for half an hour's work 20 years ago.  No, the reason I've included the above page is because I'm really proud of my lettering on it.  See, there's quite a big difference in working on something at one's own pace and for one's own amusement, and doing it under a deadline for a professional publication in order to earn a living.

When I used to letter my own home-grown strips, I employed an ordinary fountain pen and took as long as I needed.  However, when I first started my professional career for IPC, I was using Rotring pens I wasn't yet comfortable with, and the wrong kind of patch-paper (matt instead of gloss), which the 2000 A.D. boys kindly provided me with to start me off.  (Patch-paper is the generic name for the adhesive paper on which one lettered and then stuck onto the art.)

Consequently, some of my early lettering for various comics wasn't exactly as good as it might've been, and it took me a while to develop a style I was happy with.  By the time I did the above page, I was at a point in my career where I'd achieved a standard I was proud of, and I'm still proud when I see it today.  Which is why I decided to share it here on the blog with all you pantin' Criv-ites.

So if you ever see any of my early pages and think they aren't particularly good, remember that I improved, and became one of the better letterers then working in U.K. comics.  Truth to tell, I was almost as good as I am modest and humble, and as you can see, I'm very modest and humble indeed.  In fact, I'm actually quite proud of my humility and am justly famed for it.

Huh?  Wait, come back!  What did I say?

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