September 24th, 2010


Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror Art and Lettering and Stuff

So, originally, I was supposed to letter my strip for the Treehouse of Horror. The pages were designed for it, I spent a good amount of some time working out how I'd lay in the often heavy text. My lettering isn't polished, but it goes with my art and gets the job done. Anyway, I didn't end up lettering the comic because my idea to cram in as much detail as I could into it backfired insofar as the schedule went. It took me longer to pencil everything, because of the details, because I was trying to get the characters on model as closely as I could, and because I wanted to draw at least 100 characters in the story. And three monsters. And a pig. 'Cause I do the highfalutin' NPR-type stuff, baby. Deal with it.

At a certain point everyone involved -- even the pig -- realized I couldn't do the lettering in time, and it would have to be handled on Bongo's end (isn't there a gripping men's adventure paperback called Bongo's End? No? I must be thinking of something else). I was disappointed, because I wanted to do the whole job here, but it couldn't be helped. On the plus side, the lettering helps make the comic look more like a "regular" Simpsons comic, and I think that adds something to the proceedings, that what could pass for a "regular" Bart Simpson story turns into a high body count monster bloodbath. With guts. And a pig. Oh, and a monkey, I forgot the monkey. I'm so silly, sometimes. How can I forget the monkey?

Some folks have told me it looks odd because it doesn't have my lettering, but I got used it pretty quickly, the lettering looks good, and all the words are there (actually, one balloon on page 15 dropped out in production, you can see some lettering amidst the Kirby Crackle in panel 3. Luckily it reads fine without it) and the book came out on time.

Anyway, the lettering covered up some art that I was hoping to leave uncovered, so I thought folks might be interested in seeing some of the details that didn't make it into the comic.

Here's two versions of page 1 -- the finished pencils and the inked art colored by Sarah: 


Oh -- before I forget, the actual lettering was done by Karen Bates, and my thanks go out to her because she preserved so much of the art while managing to get in the (often very) dense text, on a tough deadline, to boot. I think only two pages had any serious detail covered up to any real degree -- those being page 1 and page  15 -- both title pages, and both overwritten in my attempts to meld  wordy, Atlas-era Stan Lee and '50's SF babble with Professor Frink and Bart Simpson's characteristic banter. I knew there was a ton of dialogue, and I went in knowing I'd be losing detail even if I did the lettering myself (I would have hand-lettered on a separate board.. Bongo needed the art and lettering separate so foreign publishers can drop their own, translated lettering in for their editions).

Okay, sorry for the boring talk, once in a while I like to talk shop. Hope you like the look at page one naked as a jaybird. If you do, let me know, I'll post page 15 sometime.

Before I sign off to get back to work (Mad illustration, super-keen gig!), my thanks to Bill Morrison and Terry Delegeane at Bongo for inviting me to work with them on the Treehouse. I really enjoyed working on the strip, except for the times I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to fit everything in. And of course, thanks to Sarah for the swell coloring job, and for not divorcing me afterward. I sometimes (always) forget that all those details have to be colored. Every time I say I'll lighten up on the details I forget or go into stupid mode and draw all the little details again. 

I don't think she wants to color guts for a while. I mean, if she ever did want to in the first place. Which I doubt.



Another gripping tale of men's adventure, mayhaps? 


And on that note, I'm off.