Updated: Jan 25, 2020
It's time to shine some light on one of the unsung heroes of the comic book industry, the letterer. One of the most essential pieces to any comic book.
Who better to shine some light on then one of my favorite letterers, Taylor Esposito.
He's currently working on one of the most exciting new books, NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT, and has been flexing his muscles with some of the best lettering I've ever seen in a comic book.
So without further ado, here's the interview.
COMIC LOUNGE: How did you first break into comics?
TAYLOR ESPOSITO: Right out of college. I had a friend working over at Marvel, and they needed a temp for a couple of days. Those days turning into weeks and months, and then I was just there.I was at Marvel, getting up to assistant production manager in the Bullpen until the big layoffs of 2011. Then I took that time to learn lettering.
COMIC LOUNGE: Was being in comics something you always wanted to do?
ESPOSITO: It was always in the back of my mind, but I never considered it a serious option. It kind of just worked out that way.
COMIC LOUNGE: How did you decide to get into lettering?
ESPOSITO: As I mentioned, once I was laid off, I had time to kill, and I already had an interest in lettering, so I decided to get serious with it. Within a year of the layoff, I was on the DC lettering staff.
COMIC LOUNGE: I feel like people don't give enough credit to letters and how crucial they are to comics? How do you make yourself stand out?
ESPOSITO: It’s a fine line. You’d don’t want to stand out too much because it’s distracting. It should be all about the work. That said, to stand out of the pack, I think it’s important to be someone people want to work with, someone who can deliver consistency on time, and over the course of perfecting your craft, developing a style people want on their books.
COMIC LOUNGE: How do you flex your artistic abilities the most as a letterer?
ESPOSITO: Hmm, that’s not something I think about often. I think what most people think of me “flexing those abilities” is really just trying to make a page work. Everything I do is in service to the story’s readability, and working around the limitations provided to me. Unfortunately, not all artist think about lettering placement ahead of the lettering stage, so sometimes we need to work with a less than ideal page.
COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any other aspects of the industry you would like to try you hand at?
ESPOSITO: Not really, I’m a letterer by nature, and I’m not one of those people who views lettering as a stepping stone to other jobs. (It’s actually kind of insulting to those of use who dedicate ourselves to the craft.) That said, never say never, if I had a story in mind or something, I might try to make it happen. But lettering and now teaching are keeping me pretty busy.
COMIC LOUNGE: As someone who likes to write occasionally and can't really draw. What would advice would give on breaking into the industry?
ESPOSITO: Really, the only thing I can say is figure out what you like to do, truly assess if you have a talent there that can be developed, and then work at it. Comics is a tough field to get into, too many talented people. But no one can stop you from making your own stories. Lettering especially is very difficult. There are lots of great letterers working out there today, each who can do a ton of books, so the jobs are limited. I usually recommend to those who want to get into lettering that you should really think about whether you want it. This is also why we don’t like that people want to use lettering as a stepping stone.
COMIC LOUNGE: What projects are you curently working on?
ESPOSITO: Elvira, Bettie Page, Firebrand, Acursian, Red Sonja and Vampirella meet Betty and Veronica, The Black Ghost, Grimm Fairy Tales, No One Left to Fight, and more, I can go on and on.
COMIC LOUNGE: What would you say is the most rewarding thing about working in comics?
ESPOSITO: The money. (Haha) In all seriousness, getting to work with other amazing creators, working on fun stories, and making a living doing something fun.