Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comedy and Comic Lettering

.. and you must be wondering...

What the Frak do the two things have to do with each other?

Answer: Shawn DePasquale

For those who have read "Lucid", the debut release from a Archaia /Before The Door collaboration project will notice that the comic lettering was done by the talented Shawn DePasquale. Who is also a writer. And a funny-man. And who had a very XXX-tra interesting job driving sexy people around ;)

Shawn was recently at the Golden Apples Comic store for an autograph session with the writer/ creator of "Lucid" Michael McMillian. They also did a really *beep* =censored= *beep* podcast together on Bagged and Boarded.

Confession: I am a nosy person and I love to find out what makes people tick. So by embracing and accepting my true nature, I just *had* to ask Shawn for an email interview.

So herrrreeee's what Shawn had to say!


1. Tell us about how you got into comic lettering as a job?

It's very nice of you to call it my job. Actually it's one of many jobs. It started out as a necessity. I had written a comic and a buddy of mine had drawn it. We needed a letterer to put the word and balloons and sounds onto the art and had no money to pay anyone. So I taught myself. That was nine years ago. Over that time I started to letter other people's books and that established me in the community of smaller publishers.

Recently I've been lucky enough to work with even larger publishers such as Archaia, Zenescope and Image Comics.

2. Have there been any particularly memorable or frustrating moments while you were doing comic lettering?

A little of column A and a little of column B. I've been very lucky to meet some of my heroes in the business. I've also been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the nicest people on the planet. As for frustration, I think with any job you do there are rough moments, especially when creativity is involved, but in the grand scheme nothing is large enough to hold onto.

(@syzzlyn's note: In his own blog, Shawn shared how the process of comic lettering actually works. So, if you are interested in that, do swing by to very his insightful blog post - "Shawn Explains: Comic Book Lettering")

3. How do you establish your own recognizable comic lettering style?

The most obvious way is to design your own fonts. Past that, I think there are minor things that I try to do.... rules I've established for my own work that set me apart. The key to being a good letterer is to blend. You don't want to be noticed. I often equate it to Sound Editing in film. If he's doing his job right you'll never notice he was there.

4. How did you get to be chosen to letter for "Lucid"?

Page from "Lucid" #1
Two forces where at play. I knew Michael McMillian because we had met at San Diego Comic Con via Corey Moosa (from Before The Door Pictures) who I went to high school with. They introduced me to Stephen Christy at Archaia Comics and he hired me to work on this fabulous graphic novel called, "Hybrid Bastards" (available now from Archaia Comics!!).

Around the time I finished that job Michael had completed "Lucid" issue 1. I asked Before The Door if I could letter and then did an audition using the first few pages of the comic for Archaia and got the gig.

5. Have you and Michael McMillian "battled" it out - all combat-mage-style - while completing the "Lucid" project? Who won? ;)

HA! I'm tempted to make a joke about how we battled with our wands.....

No, in all seriousness, there's never a reason to fight when working creatively. If I had an opinion I'd share it and Michael would usually question my reasoning and then we'd decide what would work best for the book. That said, it's his comic when all's said and done so if he felt passionately about something it was my job as his letterer to execute it to the fullest to achieve his vision.

6. Which comic project has been your fave so far?

"Lucid" is up there. "27" an Image book by my good friend, Charles Soule, was a pleasure to work on but my favorite would have to be my own project, "Space,MN". There's just nothing as magical as putting your words over art that you "directed" and finally seeing a project come to life.

7. What made you decide to move to LA?

I have always wanted to write TV shows. It only makes sense to be out here.

8. What has been your most life changing experience, good or bad, since coming to California? (other than being a porn star driver *grin*)

Hahaha. That was a very strange job for sure. The biggest gig to date has been this recent job I'm doing on an upcoming TNT show, "Franklin and Bash". It's PA (production assistant) work, so to some that's starting at the bottom, but for me it's a foot in the door and a huge step in the right direction to making it into a writer's room.

9. When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

When I was six or seven I wanted to be a stand up comic. Then I got into writing scripts and comics around 16 or 17 and have been determined to make that a reality since.

10. We have read that you enjoy writing too.. have you struck on a pet idea for a writing project yet?

As I've shamelessly mentioned many times already, I have a book called "Space, MN" coming out from Arcana Comics this winter. It's about a fictional small town in Minnesota that experiences a series of bizarre murders somehow tied into a mysterious corporation that's just moved into town.

Later this year will also see the release of a comic I co-scripted with my writing partner Robbie called "Pixies" which is for a younger audience. It's about a guy who has had bad luck his whole life until he realizes it's because he's been under a pixie curse since his childhood.

Available NOW is a book a wrote a bunch of year ago called, "Lawn Enforcement" (see cover above) which you can read a preview of and purchase at IndyPlanet.

11. You seem to be at a studio quite a bit these days. We are curious. Pls give us some teasers about this project and other upcoming projects!

As I mentioned, Production Assistant. "Franklin and Bash" this June on TNT! Check it out!!

12. You are also pretty active on Twitter. How do you feel about it - a boon or curse?

Boon. For sure. It's the greatest marketing tool ever. I love it so much and I'm grateful to every person who follows me that isn't related to me or friends and therefore obligated to put up with my shenanigans.

13. How does it feel to have your own Twitter-groupies?

Beyond weird wouldn't even begin to describe it but telling stories to as many people as I can reach is my goal so the attention is welcome and appreciated. TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

14. And lastly (coz I asked Michael McMillian the same question ... ) How much do you love geek girls?

More than all the salt in the dead sea. More than all the bubbles in my favorite soda. More than all the members in the SArmy put together. More than all the Midi-chlorians in a Jedi's bloodstream! (NOTE: Shawn does not support the midi-chlorian theory and would request you ignore all the Star Wars prequels as cannon. Thanks-SD)


Erm wow... XD

And I thought Michael's answer was already quite epic. Am I the only one really *feeling* the Force here with Shawn's answer??

Shawn is flexing his biceps with a few projects coming up real soon. I have yet to determine what Shawn's biceps actually look like unless he contributes a pic, but ... I will be keeping an eye on him for more teasers and news.

Check out his blog and to be a Shawn groupie - follow him on Twitter! ;)


  1. I've been following Shawn on Twitter for quite a while, and enjoy his posts a lot. Not sure if I like the 'groupie' moniker or not, but I definitely fit the description of 'geek gal'!

    I heartily recommend Shawn's blog- he's a great writer, and it's definitely worth a visit. I have a feeling that if we ever ran into each other, we'd happily geek out on fonts, food, and fandom. I wish him all the best.

  2. It is a delight to have Shawn share with us, here and on twitter. Most of my work life has held close to my chest, either for security reasons or because nobody cared :-) So hearing from Shawn has been an insight into a whole other world. Thanks!!!

  3. Great interview!! Shawn has the perfect combination of talent and skill. He is a really good writer and is fun to follow on Twitter. Looking forward to his further adventures.