A lot of times the color artist gets so excited about the full spectrum of colors and effects that there’s no restraint, resulting in overdone, garish, distracting color, enhanced with gradients, flares and all kinds of effects. The resultant busyness is exacerbated by the lack of panel-separating gutters and margins in modern comic books, creating an overall cluttered look to the page.
Lettering, as I’ve stated before, just looks better to me when done by an artist with a pen. The organic expressiveness of hand lettering is far more appealing to these jaded fanboy eyes than the rigidity of fonts, even dynamic ones.
Still, I get why captions and dialogue balloons are done using typeface. I can even see the appeal of computer lettering for sound effects. But I have a hard time understanding when computer lettering is used to illustrate writing that is done by the hand of a character in the story.
But even less convincing is a scene later in the book wherein Barbara Gordon’s new roommate shows how much of a rebel she is via a hand-painted scrawl of “FIGHT THE POWER” on the living room wall. The words were supposed to have been painted with a wide paintbrush, but are obviously, painfully printed on the wall with a font. WHY? Why wasn’t this done with a brush pen on the original artwork, or, if it’s going to reappear in later issues, wasn’t it created on paper, scanned in and saved as a Photoshop file that can be re-placed in the future? It doesn’t look like it was painted on the wall; it looks like the roommate (as yet unnamed) bought some giant vinyl letters at Staples and placed them on the wall after carefully making chalklines so they’d be straight. Not very anarchic.
Conversely, on the very next page, we see a nameplate on a desk that, for some reason, IS hand-lettered, to ill effect! Here’s an item that SHOULD’VE been done in a font for bland uniformity. It’s an odd juxtaposition.
Technology is just a tool, as much as a pen, ink or a ruler. It’s a relatively new tool as far as the comic book medium goes, and as with any new tool (or toy), there’s as much an art in deciding when to use it as how. Don’t make me quote Jeff Goldblum in JURASSIC PARK. You know what I mean.