Posted: March 9, 2009
Chris Eliopoulos is doing the lettering for both The Stand and The Dark Tower comics from Marvel. I got a chance to talk to him a little about it and here is what he had to say.
Lilja: So tell me a little about yourself. Who are you and what have you done so far in comics?
Chris Eliopoulos: I’ve been working in comics for 20 years. I started as an intern for Marvel comics. I’ve lettered, literally, thousands of books, but I also write and draw them. I write an all-ages book called Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius for Marvel as well as my own webcomic at miserylovessherman.com. I’ve also draw cartoons for the Complete Idiotes Guide books and a comic strip for Sports Illustrated.
Lilja: Please explain the term lettering for us that isn’t all that knowledgeable in comics.
Chris Eliopoulos: The lettering is all the words you see on the page. A writer writes them and the letterer, using fonts, converts it onto the artwork in a readable fashion. It’s an extension of calligraphy that’s held over from the early days of comics.
Lilja: I understand that you have done the lettering for a lot of The Dark Tower comics as well, right?
Chris Eliopoulos: Yes. So far I’ve been lettering all of King’s properties.
Lilja: What is the (if any) biggest difference between lettering The Stand and The Dark Tower?
Chris Eliopoulos: The Stand is much denser of a story--lots of characters and lots more going on in a page. Adapting a lengthy novel like The Stand and getting it all in is tough.
Lilja: How did you get involved in lettering The Stand?
Chris Eliopoulos: I was already lettering The Dark Tower and everyone seems happy with the quality of my work, so the editor told me I was doing The Stand as well.
Lilja: Do you get the pages when they are finished or is the lettering done earlier in the process?
Chris Eliopoulos: In the age of computers, Roberto writes up the script and then Mike draws it. I get it when he’s done, as does Laura. She colors while I letter it. It’s ongoing as we get notes from the editors and Steve and his people. It saves time and by the time Laura is done coloring, the lettering is done and I marry the art and lettering together.
Lilja: How controlled are you in your work? Does anyone tell you how to do the lettering or is that left up to you to decide? Have you been asked to change things?
Chris Eliopoulos: As I’ve said, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. People tend to trust my judgment on things. Obviously there are editorial changes or things changed to clarify story, but mostly it’s minor tweaks.
Lilja: Were you or are you now a fan of Stephen King and his work? Had you read The Stand before this assignment?
Chris Eliopoulos: I’ve read his book, On Writing as well as minor things here and there. Obviously I’m aware of the movies based on his novels, but I’m not a big horror guy. Life is scary enough as it is. :-)
Lilja: Is it nervous to work on something as big as a Stephen King book or is that just like any other comic?
Chris Eliopoulos: It’s daunting in that you want to give Steve the best product—the best work you can. Meeting him and seeing how easygoing he is and being there when he asked us to do The Stand made it that much more important to me to do a good job. Nervous, no.
Lilja: How far in the series are you now? I take it that you are in for all the issues, first to last, right?
Chris Eliopoulos: We’re an issue into the second chapter. I own a company that letters a lot of books, so I now have one of my guys lettering it with me overseeing it. Once I set the style and tone, I have him doing it. But I check over EVERYTHING.
Lilja: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, it was a pleasure!