This lettering study is dedicated to the brilliant comic book creator, Darwyn Cooke. In this study, I'll be looking at his masterpiece, Parker: The Score.
The majority of the book is done in a hand lettered marker-esque brush font. It is offset occasionally by an elegant serif font that is used to introduce days and times throughout the book. This font also has some slight variations in it's baseline, which blends well with the hand drawn type style used for dialogue.
The dialogue balloons take on the traditional style of a white circle with black outline, however, the shapes are not perfect ovals or circles, but have some slightly sharper edges that compliment the angular pencil work that Cooke uses in the layouts.
For sound effects, he beefs up the weight of the font and seamlessly works it into the panel action. Or he gives the effect it's own panel for extra emphasis and visual variety.
In a similar vein as the sound effects, character names are introduced within their own panel. This device is especially helpful due to the sheer volume of characters in the story.
The most exceptional element of the lettering in this book, though, is the use of narration and internal dialogue.
Cooke masterfully weaves this narration into an element of the scene so that it's almost a piece of art in and of itself. This provides visual interest as well as breaks away from the standard rectangular boxes that are typically used for internal dialogue/narration.
This technique works especially well due to the monochromatic color scheme. The high contrast allows for the type to fit naturally in the scene without having it become distracting. It creates a very natural flow through the pages and effortlessly leads the viewer through the story.
The angular lines of the dialogue balloons, the marker styled hand font, bold sound effects, and integration of narration into the scene, all serve as devices to enhance the visual style of the book. These techniques set the mood of the story and visually transport the viewer into the era being portrayed. This is an example of Cooke at the top of his game. He was an inspiration to me as well as many others. He was a genius taken too soon. His work, though, will live on to inspire comic book creators for years to come.
Here are the credits for all of the Parker: The Score artwork and writing shown above.
Richard Stark (Writer)
Darwyn Cooke (Writer/Artist)
Release Year: 2012