While I was at NYCC this past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with comic book-letterer and graphic designer Taylor Esposito. Not sure what that means? Check out the interview below!
ButWhyTho: For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about yourself.
Taylor Esposito: I’ve been an industry professional for 11 years. I did about five years in the Marvel bullpen doing production. When I left there, I went freelance for a bit with lettering and then I worked three years in the DC lettering department and then when they moved out to Burbank, I went freelance full-time again.
ButWhyTho: You do lettering for comic books. What is “lettering” in the comic book industry?
Taylor Esposito: Lettering is one of the last steps of the [comic book editing] process. It’s the most crucial – the storytelling part of it. It’s where you get across dialogue, tone, reflection, sound effects, narration – anything that is going to inform the story. All of those graphic elements that tie everything together, that’s what we do.
ButWhyTho: You’ve been doing this for 11 years. What made you get into the lettering business of the comic book industry?
Taylor Esposito: Happenstance. I was out of college for three months and a friend of mine who was working the Marvel bullpen was like, “Hey, there’s a temp position open for like a week.” It ended up being the Marvel Digital Comics library. It stretched out until I got absorbed into the production department where I rose up to Assistant Production Manager.
While I was doing that, because we were assembling the books to go out to print, I’d look at the artwork and the lettering like, “I think I can do this.” I would start reading up on the subject and self-teaching. And, when I got let go [after] the big Marvel layoff in 2011, I took that as an opportunity to try something new. That’s when I picked up lettering. A year to the day that I got laid off from Marvel, I ended up in the DC department.
ButWhyTho: So, you’ve worked both in DC Comics and with Marvel. What was that experience like?
Taylor Esposito: Very rewarding. I got to learn comics from the inside out. I don’t have formal training and I don’t have great drawing ability so it was a sidestep into the industry. I’m a graphic designer by trade and I loved typography in college so it worked out perfectly.
ButWhyTho: What has been some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on with lettering?
Taylor Esposito: Last year, I got to work on all the Gold Key characters, like Turok and Magnus. They were doing a big crossover and I got assigned The Sovereigns. I ended up getting all of the books and the backups and it was this big thing where everything was being written and drawn by different writers and artists but my lettering was the thing that brought it together – which was really cool.
I just finished off two-and-a-half years on Red Hood. I got to do a 28-issue run. I love everything I work on. I’m doing six or seven strips for Webtoon and I’m working with Stan Lee and Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran. I’m pretty lucky. I’m a kid playing in the sandbox with all of my heroes.
ButWhyTho: What are some projects that you are currently working on that you can talk about?
Taylor Esposito: Rainbow Brite just launched [last] Wednesday and it’s a lot of fun. Jook Joint dropped [last] week, too, and it’s by Tee Franklin and it is a very intense horror book but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I just wrapped up the first issue of Classic Battlestar [Galactica] and I’m going to be doing the Modern book as well. There’s Finality and Backchannel, which are fun and free as long as you have the [Webtoon] app or on the website.
Images courtesy of Taylor Esposito, Cover Image: DC Comics