THE LETTERER OF THE DAY IS…MICAH MYERS
COMIC BOOK YETI: Micah, thank you for joining me here in the Yeti Cave. If you have any other jobs other than lettering, what is it you do?
MICAH MYERS: I am solely a letterer. The last “real” job I had, working overnight in a group home, ended in 2014 about a year into lettering comics. My wife was almost done with nursing school and I was sometimes working two jobs at a time while she was in school. So when she started working as a nurse, she let me take a stab at making lettering a career and thankfully it worked out.
CBY: What are the comics that influenced you and made you want to work in comics?
MM: I got into comics later than most. I would get comics at the grocery store occasionally growing up, but wasn’t a steady reader until 2007 when I was looking for a hobby. I started reading a lot of DC Comics and became a huge fan of Green Arrow. Some of my favorite comics besides anything with Green Arrow are Justice League International, Suicide Squad, Doom Patrol, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Saga, Giant Days, and so much more. I like too much stuff.
CBY: I’m the same way, I like too much stuff as well. What do you enjoy most about lettering?
MM: First, I love being a part of a comic. It is still really cool to me that I am making comics. Second, I like the problem-solving part of it. It is similar to solving a puzzle as to where the lettering is going to go.
CBY: Puzzle-solving is a common theme in these interviews, which is surprising to me. What is something you wish the average comics reader (however you want to define that) understood about the art of lettering?
MM: That lettering adds so much into how you read the story and if it isn’t done well, it can completely ruin an amazing written and/or drawn story.
CBY: What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do as a letterer?
MM: That it is just “copy and paste.” It takes talent and skill to make the lettering look good and to not stand out or take away from the story.
CBY: Hand-lettering or digital, what tools do you use to letter comics?
MM: I work digital. I have an old laptop with a Huion art tablet hooked up to it. I mostly work with keyboard and mouse, but switch to working with stylus on the tablet.
CBY: Can you take me through the process of how you go about choosing a font/lettering style once you become involved in a project?
MM: The decision is made based on the art and type of story. I am sure there are technical terms to describe art styles and font styles, but I never really learned that stuff. I mostly rely on my experience from doing this to know what looks good together.
CBY: From a letterer’s perspective, which qualities do you most want to see in your collaborators to lead to a successful collaboration?
MM: From the artist, leaving me enough space to do my work without covering up a lot of their work or important visual info. From the writer, not being overly wordy in a way that even with the artist doing what they can, it was never going to fit on the page. From an editor, they need to notice the problems I just said before it ever gets to me. From a colorist, you just keep being awesome.
CBY: Are there any typical hand/wrist injuries letterers are prone to and do you have methods to combat injuries due to repetitive tasks/overuse?
MM: I have sore shoulders and arms sometimes from working long hours or working too many days in a row without a break. I also have broken a bone in my right hand from punching a wall and hitting the stud. So it gets buggy and clicky a lot. I have had to have steroid shots in it. I try to do stretches and take breaks but mostly it’s just a few ibuprofen and keep going.
CBY: Is there a letterer, no longer working today, that you think never got the credit/recognition they deserved and which of their comics should CBY readers check out?
MM: Nic J. Shaw was a letterer who started a little bit before me. He gave me lots of tips and help when I was getting started. He had tons of talent and ascended up in comics a lot faster than me. One day, I noticed I hadn’t seen him online in a while. I asked around and heard he had left comics, but never heard anything definitive on why. He had done lots of works with big publishers and was working on The Fix by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber when he left. He recommended me to replace him on Merrick by Tom Ward and Luke Parker and I was honored to continue his work on that since issue #5.
CBY: Is there a letterer that is still lettering today that you think doesn’t get enough credit/recognition and which of their comics should CBY readers check out?
MM: Justin Birch is an amazing letterer who deserves all the praise he gets and more. We will Zoom with each other sometimes when we are working and when he shares his screen, I still learn so much from watching him work. Like me, he letters lots of Mad Cave books. Some of his comics for them are Over the Top Rope, Villainous, Bountiful Garden, and Pantomime.
CBY: I’m a big Justin Birch fan too! Which of the comics that you lettered are you most proud of or means the most to you and why?
MM: I was part of the lettering team for the Eisner Winning Anthology, Puerto Rico Strong. It is amazing to be a part of a book that won one of the biggest [awards] in comics but also it was a book that benefitted Puerto Rico after all the damage from the storms a few years back. There was also a series of comics about a bunch of real-life luchador wrestlers. As a huge pro wrestling fan, I was very excited to work on it. Plus it turned out really well. One of my first big honors was being asked by Ryan Ferrier to fill in for an issue of Rat Queens. For him not only to know who I am but also trust in me to be able to do a good job filling his shoes. It was a huge highlight of my career.
CBY: From when you first started lettering comics to today, how would you describe your growth as an artist and, in that time, has the comic industry’s perception of lettering changed?
MM: I can’t believe how bad some of my early lettering is. It amazes me that I was ever hired to do this job. I am still learning new stuff. When I look back at things I have done even two years before, I don’t recognize it sometimes.
As I have been working in comics, I have definitely seen more appreciation for what letterers do and more cover credits given to us. I know it has been many years of the people before me fighting for recognition to get here and I appreciate all they have done.
CBY: If you were the curator for a comics museum, which 3 books do you want to make absolutely sure are included?
MM: I think Secret Six, Judd Winick’s Green Arrow, and Justice League International are all incredible series and are definitely in any museum I am curating.
CBY: What current projects are you working on that CBY readers should pick up?
MM: The Last Session (Mad Cave), Urban Animal (Webtoon), and Lost Falls (Comixology). Plus recently there have been a few graphic novels out from Mad Cave: Needle and Thread, Nightmare in Savannah, and Grimm Tales from the Cave. CBY: What’s your favorite comfort food?
MM: Taco Bell Chicken Quesadillas with extra cheese and extra sauce. I will never not want to eat those.
CBY: Thank you very much! You can follow Micah on Twitter at @micahmyers and check out his website HERE.