Komika Slim web font

Komika Slim

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    As of January 2000, there surprisingly STILL weren't enough quality freeware
comic fonts out there to support the masses who couldn't (or didn't want to) buy
Comicraft's and/or Ethan Dunham's commercial stuff. In fact, throughout the
short history of freeware fonts, there's only been a handful of designers out
there who were offering comic fonts. But as of January 2000, there weren't as
many of them left out there. The only 3 freeware designers who were dedicating
serious time to comic fonts were Nate Piekos, at Blambot, who is still releasing
very nice comic letters (albeit with strictly Anglo character sets), Dan
Zadorozny at Iconian, who still releases some interesting comic letters (also
mostly incomplete character sets though), and Derek Vogelpohl, who came up with
massive packages such as Action Man, Cartoonist Hand, Toon Time, Toon Time
Extras, and Wonder Comic. All the other boys and girls seemed to have burnt out
on the comics for some reason. Ray Larabie did one or two comic fonts a while
ago, but from the fall of 1999 he seemed to have picked different routes for his
font work. WolfBainX had a massive archive happening at his Vigilante Type site,
but for the most part the comic kick he had was lost among his experimentation
with grunge and swash, and the character sets were not complete at all, which
made. A new name was sort of being thrown around freeware font circles: Dave
Hyatt. Dave did a few cool ones, but nowhere near the quality we'd seen with
Derek's stuff.

To make a long story short, most of the comic fonts out there were very
English-oriented, which left the Italians, French, Spanish, Swedes, Icelandics,
etc, out of the loop, and independent comics in those countries were still being
lettered with Tekton or Comic Sans, which you probably agree can end up blanding
things out after a while. I suspect Derek took some of that pain away from those

Some time during January 2000, WolfBainX and I were yakking it up and I asked a
question which I suppose ended up costing me too many hours of sleep to count
now. The question was: "How about a complete comic lettering system for the
folks out there, Wolfie?" I intended that question to be a prod at WBX, maybe a
guilt trip to get him thinking about comic fonts again. But after talking it out
with him for a while, we decided that he had enough diamonds in the rough on his
site to actually start a formidable base for the massive project that I was
proposing. From then on it was just me and my amusement. Shortly after that
conversation, WBX and I finished up the lab's expansion of his Tribal font, but
then he disappeared and I couldn't get hold of him since. The original Vigilante
site went down about a month later, and because I was too busy with the lab,
CybaPee, bless her heart, hosted the old Vigilante archives instead of me having
to go through the trouble of doing it. 

Note to WolfBainX: I hope you are having a good time. I think you got hitched
without telling me, you ole dawg. Drop me a line when you read this. Here's
looking at you, comic fonts, and whatssername's butt with yer tattoo on it.
Cheers, man. Thanks for everythang.

For the first time in a massive lab project since Republika, I somehow managed
to stick to the original plan, though many times I built and demolished many
fonts before always coming back to the original charts. The original plan was to
have 5 10-font packs which would constitute a complete lettering system for the
comic artist, whether professional, independent, amateur, beginner or whoever
wants to use the stuff. The biggest worry for any comic artist in these digital
days, when it comes to letters, is what goes inside the speech, narration and
thought balloons. I took care of that with Komika Text, which is based on WBX's
Sunday Komix letters. Then there are the titles and the cover type, of course.
Those are accommodated with Komika Display and Komika Title, based respectively
on WBX's Komixation and Supermarket Sale letters. To add variety and flexibility
to the superset, 10 more fonts were added in a Hands set, all of which can
theoretically be adequate substitutions for the text, display and title sets,
depending on the application. These supposed "anternative" fonts turned out very
nice, and in certain respects are even better than the main sets.

40 fonts later, I got down to the part that was the most fun. If you have ever
picked up an old comic book and observed it closely, you may have noticed the
one typeface that really stands out and is used only once throughout the whole
work. Every comic book has one of those. It's where the artist's imagination
shows most. Some of the old Flash comics had that beautiful logo that raised the
whole book to a different level of komix art. Same deal with the old Spiderman
and Superman stuff. Since the computers took over the letterer's job, that sort
of thing is very scarce now, and most unique superhero types end up looking like
a sports team's logo. That's of course bad news for the komix fans, but that's
the way it goes. In fact, it may be a good thing when one considers that these
are the kinds of touches that make the artists stand out from the digital
assemblers. Anyone can grab a bunch of fonts and slap them on someone's drawings
then call it a comic book, but not everyone can actually draw enough perspective
from the drawings to actually base lettering on them.

At any rate, this was the problem I was facing: as much as I wanted to include
something in Komika to help the artist/assembler with that sort of unique type
that can stand out in its once-only use, I realized that I probably won't be of
much help. No superset of anything would help the ones who cannot feel the
drawings themselves. But to say that I tried, and for the sake of
comprehensiveness, I included a Komika Poster set of 9 fonts that may or may not
stimulate the imagination. The variety there includes letters that are cracked,
sketched, treaded, spooked, discoed, and that sort of thing. Use these on covers
and posters, but make sure that you're using them at 40+ sizes, otherwise you
may be subjected to much snickering and eyeball rolling.

And the end of it was of course a font that includes some comic balloons for
speech and narration and all that jazz. I actually don't recommend using these
balloons (if you're a comic artist, you already know that trying to use pre-made
balloons can be much more trouble than actually making your own), but I included
them to give anyone who is beginning in the field an idea on how these things
can look like. So thoughtful, am I not?

Another good thing about this Komika set that you now have is that it can
accommodate many markets when it comes to language support. Even the 2 Swedish
characters, 4 Icelandic characters and 4 Spanish/Portugese characters are all
included in there. This is something that you will hardly ever find even in
commercial comic fonts.

Three cheers for WolfBainX for supplying the solid base of this set.

For the record: when I was a kid I loathed Lulu, Archie, and Asterix. My
favourite comic books were Hergé's Tintin series, Lucky Luke, Chevalier Ardent
and Michel Vaillant. Gotta give it to the French when it came to gorgeous comic
lettering back then. About a month ago I went to the French Centre here in
Toronto and checked out some of the latest French comic books. I was
disappointed. Everything is so computerised now. The clarity and distribution of
the old komix just isn't there anymore. Rand would have a fit, I tell you.
Nowadays it's adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen and starkness covering mediocre
pop art intended to sell the moment. The world knows it very well too, I guess.
There's a Tintin shop right off Market Street in San Francisco, where all the
old French comic paraphenalia is priced like jewelry. Right across the street
from that shop, there's a "collector's" comic book store that deal in post-1985
comics. The difference is quite clear between both stores, in quality as well as
in price. Ah well. Here's to mediocrity and paying now for nothing. Milles
tonnerres to Brest, as the Captain would say.

So there you have it. 50 fonts and a huge load off my shoulders now. I hope you
use them in good health. Please let me know at **** email hidden from bots ****
if, where and how you use them. If you do use them in commercial projects in
which you make some profit, please take the time to give a small fraction of
that to your favourite charity.

Later gator, 'nawhile crocodile.




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