Out of all the annoyance of the completely idiotic LeBron James saga that has dominated far too many headlines this summer comes something genuinely hilarious. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote an open letter to the team’s fans – promising that the Cavs would win an NBA Title before BronBron does, no less. But the truly funny part is that he wrote the letter in Comic Sans, one of the ugliest and silliest widely-popular typefaces in existence. Really, it’s gotta be one of the three or four worst faces that comes as part of the standard package with pretty much every computer in the world. For my money, nothing’s worse than Papyrus, but Comic Sans is up there.
Anyway, Dan Gilbert wrote this letter in Comic Sans, which earned him a round of well-deserved mockery from the internet. But that’s not really my purpose, here. Apparently, the richly-earned mockery was notable enough for CNN.com’s “Tech” page to write an article about it: The author of the article, John D. Sutter, tosses out this gem a few ‘grafs in:
Unless you’re a fourth-grader, or being ironic, or the author of a comic book, or on vacation from the 1990s, never use that typeface.
Attention, John D. Sutter: No self-respecting comic book letterer would ever, ever, EVER use Comic Sans to letter a comic book, comic strip, webcomic, graphic novel or anything else. And despite the assertions of Comic Sans designer Vincent Connare, quoted in CNN’s article, Comic Sans bears only the slightest superficial resemblance to good comic book lettering.
Here’s Comic Sans:
Ugh. I feel dirty just having it on my blog.
Anyway…let’s see. Here’s a sample of old-fashioned hand lettering, in a panel from Sandman #8, written by Neil Gaiman, drawn by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III and lettered by Todd Klein, one of best letterers in the business:
Here’s a look at just a few of the typefaces available – for free, no less – at www.blambot.com:
Any of these, and any of dozens of other choices available to letterers is vastly more interesting and attractive than Comic Sans. Just because it says “Comic” in the name of the typeface doesn’t mean it’s actually anything like comics lettering. No comics letterer would EVER use Comic Sans. Comic Sans is ugly, boring, sterile, lifeless and, in spite of what some people seem to think, there’s nothing even remotely “fun” about it. Well, okay, I guess it’s “fun” if your other choices are Arial, Courier and Times New Roman…but still. Comics lettering – especially hand lettering – is beautiful and full of life. Comic Sans is not.
Again: No self-respecting comics letterer would ever use Comic Sans. For anything. EVER. Thank you for your attention.
And here’s the obligatory link to Chris Onstad’s Achewood strip on the subject.