Todd Klein

Last updated
Todd Klein
Todd Klein.jpg
Todd Klein in 2009
Born (1951-01-28) January 28, 1951 (age 71)
New Jersey
Nationality American
Area(s)Writer, Letterer
Notable works
The Omega Men
Awards Eisner Award, 1993–1995, 1997–2008, 2019
Harvey Award, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005

Todd Klein (born January 28, 1951) [1] is an American comic book letterer, logo designer, and occasional writer, primarily for DC Comics.



Early career

Todd Klein broke into comics in the summer of 1977, hired by DC Comics as a staff production worker. This job entailed pasting together text pages (such as letter columns), putting logos, display lettering, and type on covers, and doing art and lettering corrections on comics pages. Other staffers included colorists Bob LeRose and Anthony Tollin, writer Bob Rozakis, inker Steve Mitchell, and letterer John Workman. Over the next months and years, Klein tried his hand at all those things, but found lettering suited him best. Workman helped Klein get started with the basic tools and techniques, and Klein studied the work of Gaspar Saladino, Workman, Ben Oda, and John Costanza; as well as Marvel Comics letterers Tom Orzechowski, Jim Novak, and Joe Rosen. Klein landed his first freelance lettering job in the fall of 1977, and by late 1977 was entrusted with an entire issue: Firestorm #1. [2]


In the 1980s, Klein mainly worked for DC, where in addition to lettering many of their titles, he also designed logos and title headers for various letter pages. As DC emerged from a late 1970s/early 1980s slump, new opportunities opened up for freelancers. Klein got more work as a letterer (and also a fair amount as a writer), keeping him very busy. Books he worked on during this period included Alan Moore's Swamp Thing , Batman: Year One , and Detective Comics ; as well as his own scripts for Omega Men . As a freelancer, Klein also performed production work on such works as Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen , Frank Miller's Ronin , and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns . [2]

In the 1990s, despite being a freelancer, Klein worked for long periods on a number of comics titles, including the entire runs of Suicide Squad (1987–1992), Sandman (1989–1996), The Spectre (1992–1998), The Dreaming (1996–2001), and The Invisibles (1997–2000) for DC/Vertigo; and Deathblow (1994–1996) for Image Comics). He also has long stints on DC's Batman (1990–1992 and 1996–1999); The Demon (1990–1994); Shade, the Changing Man (1990–1994); and Batman: Shadow of the Bat (1992–1994); as well as Marvel's Captain America (1998–2002) and Earth X (1999–2000).

In the 2000s, Klein lettered all the Alan Moore America's Best Comics titles, including Promethea , Tom Strong , and Top 10 . He also lettered the entire runs of Marvel's Universe X (2000–2001); DC/Vertigo's Fables (2002–2015), Books of Magick: Life During Wartime (2005–2006), Justice (2005–2007), Jack of Fables (2006–2011), and Simon Dark (2007–2009). Klein has also spent long periods on DC's Detective Comics (2000–2003); Wonder Woman (2003–2006) and Vertigo's Testament (2006–2008).


Klein is most known for his work on Neil Gaiman's Sandman , where he developed very distinctive dialogue balloons and lettering for various characters, especially Dream and his siblings. [3] Klein discussed the process by which he came up with these distinctive styles on his website: "Each of them needed some sort of special lettering style, . . .to show that they are all equals in their iconic power. Destiny's speech was simply italic (really just slanted) [...] Neil had a specific idea about Delirium's style, that it represent a sort of mad variety, getting louder and softer, like something going in and out of focus. This was fun to do in small amounts, but tedious in large ones. Despair just had a rough balloon edge to denote a ragged, rough voice. (Destruction, when we finally met him, had an extra bold border to denote a loud, booming voice.)" [4]

As comics critic Alan Donald notes in this discussion at Silver Bullet Comic Books, "Klein's work on Sandman was not simply distinctive but revolutionary, and showed a trend that should have been followed. The letterer’s art would have been forced to the fore and one could have seen ou(r) beautiful synergistic art form become further enriched by this new trend."


To read about Klein's technique one need look no further than The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics, published by Watson-Guptill Publications. In this guide, Klein gives a thorough review of how he mentally approaches a page and then goes about doing the actual lettering, either by hand (pen and ink), or by use of the computer (Adobe Illustrator).

Computer lettering

Klein saw the growing prevalence of computerized lettering in the early 1990s and quickly realized it was the wave of the future. He had met Comicraft owners Richard Starkings and John Gaushell at the 1993 San Diego Comic-Con, and in 1994, he asked them to help him get started with computer lettering by creating a few fonts based on Klein's hand lettering. Klein bought his first Macintosh computer in late 1994 and started learning how to make fonts himself. Since 1995, Klein has created a library of over 100 of his own fonts. [5]

The first book that Klein fully computer lettered was Image Comics' Deathblow #20. [5]


Klein began creating logos for DC when he started there in 1977. Most of his logos were for DC until he became a full-time freelancer in 1987, when he began creating logos for other companies as well. [6] Some of the notable logos he created during the period 19771995 include the Batman logo used for the Batman: Year One storyline, The New Teen Titans (including character logos for team members Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, the Changeling, and Jericho), Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld , Camelot 3000 , Doctor Strange , The Amazing Spider-Man , and Magneto . [6]

From 1995 to the present, most of Klein's logos have been done on the computer (although many began as hand-drawn sketches that were scanned and traced in Adobe Illustrator). [7] Notable logos from this period include Challengers of the Unknown , Silver Surfer , Legionnaires , Iron Man , the Legion of Super-Heroes , [7] The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck , Albion , Witchblade , Terra Obscura , and Tom Strong .



In addition to being the main writer for The Omega Men from May 1985 to May 1986 (issue #s 26–38), Klein also penned a number of entries about the Omega Men and the Green Lantern Corps for Who's Who in the DC Universe , as well as its '87 update. In addition, from 1978 to 1988, Klein wrote a number of (mostly) short pieces for other DC titles:

Lettering (selected)

Letter column headers


Many of DC's lettercol headers were designed or redesigned in the 1980s by Klein.: [8]


In the 1990s, Klein designed or redesigned a number of Marvel's letter column headers: [8]


As of 2017, Klein has won 17 "Best Letterer/Lettering" Eisner Awards that have been given out since the category was established in 1993. He has won the Best Letterer Harvey Award nine times, the first time in 1992 and the most recent one in 2013.


  1. Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide . Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Klein, Todd. "How I Began," Todd Klein: Lettering - Logos - Design. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
  3. Burgas, Greg (January 7, 2013). "Comics You Should Own – Sandman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014.
  4. "Klein, Todd. "Lettering: Sandman/Neil Gaiman," Todd Klein: Lettering - Logos - Design. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
  5. 1 2 Klein, Todd. "Computer lettering," Todd Klein: Lettering - Logos - Design. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  6. 1 2 Klein, Todd. "Todd Klein Logos: Hand-Lettered Favorites," Todd Klein: Lettering - Logos - Design. Accessed Oct. 15, 2008.
  7. 1 2 Klein, Todd. "Todd Klein Logos: Computer-Created Favorites," Todd Klein: Lettering - Logos - Design. Accessed Oct. 15, 2008.
  8. 1 2 Klein, Todd. "Klein Lettering Archives." Todd Klein - Lettering - Logos - Design. Retrieved July 12, 2008.

Related Research Articles

William Douglas Oakley was a letterer for numerous comic books from Marvel, DC, and other companies. His most prominent works include the first two volumes of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Batman: Gotham Knights #1-11, #15-37.

A letterer is a member of a team of comic book creators responsible for drawing the comic book's text. The letterer's use of typefaces, calligraphy, letter size, and layout all contribute to the impact of the comic. The letterer crafts the comic's "display lettering": the story title lettering and other special captions and credits that usually appear on a story's first page. The letterer also writes the letters in the word balloons and draws in sound effects. Many letterers also design logos for the comic book company's various titles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inker</span> Comic book or graphic novel line artist

The inker is one of the two line artists in traditional comic book production.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Gibbons</span> English comics artist and writer

David Chester Gibbons is an English comics artist, writer and sometimes letterer. He is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore, which include the miniseries Watchmen and the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything". He was an artist for 2000 AD, for which he contributed a large body of work from its first issue in 1977.

Terry Kevin Austin is an American comic book creator working primarily as an inker.

Shawn McManus is an American artist who has worked extensively over three decades for DC Comics and other companies, notably for DC's Vertigo imprint including the Fables series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kevin Nowlan</span> American comics artist (born 1958)

Kevin Nowlan is an American comics artist who works as a penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer. He has been called "one of the few artists who can be called 'artists's artist'", a master of the various disciplines of comic production, from "design to draftsmanship to dramatics".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Staton</span> American comics artist and writer (born 1948)

Joe Staton is an American comics artist and writer. He co-created the Bronze Age Huntress, as well as the third Huntress and the Omega Men for DC Comics. He was the artist of the Dick Tracy comic strip from 2011 to October 2021.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gaspar Saladino</span>

Gaspar Saladino was an American letterer and logo designer who worked for more than sixty years in the comic book industry, mostly for DC Comics. Eventually Saladino went by one name, "Gaspar," which he wrote in his trademark calligraphy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steve Leialoha</span> American comic artist

Steve Leialoha is an American comics artist whose work first came to prominence in the 1970s. He has worked primarily as an inker, though occasionally as a penciller, for several publishers, including Marvel Comics and later DC Comics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Workman</span> American comic book letterer

John Workman is an American editor, writer, artist, designer, colorist and letterer in the comic book industry. He is known for his frequent partnerships with writer/artist Walter Simonson and also for lettering the entire run of Grant Morrison/Rachel Pollack's Doom Patrol.

John Costanza is an American comic book artist and letterer. He has worked for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He was the letterer during Alan Moore's acclaimed run on Swamp Thing. The bulk of Costanza's art assignments have been for anthropomorphic animal comics and children-oriented material.

Comicraft is a company which provides graphic design and lettering services to various companies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ira Schnapp</span> Austrian-American graphic designer

Ira Schnapp was a logo designer and letterer who brought his classic and art deco design styles to DC Comics beginning with the redesign of the Superman logo in 1940. He did a great deal of logo and lettering work for the company in the 1940s. Around 1949, he joined the staff as their in-house logo, cover lettering and house-ad designer and letterer, and continued in that role until about 1967.

Joe Rosen was an American comic book artist, primarily known for his work as a letterer. Over the course of his career with Marvel Comics and DC Comics, Rosen lettered such titles as The Fantastic Four, Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, The Incredible Hulk, The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones, and X-Factor. He also lettered the DC/Marvel intercompany crossover book Superman and Spider-Man.

James R. Novak was a comic book creator, primarily working as a letterer for Marvel Comics, where he worked on almost every one of their ongoing series, and contributed to the development of the iconic Star Wars logo. He did occasional work as a writer, penciler, and colorist, and also worked at publishers including Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Image, Dynamite, and IDW.

Ken Lopez is a letterer and logo designer for the comic book industry. A pioneer of computer lettering, Lopez designed the fonts for DC Comics's in-house lettering unit, and is currently DC's art director for lettering and its cover editor.

The Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG) magazine administered the annual Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards from 1982 to circa 2010, with the first awards announced in issue #500.