I was asked by a reader recently what font is used for the Ginger Meggs comic strips, and why it hasn’t hand lettered since the 90s.
It’s a great question, and one I get asked a lot. The answer is that when a comic strip has to be translated into various languages before being syndicated around the world by Universal Uclick, it needs to look consistent in each newspaper.
Some strips have their very own font made in the ‘hand-writing’ of the artist/writer, but this often makes it look a little odd, often leading to kerning and leading problems.
The comic strip font used in the strip since Kemsley wrote and drew it is “CC Jim Lee”. It is an open-type (OT) font which was designed by John Roshell in 1998.
Kemsley hand-lettered the strip originally in the 80s and 90s before the strip was translated and syndicated more widely. At that stage, he experimented with various fonts until he settled on the current one you know today. I think the only version of the strip that doesn’t use this font is the one in Spanish, which requires more characters/accents on the letters than CC Jim Lee offers.
Would I prefer to hand-letter the strip?
Well, my handwriting isn’t terrible-looking, but I am very conscious of changing the look and feel of the strip with such an essential element as the wording. I’d like to think when I pass the strip on one day, the following cartoonist will continue using the font Kemsley settled on, so over history it keeps consistent.
For those interested, the font was purchased through Blambot Fonts which has a great collection of comic lettering fonts. I’d highly recommend it to any comic strip writers and fans.
Thanks for the questions as always – keep them coming!