Good Lord - Choke - Routed Gothic

By | Friday, December 22, 2023 Leave a Comment
One of the easy identifiers of old EC comics is the distinctive, borderline mechanical lettering they used. It's actually crafted by hand, but it uses something called a Leroy Lettering Set that builds in a level of uniformity that's virtually impossible to just freehand. I understand why they might be used, but it was never a style that I ever warmed up to. Particularly with the fluidity of line that many of the regular EC artists displayed, the lettering always felt out of place to me. I find it an interesting solution to lettering comics, but not an ideal one.

It was originally designed for use on technical diagrams and architectural drawings, where a more mechanical style makes sense but it would be difficult to actually typeset at the time. (I can't seem to find an actual date when it was invented, but they start showing up with some measure of regularity in the mid-1930s.) Every instance I know of where someone has worked with one, they all say it's more time-consuming that just hand-lettering, so I have to assume the only reason EC opted to use them was because they either couldn't get a decent letterer who could do freehand letters legibly or they were able to do it more cheaply by giving the work to someone with a Leroy set.

It's style is distinctive enough that a number of fonts have been created trying to replicate that look in the digital age. I'm sure some are better than others, but I want to call your attention to Routed Gothic because A) it's freely available and anyone can use it to mimic the Leroy Lettering style easily, and B) it's the first such font I stumbled across. (Like I said, I never much cared for the style so I've never actively looked for something like this before. It was essentially just dropped in my lap!) I suspect that, like the original, this font was not designed for use in comics, but creator Darren Embry does acknowledge its use in that capacity.
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