For most comic readers of a certain age, there’s a period where Chris Claremont’s X-Men was their favorite comic as a kid; the particular era of Claremont X-Men can vary – Is it the Romita Jr. stuff? The Jim Lee run? What about Paul Smith’s short tenure? – but one thing about Claremont’s X-Men remains consistent: The lettering.
As the page above shows – It’s from Marvel Age Annual #3, by Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Terry Austin, if you’re wondering – Tom Orzechowski managed to deal with all manner of wordy panels and overwriting with ease, making the most filled panels both easy to read and graceful in their design. There’s a rumor that Claremont used to pay Orzechowski extra from his own pocket to ensure that he stayed on Uncanny; I have no idea if it’s true, but if it is, it was certainly money well-spent. Orz’s lettering is my internal model for what good lettering should look like – attractive, clear and never, ever interfering with the artwork no matter how many damn words are going on in the panel.