The attempt at alliteration in the title was absolutely on purpose.
Ken Bruzenak is an awesome letterer and designer who's distinctive style not only pushed his career in comics to higher heights, but the craft of lettering as well. Guys like him, John Costanza, John Workman and Todd Klein brought lettering to the fore and really made it a part of the narrative—as it should be.
Ken got his start back in the late '70s working with Jim Steranko, eventually broke into business, and his star quickly rose from there. We consider him, as many do, to be the first superstar letterer.
His best work can undeniably be found in his collaborations with his friend, writer and artist Howard Chaykin. Over the last 25 years, they friggin' killed it on titles like American Flagg!, Time Squared, Blackhawk and The Shadow.
Beyond his pairings with Chaykin, Ken worked his own brand of voodoo on tons of other books—Azrael, Jon Sable Freelance, The Punisher, Wolverine, Batman Black & White, Body Bags...
In 1988, he was handpicked to letter and do a logo design for Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster series. More recently, he was a part of the original creative team on Powers when it launched from Image back in 2000.
And yes, of course, in between all of his touchstones, are literally thousands of comic pages with his talented fingerprints on them.
In our talk with Bruzenak, we find out how it all began with Steranko, Gary Groth and Greg Theakston, what it was like being on fire during The Late '80s Boom, how lettering has changed over the years and what he still loves about comics as a medium and a profession.
**Our thanks to Ken's wife, Kristie, for her help getting us in contact with him. Much obliged.
Also, the page above was created for a comic book that Ken and Howard Chaykin worked on called JakeNoble. It was simultaneously being developed as a TV series vehicle for footballer/actor Vinnie Jones (Snatch, Gone in Sixty Seconds, X-Men 3).