INTERVIEW: Hip Hop Family Tree's Ed Piskor on the weird old tools of classic comics

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This is fantastic. I had to learn to use zipatone, letraset, and rubylith (along with hot wax, x-actos, and ruling pens) in design school as the professors slowly learned how to use computers, but I’ve always wondered how a Leroy lettering tool works. The answer is as painfully slow as I expected; I can’t imagine lettering an entire comic with one of those.


This was wonderful, thanks guys.


Part of my art course in the 1980s was typography which involved setting lead type whilst being told by the lecturer that all this was obsolete, but that the polytechnic couldn’t afford a computer to show us how stuff was done these days.


WOW. Lead type was obsolete about thirty years before then!

My typography course in college was taught by a very old professor who’d started teaching in the 60s. He insisted we learn how to burnish letraset in even rows, do typography mockups using square-lead pencils and t-squares, and learn to prepare flat art for separations. Whenever he left the room, the TA would say “I’m sorry. Please humor him. You will never, ever use any of this stuff in your career. It’s obsolete. Treat this course like a museum and contact me to learn how it’s done in Quark.”


Awesome & the way you shot it was really cool too, good work


Of course, when society collapses back in to a post technological feudalism, you and I will have the skills necessary to spread the thoughts and edicts of our warlord masters. That should keep us out of the potato fields.


I was thinking, “This guy’s way too young to have ever seen a Leroy set in actual use.”

My dad labeled the boxes of the 1/4" reel-to-reel tapes he recorded using a Leroy set he borrowed from the University lab where he worked. The tapes themselves were upcycled after being used for recording infrared astronomy data, then bulk-erased and the boxes cleaned with white artist’s acrylic paint. Then we’d listen to the music (Zappa, Hendrix, Bach, Chopin, Verdi) on road trips, with a big tape player in the back of the station wagon, powered by an early Terado 120V inverter.

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Thanks that was a great gift. Here Here Piskor

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