October 15, 2009
Joe Rosen, 1920-2009
Joe Rosen, a longtime letterer at Marvel whose career stretched back to the late 1940s, has passed away
. Rosen began work with Harvey in the relative 1940s flush period enjoyed by comics publication before moving to DC and then Marvel later in the decade. Although nearly 2000 of his lettered stories are tracked by the Grand Comics Database, that list excludes much of his work preceding the middle 1970s, including apparently a period of sustained output for Marvel during its 1960s superhero-driven heyday.
The well-liked, gentlemanly Rosen enjoyed a number of career highlights whose particular achievement may have been lost to history and the appraisal of a rapidly diminishing group of direct peers. He is credited on the letterer on the Spider-Man/Superman crossover project, an important book during a relatively fallow publishing period in the history of comic books generally. He was also the letterer during the highly influential Frank Miller run on Daredevil
, joining a murderer's row of supporters on that book including colorist Lynn Varley and editor Denny O'Neil. Rosen's work managed to combine a certain hushed quality with routine clarity and even, one could say, a muscularity achieved through the crowded precision of the kerning. He enabled Miller's unique voice in a way that was quite unique, and the work would have been slightly but I think perceptibly different without him. The long-time letterer's work continues to be seen through Marvel's increasingly aggressive reprint programs.
Joe Rosen was 88 years old.
posted 8:30 am PST
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