Published September 14, 2022

Letterer Appreciation Spotlight: Clayton Cowles

Meet 'A.X.E.: Judgment Day' and 'Devil's Reign' letterer Clayton Cowles, who has a profound affection for the X-Men character Morph and transmission towers.

In honor of Letterer Appreciation Day, which occurs every September 1, Marvel is celebrating our mighty letterers all month long. As part of the festivities, we sat down with each member of Virtual Calligraphy (VC), Chris Eliopoulos' lettering studio, to learn more about the people behind the sound effects. Welcome to the September 2022 Letterer Spotlight series!

Meet Clayton Cowles, who became a letterer at Marvel starting with PUNISHER ANNUAL (2009) #1. Since then, his work has spanned from massive events like A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY (2022) and DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) to fan-favorite characters like CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) and LOKI (2019) to everything in between. Speaking with, he shared his profound affection for the X-Men character Morph and transmission towers, as well as his cats' favorite foods (spoiler: it's bread and garbage). He also revealed his current playlist, the best advice he's ever received, and more.

Letterer Appreciation Spotlight: Clayton Cowles

MARVEL.COM: Where did you grow up?

CLAYTON COWLES: Rochester, New York and Morris County, New Jersey.

MARVEL.COM: Favorite Marvel character?

CLAYTON COWLES: I can’t pick just one. I have, like, ten. I’ll say Morph. No one else is going to say Morph.

MARVEL.COM: What was the first Marvel comic you ever read?

CLAYTON COWLES: It was UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #205, and I can’t imagine a worse entry point for a seven-year-old boy who just started watching the X-Men cartoon. I could barely read the thing. Naturally, it’s now one of my favorite issues.

MARVEL.COM: How did you decide to become a letterer?

CLAYTON COWLES: I got good grades in Lettering class.

MARVEL.COM: How do you unwind after a long day of lettering?

CLAYTON COWLES: I pour myself a stiff drink, cook a delicious meal, and take a brisk walk outside. Then I begin the graveyard shift.

MARVEL.COM: Do you listen to anything while you work? If so, share your playlist!

CLAYTON COWLES: It’s highly variable. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s podcasts, sometimes it’s a TV show playing in the background. Right now, I’m alternating between Death Cab For Cutie, Tig & Cheryl: True Story, and For All Mankind.

MARVEL.COM: If you could go anywhere in the world for vacation, where would it be?

CLAYTON COWLES: Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam. Or Liverpool. I love Liverpool.

MARVEL.COM: Which TV show character would you want as your best friend?

CLAYTON COWLES: I’ll say Morph. No one else is going to say Morph.

MARVEL.COM: Favorite food?


MARVEL.COM: Do you have any pets? Tell us their names and something special about them!

CLAYTON COWLES: I have two cats. Their names are Emma and Bronhomme. Their favorite foods are bread and garbage.

MARVEL.COM: What is the first thing you obsessed over as a kid?

CLAYTON COWLES: Transmission towers. I don’t know why. You can’t ride them, they can’t haul things, and they don’t eat each other. But I had it bad for those things.

MARVEL.COM: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

CLAYTON COWLES: “You’re not as good as you think you are, and you’re not as bad as you think you are."

MARVEL.COM: What’s your superpower? 

CLAYTON COWLES: Impressions. It’s too bad they don’t translate into text, I’ll be back, mah wife, oh behave.

MARVEL.COM: What inspires you?

CLAYTON COWLES: I’ll say Morph. No one else is going to say Morph.

We're celebrating our letterers all month long! Stay tuned for more Letterer Spotlights throughout the month, and don't miss our Letterer Appreciation Day 2022 post, which collects all our lettering coverage so far.

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