'Asked & Answered with the Women of Marvel': Ariana Maher
Get to know the comics letterer and then pick up 'Marvel's Voices: Comunidades' #1, out this week!
Comic book lettering can make or break a comic. When it’s at its best, you might even take the art form for granted. But the perfectly placed balloons allow a story to sing, and the ever creative sound effects are a hallmark of the genre.
Today we get to chat with letterer Ariana Maher (she/her), who has lettered more comics than we can count, including the just-released MARVEL'S VOICES: COMUNIDADES #1, PHOENIX SONG: ECHO #2, WINTER GUARD #4, all on sale at your local comic shop now.
She’s got some good taste in beverages. We want her to take us to her favorite restaurant. She is a Woman of Marvel. And we had some questions for her.
We asked. She answered.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Take medication to help with my ADHD. It’s important to look after one’s physical and mental health.
The thing I always bring to parties is…?
Hard Cider, of course! I live in Washington State, so it would be weird to have a party without some locally brewed cider.
What was your favorite book, movie, or TV show as a kid?
Batman: the Animated Series, Ronin Warriors, and X-Men.
What is your favorite book, movie, or TV show now?
HBO Max’s Harley Quinn is currently my favorite TV show. I’m looking forward to the next season.
Comic Sans — Why all the hate OR that font is the devil?
It’s widely disliked due to bad kerning, clumsy letter formation, and its ubiquitous usage to indicate a comic book writing style to the general public despite not resembling the careful penwork of the hand letterers it eked its style from. I understand there are merits to the font, but there are better comic book fonts that can accomplish the same and look even better.
Follow up: what’s your favorite font?
I can’t choose just one! My favorites are ComicCraft’s Moritat, Blambot’s Spinner Rack, and VC’s Thwipp. And yeah, I like to use the THWIPP font in Spider-Man web-slinging sound effects — it brings me joy.
Got any superstitions?
It would be “Knock on wood”. My dad would knock on his head and make a hollow sound to annoy folks. He’d do it for good luck, so I do that too.
Must-have item when working?
Tea! Earl Grey Crème, if possible. I drink around 4-7 cups of tea a day while I’m working.
Rainy day or snowy day?
I live in Seattle, so rainy days all the way.
Favorite sound effect you’ve lettered?
BAMF! Especially the one in DEMON DAYS: MARIKO #1. That was my first and best BAMF.
What’s on your desert island mix tape?
Shawn Wasabi, Miyavi, Mother Mother, and the Steven Universe soundtrack.
Essential Thanksgiving side dish?
Turkey stuffing with water chestnuts. Oh, and bread pudding.
Of all the Marvel characters you’ve lettered, which one has your back in an alien invasion?
Shatterstar. No doubt!
The universe — sending you messages or dealing with enough of its own stuff to worry about you?
I think I do enough worrying that the universe knows I’ve got that part covered.
Board games or video games?
Both are fantastic, but my favorite place to go is a local board game restaurant, so I’m going to say board games are my jam.
Checkers or chess?
Chess, though I haven’t played since I was 14 and had finally beat my Dad at a game of chess. I decided then and there to retire as an undefeated champion.
What item do you save from a burning building?
My husband, I guess?
Who makes you laugh?
Definitely my husband.
Mantra or quote that keeps you going?
“Be brave enough to be kind.” Anthony Oliveira often says that phrase and I think about it every day. The idea keeps me centered.
Best thing about being a Woman/Creator of Marvel?
When I joined VC and got to know the other letterers, the guys told me that I’m going to love working with Production Manager Susan Crespi. They were completely right about that. She’s amazing!
The VC guys have done so much to help me get settled into my job and learn how to letter the Marvel Way, but it was Sue who helped me find my place as a Woman in Marvel Comics by encouraging me. Sometimes she shares stories with me — of her days when she used to work as a Marvel letterer and of cool ladies who worked in Marvel like Flo Steinberg. Sue found a way to assure me that I fit in at Marvel just fine.
You can catch tons of Ariana Maher's lettering work on comic shelves now, including the just released MARVEL'S VOICES: COMUNIDADES #1, PHOENIX SONG: ECHO #2, WINTER GUARD #4!, all on sale at your local comic shop now!
MacKenzie Cadenhead (she/her) is a children’s book author and an old school (Read: former) Marvel editor — not old-old but let’s just say she knew Gwen Stacy when she was dead. She co-authors the "Marvel Super-Hero Adventures" chapter book series for young readers and is a proud Woman of Marvel. You can see what she’s up to over at Instagram @mackenziecadenhead.
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