PREVIEWS World reports that veteran comic book letterer Jim Novak has died. Novak died earlier this year at the end of April, but his passing went undiscovered until fellow letterer Pat Brosseau noticed an unread message from Novak’s nephew on Facebook.
James R. Novak was born on September 14 (year of birth unknown) in Chicago, Illinois. He broke into comics lettering “Wonder Woman” for DC Comics under editor Julius Schwartz, and in 1975, was listed in “Marvel Spotlight” #25 as a member of the “third wave” of creators, which included the likes of John Byrne, Frank Miller, Roger Stern, Jo Duffy, Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio. Novak soon joined Marvel as a full-time staff member, lettering their biggest titles in the ’70s and ’80s, like Roger Stern’s “Avengers,” “Captain America” and “Doctor Strange” runs, John Byrne’s tenure on “Fantastic Four,” and Bill Mantlo’s “Incredible Hulk.”
In 1977, Novak was assigned to design the logo for Marvel’s adaptation of the forthcoming sci-fi movie Star Wars. In a 1983 edition of Comics Interview, Novak recalled, “They brought in their logo from the studio and Stan Lee wasn’t crazy about it – the ‘W’ was a little bit different looking and the letters weren’t Marvel-style. So I ended up redoing it.” Novak expressed surprise at seeing his version of the logo on various merchandise, noting he was only paid $25 to redesign it (the film’s final version, used today, was created by Joe Johnston).
Novak also worked at other publishers like Dark Horse, BOOM! Studios, Image, Dynamite, and IDW. Brosseau tweeted, “I know this may sound cheesy to some but if you’ve been thinking of a friend or someone you haven’t called or spoken to in a while then reach out to them… it may do the both of you a world of good.”