Welcome back to the annual ComicBook.com Golden Issue Awards. Every year, the staff at ComicBook takes a look back at the year and selects the best of what comics, movies, television, anime, games, and the rest of pop culture had to offer. 2020 was a rough year in many respects, and unfortunately, the comics industry felt the squeeze of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic impact that spun out of it. That didn't stop some truly remarkable work coming out of the American comics industry last year, though, and we're here today to celebrate our pick for the year's top letterer. Letterers are sometimes the unsung heroes in comics, bringing the thoughts and words of our favorite characters to life, as well as helping to shape the worlds they live in, with stylized fonts, sound effects, and other details rarely paid attention to by many readers. In more recent years, talent like letterers, colorists, and editors have finally begun to get some love from fans and critics, but they still deserve so much more.
And the winner of the 2020 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Letterer is...
Clayton Cowles is an Eisner- and Ringo-nominated letterer, who graduated from the Joe Kubert School in 2009 and has been lettering comic books ever since. During the course of his career, Cowles has lettered numerous corporate comics, as well as creator-owned books like Bitch Planet, Bitter Root, Die, Moonstruck, Redlands, The Wicked + The Divine, and many more.
You've probably read some of Cowles' work at Marvel Comics, where he has worked on comics like Batman, X-Men, and Daredevil. In 2020, he also lettered Adventureman and Bitter Root. Bitter Root, in particular, is a highly stylized book, with the tone and style of the art gelling beautifully with Cowles's work and helping to create an impressive overall package, and one of the best books of 2020 overall.
Cowles also made some appearances in the digital-first comics market this year as part of the Superman: The Man of Tomorrow anthology title, which featured the work of dozens of creators. That wasn't his only DC work this year, as he not only put words in the mouth of the Man of Steel but also of the Dark Knight and his group of friends and allies in Batman and the Outsiders.
Congratulations not only to Cowles, who has consistently been one of the best and most distinctive letterers in comics for years now but to the stiff competition in this category this year, which includes past winners and dynamic creators whose work speaks for itself with or without another award to honor it.
- Aditya Bidikar (John Constantine: Hellblazer)
- Clayton Cowles (Daredevil) -- WINNER
- Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (First Knife)
- Jim Campbell (The Plot)
- Simon Bowland (The Dreaming)