Welcome back to the annual ComicBook.com Golden Issue Awards. Every year, the ComicBook.com staff takes a look at the best comics, movies, games, and TV of the years to help highlight some of our favorite works and creators. 2021 was a strange year in many regards, but that didn't keep the American comics industry from producing an awe-inspiring amount of work for fans. Lettering is one of the most important parts of a comic book, as they're responsible for placing the words, thoughts, and narration of various characters into the comic while not distracting from the artistic team's work. A good letterer not only finds innovative ways to bring tone and expression into a visual medium, they also highlight both the script and art.
And the winner of the 2021 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Letterer is...
Clayton Cowles is an Eisner and Ringo Award-winning letterer and the recipient of the 2020 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Letterer. A prolific letterer, Cowles has worked on some of the biggest comics of the year, including fan-favorite series like Batman as well as critically acclaimed series like DIE and Human Target.
Currently, Cowles is a letterer on over 25 titles, spread out across four different companies. His current work includes Batman, Batman '89, Batman & Catwoman, Batman: Killing Time, Black Manta, Human Target, Supergirl: The Woman of Tomorrow, and Wonder Woman: Historia for DC Comics, Adventureman and Ordinary Gods for Image Comics, Alien, Captain Carter, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Devil's Reign, Eternals, Immortal X-Men, Legion of X, Secret X-Men, Star Wars, Strange Academy, Venom, Warhammer 40K, X-Men: The Trial of Magneto, and X-Men for Marvel Comics, and Shadowman for Valiant Comics.
With a roster like that it's clear that if you're currently a reader of American monthly comics, you've likely had the pleasure of seeing some of Cowles' work this year. Cowles has made significant contributions to just about every top line of superhero comics and that doesn't seem likely to change as we move into the new year and into new stories.
Congratulations to Cowles on his Golden Issues win!
The nominees for Best Letterer are:
- Aditya Bidikar (Home Sick Pilots)
- Joe Caramagna (The Amazing Spider-Man)
- Clayton Cowles (Batman) — WINNER
- Ariana Maher (Crush and Lobo)
- Cory Petit (Moon Knight)