Official Press Release
Bill Yoshida, Archie Comics‘ premier letterer, died on Feb. 17, 2005. Bill’s life was one of constant change. Born in the United States during the Jazz Era in December of 1921, Bill’s hopeful youth was interrupted by The Great Depression, and later, during World War II, he and his family were placed in an American internment camp for the Japanese. Afterwards, Bill sang in a night club, played the guitar and was a chef before he was hired by Archie Comics in 1965. For recreation, Bill bowled in an all-Japanese league in New York City. One of his teammates was famed comics letterer Ben Oda, who taught Bill how to letter.
His life experiences formed his sense of humor, which ranged from the subtle to the absurd, as evidenced by the humorous notes he occasionally scribbled on the sides of the pages he’d work on. Bill used to joke around in the Archie offices with fellow humorist and inker Rudy LaPick, and socialize with his editor, Victor Gorelick. He tried to teach Victor how to play golf, with humorous results, or as Victor claimed, “No results.”
It was Bill’s love of humor that made him a natural for lettering the Archie Comics line. His work complemented the art, as good lettering should. Bill was a dedicated company man, ever-conscious of deadlines and never missing them. His lettering style became the company look. Bill lettered an average of 75 pages a week for 40 years, for an approximate total of 156,000 pages. He was twice nominated for a Will Eisner Award for Best Lettering in 1996 and 1999. He’ll be missed as much for his humanity as for his dedication to his craft.
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