Also Credited As: DeLepine, Michael DeLepine, Mike
Michael Anthony De Lepine (born April 10th, 1964) is an American comic book letterer, iconographer, graphic designer, book designer and editor. De Lepine was born in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York. He is best known for lettering several comic books, graphic novels and magazines for various mainstream and independent publishers, including ZORRO (Topps Comics), VAMPIRELLA (Harris Comics), ROBOTECH (Malibu Graphics/Academy Comics), THE BIG BOOK OF THUGS and THE BIG BOOK OF LOSERS (DC Comics’ Paradox Press), PENTHOUSE COMIX and OMNI COMIX magazines (Penthouse International), and BLACK SALT: THE LAST HEROES LEFT under the publishing banner he co-founded in 2008, Blackline Comics.
A graduate of New York City’s High School of Art and Design, and the recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Cartooning from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 1988, De Lepine found fascination in the letterform, its undeniable role in comic book storytelling, and the behind-the-scenes production involved in making comic books. During his time at SVA, De Lepine was taken under the wing of three instructors there: master innovator and draftsman Will Eisner, creator of THE SPIRIT; Gene Colan, artist for Marvel and DC whose unique style illustrated the adventures of DAREDEVIL, BATMAN and DOCTOR STRANGE; and Joe Orlando, one of the original founding artists of MAD magazine. It was Orlando, at the time Vice-President in charge of Special Projects at DC Comics, who was the most influential, handpicking him for hire at DC at their famous 666 5th Avenue offices in Manhattan to work in their production bullpen. There, De Lepine did art and lettering corrections on the entire line of DC Universe and Vertigo titles, an average of 85 different titles per month at that time.
After a year of learning the ropes at DC, De Lepine went freelance as a letterer, making his mark well before the dawn of computer lettering and its role in print production. He first received steady work from Malibu Graphics, lettering titles such as various ROBOTECH mini-series, ALIEN NATION, THE PROTECTORS, and DEBBIE DOES DALLAS.
Lettering the occasional porn comic for Malibu also lead to De Lepine being hired by General Media Corp. (better known as Penthouse International, publisher of Penthouse Magazine). Under the watchful eye of General Media’s Editor-In-Chief, the late George Caragonne. De Lepine proceeded to hand-letter magazine-formatted tales of, among other assignments, YOUNG CAPTAIN ADVENTURE in PENTHOUSE COMIX and the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS in the pages of OMNI COMIX. During his tenure there, De Lepine lettered the artwork of industry giants such as Mark Beachum, Mark Texeira, Adam Hughes, Gray Morrow, Alan Davis, Paris Cullins and Paul Gulacy.
Branching out to letter more diverse comics for more publishers. De Lepine handled lengthy assignments at Topps Comics (Don McGregor’s ZORRO and the comic adaptation of the animated series DUCKMAN), Harris Comics (VAMPIRELLA STRIKES! and the critically acclaimed mini-series VAMPIRELLA: DEATH AND DESTRUCTION), and short-lived publisher Millennium Graphics, for which he helped to design as well as letter the innovative trading card set/comic book entitled LEGACY.
As lettering by hand began to dry up for De Lepine, by around 1998, he delved into the retail side of the comics industry, managing the Manhattan Comics and Cards comics store in NYC for two years, receiving an eye-opening perspective into the retail side of the comics industry in the process. It was during this period that De Lepine met his wife Donna on a popular online dating site, which led to their marriage three months after they met. De Lepine and his wife proceeded to move out of New York, migrating to the outskirts of the Los Angeles, California area in November 2000.
De Lepine returned to the comics industry in 2007 by joining the Comicbook Artists Guild (CAG), a network of current and potential comic creators helping each other with their craft and their projects. It was through CAG’s growing bi-coastal network that De Lepine rekindled a bi-coastal friendship with his old SVA college buddy from New York, Mark Mazz, and began a new and lasting friendship with the man who would become De Lepine’s partner at Blackline Comics, Jay Savage, who lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. De Lepine and Savage both parted company from CAG together in 2008.
De Lepine’s collaboration with Savage in forming Blackline Comics was a labor of love for both, allowing them to produce and publish the kind of comic books they always enjoyed reading. Blackline’s digital comics proved fruitful, publishing the adventure comic BLACK SALT: THE LAST HEROES LEFT and COLONEL, a gritty Sci-Fi graphic novel, with four other titles under development.
Blackline’s crowning achievement, under De Lepine’s conceptualization and guidance, was to develop digital special editions of the first issue of BLACK SALT and the COLONEL GN specifically for Free Comic Book Day 2010, complete with the official FCBD logos on the covers and a digital Certificate of Authenticity on the inside back covers with consecutive numbering per download. The 2-book digital package was to only be available during the 24 hours of Saturday, May 1st, 2010. Despite internet traffic challenges on the Blackline Comics website, Blackline was successful in having the BLACK SALT/COLONEL digital package downloaded over 23,000 times, which breaks down to an average of 17 downloads per minute, and earning a write-up in AOL News for Blackline’s achievement.
Blackline underwent a corporate restructuring several months later, and De Lepine departed the company and Los Angeles in August 2010, moving to the tropical island paradise of O’ahu, Hawai’i. It should be noted that De Lepine’s tenure as Director of Operations at Blackline Comics was a success. Both De Lepine and Savage were able to span the physical distance, despite the logistical challenge of 150 miles between them and create a viable publishing entity.
On October 1st, 2013, De Lepine accepted an offer from Mark Mazz to be the Director of Operations for Mazz’s publishing company, Atlas Unleashed, and to act as letterer and production designer on upcoming Atlas Unleashed projects. With this new opportunity, De Lepine stands poised to repeat his bi-coastal management skills on a much broader scale, this time with an average of 6,000 miles of distance between De Lepine and Mazz.
De Lepine is currently developing and writing a new action and adventure/horror series entitled TIP OF THE SPEAR for Atlas Unleashed, to debut as part of an upcoming project.
De Lepine has collected, sold and traded comic books for the past 46 years, nearly most of his life. He possesses a unique perspective on the workings of the comics industry, having been involved in comics creation, editing, marketing and retail aspects, with a keen eye on the comic collectors market. He also has been a successful retailer of comics, related ancillary products and pop culture-related materials on the online auction website eBay since 1999. De Lepine and his wife Donna were also regular vendors at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention on a monthly basis between 2002-2010. In addition, De Lepine is an avid pop culture aficionado, especially in reference to the comic book, toy, television and motion picture industries.
Michael De Lepine lives in Ewa Beach, O’ahu, Hawai’i, on the outskirts of Pearl Harbor and Honolulu, with his wife, Donna and their two female dogs, Odo and Kalani, and their male puppy, Bubba.
Date of Birth: April 10th, 1964
Birthplace: New York City, NY
Date of Birth:
April 10th, 1964
New York City, NY
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