Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Seeing Interlac in a strange place this morning forced me to gather up all the semi-related links I've been saving and give them to you here.

Interlac - from the Latin "inter" (meaning "between") and "lac" (meaning "the pages of the Legion book where you'll find the language") - was the standard language of the 30th century, spoken by everyone and the universal language output from the translators. In the 1980's someone on the Legion creative team came up with a substitution code for the English alphabet, and then we saw it on billboards, taxis, costumes (Element Lad's), and even word balloons when a 30th century character was talking to someone who didn't speak Interlac.

Soon a page was published in one of the Legion issues (a secret decoder ring, of sorts) with the English/Interlac letter translations, a copy of which appears here on one of John Censullo's Outpost II pages.

A guy on CompuServe's old Comics and Animation Forum (GO COMICS), a prolific letterhack named Kashif "Blue Panther" Husain, created the first (that I know of) Interlac computer fonts, which I downloaded and with his permission, reposted on my web site. (An aside - the files are zipped, which I had to do when my first ISP wouldn't host a file with a strange extension, plus with blazingly fast 14.4 modems, you needed to compress everything!).

And then what do you know - the guy turns up last month and has a Blogger account. Go to his page to read Blue Panther's official story of the creation of the interlac font, complete with a link to his mid-90's Compuserve page. He's got another site that contains the TrueType Solid and Hollow and the PostScript Hollow fonts for all your fonty goodness.

So why bring this up now? Well, turns out someone at Marvel downloaded the font at some point and it showed up in a Spider-Man PSA story from 1990, as revealed here at Polite Dissent.

But just so nobody thinks I forgot, Interlac is also the name of one of the original (and still going) Legion "apa" zines, dating to 1976. The history of Interlac is, in a way, the history of organized Legion fandom itself.


Scott said...

Interlac also appeared in Iron Man #278. You can see the images from pages 13 and 14 of that issue here.

Scott said...

BTW Michael, thanks for pointing out Kashif's new site. I've had the old hollow versions saved for years and have even provided them to two separate creative teams on the past Legion series so they would have them. But I've never seen the solid version before.

Jonathan Miller said...

I think it was Keith Giffen who first started using the code-substitution Interlac alphabet in the book in the '80s. (Fuzzy memory of a letter column mention somewhere...)

Kashif said...

Michael, thanks for finding my Blog and leaving a comment about the Interlac font - I never actuall thought someone would find it since it's been some time that I read something about Interlac.
By the way, I created a Wikipedia entry - feel free to edit and enhance it!
Take care, Kashif -

gorjus said...

I stumbled upon this discussion via Polite Dissent, and as a long-time Legion fan--it's fantastic! Thanks so much to all of you for your hard work in keeping the spirit and fun of the original Legion alive.