Microsoft Confirms Comic Sans Serif Has Taken Its Own Life
Redmond-The once omnipresent Microsoft font “Comic Sans Serif” was pulled from the south end of Lake Washington last Wednesday, one month after it registered as “not installed” on millions of computing devices around the country. It was only 17 years old.
“Comic Sans”—as it was popularly known—whose whimsical nature made it a favorite of both the very young and the very old, was identified Thursday by comparing it to several sparsely attended children’s web sites and numerous quilting blogs.
The final cause of death is still officially under investigation, said Bill Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Microsoft Corporation, but Comic Sans had been troubled for some time and further discussion is being suspended out of respect for the other Microsoft font families.
The world has not been kind to Comic Sans Serif in recent years. Comic letterer Dave Gibbons, whose work inspired the typeface, described it recently as “a real mess,” and a “particularly ugly letter form.”
Microsoft designer Vincent Connare told police Comic Sans was last seen Friday, December 10th on a parochial school Christmas fundraising mailer. Throughout the disappearance, Connare had held out hope the font might still be alive.
“There are so many handwritten fonts these days that look similar,” Connare said in a written statement to the AP with the help of Comic Sans’ long-time colleague Times New Roman. “If I see a web site for discount fireworks, I always check the source code, just in case. It’s so hard to let go.”
Perhaps most affected by the news were those that followed in the serif font’s footsteps. Novelty font Stamp Act Jumbled was visibly shaken.
“Being a joke is hard. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that could be me there,” Jumble confessed. “But I wonder how much of this is due to the ‘Ban Comic Sans’ movement. Did you know they tried to get a law passed in Ontario back in 2005? I think that was the last straw. Comic Sans never really recovered from that.”
A member of the movement, who preferred to remain anonymous in light of the tragedy, said the public’s criticism is misguided.
“We’ve been getting threatening letters in Wingdings ever since the disappearance,” said the source, “You can scream ‘murderers‘ all you want but we aren’t about hate, and we certainly never wished for its death. This has always been about the misuse of Comic Sans in official correspondence and, God forbid, safety notices.”
Connare says that no matter the intent, the movement hurt his creation deeply.
“Comic Sans was not originally designed as a typeface for general use, but as a cartoon-style lettering suitable for the interface of Microsoft Bob,” Connare reminded reporters. “I don’t think we ever expect the depraved design choices this world can subject our fonts to, much less prepare them for it.”
Comic Sans Serif is survived by the Italic and Bold Italic versions of “Comic Sans 2010,” designed by Terrance Weinzierl and Steve Matteson for the Ascender Corp.
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