This post isn’t about the history of Dan X. Solo. It is a personally indulgent post about being obsessed with the name Dan X. Solo.
Back in 1998, when I was around 18 years old, I started pawing through used bookstores and library dumpsters looking for curious scraps of paper to add to my collections. I occasionally encountered (and purchased when I had money) tattered copies of Dover type catalogs from the 1970s and 80s, always “selected and arranged by Dan X. Solo.” I didn’t really know what this stuff was for, I remember thinking that you must have to trace the letters? Or photocopy them? Maybe just use them as visual reference? I wasn’t sure. But the name Dan X. Solo became sort of an obsession. I knew a few sign painters and printmakers but I had never met a graphic designer or a typographer…or a collector of type for that matter…
I always wondered if he was a made up person. What does the X stand for? In my mind he was Hans Solo’s artistic cousin, who could make letters out of anything with his bare hands. My favorites were the alphabets made of ties, lightening, bricks, and plaid.
I remember asking Art Chantry about two years ago if he knew Dan X. Solo. Unfortunately he only had a cursory knowledge of the history of Solotype and told me that I should write Mr. Solo a letter or call him on the phone. II’m not much of a groupie. I can’t ever bring myself to pester people. (I know that Solo isn’t like a real typographer…just humor me…I’m on a tangent.)
If I were to suddenly be overcome with typographer-mania I would probably join the HF&J fan club first. Or is this entering nerd territory whose depth is only exceeded by bearers of twelve sided dice? HEADLINE: BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMEN IN HYSTEIRCS THROW PANTIES AT TYPOGRAPHER. Does this happen at Typecon? I’ve yet to have the fortune to attend.
I hear that Dan X. Solo now works with his wife presenting a mindreading act on cruise ships, and has abandoned peddling and digitizing antique type as a career. Thank you Mr. Solo for providing me with years of fictional internal dialogue and speculation on the origin of your personal species.