I didn't say anything about cookie-cutter! I'm all for font variety, I just expect each *individual* font to conform somewhat
Anyway, I'm going to totally jump the shark here and upload my ENTIRE rather sizable collection of fonts to the AGTP webserver. I'd submit 'em here but it'd probably take forever (there's 90 of them) and I have to be up for work in ten hours. Most of the bmps are from commercial games, likely ripped by FEIDIAN when D was actively developing it. (I take no credit for these.) Others are from toma's old font packs. In fact, the font I'm going to recommend to you was originally his. (What's the server policy on font submissions from commercial games, btw?) The bmps can be very easily imported into ROM images using any tile editor worth its salt. My favorite is YY-CHR, though TLP certainly has its uses.
Try this one:http://agtp.romhack.net/fonts/SomeCrazyWackedOutFontBrotha_8x8.bmp
... though as its name implies, it's only somewhat italic.
If those don't tickle your fancy, check out 8x8.nes. It contains a bunch more fonts from other games, including several rather nice italic fonts. Actually, important note about that - fontdb.smc and 8x8.nes are just binary images that contain fonts in various bitplanes. They contain no actual game code or anything like that, and really are just named such for convenience's sake. Drop 'em into your favorite tile editor to view/edit.
The rest of 'em can be found in the font directory, in handy Index Of alphabetization:http://agtp.romhack.net/fonts/
Edit: For whatever it's worth, I actually never design my own fonts. If you see a font in a game I've worked on, it likely either came from something in this directory, or was built into the game already.