GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS ADS June-Dec 1970

All images © DC Comics. From ADVENTURE COMICS #394, June 1970

This will be a shorter than usual post to finish out 1970 ads, just the way the year broke down best for me, and there were too many for a single post. At this time, Saladino was doing a lot of generic ads that could be reused with other DC covers. Some were, I can’t be sure if they all were, but this is a money-saving tactic that DC also used during Ira Schnapp’s tenure on house ads. I don’t know what Gaspar was being paid for ad lettering, but certainly it would have been more than his story page rate, and probably also more than his cover lettering rate, which was higher than the page rate too. At least that’s how it worked when I started at DC in 1977. This is a half-page ad, and it’s likely there were two on a page of comics art paper done at the same time, this being one. Gaspar was using concentric circles a lot as backgrounds, and tall DC letters, sometimes with periods, sometimes without. The tradition was that D.C. stood for Detective Comics, one of the first titles from the company that became their symbol, but Irwin Donenfeld, son of co-owner Harry Donenfeld from about 1938 on, said his father thought of it as representing Donenfeld Comics.

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And Then I Read: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS by Jules Verne

One of Verne’s most popular works, serialized in 1872 and published in 1873, I’m not sure why I haven’t read it before now. Growing up we went to see the 1956 movie version with David Niven in the lead role, and we had a short book adaptation of that, so I guess I thought I knew the story. I was right in some ways, quite wrong in others.

Phileas Fogg is a wealthy Englishman living alone in London, and one who thrives on exact routines that never vary. His home life is perfectly regulated with the help of a valet, and he goes every day to The Reform Club, one of those upper-class clubs the British were famous for, where he spends much of his time playing the card game Whist for money, and adding a bit to his fortune. One day there’s an argument about a newspaper article which cites the opening of a new railway line in India which would make it possible to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. Many scoff at the idea, but Fogg defends it, and bets half his fortune that it not only can be done, but that he himself can do it. The bet is taken by his club mates, and Fogg hurries home to begin preparing. One difficulty is that he’s recently fired his valet and just hired a new French one, Passepartout. In fact the day of the bet is that fellow’s first day on the job. Passepartout is mystified and frightened by the news of the difficult adventure he and Fogg are about to undertake, but anxious to please his employer, and they set off almost immediately.

At first the journey goes smoothly, but in Suez, Egypt, they fall under the suspicion of a British policeman, Detective Fix, who has been sent there to watch for a bank robber. Fogg fits the description, and Fix wants to arrest him, but an arrest warrant can’t be sent from England in time, so Fix decides to follow the adventurous pair, hoping to arrest them somewhere on English soil, and with plans to slow them down wherever he can. Fix befriends Passepartout, who doesn’t know Fix’s real motive, and the three travelers form an interesting triangle. Fogg is totally focused on his mission, but seems unruffled by any of the problems and difficulties that arise on the way, and he’s happy to join a game of Whist rather than even looking at the scenery. Only when the three have the chance to rescue an Indian princess, Aouda, from being burned at the stake does Fogg show true bravery and resourcefulness, and they succeed, bringing the princess with them, though the most dangerous role is taken by Passepartout. Aouda hopes to find family in Hong Kong, but eventually joins the travelers on their entire journey. Fix tries several times to stop them, but when he fails in his arrest plans, decides to continue also on the entire journey, hoping to make his collar when they are back in England. Many exciting adventures ensue, and Verne tells his story well.

Some of the things I thought would be in the book were only in the film, like a balloon section of the trip, and many more adventures happen than were in the film. The endings of each are similar, and based on a mathematical miscalculation by Fogg that would be very unlikely in real life, but it works in the story, as does the resolution of the Aouda situation. I enjoyed reading this, and recommend it. Unlike many of the Verne stories I’ve read, it has no science fictional elements, but perhaps at the time the entire journey seemed like science fiction to readers.

Incoming: SANDMAN DELUXE EDITION HC Book Four

Image © DC Comics, cover art by Michael Wm. Kaluta

Just arrived is this new slightly oversized hardcover reprinting issues 51-69 of the original SANDMAN series, including the entire final long story arc, “The Kindly Ones.” As with previous volumes, there’s an interesting new cover by Michael Kaluta, and a cover tag for the Audible audio version of Sandman. The best version of this series is the Absolute Editions of some years ago, but this is cheaper and equally well made, if not as large. Cover price is $49.99. It should be at comics retailers in a few weeks, or here’s an Amazon link if you prefer.

GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS ADS Jan-May 1970

All images © DC Comics. From ACTION COMICS #384, Jan 1970

As we begin ads in comics with cover dates from January to May, 1970 (work probably produced from September to December 1969), Gaspar has grown comfortable with his role as the style setter for DC. The majority of DC’s titles—and all the newest ones—feature his logos, nearly all the cover lettering is by him, and nearly all the house ads too. Gaspar was still also lettering plenty of story pages, with his main focus being war stories, but he did others in all genres. DC’s output was increasing, though a fair amount of it was reprints from the 1950s-1960s. Still, new editors and freelance artists were making their presence known, and the biggest shakeup of all was on the horizon: the move of Marvel mainstay Jack Kirby to DC with a roster of all-new creations. The ad above has fine display lettering by Saladino, but the books are full of reprints.

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GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS ADS Aug-Dec 1969

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #85, Aug-Sept 1969

Finishing up Gaspar’s very busy ad year of 1969, we begin with this ad for yet another Giant reprint issue. You’d think they’d all have been used by now, but not so. Saladino’s script lettering was never as well done as that of Ira Schnapp, but it does have a nice bounce here, and works fine. Giant arrows are always effective, and the angled boxes for the women’s names adds interest. Can the ad copy get any more sexist?

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