GASPAR SALADINO in ROMANCE TRAIL

All images © DC Comics. From ROMANCE TRAIL #5, March-April 1950

In 1949, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz was handling all the company’s western titles. They were popular, but a new comics genre was selling well at other companies, romance comics, begun by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby with YOUNG ROMANCE and YOUNG LOVE at Crestwood/Prize. DC Editor Robert Kanigher started a line of them at DC with GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES, first issue dated Aug-Sept 1949, and perhaps Schwartz thought combining romance and western themes would work, hence ROMANCE TRAIL. It lasted six issues. Gaspar Saladino lettered stories for only the final two issues, but I’m giving them a separate entry because they included his very first published lettering work for DC, or for anyone. We can’t know what order they were done in, but all the stories show Gaspar’s lettering talent from the beginning on balloons, captions and sound effects. It took him a few years to master story titles. There’s nothing wrong with the story title in the first example above, but it’s rather bland. “A Molly Adams Story” is typeset. Saladino’s work on the poster at lower left is better. Chronologically, this is the first lettering by Gaspar to see print, along with another one-pager in the same issue shown below. I’ve written extensively about Gaspar’s earliest lettering for DC beginning with THIS article.

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GASPAR SALADINO in ROBIN HOOD TALES

All images © DC Comics. From ROBIN HOOD TALES #7, Jan-Feb 1957

Many comics have been published about Robin Hood. In 1956, Quality Comics began one, but it only put out six issues before the company decided to get out of comics and sold many of their properties to DC Comics. As a new title, it was an unlikely choice for DC to continue, but it fit right in with what editor Robert Kanigher was doing in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, and he took it on, continuing the book for eight more issues. The covers were lettered by Ira Schnapp, but almost all the stories were lettered by Gaspar Saladino, Kanigher’s favorite. The first page of the first DC issue, above, features his handsome title work and a fine caption on old paper with an Old English capital R at the beginning. The feature logo is by Schnapp.

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GASPAR SALADINO in R.E.B.E.L.S.

All images © DC Comics. From R.E.B.E.L.S. #0, Oct 1994

From 1994 to 1996, DC published R.E.B.E.L.S., a spinoff of L.E.G.I.O.N., itself a spinoff of LEGION OF SUPERHEROES. Both books with names made of initials used a “’94” year tagline that changed with the year, but the numbering continued throughout, so I’m going to ignore that. The franchise was popular, and Gaspar Saladino lettered all except one of the 18 issues, but none of the covers. This page from the first issue, #0, has great sound effects, a burst balloon, and a caption using upper and lower case, all well done. The images I have for this series are not the best, and the actual comics may look better.

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GASPAR SALADINO in THE QUESTION

All images © DC Comics. From THE QUESTION #10, Nov 1987

The Question was created by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics, and was one of the properties DC bought when Charlton folded. In 1987 a monthly series began written by Dennis O’Neil with art by Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar and covers by Cowan and Bill Sinkiewicz. Gaspar Saladino lettered the stories in all but one of the first twelve issues as well as two covers. The first is above, a variety of styles on the postcards. It’s a challenge to do this kind of thing and make them all different, but it was no problem for Gaspar.

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GASPAR SALADINO in OTHER P TITLES

All images © DC Comics. From PEACEMAKER #2, Feb 1988

This article is for seven DC Comics titles beginning with the letter P that had a relatively small amount of lettering work by Gaspar Saladino. PEACEMAKER, above, was a four-issue miniseries using the former Charlton Comics character, which DC had purchased. Gaspar’s blurb has appealing block letters on a rare oval shape that helps it read against the busy cover art. The texture in TZIN adds interest, and the wording is a clever pun perhaps by writer Paul Kupperberg.

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