Category Archives: Creating Comics

GASPAR SALADINO at NATIONAL LAMPOON

All images © National Lampoon Inc. From NATIONAL LAMPOON Nov 1971

NATIONAL LAMPOON was a humor/satire magazine originally spun off from the Harvard Lampoon with some of the same staff. It flourished during the 1970s, having great impact on popular culture, but by the early 1980s was losing importance and sales, and after the entire staff was fired in 1985, it ceased to have any major relevance as a magazine I would say, limping along into the 1990s, though the company benefitted from successes in other media like films. From the beginning, the slick glossy magazine included comic book and comic strip parodies written by staffers and with art by top names in comics and illustration. It also often had a section of original comics in the back mainly by underground comix artists or illustrators like Gahan Wilson and Jeff Jones. Gaspar Saladino didn’t letter any of those, but he did work on some of the comics parodies beginning with the one above in late 1971, probably brought in by his artist friend Neal Adams. There were plenty of such parodies lettered by others, but Saladino did quite a few, and I’ll look at them here. Lampoon’s content included nudity and they tried to shock readers, so take that as a cautionary advisement. The faux comics could run anywhere from twelve pages to two, with an average length somewhere in the middle. For the one above they started off with great art from the legendary Frank Frazetta. Gaspar lettered the credits, the word balloon, and probably the DRAGULA title. He was never credited for any of his work in the magazine, but his style is easy to spot, and the printing and paper were better than what comics publishers were using at the time, so his work had a chance to shine, even if he later said he was embarrassed by some of it, and glad his name wasn’t on it.

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GASPAR SALADINO at AURORA

All images © Aurora. From AURORA COMICS SCENES #181-140, 1974

Aurora Plastics Corporation was founded in 1950 and made buyer-assembled plastic replica models of cars and airplanes, later expanding into TV and movie scenes. In 1974 they issued a series of comic book superheroes and characters that ran to ten releases, and each one had a comic book size pamphlet of eight pages, two pages of instructions and six pages of comics including the front cover. Gaspar Saladino lettered all of the comics pages, including the covers, which mostly used existing logos and had hand-lettered story credits. The editor was Mark Hanerfeld, employed by Aurora at the time, and he had close friends at DC Comics and Marvel Comics, where he probably recruited Gaspar as well as the writers and artists involved, though Mark wrote this first one. I’ll show all the covers and some inside pages.

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GASPAR SALADINO at TOWER & KING FEATURES

All images © the respective copyright holders. From T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #1, Nov 1965

This article features a small amount of Gaspar Saladino lettering at two publishers. Tower was a paperback book publisher who got into comics from 1965-69 with two lines of books: Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS and spinoffs, superheroic action, and TIPPY TEEN and spinoffs, Archie-like teen humor. Wood co-edited his books, and did wonderful art on some of them, but many other artists were also brought in. Gaspar lettered two full stories and half of a third for the line. His first story, above has a typical caption and story title on the first page, and he might also have done the character logo. The pencils are by Gil Kane on some pages, George Tuska on others. It seems like a first issue should have been planned with time enough to have one artist do all the pencilling, but apparently not.

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GASPAR SALADINO at HARVEY COMICS

All images © the respective copyright holders. From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #1, Dec 1966

Gaspar Saladino’s lettering work for this publisher all happened in 1966-67 with one late exception from 1991. I’ll examine the titles alphabetically except for that last one. The editor of these action-adventure-superhero titles was Joe Simon, who I’m sure would have known Gaspar’s work at DC, but I think in this case, as with Western Publishing, Saladino was brought in by the artists he worked with, like Jack Sparling on this story, who I think also brought him in at Western. This story title/character logo isn’t by Gaspar, think it’s by Joe Simon, and THE SECRET OF is type, but the rest of the lettering shows Saladino’s usual style, wide angular letters with special treatment of the first letter in each caption.

From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #1, Dec 1966

This story in the same issue has art by Bill Draut, according to the Grand Comics Database, another artist Gaspar worked with at DC Comics. Again I think the logo might be by Joe Simon.

From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #1, Dec 1966

Another story in that issue lettered by Saladino, the GCD doesn’t offer any artist credit. The title might again be by Joe Simon, it’s not by Gaspar.

From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #2, March 1967

The second and final issue also has several stories lettered by Saladino, this one again with Jack Sparling. MAGICMASTER is picked up from the previous issue, I’m not sure who did the story title, it might be at least inked by Gaspar.

From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #2, March 1967

This intro page to the Magicmaster story is almost a house ad, and has lots of fine display lettering by Saladino, though parts of the ticket are type.

From DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #2, March 1967

This short story has art credited to Hy Eisman, and the story title is definitely by Saladino. It looks like something that would have fit right into one of DC’s science fiction anthologies.

From JIGSAW #1, Sept 1966

This one-shot again begins with a character logo and lettering by Joe Simon I believe. Parts of it are type. Gaspar lettered the balloons and bottom captions as well as the rest of the story. The art is credited to Tony Tallarico, and I don’t know that Saladino worked with him anywhere else, so if Jack Sparling did bring Gaspar in, he was soon being given work by other artists too.

From JIGSAW #1, Sept 1966

Saladino also lettered this two-pager, which is full of great lettering by him, including the title and character logo. The art is uncredited, it looks someone imitating DC’s Sheldon Mayer.

From SPYMAN #1, Sept 1966

This one is odd and interesting. Pencils are credited to Jim Steranko. Gaspar lettered the caption at upper left from “Welcome, Dear Reader” to “The Whisperer and”, but I don’t think he did the caption at lower right, and the larger lettering is type.

From SPYMAN #1, Sept 1966

Saladino lettered the main Spyman story with art by George Tuska, though the character logo and story title are probably by Joe Simon.

From SPYMAN #3, Feb 1967

Gaspar’s lettering is on just two covers for Harvey, here he did the two balloons, the blurb at the bottom, and probably the small lettering in the hand image. The art is credited to Joe Simon, who did the logo.

From THRILL-O-RAMA #2, Sept 1966

Here Gaspar is again teamed with artist Jack Sparling under a clever logo and typeset by Joe Simon. This story ran in three chapters, each with a separate story title.

From THRILL-O-RAMA #3, Dec 1966

This five page story from the third and final issue has art credited to Bob Powell. I think Joe Simon did the top line and story title. These are the only stories I found lettered by Saladino.

From UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2, Dec 1966

This title ran three issues, Gaspar lettered a number of things on the second issue. For the cover he did just the two word balloons, other cover lettering is by Joe Rosen.

From UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2, Dec 1966

The intro page inside again has just a little Saladino lettering, the balloons in the lower left panel. All these books edited by Joe Simon seem to have been put together haphazardly, and none of them lasted long.

From UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2, Dec 1966

The first page of the lead story featuring Jack Quick Frost was divided into three five-page chapters. Saladino lettered just the first chapter, but not all the lettering on this page is by him, he did only the two captions across the center. Other pages are all his lettering.

From UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2, Dec 1966

This five page story had art by Gaspar’s friend Gil Kane, so I’m sure he was an easy choice for letterer. As usual, I think Joe Simon did the logo, but Saladino did the story title, and there are some fine Saladino sound effects in the first panel.

From UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2, Dec 1966

This two page origin of The 3 Rocketeers has art by Mike Sekowsky, another artist Gaspar worked with often at DC Comics, and the same team also did a five page story with the characters in this issue.

From WARFRONT #37, Sept 1966

This war story is by Jack Sparling and Gaspar, who had lots of experience lettering war stories at DC, and it shows. As always, the logo is probably by Joe Simon. I like the angled balloon in the second panel.

From WARFRONT #39, Feb 1967

Simon had revived this old Harvey war title and continued the original numbering, this was his final issue of four. The art here is credited to George Roussos on the GCD. Gaspar did the story title, the logo is probably by Simon.

From MONSTER IN MY POCKET #4, Nov 1991

Finally, decades later, Gaspar lettered this one issue of a four issue series based on a toy franchise over art by Gil Kane, and for the first time at Harvey, he gets a lettering credit. I like the title.

To sum up, Saladino did some lettering in two covers: UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2 and SPYMAN #3. Below are the details of his story lettering.

DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES #1: 1pp, 7pp, 15pp, #2: 1pp, 17pp, 5pp

JIGSAW #1: 16pp, 2pp

MONSTER IN MY POCKET #4: 22pp

SPYMAN #1: 1pp, 20pp

THRILL-O-RAMA #2: 15pp, #3: 5pp

UNEARTHLY SPECTACULARS #2: 1pp, 5pp (of 15), 5pp, 2pp, 5pp

WARFRONT #37: 5pp, #39: 5pp

That’s a total of 154 pages. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

GASPAR SALADINO AT WESTERN PUBLISHING Part 2

All images © the respective copyright holders. From COUNTDOWN (Movie Classic #12-150-710), Oct 1967, Dell

Continuing with the lettering work of Gaspar Saladino on stories in comics under the Dell and Gold Key imprints from Western Publishing (see Part 1 for more details), this was one of many one-shot movie adaptations. The lettering on the entire story is by Saladino, here with a fine scroll caption at the top, though he didn’t do the logo. The art is by Jack Sparling, the artist on many Western titles lettered by Gaspar, so likely he was requested by Sparling, and they worked as a team.

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