Category Archives: Lettering/Fonts


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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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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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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From ACTION COMICS #376, May 1969

Continuing with Gaspar Saladino’s very busy year on ads in comics with 1969 cover dates, DC’s long history was always a source of pride, even though its earliest years under the ownership of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson were never talked about, nor was the takeover from him by Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz. The Major’s last new title was Detective Comics, launched in 1937, but DC preferred to celebrate the anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in issue #27. Fair enough, it was what current readers were most interested in. Gaspar’s giant 30 is eye-catching. The blurb at upper left was meant to be hip, but was probably considered lame by teen readers. Saladino’s starry background works well, almost merging with the black area of the cover to create an appealing curved diagonal shape.

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All images © DC Comics. From ACTION COMICS #371, Jan 1969

There are so many ads lettered by Saladino in 1969 that I’m dividing them into three articles, and this is the first. Gaspar had settled into his role as the new style-setter for the company, replacing Ira Schnapp in that role, and if anything he was busier than Ira ever was at this time producing ads, logos and cover lettering at a furious pace. Carmine Infantino had wanted him to give DC’s design presence a fresh look, and Gaspar delivered. The ad above follows his preferred style of some large display lettering to grab attention and a small amount of other lettering below. The teaser art between the lettering might be by Gaspar, or it could be by cover artist Nick Cardy. I suspect the latter. Whoever wrote the cover text and ad copy set up a good enticement for readers to buy this Batman reprint issue, but DC was still putting too much of their focus on past successes in my opinion.

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