Category Archives: Logo Studies

GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS June-Dec 1975

From THE BARBARIANS #1, June 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

Continuing with Gaspar Saladino’s busiest logo year, as he was designing them for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Atlas/Seaboard Comics, who produced a flood of 67 issues dated 1975, and then were no more. This Seaboard title has two logos. BARBARIANS nicely flanked by swords, appeared only this once. Gaspar was certainly capable of doing the swords, but these are so detailed they might have been added by someone else. IRONJAW we’ve already seen on his own title, though the right leg of the N has been shortened to make room for FEATURING in type. Why this was not simply an issue of IRONJAW I don’t know, but Seaboard continued to swamp the market with titles, perhaps at owner Martin Goodman’s request.

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GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS Jan-May 1975

From PHOENIX #1, Jan 1975, image © Nemesis Group inc.

We’ve come to Gaspar Saladino’s busiest year for logo designs. Not only was he continuing to create them for both DC and Marvel Comics, he was crafting logos for a new line published under the Atlas name, but known as Atlas/Seaboard or simply Seaboard today to avoid confusion with Marvel, who also used the Atlas name in the 1950s. Atlas/Seaboard was begun by Marvel Comics founder Martin Goodman, who had sold his interest in Marvel in 1968 and left the company in 1972. Some saw Atlas/Seaboard as an attempt at revenge against Marvel for failing to keep his son Chip Goodman in charge, others as simply a new business to make money for the Goodman family doing what they knew best. Goodman hired Warren editor Jeff Rovin and Stan Lee’s brother Larry Lieber as editors, and Steve Mitchell (from the DC Comics production department) as Production Manager. Over the course of a year, from fall 1974 to fall 1975, the new company put out a large line of color comics and a smaller one of black and white magazine-size comics. Creators were wary, thinking the plan was too ambitious to succeed (which proved true), so Goodman had to offer top rates and creator-ownership of properties to attract big-name artists and writers. As a comics reader of the time, it was an interesting year trying to keep up with three busy comics publishers of somewhat similar material. Atlas/Seaboard modeled their product on Marvel’s for the most part, and to get a similar look, they hired Gaspar Saladino to design all the logos. I’m sure Gaspar was delighted with this windfall of new logo business, and as usual he rose to the challenge to create many fine logos. The one above is an example, with handsome design elements including a winged X. This character predates the transformation of Marvel’s X-Men character Jean Grey to the character Phoenix by a few years.

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GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS 1974

Images © DC Comics and Marvel respectively. From Marvel’s FEAR #20, Feb 1974.

From the fall of 1973 to the fall of 1974, when books with 1974 cover-dates were being produced, Gaspar Saladino continued to be very busy with all kinds of lettering work for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, including logo designs. This one is for a new Vampire character, Morbius, for which he used standard block letters except for the word MORBIUS itself, which has rough-edged ones. The R in VAMPIRE has the signature Saladino style with the indent on the right side lowered so it looks like a P with the right leg added. I don’t know where Gaspar got that idea, but it stayed with him. THE MAN CALLED looks like type.

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GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS July-Dec 1973

All images © DC Comics except as noted. From ADVENTURE COMICS #428, July-Aug 1973

Moving on through the rest of Saladino’s logos for both DC and Marvel Comics for 1973, we continue with this one, or actually this two. ADVENTURE is Gaspar’s redrawn version of the previous logo by Ira Schnapp. Ira’s was curved, and this straight version makes a better fit with the feature logo below it. BLACK ORCHID is all new and the two words follow the same flag-wave shape, but are in contrasting styles. BLACK is thicker and more square, and filled black with either dry brush or many large pen strokes, while ORCHID is more elegant. I like this logo, I would have suggested the right side of the O be the same width as the left side if anyone asked, but I think both logos work well and I will count them as two for Gaspar.

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GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS Jan-June 1973

From CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1, Jan 1973. Image © Marvel.

In this year, Gaspar was busy designing logos for both Marvel and DC. He was lettering house ads for DC, covers for both DC and Marvel (more for the former), lots of war stories and a sampling of stories from other genres at DC, including his ground-breaking story lettering for SWAMP THING that would win him another Shazam award for his work in this year. Gaspar took on an additional role at Marvel: lettering the first page of stories otherwise lettered by others. Marvel felt Saladino’s skill and creativity would draw in readers, and they were right in my case, even though it was a bait and switch of a sort. Nothing wrong with the lettering on the rest of the stories, but Gaspar’s first page was usually better. He was paid double rate for this, I believe, and somehow he also found time to occasionally letter stories for other publishers like Western, according to the Grand Comics Database, though I haven’t look at them to see what I think. Letterers spend the least amount of time on a comics page of the creative staff, in most cases, allowing them to take on many jobs at almost the same time, and Gaspar had more than two decades of steady work behind him to get fast. Even so, this was a lot to juggle, and I don’t know how he managed it.

The logo for CRYPT OF SHADOWS, above, is similar to other Saladino horror efforts except that it uses some drips at the bottom edges of the letters, in the style of some comics from the past. Perhaps that was intentional and asked for, I don’t know. Marvel did seem to want to remind readers of those horror books from the early 1950s, even using similar titles.

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