GASPAR SALADINO and WALLY WOOD

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-25

This blog post is about the comic strips CANNON and SALLY FORTH produced by Wally Wood for an overseas US Military newspaper, not an official one. I could have added them to the other Saladino newspaper strips HERE, but I have very little information about the newspaper they appeared in, “Overseas Weekly” published in Germany, and I haven’t found any printed examples online. My main source of information on the strips is original art on the Heritage Auctions site and reprints published in the US in later years. Gaspar didn’t letter all the strips, in fact less than a quarter of them. He was doing both strips for Wood directly around 1971-72. The strips were full of nudity to appeal to young men in the Army, but otherwise more of a tease than anything. CANNON was a spy adventure story, while SALLY FORTH had more humor and fantasy elements. The art by Wood (and assistants) is beautiful, and Gaspar’s work on it looks great. These were large, about 17 by 23 inches, the size of a Sunday newspaper strip, and each one was done in two parts on two pieces of regular comics art paper, so I consider each strip the equivalent of two pages of Gaspar lettering. I can’t show an entire strip because that would make the lettering too small to see well, so I’m going to show selected panels from the original art I’ve found. The ones above are from the first strip that Saladino lettered. The CANNON strips are each numbered beginning with C, so C-25 is the twenty-fifth one. As you can see, some stories played up the drama, while others were lighter.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-26

The strips are copyrighted by W. Wood and Richter, Inc. Wood assistant Larry Hama told me that Richter Enterprises, Inc. was the publisher of Overseas Weekly, so they shared the copyright with Wally. Richter bought the rights to the newspaper from the founder Marion von Rospach after her death in 1970. I don’t know how that affected later reprints, but it probably didn’t, as Richter was in Germany while the reprints were done in the US. The military art was terrific, as seen here.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-27

More great military art, though readers were probably more interested in the naked woman. Wood often had assistants, but I’m guessing he did a lot of the art on the strip early on, and probably lettered the earliest ones too, he was a fine letterer. Larry Hama told me that, like myself and many others, he modeled his lettering after Gaspar’s.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-37

The passport text in the first panel here should have been typeset, but that probably wasn’t an easy option, so Gaspar just lettered it in upper and lower case. It works fine.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C42

Here’s about half of a full page. I’m guessing the strips were only run in black and white, so Wood or an assistant added zipatone dot patterns to provide grays. Everything here is lettered by Saladino except for the Wood logo and the small poster lettering, also by Wood.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-45

This original art shows pencils done in light blue, which didn’t photograph, so didn’t need to be erased, saving a little time.

From CANNON BY WALLY WOOD #C-50

Gaspar lettered all the strips from C-25 to C-46 as far as I can discover. I think C-47 was by someone else, then Saladino continued with C-48 to C-52. The thought balloon on this panel could have cleared the woman’s head if moved right a bit, but Gaspar probably just put it where Wood indicated he wanted it.

From SALLY FORTH BY WALLY WOOD #S-25

This strip, which also ran in “Overseas Weekly,” was definitely meant to be funny as well as sexy, as you can see from the art style. That’s Sally in the center of the group in panel one. The logo is again by Wood, and I think he also did the POOF! sound effect. Instead of C numbers, this strip had S numbers, so this is the twenty-fifth strip, and again the first one I found lettered by Saladino. That suggests both strips began at the same time and that Gaspar started lettering both for Wood at the same point, as his first CANNON strip was C-25.

From SALLY FORTH BY WALLY WOOD #S-28

While played for humor, the art is still full of effective details and military equipment, as here. Again, this sound effect looks like it’s by Wood.

From SALLY FORTH #S-34

A wider example to show more of the great art. The characters were cartoony, but the planes are realistic, an interesting combination. Note the characteristic Saladino lower case letters for Heh! Heh! in the second panel.

From SALLY FORTH #S-38

These panels show off Gaspar’s lettering well, and how about that Wright Brothers plane?

From SALLY FORTH #S-40

I love the sick mouse in this first panel. Oh, and though I’m not showing it, Sally herself is often nude in the strip for no apparent reason.

From SALLY FORTH #S-45

Here’s Sally again uncharacteristically wearing underwear. In addition to military humor, this strip included parodies of other sorts, like one here for the film “The Wolfman.”

From SALLY FORTH #S-51

And here, a parody of “King Kong.” The quality of this image is poor, but you can see it’s the kind of thing Wood might have done for MAD back in the early 1950s, but with nudity. I think all the sound effects are by Wood. On this strip, Gaspar lettered numbers S-25 to S-46, then there’s a few by someone else, then he returned for S-50 to S-52, so about the same as on CANNON. It’s possible I missed one or two. Later letterers of the strip include Alan Kupperberg and Larry Hama.

To sum up, here are the details of Saladino’s lettering.

CANNON C-25 to C-46, C-48 to C-52, 27 strips

SALLY FORTH S-25 to S-46, S-50 to S-52, 25 strips.

If, as I suggest, you count each of these large pages as the equivalent of two pages of comics lettering, that would be about 104 pages. More articles about Gaspar’s lettering can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of by blog.

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