GASPAR SALADINO at APPLE, ARIA, DARK HORSE & TRIAD

All images © the respective copyright holders. From MR. FIXITT #1, Jan 1989, Apple Comics

This article covers four publishers for which Gaspar Saladino did a small amount of lettering work. Artist Howard Bender worked for several years in the Marvel Comics production department and several more at DC Comics, where we worked together. In 1988 he and writer Craig Boldman created MR. FIXITT for Apple Comics (unrelated to the computer company). There was an ashcan preview and two regular issues. Howard told me: “Gaspar and I were friendly, and he had been to my home. Even so, it was still good of him to consent to letter the logo and first two issues of Mr. Fixitt.” On the cover above, which has a similar design to some of the 1960s DC Comics annuals, there’s a great deal of fine lettering by Saladino, who also did the logo based on Howard’s concept. The lettering adds charm and energy.

From MR. FIXITT #1, Jan 1989, Apple Comics

I’m going to show a few pages from each issue, as I find the art and lettering very appealing. Howard pointed out that Gaspar did all the sound effects and signs as well as the balloons, but I can tell that from the style, and there’s plenty of both here.

From MR. FIXITT #1, Jan 1989, pages 2-3, Apple Comics

Here’s the title spread with a fine Saladino title going across the center. Making the letters black helps them stand out on the black and white art, while the thin outlines around it keep it separate from the art. Note the special balloon style for the robot in the first panel.

From MR. FIXITT #2, March 1990, Apple Comics

The second issue had no new Saladino lettering on the cover, but did repeat some of the blurbs from the first one. This first story page is easy to read because Gaspar creates a clear trail through it with his word balloons.

From MR. FIXITT #2, March 1990, Apple Comics

Another story page shows Saladino skillfully moving in and out of narrative captions as the main character explains the plot.

From MR. FIXITT #2, March 1990, Apple Comics

And this one has more great sound effects, special styles and even music!

From A DISTANT SOIL #1, June 1991, Aria Press

Colleen Doran’s epic fantasy series A DISTANT SOIL had a troubled early publishing history, which you can read about HERE. In 1991, Colleen decided to self-publish, beginning again from the start with new art. In the first issue, Gaspar lettered five pages, while some were by Bob Pinaha and perhaps others. Colleen told me: “I realized I could not afford to continue with a letterer, and so ended up redoing it all later. I thought he was fantastic tho. Really wish I could have kept him on, but I just couldn’t afford it. My own lettering was TERRIBLE.” There were two stories in the issue, for the one above, Saladino lettered just the first page.

From A DISTANT SOIL #1, June 1991, Aria Press

For the second story, “Seasons of Spring,” Gaspar lettered this first page, which has charming nature art by Colleen. Note the lower case “ahh” in the second balloon, typical of Saladino.

From A DISTANT SOIL #1, June 1991, Aria Press

The second page of the story with just the title I think was lettered by Colleen, at least it’s not by Gaspar. He did page 3 of the story, above, and pages 4-5, the rest is by someone else.

From DARK HORSE PRESENTS #56, Nov 1991, Dark Horse Comics

This long-running anthology introduced a wide variety of properties, some of which went on to their own series, some did not. “Fancies,” a fantasy by writer Jo Duffy and artist Joven Chacon had only two chapters, both lettered by Gaspar. How that came to be I don’t know, but he would have met Duffy when she was an assistant editor to Archie Goodwin at Marvel Comics in the late 1970s. The story title is type, and I’m not sure if the sign lettering is by Saladino or the artist.

From DARK HORSE PRESENTS #58, Jan 1992, Dark Horse Comics

There’s more Gaspar lettering on the first page of the second story, though the title is again type. Too bad there wasn’t more of this, it looks good.

From THE HONEYMOONERS #3, Oct 1987

Triad Publications seems to be a spinoff from David Singer’s publishing efforts in the 1980s, with Norman Abramoff as executive editor and plotter of this nostalgic return to “The Honeymooners,” the Jackie Gleason comedy TV show of the 1950s. Despite the ambitious “no. 3 of 24” on this cover, it ran to 12 issues. Gaspar Saladino did no work on covers, but lettered stories in issues 3 and 5.

From THE HONEYMOONERS #3, Oct 1987

This story was split between three letterers, with Saladino doing the first and largest part, suggesting a tight deadline. The balloon shapes are by the inker/colorist Vince Musacchia, and look nothing like Gaspar’s work, but the lettering in the balloons is clearly by him, note his typical upper and lower case style in the first caption and at lower left.

From THE HONEYMOONERS #5, Feb 1988

Gaspar also lettered the entire story in issue #5. Unfortunately something went amiss in either the art scanning or the printing, and all the black line work and lettering is too dark and somewhat run together. The balloon shapes are by Saladino this time, but he didn’t do the titles.

From THE HONEYMOONERS #5, Feb 1988

Just this one page got close to the correct amount of black ink in this copy, though of course it might have been a problem with only part of the print run and this book is a bad example. After this, I think all the stories were lettered by Tim Harkins.

To sum up, Saladino lettered the cover of MR. FIXITT #1 and the following stories.

MR. FIXITT #1: 28pp, #2: 20pp

A DISTANT SOIL #1 (1991): 5pp

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #56: 8pp, #58: 4pp

THE HONEYMOONERS #3: pp 1-19, #5 24pp

That’s 108 pages in all. More articles about Gaspar Saladino lettering can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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