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.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Nov 1971

The first story page with a fabulous title by Gaspar. I also like the scroll caption at the top.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Jan 1972

This was probably the most controversial and talked-about of the comics parodies, with more great art by Neal Adams and wonderful title lettering by Saladino. This image is slightly cropped from the original, best I could find.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Jan 1972

Another page of the same story. For some of these comics parodies, the magazine gave the paper an off-white tone to make it look more like regular comic books, as here. Lots of variety in this lettering. Gaspar was Catholic, and I think was particularly worried about being associated with this parody, but he did it anyway. Good for him.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON June 1972

LAMPOON often made comics using photos, as here, it was a regular feature called Foto Funnies, and occasionally used in longer stories like this one. I think this is the only one of those lettered by Saladino. Here he only did the caption lettering in the first panel, the rest is by whoever did the art. The staff must have seen the value of Gaspar’s contribution, and began using him more often and in more places. He might have lettered a few of the one-page Foto Funnies too, but I’m not sure about those, so I won’t count them.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON June 1972

Another page of the same story with a nice variety of lettering, which would have been done on vellum overlays most likely, and combined with the page photographically, or possibly it was lettered on thin art paper, then cut out and pasted on the pages.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON July 1972

On this story, Saladino works with another veteran comics artist, Gray Morrow, who he would have known from his work at DC Comics. For regular comics like this, Gaspar would have lettered on the penciled pages.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Nov 1972

Artist Frank Springer did lots of these comics parodies for the magazine, sometimes lettering the pages himself I think, or they were lettered by others, but Gaspar also worked with him quite a few times, as here. Lots of lettering work on this page, but the magazine paid well, better than regular comics, so I imagine it was okay with everyone involved.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Dec 1972

Another story with Springer, who probably did the title himself.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Dec 1972

In the same issue, SoO-God was back for a second appearance, this time with a cover by Neal Adams, and lots of fine Saladino lettering, including the logo.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Dec 1972

The first story page has another version of the logo and a fine title by Gaspar.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Dec 1972

He also worked on this faux letters page, doing the header and next issue cover lettering.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Oct 1973

The art on this story is credited to Francis Hollidge, which was a pen name of Frank Springer. The story title and part of the top banner are type, but there’s lots of other lettering by Saladino, including on the signs.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Nov 1973

Another story with Frank Springer with a fine title and lots of word balloons, often a sign of a writer not used to writing comics.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Jan 1974

Another Frank Springer art job. Perhaps he also had decided to distance himself a bit from the content. The title here is very Gaspar.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON May 1974

How to make this feature even more shocking (and funny)? Pit the character against Bob Dylan! Here Gaspar designed the Zimmerman logo. The art is not quite like the Adams art shown previously, perhaps it’s by someone else or Adams worked with another artist on it.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON May 1974

The first story page. There are no writing or art credits this time, though it looks like Neal Adams art to me. There were more Son-O-God stories after this, but they weren’t lettered by Saladino.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Nov 1974

Another story with art by Frank Springer, using his own name this time. The title is cleverly done.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Jan 1975

This Springer story has a beautiful logo and story title by Saladino.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON March 1976

This faux cover has a fine title by Gaspar, though the banner is done with type.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON March 1976

The first page from the same story, art by Frank Springer.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON Jan 1980

After a few years away, Gaspar came back in 1980 for two more comics parodies. This one seems sure to offend some readers as the magazine got more strident and perhaps desperate to stay shocking. The writer, John Hughes, moved into film directing a few years later.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON March 1980

Saladino was the perfect choice for this romance comic parody, and his logo is handsome, though not romantic.

From NATIONAL LAMPOON March 1980

The first story page inside. The art is by comics veteran George Evans, and it’s probably the only time he drew naked women for publication.

To sum up, here are the stories lettered by Gaspar, I’ll include covers and story pages together.

Nov 1971: Dragula 10pp

Jan 1972: Son-O-God #1 9pp

June 1972: Peril From the Clouds 6pp

July 1972: New Guinea Pig 8pp

Nov 1972: Demo-Derby 3pp

Dec 1972: Chess Piece 7pp, Son-O-God #2 10pp

Oct 1973: G. Gordon Liddy 8pp

Nov 1973: Brian’s Ballad 5pp

Jan 1974: Attack of the Sizeable Beasts 5pp

May 1974: Son-O-God Vs. Zimmerman 5pp

Nov 1974: Prison Farm 7pp

Jan 1975: Salvation Army 6pp

March 1975: Turtle Farms 4pp

Jan 1980: Civil War 4pp

March 1980: First Divorce 4pp

That’s a total of 101 pages. More articles about Gaspar Saladino lettering are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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