GASPAR SALADINO in ALL-STAR SQUADRON and AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY

All images © DC Comics. From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #1, Sept 1981

As you might have noticed, I’m trying to do these alphabetically, and where Gaspar lettered only a few covers it’s hard to justify a separate article. These books share some characters, so it seems to work covering both. Saladino was the main cover letterer for DC from 1968 to 1978, and he did plenty of covers after that, too, but was not as dominant, as I was also doing some, as were Joe Letterese and others occasionally. I’m sure Roy Thomas, the writer of these books, wanted Gaspar to letter his covers as often as possible, and he did. This first one features his appealing logo as well his cover lettering in three areas, and he might have lettered the character names too, it looks like it to me. Saladino had been lettering Justice Society stories in ALL-STAR COMICS when the original series ended in 1951. He was a good choice to letter this new incarnation, but probably he was too busy to do the stories, so was only lettering the covers.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #5, Jan 1982

The lettering on this cover by Saladino looks fine except for the black arrow at upper left. The color separator forgot to reverse some of the lettering that should have appeared there in white or yellow. INTRODUCING should have gone above FIRE-BRAND, and below it was meant to read THE HOTTEST NEW HEROINE OF ALL! The corrected arrow was shown on the letters page of issue #6.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #14, Oct 1982

A time-tested method of getting many characters on a cover was to line up head shots along the edges, and that’s what cover artist Joe Kubert did here. Gaspar’s lettering appears in two nice banners at the top, the rest is typeset.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #22, June 1983

Again, Saladino’s lettering here is all at the top, leaving the bottom two thirds for the fine art by Ordway and Machlan. Gaspar could always be counted on to add style and variety to character names.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #35, July 1984

More expressive character names on this cover, and lots of energy in both the burst and the banner at the bottom, where Gaspar adds a new version of his All-Star logo.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #50, Oct 1985

The first major crossover event at DC was CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, and it impacted every title, including this one. Gaspar finds room for three appealing captions on this busy cover.

From ALL-STAR SQUADRON #64, Dec 1986

This is a fun cover idea, and Saladino’s lettering helps make it work. This title ended with issue #67, a long and successful run. Longer than the original Justice Society appearances in ALL-STAR COMICS, in fact.

From AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #1, Jan 1985

Speaking of the Justice Society, Roy Thomas also kept them in the public eye in this four-issue series with more fine cover lettering by Saladino. Long-time DC fans loved this sort of thing, but newer ones found it confusing, and the Golden Age characters were written out of DC continuity for a while after CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

From AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #4, April 1985

Just one blurb by Saladino on this final issue. Later decades brought back the Golden Age superheroes, so they were not gone forever.

To sum up, Gaspar Saladino lettered the following covers of ALL-STAR SQUADRON: 1-9, 11-32, 35-53, 55-64, 66-67 and Annual #2. That’s 63 in all. And he lettered all four covers of AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Other articles in this series, and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in ALL-STAR SQUADRON and AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY

  1. Robert McKercher

    I’ve been enjoying these series immensely. Thank you. Something I would find informative and fun would be a side-by-side comparison of word-balloon lettering from various noted letterers with your comments what you see as their distinguishing/identifying characteristics. Again, thank you for this blog. It’s great fun and I learn a lot.

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