Here we go with articles about the lettering work of Gaspar Saladino on covers and story pages for Marvel Comics in the 1970s and 1980s. I’ve already covered his Marvel work from 1967-1968, as well as his Marvel logos and house ads, which can be found on the linked pages. The challenges faced in identifying his work at Marvel in these years is different from those I faced for his DC Comics work. For covers, his main competition early in the 1970s was Artie Simek and Sam Rosen, whose styles are quite different from Saladino, so easy to pass by, but Danny Crespi also started doing cover lettering in the early 1970s, and at times his work is closer to Gaspar’s than either Simek or Rosen. I’ve written lots about Danny’s cover lettering beginning HERE. He may, in fact, have been imitating Gaspar on occasion. Generally Crespi’s cover lettering is more rounded than Saladino’s, but there are times when it’s hard to tell them apart. I’ll make the best call I can on each cover, some will probably be wrong, and if I’m not sure, I won’t count them for Gaspar. In the late 1970s, there’s another problem when Jim Novak is working at Marvel, because he imitated Saladino’s styles very closely, even copying style points no one else was using, but so far I’ve found his style is different enough from Gaspar’s work at the time to make a confident judgements. Again, if I’m not sure I won’t call them for Gaspar. As far as inside pages, it’s much easier there, because all stories are credited. Gaspar sometimes used pen names like L.P. Gregory, but his style is easy to pick out, and anything by Jim Novak would have his name on it. There is one slightly tricky point: Saladino was often asked to letter just the first page of stories otherwise lettered by others, including that person’s name as letterer, but these are also usually easy to spot, as the style of the other pages is quite different. So onward, covers first, then inside pages. AMAZING ADVENTURES is the first title alphabetically, and the lettering on the cover above, which also features his logo for THE BEAST, seems clearly in his style to me.
With the next issue, this science fiction feature began. The lettering in the circle at top right is easy to identify as Saladino, as it uses his wide, angular balloon lettering, and the bottom caption is also by him, note his style point of the upper right leg of the K in KILLRAVEN ending in an angle. The type caption was probably added later by someone else.
On this cover, the round blurb looks like Gaspar’s work to me, I’m not as sure about the word balloons, but I think they’re by Saladino. Usually one person did all the cover lettering for a comic, but at Marvel there seem to be more split decisions, perhaps due to last-minute additions or editorial changes after the first round was done.
The lettering on this one looks like Saladino to me, not sure why type is used in the blurb on the left, possibly the wording was changed after the cover lettering was turned in, but Gaspar did sometimes use type in this way, either press-down type or headline type from a headline machine.
This is a tough call. Some things suggest Saladino, but the heavy balloon borders are not something he did often, and the heavy outline around the second line in the caption is also unlike his work. Probably by Crespi, not calling it for Gaspar.
Another tough call. The treatment of RATTACK looks like Saladino, but the bottom caption doesn’t as much, though it may be distorted by the reverse photostat to make the lettering yellow on black. I’m calling it for Saladino.
Both blurbs here look like Gaspar’s work to me.
These blurbs are by Saladino, note the handsome script in the circle, which is similar to his handwriting.
Both these blurbs are by Saladino, the rounded E’s in the top one are something he often did for science fiction covers.
Saladino’s final cover lettering for the series, this is all very much in his style, though the top blurb might have been reduced, there seems to be too much open space in the caption around the lettering.
The first example of page 1 only lettering by Saladino on this title. The repeating top blurb above the credits is by someone else, the rest is by Gaspar. See below for a page actually lettered by Charlotte Jetter, the credited person.
Another page from the story lettered by Jetter, and looking quite different. I think Gaspar was paid extra, maybe double his page rate, for these page one jobs, which certainly make the story more inviting to read to my eye.
Another page 1 only job with a strong, effective Saladino title. The letterer of the rest was Karen Mantlo, wife of writer Bill Mantlo.
The final page 1 example from this book with another creative story title.
To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 17-18, 20-21, 23-25, 27, 31. That’s nine in all. Below are the details of his story lettering.
#22 Jan 1974: page 1 only
#33 Nov 1975: page 1 only
#36 May 1976: page 1 only
Other articles about Saladino’s lettering are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.