GASPAR SALADINO in AMETHYST

All images © DC Comics. From AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD #1, May 1983

Amethyst was a fantasy series begun in 1983, created by writers Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn and artist Ernie Colón, about a girl from our world who enters a fantasy gem world as a princess in danger from powerful enemies. Gaspar Saladino only lettered covers for the feature through several series, and one single-issue logo. I will show most of them here. The interior letterer was often John Costanza. The first series was a limited 12-issue one, and Saladino lettered the top line above the logo I designed. Many covers of this first series had no lettering.

From AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD #7, Nov 1983

One exception was this interesting cover blurb on issue #7 where Gaspar used one of his horror styles to add to the creepiness. The first series went over well with readers, and an ongoing series was begun in 1984.

From AMETHYST #1, Jan 1985

Though the logo is the same, this series was simply called AMETHYST. Ernie Colón was still involved, but he did considerably less of the art after doing all of it on the first series. Other artists worked on some of the covers and interiors, like Paris Cullins and Romeo Tanghal on this cover. Saladino did a nice banner above the logo, though the dark color makes it hard to see the banner.

From AMETHYST #3, March 1985

More of the covers in this series have lettering by Saladino, though not all. The caption seen here is one of the best examples with creative, expressive designs for the words FIRE and JADE.

From AMETHYST #4, April 1985

Some covers only require word balloons, and Gaspar’s were always effective, helping tell the story.

From AMETHYST #5, May 1985

And here’s another with emphasis on the important words. Cover lettering was generally done on separate, thinner art paper, and DC’s production staffers like Bob LeRose would order photostats from DC’s darkroom photographer Shelly Eiber at the size they thought worked best. The photostats were cut out and pasted onto the art. In this case, I would have made the word balloon a little larger. Gaspar generally did not get consulted on such things.

From AMETHYST #7, July 1985

Here’s another case where I would have made Saladino’s story title larger. It seems like there’s plenty of room, and it would have been more effective. I did work on cover assembly from time to time when I was on staff, but not often. Most of the time I was doing corrections on story pages.

From AMETHYST #8, Aug 1985

On this one I like the lettering size better, as it matches the width of the logo. Editor Karen Berger would also have had a say in such things. Assembled covers would be shown to her for approval, and if she wanted the lettering changed in size or position, that would be done.

From AMETHYST #9, Sept 1985

Ernie Colón was back on covers with this issue, and his art and the Saladino lettering look fine to me.

From AMETHYST #11, Nov 1985

This cover has no cover lettering, but I thought I’d show it for Gaspar’s wonderful logo done just for this issue. I’ve already shown it in my articles on his logos, but I love it and couldn’t pass up the chance to show it again. I don’t know if Saladino was paid a logo rate for this, as it might have been considered cover lettering instead, but I hope so, and he probably was.

From AMETHYST #14, April 1986

Nothing like weird open lettering surrounded by a menacing black shadow to up the tension! I really liked it when Saladino went in this direction, loose and angular.

From AMETHYST #15, June 1986

There’s more of that on this cover for FLAW and THE CHILD over the more standard block letters of APOCALYPSE.

From AMETHYST #16, Aug 1986

The series was cancelled abruptly, and this was the final regular issue. It had already dropped from monthly to bimonthly, never a good sign. Storylines were left unfinished, but they did get resolved in the issue below.

From AMETHYST SPECIAL #1, Oct 1986

An annual-sized book allowed Mishkin and Cohn as well as artist Ernie Colón to wrap up their ideas for the series, and it featured a beautiful scroll caption by Gaspar. The book also introduced another creative team that would handle the next short series.

From AMETHYST #1, Nov 1987

Writers Keith Giffen and Mindy Newell were joined by legendary Spanish artist Esteban Maroto for this miniseries, and Gaspar Saladino once again handled the cover lettering perfectly.

From AMETHYST #2, Dec 1987

I love both the art by Maroto and the lettering on these covers, so I’m going to show all of them. Cover coloring probably by Tatjana Wood really enhances the art and the lettering here, and Gaspar goes the extra mile to imitate my complex logo in the first caption.

From AMETHYST #3, Jan 1988

Here’s another fine example of Gaspar’s creative title lettering with added texture to make it even better.

From AMETHYST #4, Feb 1988

The final issue for this team, and the final Amethyst lettering for Saladino. The dark purple in the letters makes them a bit hard to read, but this still works fine.

To sum up, Gaspar lettered 17 Amethyst covers. Other articles in this series, and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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