GASPAR SALADINO in BAT LASH

All images © DC Comics. From BAT LASH #1, Oct-Nov 1968

After a SHOWCASE appearance, this humorous western adventure series gained its own title which lasted seven issues. The approach was similar to the TV show “Maverick,” a reluctant gun fighter who would rather gamble and spend time with ladies. Gaspar Saladino designed the logo and the top tag line, which had already appeared in several house ads and the SHOWCASE issue, so I’m not sure if this is the first appearance in this exact style. I’m going to count it for him anyway. Saladino also lettered a few more covers and nearly all the story pages in the book.

From BAT LASH #5, June-July 1969

Throughout the book, western wanted poster letters were often used in sound effects, and are seen here in the balloon on DRAW. The logo used a similar style, of course, and it gave the book’s lettering a cohesive feel.

From BAT LASH #6, Aug-Sept 1969

Here the mood is a somber one, perhaps an attempt to draw new readers. The thought balloon uses display lettering but with lots of air around it, an interesting choice.

From BAT LASH #7, Oct-Nov 1969

More of that wanted poster lettering at the top and on an actual wanted poster on this final cover of the series.

From BAT LASH #1, Oct-Nov 1968

Some examples of the same style inside the book as sound effects, and there are several other unique approaches in the lettering. The panels are all round-cornered (letterers usually inked panel borders then), with some balloons open at those borders, and the last balloon mirrors the panel shapes, almost a rectangle with rounded corners. This all served to give the book a more open feel than many DC titles at the time.

From BAT LASH #2, Dec 1968-Jan 1969

All those style points are seen here as well as an unusual burst balloon shape and some music.

From BAT LASH #3, Feb-March 1969

This splash page has a large, dynamic burst with the character’s name. Unfortunately, the speaker’s head is off-panel, so the tail has to go to his arm. Notice the even more rectangular balloons below. That was something Gaspar was trying at the time, it didn’t last too long.

From BAT LASH #5, June-July 1969

This splash page has another dynamic character name and a large credit box that might have been a late addition. I think it’s by Saladino, and I don’t think I’ve seen the artist referred to as “Nicky” anywhere else. That might have been editor Joe Orlando’s wording. Credits were still not appearing on many DC books, nice to see them here, though of course Saladino’s name is not there. He wouldn’t start getting credited until 1977.

From BAT LASH #6, Aug-Sept 1969

More wanted poster sound effects and an unusual wavy border on the last panel, perhaps to add to the drama. This was a clever and appealing series, too bad it didn’t sell well enough to last longer.

To sum up, Saladino lettered these covers: 1, 5-7, four in all, and below are his story lettering credits:

#1 Oct-Nov 1968: 24pp

#2 Dec 1968-Jan 1969: 24pp

#3 Feb-March 1969: 24pp

#4 April-May 1969: 23pp

#5 June-July 1969: pages 1-14 only

#6 Aug-Sept 1969: 24pp

#7 Oct-Nov 1969: 22pp

That’s a total of 155 pages. Other articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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