GASPAR SALADINO in BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY and THE BOOK OF FATE

All images © DC Comics. From BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY #5, May-June 1968

Once again I’ve grouped these two titles only because of their alphabetical proximity, they have no other connection. BOMBA was one of many short-lived series from DC at the end of the 1960s. It was based on a series of low-budget films, themselves based on a series of boys’ adventure books, and clearly an attempt to interest fans of Tarzan before DC got the license to do Tarzan comics. Saladino’s involvement was brief. He lettered this cover with a large, effective caption. The logo is by Ira Schnapp, who had lettered the previous covers.

From BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY #7, Sept-Oct 1968

He also lettered the final cover under a new logo he had designed for the previous issue. The cover art is interesting, but I can’t say the lettering is very successful. It all follows the same arc, but the vertical angle is different on each line, making it rather a mess.

From BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY #6, July-Aug 1968

One other bit of Saladino lettering is on the final story page of issue #6, a large Next Issue blurb. The rest of the story is lettered by someone else, I think Ben Oda. Perhaps this blurb wasn’t written yet when Ben did the story lettering, and Gaspar was available, so he was asked to do it. I actually like this Bomba logo better than either of the cover versions.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #1, Feb 1997

In the 1990s, Gaspar was not often asked to do cover lettering or house ads, as ideas about what DC wanted in those areas had changed, but he was still lettering stories regularly. This book was a continuation of FATE, and ran for twelve issues. Saladino lettered all the stories. On this page from the first issue is the credit box with his frequent credit of just his first name in upper and lower case, similar to his handwriting.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #3, April 1997

In 1997, Saladino turned 70 years old, and his balloon lettering had begun to show some subtle signs of age in its looser and more angular look, but his skill with display lettering was undiminished. The open letters in the top burst, and especially the large sound effect on this page attest to that.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #4, May 1997

Saladino’s huge title is the star of this page, and is beautifully done, with great contrast in the word WAR against the skillful block letters of the rest.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #7, Aug 1997

This page shows an example of Gaspar’s scary open lettering in the last panel. It works well at this large size against the busy background art.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #8, Sept 1997

At this time, more and more comics were being lettered digitally with comic book fonts. Here Saladino shows that he could do things by hand that would be difficult or impossible to do digitally. Even though the corner of the D in DEAD is cut off, it still reads fine.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #9, Oct 1997

Another clever story title that incorporates a visual tag in a way few others would have thought of, and perhaps no one else could have made work so well. The shape of the W in SWISS is particularly creative.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #11, Dec 1997

At the time, Lobo was writer/artist Keith Giffen’s most popular character, and I suspect he was brought into this title as an attempt to boost sales. His rude manner and lousy singing gave Saladino some chances to add humor in the lettering.

From THE BOOK OF FATE #12, Jan 1998

Perhaps it was too late, or it didn’t work, as this was the last issue, sporting another appealing title by Saladino.

To sum up, Gaspar lettered two covers for BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY, 5 and 7, and that next issue blurb for issue #6.

Here are the details of his work on THE BOOK OF FATE:

#1 Feb 1997: 22pp

#2 March 1997: 22pp

#3 April 1997: 22pp

#4 May 1997: 22pp

#5 June 1997: 22pp

#6 July 1997: 22pp

#7 Aug 1997: 22pp

#8 Sept 1997: 22pp

#9 Oct 1997: 22pp

#10 Nov 1997: 22pp

#11 Dec 1997: 22pp

#12 Jan 1998: 22pp

That’s 264 pages in all. More articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog with others you might enjoy.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY and THE BOOK OF FATE

  1. Alissa M.

    Oh my god, I was hoping you’d do a post on The Book of Fate — it’s one of my favourite series & I absolutely adore Gaspar’s lettering in it. Love this!

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