GASPAR SALADINO in CAPT. STORM

All images © DC Comics. From CAPT. STORM #1, July-Aug 1964

In the early 1950s, editor and writer Robert Kanigher had taken on the war comics genre at DC and made it a great success. In 1964-65, he tried this new war title and had less success with it, it lasted only 18 issues. Kanigher’s favorite letterer was Gaspar Saladino, and Gaspar lettered stories in ten of the issues as well as two covers, filling in for regular DC cover letterer Ira Schnapp. The first of those is above. Unlike others who occasionally filled in for Ira, Saladino did not usually try to imitate him slavishly, but used his own tried and true styles from the inside pages he’d been doing at DC since late 1949. His balloon and caption lettering is wider and more angular than Schnapp’s, and his open letter title is also more angular than most of Ira’s.

From CAPT. STORM #16, Nov-Dec 1966

Gaspar’s second cover is full of action and drama, and so is his large caption. I don’t know why this title didn’t last longer, but I don’t think it was due to the art or lettering.

From CAPT. STORM #1, May-June 1964

The first issue had a book-length story with great Saladino lettering. War stories were his specialty at DC, he seemed to like doing them, and editor Kanigher used him whenever possible, though by this time Gaspar was also busy lettering many of editor Julius Schwartz’ superhero titles. Note Gaspar’s distinctive R in KILLER with a right leg that seems to be attached to a P, in other words, with the notch below the center of the horizontal bar.

From CAPT. STORM #2, July-Aug 1964

Saladino’s sound effects were often large and exciting, as on this page.

From CAPT. STORM #4, Nov-Dec 1964

More impressive action and exciting sound effects here. Saladino’s balloon and caption lettering was wider and a bit larger than most other DC letterers of the time, but the artist has left room for it so it doesn’t feel crowded. The wavy borders on some captions are just a way for Saladino to add interest.

From CAPT. STORM #6, March-April 1965

Some artists preferred to add their own sound effects when doing the art, and I think that was the case on this page with artist Irv Novick, as the letter shapes are not typical of Saladino, though he might have inked them. Gaspar preferred block letters on many of his war story titles, as here, but he still adds variety with some solid black and smaller sizes. Again note his characteristic R.

From CAPT. STORM #11, Jan-Feb 1966

On the other hand, if there was a way to visually enhance the title with a lettering effect, Gaspar would go for it, as with HOT in this one. I don’t think anyone has done better flaming letters than him, you can see them being consumed and turning to ash.

To sum up, Saladino lettered two covers on CAPT. STORM: 2 and 16, and the following stories. Where he did only one of two, the story number is in parentheses. In some cases the second story might be a reprint he lettered previously, but that won’t count here.

#1 May-June 1964 25pp

#2 July-Aug 1964: 15pp (1), Private Diary 1pp

#3 Sept-Oct 1964: 9pp (2)

#4 Nov-Dec 1964: 15pp, 9pp

#5 Jan-Feb 1965: 25pp

#6 March-April 1965: 15pp (1)

#7 May-June 1965: 15pp (1)

#8 July-Aug 1965: 14pp (1)

#11 Jan-Feb 1966: 15pp (1)

#12 March-April 1966: 15pp (1)

That’s a total of 173 pages on this title. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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