GASPAR SALADINO in CLAW THE UNCONQUERED and COPS

All images © DC Comics. From CLAW #1, May-June 1975

These two titles are grouped to create an article of the right length, they have no other connection. CLAW was clearly DC’s attempt to mimic Marvel’s success with Conan, but it did not do as well. It ran to twelve issues, but with a year and a half break between issues 9 and 10. Saladino did not letter any of the stories, but he did letter half the covers. The top line and round blurb on this cover are type, but the beautiful scroll caption with Art Deco-influenced lettering is by Gaspar. It’s a textbook example of making the important words stand out. The logo is by Saladino from a layout by Jim Steranko.

From CLAW #2, July-Aug 1975

The scroll caption on this issue takes a different approach with scary letters for DOOM and tattered and textured paper for the scroll, but the last line does have some Art Deco elements.

From CLAW #5, Jan-Feb 1976

The caption here uses several styles, with calligraphy for SWORD, and scary letters for SORCERY, while the story title is rough and blocky. The caption border is kind of a compromise between a burst and a rectangle. The lettering in the top bar is probably by Joe Letterese, and was used on several covers.

From CLAW #10, April-May 1978

When the book returned after its hiatus, Saladino lettered the final three covers. The image I have of this one is not very good, but the lettering still reads fine. All traces of Art Deco and calligraphy are gone from the captions.

From CLAW #11, June-July 1978

The rough lettering and caption border add to the sense of danger here.

From CLAW #12, Aug-Sept 1978

These are standard cover balloons for Saladino with a burst for emphasis and letters held in red by the colorist and separator to draw attention. There would have been more issues, but the book’s run was cut short by the “DC Implosion” that happened in this year.

From COPS #8, Jan 1989

COPS was a fifteen-issue series from 1988-89 based on an animated TV series. Saladino’s involvement was minimal, he lettered three covers including this one, and one book-length story. Here the thick, rough edge on the balloon suggests a rough voice.

From COPS #9, Feb 1989

The blurb at lower left is a fine example of Saladino’s work, with rough letters above and rough open letters with texture below, though the texture is obscured by the color hold. I see this is credited to me in the Grand Comics Database referencing the Lettering Archives pages on my website. I will fix that, as it’s definitely by Gaspar. Possibly I did something else that wasn’t used.

From COPS #10, March 1989

More fine display lettering on these word balloons by Saladino, keeping them wide to fit in the space.

From COPS #2, Sept 1988

The first page from the only Saladino story lettering in the series with a creative title and energetic sound effect. Some books at DC had regularly assigned letterers, for others it seemed to be “whoever is available,” and that’s probably the case here. Or, the regular letterer couldn’t fit it into his schedule and Gaspar was asked to fill in for him.

To sum up, I found these covers of CLAW THE UNCONQUERED lettered by Saladino: 1, 2, 5, 10-12, six in all, and no stories. For COPS, he lettered covers on issues 8-10, three in all, and the 22-page story in issue #2.

More articles in this series, and others you might like, are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.