GASPAR SALADINO in DAREDEVIL Part 1

All images © Marvel. From DAREDEVIL #96, Feb 1973

This title was a popular one for Marvel Comics, running 381 issues from 1964 to 1998, and more revivals later. As with other Marvel books of the 1970s, Gaspar Saladino lettered a number of covers and many page 1’s where other letterers did the rest. Artie Simek and Sam Rosen had been the mainstays of Marvel lettering since the early 1960s, but Rosen stopped lettering at the end of 1972, leaving room for others to take some of that work. In addition to Saladino, Marvel staffer Danny Crespi lettered many of the covers in this period. His work is generally more rounded than Gaspar’s, but at times it can be a tough call between them. I will look at covers in this article, and inside pages in Part 2. On the cover above, Gaspar’s wide angular balloon lettering and rough balloon shapes are diagnostic of his work, and the bottom blurb also has his sharp corners and rough energy.

From DAREDEVIL #98, April 1973

The letter shapes used in the second and third lines of the bottom caption here are typical of Gaspar’s work, though the filled in and reversed lettering makes it a bit harder to be sure about the top line. The balloon lettering is all Saladino.

From DAREDEVIL #101, July 1973

The treatment of SCREAMER here is pure Saladino.

From DAREDEVIL #104, Oct 1973

This all looks like Saladino’s work except the heavy outlines on the thought balloons, but those might have been added to by someone else.

From DAREDEVIL #105, Nov 1973

This was a harder call than some, but the treatment of THE SCREAMER and the angular shapes of the open letters point to Gaspar.

From DAREDEVIL #106, Dec 1973

Lots of Saladino style on this cover, though the heavy border on the burst is not typical, and has some odd points. That may have been adjusted by someone else, or it might have been a double border that was filled with black.

From DAREDEVIL #108, March 1974

The bottom banner is full of Saladino style, the sharp points and rough edges around BEETLE for instance. He also did the upper right caption that was reused on later issues, and the curved arrow caption is also typical.

From DAREDEVIL #110, June 1974

Another curved arrow caption. Others used them, but not often. “The Master” is the nickname letterer Jim Novak coined for Gaspar.

From DAREDEVIL #112, Aug 1974

If you compare these covers with ones I haven’t included, you’ll see many lettered by Danny Crespi, and some by others as well. Artie Simek was still doing some Marvel cover lettering, but he passed in 1975. This square caption is somewhat in Sam Rosen’s style.

From DAREDEVIL #113, Sept 1974

The unusual angles in STRIKES BACK are the kind of creative thinking Saladino was known for.

From DAREDEVIL #114, Oct 1974

Gaspar includes a small version of his MAN-THING logo in the caption on the left.

From DAREDEVIL #115, Nov 1974

This is all by Saladino, but NIGHT OF THE is type, perhaps press-down letters, something he used occasionally for variety or to save time.

From DAREDEVIL #116, Dec 1974

The large rectangular balloon here with open display lettering is an odd choice. I think it was meant to be a caption, and someone added the tail.

From DAREDEVIL #117, Jan 1975

Saladino’s lettering is always full of energy, adding to the drama.

From DAREDEVIL #124, Aug 1975

The balloons on this cover are certainly by Saladino, I’m not sure about the caption, but it might be. Type again on the first line there.

From DAREDEVIL #129, Jan 1976

Gaspar sometimes went with almost rectangular word balloons if things fit better that way.

From DAREDEVIL #131, March 1976

On Gaspar’s final cover lettering for the book, the caption at left has too much open space, but the lines might have been restacked to fit it into that small space. My guess is that PLUS: A was on one line and so was FOR MATT.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 96, 98, 101, 104-106, 108, 110, 112-117, 124, 129, 131. That’s 17 in all. Part 2 will look at his inside page lettering. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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