All images © Marvel. From DAREDEVIL #100, June 1973

I don’t know for sure why Marvel hired Gaspar Saladino to letter just the first page of many Marvel stories in the 1970s, but my guess is they thought his dynamic style and superior design skills on titles might help sell the comics. When he did these, Gaspar usually lettered in the name of the person lettering the rest of the story, but on this first example, someone else, perhaps Artie Simek himself, has added his name and that of the colorist. I think Saladino was paid extra for these page one jobs, perhaps double his page rate, and he was most often used on stories lettered by those with less experience or less dynamic styles. The former is certainly not true of Simek, so perhaps this was intended for someone else. Gaspar’s strong title and artful credit block are typical of his work on these. Many more would follow.

From DAREDEVIL #106, Dec 1973

It’s at least pretty easy to tell when Saladino’s work is on only the first page of these stories, as the lettering style on the rest is usually quite different. Here Gaspar has used a style for LIFE very much like the magazine logo, perhaps unconsciously, while the rest of the title is more energetic.

From DAREDEVIL #107, Jan 1974

The letter shapes of BLUFF! seem right for Gaspar, but not the way they’re mostly filled in, so that might have been added by someone else, or it’s just an experiment. It’s kind of odd the way the exclamation point goes into a balloon tail, so possibly that word was added by another letterer to replace something different Gaspar did.

From DAREDEVIL #112, Aug 1974

The title styles and rough caption shapes here are creative and add interest.

From DAREDEVIL #115, Nov 1974

Nice use of upper and lower case in the credit box for variety here.

From DAREDEVIL #121, May 1975

Gaspar really went to town on this title, and he wisely skipped the periods after each letter of SHIELD, always annoying and obstructive. They’re also not being used in the balloons, so I guess that was an overall style decision at the time.

From DAREVIL #122, June 1975

This title jumps off the page due to the drop shadow and the appealing bounce.

From DAREDEVIL #123, July 1975

Lots of balloons here and less room for the title, which is a bit weak compared to previous ones.

From DAREDEVIL #126, Oct 1975

Another cover full of lettering. Gaspar even had to put a tail across a character’s neck at lower right to get everything in.

From DAREDEVIL #129, Jan 1976

It was a bit risky to put so much of the AN in MAN behind Daredevil’s head on this title, but really, what else could those letters be? And at least the title could be larger that way.

From DAREDEVIL #132, April 1976

From this point on, Saladino did no more cover lettering, but he continued to do lots of these page one assignments for a few years. I like everything here except the foot over the balloon.

From DAREDEVIL #133, May 1976

Notice how THINK TANK is staggered so the words read separately with no space between them.

From DAREDEVIL #134, June 1976

I like the script in the credit box for variety on this one.

From DAREDEVIL #137, Sept 1976

Here lower case for names in the credit box is used for variety. The zig-zag around the title is unusual for Saladino.

From DAREDEVIL #140, Dec 1976

A strong dry-brush treatment of DEATH makes it pop and adds excitement.

From DAREDEVIL #141, Jan 1977

And a completely different one here. The credit box is by someone else this time, perhaps Irv Watanabe.

From DAREDEVIL #144, April 1977

The lettering at the bottom has no caption border, so the colorist had to surround it with a lighter tone to read well.

From DAREDEVIL #145, May 1977

The block style letters in this title have Saladino’s style point of the notch on the right side being below the center of the middle horizontal stroke.

From DAREDEVIL #147, July 1977

Here Saladino gets to letter a Gil Kane page, which he probably enjoyed, Gil was a friend and Gaspar’s favorite artist. Inker Klaus Janson dominates, so Kane’s work may have just been layouts. Not sure what happened to the subtitle in the credit box, half of it is missing.

From DAREDEVIL #148, Sept 1977

The quality of printing on comics had about reached its low point at this time, and it shows here, with too-dark colors and poor reproduction of the reversed credits.

From DAREDEVIL #149, Nov 1977

Notice the pointing hand in the credit box, a nice nod to what Saladino and penciller Carmine Infantino often did when working together on THE FLASH for DC in the 1960s. Carmine was another old friend of Gaspar’s.

From DAREDEVIL #153, July 1978

Both the title and credits here are replete with Saladino energy and style.

From DAREDEVIL #155, Nov 1978

Gaspar’s version of THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR is miles better than the one in the top title.

From DAREDEVIL #156, Jan 1979

A busy page, but everything fits, and the title commands attention. This is the final page 1 by Gaspar.

To sum up, he lettered just the first page for these issues: 100, 106-107, 112, 115, 121-123, 126, 129, 132-134, 137, 140-141, 144-145, 147-149, 153, 155-156. That’s a total of 24 pages. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

2 thoughts on “GASPAR SALADINO in DAREDEVIL Part 2

  1. David Goldfarb

    A curious thing in the title “Breaking Point”, issue 147: the R is different from Saladino’s usual, the notch centered on the horizontal. (We can see the more usual R-shape in the page just above it.)

    On that same page, I think the idea with the cut-off lettering is that the box is meant to be an advertising poster present in the actual scene (looks like for the Ghost Rider) but with the credits overlaid for our eyes only. It doesn’t quite work.

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