GASPAR SALADINO in DATE WITH DEBBI and DEBBI’S DATES

All images © DC Comics. From DATE WITH DEBBI #1, Jan-Feb 1969

These two teen humor sister titles ran almost simultaneously from 1969 to 1971, with this title beginning first and running to 18 issues, the other lasting 11 issues, many with cover lettering by Gaspar. They also featured Gaspar’s logos. The lettering was generally simple, one or a few word balloons at most, and must have been a welcome change from the often copy-heavy covers on other genres. DC was trying to compete with Archie Comics in this genre, but their efforts never did as well, and by this time many comics readers had turned away from this kind of 1950s style fluff, but they did have appealing art by Henry Scarpelli and others.

From DATE WITH DEBBI #3, May-June 1969

Gaspar has fun with larger display lettering for emphasis on these balloons. The art tried hard to be stylish, but always seemed behind the curve to me.

From DATE WITH DEBBI #4, July-Aug 1969

Many of the cover ideas were recycled from earlier series like LEAVE IT TO BINKY and A DATE WITH JUDY, but it’s likely readers hadn’t seen those. The best thing on this cover is the flying surfer in the background.

From DATE WITH DEBBIE #5, Sept-Oct 1969

At least on the covers, these characters had nothing to do but have fun and flirt, which I suppose is a teenage dream. The second logo by Saladino makes this one more interesting.

From DATE WITH DEBBI #6, Nov-Dec 1969

Rather than laughing with the characters, though, readers were often intended to laugh at them. This may have been one reason why the books didn’t last. I wonder how many now remember the teen dating game of post office?

From DATE WITH DEBBI #8, March-April 1970

Many of the ideas seemed stuck in 1950s sitcom territory, as here.

From DATE WITH DEBBI #13, Jan-Feb 1971

Later issues of this title became large anthologies perhaps to use up inventory as the series ended. Even Archie artists like Stan Goldberg and Henry Scarpelli were not enough to bring in readers. Gaspar did his best with the lettering.

From DEBBI’S DATES #1, April-May 1969

I’m not sure why there were two Debbi titles, perhaps it was an attempt to get readers buying one every month, as they alternated while this one lasted.

From DEBBI’S DATES #3, Aug-Sept 1969

The second logo on this book matches the revised logo on the other title, and both are more interesting than the earlier Archie-like ones. Did kids really bring small TVs to the beach? I never saw one.

From DEBBI’S DATES #6, Feb-March 1970

Gaspar’s balloon lettering style eventually became rounder on humor titles, as here. Notice the U shaped loop of the Y in ONLY. The last few issues of each title had cover lettering by others.

Here are the covers of DATE WITH DEBBI I see Saladino lettering on: 1, 3-16, and on DEBBI’S DATES: 1-8. That’s 23 in all. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in DATE WITH DEBBI and DEBBI’S DATES

  1. Steven Rowe

    The early covers were drawn by Samm Schwartz, who often did his own lettering, although I dont know when he started doing that and I dont think he did any lettering on his DC work.

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