GASPAR SALADINO in DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST

All images © DC Comics. From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #1, March-April 1980

DC had had success with their first digest-size comic, BEST OF DC BLUE RIBBON DIGEST, and in 1980 they added another, also nearly all reprints except for the covers. It ran 24 issues, and Gaspar Saladino lettered many of the covers, often front and back, though I will treat each issue as a single entry to keep it simple. Type was also used, as seen on the first cover above, where Gaspar’s only work is on the small top line. Some back covers used type, some were full of Saladino lettering describing the issue’s contents. The printed result was small, but the paper and printing on covers was good enough to make everything reproduce well.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #3, July-Aug 1980

This cover uses Saladino word balloons only, allowing the characters to introduce the stories, a charming idea.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #4, Sept-Oct 1980

This is the first of the series to make good use of Gaspar’s lettering on the back cover, with just one blurb on the front cover. The contents list here is so much more interesting than a typeset list would have been.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #8, April 1981

Two burst captions and a rare circular one add interest and excitement to this cover, as well as the top line by Saladino.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #11, JULY 1981

Often the back covers were more interesting than the front ones because of the fine Saladino lettering, at least that’s what I thought. Imagine this text as a typewritten script. There might have been some underlined or bold words to indicate which things to emphasize, but otherwise it was all up to Gaspar to make it interesting, and he never failed to do so.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #15, Nov 1981

A five-sided space for the issue’s contents? No problem! The circled numbers are type and probably added by the DC production person assembling the cover to make it clearer which illustration went with which blurb.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #16, Dec 1981

The front covers also often had Saladino lettering. the burst shape is a bit odd on this one, but it works fine. The GREEN LANTERN pattern in the background is headline type, and much less interesting.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #17, Jan 1982

Look at the variety of styles on this back cover, from horror in the descriptions to Art Deco for the creator credits, and what an odd circular burst that is.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #18, Feb 1982

That back cover of this issue gave artist Joe Kubert and Gaspar a chance to name the members of Easy Company, Sgt. Rock’s command, with lots more fine lettering in the center.

From DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #24, Aug 1982

The back cover of the final issue is perhaps the most entertaining, with editor Karen Berger, or possibly Len Wein having fun with the creators and contents. It almost has a MAD MAGAZINE feel, and made me laugh.

To sum up, these are the covers with Saladino lettering: 1-4, 8, 10-19, 21-22, 24, a total of 18. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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