GASPAR SALADINO in DC SPECIAL SERIES

All images © DC Comics. From DC SPECIAL SERIES #1, Sept 1977

Perhaps the most maddening of all DC series for collectors and indexers like myself, this one never had the actual series name on the cover, only in the indicia inside. Many issues were annual-sized comics, but four were digest-size and three were tabloid size. (I’ve already covered those in THIS article.) I think the idea was to have fans see the issues as one-time specials, but even that didn’t hold true for the Swamp Thing reprints, which were clearly a series. It was also a catch-all for issues of regular series that somehow didn’t fit into the regular numbering, at least once through clerical error. I had work in a few issues, and even now I found that a surprise. I remembered doing the work, but had no memory of what the issue name and number was. The first issue, above, was a trial effort in the Dollar Comics format initiated by new publisher Jenette Kahn a few years earlier to see if it could support a superhero anthology. Most DC books of this kind were full of reprints, but this one was all new, as Gaspar was instructed to spell out in his caption, and also mentioned in the trade dress. It must not have sold well, as there weren’t any more issues.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #3, Oct 1977

Issue #3 was also all new material, mainly a 30-page Sgt. Rock story and a few short fillers. Gaspar’s top lettering promotes the newness. The length of this book was 52 pages, less than the Dollar Comic, and bit longer than an annual. Again, using this strange series for things that didn’t fit into the usual mold.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #10, April 1978

Some issues were reprints, like the ones featuring the original Swamp Thing series, but others were new material like this one. I’m surprised it doesn’t say that on the cover, but Gaspar’s captions are exciting and full of appealing variety, and most readers were attracted to origin stories.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #17, Sept 1979

This is one of the Swamp Thing reprints with great new top lettering and caption by Saladino. Gaspar had lettered that original series, so was the perfect choice. Many assume this version of the Swamp Thing logo was also by him, but I believe it’s by John Workman.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #18, Nov 1979

This was the first of the four digest-sized issues. Why they appeared here and not in one of the two DC digest series I don’t know, possibly they had extras of these small reprint collections ready and used them because there was nothing else available. Gaspar always did a fine job with war comics lettering.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #22, Sept 1980

Here’s a regular comic size issue in Dollar Comics format, and looking just like a large issue of G.I. COMBAT. The Grand Comics Database does have an explanation for it. The book was originally intended as G.I. COMBAT (DC, 1957 series) #222, as the title converted from bi-monthly to monthly frequency, but due to a clerical error in making the necessary changes in the UPC the contents were shifted to this series at the last moment. The stories are all new, and the cover lettering was probably done by Gaspar when they expected it to be a regular issue.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #24, Feb 1981

Saladino’s lettering for the back cover of this digest-sized reprint issue is great, I like it better than the front cover. Powerful display lettering! As noted earlier, the three final issues of the series were tabloid size, and covered in another article.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #1, Sept 1977

Saladino also lettered a few stories in the run, beginning with the Flash story in the first issue, above. This recreation of The Flash’s origin must have brought back a few memories, as Gaspar lettered the original version.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #7, Dec 1977

This issue, a GHOSTS Special from editor Murray Boltinoff, has two stories credited as Gaspar Saladino lettering on the art. I’m not sure either credit is correct, but this one might be his lettering other than the story title and sound effects. The other story definitely does not look like his work, so may have been an error by Boltinoff. I will count this story only.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #15, Summer 1978

This Batman Spectacular Dollar Comics issue has only one page of new Saladino lettering, the contents page. This is a poor scan, but areas of the first two file folders have gray dot shadows, and Gaspar did a fine job of fitting things in around that.

From DC SPECIAL SERIES #22, Sept 1980

Finally, for the repurposed issue of G.I. COMBAT, Gaspar lettered two Haunted Tank stories, something he was probably doing regularly on the series. As always, his sound effects are impressive.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 1, 3-6, 10, 17-18, 20, 22-24, a total of 12. Below are his story credits.

#1 Sept 1977: The Flash 13pp

#7 Dec 1977: Beware the Beggar’s Feast 9pp

#15 July 1978: Contents 1pp

#22 Sept 1980: Haunted Tank 13pp, 11pp

That’s 47 pages in all. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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