GASPAR SALADINO in FEAR & FRANKENSTEIN

All images © Marvel. From FEAR #14, June 1973

This article pairs two horror titles that are unrelated but add up to the right size post. FEAR ran 31 issues from 1970 to 1975. From issue 10 on the cover title is ADVENTURES INTO FEAR, but the indicia never changed, so I’m going with that. It was initially the home of Man-Thing, Marvel’s swamp monster, who was never as successful as DC’s Swamp Thing, perhaps because he didn’t talk or think visibly. Both had logos designed by Gaspar Saladino, and he lettered two covers for the book, and three inside pages. The angular and oddly-shaped letters in the bottom blurb here are very much in his style. I’ll discuss FRANKENSTEIN later.

From FEAR #18, Nov 1973

At this time, some covers were still being lettered by Artie Simek, some by Gaspar, and some by Danny Crespi, whose style is often similar to Saladino’s, but tends to be rounder. The display lettering here could be by either, but the wide, angular regular lettering in the first two balloons points to Gaspar.

From FEAR #27, April 1975

Gaspar was often assigned just the first page of the main story at Marvel in the 1970s, I’m guessing because the company thought his skill and energy would help sell the books. That’s the case here on a Morbius story, with the rest of the lettering by the credited Charlotte Jetter. Her work looks quite different. I love the cross-shaped T in the title.

From FEAR #29, Aug 1975

There’s no mistaking Saladino’s large, impressive work on this story title, with organic forms, thick borders and inner texture adding to the impact.

From FEAR #31, Dec 1975

The final issue also has Saladino lettering on the first story page, and a fine title.

From FRANKENSTEIN #1, Jan 1973

This book also has an interesting Saladino logo, and most of the cover lettering here is also by him, though much of the bottom caption is type, possibly done by Gaspar with press-down letters or a headline machine. Making the banner black ruins its shape, but Marvel did that a lot. While the cover title was THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN or THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER, the indicia always read just FRANKENSTEIN, so I’m going with that. The book ran 18 issues from 1973 to 1975. Gaspar did more work for this one.

From FRANKENSTEIN #2, March 1973

Even Gaspar’s more organic display lettering often had an angular feel, as in this bottom caption. BRIDE almost looks like he’s trying to imitate Sam Rosen, who had stopped lettering a few months earlier, and had been one of Marvel’s main cover letterers.

From FRANKENSTEIN #4, July 1973

This one is a tough call, but I’m leaning toward Saladino rather than Crespi. The wording is odd, shouldn’t it read IS THIS–THE instead of just IS THIS?

From FRANKENSTEIN #5, Sept 1973

His THE is back in this large blurb definitely by Saladino. I like the way he tucked in the exclamation point to save space.

From FRANKENSTEIN #5, Sept 1973

Here’s a classic example of Saladino page 1 lettering. Artie Simek, who did the rest of the story, never lettered anything like this story title or the script music quote in the black sky. Both add a lot to the visual impact of the page.

From FRANKENSTEIN #7, Nov 1973

This logo is also by Saladino, and the style of the blurb below it is very much his too.

From FRANKENSTEIN #7, Nov 1973

Another page 1 with a title that commands attention, though perhaps it shouldn’t have gone over the character’s head.

From FRANKENSTEIN #8, Jan 1974

Dracula was starring in his own Marvel series, TOMB OF DRACULA, so of course there was a crossover. I like Saladino’s double-bordered caption.

From FRANKENSTEIN #9, March 1974

The first caption had to be small to fit, the second one could grab more attention.

From FRANKENSTEIN #17, July 1975

I don’t think this logo is by Saladino, perhaps Crespi did it. The first caption is full of Gaspar’s creativity, and all of them look good.

From FRANKENSTEIN #18, Sept 1975

Here the bottom caption uses Saladino scary lettering, with DAMNED created with a brush.

From FRANKENSTEIN #18, Sept 1975

This final issue also has Gaspar’s lettering on the first page of the story. Nothing scary about the title, but it’s beautifully done.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers:

FEAR: 14, 18

FRANKENSTEIN: 1-2, 4-5, 7-9, 17-18

That’s 11 in all. Below are the details of his story lettering.

FEAR #27 April 1975: page 1 only

FEAR #29 Aug 1975: page 1 only

FEAR #31 Dec 1975: page 1 only

FRANKENSTEIN #5 Sept 1973: page 1 only

FRANKENSTEIN #7 Nov 1973: page 1 only

FRANKENSTEIN #18 Sept 1975: page 1 only

That’s a total of six pages. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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