All images © DC Comics. From FIRESTORM #1, March 1978

Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom and launched in a monthly series in early 1978. That initial run was cut short at issue #5 by the “DC Implosion,” which cancelled nearly half the company’s line of comics. The character appeared in other titles until a new series was launched in 1982, and had a long and successful run. The cover of the first issue, above, has an interesting logo. The word FIRESTORM is by John Workman, created for a house ad. Gaspar Saladino added the second line and did the cover lettering. The art is dynamic and I think the lettering in a burst is equally so. Gaspar’s main involvement with this character’s two series was as a cover letterer, though he also did one story.

From FIRESTORM #3, June 1978

On these cover blurbs note the matching style for FROZEN and FROST. Gaspar tried to add some visual connection to the words when he could. The first caption also has icy drips, but the red color negates that.

From FIRESTORM #5, Oct-Nov 1978

The final issue of the original series has a word balloon that’s half oval and half burst to add emphasis to the last line, with the lettering held in red to carry that further. It almost looks like the two character heads are also speaking, which would work fine too, but I’m not sure it was intended.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1, June 1982

When the character returned in a new series, the title was THE FURY OF FIRESTORM perhaps to set it apart from the original run. The book went through two title changes, first to just FIRESTORM again, then to FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN, but the numbering continued throughout, so I will cover all that here. The new logo is by Gaspar, and is full of style and energy, though the wavy approach didn’t always work well with cover lettering above it. Even on this first issue, there are awkward gaps between the top lettering and the logo. The burst on the left is well done.


Another solution was to curve the top lettering along the shape of the logo, as Saladino did on this cover, which I think works well. Gaspar adds ice where appropriate too.


Here the shaped top line includes a stylish logo of sorts for Pied Piper that I think goes quite well with the art.


Another fine character logo for Plastique is part of the cover lettering on this issue. No extra charge, just part of the job at the time, but Saladino did wonderfully creative ones.


This is my favorite Saladino character logo in the series, so full of energy, depth and movement! I also like the unusual structure of the Y.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #14, July 1983

Words with an obvious visual tie are fun to letter, but a more challenging task is ones with no visual tie, as here. Gaspar makes them interesting and exciting all the same. I bet this cover lettering on its own would make a good meme. Note that a new version of the logo has been done to remove the wavy approach, making a better fit for art and lettering.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #16, Sept 1983

Here’s an example of cover lettering greatly increasing the impact and drama of the art. Without that large word balloon, this cover would only be mildly exciting. With it, the story is revealed and the reader engaged.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #24, June 1984

Lots of Saladino lettering on this cover as the sidebar touts a free sample inserted inside in addition to the regular cover lettering. Gaspar makes it all work without looking crowded.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #42, Dec 1985

Two fine blurbs enhance this cover, and look at all the different styles used, but they work together well. I love the tomahawk T in that character’s name.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #53, Nov 1986

For a while the logo was type, which I find less interesting than Saladino’s fine cover lettering. Even his small version of the character’s name is better than the logo.

From THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #58, April 1987

Here’s the splash page from the one issue with story lettering by Saladino. As usual, he identifies himself in the credits with just his first name in script similar to his handwriting.

To sum up, I found Gaspar’s cover lettering on these issues:

FIRESTORM (1978): 1, 3-5

FURY OF FIRESTORM 1, 3-5, 7-9, 11-12, 14-25, 27-29, 31-35, 37-49, 51, 53, 55-56, 58-61, 63-64

That’s 56 in all. His story lettering for issue #58 was 22 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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