GASPAR SALADINO in GHOSTS

All images © DC Comics. From GHOSTS #1, Sept-Oct 1971

This entry in DC’s “mystery” line ran for 112 issues from 1971 to 1982, edited in early years by Murray Boltinoff, and by Jack C. Harris later. As with other similar DC titles, it was meant to be spooky but not gory to garner Comics Code approval. Gaspar lettered many of the covers, and a few stories in later issues. This first cover shows the original layout of a large scroll used on the earliest issues. The logo and all the cover lettering is by Gaspar using several of his scary styles, including a calligraphic one at the bottom. Even the word balloons have rough balloon borders to up the tension.

From GHOSTS #5, May-June 1972

The only new lettering on this cover is at the bottom, but that was a good deal of work, and again shows variety.

From GHOSTS #11, Jan 1973

NOW MONTHLY at the top of this cover is type, and it shows the book was selling well. Again, all the new lettering is at the bottom. I like the shaky music notes as if played by the cover figure.

From GHOSTS #17, Aug 1973

By this issue the scroll layout had been dropped, and some of the top text is in type, with the third line relettered by Saladino. Now the story titles are in captions at the bottom, and able to spread out a bit more.

From GHOSTS #25, April 1974

Saladino did special balloon styles for the ghosts when it seemed appropriate, as here. As always, each story title had distinctive styles.

From GHOSTS #34, Jan 1975

If the image was strong enough to tell the story, no word balloons were needed, as here, just a descriptive caption.

From GHOSTS #37, April 1975

On this cover the story captions have moved slightly away from horror to more typical Saladino styles for other genres, though there’s still some scary stuff in the mix.

From GHOSTS #43, Oct 1975

On a black backround, the caption boxes weren’t needed, giving Gaspar more room for the story titles, which then could be larger. These are all inked in black and then reversed by the DC production department. The word GHOSTS in the first story title is done with a dry brush to add texture.

From GHOSTS #55, July 1977

The same thing was done here. Look at the variety in the letter forms in those story titles.

From GHOSTS #75, April 1979′

This book escaped the drastic cuts of the “DC Implosion” in 1978, suggesting it was still selling well, and making money for the company. One way they saved costs was to use artists from The Phillippines at lower pay rates than U.S. artists on some stories. The book was also a tryout title for new, young artists, also paid less than the company’s regulars.

From GHOSTS #93, Oct 1980

Cover art by Michael Wm. Kaluta was always a great selling point, and Saladino’s caption added to the drama.

From GHOSTS #101, June 1981

Another one, and here a new Gaspar top line replacing the tired original adds chills, as does his caption at left.

From GHOSTS #111, April 1982

As the book neared its end, a Saladino top line is the only cover copy, and rather cryptic, but the Joe Kubert art is effective.

From GHOSTS #60, Jan 1978

The first story lettered by Gaspar has him joining many of the regulars on DC’s war titles. By 1978, all the story creators were credited, but since artist Jerry Grandenetti added his in the art, he’s not in the credit box. Saladino’s story titles were always impressive.

From GHOSTS #68, Sept 1978

Another Grandenetti story, so perhaps he asked for Gaspar. They had often worked together on war stories.

From GHOSTS #71, Dec 1978

Bill Draut was another veteran, and at this time probably happy to have work in DC’s new smaller lineup. Gaspar’s story title is excellent, with dry brush on HAUNTED.

To sum up, these covers have Saladino lettering: 1-39, 41-44, 46-51, 55, 57-60, 62-68, 74-75, 82-83, 85, 87, 91-95, 97-112, a total of 88. Below are the stories lettered by Gaspar.

#60 Jan 1978: The Spectral Smile of Death 6pp

#68 Sept 1978: The Phantom of the Class of ’76 6pp, Funeral for a Phantom 5pp

#70 Nov 1978: Haunted Honeymoon 6pp

#71 Dec 1978: The Haunted Undertaker 5pp, The Spectre from 1 Million B.C. 4pp

#72 Jan 1979: The Ghost of the Washington Monument 6pp

#73 Feb 1979: The Ghost’s Last Ride 4pp

#74 March 1979: The Gem that Haunted the World 8pp

#78 July 1979: The World’s Most Famous Phantom 6pp

That’s 56 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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