GASPAR SALADINO in GIANT-SIZE…

All images © Marvel. From GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #3, Feb 1975

In 1974 and 1975, Marvel flooded the market with these annual-sized comics under many titles, but all beginning with GIANT-SIZE. Some were all new material, some were all-reprints, many were a mix of both. Gaspar Saladino did cover or story lettering for quite a few, and I’m detailing that here. Rather than try to go chronologically, I’m going alphabetically by title. The cover lettering on the first one, above, is by Saladino, though the giant numbers are part of the cover art. WHO in the final balloon with a burst around it adds energy and drama.

From GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #3, Feb 1975

In addition to the cover, Gaspar lettered the lead story, using one of his pen names in the credits, L.G. Peter, which stood for the names of his children Lisa, Greg and Peter. I think he was still uneasy about getting credited at Marvel in 1975, thinking his main employer DC Comics might not like it, but a few years later he started using his real name.

From GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #4, June 1975

On the next issue he lettered just the first page, crediting Charlotte Jetter, who did the rest, but Gaspar’s style was quite different from hers, including the large, impressive story title. Marvel I think felt his work might make a few sales to browsers. It worked on me.

From GIANT-SIZE CHILLERS #3, Aug 1975

For this book, Gaspar lettered just two story pages, a sort of intro for reprints. The caricatures of editors Len Wein and Tony Isabella are amusing.

From GIANT-SIZE CONAN #1, Sept 1974

Also lettering many of these covers was staffer Danny Crespi, whose style was sometimes similar to Gaspar’s, but I feel sure that the creative touches on the word DRAGON here come from Saladino.

From GIANT-SIZE CONAN #1, Sept 1974

This is another case where Gaspar lettered the main story inside using a different pen name this time, L.P. Gregory, again made from the names of his kids. This is the pen name he used most often.

From GIANT-SIZE CONAN #2, Dec 1974

Another lead story lettered by Saladino using a third pen name, G.P. Lisa, thereby getting all three of his kids’ first names involved. I love the title on this one.

From GIANT-SIZE CONAN #3, April 1975

This cover lettering is generally more rounded than what Gaspar usually did, making it therefore more like that of Danny Crespi, but two style points direct it to Saladino: in the fourth line of the square caption, ISSUE begins with a serif I, something I don’t think Crespi did, and the word FEATURING is in Gaspar’s upper and lower case script, similar to his signature.

From GIANT-SIZE CONAN #5, Aug 1975

Lots of angular and rough lettering on this cover, with Gaspar’s rough burst around the second blurb. August 1975 was the final date for these GIANT-SIZE books, and this one is touted as an Annual, so I’m guessing the more frequent issues did not sell as well as hoped.

From GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #4, April 1975

Another page 1 only lettering assignment for Gaspar with energetic treatment of DYING.

From GIANT-SIZE CHILLERS FEATURING THE CURSE OF DRACULA #1, June 1974

There was already a GIANT-SIZE CHILLERS, so this unwieldy title was used for Dracula, I don’t know why, but after the first issue it was simply GIANT-SIZE DRACULA. Lots of fine Saladino lettering, I particularly like the shape around FEARFUL FIRST ISSUE.

From GIANT-SIZE DRACULA #3, Dec 1974

This one is hard to call between Crespi and Saladino, and the reversed and filled around open letters in the caption don’t help, but I think it’s by Saladino.

From GIANT-SIZE DRACULA #5, June 1975

I’m sure this cover lettering is by Gaspar, there are many familiar style choices.

From GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #4, May 1975

This title was the subject of much kid humor, no surprise, but had some interesting content including the first stories featuring Howard the Duck. The cover blurbs are again hard to attribute between Crespi and Saladino, but I’m leaning toward Saladino based on the styles used on the caption borders, and the squarish shapes of GORKO THE.

From GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #5, Aug 1975

This lettering is definitely by Saladino. Many similarities to his DC covers.

From GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #5, Aug 1975

A three-page introduction lettered by Gaspar, with a slight variation of a previous pen name, G.L. Peter this time, rather than L.G. Peter. He probably didn’t remember how he’d done it earlier.

From GIANT-SIZE POWERMAN #1, July 1975

Even if you didn’t know Gaspar had lettered the first page of this story, that amazing sound effect might have given you a clue!

From GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #2, Oct 1974

The reversed lettering that Marvel so often did, as in the top caption here, makes it harder to tell Crespi from Saladino, but the style of THE in the third line is diagnostic, and the bottom caption is more clearly by Gaspar.

From GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #5, July 1975

The almost rectangular balloon on this cover is something Gaspar sometimes did, but not Crespi as far as I can recall. Danny’s balloon borders were usually thicker than this, too.

From GIANT-SIZE SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #1, March 1975

This title is the height of absurdity! Three hyphenated words, way too long, and the logo is a mess! Thankfully, Gaspar’s cover lettering looks good.

From GIANT-SIZE SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #2, June 1975

The same is true here, with a fine curved banner under the logo.

From GIANT-SIZE WEREWOLF #4, April 1975

Fine Saladino cover lettering here, adding interest.

From GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1, May 1975

This famous cover, introducing a new X-Men team that became wildly popular, has cover lettering I’m not sure about. There are style points suggesting both Danny Crespi and Gaspar Saladino. The Grand Comics Database has it attributed to Gaspar, and it seems to me that writer Len Wein would have known who did it and corrected that if it was wrong, or someone would have asked him and gotten it right. This one is really a toss-up, but I will follow that lead and call it for Gaspar.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers, all titles beginning with GIANT-SIZE:

AVENGERS 3, CONAN 1, 3, 5, CHILLERS FEATURING DRACULA 1, DRACULA 3, 5, MAN-THING 4-5, SPIDER-MAN 2, 5, SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP 1-2, WEREWOLF 4, X-MEN 1. That’s 15 in all. Below are the details for his story lettering, again all titles beginning with GIANT-SIZE.

AVENGERS 3: 24pp

AVENGERS 4: page 1 only

CONAN 1: 24pp

CONAN 2: 30pp

DEFENDERS: page 1 only

MAN-THING 5: 3pp

POWERMAN 1: page 1 only

That’s a total of 84 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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