GASPAR SALADINO in GIRLS’ ROMANCES

All images © DC Comics. From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #102, July 1964

As with other DC romance titles, Gaspar Saladino was involved as a story letterer from the early issues on. His story lettering slacked off in the late 1950s as Ira Schnapp took over most of that work, but Gaspar continued to letter a few stories until the book ended, as well as a series of feature pages that I believe he also did the art for. The series ran 160 issues from 1950 to 1971, and was initially edited by Robert Kanigher, and thereafter by many other editors, some female. Most of the covers were lettered by Ira Schnapp until 1968, when Saladino replaced Ira as the main DC cover letterer, but even before that he sometimes filled in when Ira wasn’t available, as on the cover above. On these fill-in covers, the lettering seems somewhat tentative, as if Gaspar was still finding his way and trying to fit into the Schnapp mold. The balloon shapes on this one are kind of odd, and not typical of Gaspar’s work, as if he’s trying to do them like Ira.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #114, Jan 1966

On the second fill-in cover, he seems to be trying less to mimic Schnapp, and is going more toward his own styles. The wavy brushed borders of the top banner are interesting.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #126, July 1967

This third fill-in cover has more confident lettering by Saladino, and looks better than the first two to me. DC’s Editorial Director Carmine Infantino had given Gaspar the task of updating the company’s design look, and I think this is a good example, even though Schnapp was still doing many of the covers.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #131, March 1968

With this cover, Gaspar took over as cover letterer for the remainder of the run, as Ira’s time at DC grew short and he was retired soon after. The logo is by Schnapp, the rest has the energy and exciting styles of Saladino.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #138, Jan 1969

At this time, Gaspar was experimenting with more rectangular balloon shapes on some covers, as here.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #142, July 1969

Unlike the other romance books, this one kept a Schnapp logo to the end, but Gaspar jazzed it up a bit with a new top line.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #151, Sept 1970

DC tried everything they could think of to keep readers, but times were changing, and reading about romance was no longer as appealing. Gaspar’s lettering played up the melodrama.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #160, Oct 1971

The final issue was still trying hard, but it was not enough, even with Saladino’s intriguing caption. Did he leave a letter out of GOODBYE, or was it written that way in the script given to him by the editor?

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #2, April-May 1950

Work on stories for the first issue of this title must have been completed just before Gaspar was hired by Julius Schwartz to letter his books, with Julie’s office-mate Robert Kanigher also giving Saladino lots of work. There’s plenty of it in the second issue of the series, and in the next five issues. Gaspar’s lettering was still a work in progress at this point, but certainly looked professional. The black brush shape behind an open letter in the top caption is something he liked to do, and the jagged caption border adds energy, but the story title is bland.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #2, April-May 1950

This page is more typical of the amount of lettering required on many DC stories at the time, and explains why Gaspar considered nine pages lettered a day a good target. His style was naturally wider and a bit larger than other DC letterers then, but he made things fit. Note the small zig-zags in the top border of the last panel, another style point Gaspar was using at the time.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #4, Aug-Sept 1950

Two issues and many pages later, Saladino’s work had become more confident, and he was sometimes adding decorations to captions like the heart at bottom left. His brush story title is also appealing. I think the decorative letter A in the top caption is clip art pulled from a Speedball Lettering Textbook.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #5, Oct-Nov 1950

In these early issues, Saladino was also lettering some of the one-page fillers and features like this one. Later they would be done by other DC production artists, or by the story artists.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #7, Feb-March 1951

Unlike other DC titles, the romance books had few paid ads, especially early on, and inside back covers were often filled by illustrated poems like this one lettered by Saladino.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #11, Oct-Nov 1951

Gaspar’s story lettering gradually gave way to that of Ira Schnapp, whose style was, I think, better suited to the genre. Here Gaspar is doing a pretty good imitation of an Ira Schnapp script story title. Even when Ira was lettering most of the stories, Saladino continued to do some of them.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #18, Dec 1952-Jan 1953

Saladino’s title on this story reminds me of some of he did on later DC books, and I think the clouds around the last caption and the pennant in it are probably by him as well.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #33, June-July 1955

The strong title on this story is more like what Gaspar would do on superhero comics in the near future, and more energetic than most of Ira Schnapp’s titles. The word balloon is by Schnapp because this art had been used on the cover, and Ira had lettered it there. It made more sense to reuse it, but Saladino did the rest of the story.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #77, July 1961

As in other DC romance titles, this recurring feature began appearing around this time with lettering by Saladino, and I also think he did the art. See THIS article for more about that. To summarize, Gaspar had studied fashion design in high school and tried to find work in that field after getting out of the service, but had little luck, so he went into comics lettering instead. I think someone at DC, or perhaps Gaspar himself, suggested he do similar work for them. One clue is the dry brush inking style, something Saladino was good at, but as far as I can see, it wasn’t being done much by other DC artists.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #99, March 1964

This example is used without color, giving an even better look at the inking, which I like a lot.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #107, March 1965

By contrast, most inking at DC was done with a wet brush and even strokes, as seen in this story lettered by Saladino.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #117, June 1966

After a while, readers began to send in fashion sketches, which made Gaspar’s work easier. This example has lots of fine lettering as well as fine inking. It was the last in the series in this title, perhaps because Saladino was getting too busy with other work.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #134, July 1968

By 1968, Saladino rarely had time to letter romance stories, but he did do this three-page cross-promotion with Palisades Amusement Park.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #147, March 1970

This fashion feature replaced ROMANCE IN FASHION, and most had no Saladino involvement, but he did letter this one, and also did the art. I love the logo.

To sum up, these covers were lettered by Saladino: 102, 114, 126, 131-160, a total of 33. Below are the stories and features lettered by Gaspar.

#2 April-May 1950: Tragic Choice 10pp, Fashioned For Romance 8pp, My Discarded Wedding Dress 8pp, Goodbye My Love 10pp, Through The Years 1pp (Inside Back Cover)

#3 June-July 1950: Lost Springtime 8pp, Unhappy Triangle 8pp, Love At Second Sight 12pp, Our Love 1pp (IBC)

#4 Aug-Sept 1950: Stars Never Weep 8pp, Lovely But Unloved 8pp, Lili 1pp, Substitute Sweetheart 8pp, Oddities In Romance 1pp, Jo-Anne 1pp, Heartbeats In Harmony 1pp (IBC)

#5 Oct-Nov 1950: Romantic Crossroad 8pp, Oddities In Romance 1pp, A Talent for Tears 8pp, Johnny and Janie 1pp, Lili 1pp

#6 Dec 1950-Jan 1951: Love Wears No Crown 10pp, One-Sided Romance 8pp, Johnny and Janie 1pp, Linda Lee 1pp, Oddities In Romance 1pp, Binny 1pp, My Desire 1pp (IBC)

#7 Feb-March 1951: No Escape from Tomorrow 8pp, Call Me Sweetheart 8pp, My Love’s Like a Red, Red Rose 1pp (IBC)

#11 Oct-Nov 1951: Pursuit of Heartbreak 8pp

#13 Feb-March 1952: Castoff Sweetheart 8pp, Maytime 1pp (IBC)

#14 April-May 1952: Shadow of Love 8pp

#15 June-July 1952: Love Held Me Prisoner 9pp, Unforgettable Kiss page 1 only, Remember Me 10pp, A Lover’s Doubt 1pp (IBC)

#16 Aug-Sept 1952: Love Is Not Enough 11pp, Heart of a Man 1pp (IBC)

#17 Oct-Nov 1952: Kisses Without Love 8pp, Lovebirds 1pp (IBC)

#18 Dec 1952-Jan 1953: Reunion 7pp

#21 June-July 1953: No Man of My Own 8pp

#22 Aug-Sept 1953: Sudden Heartbreak 8pp

#23 Oct-Nov 1953: My Heart Broke Twice 7pp, The Last Kiss 8pp

#24 Dec 1953-Jan 1954: Love Must End 6pp, No Orchids For Me 8pp

#25 Feb-March 1954: Dark Past 7pp

#26 April-May 1954: Beware of Love pp 2-8 (7pp)

#27 June-July 1954: No Ticket for Romance 8pp

#30 Dec 1954-Jan 1955: Call Me Darling 7pp, Hidden Heart pp 1-7 (7pp)

#31 Feb-March 1955: Lost Paradise 8pp

#32 April-May 1955: The Night I Lost You 8pp

#33 June-July 1955: Stranger at the Wedding 8pp

#34 Aug-Sept 1955: Let Me Leave You 7pp

#36 Dec 1955-Jan 1956: Never Lose Heart 8pp

#39 June-July 1956: Summertime Love 7pp

#49 Jan 1958: Love is a Summer Dream 8pp

#50 March 1958: With This Ring 7pp

#77 July 1961: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#82 March 1962: Romance in Fashion 1pp, Lonely Time, Lonely Place 8pp

#86 Sept 1962: My Love and Me 7pp

#95 Sept 1963: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#99 March 1964: Romance in Fashion 1pp, 1pp

#100 April 1964: Romance in Fashion 1pp, 1pp

#101 June 1964: Tears for Sale 7pp

#102 July 1964: Something In Common 8pp, Out Of A Dream 7pp

#103 Sept 1964: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#105 Dec 1964: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#107 March 1965: Alone In Love 14pp

#109 June 1965: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#111 Sept 1956: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#112 Oct 1965: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#117 June 1966: Romance in Fashion 1pp

#134 July 1968: Princess–American Style 3pp

#147 March 1970: Mad, Mad, Modes for Moderns 2pp

That’s 431 pages of lettering in all on this title. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.