GASPAR SALADINO in HAWKMAN

All images © DC Comics. From HAWKMAN #6, Feb-March 1965

Editor Julius Schwartz had great success revamping DC Golden Age characters like The Flash and Green Lantern, and Hawkman was another in that trend. As with most Schwartz books, Gaspar Saladino was the main story letterer from its beginning in 1964 to 1967, when he became too busy doing covers, logos and house ads. Ira Schnapp was the main DC cover letterer when the book started, but Gaspar filled in for him on issue #6, above, where his balloon lettering is wider and more angular than Ira’s, and his caption lettering is also more angular. When Ira was retired in 1968, Gaspar took over as the main cover letterer for the rest of the book’s run, just three more issues. He also lettered covers for a new Hawkman series begun in 1986. I’ll look at covers first, then stories.

From HAWKMAN #25, April-May 1968

Gaspar’s early cover lettering is sometimes tentative and not so good, as was the case here in my opinion. The letter shapes in DEATH GODDESS and COLLECTORS’ CLASSIC are too uneven and don’t work well.

From HAWKMAN #26, June-July 1968

The burst on this cover is better, but the lettering does not fill the space well, and the burst has a few angles that seem off, too.

From HAWKMAN #27, Aug-Sept 1968

The blurb at the bottom of this issue is better still, and I like the rough shapes of SNOW-FIEND. This was the final issue of Hawkman’s first solo series, as he moved to a new title co-starring with another Schwartz revamp, THE ATOM AND HAWKMAN. That effort only lasted a few more issues, but both characters had fans and continued to appear in other titles, and each had successful later series.

From HAWKMAN #1, Aug 1986

After a new miniseries, Hawkman starred in a new monthly series using the original Ira Schnapp logo, and with cover lettering by Saladino here.

From HAWKMAN #2, Sept 1986

On this cover, Gaspar lettered the caption in perspective at the bottom, and possibly the lettering on the wall too.

From HAWKMAN #3, Oct 1986

Two fine captions by Gaspar add to the story on this cover, and his use of serif letters is unusual and works well.

From HAWKMAN #10, May 1987

The large blurb at the bottom of this issue uses several of Saladino’s display styles that work together.

From HAWKMAN #17, Dec 1987

This was the final issue of the series, and again Saladino’s blurb adds to the drama. There were several more Hawkman series after this, but Gaspar did no work on them.

From HAWKMAN #2, June-July 1964

Saladino did not letter the first issue, but he lettered all the stories in issues 2 to 21 in the original series. The story title here has nice variety, and the captions have small images to help tell the story, probably by artist Murphy Anderson. Gaspar sometimes did all the lettering slanted, as here, perhaps it saved him a little time.

From HAWKMAN #3, Aug-Sept 1964

One of the character’s sillier powers was the ability to talk to birds, though all the lettering for that consisted of tweets and wheets.

From HAWKMAN #5, Dec 1964-Jan 1965

The Shadow-Thief was perhaps the most interesting Hawkman opponent. He would have been a good candidate for a special balloon style, but that was rarely done at the time. The sound effects on this page are clever.

From HAWKMAN #7, April-May 1965

I like the texture in CROCODILE in this story title. The Egyptian pictorial writing is probably by artist Murphy Anderson.

From HAWKMAN #12, Feb-March 1966

Lots of lettering on this page, but Gaspar keeps it off the art as much as possible.

From HAWKMAN #14, June-July 1966

Saladino uses an Old English inspired upper and lower case style on this page’s captions that works okay, though he was not as good at it as Ira Schnapp. Notice that the emphasized words are typical bold italic comics style.

From HAWKMAN #17, Dec 1966-Jan 1967

The word ROBBING in this story title uses dry brush lettering effectively.

From HAWKMAN #21, Aug-Sept 1967

Saladino’s final story lettering was for this issue, and his lion roars are impressive. I especially like the radiating lines as a balloon border for the second one.

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

HAWKMAN (1964): 6, 25-27

HAWKMAN (1986): 1-4, 6, 8-10, 12-14, 16-17

That’s 17 in all.

Below are the stories lettered by Saladino in the first series, all featuring Hawkman.

#2 June-July 1964: 13pp, 12pp

#3 Aug-Sept 1964: 15pp, 9pp

#4 Oct-Nov 1964: 13pp, 11pp

#5 Dec 1964-Jan 1965: 24pp, Hunting Hawks 1pp

#6 Feb-March 1965: 24pp

#7, April-May 1965: 15pp, 10pp

#8 June-July 1965: 13pp, 12pp

#9 Aug-Sept 1965: 24pp

#10 Oct-Nov 1965: 13pp, 11pp

#11 Dec 1965-Jan 1966: 24pp

#12 Feb-March 1966: 24pp

#13 April-May 1966: 24pp

#14 June-July 1966: 24pp

#15 Aug-Sept 1966: 24pp

#16 Oct-Nov 1966: 24pp

#17 Dec 1966-Jan 1967: 12pp, 12pp

#18 Feb-March 1967: 23pp

#19 April-May 1967: 23pp

#20 June-July 1967: 11pp, 12pp

#21 Aug-Sept 1967: 23pp

That’s a total of 480 pages on this title. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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