HEART THROBS began at Quality Comics in 1949, and ran 46 issues at that publisher. When Quality decided to get out of the comics business, they sold many of their properties to DC. This title continued with the same numbering, running 100 more issues from 1957 to 1972. Then it had a brief run as LOVE STORIES before being cancelled. Unlike the other titles in the DC Romance Group I’ve already covered, FALLING IN LOVE, GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES and GIRLS’ ROMANCES, Gaspar Saladino did not letter any of the stories for the first few years, most of them were lettered by Ira Schnapp. Gaspar also did not fill in for Ira on cover lettering, but he did take over that assignment when Schnapp was retired in 1968, and thereafter lettered nearly all the covers. Saladino’s first cover is above. The logo and the 3 GIRLS blurb are by Schnapp, carried over from past issues, while the top blurb and balloons are by Saladino. Gaspar’s more angular display lettering is quite different from Ira’s more rounded work, and adds energy and drama.
Actually, these covers are more melodrama than drama, the comics version of a TV soap opera, which is what the 3 GIRLS continuing feature was going for.
By this issue there was a new, more angular logo by Saladino that I think goes well with his cover lettering, though the 3 GIRLS and tagline continue with Schnapp’s lettering. I think the art on DC romance books at the time is great, but sales were dropping as times changed and interest in reading about romance dropped.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with Saladino’s cover lettering, he does a fine job of selling the situations.
Another more decorative logo by Gaspar appeared near the end of the run, and captions sometimes used type, as here at lower left, perhaps imitating other kinds of teen magazines.
With this issue, the title was changed to LOVE STORIES with another fine Saladino logo. I think it’s a better title, but readers were no longer interested in these kinds of stories, and the book ended after a few more issues.
Inside the book, Saladino’s first appearance was on this one-page feature that he also did the art for. See THIS article for more information about that. To summarize, Gaspar had studied fashion art in high school, and tried to find work in that field, but did not succeed, so he followed many of his classmates into comics, where he was hired by editor Julius Schwartz as a letterer in 1949. Later, someone at DC, or perhaps Gaspar himself, suggested he do that kind of art for the romance line, and he did many of these features for all the books, and of course lettered them too.
I find them charming, even if the figure work is not as accomplished as what other artists were doing in the romance books. Gaspar’s dry brush inking style is distinctive and appealing, like his lettering.
Saladino’s inspiration may have been the fashion art of E.M. Larson for high-end department store Bergdorf-Goodman, seen in many newspapers and magazines of the time. She also often used dry brush line work. The fashions themselves may have come from magazines like VOGUE.
I’m showing more of them here than usual because they’re the only examples of Gaspar’s lettering in this title at the time.
In 1962, Gaspar also began occasionally lettering stories as well. The large, strong title on this one reminds me more of his superhero work than typical romance titles lettered by Ira Schnapp and others.
The title on this story is oddly small, and does not fill the space well. I don’t know why it was done this way, perhaps there was more art or more lettering in that area that was dropped.
Sometimes stories were begun by one letterer and finished by another, perhaps to help someone with a deadline crunch or who was ill or away. The first page of this story is by Ira Schnapp, the rest are by Saladino.
These fashion pages by Saladino were, I think, something he enjoyed doing, both to use his skills as an artist, and as a change from lettering only.
Another large story title that’s more like one for a superhero story except for the attractive script LOVE.
A few of these pages were almost tutorials, perhaps written by a female editor. Lots more lettering than usual.
Gaspar was very busy in 1968, having taken over the role of DC’s main style setter on logos, cover lettering and house ads from Ira Schnapp, but he found time to letter a few romance stories. Here he’s working a little smaller than usual to leave more room for the art.
This splash page is unusual, with a creative use of type in the background. Saladino’s large subtitle may have been lettered right on that pasted-in type, and it’s bold enough to read well.
Gaspar’s final interior lettering for the book was on this story, which looks more like art for a typical DC Comic like SUPERBOY than a romance story, perhaps something they were trying in a desperate attempt to gain new readers. Saladino’s title is again large and impactful.
To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: HEART THROBS #113-133, 135-146, and LOVE STORIES 147-152, a total of 39. Below are Gaspar’s interior lettering credits.
#63 Dec 1959-Jan 1960: Romance in Fashion (hereafter RIF) 1pp
#65 April-May 1960: RIF 1pp
#66 June-July 1960: RIF 1pp
#67 Aug-Sept 1960: RIF 1pp
#69 Dec 1960-Jan 1961: RIF 1pp
#70 Feb-March 1961: RIF 1pp
#75 Dec 1961-Jan 1962: RIF 1pp
#76 Feb-March 1962: Token of Tears 8pp
#81 Dec 1962-Jan 1963: First Love 7pp, Never Be Mine To Kiss 8pp
#88 Feb-March 1964: Love Me Not For Beauty Only pp 2-8 (7pp)
#91 Aug-Sept 1964: RIF 1pp, 1pp
#94 Feb-March 1965: RIF 1pp, Don’t Bet On Love 13pp
#97 Aug-Sept 1965: RIF 1pp
#98 Oct-Nov 1965: RIF 2pp
#101 April-May 1966: RIF 1pp
#102 June-July 1966: RIF 1pp, 1pp
#112 Feb-March 1968: 3 Girls pp 2-17 (16pp)
#116 Oct-Nov 1968: 3 Girls 16pp
#117 Dec 1968-Jan 1969: I Confess 8pp
#119 April-May 1969: 3 Girls page 1 (from cover lettering, not counted)
#129 Dec 1970-Jan 1971: I Can’t Give You Anything But Love 8pp
That’s a total of 107 pages, not a lot for Saladino, but his art on the features would have taken extra time. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.