GASPAR SALADINO in HOPALONG CASSIDY

All images © DC Comics. From HOPALONG CASSIDY #86, Feb 1954

Hopalong Cassidy was created for a series of stories and novels begun in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford. In 1935, actor William Boyd starred as Hop in a series of popular films, later continuing on a TV series. Fawcett published a successful comic about the character from 1943 to 1953. When they got out of comics, DC took over with issue #86 and the series continued until issue #135 in 1959. As with all the DC westerns of the time, the editor was Julius Schwartz, and he brought in his favorite letterer, Gaspar Saladino, who lettered most of the stories in the DC issues. The covers were all lettered by Ira Schnapp, Gaspar didn’t do any of them. The first DC story is above, which includes name checks for the original author and the actor. In early issues, Saladino seemed to be trying to make his letters narrower to leave more room for the art, and the stories were usually very wordy, but after a while he reverted to his regular wider style. This page shows style points such as his angular S’s with a horizontal bar in the center, G’s with a vertical right side, and large exclamation marks that identify it as Saladino lettering.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #87, March 1954

Even this story in the second DC issue shows Gaspar’s lettering getting wider, and I know from experience that it’s very difficult to go against your lettering habits. Saladino had already been a very busy letterer at DC for four years at this point. The sound effects on this page are also typical of early Saladino work.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #90, June 1954

By the fifth DC issue, Gaspar’s lettering is about the same as on other books he did at the time. Note the open M in front of a black brush shape in the first caption and more typical sound effects. Where the artist didn’t leave enough room at the top for lettering, as in panels 2 to 4, there was no choice but to cover things as little as possible.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #96, Dec 1954

Typical western plots got stale after a while, and writers tried to mix things up with stories like this one. Saladino has joined in with an Old English influenced KNIGHTS in the title.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #100, April 1955

Another unusual plot for a western character. The word CORONADO is done with dry brush inking.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #107, Nov 1955

Gaspar’s title on this story is a bit too large, running over the figure. The colorist wanted to make the last line blue, but realized the exclamation point would get lost against the blue boot, so he made it yellow, or perhaps it was supposed to be red, but the magenta was left out by the separator. At least it reads clearly.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #115, July 1956

Another wordy page, but one where the artist left enough room, and here the characters have a chance to act, as they did in the films.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #123, May 1957

Short features were usually lettered by others, but Gaspar did this one written and drawn by Joe Kubert, who likely did the decorative frame around the first caption. Color registration was often poor on comics, this example is quite bad.

From HOPALONG CASSIDY #135, May-June 1959

This page from the last issue shows Gaspar lettering everything on the same slant, something he was doing in this period. Perhaps it saved him a little time to not have to switch gears mentally between regular and italic.

Here are the details of Saladino’s lettering on this series, all stories feature Hopalong Cassidy unless otherwise noted. Where he didn’t letter all three Hop stories, the story numbers are in parentheses.

#86 Feb 1954: 8pp, Long & Short 2pp, 8pp, 8pp

#87 March 1954: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#88 April 1954: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#89 May 1954: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#90 June 1954: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#91 July 1954: 8pp, 8pp, 6pp

#92 Aug 1954: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#93 Sept 1954: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#94 Oct 1954: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#95 Nov 1954: 8pp, 8pp (1 & 3)

#96 Dec 1954: 10pp, 6pp, 8pp

#97 Jan 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 6pp

#98 Feb 1955: 10pp, 6pp, 8pp

#99 March 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#100 April 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#101 May 1955: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#102 June 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#103 July 1955: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#104 Aug 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#105 Sept 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#106 Oct 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#107 Nov 1955: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#108 Dec 1955: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#109 Jan 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#110 Feb 1956: 6pp (3)

#111 March 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#112 April 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#113 May 1956: 8pp, 8pp (2 & 3)

#114 June 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#115 July 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#116 Aug 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#117 Sept 1956: 8pp, 6pp (2 & 3)

#118 Oct 1956: 8pp, 8pp (1 & 2)

#119 Nov 1956: 8pp (2)

#120 Dec 1956: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#121 Jan-Feb 1957: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#122 March-April 1957: 8pp, 8pp (1 & 3)

#123 May-June 1957: 8pp, 8pp (1 & 3)

#124 July-Aug 1957: 7pp (2)

#125 Sept-Oct 1957: 8pp, 7pp (1 & 2)

#127 Jan-Feb 1958: 8pp (1)

#128 March-April 1958: 8pp (2)

#129 May-June 1958: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#130 July-Aug 1958: 8pp, 8pp (1 & 2)

#131 Sept-Oct 1958: 10pp, 8pp, 6pp

#133 Jan-Feb 1959: 10pp, 7pp (1 & 3)

#135 May-June 1959: 10pp, 8pp (1 & 2)

That’s a total of 865 pages on this book. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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