GASPAR SALADINO in INFERIOR FIVE

All images © DC Comics. From THE INFERIOR FIVE #3, July-Aug 1967

This was a humorous take on superheroes written by E. Nelson Bridwell. Some stories and covers were lettered by Ira Schnapp near the end of his DC career. Gaspar Saladino did no story lettering, but he lettered seven of the twelve covers. The initial ten issue run was in 1967-1968 after tryouts in SHOWCASE. In 1972, the SHOWCASE stories were reprinted in two more issues with new covers. The cover above is clearly a parody of Tarzan, and I imagine the cover blurbs were written by Bridwell. Gaspar’s lettering works fine, but I think the warnings not to buy the issue might not have been a good idea. Maybe kids thought that was funny, maybe it convinced them to pass on the book.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #6, Jan-Feb 1968

This cover idea works better for me, and having all the balloons in pale colors is not a bad idea on a white background.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #7 March-April 1968

This issue has a new logo by Saladino that I like better than the original. The joke is clear and improved by Gaspar’s lettering.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #8, May-June 1968

On the other hand, I don’t understand the situation on this cover, and the word balloons do nothing to clarify it. That’s a failure of the writer, Bridwell, I think. He was trying for MAD humor, but not always succeeding.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #9, July-Aug 1968

A much clearer gag here, though a familiar one. I’m not sure who the audience would be for this series. Superhero fans like me thought it was too silly and somewhat demeaning, while humor fans might not have been interested in heroics.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #10, Sept-Oct 1968

Making fun of Marvel was a more promising idea, and adding Superman to any DC cover is always a good selling point, but it was too late for this book.

From THE INFERIOR FIVE #12, Oct-Nov 1972

When the last two issues came out in 1972 to reprint the SHOWCASE stories, they featured another new logo by Saladino and mildly amusing covers. Perhaps Bridwell was hoping sales figures on these would lead to more issues, but apparently it didn’t work out that way.

To sum up, Gaspar lettered these covers: 3, 6-10, and 12, a total of seven. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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