All images © Marvel. From IRON FIST #11, Feb 1977

Here are page ones lettered by Gaspar Saladino for two unrelated series, and a single cover, above, for IRON FIST, which ran 15 issues from 1975 to 1977. Gaspar’s wide, angular balloon lettering is easy to identify, and the very square open letters in the caption are typical for him. I will look at this title first, and INHUMANS after.

From IRON FIST #2, Dec 1975

From about 1973 to 1980, Marvel Hired Saladino to letter just the first page for many of their stories. I think they felt his skill and dynamic title work might sell comics to browsers opening an issue to have a quick look inside. The title of this one is a good example, with a strong brushed DAMNED. The words before it are so regular they look like type, but I’ve never seen Gaspar use type this large, I don’t know where he would get it, so I think it’s hand lettered. As always with these, Saladino adds the name of the letterer of the rest of the pages, Joe Rosen in this case, whose work is quite different.

From IRON FIST #3, Feb 1976

These images are from recolored reprints, so I doubt the colors are the same as on the original comics. The fire effect in BURNING is kind of crude, perhaps it was better on the original. Not something Saladino was involved with anyway. I like the large sign.

From IRON FIST #5, June 1976

This title is amazing! The letters of SCIMITAR mimic that kind of curved sword, even the dots over the letter I’s and in the exclamation point. No one else in comics at this time was putting so much skill and creativity into story titles at this time as far as I recall.

From IRON FIST #6, Aug 1976

This title follows the perspective of the staircase, though the panel breaks work against that. I don’t know if the colorist’s name was left out in the original comic, but that might have happened at times. Gaspar would have left the space blank if it wasn’t assigned yet, and no one filled it in. Or this could be something that happened in the reprint.

From IRON FIST #9, Nov 1976

This title adds contrast by making the first two lines upper and lower case. I love the special balloon at upper right.

From IRON FIST #10, Dec 1976

The credits on the newspaper are type, not sure if Saladino did those or if they were added later, but it’s interesting that there’s no lettering credit. The balloons have lots of energy.

From IRON FIST #13, June 1977

This title is a great example of ways in which Gaspar added interest through his creativity. The arrow shape is perfect for the first word, and the rivets on IRON are clever. I also like the way ST is joined.

From IRON FIST #14, Aug 1977

This story title must have been pencilled in by John Byrne, but Gaspar makes it read well and fill the space perfectly.

From THE INHUMANS #6, Aug 1976

This title spun off from THE FANTASTIC FOUR and ran 12 issues from 1975 to 1977. Saladino lettered some first story pages but no covers. His depiction here of Black Bolt’s scream is impressive.

From THE INHUMANS #7, Oct 1976

The contrast between DOOM and the rest of the title makes it more interesting.

From THE INHUMANS #12, Aug 1977

This title is pure Saladino, he even drew his own Hulk logo with telescoping. The credits are odd for him, perhaps they were pencilled in and he just followed what was there. That could explain why WIACEK is misspelled.

To sum up, Saladino lettered the cover of IRON FIST #11 and these first pages:

IRON FIST: 2-3, 5-6, 9-10, 13-14

INHUMANS: 6-7, 12

That’s 12 in all. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.


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