GASPAR SALADINO in IRON MAN Part 3

All images © Marvel. From IRON MAN #288, Jan 1993

In 1992, when this cover lettering was commissioned, Gaspar Saladino was doing almost no cover lettering for DC Comics or Marvel, though he was still lettering lots of story pages. I don’t know why that happened, perhaps his style was considered old-fashioned, but at DC I was given a lot of that work, and at Marvel it was often done by staffers at this time, or younger freelancers. As I know from experience, each editor at Marvel ran his own small kingdom, and usually made decisions about things like who would do cover lettering. In this case, editor Nel Yomtov must have decided that Gaspar’s talent was just the right thing for IRON MAN, and he had Saladino lettering most of the covers for about two years. I almost missed this run of Gaspar’s work, but finally noticed it, and I’m happy to say it’s just as good as his earlier cover work seen in Part 1 of this study. On the first cover, above, the style of the circular border is unusual and interesting, the rest is classic Saladino work.

From IRON MAN #289, Feb 1993

Another unusual border on this blurb, and I like the way the second L overlaps the first.

From IRON MAN #290, March 1993

Lots of exciting Gaspar lettering here.

From IRON MAN #291, April 1993

This top blurb shows Gaspar knew what to emphasize and how to make it stand out.

From IRON MAN #293, June 1993

This circular burst uses open lettering for contrast and emphasis as well as size. This must be an Australian edition, which is why the currency and month don’t match the US version. I use what I can find.

From IRON MAN #294, July 1993

Same for this cover. Gaspar gets interesting texture in the open lettering, but it’s still easy to read.

From IRON MAN ANNUAL #14, 1993

The background color on these blurbs is dull (not Gaspar’s choice), but they still read well.

From IRON MAN #295, Aug 1993

More amorphous caption shapes here, which I think work well against the angular and high contrast art.

From IRON MAN #297, Oct 1993

Not much room for lettering here, but Saladino’s blurb is still exciting.

From IRON MAN #298, Nov 1993

Gaspar goes the extra mile by making STONE look like stone.

From IRON MAN #299, Dec 1993

When there was room for the lettering to be larger, it has even more impact. This blurb uses several styles that work well together, and the torn edges of the border add energy.

From IRON MAN #300, Jan 1994

Who could resist this fine cover lettering and what it offered inside?

From IRON MAN #302, March 1994

The line of type above the logo is unreadable, while Saladino’s burst jumps out at you.

From IRON MAN #305, June 1994

This caption again mixes several appealing styles together in a way that shouldn’t work, but does. Need a small Hulk logo? Sure, I’ll just letter one, says Gaspar.

From IRON MAN #306, July 1994

Not a typical Saladino style on these open letters, but he did use it elsewhere occasionally.

From IRON MAN #307, Aug 1994

Light gray bursts work well against this op-art background full of circles.

From IRON MAN #308, Sept 1994

Contrast and style choices are perfect in this burst.

From IRON MAN #309, Oct 1994

A cleverly-written blurb makes readers want to know how the hero gets out of this predicament. That giant IS sells it.

From IRON MAN #310, Nov 1994

I like the single jags in the tails of these balloons to indicate Iron Man’s speaker voice.

From IRON MAN #311, Dec 1994

This top blurb and chapter bullet are beautifully done, but not by Saladino. It must have been a story running across several titles. I don’t know who did it. Gaspar’s burst is effective.

From IRON MAN #312, Jan 1995

Here’s that repeating blurb again with two creative ones by Saladino, all different and all appealing.

From IRON MAN #313, Feb 1995

This blurb is similar to some that Gaspar did for holiday stories at DC, though I’m not sure what kind of greenery that’s meant to be in the border.

From IRON MAN #314, March 1995

Here the coloring really pops the blurb against the dark background. At this time Marvel had put the title into a Force Works imprint, hence the big FW.

From IRON MAN #315, April 1995

Gaspar’s final cover blurb is again full of diverse styles that work well together, something he’d figured out over the years. Soon digital cover lettering would become the norm at both DC and Marvel, and Gaspar had no interest in doing that.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 288-291, 293-295, 297-300, 302, 305-309-315, Annual 14. That’s 24 in all. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in IRON MAN Part 3

  1. Nel

    Thanks for featuring Gaspar’s wonderful work on these Iron Man titles I edited, Todd. Gaspar was a long-time friend and favorite letterer, and I thought he was being underutilized by Marvel back in the 90s. I was delighted he agreed to be part of the creative team on the title. He masterful work speaks for itself. Btw, the “Hands of the Mandarin” logo on Iron Man 312 did indeed run across several of my titles during a particular story arc. Ken Lopez designed the logo. Take care.

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