GASPAR SALADINO in JIMMY WAKELY

All images © DC Comics. From JIMMY WAKELY #17, May-June 1952

Wakely was a second-tier singing cowboy film star, not as well known or popular as Roy Rogers or Gene Autry, and DC published 18 issues of his adventures from 1949 to 1952, edited by Julius Schwartz, who handled all the DC western comics at the time. Soon after Schwartz hired Gaspar Saladino to letter pages for him, he put him to work on Jimmy Wakely stories, and they began appearing in issue #5 and continued to the end of the series. Most of the covers were lettered by Ira Schnapp except the one above, which is by Gaspar. This early in his career, Saladino was not yet comfortable doing cover lettering, and the layout of the caption is awkward, while the text doesn’t fill the space well. It’s interesting to see him using the little zig-zags in the caption borders that he also used on some story captions.

From JIMMY WAKELY #5, May-June 1950

On this early Saladino page, his story title is full of charm and energy, and the scroll captions are a nice addition. I think he also lettered the feature logo, which is similar to one in previous and later issues, but looks different here. His lettering has not quite settled into it’s familiar style, so perhaps this is one of the first stories he worked on for Schwartz.

From JIMMY WAKELY #6, July-Aug 1950

An issue later his letters are more regular and have settled into his familiar angular style, though it would get somewhat wider over time. This is from the Sheriff Kit Colby story, there was one in most issues which were otherwise filled out with Wakely stories. A female sheriff in the old west seems like a progressive idea for the time.

From JIMMY WAKELY #7, Sept-Oct 1950

Gaspar’s balloon lettering is a little wider in the next issue, but his story title here is not as interesting as the one in issue #5. It took him a while to find his own style for those. The scroll is well done.

From JIMMY WAKELY #10, March-April 1951

This story title is more interesting and more creative, with horizontal white gaps at the bottom to suggest something vanishing, an idea he often used later.

From JIMMY WAKELY #11, May-June 1951

Most short features or fillers were lettered by others, but Gaspar did this one-pager. The title is type.

From JIMMY WAKELY #12, July-Aug 1951

I like the title on this story. The word KING is similar to the type on the previous image, but I think it’s lettered by Saladino, and his script on the rest is appealing. The cover logo is by Schnapp.

From JIMMY WAKELY #13, Sept-Oct 1951

Alex Toth, the artist on this page, was a fine letterer himself, and the sound effect and question marks on this page are at least penciled by him. Gaspar might have inked them, or perhaps Toth did, hard to say, but the style is his and not Saladino’s. I like the telephone balloons in the last panel.

From JIMMY WAKELY #16, March-April 1952

The feature logo on this page is by Ira Schnapp, the rest is by Saladino. He liked to do open first letters in front of a black shape at the beginning of captions, and there are two here.

To sum up, Saladino lettered just one cover, #17, and his story lettering is detailed below. Jimmy Wakely stories are marked JW, Kit Colby ones are marked KC. Where not all Wakely stories are lettered by Gaspar, the story numbers are in parentheses.

#5 May-June 1950: JW 11pp, 8pp, KC 8pp, JW 8pp

#6 July-Aug 1950: JW 11pp (1), KC 8pp, JW 6pp (3)

#7 Sept-Oct 1950: JW 8pp (2), KC 9pp, JW 8pp (3)

#8 Nov-Dec 1950: JW 11pp, 8pp, 8pp

#9 Jan-Feb 1951: JW 9pp, 10pp, KC 8pp, Canyon Trap 2pp

#10 March-April 1951: JW 8pp (2), KC 8pp, JW 10pp (3)

#11 May-June 1951: JW 11pp, The Story Behind the Cover 1pp, JW 8pp, KC 8pp, The Flight For Life 3pp, JW 8pp

#12 July-Aug 1951: JW 12pp, 8pp, KC 8pp, Indian Buffalo Hunter 3pp, JW 8pp

#13 Sept-Oct 1951: JW 12pp, 8pp, KC 8pp, JW 9pp

#14 Nov-Dec 1951: JW 10pp, 6pp, 8pp

#15 Jan-Feb 1952: JW 6pp, 6pp (1-2)

#16 March-April 1952: JW 6pp, 6pp, KC 6pp, JW 6pp

#17 May-June 1952: JW 6pp, 6pp, KC 6pp, JW 6pp

#18 July-Aug 1952: JW 6pp, 6pp, KC 6pp, JW 6pp

That’s a total of 390 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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