All images © DC Comics. From JONAH HEX #4, Sept 1977

Jonah Hex, the facially scarred gunman who became surprisingly popular with readers, first appeared in ALL-STAR WESTERN #10, then was a regular feature in WEIRD WESTERN TALES for a few years. In 1977 he gained his own title that ran to 1985 and 92 issues. Gaspar Saladino lettered many of the covers, and a few backup stories inside. He also designed the logo. On this cover, Gaspar’s word balloon sets the tone with the large open letters of DEATH.

From JONAH HEX #9, Feb 1978

That word is prominent again on this cover, which I think is the best of the series, both art and lettering. That clever parrot’s balloons explain the dilemma with appealing display lettering. Squak!

From JONAH HEX #25, June 1979

One thing you could often expect for Jonah was a painful experience like this one. Gaspar’s old west wanted poster style in the caption sets the time period well.

From JONAH HEX #29, Oct 1979

Saladino’s balloon on this cover has an almost square shape, but it’s also rough edged, suggesting a rough voice. This top blurb explains the situation.

From JONAH HEX #39, Aug 1980

Jonah’s adventures went in some unusual directions, as here. The word SAMURAI is creative.

From JONAH HEX #45, Feb 1981

The addition of a backup feature was touted in the bottom banner of this issue with more creative Saladino lettering.

From JONAH HEX #48, May 1981

Jonah’s title did well enough that backup features were included that allowed for the return of characters not seen for a decade. El Diablo’s top banner and logo are beautifully done, and I also like the serif letters in the caption.

From JONAH HEX #51, Aug 1981

Perhaps the antithesis of Jonah was the western character Bat Lash, but he also appeared as a backup, and with a fine top banner from Gaspar.

From JONAH HEX #63, Aug 1982

The top blurb here combines fine wanted poster lettering with Gaspar’s horror style for the story title. They work together unexpectedly well.

From JONAH HEX #68, Jan 1983

Death was always waiting for Hex. More nice serif lettering in the top blurb and on the sign.

From JONAH HEX #72, May 1983

Gaspar’s treatment of TARANTULA is terrific here, as creepy as the insect itself.

From JONAH HEX #83, April 1984

This top blurb uses a style more typical of superhero comics, as Saladino switches things up for variety. This image makes me wonder how Hex could even eat and drink with that weird string of flesh across his mouth. And why didn’t he get a doctor to remove it? That would have spoiled the series, of course.

From JONAH HEX #92, Aug 1985

Well, problem solved, I guess. Despite Saladino’s fine lettering, this was not the end for the character who turned up in a dystopian future series called simply HEX soon after the finale of this one.

From JONAH HEX #49, June 1981

Bat Lash appeared in three backups, all lettered by Saladino. Here he (and artist Dan Spiegle) return to some of the style points of his lettering on the original BAT LASH series like rough edged round-cornered panels and balloons open at the panel edge. The feature title in the burst is amazing.

To sum up, these are the covers lettered by Saladino: 4-5, 9, 11-12, 15, 25-26, 29, 31, 36, 42, 45-51, 53 (partial with Ben Oda), 54, 55 (partial with Ben Oda), 56-60, 62-69, 80, 83, 85-86, 88, 90, 92, a total of 42. His story lettering is listed below.

#49 June 1981: Bat Lash 8pp

#51 Aug 1981: Bat Lash 8pp

#52 Sept 1981: Bat Lash 8pp

That’s 24 pages in all. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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