GASPAR SALADINO in KULL

All images © Marvel. From KULL THE CONQUEROR #9, July 1973

After the success Marvel had with Conan, they tried another Robert E. Howard sword and sorcery character from the pulp magazines. They kept trying through several decades, but it was never as popular as Conan. The first Marvel series ran ten issues from 1971 to 1973, and this cover has the only lettering by Gaspar Saladino. The banner caption is full of his style points, including the lower case THE, and the way the word SCORPION is double outlined.

From KULL AND THE BARBARIANS #3, Sept 1975

Chronologically, the next Marvel book about Kull was this black and white magazine-sized title that ran just three issues in 1975. Gaspar lettered just the spread shown above for the opening story, his wonderful title dominates the pages.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #18, Dec 1976

Marvel brought back the monthly color comic with a different subtitle in 1973, and it ran 19 issues to 1978. Gaspar did several more page ones for the book, and also several covers, which we’ll look at in release order this time. Marvel often hired Saladino to do just the first page of stories, I think hoping his skill would sell a few more comics to browsers. His skill with flaming and icy letters is clear on this story title.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #19, Feb 1977

The lettering on this cover is again full of Saladino style, from the outline of the balloon to the creative display lettering.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #20, April 1977

In this story title, HELL is in Gaspar’s dry brush style. I like the extended leg of the A, simply there to add interest.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #22, Aug 1977

This one has some style elements also used by Danny Crespi, but the overall angular look of the balloon points to Saladino, as does the shape of the S in TALONS.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #22, Aug 1977

Inside the book, with more room, DEVIL-BIRDS is more interesting, complete with Gaspar’s texture in the letters.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #23, Oct 1977

The regular lettering in these balloons is wide and angular, with each letter S having a wide, almost horizontal center stroke, and the legs of each E tend to have a slight upward arch.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #27, June 1978

This bold story title adds interest with lower case I’s, a stacked LD and lower case THE. For a change the texture extends in both directions from the center.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #29, Oct 1978

Gaspar’s scary display lettering is put to good use on this cover, filling the space available.

From KULL THE DESTROYER #29, Oct 1978

On this final issue Gaspar lettered everything but the credits. Note the serif I in ISSUE in the bottom note, and the script ROY.

To sum up, Saladino lettered these covers:

KULL THE CONQUEROR 9

KULL THE DESTROYER 19, 22-23, 29

Five in all. Below are the details of his story page lettering.

KULL AND THE BARBARIANS #3 Sept 1975: pages 2 and 3 only

KULL THE DESTROYER 18, 20, 22, 27, 29: page 1 only

That’s seven in all. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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