GASPAR SALADINO in MISTER MIRACLE

All images © DC Comics. From MISTER MIRACLE #1, March-April 1971

This series was part of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, several connected titles that DC thought would reverse their sales slump and gradual loss of top selling publisher position to rival Marvel Comics. Jack Kirby had been at DC before, but his Marvel work elevated him to superstar status, and DC trumpeted in type on this cover, “Kirby’s Here!” The plan didn’t work out so well, sales were okay but not the avalanche DC hoped for, and the Kirby books didn’t last too long. This one did better than some, running to 18 issues from 1971 to 1974, and it was revived for another seven issues in 1977-78. As with all the Kirby Fourth World creations, fans eventually came to love them, and the character had several later series that were popular. Gaspar Saladino lettered only covers for comics featuring Mister Miracle, including many for the original Kirby run, though the covers also often used type. The top blurb on the first cover, above, has type on the first line, and Saladino lettering on the second, for instance. The logo and most of the remaining cover blurbs are his.

From MISTER MIRACLE #2, May-June 1971

All the cover blurbs on this issue are effectively lettered by Gaspar, making good use of the space available.

From MISTER MIRACLE #3, July-Aug 1971

The same is true for the third issue. Note the diagnostic shape of the R in PARANOID, with the notch on the right side below the center as if it’s a P with the right leg added.

From MISTER MIRACLE #6, Jan-Feb 1972

For this issue, the subtitle SUPER ESCAPE ARTIST has been redone in headline type, which I don’t like as much as Gaspar’s version, but it does fit into a circle better. The rest of the cover blurbs are by Saladino.

From MISTER MIRACLE #9, July-Aug 1972

As the series went on, the cover lettering became stranger. Here the word HIMON is pulled from the Mike Royer story title inside, and has headline type above it. The blurb above the logo is also headline type except for BUST-OUT, which is the only Saladino hand lettering on the cover. I will still credit this as partial Saladino work.

From MISTER MIRACLE #10, Sept-Oct 1972

Here the balloons and burst are by Saladino, the rectangular caption at the bottom uses headline type. Gaspar might have been setting these himself on the headline machine in the DC offices, the way they’re integrated suggests that. Perhaps he saw it as a way to expand his options. Having used that machine myself, I can say it was slower than hand lettering.

From MISTER MIRACLE #12, Jan-Feb 1973

Both blurbs on this cover are by Gaspar, but the line spacing on the first one seems too wide, as if space was added or the entire caption was reorganized. The second one looks better.

From MISTER MIRACLE #14, June-July 1973

Both blurbs here are by Saladino, and work well.

From MISTER MIRACLE #18, Feb-March 1974

The final Kirby issue is another odd one. The large balloon is definitely not by Saladino, I don’t know who lettered it. He did do the second line of the top blurb.

From MISTER MIRACLE #20, Oct 1977

Gaspar lettered only one of the revival covers, adding excitement and drama with his captions.

From MISTER MIRACLE #5, June 1989

Another revival ran 28 issues from 1989 to 1991. Saladino lettered several of the covers beginning with this one. I love the use of lower case in LIFE.

From MISTER MIRACLE #12, Jan 1990

The blurb on this cover is unusual for Gaspar, but I believe he did it. A nice blend of heroic and comedy styles.

From MISTER MIRACLE #14, April 1990

Here SHOWDOWN follows the arc of a new logo. Extensions of several strokes and internal texture add interest.

From MISTER MIRACLE #21, Nov 1990

The large vertically stacked BOOM on this cover is cleverly done, even though the M gets a bit squished. The exclamation point in the UPC box is also clever. The newsstand version would have had the UPC code there, the direct version had it this way.

From MISTER MIRACLE #24, Feb 1991

By this time, Saladino wasn’t lettering many covers, but these rough, scary letters show he still had plenty to offer, though the dark color isn’t helping it read well.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers:

MISTER MIRACLE (1971): 1-3, 6-8, 9 (partial), 10-12, 14, 17-18, 20

MISTER MIRACLE (1989): 5, 12, 14, 21, 23-25

That’s 21 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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