As you might have noticed, I’m doing this series of blog articles about the cover and story lettering of Gaspar Saladino in alphabetical order. This post collects images, mostly covers in this case, from books that didn’t have enough of his work to justify a separate article in my opinion. For this title, Saladino lettered covers on seven issues, but that lettering was for two multi-part stories, so on this one, there were four parts with nearly the same lettering, only the last line changed for each part. This is a handsome scroll with appealing lettering in perspective.
The other continued story Gaspar did cover lettering for began with this issue, and features another nice scroll with more open lettering this time. The next two issues were the same except for the last line.
This series, despite the title, did not enter DC Universe continuity, and was in the cartoon-inspired style of BATMAN AND ROBIN ADVENTURES and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES. Gaspar lettered two stories for it, this is the first. I love the credits.
This is the second story with an interesting variation on Gaspar’s fiery title lettering.
ANGEL LOVE was a different kind of romance comic for DC written and penciled by Barbara Slate, one of the experimental efforts by the company of its time. It lasted only eight issues and a special, and Gaspar did cover lettering for seven of them. Here he did the top line and the thought balloon, already somewhat rare at DC then.
Another thought balloon on this cover has a somewhat different lettering style, perhaps meant to increase the soap opera drama.
The final regular series issue has two word balloons, one with a burst to add interest.
ARION had been a backup series in THE WARLORD and moved to its own series in 1982 with a logo by me. Many issues had no cover lettering, the ones that did were mostly lettered by Saladino, as in the burst here.
The cover blurb on this issue is an elaborate one with beautiful art behind it. I’m not sure if that’s by Saladino or cover artist Jan Duursema, probably the latter. The lettering is full of character.
The story title at the bottom of this cover is wonderful, with texture, rounded shapes, perspective, and a flag-wave curve. Knowing the usual stories about Atlantis, one can’t help be reminded of its end.
This cover blurb shows Gaspar creating interest with two contrasting styles, regular block letters and rough ones that look like they were done with a brush.
As was sometimes the case, when a series was cancelled, a special was produced to wrap up all the ongoing storylines. Gaspar’s blurb for this cover says it all.
Arion returned in a six-issue miniseries in 1992. Only the last issue had lettering by Saladino at the bottom right, and most of that is his Power Girl logo, but I will count it anyway.
In a decade of experiments and partnerships, DC’s ATARI FORCE stands out, perhaps because it didn’t have many obvious connections to Atari video games, but was simply a good space adventure series with excellent art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Gaspar lettered many of the covers, and his lettering for the series was often inspired. For this one he did the top blurb and the bottom burst with an appealing mix of his styles.
Perhaps Saladino was encouraged by the art, but his lettering for the series always adds to the excitement.
Another example of adding interest through two contrasting styles in this blurb. I love the letter shapes and textures on WILD!
Give Gaspar a visual word and he would always embellish it appropriately, as with SHADOWS here.
The top blurb on this cover would have been more effective if it had been larger. The bottom blurb shows the success Keith Giffen was having at the time.
To me, it’s a clear sign that Saladino was enjoying his work when he got as creative as he did here on the word SIEGE.
Gaspar’s delightful treatment of TAZLINGS with a tiny Tazling head on the I is one of my favorite cover lettering jobs by him. So playful and original, yet exciting! I think the burst word balloon is by interior letterer Bob Lappan.
I don’t know if ending this series was due to sales or to a management decision to cut ties with Atari, but Saladino’s creative lettering added a great deal to the covers right to the end.
In some ways, this book is one of Gaspar’s most important later works, though it was not well received. This Grant Morrison story with painted art by Dave McKean required lots of unique styles, and Gaspar did a fine job providing them, but some did not reproduce well over the art, and in general the lettering appeared smaller than usual. That’s because McKean’s art was larger than usual, I encountered the same thing when I lettered over his pages on BLACK ORCHID. There’s also something of a disconnect between Gaspar’s very 1970s comic book style and the moody, illustrational art. I love what he did, but as I said, many did not.
In this example are samples of Gaspar’s style choice for The Joker, scratchy display lettering with lots of creative flair, but it doesn’t work as shown against the painted art with no balloon shapes around it and held in red, particularly here over black stripes.
Overall this book was difficult to understand, especially for long-time Batman fans, and the lettering did not help, though it was somewhat a victim of circumstances that Saladino did not have any way to anticipate. He probably worked over photocopies of the art and did not even see it in color. I call this a noble effort by Saladino that missed the mark, but it may be his longest lettering project at 102 pages.
To sum up I found Gaspar Saladino lettering on the following covers:
ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 5-8, 34-36
ANGEL LOVE 1-2, 4-8
ARION LORD OF ATLANTIS 1, 4, 9, 13, 24, 27, 29, 34, 35 Special 1
ARION THE IMMORTAL 6
ATARI FORCE 1-4, 9, 11-13, 15-16, 20
That’s a total of 36 covers Details of his story lettering are below.
ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE #4, July 1997: 7pp
ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE #5, Aug 1997: 15pp
That’s 22 pages in all. More articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.