GASPAR SALADINO in POWER MAN

All images © Marvel. From POWER MAN #17, Feb 1974

This book and character had a long run of 125 issues under three titles. It began as HERO FOR HIRE, which I’ve already covered, then became POWER MAN with issue #17 above, and later POWER MAN AND IRON FIST. I’ll cover the last two versions in this article. Gaspar Saladino lettered a few covers and many first story pages for the series, I’ll go through them all in date order this time. Some clues to Gaspar’s lettering on this cover are the circular blurb with multiple ring border (some blacked in by Marvel’s production department, the thin outlines on the open letters in the burst, and the shape of that burst. Danny Crespi was also lettering many covers at this time, and his work can be similar but tended to use more rounded shapes and thicker outlines.

From POWER MAN #20, Aug 1974

Gaspar’s balloon and caption lettering was wide and angular, and his story titles were often large and dramatic. Not much room for the title here, so it’s not very big. Marvel hired Saladino for these first pages I think because they felt his energy and talent might help sell comics to browsers. It also helped give the Marvel line a more cohesive look. Gaspar always put in the name of the letterer of the remaining pages if he knew it, as here, their style was often quite different.

From POWER MAN #21, Oct 1974

The styles in the top and bottom blurbs are very much in Gaspar’s wheelhouse. The thick black outline on the first balloon isn’t. I think someone added that. There seems to have been a lot more messing with the cover lettering at Marvel than at DC.

From POWER MAN #22, Dec 1974

Sometimes a caption had to tilt off at the edge to fit, as with the left one here. Gaspar did a good job of keeping it readable. STILETTO and DISCUS show his talent for creative display lettering.

From POWER MAN #24, April 1975

Artie Simek often used almost rectangular balloon shapes like this, but the work inside them is very different from his. BLACK GOLIATH again shows Saladino’s creative flair.

From POWER MAN #25, June 1975

Notice how wide and angular the regular balloon lettering is here, and the horizontal strokes of each E tend to be slightly arched.

From POWER MAN #25, June 1975

Somehow Saladino rarely seemed to letter both the cover and the first page of an issue, probably because they were on different deadline schedules, but he did on this issue.

From POWER MAN #31, May 1976

It took me a while to decide this first page was lettered by Saladino. Others like John Costanza and Jim Novak did them too occasionally. The title letters don’t seem like Gaspar’s style, but he may have simply inked what was in the pencils. The rest of the lettering does look like his work.

From POWER MAN #32, June 1976

On the other hand, no one did flaming letters like Gaspar, or as well, and they’re a clear sign of his work here.

From POWER MAN ANNUAL #1, 1976

Gaspar had lots of title styles to draw on, this one suggests cracked rocks.

From POWER MAN #34, Aug 1976

Saladino knew what to emphasize in his titles, DEATH usually got the most, as here. The sound effect is also very Gaspar.

From POWER MAN #35, Sept 1976

This title uses four familiar Saladino styles that all work well together.

From POWER MAN #37, Nov 1976

CHEMISTRO again shows Saladino’s talent for dramatic and unusual display lettering, I like the lower case E in it.

From POWER MAN #40, Feb 1977

Gaspar was always thinking about how he could make titles more interesting. The speedlines here do that, and the treatment of LIMBO is spooky and intriguing.

From POWER MAN #44, June 1977

This title is another with emphasis in the right places.

From POWER MAN #45, July 1977

With fewer names in the credit block, Gaspar gives them some Art Deco style. I like the extended C in CHICAGO too.

From POWER MAN #46, Aug 1977

Two long C words in this title, emphasis given to the second through rough shapes and a heavy outline.

From POWER MAN #47, Oct 1977

Less room for this title, but Saladino adds drama with flaming letters.

From POWER MAN #49, Feb 1978

Rounded and lower case letters in this title for variety.

From POWER MAN #51, June 1978

Now officially teamed with Iron Fist, Power Man entered its most popular era. The title is fairly sedate, but the sound effect is dynamic.

From POWER MAN #53, Oct 1978

This title in perspective effectively adds depth.

From POWER MAN #54, Dec 1978

This story cleverly brings back the original book title, and it never looked so good.

From POWER MAN #55, Feb 1979

This busy cover is the last one I see Saladino lettering on. The lower case script for AT THE are typical for him.

From POWER MAN #55, Feb 1979

So much energy in this story title. It looks like the first line of the credits was removed after it was lettered, wonder what was there?

From POWER MAN #58, Aug 1979

Gaspar’s final page one has beautiful script on the first half, while the second is made equally appealing through bounce and joined letters.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 17, 21-22, 24-25, 55, six in all. The following issues had page one lettering: 20, 25, 31-32, 34-35, 37, 40, 44-47, 49, 51, 53-55, 58 and Annual 1. That’s a total of 19. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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