All images © DC Comics. From SEA DEVILS #24, July-Aug 1965

After writing war stories about World War Two frogmen soldiers, writer/editor Robert Kanigher created this underwater adventure team with artist Russ Heath and enlisted his favorite letterer, Gaspar Saladino to join them. Gaspar lettered all the inside stories featuring the team through issue #15 when the editorial reins were handed to George Kashdan, who brought in his own creators including letterer Stan Starkman. The series lasted to issue 35 in 1967 and Saladino lettered two covers in that later part of the run, filling in for Ira Schnapp, who also designed the logo. The first is above. The display lettering in the top caption is surprisingly thin for him perhaps to get the words in without crowding.

From SEA DEVILS #30, July-Aug 1966

You can see from this cover that sales must have been dropping and the editor was trying any trick to gain readers. Gorilla covers were thought to sell well, no matter how unlikely one was underwater. Saladino’s top caption is more substantial this time.

From SEA DEVILS #1, Sept-Oct 1961

The first page of the first issue features Heath’s exciting and realistic art, and Gaspar’s equally exciting story title. As usual, he did his own version of the character logo in it rather than having Ira’s pasted in.

From SEA DEVILS #2, Nov-Dec 1961

This short feature appeared in a few early issues with Saladino lettering. Since the Sea Devils name is on it, I count it as a story for them. The lettering over color lines is surprisingly readable.

From SEA DEVILS #3, Jan-Feb 1962

As was typical for Kanigher, his stories played fast and loose with characters from mythology, anything to make a good story. I like the display lettering in the last panel. and look at that incredibly long tail of bubbles on the thought balloon that has to run outside the panel.

From SEA DEVILS #5, May-June 1962

Many stories used the Schnapp cover logo at the top, but I find Gaspar’s story title more interesting. He left a letter out of the sound effect at the bottom, which many readers probably didn’t notice. Certainly the editor and proofreader didn’t.

From SEA DEVILS #11, May-June 1963

Book-length stories began with issue #6, something few DC titles were doing at the time. I love the headquarters sign by Gaspar in the first panel, though of course the flipper shapes are by Heath.

From SEA DEVILS #13, Sept-Oct 1963

Heath must have left the book with issue #12, and for the next three issues other artists were given tryouts, sometimes more than one per issue, all under the guise of a “Readers’ Poll,” also a way to get readers involved. Gaspar had a lot to do on this page. Each of the three chapters is by a different artist.

From SEA DEVILS #15, Jan-Feb 1964

One odd feature of these issues is that the artists themselves appeared in them, as with Irv Novick here. I don’t know who was declared the winner of the Readers’ Poll, but new editor Kashdan didn’t seem to use any of the contestants.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on two covers: 24 and 30. Below are the details of his story lettering. All stories feature the Sea Devils.

#1 Sept-Oct 1961: 13pp, 12pp

#2 Nov-Dec 1961: 12pp, 2pp, 13pp

#3 Jan-Feb 1962: 13pp, 1pp, 12pp

#4 March-April 1962: 13pp, 12pp

#5 May-June 1962: 19pp, 7pp

#6 July-Aug 1962: 25pp

#7 Sept-Oct 1962: 25pp

#8 Nov-Dec 1962: 25pp

#9 Jan-Feb 1963: 25pp

#10 March-April 1963: 25pp

#11 May-June 1963: 25pp

#12 July-Aug 1963: 25pp

#13 Sept-Oct 1963: 8pp, 8pp, 8pp

#14 Nov-Dec 1963: 12pp, 13pp

#15 Jan-Feb 1964: 25pp

That’s a total of 377 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.


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