GASPAR SALADINO in SECRET SIX and SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS

All images © DC Comics. From SECRET SIX #1, April-May 1968

These two titles begin with the same word but are otherwise unconnected, I’ve grouped them to get an article of the right size. The cover of SECRET SIX #1, above, is an odd one. At the top is a small logo by Ira Schnapp, one of his last. Then the story begins on the cover with lettering by Gaspar Saladino and what’s essentially a new logo by him as the story title. While he certainly did that, the rest of the issue wasn’t lettered by Saladino. Gaspar lettered the other six covers for this short series.

From SECRET SIX #2, June-July 1968

Here the Schnapp logo is larger but the rest of the cover lettering is by Gaspar. He used a dry brush for the word PLUNDER.

From SECRET SIX #3, Aug-Sept 1968

How to fit a story title onto this busy cover? Gaspar could have put it in the lower right corner, but his solution was more creative.

From SECRET SIX #4, Oct-Nov 1968

For lettering to appear carved into something, it generally needs to have shadows on the left and upper sides of the open letters, and that’s what Saladino did here except on the two small words where there wasn’t really room.

From SECRET SIX #7, April-May 1969

This burst word balloon has two levels of emphasis, one bolder than the other, and it adds to the drama. The final issue, but the Secret Six concept was revived in the 2000’s.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #3, Sept-Oct 1976

Among comics with too-long titles is this one from 1976. At the time it was thought a villain could not sustain a regular series, but perhaps a team of them could. It worked for 15 issues. Saladino’s lettering is in the top banner, left of the logo, and of course in the word balloon and burst caption. He lettered several covers and one inside story.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #4, Nov-Dec 1976

So, who else could these villains be up against? Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations, of course. A turf war of galactic proportions. I particularly like Saladino’s banner caption at the bottom.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #5, Jan-Feb 1977

DC’s regular heroes were also targets. Look at the burst outline on the blurb at lower right. Gaspar inked it and then added a second broken line to make it thicker and add texture.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #9, Sept 1977

Gaspar’s display lettering is almost as important as the character art here, explaining the situation and making readers want to know more. CREEPER is his original logo, the rest is new.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #11, Dec 1977

The layout of this cover is confusing, Saladino’s balloon helps make at least some sense of it.

From THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #7, May-June 1977

Here’s the one issue-length story lettered by Gaspar. This was just before letterers were allowed to add their own credit to stories, and the Grand Comics Database has this story credited to Clem Robins, but it’s definitely by Saladino.

To sum up, I found Saladino cover lettering on these issues:

SECRET SIX (1968): 1-7

THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS: 3-5, 9, 11

That’s twelve in all. The story shown above ran 17 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in SECRET SIX and SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS

  1. John Nichols

    I remember The Secret Society of Super-Villains as being a great book. I don’t know if it survived the test of time, but young me loved it!

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