This was Marvel’s long-running war title that reached 167 issues from 1963 to 1981. I’ve already written about some 1960s lettering by Gaspar Saladino for the book in THIS article, here I’ll cover what he did in the 1970s, mostly covers and a few first story pages. On the cover above, which also features his logo, Gaspar’s wide, angular balloon lettering is easy to see, and his blurb at lower left features his version of German letters in RHINE.
Though the subtitle AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS was always present, it wasn’t part of the title in the indicia for a long time, so I’m sticking with the short version. Gaspar liked working with his friend Gil Kane, as on this cover. His style is harder to see here, but look at the E’s in the regular balloon lettering and notice how the horizontal strokes are slightly arched. On the bottom blurb, there may have been a double outline that Marvel filled in black.
This cover had two letterers, the lower blurb is clearly by Saladino, the balloons are by someone else, I don’t know who. This seemed to happen a lot more at Marvel than at DC, perhaps editor Stan Lee was adding new things at the last minute.
Another reason that happened was, when Marvel reprinted a cover with original lettering, they often added more lettering. That happened here, Sam Rosen did the original caption at right, Gaspar did the new one at left.
The series was often a mix of reprints and new material. This issue was new, and Gaspar lettered just the first page of the story with Shelly Leferman doing the rest. Marvel thought Saladino’s skill and energy would help sell comics to browsers, and his work was often impressive, as on this story title.
This is all hand-lettered by Gaspar except in the burst balloon at the bottom where everything but BALL is press-down or headline type, something he was doing at the time. I think it looks quite bad here.
The second and final page one lettering by Saladino with another great title. It’s interesting to note that everyone in the credits except maybe Gary Friedrich would be working for DC Comics in a few years, or perhaps was already.
Gaspar’s style is not obvious on this cover, but I’m sure he did the lettering due to the sharp corners and angular approach.
There’s more Saladino style points on this cover, like the angular display lettering for DOOMED and SAVE in the balloons. That was a two-step process, the letters were drawn with a thick round pen point, then the corners were pointed with a small one. It took more time, but added drama.
I think the balloons should have been larger on this cover, and there was room. Cover lettering was usually done on separate art paper and often reduced photocopies were made, cut out, and pasted on the cover art.
This is the final new cover with Gaspar lettering, many issues after this were reprints with reprinted covers.
To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 106-108, 111, 116-120, that’s nine in all. He also lettered the first story page on these two issues: 112, 116. More articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.