All images © DC Comics. From SUGAR AND SPIKE #77, June-July 1968

This humor title by Sheldon Mayer is perhaps the best-loved and most successful thing that pioneer creator did in his long career. Mayer lettered the stories in the beginning, and then Ira Schnapp lettered the stories and covers for many years. When Ira left the company, Gaspar Saladino stepped in to do many of the covers from this point on, though none of the stories. Gaspar is not usually associated with humor, but he did fine work in that genre too, as these covers show. My guess is that Mayer added lettering layouts to his pencils for Gaspar to follow, but Saladino’s work is both charming and full of energy.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #78, Aug-Sept 1968

Even on work like this, which is full of rounded letter shapes, Gaspar manages to add excitement.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #81, Feb-March 1969

Even with all this busy display lettering (surely written out on the art by Mayer), Gaspar adds his own touches, like the wet raspberry balloon style around the sound effect balloon. Gaspar also created a new perspective version of the logo with telescoping adding depth to the letters.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #82, April-May 1969

One thing Saladino did on humor lettering but rarely elsewhere was a differently shaped letter Y with curved upper arms. There are plenty on this cover. His other letters are also more curved and bouncy than what he usually did.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #84, Aug-Sept 1969

On this cover, Gaspar has moved away from that more cartoony style to his regular display lettering. The sound effect is by Mayer.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #87, Dec 1969-Jan 1970

Gaspar has relettered the top line, TOMORROW’S TEENAGERS here. The book had faithful readers who appreciated the humor, but getting new readers on board may have been tough.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #93, Dec 1970-Jan 1971

Back to the more rounded, cartoony letters on this cover. The logo on these is by Mayer.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #97, Aug-Sept 1971

This penultimate issue goes back to an earlier logo by Ira Schnapp. The balloon lettering looks less like Gaspar than usual, so either Mayer inked it or Saladino inked what Mayer pencilled very closely. The top and bottom blurbs are more typical of Gaspar’s work.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #98, Oct-Nov 1971

The final issue of the original run returns to an upper and lower case style for Sugar’s balloon that had been the regular style some years earlier, but this one is clearly lettered by Saladino, though Mayer did the sound effects. Mayer continued to produce stories for the overseas market, and one more issue came out in 1992 with a few of those stories.

To sum up, here are the covers with Saladino lettering: 77-78, 81-98. That’s 20 in all. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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