GASPAR SALADINO in SUPER FRIENDS

All images © DC Comics. From SUPER FRIENDS #15, Dec 1978

Super Friends was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series based on DC’s Justice League of America comics, but more cartoony and aimed at a younger audience, that ran from 1973 to 1986. DC’s comic book version had a good run of 47 issues from 1976 to 1981. Some early issues had cover lettering by Joe Letterese and others, but beginning with the issue above, Gaspar Saladino lettered many of them. If anything, the job was simpler than the average DC cover, but Saladino always did his best.

From SUPER FRIENDS #16, Jan 1979

As with the JLA, many characters meant less room for lettering sometimes, but Gaspar knew how to fit things in.

From SUPER FRIENDS #18, March 1979

In a way it was a chance to hone DC ideas down to their essence and make them clear to young readers, as here. Superman is the most powerful DC hero, so if even he can’t escape the Time Trapper, that villain is someone powerful indeed.

From SUPER FRIENDS #20, May 1979

The other job for Saladino was to sell silly ideas with exciting captions like the one here, and no one did that better.

From SUPER FRIENDS #27, Dec 1979

Another silly idea made more intriguing by the argument between two heroes, well lettered by Saladino.

From SUPER FRIENDS #32, May 1980

How to make The Scarecrow believably scary without giving young readers nightmares was the task here, so Gaspar’s lettering is just a little scary.

From SUPER FRIENDS #38, Nov 1980

The bottom banner touts a new backup feature. Saladino’s EXTRA! helps make it important.

From SUPER FRIENDS #42, March 1981

The bottom banner on this cover is equally appealing.

From SUPER FRIENDS #43, April 1981

But the Plastic Man blurb on this cover is the best of all, surrounded by the stretchy guy himself, probably pencilled and inked by the artists, but still great.

From SUPER FRIENDS #46, July 1981

Sales must have been dropping, and the series ran out of steam, but Gaspar’s work always made it better.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 15-18, 20-22, 27, 32, 37-38, 41-43, 46. That’s 15 in all. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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