GASPAR SALADINO in SUPERGIRL

All images © DC Comics. From SUPERGIRL #1, Nov 1972

While Supergirl was a popular character with long runs in ACTION COMICS, SUPERMAN FAMILY, and ADVENTURE COMICS, she wasn’t able to sustain her own monthly series for very long until the 1990s. The first one ran just ten issues, and Gaspar Saladino lettered all but one of the covers. Above, the top line is partly headline type, but Gaspar did the rest. I always liked his arrow captions.

From SUPERGIRL #3, Feb 1973

Who could resist this charming art and emotional cover? Lots of male readers, apparently. Zatanna, another female hero, was paired with Supergirl as a backup.

From SUPERGIRL #4, March 1973

The robot’s balloon style is a subtle variation, but effective, and I like the matching captions.

From SUPERGIRL #6, June 1973

Perhaps one problem was the attempt to blur the line between romance and heroics, as in this idea perhaps suggested by “West Side Story.” Just to clarify things, Gaspar had to label the “Gang Lords’ Clubhouse.”

From SUPERGIRL #7, Oct 1973

I bet male readers were more comfortable with this more standard heroic approach. Gaspar’s caption is stylish and creative.

From SUPERGIRL #10, Sept-Oct 1974

There was a long gap between the final issue, above, and the one before it. Prez’s short-lived comic had also ended a few months earlier. There’s a lot of air in the word balloons, suggesting something was changed after Saladino lettered them.

From SUPERGIRL #14, Dec 1983

In 1982, a new Supergirl series launched titled THE DARING NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL, which I’ve already covered. Here the title had changed to just SUPERGIRL, with a logo inspired by her solo film debut, which was not a hit. That might be one reason why the series ended with issue #23, which is still a pretty good run. Gaspar’s blurb adds depth and excitement.

From SUPERGIRL #16, Feb 1984

Gaspar was always ready for humor, and Ambush Bug was the perfect time for it.

From SUPERGIRL #17, March 1984

The impact of the car on this cover is enhanced by the impact of Gaspar’s powerful display lettering in the balloons.

From SUPERGIRL #21, July 1984

Saladino’s captions on this cover are a bit small, but the art left little room. I don’t think the texture in HALF works very well, but it’s still readable.

From SUPERGIRL #23, Sept 1984

The final issue of this run has great display lettering by Saladino, but it was not enough to save it. The character would soon become a casualty of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, too.

From SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #1, June 1996

A more successful Supergirl series ran from 1996 to 2003. Saladino didn’t letter any of the covers, but he did all three stories in this first Annual, a total of 38 pages.

To sum up the covers, these had Saladino lettering:

SUPERGIRL (1972): 1-4, 6-10

SUPERGIRL (1983): 14, 16-18, 20-23

That’s 17 in all. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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