GASPAR SALADINO in SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE

All images © DC Comics. From LOIS LANE #41, May 1963

As with Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane was given her own title in the 1950s that did well and ran 137 issues from 1958 to 1974. Also as with Jimmy, I’m opting to shorten the overly long book title in my photo credits. Gaspar Saladino filled in for regular cover letterer Ira Schnapp a few times before taking over that role in 1968, and also lettered a few Lois stories. His first cover, above, shows his typically wide and angular balloon lettering and a script slide caption, but the caption at lower left is mostly type, and doesn’t work well for me. It could have been a late addition by someone else. In general I thought the story ideas in this series were pretty silly, and I don’t think I ever bought an issue. Lois’s reporter character in early Superman stories was more interesting, but by the time she got her own title, it was all about trying to land Superman as a husband, or reacting jealously to rivals, and the reporter aspect was pushed to the background.

From LOIS LANE ANNUAL #2, June 1963

Lois was popular enough to support two annuals, though, and Saladino lettered the cover of the second one. Ira Schnapp did the logo and tagline at the top, and Gaspar followed his style for the captions in general, but his more angular letters are different from what Ira did.

From LOIS LANE #66, July 1966

Definitely going in weird directions, this book was, Gaspar’s lettering helps ground it at least some.

From LOIS LANE #75, July 1967

This is actually a more interesting idea than usual, and Saladino’s strong caption and display lettering helps sell it.

From LOIS LANE #81, Feb 1968

With this issue, Gaspar became the regular cover letterer of the series. Cover art by Neal Adams improved the book’s appearance, and the setting is interesting.

From LOIS LANE #84, July 1968

Another interesting cover and idea, with dramatic lettering by Saladino.

From LOIS LANE #86, Sept-Oct 1968

But generally DC was more focused on past glory than on coming up with new ideas for their long-time characters, with most titles running annual-sized reprint issues like this once or twice a year. Lots of fine Saladino lettering.

From LOIS LANE #89, Jan 1969

Getting other DC characters involved was a good idea, and Gaspar’s banner caption on this cover is intriguing.

From LOIS LANE #95, Sept-Oct 1969

Another of those reprint issues with fine Saladino captions and weird ideas.

From LOIS LANE #100, April 1970

You can also see another common theme at DC in some of these, stories punishing the title character and showing them defeated and helpless.

From LOIS LANE #104, Sept-Oct 1970

Sorry to be focusing on these reprint issues, but they have the most interesting Saladino lettering.

From LOIS LANE #106, Nov 1970

Now here’s a surprising new idea for the character from writer Robert Kanigher, the book rarely got this topical or controversial. Gaspar’s story title mimics those of two Swedish films out a few years earlier.

From LOIS LANE #116, Nov 1971

Saladino finally gave Lois a more modern logo similar to ones he did for Jimmy Olsen, Superboy, and Supergirl, and these longer issues had new backup stories featuring Rose and the Thorn, but the story idea here is again pretty silly.

From LOIS LANE #122, May 1972

This seems a more interesting direction, and Saladino’s lettering adds to the excitement and drama.

From LOIS LANE #127, Oct 1972

I’m not sure who was buying this book in 1972, but the cover art seems compelling, though Superman is presented as rather stupid! Doesn’t he have super-vision?

From LOIS LANE #132, July 1973

A new larger logo by Saladino emphasizing the LL works well for me here, and Saladino’s captions are full of energy.

From LOIS LANE #137, Sept-Oct 1974

But the series had run out of steam, and this was the final issue. Lois continued as a regular in THE SUPERMAN FAMILY, which I’ve covered in a separate article.

From LOIS LANE #85, Aug 1968

Gaspar lettered just three Lois stories, this is the first, with a fine story title.

From LOIS LANE #94, Aug 1969

Another story with an even better title by Gaspar.

To sum up, these covers have Saladino lettering: 41, 66, 75, 81-113, 116-130, 133, Annual 2. That’s 53 in all. Below are the details of his story lettering.

#85 Aug 1968: 16pp (story 1)

#94 Aug 1969: 13pp (1)

#95 Oct 1969 9pp (2)

That’s a total of 38 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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