GASPAR SALADINO in TARZAN (DC)

All images © DC Comics. From TARZAN #208, May 1972

In 1972, DC Comics was granted a license to publish stories about all the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters. Previously that had been with Western Publishing, and when DC took over they continued the numbering on TARZAN and the book about Tarzan’s son, KORAK. The latter title was renamed TARZAN FAMILY for its last seven issues, and I’ve covered both versions HERE. Tarzan was handled by editor/artist Joe Kubert at DC, and many of the covers used type, but some also had Gaspar Saladino lettering. Gaspar did not letter any of the stories, just some contents pages. On the cover above, only the word VENGEANCE is by Gaspar, though he might have set the line above it on DC’s headline machine. Saladino might also have lettered the number 2.

From TARZAN #209, June 1972

The story title on this cover is clearly by Saladino in his dry brush style, and he probably also lettered the 3.

From TARZAN #211, Aug 1972

Another handsome dry brush title. These were, of course, done in black ink and reversed by the DC production department, who made a negative photostat.

From TARZAN #214, Nov 1972

While the lettering in this blurb is also reversed, it was done by the color separators following the supplied color guide.

From TARZAN 218, March 1973

At first I thought the blurb on this cover was type, then noticed that the notch on the right side of the R was below the center of the middle stroke, a common style point for Saladino, and not something you would see in most fonts.

From TARZAN #219, April 1973

One thing I love about Kubert’s Tarzan was that he did adaptations of the Burroughs novels rather than just making up new stories. The large attention-grabbing blurb by Gaspar on this page promotes that.

From TARZAN #223, Sept 1973

The rough but square-cornered open letters in this blurb are a great example of the way Saladino added energy and excitement.

From TARZAN #231, June-July 1974

For a while the book became a 100-pager by adding lots of reprints, some unrelated to Burroughs. This cover is again a mix of type and Saladino lettering.

From TARZAN #237, May 1975

Back to regular size comics for this issue, with a stylish blurb by Gaspar, though Kubert might have done the shape around it.

From TARZAN #256, Dec 1976

Saladino’s final cover lettering was for this issue, near the end of the series. By this time Kubert was no longer involved, and DC would soon lose the Burroughs license to Marvel.

From TARZAN #230, April-May 1974

On the 100-page issues, Gaspar lettered some of the contents pages, like this one, a fine example of making lots of text interesting through changes in size, emphasis, and style.

From TARZAN #234, Dec 1974-Jan 1975

I like this one even better, though putting that much emphasis on the letters page is a bit odd. Probably Gaspar was just trying to fill the space.

To sum up, these covers have Saladino lettering: 208-209, 211-216, 218-221, 223-224, 228, 231, 237, 243-245, 256. That’s 21 in all. Below are the details of his inside page lettering.

#230 April-May 1974: Contents 1pp

#232 Aug-Sept 1974: Contents 1pp

#234 Dec 1974-Jan 1975: Contents 1pp

Three pages 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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