GASPAR SALADINO in TEEN TITANS

All images © DC Comics. From TEEN TITANS #4, July-Aug 1966

Before the New Teen Titans, there were the original Teen Titans. After tryouts in both SHOWCASE and THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, their title ran 43 issues from 1966 to 1973 and was revived for ten more issues from 1976 to 1978. This article also covers the unrelated (except by title) TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT, really about the New Teen Titans, but it seems to fit well here alphabetically. Gaspar Saladino lettered covers for both series, but no stories. His first cover, above, was a fill-in for regular cover letterer Ira Schnapp, and there were two more of those before Saladino became the regular cover letterer in 1968 when Ira left the company. On this cover, the peeled-back corners revealing the lower right blurb are clever, but they might have been done by cover artist Nick Cardy. The logo is by Schnapp, but I think Gaspar did the top line as well as the balloon and corner blurb.

From TEEN TITANS #6, Nov-Dec 1966

Gaspar’s top blurb on this cover fights for attention with the “go-go checks” around it, and I think wins.

From TEEN TITANS #10, July-Aug 1967

Only the lower blurb here is by Gaspar, but he’s beginning to go his own way creatively with the oddly-shaped border and energetic lettering.

From TEEN TITANS #14, March-April 1968

From this point on, Gaspar did most of the covers, and he and Nick Cardy made a great team. I’m not sure how involved Cardy was in the lettering, but it seems likely he might have roughed in both the upper blurb and the tombstone inscription here. Saladino brought it home.

From TEEN TITANS #15, May-June 1968

Another case where Cardy may have roughed in the blurb, but Gaspar gives it a slightly psychedelic rock-poster look likely to appeal to teen readers.

From TEEN TITANS #17, Sept-Oct 1968

That approach was carried further for this issue with a similar one-shot logo by Saladino. DC’s attempt to use hip teen language was as lame as usual, but the lettering and art are fine.

From TEEN TITANS #22, July-Aug 1969

By this issue the book had a more modern logo by Saladino, and his dramatic lettering adds much to the Cardy cover art.

From TEEN TITANS #23, Sept-Oct 1969

DC was also trying to figure out why Marvel comics were so popular so they could something similar. Could this be Wonder Girl taking a Mary Jane Watson approach in her dialogue? Gaspar’s character logo is great.

From TEEN TITANS #30, Nov-Dec 1970

A Woodstock-like concert would appeal to kids, right, even if they called the music “noise”?

From TEEN TITANS #36, Nov-Dec 1971

More fine Saladino lettering on the tomb, and the balloons are also intriguing.

From TEEN TITANS #40, July-Aug 1972

Despite my sarcasm about the writing, Cardy and Saladino’s covers were all wonderful. I like the odd shapes of the story title letters on this one.

From TEEN TITANS #46, Feb 1977

Moving ahead a few years to the relaunch, Cardy is gone, and the covers are not as good, but Saladino’s lettering on this one works well.

From TEEN TITANS #50, Oct 1977

Gaspar’s final cover lettering was for this issue’s arrow captions and character labels, though the ones at the top are type.

From TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #1, Aug 1986

This series was a spinoff of THE NEW TEEN TITANS, giving individual characters from that series a chance to shine. Saladino did the bottom blurb in contrasting styles and the top left banner, though the creator credits are type.

From TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #3, Oct 1986

Look closely at these two Saladino blurbs. Each line is a different size and slightly different style, subtle touches that make them work better.

From TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #9, April 1987

This burst blurb uses a variety of styles that all work together well.

From TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #12, July 1987

This blurb has an Indiana Jones feel to match the situation.

To sum up, these covers have Saladino lettering:

TEEN TITANS: 4, 6, 10, 14-33, 36-41, 43-46, 50

TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT: 1-4, 9, 11-13

That’s 42 in all. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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