GASPAR SALADINO in THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS

All images © DC Comics. From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #77, July-Aug 1963

This was the longest running and I think the most successful of the DC Comics Hollywood star titles. It began as THE ADVENTURES OF DEAN MARTIN AND JERRY LEWIS in 1952 and ran 40 issues under that name, but when the comedy duo split up in 1956, the comic book needed to change, and Jerry took over the title as a solo with issue #41 in 1957. It ran another 84 issues to 1971. Jerry’s film and TV character of the goofy, childish but cheerful idiot was perhaps better suited to comic books than any other Hollywood figure tried by the publisher, and after the duo split, he continued to have great success in films and on TV, which helped sales I’m sure. The regular cover and story letterer for many years was Ira Schnapp, but Gaspar Saladino filled in for him on a number of covers, and took over as regular cover letterer in 1968 when Ira left the company. Gaspar also lettered some stories in the last few years of the title. I’ll begin with his covers. The one above has his typically wide and angular balloon lettering, quite different from Schnapp’s. The flattened top of the right balloon suggests Saladino thought that one would go closer to the logo, but cover lettering was usually done on separate art paper and either the original or a photostat was pasted onto the cover art by someone in the DC production department assembling all the pieces needed to make it a cover. The logo is by Schnapp.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #83, July-Aug 1964

The series was edited by Murray Boltinoff and created in New York, often by writer Arnold Drake and artist Bob Oksner, two DC regulars at the time. I think Oksner is probably the most underappreciated talent at DC, his skill with likenesses was amazing, and the rest of his art was equally impressive, as here. Gaspar wasn’t yet used to doing cover lettering, and his caption is a bit stiff, but I like all the signs and the word balloon.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #89, July-Aug 1965

This cover lettering is more confident and creative, the banner has great bounce and the burst YIKES! is also full of energy.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #92, Jan-Feb 1966

Saladino did more fill-in covers on this title than most, suggesting that editor Boltinoff thought his work was a good match for the art, and I think that’s right. This caption really sells the story, and I like the unusual brushed border around it.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #97, Nov-Dec 1967

The Batman TV show was a big hit, and this title hoped to increase sales by using characters from it, and of course from other DC titles. The campy humor in the caption and dialogue are a clue to the TV show influence, which fits right in with Jerry’s character.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #101, July-Aug 1967

As with most DC humor titles, any story idea or setting was fair game, no matter how silly. The book had a recurring one-page feature putting Jerry into famous paintings, which gets a Saladino blurb here.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #104, Jan-Feb 1968

The other cover and interior artist of renown who worked on some later issues of this title was Neal Adams, this is one of his covers. He captures the likeness perfectly multiple times. Gaspar’s caption is again full of energy.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #106, May-June 1968

It’s a tribute to Bob Oksner that I can’t tell his fine cover art from that of Adams, this is by Oksner. Saladino’s balloons have large display lettering to add drama. From this point on he lettered all the covers.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #110, Jan-Feb 1969

DC was not having much luck with humor titles by this time, readers preferred superheroes or other genres like “mystery” or war. The fact that Jerry’s book lasted so long has to fall to the skill of the writing and art, keeping readers coming back.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #116, Jan-Feb 1970

On this cover, Saladino has relettered the top blurb formerly by Schnapp, adding excitement.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #124, May June 1971

But by the final issue, Saladino’s fine lettering the art by Oksner wasn’t enough to save the title. Lewis had moved away from his goofy kid character by now, too, and was doing fewer comedy films, so perhaps DC or Lewis thought it was time for this book to end for that reason.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #101, July-Aug 1967

Saladino did not letter any stories until this one with art by Neal Adams, who might have asked for Gaspar, as they seemed to enjoy working together. In the title, Saladino did his own version of JERRY from the Schnapp logo. Pretty close but somehow with more energy.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #103, Nov-Dec 1967

Another Adams story with another fine title. The balloons are cramped, but it all works.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #104, Jan-Feb 1968

On this Adams page, Saladino’s sound effects and display lettering are amusing and well-used.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #108, Sept-Oct 1968

This art by Oksner is just as effective, and I like the signs and the story title by Gaspar.

From THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS #121, Nov-Dec 1970

Gaspar’s final lettering for the book was this three-pager near the end of the run. Lots of nice sound effects and signs.

To sum up, Saladino lettering is on these covers: 77, 83, 89, 92, 97, 101, 104, 106-124. That’s a total of 26. Below are the details for his story lettering.

#101 July-Aug 1967: 23pp

#103 Nov-Dec 1967: 22pp

#104 Jan-Feb 1968: 23pp

#106 May-June 1968: 23pp

#107 July-Aug 1968: 23pp

#108 Sept-Oct 1968: 10pp, 3pp, 10pp

#121 Nov-Dec 1970: 3pp

Thats 140 pages in all. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS

  1. Nick Caputo

    Todd,

    Thanks for spotlighting the excellent work of Saladino on a largely-unheralded title but with excellent contributions by Oksner, Drake and Adams. While I mostly read the Marvel/DC/Tower superhero titles that my older brother John bought as a kid, I clearly recall buying and enjoying issues of Jerry Lewis with my own money way back when.

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