Continuing my overview of Gaspar Saladino’s lettering for this important Marvel Comics team book, in addition to lettering quite a few covers (as discussed in Part 1), Gaspar was often assigned to letter just the first story page of many issues. I suspect the idea was to make that page more exciting when potential buyers looked at it, to help clinch a sale, and I will add that it worked on me. On these, Gaspar always credits the letterer of the rest of the story, but this plan was mainly used for less experienced or less dynamic letterers, and the difference is clear when you see it. I think Gaspar was paid extra for these, and it shows in the work, he always seems to give more care to the story titles and credit blocks, as on the first one, above. Saladino also lettered a few full stories for the title. Note that my images on these are not from the original comics but from reprints, so the brightness and colors are not accurate to the originals, but the lettering looks fine.
The title on this story is full of Gaspar’s drippy horror style and texture. His burst balloons are also full of energy.
Here the Saladino page 1 treatment was used on an early lettering job by Tom Orzechowski. A few years later, Tom was doing wonderful title and credit work of his own, but at this point, he was a newcomer, and not yet as accomplished.
On this one, rather than use his own Avengers cover logo, Gaspar does a new one that works well in this giant word balloon title.
Writer Steve Englehart’s story title mimics Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” but Saladino’s version of STRANGER makes it visually interesting.
Penciler George Tuska left plenty of room for this story title, and Saladino makes good use of it. They would work together on “The World’s Greatest Superheroes” comic strip in a few years.
This story title almost predicts DC Comics’ CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS in the 1980s.
This story title could have been a cover logo if Saladino hadn’t already designed a better one.
This more crowded cover needed a smaller title, but it’s still bold and full of impact.
Here’s a rare example of a Saladino page 1 on a story lettered by John Costanza, usually he did his own. The treatment of ATTUMA adds to the unsettling camera angle.
Has Doctor Doom’s name ever held more dark energy and menace?
Gaspar lettered this entire story, so gets to put his own name in the credits for the first time. He might have used a pen name, as in past stories, but must have felt it was okay to use his own by this time. Over at DC he was still not getting printed credit for his work, but that would start later in 1977.
Look at the subtle lightning symbol in this title. Gaspar was always adding creative touches.
There’s only so much you can do with a sedate title like this one, the large size helps.
The lower case A’s in ANT-MAN are a nod to his small size.
Perspective in the title adds depth and interest.
Three styles in the title that all work together, and the rough DIE adds excitement.
A busy cover, but Saladino’s title stands out.
Larger names in the credits add importance. Gaspar went smaller for the letterer and colorist to save space, and perhaps to indicate a lesser role for them.
Texture and a heavy, rough outline on OBLIVION add excitement.
Lower case in the title adds interest and helps emphasize HEROES.
Here lower case works differently but still effectively to gain attention.
Another fine title, DEATH always grabs the eye.
Saladino lettered this entire story, so gets to add his first name in script to the credits, his favorite way of doing that. The extended E in ELEMENTARY is a rare misfire in my opinion, it reads more like an F. And for the first time, Gaspar uses his cover logo in the title, sort of. Not quite the same.
The brush lettering in NIGHTMARE is something Gaspar excelled at.
I find this large and wordy credit block amusing because it’s meant to be a dialogue between letterer Janice Chiang and writer/editor Jim Shooter, but it’s all done with Gaspar’s elegant and distinctive lettering.
I was surprised to find Gaspar lettering this entire story, late for him at Marvel, and he’s using his L. P. Gregory pen name, so perhaps hoping DC wouldn’t notice.
To sum up, the details of Saladino’s story lettering are below.
#110 April 1973: page 1 only
#117 Nov 1973: page 1 only
#118 Dec 1973: page 1 only
#137 July 1975: page 1 only
#138 Aug 1975: page 1 only
#140 Oct 1975: page 1 only
#147 May 1976: page 1 only
#150 Aug 1976: page 1 only
#151 Sept 1976: page 1 only
#154 Dec 1976: page 1 only
#156 Feb 1977: page 1 only
#157 March 1977: 17pp
#159 May 1977: page 1 only
#160 June 1977: page 1 only
#161 July 1977: page 1 only
#162 Aug 1977: page 1 only
#163 Sept 1977: page 1 only
ANNUAL #8 1978: page 1 only
#168 Feb 1978: page 1 only
#173 July 1978: page 1 only
#181 March 1979: page 1 only
#182 April 1979: page 1 only
#184 June 1979: page 1 only
#188 Nov 1979: 18pp
#192 Feb 1980: page 1 only
#211 Sept 1981: page 1 only
#281 July 1987: 22pp
That’s a total of 81 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.