GASPAR SALADINO in THE HAWK AND THE DOVE

All images © DC Comics. From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #1, Aug-Sept 1968

This team of brother superheroes was created in 1968 by artist Steve Ditko and writer Steve Skeates in response to current political themes of the time pitting pro-war “hawks” against anti-war “doves.” After a SHOWCASE tryout, their title began, but only ran six issues. Ditko and the editors had very different ideas about the role of Dove from Skeates, and Ditko left after the second issue, while Skeates left after the fourth, leaving Gil Kane handling both story and art. Later versions of the team with different players were less ideological and more successful. Saladino did no story lettering for any of their appearances, but he lettered all the covers of the first run, and quite a few of the second, which began in 1988. The first cover, above, has some fine display lettering in thought balloons by Gaspar. Those must have been powerful thoughts!

From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #2, Oct-Nov 1968

The second cover has equally effective display lettering, this time in word balloons, a burst from Hawk and a standard balloon from Dove. You can see why Skeates had a problem with Dove’s role, he’s portrayed as the ultimate wimp.

From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #3, Dec 1968-Jan 1969

Gil Kane’s cover art at least gives Dove something heroic to do, and I like his wavy balloon shape, as if he’s half out of breath.

From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #4, Feb-March 1969

We’re back to wimpy Dove on this cover, and aggressive Hawk. The almost rectangular balloon shapes are something Gaspar was trying on covers at the time. They didn’t last too long, but I like them.

From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #5, April-May 1969

With Kane in charge, Dove finally gets angry on this dramatic cover. Saladino’s fine balloons and display lettering are enhanced by holding some parts in red.

From THE HAWK AND THE DOVE #6, June-July 1969

The final issue has more large balloons, and it’s interesting that none of the issues in this series had any captions. Kane’s art is dramatic, but as was often the case at DC, the heroes are shown failing.

From HAWK & DOVE #2, Nov 1988

When the concept was revamped in this 1988 miniseries, Dove was more appealing and proactive. Gaspar’s blurb at upper right is somewhat swamped by the color around it, but still works fine.

From HAWK & DOVE #3, Dec 1988

On the following issue, the lettering is easier to see and even more effective, with a large, textured KILLS.

From HAWK & DOVE #4, Sept 1989

The miniseries did well and a monthly book soon began that also did well. Twenty years had passed since the original series, and Saladino’s display lettering styles had changed somewhat, but are still effective.

From HAWK & DOVE #5, Oct 1989

The symmetrical layout at the bottom of this cover is kind of unusual, and Gaspar’s lettering between the two boxes feels constrained by it, but works fine.

From HAWK & DOVE #12, May 1990

Gaspar’s blurb at the bottom of this cover is creative and full of energy. The one at the top uses a logo by someone else, but the words above and below are his.

From HAWK & DOVE #21, Feb 1991

Gaspar was always ready to use an appropriate style for any situation, and the word LADIES’ here is in handsome script, though the red letters are a bit hard to read.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers:

THE HAWK AND THE DOVE (1968): 1-6

HAWK & DOVE MINISERIES (1988): 2-3

HAWK & DOVE (1989): 4-5, 8, 12, 14, 21-22, Annual 1

That’s 16 in all. More articles like this are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO in THE HAWK AND THE DOVE

  1. Allen R

    The 1989 #5 cover looks better when you see the original Direct Market cover, and see that the rectangle on the left had the original (male) Dove in it, making the two rectangles symmetric with the characters. But of course the Newsstand cover had the left one covered with a barcode, and I’m assuming the digital copy you must have used just blanked it out (they should have restored the Direct Market one). See here for the originals: https://www.comics.org/issue/46891/cover/4/

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