GASPAR SALADINO in THE INVADERS

All images © Marvel. From THE INVADERS #2, Oct 1975

This series was a chance for Roy Thomas to write about the Golden Age Marvel superheroes during World War Two, and it was popular for a while, running 41 issues from 1975 to 1979. Gaspar Saladino lettered some of the covers and a single first story page for the book. The first cover I think was lettered by Gaspar is above. (Issue #1 is credited to him in the Grand Comics Database, but I believe that one is lettered by Danny Crespi.) The caption under the logo looks like his work, I’m not sure about the bottom caption, which might be by someone else.

From THE INVADERS #3, Nov 1975

The lettering here is more obviously by Saladino, the creative styles used in the caption on the right point to that, and the smaller lettering is in his wide, angular style. Note also that the open lettering and the panel borders have relatively thin outlines. Crespi, the other most frequent cover letterer at this time usually did thicker ones, and his work tended to be more rounded in general. The signs are also by Gaspar.

From THE INVADERS #4, Jan 1976

The strongest evidence of Saladino’s work here is the lower case lettering in the next to last line of the circular caption. Note also the square shapes and thin outlines of U-MAN. The thick border was probably two thin ones that someone at Marvel filled in black.

From THE INVADERS #5, March 1976

More fine Saladino lettering styles here, especially in Captain America’s unusual balloon.

From THE INVADERS #7, July 1976

Look closely at the open letters of BARON BLOOD. The outlines were drawn first with a small pen point, and the inner shapes retain that. Then Gaspar went around the outside again to add thickness and emphasis. He often did that.

From THE INVADERS #8, Sept 1976

I’m less sure about this one, but it simply looks more like Saladino’s work to me than that of Crespi or anyone else lettering covers at the time (like Danny Crespi, for instance).

From THE INVADERS #11, Dec 1976

Another cover with subtle clues to Gaspar’s style that are hard to pin down but add up to a credit for him in my opinion.

From THE INVADERS ANNUAL #1, 1977

This one is easier, the style of the top burst caption is full-on Saladino.

From THE INVADERS #13, Feb 1977

When Marvel’s production department reversed the lettering, as here, it makes it a bit harder to tell who did it, but angular shapes in the first caption are a good clue that it’s Gaspar.

From THE INVADERS #14, March 1977

As an example of subtle Saladino style points, look at the word YANKS in the burst balloon. See how the S has a wide flat stroke in the middle with curves above and below that are shorter? That’s a Gaspar S, an extreme example, but most other letterers did them more rounded.

From THE INVADERS #16, May 1977

Another subtle point, notice how the horizontal strokes of the E and F in the small letters of the last balloon have an upward arch? That was Gaspar’s tendency, while Crespi usually did them very straight.

From THE INVADERS #17, June 1977

These blurbs have styles that Gaspar used regularly. The heavy border on the caption is a bit surprising for him, possibly someone else added to it.

From THE AVENGERS #19, Aug 1977

The burst balloon here is clearly by Gaspar, both the burst shape and the letter shapes in DIE are distinctive.

From THE INVADERS #37, Feb 1979

Lots of Saladino lettering on this cover despite the busy art. I love the stars in LIBERTY LEGION.

From THE INVADERS #40, May 1979

The banner on this final cover example is again pure Saladino, and the balloons are a bit larger than usual, allowing his style to be more evident.

From THE INVADERS #41, Sept 1979

It’s kind of surprising that the only page 1 lettering by Gaspar on this book was for the final issue. His title is terrific. So, just one inside page by him.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 2-5, 7-8, 11, 13-14, 16-17, 19, 37, 40, Annual #1. That’s 15 in all. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

5 thoughts on “GASPAR SALADINO in THE INVADERS

  1. David Goldfarb

    The cover art to #4 is interesting to me, because it’s obviously Kirby…except for Namor’s head, which seems very different. I wonder if they got someone else to redraw that head for some reason? (As when Kirby was on Jimmy Olsen and DC got Al Plastino or Murphy Anderson to redo Superman’s head.) Compare it to issues 8 and 11, where it all looks Kirby to me.

  2. Nick Caputo

    David,

    I’m pretty sure Romita touched-up Namor’s face on the cover. It also looks like he may have added or revised Namor’s figure on the cover of # 7. As Todd noted, Romita was often called on to “punch up” figures or faces, sometimes assisted by Marie Severin and others on staff

  3. Nick Caputo

    Todd,

    Looking through some of The Comic Reader’s I came across a stat of Invaders # 2 and the bottom caption did not appear so it was added on later in production.

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