GASPAR SALADINO in THE NEW TEEN TITANS (1980)

All images © DC Comics. From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #2, Dec 1980

The Teen Titans had been a popular team of superhero sidekicks in the 1960s. Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez reinvented them in 1980, adding new characters, and the series became one of DC’s most popular launches of the decade. This first series ran to 40 issues by 1984, then the title changed to TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS, which I’ll cover in a later post when I get to the T’s. I did the logo, Gaspar Saladino lettered many of the covers beginning with this one. The cover images I have are from reprints, so the colors may not match the original printings, like the airbrushing inside the Saladino balloons here, but there are two fine examples of how burst balloons and larger display lettering add drama and emphasis.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #3, Jan 1981

Blue is not a typical choice for cover balloons and captions, but of course it’s perfect for a color scheme like this one. I love the scroll caption and the treatment of FEARSOME FIVE.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #5, March 1981

Gaspar had two chances to letter creative versions of the monster’s name on this cover, and both work well, with the open letters and inside texture making the first one the best in my opinion.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #6, April 1981

Special styles for particular characters was not yet common at this time, but Saladino had pioneered it for the original SWAMP THING series, and he does impressive balloons for Trigon here, adding a rough energy that suggests a rough voice. The color also helps.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #7, May 1981

Don’t look too closely at the letter shapes in the perspective story title below the logo, they’re strange in places, but the overall effect works fine.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #10, Aug 1981

The curved perspective title here is designed better and sells the bullseye in the art perfectly.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #13, Nov 1981

I like Gaspar’s treatment of DOOM PATROL on this cover, and the sign lettering is great too.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #15, Jan 1982

The display lettering in the balloons on this cover work well, and the banner caption does too, all adding to the drama.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #21, July 1982

One of those free previews makes lots of lettering work for Saladino, which he handles well. The book did not yet have a logo, but Gaspar did three small ones here, and later a much better one for the title itself.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #23, Sept 1982

Fine captions on this cover tell the story and introduce the villain.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #28, Feb 1983

If rough and textured is right for a villain’s name, what works for a character that might or might not be? Gaspar decided on strong open letters with a rounded E to soften the impact and perhaps suggest the feminine.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #32, June 1983

Characters with visual names are easier, and Saladino delivered on the electric style of LIGHTNING.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #38, Jan 1984

This cover was a change of pace, with painted art by Pérez and stylish but neutral open lettering by Gaspar, who also did the creator credits in thin Art Deco letters.

From THE NEW TEEN TITANS #40, March 1984

The final issue with this title gets back to impressive line art and equally effective character name work on BROTHER BLOOD.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 2-3, 5-7, 9-11, 13-19, 21-26, 28-32, 34-36, 38, and 40. That’s 31 in all. I’ll cover the next New Teen Titans series in a separate post. Other articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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