GASPAR SALADINO in THE SUPERMAN FAMILY

All images © DC Comics. From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #165, June-July 1974

This title took over the numbering of SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN with #164 and ran for 59 issues until 1982. It featured not only Jimmy, Lois and Perry White from The Daily Planet but also Supergirl, Superboy, Krypto, Superbaby, and more of the large cast developed over the years in all the Superman-related titles. Gaspar Saladino lettered many of the busy covers as well as a good number of features and stories inside. His first cover lettering, above, has his logo and top banner, and indicates the way the title often looked, divided into small art panels with lots of lettering. I’ll look at covers, then inside pages.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #166, Aug-Sept 1974

The challenge was always to keep each item distinct and interesting while allowing the cover as a whole to at least try for a unified look. Here type has been used for the Superman story title (perhaps a last minute addition), and it looks so dull by comparison with Gaspar’s diverse and appealing work.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #168, Dec 1974-Jan 1975

Personally I never liked this kind of fragmented cover, I would have made one large image with everything else in sidebars, but Gaspar did well with what he was given. At the bottom, arrow captions help attract the eye.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #172, Aug-Sept 1975

This works better for me, though the trade dress (all the top stuff) is still too big and too busy. Each story title is in a unique style.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #176, April-May 1976

Again, too fragmented with no focal point. Gaspar’s almost rectangular balloon in the large panel is something he did occasionally.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #187, Jan-Feb 1978

By this time the trade dress was smaller and better organized, but the best thing here is the focus on one large image, even with a second image for everyone else below it. A triumph by cover artist José Luis García-López, helped by Gaspar’s blurb to explain things.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #207, June 1980

Back to fragmented art on this cover with lots of Saladino lettering.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #222, Sept 1982

I much prefer this approach, and Saladino’s burst balloon adds to the drama on this last cover he lettered for the series.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #166, Aug-Sept 1974

One thing Gaspar lettered inside some early issues was the contents page, another busy assignment with lots of work for him to do, and he manages to make it all diverse and interesting.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #167, Oct-Nov 1974

He also lettered two to four page features to help readers understand more about the characters and their world, even the silly ones like the Legion of Super Pets.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #168, Dec 1974-Jan 1975

Another recurring feature was this one. Gaspar created the title and top blurb, which was used repeatedly in several titles, but he also did the new “humorous” cover lettering for all of them. I suspect this was E. Nelson Bridwell’s idea.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #169, Feb-March 1975

Another even busier contents page, and look at the variety of lettering styles!

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #182, March-April 1977

This book was the last refuge of former editor Mort Weisinger’s silliest and most annoying ideas, like Superbaby, which Gaspar’s logo and story title actually adds gravitas to.

From THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #194, March-April 1979

Saladino’s last story lettering for the title was this one with a great title, and finally he gets credit.

To sum up, I found Gaspar’s lettering on these covers: 165-173, 175-176, 178-179, 185-187, 189-190, 192, 194, 199, 201, 205-218, 220-222. That’s 38 in all. Below are the details of his inside lettering.

#166 Aug-Sept 1974: Contents 1pp

#167 Oct-Nov 1974: Contents 1pp, Super Pets and Super-Threats 2pp

#168 Dec 1974-Jan 1975: Contents 1pp, An E.S.Peek at Lena Thorul 2pp, Comedy Cover Capers 1pp

#169 Feb-March 1975: Contents 1pp, Four Deaths for Lois Lane 2pp, Comedy Cover Capers 1pp, The Strange Lives of Lois Lane 2pp

#170 April-May 1975: The Reporter of 1,000 Faces 2pp

#171 June-July 1975: Comedy Cover Capers 1pp

#172 Aug-Sept 1975: The Superman Family Album 4pp

#175 Feb-March 1976: Super-Family Puzzle 1pp, Perry White’s Family 1pp

#182 March-April 1977: Superbaby’s Alien Pet 7pp

#183 May-June 1977: Lois Lane 20pp

#191 Sept-Oct 1978: Contents 1pp

#194 March-April 1979: Superboy 15pp

That’s 61 pages total. Other articles in this series you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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