Thor began in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83, and became the main feature in that book. With issue #126 the title changed to simply THOR on the indicia (THE MIGHTY was only on the cover), and ran for 378 issues until 1996. Gaspar Saladino began lettering covers in 1973 and did many of them, as well as some page ones on stories, and one full story. I’m dividing this study into two parts by date, with totals listed at the end of Part 2. On Gaspar’s first cover, above, look for his angular balloon lettering and lots of display lettering with sharp corners. The other main cover letterer beginning around this time was staffer Danny Crespi, and their work can be similar, but Crespi’s is generally more rounded and softer looking.
On some of these covers, like the first two, the penciler was Gaspar’s friend Gil Kane, who may have asked for his lettering. Here the word DRUID is the most interesting thing, rough and textured with a serifs on just the top end.
Marvel often had Saladino letter just the first page of stories otherwise lettered by others, I think because they felt his energy and skill might sell comics to browsers. His title on this issue is strong enough to be a logo, though the top line is press-down type, and the sound effects are exciting.
Gaspar had many styles of open display lettering, but he liked the kind of wonky uneven look seen in this bottom caption, and it adds interest missing in straight block letters.
There’s so much dynamic display lettering on this cover I almost missed the press-down type on the first line of the top caption. Gaspar did this at times in the 1970s, even though his own lettering looked better.
This is the one issue with full story lettering by Saladino, using his pen name L.P. Gregory. Anyone who knew his work would know it immediately from the impressive flaming letters in the title.
Gaspar liked to connect open letters, and it usually worked well, but on small ones not always, as with the third line of the bottom blurb here.
An important aspect of cover lettering is knowing what and how to emphasize things. Gaspar does that well in both these captions.
Here WRATH gets extra emphasis while OF next to it is lower case to recede in importance. Also true of WAR in the bottom banner.
When Saladino lettered just the first story page, he always credited the letterer of the rest, but their style was often quite different, as here with Joe Rosen, whose lettering was smaller and narrower. The Art Deco flavor of TIME-STREAM is appealing and intriguing.
Gaspar used any balloon shape that fit the space available, but bursts were always popular to add drama. He even did a partial one on the bottom left caption.
Two circular blurbs in a row on these covers, and Gaspar usually gave them at least a double outline, sometimes triple.
In this title, the first THE is tucked into the T of TEMPLE to allow that word to be larger, while TIME looks like it’s trying to escape the page and being held by the caption.
More fine flaming letters with texture in this bottom caption.
I love the banner in this first caption! More flaming letters in the title banner.
Look at the energy and creative styles of this title, it jumps off the page.
The angular style of this title is a nice change of pace, and Saladino’s credits always seem to add importance, which I’m sure the creators liked.
Another great title with dry-brush work on DRAGON. It’s odd that letterer Joe Rosen’s name is at the bottom, perhaps Gaspar left it out of the credits by mistake, and added it later when it was pointed out to him.
In the blurb under the logo, the thin, elegant style of the first part contrasts well with the thick block letters of ULIK.
These credits get the royal treatment, and notice how the rough styles at each end of the title balance each other.
That’s half of Saladino’s work on this book, more in Part 2, where I will list everything. Other articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.