GASPAR SALADINO in TOMAHAWK

All images © DC Comics. From TOMAHAWK #111, July-Aug 1967

Western fighter Tom Hawkins first appeared as a backup feature in STAR SPANGLED COMICS in 1947, with his boy sidekick Dan Hunter. In 1950 they gained their own title that ran 140 issues until 1972, making it DC’s longest running western. Gaspar Saladino lettered just one story in the book, and did this one fill-in cover for regular cover letterer Ira Schnapp before taking over the cover lettering himself in 1968 when Ira left the company. His blurb has the jagged, amorphous shape he sometimes used then, and the open letters are clear even with a dark color around them, though the bottom strokes of each E in VENGEANCE seem too thin.

From TOMAHAWK #115, March-April 1968

This is Gaspar’s first issue as the regular cover letterer, though the Ira Schnapp logo would remain for a while. The top blurb fits above it well. Gaspar’s flaming open letters were usually the best, but here they’re a bit hard to read with flames inside the letters.

From TOMAHAWK #118, Sept-Oct 1968

Gaspar knew when and how to let display lettering break over a balloon border. Here it also serves as a story title, evidenced by the small quote marks, which make no sense as part of a word balloon, but few readers would notice that. They’d be looking at the great Neal Adams art.

From TOMAHAWK #119, Nov-Dec 1968

Another Adams cover where Saladino uses most of the open sky for his dramatic blurb.

From TOMAHAWK #121, March-April 1969

On this Adams cover, Gaspar adds drama with his large display lettering in a burst.

From TOMAHAWK #126, Jan-Feb 1970

This blurb would have worked as a word balloon from the gunman, but Gaspar made it a burst instead. Possibly it was still meant to be from the gunman, but he forgot to add a tail.

From TOMAHAWK #131, Nov-Dec 1970

With this issue, Joe Kubert took over as editor and cover artist, switching the focus to the previously unseen son of the original title character. Stories by Robert Kanigher and artist Frank Thorne focused on the poor treatment of Native Americans. Gaspar did a new logo, and his lettering has the size and energy he was using with Kubert on war titles.

From TOMAHAWK #133, March-April 1971

It seems likely that Kubert, not a bad letterer himself, laid out what he wanted Gaspar to do. Here Kubert did the rocky shape around the lower blurb.

From TOMAHAWK #137, Nov-Dec 1971

This poster caption might all be by Kubert, or penciled by him and inked by Saladino. I’ll credit it to Gaspar even though I’m not sure.

From TOMAHAWK #139, March-April 1972

The penultimate issue has fine brushed sign lettering that’s unmistakably by Saladino.

From TOMAHAWK #107, Nov-Dec 1966

Here’s the one inside story lettered by Gaspar, with great display lettering and sound effects.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 111, 115-140. That’s 27 in all. The story above was 17 pages. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.