GASPAR SALADINO in TOMB OF DRACULA Part 1

All images © Marvel. From TOMB OF DRACULA #6, Jan 1973

This classic horror series ran 70 issues from 1972 to 1979. Gaspar Saladino lettered many of the covers as well as one full story and a few first story pages. I’m splitting it in two chronologically, with totals in Part 2. Gaspar was the perfect choice as cover letterer for this book, as his scary styles were excellent, and he was already known for that at his main employer, DC Comics. That skill is already evident in this bottom caption.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #7, March 1973

For whatever reason, Gaspar began doing lots of cover work at Marvel in late 1972, perhaps just expanding his options, and he quickly became the go-to letterer on these covers, though some were also done by Danny Crespi. Crespi’s work can be similar at times, but is generally more rounded and softer. The sharply pointed corners of SLAYER in this burst are typical of Saladino.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #8, May 1973

The open letters of this bottom banner are angular and oddly shaped to suggest something creepy, and they do.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #10, July 1973

Gaspar plays up the first appearance of Blade in the large burst here, no doubt encouraged to do so by creator/writer Marv Wolfman.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #10, July 1973

He goes even bigger on the story title here, where he lettered only the first page. HIS NAME IS is type. If the character had been given his own series, this would have been a fine logo for it.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #14, Nov 1973

The drippy points on VAMPIRE and GRAVE are something Gaspar did well.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #15, Dec 1973

Gaspar did all this lettering including the sound effect, though I think that was drawn with a double outline that someone filled black.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #16, Jan 1974

This blurb is full of Saladino styles, including the K he liked with the top right leg cut at an angle.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #17, Feb 1974

Saladino had to letter VAMPIRE many times for this series, and he did it a little differently each time.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #19, April 1974

In this caption, Gaspar makes good use of creative styles to match the words. His flaming letters are always great.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #20, May 1974

Another version of VAMPIRE full of rough texture.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #21, June 1974

This blurb is a bit small to fit the space available, but still effective.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #22, July 1974

I’m surprised Gaspar didn’t do more with the word LIGHTNING here, but that would have drawn attention away from the character’s name.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #23, Aug 1974

This cover lettering is all about what and how to emphasize, with lots of style variety too.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #24, Sept 1974

Here the burst and open lettering adds drama.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #25, Oct 1974

If you found vampires scary, this cover would make you want to read more.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #26, Nov 1974

Yet another style used on VAMPIRE. The reversed lettering in the bottom caption is a bit small and hard to read, but the important words in open letters jump out.

From TOMB OF DRACULA #27, Dec 1974

With this effective cover lettering, Saladino completed 11 of 12 covers for the year date 1974. He was rarely used this often, but he was the perfect choice. I’ll continue with 1975 covers in Part 2, and do totals there. More articles in this series and others you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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