GASPAR SALADINO in WESTERN COMICS

All images © DC Comics. From WESTERN COMICS #31, Jan-Feb 1952

This title began in 1948 and ran 85 issues to 1961. Unlike other DC western comics, it was initially edited by Jack Schiff and his assistants George Kashdan and Murray Boltinoff. With issue #43 in 1954, Julius Schwartz became the editor, which made sense as he was already editing the other DC western titles. Gaspar Saladino lettered no covers for the series, nearly all were by Ira Schnapp. Under Schiff he lettered just two stories, but when Schwartz took over, bringing in his regulars, Gaspar became the main letterer, sometimes doing entire issues. On his first story, above, the feature logo is by Ira Schnapp, who did them all for the series, the rest is by Saladino. Gaspar’s wide and angular lettering is present, and there are two style points that help identify him: the open letter over a black shape at the start of the first caption and the organic border with tiny zig-zags around that caption.

From WESTERN COMICS #41, Sept-Oct 1953

On this second story by Saladino he’s done a creative wood OUTLAW in the title, and there are two of the scroll captions he often used.

From WESTERN COMICS #43, Jan-Feb 1954

With this issue, Schwartz became the editor and Saladino the main letterer. At the time there were usually four six-page features, later it would shrink to three, and then two longer stories. Julie continued the existing features, but also started this new one with art by Carmine Infantino. Gaspar didn’t plan the title well, it shouldn’t have gone over the figure.

From WESTERN COMICS #44, March-April 1954

Gil Kane was another of Schwartz’s regulars, and he took over Nighthawk. Both Infantino and Kane were friends of Gaspar, and I think he enjoyed working with them.

From WESTERN COMICS #45, May-June 1954

Under Schiff, the stories were full of people talking. Under Schwartz, they became somewhat more visually interesting. Gaspar’s sound effect makes the bottom row of panels work.

From WESTERN COMICS #47, Sept-Oct 1954

Gaspar rarely did display lettering with wavy edges, but used that idea on PERIL in this title.

From WESTERN COMICS #49, Jan-Feb 1955

This page is more typically full of lettering, but still has lots of action. Saladino does well with the newspaper, the sound effects, and the banner caption.

From WESTERN COMICS #55, Jan-Feb 1956

This story title is too long, but at least there was room for it.

From WESTERN COMICS #58, July-Aug 1956

This story title is appealing, with Gaspar’s usual well-done flame effects.

From WESTERN COMICS #64, July-Aug 1957

Over these years, Saladino’s titles gradually got larger, more original, and better. I like the energy in this one. He also did the signs in the first panel.

From WESTERN COMICS #79, Jan-Feb 1960

This new feature began in issue #77, replacing Nighthawk, with art by Gil Kane and Joe Giella. Lots of action and energy from both art and lettering.

From WESTERN COMICS #85, Jan-Feb 1961

Saladino lettered the main story and sometimes others right through to this final issue, but by 1961 he and Schwartz were both getting busier with superheroes like The Flash and Green Lantern, and their attention turned to that.

Here are the details on Saladino’s story lettering. Features are abbreviated after the first appearance.

#31 Jan-Feb 1952: Wyoming Kid (WK) 8pp

#41 Sept-Oct 1953: Nighthawk (NH): 6pp, Rodeo Rick (RR): 6pp

#43 Jan-Feb 1954: Pow-Wow Smith (PS): 6pp, RR 6pp

#44 March-April 1954: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp, WK 6pp

#45 May-June 1954: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp, WK 6pp

#46 July-Aug 1954: PS 6pp, WK 6pp, NH 6pp

#47 Sept-Oct 1954: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, WK 6pp

#48 Nov-Dec 1954: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp, WK 6pp

#49 Jan-Feb 1955: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp, WK 6pp

#50 March-April 1955: PS 8pp, NH 6pp

#51 May-June 1955: NH 6pp, WK 6pp

#52 July-Aug 1955: PS 8pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#53 Sept-Oct 1955: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#54 Nov-Dec 1955: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#55 Jan-Feb 1956: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp, WK 6pp

#56 March-April 1956: PS 6pp, NH 6pp

#57 May-June 1956: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#58 July-Aug 1956: PS 8pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#59 Sept-Oct 1956: PS 6pp, RR 6pp

#60 Nov-Dec 1956: PS 6pp

#61 Jan-Feb 1957: RR 6pp

#62 March-April 1957: PS 6pp, RR 6pp

#63 May-June 1957: PS 6pp

#64 July-Aug 1957: WK 6pp

#65 Sept-Oct 1957: NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#67 Jan-Feb 1958: PS 6pp, NH 6pp, RR 6pp

#69 May-June 1958: PS 8pp

#70 July-Aug 1958: PS 13pp

#72 Nov-Dec 1958: PS 12pp

#73 Jan-Feb 1959: PS 12pp

#74 March-April 1959: PS 12pp, NH 7pp

#76: July-Aug 1959: PS 12pp

#77 Sept-Oct 1959: PS 8pp

#79 Jan-Feb 1960: Matt Savage (MS) 12pp

#80 March-April 1960: MS 13pp, PS 12pp

#81 May-June 1960: MS 12pp, WK 6pp

#82 July-Aug 1960: MS 12pp, WK 6pp, PS 8pp

#83 Sept-Oct 1960: WK 6pp, PS 8pp

#84: Nov-Dec 1960: WK 6pp

#85 Jan-Feb 1961: MS 12pp, WK 6pp, PS 8pp

That’s 609 pages in all. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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