All images © Marvel. From WHAT IF? #1, Feb 1977

Marvel fans loved the complicated continuity of the superhero line, and Marvel added twists to that with these imaginary stories showing what might have happened if things were a little different. Gaspar Saladino lettered some covers and first story pages for the original run of 47 issues from 1977 to 1984, and he also lettered two full issues in the second series of 1989 to 1998. I’ll look at everything chronologically. The first issue, above, has some exciting, energetic lettering by Gaspar, including the small burst left of the logo.

From WHAT IF? #2, April 1977

More dramatic Saladino work helps sell this comic, though he didn’t do the logo lettering, which changed with each issue, and must have been something a production staffer often did.

From WHAT IF? #3, June 1977

Here’s Gaspar lettered just the first story page, including the top title. His wide, angular balloon lettering is distinctive, and different from that of Denise Wohl, who did the rest.

From WHAT IF? #4, Aug 1977

On this cover I think Saladino did letter the bottom section of the logo, almost a sub-title. The burst at right is classic!

From WHAT IF? #5, Oct 1977

Lots going on here, and the lettering has to dodge and weave around it, but it all works. Here Gaspar was lettering on the pencils of George Tuska, who he was about to work with on “The World’s Greatest Superheroes” comic strip for DC.

From WHAT IF? #11, Oct 1978

I didn’t read many of these, but I remember this one, with the Marvel Bullpen as the FF. Gaspar’s lettering plays it straight and dramatic, as was correct.

From WHAT IF? #13, Feb 1979

Here Saladino clearly lettered the bottom line of the logo, the dramatic TODAY is typical for him, as well as the burst at lower right.

From WHAT IF? #14, April 1979

Here Saladino lettered everything below WHAT IF in the logo. The bottom blurb shape is an odd one, and the tail of the top burst is strange and probably added by someone else.

From WHAT IF…? #75, July 1995

In the 1990s, Saladino was back at Marvel sometimes lettering stories, and he did two for the second WHAT IF series. He had begun lettering at DC Comics in late 1949. Almost fifty years later, his work is still as dynamic and appealing as ever.

From WHAT IF…? #82, Feb 1996

It’s likely many of the creators sharing the credits with Gaspar on these issues were not yet born when he entered comics, and he would continue for a few more years until the switch to all-digital lettering pushed him out for the most part.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers:

WHAT IF? #1-2, 4, 11, 13-14, six in all. Below are the details of his story lettering.

WHAT IF? #3: page 1 only

WHAT IF? #5: page 1 only

WHAT IF…? #75: 27pp

WHAT IF…? #82: 26pp

That’s 55 pages in all. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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