GASPAR SALADINO in X-MEN

All images © Marvel. From X-MEN #95, Oct 1975

One of Marvel’s most successful and longest-running superhero titles, X-MEN began in 1963, but by the early 1970s when Gaspar Saladino returned to lettering at the company, it was mostly reprints until 1975 when Len Wein and Dave Cockrum launched a revised team with new characters. It was a hit, and the book soared to new heights of success. Gaspar lettered this second appearance of the new team in their own title, his style is most obvious on the rough, angular and dynamic WARHUNT.

From X-MEN #99, June 1976

Saladino also lettered just the first page of some stories otherwise lettered by others, this is the first of those. The clever design of DEATHSTAR is evidence of that here (and before Star Wars). Gaspar always credited the letterer of the remaining pages, in this case Irv Watanabe, whose style is quite different.

From X-MEN #102, Dec 1976

The amazing and eye-catching design of JUGGERNAUT here is a good example of why Marvel hired Gaspar to do these. Who could resist that lettering? Not me. John Costanza, who lettered the rest, did fine titles himself, but not as good as this one.

From X-MEN #104, April 1977

The style of MAGNETO in this title is nearly as good.

From X-MEN #105, June 1977

I like the way this title is made larger by pushing the exclamation point off to the right. The extensions of the H and X in PHOENIX make it more interesting.

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From X-MEN #112, Aug 1978

Another amazing version of MAGNETO adds a ton of energy to this page, though I don’t like the way the character’s head goes over the burst.

From X-MEN #113, Sept 1978

The very angular S in this title is unusual, but Saladino liked sharp angles, they add energy, and the drama in this title is impressive.

From X-MEN #114, Oct 1978

I’m sure this title is by the artists, but I like Saladino’s icy captions and snow-covered credit box.

From X-MEN #117, Jan 1979

The contrast between the two words of this title makes it more effective, and the style of PSI is creative.

From X-MEN #121, May 1979

The shapes and thin outlines of the open letters in these blurbs suggest the work of Gaspar, and the lettering in the burst is also in his wide, angular style with slight arches in the horizontal strokes of each E.

From X-MEN #123, July 1979

Here Saladino did the burst and the title under the logo, but the rest of the pin-ball machine lettering is by the artists.

From X-MEN #125, Sept 1979

The lettering on this iconic cover has not been credited to Saladino in the Grand Comics Database, but I feel sure it’s by him. The style of the open letters in DANGER ROOM is diagnostic.

From X-MEN #132, April 1980

The only thing to go on in this balloon is the wide, angular lettering typical of Gaspar. I think he also lettered the Eagle Awards label.

From X-MEN #133, May 1980

There isn’t much room on this cover, so the lettering is small, but I feel it’s by Saladino.

From X-MEN #134, June 1980

Jim Novak was also doing cover lettering by this time using styles similar to Gaspar, this is the last cover I feel sure was lettered by Saladino, his flaming letters are unmistakeable.

To sum up, I found Saladino lettering on these covers: 95, 121, 123, 125, 132-134, that’s seven in all. Gaspar also lettered just the first story page on these issues: 99, 102, 104-105, 112-114, 117, eight total. Other articles in this series are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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