GASPAR SALADINO in YOUNG LOVE

All images © DC Comics. From YOUNG LOVE #50, July-Aug 1965

This is one of two titles, with YOUNG ROMANCE, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the 1940s that essentially invented the romance comic. The publisher, Prize, got out of comics in 1963 and sold both titles to DC, adding to the existing stable of romance titles there. DC published 88 more issues from 1963 to 1977. This was the last DC romance title to be cancelled. Ira Schnapp lettered many of the covers until he left the company in 1968, but Gaspar Saladino did several of them as well before that, and lettered most of the covers after Schnapp left. He lettered only a few stories, but did provide art and lettering for some one and two-page fashion features, more on that below. I’ll start with covers, the one above has Saladino’s wide, angular balloon lettering, but the caption shows him trying to fit in with the Schnapp style at this point.

From YOUNG LOVE #53, Jan-Feb 1966

On this cover, Saladino is instead going with his own styles for the most part, though his work is a bit stiff, as he wasn’t yet quite used to doing cover lettering.

From YOUNG LOVE #58, Nov-Dec 1966

This caption is better, even with a tricky quote within a quote.

From YOUNG LOVE #62, July-Aug 1967

The editor must have liked what Gaspar was doing, as he lettered more pre-1968 covers for this book than most. Romance comics were falling out of favor with teenage readers, and DC tried to keep them going by making the stories even more like soap operas than before. The art was often terrific, as here.

From YOUNG LOVE #66, March-April 1968

This is Saladino’s first cover as the regular letterer. The boxy Schnapp logo didn’t suit his style well, but at least there was usually room for a large caption next to it.

From YOUNG LOVE #70, Sept-Oct 1968

Here we see the soap opera idea of a “continuing drama” being touted in Gaspar’s great bottom blurb with its excellent script lettering.

From YOUNG LOVE #78, Jan-Feb 1970

Finally a fine new logo by Gaspar helps bring this book into new territory with teen appeal similar to rock posters, also seen in the large story title. All this lettering is great.

From YOUNG LOVE #88, Sept-Oct 1971

That logo didn’t last long, it was replaced by this less interesting Saladino one. When sales were dropping, editors scrambled for any new look, often going for a new logo. Yeah, that will save it…! Certainly Gaspar’s lettering here is a fine selling point.

From YOUNG LOVE #94, April 1972

DC began using more type on covers, perhaps hoping to draw in readers of non-comics teen magazines. Here Gaspar lettered the balloon and the word SPECIAL at the top, the rest is headline type from the DC headline machine. The photo of “Marc” is actually one of letterer John Costanza, something I find amusing. John had been lettering at DC for about four years at this point, having been brought in by Joe Kubert. He had nothing to do with the advice column, but the editor must have thought his look would appeal to readers, and John was okay with them using it.

From YOUNG LOVE #121, Oct 1976

Amid all the type, a few covers used only Saladino lettering, and I think were better for it.

From YOUNG LOVE #126, July 1977

The final issue played on the topical theme from the time of C.B. (citizens band) radio. Readers were no longer interested in romance comics, though, times had changed.

From YOUNG ROMANCE #39, Sept-Oct 1963

From the first DC issue, this fashion feature appeared occasionally, with art and lettering by Gaspar Saladino. I’ve written more about that HERE. In brief, Gaspar had studied fashion art in school, and tried to break into that field with little success before joining DC Comics in late 1949 as a letterer. Someone, perhaps Gaspar himself, suggested he use those skills for this feature, and it appeared in all the DC romance books. I’ve left this one as it ran, sideways, to allow the lettering to be clearer. Readers’ fashion ideas were often used, as here.

From YOUNG LOVE #40, Nov-Dec 1963

Another one, where Saladino’s dry-brush inking is more obvious. The stylized figures were right out of slick fashion magazines.

From YOUNG LOVE #44, July-Aug 1964

Even more dry brush texture in this one. Saladino was quite busy with lettering for DC, so it’s clear he enjoyed doing these and made time to fit them into his schedule. One good thing about them was that they could be plugged into any romance title when they were completed, so no continuity or deadline issues.

From YOUNG LOVE #50, July-Aug 1965

This is one of only two stories lettered by Gaspar for the book. The title is rather bland, but I like the flag-wave arc.

From YOUNG LOVE #70, Sept-Oct 1968

Here’s a different fashion feature usually with art and lettering by others, but Saladino lettered this one. The logo is by Schnapp.

From YOUNG LOVE #112, Oct-Nov 1974

For some of the later larger issues (mostly reprints), Gaspar did handsome title pages like this one, full of creative styles. I don’t have access to every interior on later issues of this book, so it’s possible I’ve missed one or two of these, but I feel sure I haven’t missed any of his story lettering. He was too busy elsewhere at this time to letter many romance stories, and most of them were reprints anyway.

From YOUNG LOVE #114, Feb-March 1975

Another one showing that, even when trying to look similar to type, Gaspar’s work was much more interesting.

To sum up, these covers have Saladino lettering: 50, 53, 58, 62, 66-88, 90-105, 107, 111, 121, 123, 126. That’s 48 in all. Below are the details of his page lettering, at least as far as I know.

#39 Sept-Oct 1963: Romance In Fashion (RIF) 1pp, 1pp

#40 Nov-Dec 1963: RIF 1pp, 1pp

#41 Jan-Feb 1964: RIF 1pp, 1pp

#42 March-April 1964: RIF 1pp, 1pp

#44 July-Aug 1964: It’s You I Love 8pp, RIF 1pp, 1pp

#49 May-June 1965: RIF 1pp

#50 July-Aug 1965: Come Into My Arms 7pp

#52 Nov-Dec 1965: RIF 1pp

#55 May-June 1966: RIF 2pp

#58 Nov-Dec 1966: RIF 1pp

#69 Aug-Sept 1968: Contents 1pp? (I haven’t seen this, but it’s listed as possibly by Gaspar in the Grand Comics Database)

#70 Sept-Oct 1968: Mad Mad Modes for Moderns 2pp

#112 Oct-Nov 1974: Contents 1pp

#114 Feb-March 1975: Contents 1pp

That’s a total of 35 pages. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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