GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS 1970

All images © DC Comics. From ADVENTURE COMICS #390, March-April 1970

After the enormous amount of logo work on 1969 cover-dated titles, Gaspar’s assignment to give DC Comics a visual face-lift through his logos, house ads and cover lettering eased off a little in 1970, but there was still plenty to do. The excellent ADVENTURE logo by Ira Schnapp needed SUPERGIRL added to it, as she became the main star of the book, and this open block letter logo fit the available space well. I find the U interesting, the right arm extends below the baseline a bit, something I haven’t seen earlier from Saladino. Otherwise, just the slanted letters add interest. Supergirl would get a better Saladino logo in a few months, this one was only used once I believe.

From BATMAN #220, March 1970

Here Gaspar takes on one of DC’s most important titles using the bat shape and Batman head he employed on DETECTIVE COMICS, but this time filling the entire shape with the character name. Certainly it commands attention, but I’ve never liked this logo. To me it feels too gaudy for Batman, as if he was wearing a bright, large sign on his cape. I might have liked it better without his face there.

From SHOWCASE #88, Feb 1970

Another logo I’ve never liked. Despite the up and down bounce of the letters, it seems stiff and uneven. Perhaps creator Mike Sekowsky had a hand in the design, or it was simply done on an off day.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #88, Feb-March 1970

This is more like it, Gaspar getting back to what he does best, rough letters for a rough character.

From HOT WHEELS #1, March-April 1970

As with Captain Action, this was a comic based on a line of toys, this time from Mattel. The logo was created by the toy company. I’ve seen several versions. The most common uses solid yellow letters on a red flame banner. Gaspar created this version for the comics with only minor differences.

From OUR FIGHTING FORCES #124, March-April 1970

In 1968, editor Robert Kanigher left the DC staff, though he continued to write for their war comics for decades. Joe Kubert, his artist partner for many of them, took over as editor in a continuing trend at the company then to hire artists as editors. On this title, Kanigher and Kubert gathered some of their best-known war characters other than Sgt. Rock to form The Losers. This very tall logo was created for issue #123, but shows up better here on the following one. It was only used a few times, as Kubert began incorporating the group name into his cover art in many different ways. Then for a while there was a new Losers logo I think designed by Joe. Eventually Gaspar did a new logo for them which I’ll include later. Nothing fancy here, standard block letters with the characteristic Saladino R shape.

From GREEN LANTERN #76, April 1970

One of the high points of DC’s willingness to experiment with new ideas and younger creators that began in this decade was a run of GREEN LANTERN where he teamed with Green Arrow in stories written by Denny O’Neil and illustrated by Neal Adams. Gaspar modified his logo to reflect the team-up, and the result is even better than the GL solo one. I particularly like the arrow on the W.

From STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #150, April-May 1970

In this title, editor Kubert commissioned a new logo from Saladino that emphasized WAR with double-outlined letters. I don’t like some of the choices here, especially squaring the triangular points of the W. Other variations followed that I like better, but again Kubert was experimenting, so some of them may have been by him. This version looks like Gaspar’s work, but perhaps from a Kubert layout. The thinner outlined shape inside the thick one might be a requested addition.

The original logo is the same, with some white correction paint showing. STORIES is typeset probably using Letraset adhesive transfer letters.

Editor Julius Schwartz was still pushing this idea, here with reprints from the earlier tryout in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Gaspar’s logo adds interest to his standard block letters with a flag-wave on the top line.

From THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS #1, May-June 1970

Funny animal comics had been gone from the DC lineup for a few years, but they decided to try a series reprinting these characters created by Sheldon Mayer. It didn’t last long, but Gaspar’s logo shows he was just as good at cartoony logos as Ira Schnapp. I particularly like the spiral E’s.

From SHOWCASE #91, June 1970

A more typical Saladino logo was created for this tryout. The curve of MANHUNTER fits well between the other logo elements and has more rounded corners than usual, perhaps to suggest something futuristic. The open telescoping and bounce add interest to the year date.

The original logo is the same except for the E, which I like better than the revised one used on the cover. Some of Gaspar’s pencil lines can be made out here.

From STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #152, June-July 1970

This version of WAR looks more like Kubert to me, though possible Saladino inked it. I won’t count it as a new logo for Gaspar.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #400, June 1970

Another version of the DETECTIVE logo which combines all three main characters, but I don’t think there’s any new lettering in it, so I won’t count it as a new logo, just showing it for completeness.

From DC SPECIAL #8, Aug-Sept 1970

This logo uses stencil-style letters, but outlined, for WANTED, with a handsome Saladino tagline below it.

From ALL-STAR WESTERN #1, Aug-Sept 1970

DC tried a revival of this western title using just reprints at first. Saladino’s logo for Pow-Wow Smith is based on the 1950 one by Ira Schnapp, and uses the same triangular edge pattern, but on slanted block letters. The dark color in the background box makes it seem incomplete and hard to read. ALL-STAR WESTERN is probably type.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #226, Sept-Oct 1970

With this issue, STRANGE ADVENTURES moved from featuring Adam Strange to a larger science fiction reprint anthology. Gaspar’s deeply slanted logo with open telescoping works well. ADVENTURES is type.

The original from the DC files shows the top word was originally GIANT and revised for the final version. The perspective on GIGANTIC looks better.

From SUPER DC GIANT #13, Sept-Oct 1970.

A new reprint series, DC SUPER GIANT, began for some reason with issue #13. Gaspar’s ribbon-award logo is new, the BINKY logo is one he’d done previously. Note that around this time, Ira Schnapp’s DC bullet symbol was disappearing from covers, it’s also missing from the previous example. The DC in this logo mimics the style Ira used in his bullet, but for a while there was no set corner symbol.

From SUPER DC GIANT #14, Sept-Oct 1970

This is an odd one. TOP GUNS here mimics Ira Schnapp’s logo for Top Gun in SHOWCASE #72 of 1968, which itself was, I think, Schnapp imitating Gaspar. OF THE WEST is all new.

The original is the same except for the drop shadow, which is open here but filled in black on the cover. Even though OF THE WEST is similar to western style fonts, it’s much more interesting.

From SUPER DC GIANT #16, Sept-Oct 1970

DC pushed out a bunch of these over a three month period. #15 used an existing logo by Schnapp. The top banner logo here might be all set type, but the three features in a bat shape is new and lettered by Gaspar. I’m not sure if that qualifies as a logo, but I’ll call it one.

From DC SUPER GIANT #17, Sept-Oct 1970

This one is all new and all Gaspar, using the psychedelic style he’d employed on romance comics logos recently for LOVE. The too-dark color making it hard to see the line work, but I like it all the same. It was used again on issue #21 with the year revised to 1971, and better color choices.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #398, Oct 1970

Gasper did a more impressive logo for Supergirl for this issue of ADVENTURE using his standard block letters with open telescoping in two-point perspective. No lines inside the telescoping gave it a clean look, and it saved time, as he didn’t have to work out all those perspective lines. Gaspar style R’s are present. ADVENTURE COMICS is type except for the banner. Schnapp’s ADVENTURE logo would return on some issues alongside this one used smaller.

From ALL-STAR WESTERN #2, Oct-Nov 1970

Gaspar’s large OUTLAW logo looks great on this cover using slanted letters and a rough-ended box suggesting a piece of wood, matching the title above it. These are outlined letters, but colored so dark it’s hard to tell. Ira Schnapp’s DC bullet is in use here, so it was a gradual and uneven process of dropping it.

From FROM BEYOND THE UNKNOWN #7, Oct-Nov 1970

A new Saladino logo for FBTU on this larger issue is more compact, taking up less cover space, and putting the emphasis on the last word. The open drop shadow allows room for a second color.

The original is just the same and shows no corrections or touch-ups.

From G.I. COMBAT #144, Oct-Nov 1970

G.I. COMBAT continued to use the venerable Al Grenet logo designed for the Quality Comics first issue, but here Gaspar has added BIG atop it in wide block letters with telescoping. The two don’t go together particularly well, but it gets the message across that DC was trying to expand the page count of many of their titles for an increased price of 25 cents.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #224, Oct 1970

After using Gaspar’s previous Sgt. Rock logo on this title for some time, editor Joe Kubert replaced it with a new one that may be a collaboration between him and Saladino. the new version of OUR ARMY AT WAR at the top is certainly by Gaspar, the rest may be a Kubert layout with Saladino finishes. Some issues returned to the Schnapp book logo at the top.

From STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #153,

Another version of this logo, I’d say it’s all Gaspar this time. It lasted for a few issues and then was replace by other logos I don’t think he worked on.

From YOUNG ROMANCE #168, Oct-Nov 1970

This logo replaced Gaspar’s much more creative and unusual logo done in 1968. Perhaps editor Joe Orlando had received complaints about it either from readers or from DC management. This version is sedate and safe, with only the shape of the G having an interesting style. The corner symbol is Saladino block letters in a simple heart shape.

For I while I thought perhaps this was by some other designer, but the original logo shows it was done on the usual DC art paper with the heart and code seal indicated in blue pencil. The thin outer second outline has been whited out here, as the logo was used later, and I think it looks better that way. Probably Gaspar, but not one of his better efforts.

From TOMAHAWK #131, Nov-Dec 1970

DC’s long-running western title was struggling, and was given to editor Joe Kubert. He tried to find new readers by changing the focus to the original character’s son, with a new logo by Saladino. Nothing fancy, just block letters, but it’s an improvement over the previous Schnapp logo.

From ALL-STAR WESTERN #3, Dec 1970-Jan 1971

The third issue of ALL-STAR WESTERN has a new El Diablo logo and a different Outlaw one, both by Saladino. They work fine, and are stacked to fit around the Neal Adams cover art, but…

…I like this unused version from the DC files a lot better. Perhaps editor Dick Giordano wanted the two character logos to be more similar in size? The printed version is less interesting than this one, and the idea of hanging the character logos from the book title is clever, even though it wouldn’t have worked on the cover of issue #3.

I count 30 logos by Gaspar for 1970 issues (including these last two unused ones), not much less than he’d produced for the previous year. Plenty more to come. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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