GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS Jan-April 1969

All images © DC Comics. From BINKY’S BUDDIES #1, Jan-Feb 1969

As you can see from the title of this post, the fall of 1968 (when these logos were probably created) was a very busy time for Gaspar Saladino. Ira Schnapp had been sent home some time in 1968, my guess is the summer, and Gaspar’s mandate to update and revitalize the entire DC line with his own new cover lettering, house ads and logos was in full swing. New editor Joe Orlando had taken on non-superhero genres as his domain, and he decided to add to DC’s teen humor genre with this new series that featured one new story in front of reprints. Gaspar’s take on the logo is somewhere between what he had done recently for Binky’s own title and Scooter and the more angular logos he was beginning to favor elsewhere. The result is easy to read, especially with the wide outer second outline, and has a little more punch than those previous two.

The original logo from the DC files is the same, I see only a few minor white paint corrections.

From DATE WITH DEBBI #1, Jan-Feb 1969

Another new DC editor, Dick Giordano, also added to the teen humor line with this new title. Gaspar’s logo here is much closer to the style used by Archie Comics, and it works well as that. I like the heart over the i, but I’m not sure why the second outline around it is smaller than the rest. Possibly a late change to make room for the issue number?

As the original logo from the DC files shows, that wasn’t it, but Kurt Busiek pointed out that white paint on the heart shows it was originally a circle. The browning art paper on this logo makes the few white paint corrections more obvious. While this is similar to Archie’s logo style, it has its own divergent logic with points at some places and rounded shapes at others.

From THE SPECTRE #8, Jan-Feb 1969

THE SPECTRE had been trying a series of one-shot logos, but this one with art by Nick Cardy blows them all out of the water. I only regret that such a dark brown was used inside the letters, obscuring Gaspar’s thick, rough outlines, but for scary, this is hard to beat. Even the top line lettered to fit the space works well. Only THE above the P is a bit hard to read.

On the original logo from the DC files you can see what I mean about the outlines, they deserved to be seen. You can also see that THE has been modified, probably to make it outlined. The rest is right from Gaspar’s pen. No one did this kind of thing better.

From TEEN TITANS #19, Jan-Feb 1969

With issue #19, TEEN TITANS arrived at a Saladino logo style that would stay for a while. These are standard slanted block letters made interesting by the lower case i between the two T’s of TITAN. On later issues it was often in a banner.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #82,

With THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD issue #82, Gaspar replace the long-standing flag banner logo by Ira Schnapp with this very long one running at the top of the cover in a box. It had the advantage of being larger but still leaving more room for character logos, as this title continued to present two or more character team-ups, usually with Batman as one of them. I like the variation of lower and upper case words.

From HEART THROBS #118, Feb-March 1969

This second revamped logo for a DC romance title is much more conservative than what Gaspar did for YOUNG ROMANCE, simple block letters in a box with his characteristic R shapes. Ira Schnapp’s logo for 3 GIRLS remains on the right.

From SHOWCASE #80, Feb 1969

Phantom Stranger had had a brief series in the early 1950s. Joe Orlando brought him back first in this SHOWCASE tryout, then in his own series using this new logo by Saladino. The top line is in Gaspar’s horror style, the bottom word is block letters with a rough outline around it. This seems a good mix for the character who walked the line between horror and heroics. Saladino R’s in use.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #384, Feb 1969

This issue of DETECTIVE had Gaspar replace ROBIN with BATGIRL, and both versions were used alternately on different issues. While most of the logo is the same, repeated use of BATGIRL qualifies it as a new logo in my opinion.

WITCHING HOUR #1, Feb-March 1969

Editor Dick Giordano joined the horror bandwagon with this title boasting an excellent logo by Saladino. The word WITCHING uses dry brush lettering very effectively, in fact the entire logo may have been done with a brush rather than a pen, though if so HOUR has pen outlines as well for the long straight edges. Perhaps my favorite thing is that the entire logo is in a giant word balloon with the tail to a tiny figure below. This makes it seem even larger in context. The balloon and tail continued for the first few issues, then just the balloon, and eventually just the words THE WITCHING HOUR.

From CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #66, Feb-March 1969

Considering how many logos Saladino was designing in this period, it’s unsurprising that a few are not so good. I would say that of this new logo for CHALLENGERS. I like the UNKNOWN part, made of many large pen strokes that leave some white voids between them, but the top three words don’t work well for me, and don’t go well with the bottom word.

From OUR FIGHTING FORCES #118, March-April 1969

This Saladino logo follows the general plan of his CAPT. HUNTER logo from OUR FIGHTING FORCES #102, but with a double outline around the main word rather than telescoping. It replaced one of Ira Schnapp’s final logos for the same feature. The cat art is by Joe Kubert. Both Ira and Gaspar thought block letters were a good idea on war logos, and one by each of them is seen here.

The original logo from the DC files has only the word HELLCATS, so the rest was probably done as part of the cover lettering. Note how Gaspar has added small indents in the outer line in some places to suggest where he would have made larger ones if there was room. This does not follow the logic of the outer line, but it works fine anyway to break up the long curves, showing that the logical choice is not always the best.

From SHOWCASE #81, March 1969

In the early 1960s, DC had a good run with THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS based on the TV teen humor/romance series. Here editor Dick Giordano tried to repurpose a few of those stories with a new Saladino logo, art changes to hairstyles and clothing, and revised dialogue. It continued in a brief four-issue series. The logo has elements of Archie about it. Note that Ira Schnapp’s SHOWCASE logo has returned for this issue.

From THE SPECTRE #9, March-April 1969

Issue #9 of THE SPECTRE has another great scary logo by Gaspar designed to fit around the art by Nick Cardy. Not quite as good as the previous issue, but still very impressive.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #217, March-April 1969

This title had been through lots of changes, and with this issue returned to its Julius Schwartz science fiction roots featuring Adam Strange (originally seen in the sister title MYSTERY IN SPACE). Gaspar’s logo is not his best work, but I do like the use of it here with stars showing through the letters.

Here’s how it looked on a later issue with the lines in black as lettered, and a revised ADVENTURES inset over the word STRANGE. Still not a favorite, but the thick outlines command attention.

From YOUNG LOVE #73, March-April 1969

This romance comic logo by Saladino again suggests the psychedelic styles of the time that were appealing to young people outside comics, though there’s more of that in the second word than the first. I think it works well.

The original logo from the DC files shows no corrections or alterations, just confident logo design.

From DEBBI’S DATES #1, April-May 1969

Another teen humor title from editor Giordano, and another Archie-like logo. DC may have hoped to compete with Archie in this arena, but though teen humor had sold well in earlier years, DC readers did not flock to these new titles and they didn’t last long.

The original from the DC files shows hardly any corrections.

From FALLING IN LOVE #106, April 1969

Gaspar’s revamp of this logo seems full of life to me with the overlapping G, the heart for the O and an elegant top line in lower case. Romance comics were losing readers but more because of the times than the stories, I surmise. Young girls were more likely to be out finding romance than home dreaming about it.

Again the original logo shows little or no corrections, a sign of Gaspar’s growing confidence with logos.

From GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #142, April 1969

This romance logo is more staid and traditional, closer to what Ira Schnapp might have done, but it works fine.

This unused version from the DC files shows what Gaspar originally intended. The editor may have decided the oval took up too much cover space, and had the logo extracted from it, while Gaspar redid the top line. Gaspar did not follow his usual R style in GIRLS, the indent is centered.

From SECRET HEARTS #135, April 1969

Another similar romance logo from Gaspar, and this time editor Dick Giordano kept the heart shape, the bottom of which could be tucked under figure art. The spacing between and within letters is tight here, but it still reads okay even with such a dark color obscuring the linework. The top line is going for that rock poster look again.

The original logo is the same, and now the linework is clearer. Oddly, Gaspar’s R’s have an indent that’s higher than centered on these examples, the opposite of his usual plan, proving that every rule has exceptions.

From THE UNEXPECTED #112, April-May 1969

Two issues after the previous new logo, Gaspar did this variation probably at the editor or proofreader’s request to resolve the odd reading order. THE is moved left over a shortened N while the T is enlarged to fill the space where it had been. Other letters have minor changes too. I won’t count this as a new logo, it’s more of a correction.

For this approximately four month period I count 19 new logos by Gaspar, more than Ira Schnapp often did in a year. I’ll cover the rest of Saladino’s 1969 logos next time. Other parts of this series and more articles you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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