GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS Jan-June 1972

All images © DC Comics except as noted. From SUPERBOY #181, Jan 1972

Gaspar Saladino was kept busy designing logos in this year, and about a third of them were for Marvel rather than DC Comics. The one above is a perfectly fine logo with well made block letters in a style that Saladino was increasingly using for superhero titles: tall, forward slant, double outline. It replaced one of Ira Schnapp’s best logos that had been on the book from the beginning in 1949, and while it does fit the mandate Gaspar was given by Carmine Infantino to update and modernize the line, I don’t think this one is an improvement over Ira’s original. Note that the Schnapp DC bullet symbol has now been gone for a while, but there isn’t a consistent replacement. Most titles used some kind of character image in the corner and tall upper case DC letters, but it varied a lot.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #420, Feb 1972

For DETECTIVE, this new Saladino logo replaced the large bat shape, though it remains small here below perhaps as a reminder to readers and was dropped after this. The new logo is large upper and lower case block letters on the first word that manages to fill the space well. This was an expanded page length for the title, and the characters featured inside ran down the left edge. As with many of these longer titles, the main story was new but most of the rest was reprints. Despite its lack of visual ties to Batman, I like this logo. It lasted less than two years, and was then replaced by the original DETECTIVE COMICS logo from the first issue.

From THE AVENGERS #96, Feb 1972. This and the next four images © Marvel.

Over at Marvel, Gaspar turned in his most well-known and memorable logo of all time for THE AVENGERS. The design features an arrow in a large A followed by Saladino block letters on a slant (made a tighter fit by the V) and a lower case THE in the arrow. It’s not only still around, it’s all over the Avengers movies that Marvel has been producing for the last decade or so. It remained on the title as is until 1982, but has continued to be used in some form most of the time since. Because of the movies, most superhero film fans know this work by Saladino even if they don’t know who created it.

From MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION #1, Feb 1972

A much larger arrow was the backdrop for this logo. It takes up space, but delivers lots of information about what’s inside. Note that both the arrow and the circles have three outlines, reinforcing the triple theme. I like Gaspar’s lower case MARVEL. I think he also did the character names in the three circles for this issue, but not for most of the others. The large arrow was dropped after a while to simplify the trade dress, which is a shame.

From AMAZING ADVENTURES #11, March 1972

Anyone who has seen Saladino’s horror/mystery logos for DC would recognize the similarities in this one for The Beast, from the organic “furry” shapes to the rough outline and textured fill. The top two lines are carried over from past issues and not by Gaspar. It’s possible he also designed the feature logo for the previous run, Black Bolt and the Inhumans, but I’m not sure about it, so haven’t included it.

From MARVEL TEAM-UP #1, March 1972

This new title worked as a regular team-up book for Spider-Man and the rest of the Marvel Universe. I think Gaspar lettered the entire thing, including the character logos. SPIDER-MAN has an odd backward slant in the middle. Was this supposed to echo the original Spider-Man logo by Brodsky and Simek? If so, it doesn’t look right to me especially next to the slanted HUMAN TORCH one. Those two character logos continued to be used on this book for a few years along with many others not by Saladino.

From OUR LOVE STORY #16, April 1972

This new logo for a Marvel romance comic uses styles familiar from Gaspar’s DC ones. It has a creative flair sometimes missing from his superhero logos.

From THE SINISTER HOUSE OF SECRET LOVE #4, April-May 1972. This and the next six images © DC Comics.

For the fourth issue of this title, a new approach uses a somewhat psychedelic poster style closer to other Saladino romance logos. Can you imagine parents of the time allowing their children to buy a comic with such a disturbing title? Not that parents are always aware of what their kids are reading.

From TARZAN #207, April 1972

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. controlled the licensing rights to this and other characters created by the author, and in this year DC was granted the comic book license, taking over from Western Publishing. DC continued the Western numbering, something that wouldn’t happen in later years when first issues were prized by collectors, though it did say “First DC Issue.” Gaspar did his version of the classic newspaper strip logo from the 1930s whose designer is unknown. This version is taller than that one but otherwise quite similar.

From BATMAN #241, May 1972

Saladino designed this new Batman logo with a new bat shape and Batman head probably by Neal Adams. It returns to the traditional break in the name with the face between BAT and MAN, as in the original Jerry Robinson logo from the 1940s, but these block letters give it a more modern feel. The double outline makes room for a second color, and I like the overall result. I remained on the book until 1986.

From SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #149, May 1972

As with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen received a new Saladino logo of similar style, though this one adds interest by doing JIMMY in upper and lower case with the Y over OLSEN, and extending the right leg of the N. Again, the Schnapp top line is not a good match for the rest, but it was always an uneasy combination.

Mark Evanier writes: The JIMMY OLSEN logo was based on a rough sketch by Len Wein. Len had no official position on the comic.  He was just there one day when it was under discussion and he submitted an idea which they used.  I have no idea how much Gaspar’s final rendering matched up to whatever Len did.

The original logo from the DC files shows in blue pencil that Gaspar considered adding open telescoping but must have decided against it, or the idea was rejected. He did the top and bottom banners instead.

From KORAK, SON OF TARZAN #46, May-June 1972

Another Burroughs title taken over from Western with the numbering continued, but the word KORAK is all Gaspar in the style he used for horror logos. I think it works fine for a jungle character too, and is balanced by the traditional TARZAN below it. This trade dress is too busy, but KORAK commands attention.

This photocopy of the original logo is just the same. I really like the texture in those letters, done with a dry brush I think.

From MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #3, May 1972. Image © Marvel.

There’s no disguising Saladino’s horror logo style in this one. By now DC must have recognized Gaspar was also working for their main competition, but it doesn’t seem to have affected his ability to get work from DC. I find this logo very effective, perfect for the character.

From TOMAHAWK #140, May-June 1972. This and following images © DC Comics.

Back at DC, TOMAHAWK was on it’s last leg when editor Joe Kubert and Gaspar collaborated on this new logo. The design is by Kubert and the finish by Saladino, I think. It only appeared on the final issue. Too bad, I think the logo is great.

Mark Evanier writes:  That TOMAHAWK logo was based on a sketch by Marv Wolfman, who was Joe Kubert’s assistant at the time.  Marv says that he may have done rough sketches for a few other logos in his time but the only one he can remember for sure was NOVA.

From WEIRD WESTERN TALES #12, June-July 1972

With this issue, ALL-STAR WESTERN became WEIRD WESTERN TALES. Jonah Hex had first appeared in issue #10 of the previous series, and probably influenced this change of direction, one editor Joe Orlando probably liked. Jonah Hex was certainly the weirdest of DC’s western characters, and proved very popular. He would get a cover logo in a few issues. Saladino takes a somewhat different approach on the word WEIRD here, using what looks like dry brush on some of it. The rest is classic western lettering.

To sum up, I found 15 logos by Saladino in books with January to June 1972 cover dates. I could include the rest of the year in this post, but I’ve decided to do them next time. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

2 thoughts on “GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS Jan-June 1972

  1. Karl Heitmueller-Jr

    All great, iconic stuff…. I love how the inherent angles of the A and V in Avengers lends itself to the upright A perfectly transitioning to the V, turning into italicization. Is that a word? Anyway, it’s perfect. It always drives me nuts that the movies don’t use this logo for the main titles.

  2. Kev Ferrara

    Thanks so much for this article. Saladino logos over Adams, Wrightson, Kaluta, Cardy, and Buscema covers were one of the high points in comics.

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