GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS June-Dec 1975

From THE BARBARIANS #1, June 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

Continuing with Gaspar Saladino’s busiest logo year, as he was designing them for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Atlas/Seaboard Comics, who produced a flood of 67 issues dated 1975, and then were no more. This Seaboard title has two logos. BARBARIANS nicely flanked by swords, appeared only this once. Gaspar was certainly capable of doing the swords, but these are so detailed they might have been added by someone else. IRONJAW we’ve already seen on his own title, though the right leg of the N has been shortened to make room for FEATURING in type. Why this was not simply an issue of IRONJAW I don’t know, but Seaboard continued to swamp the market with titles, perhaps at owner Martin Goodman’s request.

From FRIGHT #1, June 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

Another one-issue title with fine Saladino logos for the book name and the feature. How many times is this for Gaspar to create a logo for Dracula? I’ve lost count! Since both of these only appeared once, I’m going to count this as one logo.

From THE HANDS OF THE DRAGON #1, June 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

An entry in the martial arts genre, I like this one much better than RICHARD DRAGON, the one he did for DC in this year as seen in the previous post. Not overtly Asian, but I think that’s a good thing. DRAGON is stylish, with slab serifs and dragon’s claws, and I like the RA combination.

From POLICE ACTION #3, June 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

The third and final issue of this series has yet another logo, this time promoting the actual book title. It seems less interesting to me, but perhaps the real problem was selling any kind of police/crime comic in 1975.

From MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #4, 1975

In 1974, Marvel decided to follow DC’s foray into tabloid-size comics, much larger than any comics they had produced previously. They promoted the size as 10 by 14 inches, it may have been a little smaller than that, but the tabloids were still huge by comparison to a normal comic. The first one to have a new logo was issue #4, and the Saladino R’s in the second line identify it as by Saladino. Not as interesting as his logo for the book, but not bad.

From STALKER #1, June-July 1975, image © DC Comics.

Not a familiar look for Saladino, but I can’t think who else might have designed it. The art is by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood, could Ditko have supplied a logo idea that Gaspar used as his starting point? The letters are inconsistent, though it reads fine.

From 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #4, July 1975, image © DC Comics

Carl Gafford told the Grand Comics Database that this story had been on the shelf for some time, and was originally to be titled POLICE WOMAN, but had this name change because of the TV show of the same name. Saladino did a fine job with beveled letters on a shield, but it probably takes up too much space. No matter, the feature went no further.

From BLAZING BATTLE TALES #1, July 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

Another one-shot from Seaboard, and Gaspar gets a chance to use his flaming letters, this time with the flames blowing to the left. The bottom character logo is a nice variation on his Sgt. Rock logo.

From LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION #C-36, June-July 1975, image © DC Comics.

A tricky assignment for Saladino, create a logo for one of the world’s oldest and most famous books without making it seem too religious, something that might turn fans away. I think he succeeded admirably. I love the decorative details in the letters, and the ornate shapes themselves.

A photocopy of the original logo from the DC files shows that some of the details were changed, with the original diamond-shaped points being replaced with tiny crosses. I like the final version better.

From MASTERS OF TERROR #1, July 1975, image © Marvel.

No mistaking this Saladino horror treatment on TERROR. I might have been tempted to repeat one of those three R’s, but these are all different, and I don’t think Gaspar thought that way.

From DEAD OF NIGHT #11, Aug 1975, image © Marvel.

While I’m not absolutely sure this one is by Saladino, it looks that way to me, from the shapes of the top line to the open drop shadow. Gaspar did seem to use elements of Artie Simek’s logo style at times, like these broken-ended letters, especially at Marvel, but this is definitely not by Simek.

From MARVEL PREVIEW #2, June 1975, image © Marvel.

Another logo I’m not completely sure about, but Saladino seems the most likely designer, and it had his R shape. The target over the I is also something he might have done, I’m not sure about the skull in the P.

From BATMAN FAMILY #1, Sept-Oct 1975, image © DC Comics.

After thinking about it, I don’t believe Gaspar worked on this logo. The bottom part is from his SUPERMAN FAMILY logo, the top uses the Infantino/Anderson bat shape from ten years earlier and the Ira Schnapp letters from that logo, but tilted back in perspective. However, the T is wrong, not in perspective, not close enough to the A, and I think just copied directly from the Schnapp BATMAN logo. This was probably done by someone in the DC production department.

From DEMON HUNTER #1, Sept 1975, image © Nemesis Group, Inc.

Seaboard was running out of steam when this Saladino logo hit the newsstands, and his fine logos were not enough to save it. Powerful, energetic and scary work here on DEMON, fine telescoped letters on HUNTER. It was the final new title from the company, and there were no Seaboard cover dates later than September. One good thing about designing logos in my experience is that you rarely have to worry about getting paid. You are contributing at the early stages of a project, when hope and enthusiasm are at their highest, and the price of a logo design seems worthwhile to bring a sure-fire profitable idea to life. I hope that was true for Gaspar at Seaboard right to the end.

From THE LEGION OF MONSTERS #1, Sept 1975, image © Marvel.

At Marvel, it was business as usual, as they brought out yet another black and white magazine size horror title with a nice Saladino logo. One place he and I did not see eye-to-eye was the treatment of inside corners like the ones here on the M and N. He sometimes cut them short, I like them better brought to a sharp point.

From MGM”S MARVELOUS WIZARD OF OZ #1, 1975

The first joint issue of Marvel and DC is one I don’t have the details on, but I believe it was prepared by Marvel, and then they discovered that DC had the comic book rights to the MGM film. The rival companies decided to work together, and DC did the sales and promotion. I believe Gaspar designed this logo, and it’s a fine one with a large Z in WIZARD echoing the Z of Oz. Saladino also lettered the book under a pseudonym.

From ADVENTURES ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #1, Oct 1975, image © Marvel.

The film was a hit, Marvel’s black and white magazine version was too, so they reprinted it in color in this series. Gaspar’s logo plays with apparent distance, the top line recedes at the center just where the main title bulges out toward the reader, making that bulge seem even more three-dimensional. The title is too long and the logo too big, but it’s a cool one.

From THE CHAMPIONS #1, Oct 1975, image © Marvel.

Another logo I’m not sure about, but I think it’s by Saladino. Note the chopped off points in the A and M, but the ones in N are pointed. Perhaps someone else did that. The general look and telescoping say Gaspar to me.

From MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #10, 1975

Gaspar designed this tabloid logo for Marvel, his distinctive R’s are present. HOLIDAY gets the largest size and open telescoping, selling the idea well.

From DC SPECIAL #18, Oct-Nov 1975, image © DC Comics.

By this time, the DC SPECIAL logo had become much smaller, leaving room for a large feature logo. Saladino created several like this one for specific reprinted story themes, an interesting idea. His block letters are made of many rough pen strokes, and leaving lots of voids and openings to emphasize the earthquake theme.

From HERCULES UNBOUND #1, Oct-Nov 1975, image © DC Comics.

Both the title and logo treatment of this series suggest the Hercules movies, with the logo having that wide-screen, impossible perspective and massive footprint that epic movies sometimes use. The perspective is purposely distorted, and works well. I also like the chain links, suggesting chains the movie Hercules and this one often tried to break free of.

A photocopy of the original logo from the DC files is just the same, and still impressive.

From THE INHUMANS #1, Oct 1975, image © Marvel.

I can’t be sure, but I believe this logo is by Saladino from the general look, the open drop shadow, and the creative THE. Here the N’s and M have pointed inner angles, while the A is squared at the top.

From LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION #C-39, Oct 1975, image © DC Comics.

Sometimes telescoping can be carried to extremes, like this example, using one-point perspective with the vanishing point between the two lines. With so much implied depth, the illusion is harder to make convincing, and to my eye, this just flattens out at the center, not helped by the flat colors, but you can still appreciate the extra work of all those lines. The logo reads fine.

From MARVEL CHILLERS #1, Oct 1975, image © Marvel.

Both this book title logo and feature logo are the work of Gaspar Saladino. Five different styles, but they all work well together in my opinion. MYSTIC gets the full horror treatment with dry brush outlines and inner textures. I will count this as two logos for Gaspar.

From MARVEL PRESENTS #1, Oct 1975, image © Marvel.

Marvel was also turning out lots of new titles, some filled with reprints, some with new material like this one. MARVEL PRESENTS is done with headline type, but BLOODSTONE is by Saladino. He put in most of the telescoping dividing lines on the bottom and right sides, but left others out for interior shapes. The colorist has wisely made it all the same color.

From SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #1, Oct-Nov 1975, image © DC Comics.

Following the style of SUPERMAN FAMILY and BATMAN FAMILY, the bottom section is a repeat from the first of those by Gaspar. I’m not positive he did the top part here, but he probably did even though the R doesn’t follow his usual style. The FAMILY concept is getting stretched beyond sensible limits for this reprint title.

From MARVEL FEATURE #1, Nov 1975, image © Marvel Comics.

Even though the top and bottom lines of this logo are not by Gaspar, I believe RED SONJA is. I can’t think of anyone else working at Marvel at the time who did this kind of creative and unusual letter shapes, and it follows a typical Saladino style with thick inner shapes and a thin second outline. The rounded inner curves on the E remind me of other Gaspar logos, too. Exotic, but not in a specific genre way, this logo is fresh and appealing, and was also used on her solo series of 1977.

From MARVEL PREMIERE #26, Nov 1975, image © Marvel.

I’m not positive Saladino designed this logo, but I think it’s likely. The letter shapes and inner textures seem right. The thin black telescoping creates an odd illusion here that the letters are carved into the background, but a closer look shows they are raised above it.

From 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #9, Dec 1975, image © DC Comics.

These roughened block letters are certainly by Saladino. If you look closely at the inner shapes, they are created with a pattern of tiny concentric circles, a cool effect more visible on the actual comic. That might have been created by Jack Adler in the DC production darkroom, it’s not something Gaspar would have done, though he might have drawn the shapes.

From DRACULA LIVES #60, Dec 1975, image © Marvel.

Marvel UK was publishing lots of Marvel reprints for the British market, usually in thin weekly comics like this one. The feature logo looks like the work of Saladino, so I’m guessing these covers were put together in Marvel’s New York offices and sent over.

From MARVEL TREASURY OF OZ #1, 1975

Having had success with the MGM movie tabloid, Marvel produced this adaptation of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s second Oz book. The logo is partly the same as the earlier one, but enough of it is new to qualify as a new logo for Saladino in my opinion. A third Oz adaptation was planned, but sales on this one must not have been strong enough to go ahead with it.

From MAN-BAT #1, Dec 1975-Jan 1976, image © DC Comics.

After decades of Batman, someone finally thought of switching the syllables to create this new character. Saladino’s logo suggests the connection with a shape similar to the bat shapes often used for Batman, but scalloped on both the top and bottom. I think it works okay, but I don’t find it completely successful, it tends to seem like DC and Gaspar ripping off their own better ideas.

The original logo from the DC files shows a fair amount of white correction paint suggesting Gaspar had some trouble with it. The printed blue lines indicate it’s done on DC pre-printed interior page paper. The closeness of some letters to the top border bothers me here.

From MARVEL PREMIERE #27, Dec 1975, image © Marvel.

Another logo I’m not sure about, but likely to be by Saladino, at least the main word, SATANA. The arrow (demon tail?) in the A seems like something he might do.

From THE MIGHTY MARVEL WESTERN #43, Dec 1975, image © Marvel.

While the book logo is not by Gaspar, the three new feature logos are for this Marvel reprint title, which reminds me of what he was doing for Seaboard westerns. Each logo is appealing, but I don’t know that it hangs together well even with the giant bullet shape around two of them, and of course it’s too long and takes up too much space. The feature logos were used for the remaining issues of the series, and I will count them as three logos for Saladino.

To sum up, I found 36 Saladino logos in the books with June-Dec 1975 cover dates. Adding in the 38 I counted for the first part of this year, that’s an amazing total of 74 logos, well more than one per week! To break it down, there were 28 for Atlas/Seaboard, 20 for DC, and 22 for Marvel. How did he have time to even show up at each company to pick up and drop off these assignments on top of his other lettering work for house ads, covers and stories? And not only was Gaspar prolific, the quality of his work was usually excellent, too. Truly, he was a master.

Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

One thought on “GASPAR SALADINO’S COMICS LOGOS June-Dec 1975

  1. Martin Gray

    What an imagination! You’re right about the Marvel UK weeklies being put together in the US, with a UK department to sort editorial pages, ads etc. That’s why we were so lucky to have early work by the likes of Jim Starlin, Duffy Vohland on the splash pages, covers etc.

    They weren’t ‘thin’, mind – 36pp including covers, same as the US books, with a lot more pages of strip.

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