Gaspar Saladino

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Gaspar Saladino
Born 1926 or 1928
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Letterer, logo designer
Pseudonym(s) Gaspar, Gaspar S., L.P. Gregory
Notable works
Numerous DC Comics and Marvel Comics logos
Arkham Asylum
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man
Awards Shazam Award, 1971, 1973

Gaspar Saladino (born 1926[1] or c. 1928[2]) is an American letterer and logo designer who worked for over 50 years in the comic book industry, mostly for DC Comics. Eventually Saladino went by one name, "Gaspar," which he wrote in his trademark calligraphy.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, Saladino did the titles, lettering, and sound effects for all DC Comics covers.[3] For a period in the 1970s, he was also "page-one letterer" for many Marvel Comics books.[3] Saladino is noted[by whom?] for the distinctive lettering work he did for DC's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Dave McKean), giving characters their own fonts, and lending the Joker's dialogue a wild, ink-spattered manic intensity.


Early life and education[edit]

Saladino was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and attended Manhattan's School of Industrial Art.[1] While in school Saladino did some comic-book inking for Lloyd Jacquet's "Funnies, Inc.", one of several "packagers" of the time that produced outsourced comics for publishers entering the new medium.[1] After graduating from high school, Saladino enlisted in the U.S. Army, which stationed him in Japan in a public relations capacity.[1]


Upon returning home in 1947, he approached DC Comics, where production chief Sol Harrison showed Saladino's art samples to editors. One, Julius Schwartz, while unimpressed with the art, offered Saladino regular work as a letterer.[1] Though working in the office, ensconced between letterer Ira Schnapp and production artist Mort Drucker, Saladino was employed as a freelancer, earning $2 a page and generally earning $90 a week.[1] He recalled in a 2007 interview, "DC wanted a full-time letterer and by being present I got first choice of assignments. I also thought it was beneficial to be able to work hand in hand with the artists."[4]

Saladino recalled in 2007 that his first job for DC was a "cowboy romance" comic,[4] though one standard database lists him lettering a one-page "Private Pete" humor filler in Superman #34 (cover-dated June 1945).[5] His next listed work, however, appears in DC's Western-romance comic Romance Trail #5 (April 1950), followed by the Western series Jimmy Wakely, starting with issue #5 (June 1950).[5]

He did much of the lettering for the humor strips of Henry Boltinoff in Action Comics. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Saladino was a mainstay on DC editor Julius Schwartz's books, like Strange Adventures, Mystery in Space, Justice League of America, The Flash, Showcase, and many more.

In 1966, Saladino lettered the first few issues of Warren Publishing's horror title Eerie.[citation needed]

When Carmine Infantino came on as DC's editorial director in 1966/1967, Saladino was taken off interior lettering, and assigned the task of lettering virtually every cover DC published. This changed the whole line's look, from long-time cover letterer Ira Schnapp's sedate style to Saladino's more dynamic, organic look.[4] All the same, during this period, Saladino lettered the interiors for the new title Swamp Thing. It was in the pages of Swamp Thing that Gaspar created the conceit of defining a character-designed lettering style, with Swamp Thing's distinctive outlined, "drippy" look.[citation needed]

In the late 1960s, while freelancing for DC, Saladino began freelancing for Marvel as well, using the pseudonym L.P. Gregory[6] and lettering titles including Iron Man," The Avengers and Tales to Astonish.[5] In the mid-to-late 1970s Saladino became the uncredited "page-one letterer" for many Marvel Comics titles.[7] He eventually credited himself as simply either Gaspar or Gaspar S.[6]

In 1976, Saladino lettered the historic DC-Marvel crossover comic Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. He also lettered the oversize special issue Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. By 1977, Saladino was lettering most of DC's war comics, in addition to many superhero and mystery stories. From 1976 to 1977, he lettered the Los Angeles Times Syndicate comic strip The Virtue of Vera Valiant,[6] by writer Stan Lee and artist Frank Springer.

In the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Saladino worked mostly for DC and its Vertigo imprint, spending nine years as the regular letterer of The Flash, five years on L.E.G.I.O.N. and four on Hellblazer.

Saladino's output since 2002 has been minimal.[5]


Saladino designed the logos for DC's Swamp Thing, Phantom Stranger, Metal Men, Adam Strange, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Unknown Soldier, and Vigilante, among others.[citation needed] He also re-designed established character logos to make them more contemporary and stylish, such as with Green Lantern.[citation needed]

For Marvel, Saladino's logos, which he either created or updated, include The Avengers, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, Captain America and the Falcon, and Marvel Triple Action.[citation needed]

In 1974, with the launch of the short-lived publisher Atlas Comics, Saladino designed logos for all the company's titles.[citation needed] He did the same in the 1980s for Neal Adams' Continuity Comics. During that decade, Saladino also designed the logos of some titles published by Eclipse Comics and in the 1990s he designed product logos for the Lucky Mojo Curio Company,[citation needed] a metaphysical supply manufactory founded by Catherine Yronwode, the former editor-in-chief of Eclipse Comics.

Lettering style[edit]

A panel from Arkham Asylum (story by Grant Morrison, art by Dave McKean), showing Saladino's distinctive lettering treatment.

Saladino's default dialoguing style is curvy and naturally enmeshed with the artwork. One trademark is his use of big, bold exclamation points.[4] Saladino always letters by hand. Likewise, his word balloons are done freehand, never with a template.[4]

Whereas previous DC designer Ira Schnapp's house advertisements were known for their large blocks of stately text, Saladino's house ads employed the principle of "five words or less," with the words heavily stylized and frequent use of the exclamation point.[citation needed]

Saladino used a sandblock to grind down and sharpen his pen nibs.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Saladino and his wife were living on Long Island, in New York, at least until as late as autumn 2012.[8] In April 2013, he was named honorary chief of the Plainview, New York, Fire Department as a 50-year member.[9]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Justice League of America (DC, 1962–1967)
  • G.I. Combat (DC, 1979–1981)
  • L.E.G.I.O.N. (DC, 1989–1994)
  • Hellblazer (DC/Vertigo, 1990–1994)
  • The Flash, vol. 2 (DC, 1993–2002)
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. (DC, 1994–1996)
  • Seekers Into the Mystery (DC/Vertigo, 1996–1997)



  1. ^ a b c d e f Klein, Todd (December 27, 2012). "Gaspar Saladino’s First Lettering for DC Comics part 1". Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Gaspar Saladino in the 1940 Census". Archived from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.  Census data lists Gaspar Saladino, 12 years old, white American male, estimated birth year 1928, residing in Assembly District 19, Brooklyn. "Other People in Household: Antonio Saladino, 49 yrs, Male; Pasqua Saladino, 43 yrs, Female; Michael Saladino, 22 yrs, Male; Anthony Saladino; 10 yrs, Male; Josephine Lombardo; 20 yrs, Female."
  3. ^ a b Reed, Bill. "365 Reasons to Love Comics: #234," Comics Should be Good, Comic Book Resources (Aug. 22, 2007). Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e Stroud, Bryan (2007, n.d.). "Gaspar Saladino Interview". The Silver Age Sage. Retrieved July 18, 2008.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d Gaspar Saladino at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ a b c Bails, Jerry; Ware, Hames, eds. "Saladino, Gaspar". The Who's Who of American Comic Books. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ Mark Evanier quoted in Brian Cronin’s "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed" #66, Comic Book Resources (Aug. 21, 2006). Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  8. ^ Klein, Part 2.
  9. ^ Dowd, Joe (April 9, 2013). "Gaspar Saladino, 50-Year-Member, Named 'Honorary Chief'". Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Hahn, Joel, ed. "Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2013.  Additional WebCitation archive.

External links[edit]