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THE TREASURE KEEPER - PART ELEVEN OF TWELVE
WHEN TITANS CLASH!

Visionary DC designer Ira Schnapp had stored up a a fabulous treasure of gold and silver. This wondrous legacy was infused with the rebellious spirit of a new generation and preserved for Gasparthe ages by his heir, the man we have dubbed “The Treasure Keeper,” the one and only Gaspar Saladino.

By the mid-Seventies, Saladino had earned a reputation as comics’ “go-to” guy. If there was a big or really special project, Saladino simply HAD to letter it, and that was that. So when DC launched three of the biggest, riskiest, most ambitious projects comics had ever undertaken, Saladino lettered all three!

If Superman fought Spider-Man, who would win? The question had been the fodder of countless fan arguments over the years, and in 1976, it was finally ANSWERED (sort of) as the Man of Steel finally met the Web-Slinger in combat, in a giant tabloid sized edition. It was the fight of the century, and only one man could letter it: GASPAR SALADINO!

Pictured below are several of the most lettering-heavy pages from the historic story, which was written by Gerry Conway, pencilled by Ross Andru, inked by Dick Giordano (with an uncredited Terry Austin and Josef Rubinstein), and secretly improved by Neal Adams
and John Romita.

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Mark Evanier reveals, “John Romita redrew most of the heads of Peter Parker and other supporting Spider-Man characters... even though the Ross Andru versions were good enough to appear for years in the Spider-Man comics. That whole book had a ‘too many cooks’ mentality about it.”

Perhaps, but Gaspar greatly enjoyed doing the book with his good friend Ross Andru. "Ross was the greatest," Gaspar says. "I had a lot of fun with Ross." BELOW: Two of the story's chapter titles, by Gaspar:

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This landmark story was inked Dick Giordano, not by Andru's usual partner, Mike Esposito, due to inter-company feuding and politics. Nevertheless, the story was a big hit. According to Esposito, "The book did very well and Ross got a lot of money for it, I think he got around $27,000, which is pretty good as a royalty, and later he got more from the reprints.” Here's a look at the original art for page 59, by Andru and Giordano, lettered by Saladino.

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

When I, Robby Reed, the creator of this web page and author of this article, first heard that DC was planning to do a “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” comic, I thought it would be ridiculous and awful. Then I heard Denny O’Neil was writing it, and I thought it MIGHT have a chance. Then I heard Neal Adams was drawing it, and I thought it actually be good. Then I found out Gaspar Saladino was lettering it, and that was the icing on the cake. Finally, I read the story...

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“My goal in the midst of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali,” Neal Adams said, “was to reintroduce Superman, to take his powers away and give them back --- then watch him revel in their incredible intensity.”

BELOW: pages from the story, written by Denny O’Neil, drawn by Neal Adams, inked by everyone, and lettered by Gaspar.

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Pure genius! Unquestionably one of the greatest comics ever produced, Neal Adams considers the story to be his masterpiece. "Neal Adams was a pleasure to work with," Gaspar recalls, "But with Neal, there was no such thing as time. If he told me he’d have work laid out and ready for me the next day, I knew there was a good chance he WOULDN’T have it ready. Sometimes he wouldn’t even be there. He usually showed up around 3:30 in the afternoon. Once, the studio wasn’t even open! That’s the way Neal worked at the time. He was scattered throughout the studio, working on so many different projects. But the guy was excellent, there’s no two ways about it."

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The World's Greatest Superheroes

Inbetween letering world-shaking, historic confrontations, Saladino lettered the daily comic strip “World’s Greatest Superheroes” for several years. Here's an ad for the series, followed by the original art for two Gaspar-lettered strips:

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Below, a 1979 in-house ad for DC's mystery line. The ad was done by Gaspar, and it features three DC mystery-title logos also he designed!

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For old times’ sake, here’s a GREEN LANTERN house ad by Saladino, done in collaboration with his old pal Gil Kane:
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When Marv Wolf man, George Perez and Romeo Tangal reinvented the Teen Titans in the 1980s, the series quickly became DC’s best-selling title. John Costanza lettered the interiors of the book, but Gaspar did the Titans’ covers and house ads, such as the one seen below:
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Below, the back cover of DC Digest #3 featuring the New Teen Titans, cover art by George Perez and Romeo Tangal, lettering by Saladino. Each panel is like an exciting mini-advertisement. The Titans like Gaspar's work so much, they decided to plaster every window in their headquarters with it!
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DC Comics formally acknowledged Gaspar's contributions with a short biography that ran in this issue of World's Finest, sporting a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano. Fittingly, Gaspar also lettered the book's cover, as evidenced by the fiery "ABLAZE" and "FIRE," as well as the icy "FROZEN" and "ICE."
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Continuity Comics

“As you know,” Neal Adams once said, “There are no other publishers besides DC and Marvel Comics. Everybody else is what they call an ‘alternative publisher.’ I don’t quite know what an ‘alternative publisher’ is.”

Whatever an ‘alternative publisher’ is, Adams became one when he started his own line, Continuity Comics. Gaspar lettered several books for Continuity, including the page pictured below, from Jason Kritter Toyboy #2 (1987), art by Neal Adams, coloring by Cory Adams, lettering by Gaspar:

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The Gaspar HERO Cloud

The "TAG CLOUD," a popular internet gimmick, is a visual depiction of the word content of a web site. Words are represented in different sizes and fonts, indicating their relative presence on the site. We've previously shown you the WAR Cloud, SCI-FI Cloud and LOVE Cloud -- now, it's time for the ultimate... The Gaspar HERO Cloud!
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NEXT: The Dark Knight fights a mind-bending battle with the Clown Prince of Crime in Arkham Asylum as Gaspar Saladino redefines comic book lettering for all time! It’s the unforgettable conclusion of the most incredible day in the history of comic blogging! Be here for the mind-blowing FINAL CHAPTER of Dial B for Blog's FINAL ISSUE as we go…


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