Category Archives: Creating Comics

IRA SCHNAPP PHOTOS — pass ’em on!

Ira Schnapp in the National (DC) Comics offices, 1955. Photo by Martin Schnapp, used with permission.

If you read my blog, you’ll recognize this person: lettering legend Ira Schnapp. This is Ira at work in the National (DC) Comics offices in 1955, photo by his son Martin Schnapp. I’m pleased to say that Marty and I, with help from my friend Tim, have finally managed to get Creative Commons licenses for these two photos. It took a while, it’s a complicated process, but they are now on the Wikipedia Commons site and free for anyone to use as long as you give attribution to Martin Schnapp, the copyright holder.
 
I’d love to get some attention for these photos so they come up on a Google Search for Ira. If you have a minute, you can help by clicking on a few things.
 
First, go to Ira’s Wikipedia page and click on the photo there:
 
That alone would be a great help! If you have time to do more, click on the direct photo links:
 
 
 
You could also give my blog pages featuring this photo some love, and click on the captions below the photos, which will again link to the Wikimedia versions:
 
 
 
Thanks for your help, and feel free to spread these photos around!

DC Comics Offices at 666 5th Avenue Promo Video, 1984


This and all images © DC Entertainment.

Yesterday I received a link to a wonderful artifact from my own and DC Comics’ history, a promotional video made in the DC offices recently posted on YouTube. The link is HERE.

It was a joy to watch because of all the people in it that I used to work with (and I’m there too), and I think makes an excellent companion piece to my articles about the DC offices in this building, beginning HERE.

It was produced for DC by Lynn Vannucci Productions. I found only one other reference to that company, another video produced for DC in 1985: “A Chat with Alan Moore.” I’m not seeing that one on YouTube, though one reference says it was there in 2014. A Lynn Vannucci wrote a novel, “Coyote” that was published in 1987 by Bantam, could be the same person. If so, she had a Facebook page that uses the same photo as the book’s author page on Amazon.

This was a very small-time production, one actor: Matt Sarles playing reporter Jack Ryder (the alter-ego of The Creeper in comics) and an unseen cameraman, Bruce Robertson. I found an entry on Linked-In for Matt Sarles (at least it certainly looks like the same person) HERE.  He seems to be teaching English in China. All footage is hand-held as Sarles interviews DC editors and some writers and artists, mostly in the DC Conference Room, with an opening bit in the reception room. This was obviously a promotional effort meant to be shown to retailers and fans, and nearly all those talked to promote specific upcoming or ongoing projects. I’m going to run through who’s talking and what’s talked about to see if we can get a better handle on when it was made, though the video is © DC Comics Inc. 1984. Continue reading

Ira Schnapp in BUZZY

This and all images © DC Entertainment.

Continuing my research into the comics lettering work of Ira Schnapp, BUZZY was National (DC) Comics’ first attempt at a teen humor comic, probably spurred by the success of Archie Andrews and company over at MLJ, soon to become Archie Comics. National’s approach was more akin to the college humor magazines like LIFE, JUDGE and COLLEGE HUMOR, particularly the style of John Held Jr. seen on this LIFE cover from 1926:

Not as heavily stylized, but getting cues from 1920s jazz age fellows and flappers. The writer on most early stories was Alvin Schwartz, and the artist was George Storm. The cover lettering on early BUZZY issues has some style similarities to the work of Ira Schnapp, but not enough to convince me they were lettered by him, though it’s possible.

Buzzy himself is a jazz-mad teenage horn-player who is sweet on Susie Gruff, and hated by her father Popsy Gruff, as seen on the cover above. His rival is an oddly vampirish boy named Wolfert, always after Susie too. Storm left the title around issue 20, and the art and writing soon became much more like Archie Comics. Continue reading

THE DANNY CRESPI FILES Part 14

This and all images © Marvel.

Continuing my ongoing series about the cover lettering of Danny Crespi at Marvel Comics, mostly from 1974-1979. Photocopies of saved cover lettering from Danny’s files were compiled into a collection by letterer and friend Phil Felix during the 1980s when he worked with Danny on staff at Marvel, and Phil sent me copies. This time I’ll look at pages 53 to 56. Page 53, above, is all by Danny Crespi. Sources follow. Continue reading

IRA SCHNAPP in BOY COMMANDOS & LEADING COMICS

This and all images © DC Entertainment.

Continuing my research into the early work of letterer/designer Ira Schnapp, as you might guess, covering these two titles together means I didn’t find much of his work in them. BOY COMMANDOS was a new feature created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby when they came to DC from Marvel in 1941. It first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #64 cover-dated June 1942. It was soon also appearing in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS beginning with issue #8, Winter 1942-43 and in their own series with the first issue having that same cover date.

Simon and Kirby were fast, and all the early stories were by them, and often lettered by their in-house letterer Howard Ferguson, but as time went on they  they brought in others to help, and I think allowed National/DC to also commission stories. Their title series ran for 36 issues. By the second half of that run, lettering on both covers and interior stories was often done by the unknown letterer I’ve nicknamed “Proto-Schnapp” because his style is similar to Ira’s and was, I think, one that Ira used as a model for his own lettering work. At first glance, the cover lettering on issue #20, above, looks like the work of Ira Schnapp. Continue reading