Category Archives: Creating Comics

IRA SCHNAPP IN HIGH SCHOOL

I’ve written a lot about Ira Schnapp on my blog. He was a letterer and logo designer for DC Comics from 1940 until about 1968, and he died in 1969. From about 1949 to 1967, Ira set the style for the company, creating many of their house ads and logos and lettering hundreds of covers and thousands of story pages. I wrote a detailed series of articles gathering all the information I could find about Ira beginning HERE, with the help of fellow logo designer and comics historian Alex Jay, whose research has been invaluable. One thing I didn’t cover, because I didn’t yet know it, was Ira’s time in high school. Alex has found out more about that since those articles were written, and here it is.

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My Comics Life-List 1982

Image © DC Comics.

This is the fifth in my ongoing series of articles listing where and when I first worked with other creators, mostly on inside pages, in chronological order based on cover dates of the comics. You can find the previous entries on the COMICS CREATION page of this blog.

Ground rules: I worked on staff at DC from July 1977 to August 1987, and in that time worked with every staffer and many freelancers in some capacity, and did art and lettering corrections on a host of comics. I can’t count those. Some of the things I did in comics did not usually involve working directly with artists and writers: logo design, house ads, cover lettering and production work of various kinds. Another thing I won’t count are relettering foreign stories, as I did for HEAVY METAL early on. To be added to my comics life-list, I thought I should be part of the creative team making stories. That means I was the letterer (in most cases), occasionally the writer, and rarely the artist or colorist. Of course this lists only the first time I worked with someone, so anyone from the previous year lists will not be here. Entries are tagged as a writer (w), artist or penciller-inker (a), penciller (p), or inker (i). I did not often interact with colorists (c) in pre-digital days, as my work was finished before theirs began, but I’m including them as an important part of the creative team. My credit is for lettering unless otherwise noted.

Scott Shaw! (p) NEW TEEN TITANS #16, Feb. 1982, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew 16-page preview

Ross Andru (p) NEW TEEN TITANS #16, Feb. 1982, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew 16-page preview

On this project, Ross did the Superman figures, Scott did the rest. I worked with Ross and knew him well at DC when he was on staff. Scott I only know from his panels at the San Diego Comic-Con, though we probably met at DC. I also lettered the first issue of the series, out the following month.

Pablo Marcos (i) BATMAN #345, March 1982

Pablo was a fine penciller, here he was inking a Catwoman backup story. A few years later I worked with Pablo when I was a writer on THE OMEGA MEN. We met in the DC offices, and he was kind and friendly, but I didn’t know him well.

Jan Duursema (a) WARLORD #55, March 1982, Arion, Lord of Atlantis backup

Jan was a wonderful, warm person who I got to know in her many visits to the DC offices, a rare female artist at DC at the time. I loved her art on ARION, and she’s still doing fine work today. We also worked together on the Arion logo.

Ron Randall (p) WEIRD WAR TALES #109, March 1982

Gerry Talaoc (i) WEIRD WAR TALES #109, March 1982

I know Ron from talking to him many times at the DC offices and later at conventions. I never met Talaoc. This was a two-page story early in Ron’s career.

Mike deCarlo (i) GREEN LANTERN #153, June 1982

I met Mike at the DC offices, but I don’t remember talking to him very often.

Pat Broderick (p) THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #2, July 1982

I don’t recall meeting Pat, though I may have.

Stephen DeStefano (a) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #306, July 1982

Stephen spent a lot of time hanging out in the DC offices in the early 1980s. In comics, he’s best remembered for ‘MAZING MAN, but for this title he did some one-page “I…Baby Vampire” stories that were great. Stephen was as fun and as funny as his art, and today he’s working in animation and teaching.

Jerry Ordway (i) WONDER WOMAN #295, Sept. 1982

Before Jerry became one of DC’s best superhero pencillers, he was getting work as an inker, here on a Huntress backup story. I talked to him many times as we worked together over the coming years.

Lou Manna (p) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #309, Oct. 1982

Sam Grainger (i) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #309, Oct. 1982

Nansi Hoolahan (c) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #309, Oct. 1982

These creators were all on a four page story, “Through a Lens, Darkly” that I wrote and lettered. I don’t remember Lou or Sam well, I think we met at the DC offices, and Lou has recently gotten back in touch on Facebook. Nansi was on staff with me, another production artist.

Gene Colan (p) NIGHT FORCE #4, Nov. 1982

I remember Gene from meeting him at the DC offices. We worked together a number of times, but this series was a highlight for me. I appreciate his art more now than I did then.

Sam de la Rosa (i) WORLD’S FINEST #285, Nov. 1982

I believe I met Sam, but do not remember him well.

MY COMICS LIFE-LIST 1981

From UNKNOWN SOLDIER #252, image © DC Comics.

This is the fourth in my ongoing series of articles where I list where and when I first worked with other creators, mostly on inside pages, in chronological order based on cover dates of the comics. You can find the previous entries on the COMICS CREATION page of this blog.

Ground rules: I worked on staff at DC from July 1977 to August 1987, and in that time worked with every staffer and many freelancers in some capacity, and did art and lettering corrections on a host of comics. I can’t count those. Some of the things I did in comics did not usually involve working directly with artists and writers: logo design, house ads, cover lettering and production work of various kinds. Another thing I won’t count are relettering foreign stories, as I did for HEAVY METAL early on. To be added to my comics life-list, I thought I should be part of the creative team making stories. That means I was the letterer (in most cases), occasionally the writer, and rarely the artist or colorist. Of course this lists only the first time I worked with someone, so anyone from the previous year lists will not be here. Entries are tagged as a writer (w), artist or penciller-inker (a), penciller (p), or inker (i). I did not often interact with colorists (c) in pre-digital days, as my work was finished before theirs began, but I’m including them as an important part of the creative team. My credit is for lettering unless otherwise noted.

Carmine Infantino (p) ADVENTURE COMICS #479, March 1981

Larry Mahlstedt (i) ADVENTURE COMICS #479, March 1981

I loved Carmine’s work as a child, particularly on FLASH. I missed working with him on staff by a few years, and was delighted to letter some of his work at DC, particularly on FLASH, but the lead “Dial H for Hero” story in this issue was fun, too. Larry was a fine inker, I think we worked together elsewhere.

B. S. Watson (w) MYSTERY IN SPACE #117, March 1981

Bruce Jones (w) MYSTERY IN SPACE #117, March 1981

Rick Veitch (p) MYSTERY IN SPACE #117, March 1981

Dennis Jensen (i) MYSTERY IN SPACE #117, March 1981

This issue was the first of many collaborations with Rick Veitch. I confess I don’t remember meeting the others.

Bo Hampton (a) THE UNEXPECTED #208, March 1981

I’m surprised to see I worked with Bo this early, or at all, I didn’t recall it. His brother Scott and I collaborated often.

Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn (w) WARLORD #43, March 1981

Greg LaRocque (p) WARLORD #43, March 1981

Phil Rachelson (c) WARLORD #43, March 1981

Mishkin & Cohn always worked as a team in their early days at DC, we met a few times. This was on an “OMAC” backup story.

Roy Thomas (w) GREEN LANTERN #139, April 1981

I only worked with Roy a few times. This first time, he scripted over Marv Wolfman’s plot.

Karen Berger (w) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #292, May 1981

Dan Spiegle (a) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #292, May 1981

In her earliest editing days on this title, Karen was writing the one-page introductions, some of which I lettered. Dan Spiegle and I later collaborated on OMEGA MEN #32, my favorite issue.

Bob Oksner (p) SUPERMAN FAMILY # 207, May-June 1981

A wonderful artist whose work I came to appreciate more later. This was a Lois Lane story.

Howard Bender (p) GHOSTS #101, June 1981

Tony DeZuñiga (i) GHOSTS #101, June 1981

Howard worked in the DC production department with me at the time. I don’t think I ever met DeZuñiga.

Joe Brozowski (p) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #293, June 1981

I remember talking to Joe at DC a number of times. He also worked under the pen name J. J. Birch.

John Severin (a) UNKNOWN SOLDIER #252, June 1981

As seen above, John was always a thrill to work with, and I didn’t have the chance very often. One of the greats. I don’t think we ever met in person.

Bob Haney (w) WORLD’S FINEST #269, June-July 1981

Brett Breeding (i) WORLD’S FINEST #269, June-July 1981

Long-time DC writer Haney was around the offices fairly often, but I don’t recall ever talking to him. Breeding was and is a fine inker.

Denys Cowan (p) THE FLASH #299, July 1981

I remember talking to Denys at DC, and we worked together on Batman stories a few times.

Ernie Colón (a) THE SPIRIT #30 (Kitchen Sink), July 1981

Ernie and I became friends when he started working at DC as an editor, and he was my editor on a few things I wrote. We often went to lunch together with Keith Giffen and others. This was the “Spirit Jam” issue with dozens of top creators. I lettered three pages. A rare instance of being allowed to letter for another publisher while on staff.

Laurie Sutton (w) GREEN LANTERN #143, Aug. 1981

Rodin Rodriguez (p) GREEN LANTERN #143, Aug. 1981

Laurie had been employed by the Comics Code Authority, and then became an editor at DC, where we worked together. I think I met Rodriguez, but I’m not sure. This was for an “Adam Strange” backup story.

Adrian Gonzales (i) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #295, Aug. 1981

Jimmy Janes (p) LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #278, Aug. 1981

I met Jimmy Janes at DC and remember talking to him a few times.

Luke McDonnell (p) WEIRD WAR TALES #102, Aug. 1981

I worked with Luke on his SUICIDE SQUAD run and remember meeting him a few times.

Tom Ziuko (c) ACTION COMICS #524, Oct. 1981

Tom was another fellow production staffer. I enjoyed working with him until he went freelance full-time.

That’s it, more of this when I have time.

MY COMICS LIFE-LIST 1980

Image © DC Comics. Note: the “Quickdraw” listing for inker is Dick Giordano, Frank McLaughlin and others.

This is the third in my ongoing series of articles where I list where and when I first worked with other creators, mostly on inside pages, in chronological order based on cover dates of the comics. You can find the previous entries on the COMICS CREATION page of this blog. I’ve added comments about some of my collaborators this time, and may go back and do the same for the first two parts.

Ground rules: I worked on staff at DC from July 1977 to August 1987, and in that time worked with every staffer and many freelancers in some capacity, and did art and lettering corrections on a host of comics. I can’t count those. Some of the things I did in comics did not usually involve working directly with artists and writers: logo design, house ads, cover lettering and production work of various kinds. Another thing I won’t count are relettering foreign stories, as I did for HEAVY METAL early on. To be added to my comics life-list, I thought I should be part of the creative team making stories. That means I was the letterer (in most cases), occasionally the writer, and rarely the artist or colorist. Of course this lists only the first time I worked with someone, so anyone from the previous year lists will not be here. Entries are tagged as a writer (w), artist or penciller-inker (a), penciller (p), or inker (i). I did not often interact with colorists (c) in pre-digital days, as my work was finished before theirs began, but I’m including them as an important part of the creative team. My credit is for lettering unless otherwise noted.

Jose Delbo (p) DETECTIVE COMICS #489, April 1980

Jose was always a charming and talented man, as he is today. We did not work together a lot, but I liked what we did.

Tatjana Wood (c) DETECTIVE COMICS #490, May 1980

Tatjana, the ex-wife of Wally Wood, often visited the DC offices when I was on staff there, and I liked her and enjoyed her stories about “Wallace.” She mainly colored covers, so I’m glad we worked together on at least one story.

Tom Yeates (a) GHOSTS #89, June 1980

I love Tom’s work, still do. We worked together only occasionally.

Trevor Von Eeden (p) SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE #25, June 1980 (a story I also wrote)

I worked with Trevor on the THRILLER series, and a few other times. I enjoyed talking to him when he visited the DC production department.

Dave Simons (i) SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE #25, June 1980

Mimai Kin (w) TIME WARP #5, June-July 1980

Carl Potts (i) TIME WARP #5, June-July 1980

I’m actually surprised about this one, as Carl was mainly a Marvel guy.

Elliot S. Maggin (w) TIME WARP #5, June-July 1980

Jerry Bingham (p) TIME WARP #5, June-July 1980

John Celardo (i) TIME WARP #5, June-July 1980

Marv Wolfman (w) ADVENTURE COMICS #474, Aug. 1980

Marv and I worked together many times, from NEW TEEN TITANS to NIGHT FORCE and other projects. I got to know him well enough to consider him a friend, even though we only meet occasionally now at conventions.

Armando Gil (i) WORLD’S FINEST #264, Aug.-Sept 1980

Steve Mitchell (i) BATMAN #327, Sept. 1980

Steve was a fellow production artist at DC, and an entertaining person.

Anthony Tollin (c) GREEN LANTERN #132, Sept. 1980

Another staffer, Tony and I worked together for a few years before he went freelance full-time.

Charles Nicholas (p) DETECTIVE COMICS #495, Oct. 1980

David Allikas (w) GHOSTS #93, Oct. 1980

Tom Mandrake (a) GHOSTS #93, Oct. 1980

Tom and I had a long run on THE SPECTRE, and worked together on other things, too. We meet now only on Facebook, but I consider him a friend and love his work.

Alan Weiss (p) MYSTERY IN SPACE #112, Oct. 1980

This one surprised me. I didn’t think I’d worked with Alan until he became the regular artist on Young Tom Strong in TOM STRONG’S TERRIFIC TALES for America’s Best Comics.

Terry Austin (i) MYSTERY IN SPACE #112, Oct. 1980

I always loved Terry’s inking, glad we worked together at least a little.

Rich Buckler (p) BATMAN #329, Nov. 1980

Rich was always working on lots of things, and I lettered a few of them. A very nice man.

Jim Starlin (p) DC COMICS PRESENTS #27, Nov. 1980

Jim’s regular letterer was often Tom Orzechowski, but I did work with him a few times.

Gerald Forton (a) GHOSTS #93, Dec. 1980

A respected Belgian artist I only worked with on a few intro pages and never met.

George Perez (p, breakdowns), JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #185, Dec. 1980

I always loved George’s work, and was happy to be one of the NEW TEEN TITANS letterers with him.

Leopoldo Duranona (a) SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE #31, Dec. 1980

Bob Kane (p) THE RACING PETTYS, no number, 1980. I hesitate to even list this, it was a custom comic from Bob Kane’s studio in partnership with DC. Kane was famous for hiring others to work for him and taking credit for that work, but I have to say some of the pencils on this book were so crude and awful I can’t imagine him paying anyone for them.

That’s it, more of these when I have time.

MY COMICS LIFE-LIST 1979

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #274, image © DC Comics

Continuing my life-list for comics, a list of the writers, artists, colorists, and editors I worked with on story pages. 1977-78 is HERE. Ground rules: I worked on staff at DC from July 1977 to August 1987, and in that time worked with every staffer and many freelancers in some capacity, and did art and lettering corrections on a host of comics. I can’t count those. Some of the things I did in comics did not usually involve working directly with artists and writers: logo design, house ads, cover lettering and production work of various kinds. Another thing I won’t count are relettering foreign stories, as I did for HEAVY METAL early on. To be added to my comics life-list, I thought I should be part of the creative team making stories, mostly. That means I was the letterer (in most cases), occasionally the writer, and rarely the artist or colorist. Of course this lists only the first time I worked with someone, so anyone from the previous year list will not be here. Entries are tagged as a writer (w), artist or penciller-inker (a), penciller (p), or inker (i). I did not often interact with colorists in pre-digital days, as my work was finished before theirs began, but I’m including them as an important part of the creative team. Editors will only be listed where I did not work with them in any other capacity. I base the date of first work with someone on cover dates of the issues, then alphabetically for ones with the same date, though they may not have been, probably weren’t, lettered in that order, but you have to have some system.

Robert Kanigher (w) G.I. COMBAT #212, Feb.-March 1979

Michael W. Kaluta (a) THE UNEXPECTED #190, March-April 1979 (1 page Doorway to Nightmare intro.)

Martin Pasko (w) THE UNEXPECTED #190, March-April 1979 (I colored his story)

George Evans (a) WEIRD WAR TALES #74, April 1979

Dennis O’Neil (w) DETECTIVE COMICS #483, April-May 1979

Bill Draut (i) GHOSTS #76, May 1979

George Ruppert (p) WEIRD WAR TALES #75, May 1979

Dan Adkins (i) WEIRD WAR TALES #75, May 1979

J.M. DeMatteis (w) WEIRD WAR TALES #76, June 1979

Gale Heimbach (p) WEIRD WAR TALES #76, June 1979

Murray Boltinoff (w) G.I. COMBAT #214, June-July 1979

Dick Ayers (p) MEN OF WAR #19, Aug. 1979

Michael Uslan (w) WEIRD WAR TALES #78, Aug. 1979

Curt Swan (p) ACTION COMICS #499, Sept. 1979

Don Heck (p) SUPERMAN FAMILY #197, Sept.-Oct. 1979

Dick Dillin (p) DC COMICS PRESENTS #14, Oct. 1979

Ric Estrada (a) WEIRD WAR TALES #80, Oct. 1979

Joe Orlando (a) TIME WARP #1, Oct.-Nov. 1979 logo design from his sketch

Mike W. Barr (w) TIME WARP #1, Oct.-Nov. 1979

Tom Sutton (a) TIME WARP #1, Oct.-Nov. 1979

Marshall Rogers (a) HOUSE OF MYSTERY #274, Nov. 1979

One thing I’ve discovered as I check these credits in the Grand Comics Database is that I worked with some of these writers without knowing it, as they used pen names, usually on short stories for the war or mystery titles. 

I will continue this series when I have time, it takes surprisingly long to list the stories from my Archives, cross reference with dates to get the date order, look up each job on the GCD for the creator credits, and put the blog post together, but I’m enjoying the trip down memory lane!