Category Archives: Lettering/Fonts

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!

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

A Christmas Message from 1513 A.D.

Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University
Photo © Jon Oliver.

Longtime readers of my blog may remember this entry. I’m rerunning it today in honor of the season.

For many years I attended the annual Christmas concert at Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. First because I had friends in the choirs that performed there, later because I loved the music and it had become an annual tradition for me and my friends. When I moved to southern New Jersey I couldn’t get to it any more, and I miss it.

I’m not a very religious person, belonging to no church or other organized religion, but I did grow up in a church-going family, and what I always liked most about it was the music. Particularly choir music. For over twenty years the annual concert at Rutgers gave me a joyful chance to hear some great choral singing. Between the songs, there would be readings from the Christmas story in the Bible, and also another reading. I don’t know where the tradition began, or how long ago it started, but most of the years I attended, there was a reading from a letter written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo. A google search will tell you more about the historical figure, though there seems to be some uncertainty that he did indeed write the letter. Whoever the author was, I find it very moving, especially at Christmas.

Fra Giovanni letter

Many years ago I lettered up this document and gave it out to friends as a Christmas present. I thought I’d do the same for all of you this year, in the spirit of the season. There’s a higher resolution copy HERE which you can download and print if you’d like.

Thanks to Linda for reminding me about this, share it with anyone you think might be interested. And if you ever get the chance to attend “Christmas in Carol and Song” at Kirkpatrick Chapel, don’t pass it up. It’s a wonderful experience.

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