Ira Schnapp in A DATE WITH JUDY

A Date With Judy 1 cover
This and all images © DC Comics

DC Comics (then National Comics) had a long-standing involvement with radio drama beginning with their own affiliated Adventures of Superman radio show that ran for over 2000 episodes from 1940 to 1951. DC had entered the teen humor genre with BUZZY in 1944, and in 1947 they began this new teen humor series based on a popular radio show that ran from 1941 to 1950, which also inspired a 1948 film and, briefly, a TV show. Archie Comics was doing very well with their teen humor titles, and I think DC did okay with theirs, but it was never a major part of the company’s output. The theme, as you might imagine, was dating, and some stories featured Judy’s brother Randolph and Judy’s friends, but most focused on Judy, her family, and her boyfriend Oogie. Larry Nadle edited. The first issue debuted with an Oct/Nov 1947 cover date, and I think the cover lettering and logo are by the unknown letterer I’ve nicknamed Proto-Schnapp because I believe he was an older man whose work was a major inspiration for Ira Schnapp’s own lettering. Proto-Schnapp was the main letterer and cover letterer for the book until early 1950 or so, though many early covers had no word balloons or captions.

A Date With Judy 25 cover

Issue #25, Oct/Nov 1950 has the first cover lettering I think is by Ira Schnapp, with some interesting wavery lettering.

A Date With Judy 28 cover

Issue #28, April/May 1952 has the first typical Ira Schnapp cover lettering in the style familiar from many DC titles of the time. From then on, Ira’s balloons were a regular feature on the covers.

A Date With Judy 56 cover

A few covers, like this one for #56, Jan. 1957, had a four-panel story where Ira’s lettering was an interesting blend of his cover and interior page work.

A Date With Judy 78 cover

Covers late in the series like this one, probably by Bob Oksner, emphasized the character’s sex appeal perhaps in an attempt to hold onto a dwindling audience, but inside Judy was usually more likely to hold Oogie at bay. Ira Schnapp’s cover lettering always helped sell the joke.

Here are the covers I see Ira’s lettering on: 25, 28-30, 33–36, 38-43, 45-48, 50, 52-60, 62-79. That’s 46 covers.

A Date With Judy 1 page

This interior page from issue #1 looks at first glance like the work of Ira Schnapp, but notice how wide many of the letters are, while Ira’s were usually narrower. This is Proto-Schnapp at his best, and his emphasized words on this title are often unusually large or open letters, and rarely italic. Perhaps this was his attempt to mimic the melodramatic delivery of the radio show actors.

A Date With Judy 19 page

With issue #19 dated Oct/Nov 1950, Ira Schnapp page lettering begins appearing regularly, and he generally replaced Proto-Schnapp as the main letterer of the series, though others did stories occasionally. At first Ira tried to copy the larger non-italic emphasis of Proto-Schnapp, but it’s not quite as well done, and notice how most of Ira’s letters would fit into a square.

A Date With Judy 25 page

By issue #25 dated Oct/Nov 1951, Ira had reverted to his usual style for emphasis: italic and bolder but not usually larger than the other lettering.

A Date With Judy 40 page

Stories lettered by Proto-Schnapp occasionally appeared as late as this one in issue #40 dated April/May 1954. I think Proto-Schnapp stopped lettering some time in late 1949, either he retired or died, so it’s likely these later examples were held in inventory for a long time. On a title like this with no continuity to speak of, that was easy to do.

A Date With Judy 40 page

Here’s an example of Ira’s lettering from the same issue for comparison. Many of their letter shapes are the same, but Ira’s are narrower and his emphasized words are handled differently. The balloon styles are nearly identical, something I think Ira took from Proto-Schnapp.

A Date With Judy page

Ira sometimes also lettered short informational features on dating like this one, though I think here he did not do the balloon shapes. Ira was the main letterer on this book from 1951 to 1960. Here’s a list of the stories he worked on. All stories star Judy unless otherwise noted.

#19 Oct/Nov 1950: 6pp, 6pp, 7pp, Randolph 5pp, 6pp, 6pp

#20 Dec 1950/Jan 1951: 2nd story only 6pp

#21 Feb/March 1951: Randolph 5pp, Judy 7pp (last story)

#22 April/May 1951: 9pp, 5pp, Willy Nilly 5pp, 7pp

#23 June/July 1951: Randolph 6pp, 7pp, 9pp

#24 Aug/Sept 1951: 8pp, 6pp, Randolph 6pp, 7pp, 8pp

#25 Oct/Nov 1951: 8pp, 7pp, Pam 3pp, 10pp

#26 Dec 1951/Jan 1952: 8pp, 7pp, 6pp

#27 Feb/March 1952: (not 1st story), 6pp, Pam 3pp, 10pp

#28 April/May 1952: 8pp, 4pp, 5pp, Fittin’ Thing 2pp, Randolph 6pp, (not last story)

#29 June/July 1952: 8pp, 6pp, Randolph 6pp, 9pp

#30 Aug/Sept 1952: 8pp (1st story), Randolph 4pp

#31 Oct/Nov 1952: 8pp, Coby 4pp, 7pp, Designs on You 2pp, Randolph 5pp, 7pp

#32 Dec 1952/Jan 1953: 6pp, 6pp, Randolph 5pp, Date Duds 2pp, 6pp (last story)

#33 Feb/March 1953: 6pp, 6pp, Date Duds 2pp, Randolph 5pp, Rusty 6pp, 7pp

#34 April/May 1953: 6pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp

#35 June/July 1953: (first two not Schnapp), Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp

#36 Aug/Sept 1953: (first two not Schnapp), 3pp, 6pp

#37 Oct/Nov 1953: 6pp, 6pp, Date Duds 2pp, 6pp, Rusty 6pp, 7pp

#38 Dec 1953/Jan 1954: 6pp, 6pp, (3rd not Schnapp), 5pp

#39 Feb/March 1954: (1st not Schnapp), Datewise 2pp, 9pp, Willy 6pp, 9pp

#40 April/May 1954: 6pp, (2nd not Schnapp), 6pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp (last story)

#41 June/July 1954: 6pp, 6pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, Liz 7pp, 6pp, 6pp

#42 Aug/Sept 1954: 6pp, 6pp, Coby 6pp, 6pp

#43 Oct/Nov 1954: 6pp, 6pp, Datewise 2pp, Liz 5pp, 6pp

#44 Dec 1954/Jan 1955: 6pp, 4pp, (3rd story not Schnapp), Kitty Karr 3pp, 6pp

#45 Feb/March 1955: 6pp, (2nd story not Schnapp), Liz 6pp

#46 April/May 1955: (first two stories not Schnapp), Tips to Teens 2pp, Liz 4pp, 6pp

#47 June/July 1955: (1st story not Schnapp), 6pp, Liz 6pp, 4pp (last story)

#48 Aug/Sept 1955: 6pp, 4pp, Coby 4pp, 6pp

#49 Oct/Nov 1955: 6pp, 6pp, (Liz not Schnapp), 6pp

#50 Dec 1955/Jan 1956: 6pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp

#51 Feb/March 1956: 6pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp

#52 April/May 1956: 6pp, 6pp, Fittin’ Thing 2pp, Liz 6pp, 6pp

#53 June/July 1956: 6pp, 4pp, 4pp, (Liz not Schnapp), 6pp

#54 Aug/Sept 1956: 6pp, (2nd story not Schnapp), Liz 6pp, 6pp (last story)

#55 Oct/Nov 1956: 6pp, 6pp, 4pp, 6pp

#56 Dec 1956/Jan 1957: (1st story not Schnapp), 6pp, 4pp, 6pp

#57 Feb/March 1957: (1st story not Schnapp), 6pp, Buzzy 6pp, 6pp

#58 April/May 1957: 6pp, 4pp, (Buzzy not Schnapp), 4pp, 6pp

#59 June/July 1957: 6pp, Datewise 2pp, Harvey 6pp, 6pp

#60 Aug/Sept 1957: (1st story not Schnapp), 6pp, Harvey 6pp

#61 Oct/Nov 1957: 6pp, 6pp, 6pp, 6pp

#62 Dec 1957/Jan 1958: 6pp, 6pp, Coby 3pp, 6pp

#63 Feb/March 1958: 6pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp

#64 April/May 1958: (1st story not Schnapp), Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp, 6pp

#65 June/July 1958: 12pp, 6pp, 6pp

#66 Aug/Sept 1958: 12pp, Judy’s Tips 2pp, 6pp, 6pp

#67 Oct/Nov 1958: 12pp, 6pp, 6pp

#68 Dec 1958/Jan 1959: 12pp, Date Duds 2pp, Willy 7pp

#69 Feb/March 1959: 12pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp (last story)

#70 April/May 1959: 12pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp, 6pp

#71 June/July 1959: 6pp, Tips to Teens 2pp, 6pp, 12pp

#72 Aug/Sept 1959: 10pp, Fashion 2pp, 8pp, 6pp

#73 Oct/Nov 1959: 10pp, Pinups 2pp, 8pp, 6pp

#74 Dec 1959/Jan 1960: no story lettering by Ira

#75 Feb/March 1960: 12pp, 5pp, Tall Tales 2pp, 8pp

#76 April/May 1960: 12pp, On the Beach 1pp, 10pp, 5pp

#77 June/July 1960: 12pp, 8pp, 6pp

#78 Aug/Sept 1960: 12pp, Teen Talk 1pp, 8pp, 6pp

#79 Oct/Nov 1960: 12pp, 6pp, 6pp, Teen Age 1pp

That’s a total of 1,316 pages if my math is right. And there are plenty of other titles with just as much for this busy letterer! More articles in this series can be found on my Comics Creation page.

A Date With Judy on Wikipedia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.