Ira Schnapp’s first work for National (DC) Comics was his revamp of the Superman logo by Joe Shuster that began appearing on covers with issue #6 from 1940. Ira did a few similar logos, and gradually took on more lettering work, starting on covers in 1942. This page is from the first inside story I think he lettered in ADVENTURE, from 1944. Ira’s style changed some over his first decade at DC. I think this page is typical of his early story lettering with fairly wide letters. Note the typical Schnapp question mark in panel 4. I’m not absolutely sure about this one, but I’m calling it for Ira. Calls on stories of this time are made harder by the poor images I have of many issues.
The Sandman story in issue 97 (a better scan) is even more convincing as early Ira work. The open story title is well-crafted, and the caption letters are consistent and regular with the shapes I associate with Ira’s style.
The Shining Knight story from the same issue also looks like Schnapp, with the kind of Old English style title he liked to do. The balloon lettering is less even, and the space between the lines is greater, but I think this is Ira still finding his way.
This feature from the same issue is also probably by Ira. Note the very small and angular question marks, and the title uses the old style E that Ira liked. From this point on, Ira lettered at least two stories in each issue, and sometimes up to five until his work became less frequent in 1949.
With some stories I can’t be sure, like this one, again not helped by the poor scan, but I don’t think this is Schnapp lettering.
This Starman story does look like Ira’s work. Notice that some R’s have an upward curved right let, for instance.
There’s no doubt this Sandman story is lettered by Ira, as be begins to settle into his familiar style. There’s plenty of sound effects and display lettering, too.
With issue #103, the lineup of features changed, beginning with a new series of Superboy stories. Ira created the logo from his Superman one, and lettered many of the stories over the next few years.
Also new in the book was Aquaman, who had been appearing in other titles since 1941…
…and Johnny Quick, also around since 1941. Ira lettered many stories for each feature. I’m sure he lettered the Aquaman one above, I’m less sure about this Johnny Quick story. I don’t think it’s by Ira.
Green Arrow also joined the roster, and Schnapp lettered many of his stories including this one.
This story title is in a style Ira used often in the 1940s, but rarely after that.
A closer look at Ira’s lettering from late 1946. This is very similar to what he was doing on the Superman newspaper strip, for instance. The upward curved right legs of the R are something I think he picked up from Frank Shuster there. They gradually became straight. The question mark in the second balloon is very typical of Schnapp, tiny and angular.
By 1947, Schnapp’s story lettering has become more standardized and easier to spot, as in this Johnny Quick story. The letters are becoming less wide, for instance, and always very square and regular.
This Superboy story from 1948 includes a letter nicely produced by Schnapp in the style of typewriting.
The Shining Knight stories Ira lettered often feature his Old English titles.
This Green Arrow story has lots of sound effects by Ira, who wasn’t asked to do them very often yet.
Ira’s work was popular, and demand for it was growing to the point where he had to give up some features, like Superboy. It was inevitable that others would try to imitate his style, and I think the new Superman letterer did that pretty well beginning with this story, but note the different question mark style for instance.
This Green Arrow story has lots of extra display lettering by Ira.
By the 1950s, Ira’s lettering in ADVENTURE had become occasional and sporadic, as his work was being spread out much more to other titles and things like house ads.
I can’t resist showing a page from the Shining Knight story in ADVENTURE COMICS #151, art by Frank Frazetta, lettering by Ira Schnapp. If only it were reproduced better! Notice how narrow Ira’s letters have become.
Here’s a rare team-up of Superboy and Green Arrow from issue #258, March 1959, lettered by Ira.
Schnapp mostly missed the Legion of Super-Heroes appearances in ADVENTURE, but his very last work on the title was this four-page feature in issue #316, Jan. 1964 with not a lot of lettering, but all of it distinctively Ira’s. The first two pages of this feature are reprinted from SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4, Feb. 1962. The last two seem to be newly done, or at least newly assembled.
Here’s a list of all the ADVENTURE COMICS stories I believe are lettered by Ira Schnapp. Features are abbreviated after their first appearance.
#94 Oct-Nov 1944: Sandman 10pp
#97 April-May 1945: Sand 10pp, Shining Knight 9pp, Mike Gibbs Guerrilla 8pp
#98 June-July 1945: Sand 10pp, SK 9pp, Guer 8pp
#99 Aug-Sept 1945: Sand 10pp, Guer 8pp
#100 Oct-Nov 1945: SK 8pp, Starman 8pp, Guer 8pp
#101 Dec 1945-Jan 1946: Sand 10pp, SK 8pp, Star 7pp, Guer 8pp
#102 Feb-March 1946: Sand 10pp, Star 7pp, SK 8pp, Guer 8pp
#103 April 1946: Superboy 7pp, Aquaman 7pp, SK 7pp
#104 May 1946: Supb 7pp, Johnny Quick 10pp, Aqua 7pp, SK 7pp, Green Arrow 9pp
#105 June 1946: Supb 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 10pp, Aqua 7pp, SK 7pp
#106 July 1946: Supb 7pp, GA 8pp, SK 7pp, Aqua 7pp
#107 Aug 1946: JQ 10pp, GA 9pp
#108 Sept 1946: JQ 10pp, GA 9pp
#109 Oct 1946: Supb 7pp, JQ 10pp, GA 8pp
#110 Nov 1946: Supb 7pp, JQ 10pp
#111 Dec 1946: Supb 7pp, JQ 10pp
#112 Jan 1947: Supb 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 10pp
#113 Feb 1947: Supb 8pp, JQ 10pp, GA 8pp
#114 March 1947: Supb 7pp, GA 10pp, JQ 10pp
#115 April 1947: Supb 7pp, JQ 9pp, Aqua 7pp
#116 May 1947: Supb 8pp, SK 7pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#117 June 1947: Supb 8pp, GA 7pp, JQ 9pp
#118 July 1947: Supb 10pp, GA 10pp, JQ 9pp
#119 Aug 1947: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 9pp
#120 Sept 1947: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#121 Oct 1947: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, GA 8pp, SK 7pp, JQ 9pp
#122 Nov 1947: Supb 8pp, SK 7pp, GA 8pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#123 Dec 1947: Supb 10pp, GA 10pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#124 Jan 1948: Supb 10pp, SK 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 9pp
#125 Feb 1948: Supb 10pp, GA 8pp, Aqua 7pp, SK 7pp, JQ 9pp
#126 March 1948: Supb 10pp, GA 8pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#127 April 1948: GA 9pp, Aqua 7pp, SK 7pp, JQ 9pp
#128 May 1948: Supb 10pp, GA 10pp, Aqua 7pp, JQ 9pp
#129 June 1948: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 8pp
#130 July 1948: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, GA 10pp, JQ 9pp
#131 Aug 1948: Supb 10pp, Aqua 6pp, SK 7pp, GA 8pp, JQ 9pp
#132 Sept 1948: Supb 10pp, Aqua 7pp, GA 8pp, SK 7pp
#133 Oct 1948: Supb 10pp, GA 10pp, Aqua 7pp
#134 Nov 1948: GA 8pp, Aqua 6pp, JQ 8pp
#135 Dec 1948: Aqua 6pp, GA 10pp, JQ 8pp
#136 Jan 1949: Supb 10pp, JQ 8pp, Aqua 6pp, GA 10pp
#137 Feb 1949: Supb 10pp, GA 8pp, SK 7pp, JQ 8pp
#138 March 1949: Supb 10pp, GA 8pp, Aqua 6pp, SK 7pp
#139 April 1949: Supb 10pp, SK 6pp, JQ 8pp
#140 May 1949: Supb 10pp, Aqua 6pp, JQ 8pp
#141 June 1949: GA 8pp, JQ 8pp
#142 July 1949: GA 8pp, Aqua 6pp, SK 6pp, JQ 8pp
#143 Aug 1949: Supb 10pp, GA 8pp, SK 6pp, Aqua 6pp
#144 Sept 1949: GA 8pp, Aqua 6pp
#145 Oct 1949: GA 8pp, Aqua 6pp
#146 Nov 1949: Aqua 6pp, GA 10pp
#147 Dec 1949: Aqua 6pp, GA 10pp
#148 Jan 1950: Aqua 6pp, GA 8pp, JQ 8pp
#149 Feb 1950: Aqua 6pp, JQ 8pp
#150 March 1950: Aqua 6pp, JQ 8pp, GA 10pp
#151 April 1950: Aqua 6pp, SK 6pp, GA 8pp
#157 Oct 1950: JQ 8 pp
#160 Dec 1950: GA 10 pp
#160 Jan 1951: GA 10pp
#164 May 1951: GA 10 pp
#172 Jan 1952: Supb 12 pp
#176 May 1952: Aqua 6 pp
#181 Oct 1952: JQ 6 pp
#188 May 1953: Aqua 6 pp
#189 June 1953: Aqua 6 pp, JQ 6 pp
#195 Dec 1953: Aqua 6 pp
#208 Jan 1955: Aqua 6 pp
#235 April 1957: Supb 12 pp
#245 Feb 1958: Aqua 6 pp
#257 Feb 1959: Aqua 6 pp
#258 March 1959: Supb 13 pp, GA 7 pp, Aqua 6 pp
#259 April 1959: Supb 13 pp, Aqua 6 pp
#262 July 1959: Aqua 6 pp, GA 7 pp
#263 Aug 1959: Aqua 6 pp
#264 Sept 1959: GA 7 pp
#266 Nov 1959: Aqua 7 pp
#290 Nov 1961: Tales of the Bizarro World 11 pp
#291 Dec 1961: Tales Bizarro 11pp
#316 Jan 1964: Origin and Powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes 2 pp
That’s a total of 1,728 pages, if my math is right, a good amount of work from Ira.
Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.