ALL-STAR COMICS was first published by All-American Comics, the sister company of DC (National) Comics in 1940 and ran to issue #57 cover dated Feb/March 1951. It was an anthology featuring many of All-American’s characters and is most famous as the home of the Justice Society of America beginning with issue #3, and the first appearance of Wonder Woman in issue #8. When All-American merged to a shared office with DC in 1946, the title continued for a while edited by Sheldon Mayer, the original editor, but was later handled by Julius Schwartz, who also came over to DC from All-American. Ira Schnapp did no work for All-American, but did work on some of their titles after the merge. On this one he only lettered some covers. As I have less of his work to discuss than usual, I’m going to show all of them.
First, here’s cover lettering by someone else, I don’t know who, on issue #47, June/July 1949 to provide contrast. Nothing close to Ira’s work here.
The cover blurb on issue #48 at upper right is much more typical of Ira Schnapp’s work, though the lettering in the art might be by someone else.
Again, the upper right blurb is by Ira on issue #49, I don’t know if he was involved in the large block lettering in the art. He might have been, it’s similar to other things he did.
Issue #50 has the story title in the caption at lower right and also floating in the sky above, an unusual repetition. Perhaps Julie Schwartz felt it needed more emphasis. I think it’s the same lettering.
Ira’s title lettering at the bottom of issue #51 just misses being trimmed off on this copy, but on other copies it was probably further from the edge. Comics printing and trimming was not very precise at the time.
Ira’s blurb at upper right works well in blue ink on a white background here on issue #52.
This one on issue #53 works equally well in red on a yellow background. Again, I’m not sure if the lettering on the art is Ira’s or the cover artist’s.
Issue #55 has the cover blurb in a handsome scroll caption, something Ira did not do often.
The caption on issue #56 is in a circle with some of it reversed as white on the purple background. This was always risky at the time because if the red and blue plates did not line up perfectly in printing, it would be hard to read, but it works fine here.
Ira’s blurb on the final cover, issue #57, works fine. In fact, it was the comic that was disappearing, not to be revived until the 1970s, though of course Wonder Woman continued in her own title. That’s the extend of Ira Schnapp’s work on ALL-STAR COMICS, nine covers.
SENSATION COMICS was the new title created for Wonder Woman at All-American Comics, and it ran from January 1942 to issue #109 dated May/June 1952, though by then Wonder Woman had exited. The book was initially edited by Sheldon Mayer with help from Julius Schwartz and Ted Udall. When All-American merged with DC, Mayer continued to be listed as editor, but he had assistance from Robert Kanigher, who took over as full editor in the late 1940s. While Wonder Woman was the book’s star, other characters and series also appeared in each issue. As before, Ira Schnapp did no work for the title until well after the merge.
Many issues of the title had no cover lettering. When that became more regular, the style varied, and was not by Ira Schnapp, as in this example on #93, Sept/Oct 1949.
With issue #94 both the logo and the cover lettering gained appeal under the hand of Ira Schnapp. I like his logo much better than the original, and his lettering in the blurb at upper right and the caption add interest to this and future covers.
Issue #96, March/April 1950, has the first typical Schnapp word balloon, though the top line lettering is not by him. Under Kanigher, the title was trying to emphasize a romance comic approach for Wonder Woman here.
A variety of story approaches followed, suggesting sales were slipping and Kanigher was trying to see what would attract readers. I like Ira’s story title on this one, issue #105, which has a fantasy feel.
In the next issue, #106, Ira had a chance to use his Old English style in the story title for this very different direction. It was Wonder Woman’s last cover appearance, as the book turned into a mystery anthology.
The final issue, #109, is an example of that, and uses an idea that was repeated some years later on a JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA cover. Sensation was not quite finished, though.
With issue #110, July/Aug 1952, the title changed to SENSATION MYSTERY to better reflect the contents, and put it in the same genre as DC’s HOUSE OF MYSTERY and similar titles. Ira continued to letter the covers. Editing was probably taken over by Julius Schwartz.
This short-lived version of SENSATION ended with #116, July/Aug 1953, having not found a new audience to keep it going. Ira Schnapp lettered these SENSATION covers:
94, 96-97, 99, 102, 104-116, eighteen in all.
Ira lettered no stories for SENSATION and only two for SENSATION MYSTERY, in issue #113, shown here, and issue #114. Here are the details:
#113 Jan/Feb 1953: Johnny Peril 8pp
#114 March/April 1953: “Return of Cagliostro” 6pp.
More articles in this series can be found on the Comics Creation page of my blog as well as other articles about Ira Schnapp and other letterers.
All-Star Comics on Wikipedia.