Ira Schnapp in ANIMAL ANTICS & FUNNY FOLKS

This and all images © DC Comics

Working my way through DC titles of the 1940s looking for lettering work by Ira Schnapp, this title ran for 23 issues from March/April 1946 to Nov/Dec 1949. Then the title changed to MOVETOWN’S ANIMAL ANTICS. I was going to cover that separately, but I’ve decided to include it here, as it’s the same content and even almost the same logo. It was edited by Bernie Breslauer initially, and later by Larry Nadle. While searching for Ira’s work, I’m finding lots more by the unknown letterer I’ve nicknamed Proto-Schnapp because I think he was an older man working on staff at DC as a letterer and that Ira used his work as a model for his own. Some of the familiar display lettering styles that Ira adopted came from Proto-Schnapp, but Proto had others that Ira didn’t use. This first cover for the series has good examples: the bouncy, curly top line lettering, the style of upper and lower case used for “featuring,” and the very lively and appealing open letters for “Presto Pete.” I’m now thinking this logo is also by Proto-Schnapp as he liked rounded, bouncy letters more than Ira. Much of the cover and interior lettering in this title’s early issues, nearly all of it, is by Proto-Schnapp too.

The many covers on this series had no balloon lettering or captions and were simply sight gags, but later in the MOVIETOWN part of the run some covers have word balloons by Ira Schnapp. This is the first one, issue #34 from 1951. You can also see the addition of the topline to the logo in the same style, probably by Proto-Schnapp, as is the Raccoon Kids blurb. Why the title change? I’m guessing DC thought kids would be more attracted to funny animals if they thought they came from cartoons, but as far as I know none of the features in this book were actually from cartoons.

This cover of issue #44 has a more typical Ira Schnapp word balloon.

With issue #50 in 1954 a new trade dress adds a large Raccon Kids logo which is similar to ones on their stories since the first issue, but I think redrawn by Ira Schnapp. This shows the direction the title was going, and with issue #52 the series was renamed THE RACCOON KIDS and continued for thirteen more issues. I’ll cover those later. As for Ira Schnapp cover lettering, I see it only on these issues: 34, 42, 44, 48-50, six covers.

Here’s an example of Proto-Schnapp’s work from issue #12, Jan/Feb 1948. At first glance it looks like Ira’s lettering, and I thought that for some time, but look how wide and curvy many of the letters are.

By issue #18, Proto-Schnapp’s story lettering had dwindled to a few stories per issue. In #20, Proto-Schnapp is still lettering the lead feature, The Racoon Kids, above…

…but compare it to this story which I think is lettered by Ira Schnapp. The letters are narrower, most would fit into a square, and his treatment of the emphasized words is just different from Proto’s. The Presto Pete logo is probably by Proto-Schnapp from earlier in the series. This is the only Ira lettering in issue 20.

But in issue #21, there are five stories lettered by Ira, including Goofy Goose. Again, the logo is from previous issues and probably by Proto-Schnapp. This is nearing the end of the time I find any work at DC from Proto-Schnapp, who may have retired or died in 1949 or 1950.

The final page of the Goofy Goose story in issue #21 is a better example of Ira’s work, especially all the emphasized words. Issues #22-23 also each had several stories lettered by Ira.

Ira’s story lettering was more regular as the title changed to MOVIETOWN’S ANIMAL ANTICS, but was otherwise much the same, as on this example from issue #40 in 1952.

On stories written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer, like this Dizzy Dog example from issue #51, sometimes the lettering seems to be all by Mayer, other times, as here, it’s a mix of display lettering by Mayer with regular lettering by Ira Schnapp. Or perhaps Mayer pencilled the large open letters and Ira inked them, it’s hard to say. I still count this as a story Ira lettered.

Here are all the stories I think are lettered by Ira Schnapp:

#20 May/June 1949: Presto Pete 6pp

#21 July/Aug 1949: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Nip & Chip 7pp, Pete the Pup 6pp, Goofy Goose 6pp, Ozzy Owl 5pp

#22 Sept/Oct 1949: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Nip & Chip 5pp, Custer Cat & Cheesy the Mouse 6pp, Goofy Goose 6pp, Racoon Kids 5pp

#23 Nov/Dec 1949: Raccoon Kids 5pp, Nutsy Squirrel 1pp, Ozzie Owl 6pp

#24 Jan/Feb 1950: Custer Cat & Cheesy Mouse 5pp, Goofy Goose 6pp

#25 March/April 1950: Goofy Goose 5pp, Nip & Chip 6pp

#26 May/June 1950: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Ham Hocks 7pp

#27 July/Aug 1950: Ruthie Riddles 1pp, Goofy Goose 7pp, Biggety Bear 6pp

#28 Sept/Oct 1950: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Custer Cat 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Nip & Chip 8pp

#29 Nov/Dec 1950: Pete the Pup 5pp

#30 Jan/Feb 1951: Custer Cat 6pp

#31 March/April 1951: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Custer Cat 6pp

#32 May/June 1951: Doodles Duck 6pp, Goofy Goose 6pp

#34 Sept/Oct 1951: Raccoon Kids 8pp

#36 Jan/Feb 1952: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Fraidy Cat 4pp

#37 March/April 1952: Dizzy Dog 6pp, Raccoon Kids 4pp

#38 May/June 1952: Raccoon Kids 6pp (2nd)

#40 Sept/Oct 1952: Raccoon Kids 6pp (1st)

#41 Nov/Dec 1952: Biggety Bear 4pp, Raccoon Kids 4pp (2)

#42 Jan/Feb 1953: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Goofy Goose 4pp

#43 March/April 1953: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Fraidy Cat 4pp

#44 May/June 1953: Goofy Goose 4pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp

#45 July/Aug 1953: Bernard 4pp, Blackie Bear 4pp

#46 Sept/Oct 1953: Fraidy Cat 4pp, Tortoise & Hare 5pp, Raccoon Kids 4pp (2)

#47 Nov/Dec 1953: Custer Cat 4pp, Tortoise & Hare 4pp

#48 Jan/Feb 1954: Raccoon Kids 6pp (1), Goofy Goose 4pp, Fraidy Cat 4pp, Raccoon Kids 6pp (2)

#49 March/April 1954: Tortoise & Hare 4pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Raccoon Kids 4pp (2)

#50 May/June 1954: Fraidy Cat 4pp, Raccoon Kids 6pp (2)

#51 July/Aug 1954: Raccoon Kids 6pp (1), Dizzy Dog 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Bo Bunny 4pp, Raccoon Kids 4pp (2)

That’s a total of 373 story pages on this title.

Around the same time in early 1946 that ANIMAL ANTICS was begun at DC, their sister company All-American Comics launched this similar anthology of funny animal stories. It was edited by Sheldon Mayer, a fine funny animal artist himself, and I think he designed the logo, as it’s similar in style to Mayer’s own creation SCRIBBLY. As far as I’ve discovered, Ira Schnapp did no work for All-American titles until after the companies were combined in 1946. Mayer continued to edit this one for a while, using his own stable of creators. Then it was passed on to Larry Nadle. This title was also renamed in 1950 as HOLLYWOOD FUNNY FOLKS for another 34 issues. As with ANIMAL ANTICS, the content and logo remained about the same, so I will include those here too.

By issue #27, the logo is decorated with Nutsy Squirrel and his rabbit friend, now in the lead feature, and the word HOLLYWOOD is added above the logo, but it’s otherwise the same one that I think Sheldon Mayer designed. Neither that nor the word balloon look like the work of Ira Schnapp. Despite the name change I don’t think any of the characters were ever in cartoons.

By issue #39 in 1951, Ira was lettering balloons on some of the covers in his familiar style.

The final issue has a new trade dress with NUTSY SQUIRREL featured over the book’s name. I think this entire logo is by Ira Schnapp, and it shows where the book was headed next. The title became NUTSY SQUIRREL for twelve more issues which I’ll look at later.

Some of the lettering, like this page from issue #15, was excellent, but I don’t know who did it. It reminds me of the lettering of Ben Oda at the time, but isn’t quite the same as that, so the letterer remains unknown. When the editing was turned over to Larry Nadle, who handled most of DC’s humor titles, lettering by Proto-Schnapp shows up, but rarely.

This story from issue #22, Oct/Nov 1949 has the first Ira Schnapp lettering I see in the title on a feature with the same name as a 1950s cartoon series, but unrelated.

Also in issue #22 is this story lettered by Ira, though the logo may have been designed by Proto-Schnapp in a previous issue.

There were a few Ira Schnapp-lettered stories in issues 23-24 and 26, including this one from that final issue of the series, which was renamed HOLLYWOOD FUNNY FOLKS with issue #16, but not in the indicia until #27.

From issue #27 on there were more stories lettered by Ira Schnapp like this one in issue #41. Ira was rarely the only story letterer, but he did quite a few.

Here’s a page of Ira’s lettering from the final issue of this title, #60. Below are all the stories I see Ira Schnapp lettering on from this series. In later issues, Nutsy Squirrel often had a second story so I’ve numbered those.

#22 Oct/Nov 1949: Ruff & Reddy 7pp, Plato Platypus 6pp

#23 Dec 1949/Jan 1950: Plato Platypus 5pp, Nip and Chip 6pp, Ozzie Owl 6pp

#24 Feb/March 1950: Nip and Chip 6pp

#26 June/July 1950: Roly and Poly 6pp, Nip and Chip 7pp, Ham Hocks 7pp, Nutsy Squirrel (2) 7pp

#27 Aug/Sept 1950: Nutsy Squirrel (2) 2pp, Fraidy Cat 6pp

#28 Oct/Nov 1950: Fraidy Cat 5pp

#29 Dec 1950: Nutsy Squirrel (1) 6pp, Rufus Lion 6pp

#31 Feb 1951: Nutsy Squirrel (2) 7pp

#32 March 1951: Nutsy (1) 10pp, Bo Bunny 7pp

#33 April 1951: Nutsy (2) 6pp

#34 May 1951: Nutsy (1) 8pp, Lil Chicadee 6pp

#35 June 1951: Nutsy (1) 6pp

#36 July 1951: Rufus Lion 6pp, Nutsy (2) 7pp

#38 Sept 1951: Nutsy (1) 6pp, (2) 6pp

#39 Oct 1951: Nutsy (1) 10pp

#40 Nov 1951: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp

#41 Dec 1951: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Rufus 5pp, Nutsy (2) 4pp

#42 Jan 1952: Nip & Chip 5pp

#43 Feb 1952: Nutsy (1) 5pp, Doodles Duck 6pp

#44 March 1952: Dizzy Dog 6pp

#45 April 1952: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Blackie Bear 4pp, Bernard 6pp

#46 May 1952: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Nip & Chip 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Nutsy (2) 5pp

#47 June 1952: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Pinky & Winky 6pp, Nutsy (2) 6pp

#48 July/Aug 1952: Fraidy Cat 5pp

#49 Sept/Oct 1952: Nutsy 6pp, 5pp (1-2)

#50 Nov/Dec 1952: Nutsy 6pp, 3pp (1-2)

#51 Jan/Feb 1953: Biggety Bear 3pp, Doodles Duck 6pp

#52 March/April 1953: Fraidy Cat 4pp, Nutsy (2) 4pp

#53 May/June 1953: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Biggety Bear 4pp, Blabber Mouse 4pp

#54 July/Aug 1953: Fraidy Cat 4pp, Bernard 4pp, Nutsy (2) 4pp

#55 Sept/Oct 1953: Fraidy Cat 4pp, Nutsy (2) 6pp

#56 Nov/Dec 1953: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Doodles Duck 4pp

#57 Jan/Feb 1954: Nutsy (2) 4pp

#58 March/April 1954: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp

#60 July/Aug 1954: Nutsy (1) 6pp, Doodles Duck 4pp, Nutsy (2) 4pp

That’s 401 pages. More articles in this series can be found on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

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.