IRA SCHNAPP in BATMAN Part 3

This and all images © DC Comics.

Concluding my research into the work of Ira Schnapp on interior stories for BATMAN, issue #34, April-May 1946, has no work by Ira. There are three Batman stories credited in the Grand Comics Database by comics historians Michael O’Hearn and Joe Desris to Joe Letterese with a question mark, making it a guess. I worked with Joe, and I know he was on staff in the Marvel bullpen in the early to mid 1950s. I don’t know what he was doing in the 1940s, so it’s conceivable he could have worked for DC as a freelance letterer, but the Batman lettering on this story, sample above, has the distinctive exclamation marks of Dick or Laura Sprang (working as Pat Gordon). All three stories are drawn by Sprang.

Issue #35 has three Batman stories that are all lettered in the same style. It matches the look of issue #33 which I decided must be the work of Ira Schnapp using an alternate style, since is name is on a sign in one of those stories. It’s similar to what I think of as Ira’s regular style, but with some differences: wider and somewhat curvier letters, for instance. Is this the other, older letterer I’ve called “proto-Schnapp” because I suggest his work might have been imitated by Ira, or is this Ira himself? I guess I will go with the suggestion of O’Hearn and Desris and call it Ira’s work, but with a question mark, as I’m not sure.

Issue #36, Aug.-Sept. 1946, has three Batman stories with the letterer identified by O’Hearn and Desris as Ira Schnapp. The third story, title page above, looks very much like Ira to me, reinforced by the Old English title.

The other two stories, sample above from the first one, have lettering like this that I don’t think is much like Ira’s regular work. The letters are very wide, and more curvy, The S is more rounded, the R has those curved right legs, and even the question marks are larger and differently shaped from what Ira usually did. Is this once again Ira using an alternate style, or is this the unknown letterer I’ve called “proto-Schnapp”?

A detail from the third story. These letters are less wide, generally square, and notice the smaller question mark, but there are a few curved-right-leg R’s. I have to put a question mark on the first two stories.

Issue #37, Oct.-Nov. 1946, has only one story credited to Schnapp, the second Batman story, detail above, and it’s very much in Ira’s standard style.

Issue #38 has three Batman stories, all in Ira Schnapp’s standard style. And from here on, it remains so, and is easy to identify. Ira became the regular Batman letterer, often doing all three Batman stories until issue #68 dated Dec. 1951 – Jan. 1952, though he missed a few issues completely.

Issue #40, for instance, has three stories drawn by Dick Sprang and probably lettered by either him or his wife Laura (as Pat Gordon). Note the distinctive exclamation marks.

The same is true for issue #46. These stories are attributed to Joe Letterese, but I think that’s unlikely. Again, some of the exclamation marks suggest Pat Gordon (Laura Sprang).

Issue #69, Feb.-March 1952, has two stories attributed to Joe Rosen, sample above from the second. An interesting idea, and I haven’t studied Joe’s work enough to know if I agree, but the title does have a Marvel look to it. The third Batman story is attributed to Joe Letterese, but I’m sure Joe was on staff at Marvel then.

Ira Schnapp continued to letter some Batman stories from 1952 to 1962, example above from issue #70, though his participation dwindled in favor of other letterers like Pat Gordon (who, if the attributions of O’Hearn and Desris are correct, gave up using that distinctive exclamation mark) and then Stan Starkman beginning in 1958, another letterer who came over from Marvel when work there dried up for him.

With issue #164, June 1964, the debut of the new-look Batman spearheaded by Carmine Infantino (though drawn here by Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella), Gaspar Saladino became the regular letterer on BATMAN for some years. Ira Schnapp’s lettering was then only seen on reprints of old stories, or 1940’s Batman newspaper strips he also lettered.

Ira Schnapp made one final appearance as BATMAN letterer on issue #197 dated Dec. 1967. This was a 23-page Catwoman story, a nice way for him to close out this chapter of his work.

Here’s a list of all the interior stories I believe are lettered by Ira Schnapp in BATMAN, with question marks on the early ones I’m not sure about.

BATMAN #27, Feb.-March 1945: 3rd Batman story 12 pages

BATMAN #28, April-May ’45: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #31, Oct.-Nov. ’45: 1st Batman story, 12 pp,  2nd? 11pp, 3rd? 12pp, Alfred? 4 pp. Only sure about the first story.

BATMAN #32, Dec. ’45 – Jan. ’46: Alfred 4 pp

BATMAN #33, Feb.-March ’46: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 12pp

BATMAN #35, June-July ’46: all 3 Batman stories? Not sure, but all the same style. 12pp, 13pp, 13pp.

BATMAN #36, Aug.-Sept. ’46: 1st Batman story? 12pp, 2nd? 12pp, 3rd 12pp. Only sure about the third one.

BATMAN #37, Oct.-Nov. ’46: 2nd Batman story 12pp

BATMAN #38, Dec. ’46 – Jan. ’47: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 11pp, 13pp

BATMAN #39, Feb.-March ’47: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 13pp

BATMAN #41, June-July ’47: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #42, Aug.-Sept. ’47: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 13pp

BATMAN #43, Oct.-Nov. ’47: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 13pp

BATMAN #44, Dec. ’47 – Jan. ’48: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 13pp

BATMAN #45, Feb.-March ’48: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 13pp, 12pp

BATMAN #47, June-July ’48: all 3 Batman stories, 10pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #48, Aug.-Sept. ’48: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 11pp

BATMAN #49, Oct.-Nov. ’48: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #50, Dec. ’48 – Jan. ’49: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #51, Feb.-March ’49: all 3 Batman stories, 13pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #52, April-May ’49: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #53, June-July ’49: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #54, Aug.-Sept. ’49: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #55, Oct.-Nov. ’49: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 13pp, 12pp

BATMAN #56, Dec. ’49 – Jan. 50: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 13pp, 10pp

BATMAN #57, Feb.-March ’50: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #58, April-May ’50: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #59, June-July ’50: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 10pp, 12pp

BATMAN #60, Aug.-Sept. ’50: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #61, Oct.-Nov. ’50: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #62, Dec. ’50 – Jan. ’51: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #63, Feb.-March ’51: 1st & 3rd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #64, April-May ’51: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #65, June-July ’51: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #66, Aug.-Sept. ’51: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp

BATMAN #67, Oct.-Nov. ’51: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 13pp

BATMAN #68, Dec. ’51 – Jan. ’52: all 3 Batman stories, 12pp, 12pp, 10pp

BATMAN #70, April-May ’52: 1st Batman story, 12pp

BATMAN #71, June-July ’52: 1st Batman story, 12pp

BATMAN #72, Aug.-Sept. ’52: 3rd Batman story, 12pp

BATMAN #73, Oct.-Nov. ’52: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 10pp, 12pp

BATMAN #74, Dec. ’52, – Jan. ’53: 2nd & 3rd Batman stories, 10pp, 10pp

BATMAN #75, Feb.-March ’52: 1st & 3rd Batman stories, 10pp, 12pp

BATMAN #76, April-May ’52: 2nd Batman story, 10pp

BATMAN #77, June-July ’52: 3rd Batman story, 10pp

BATMAN #78, Sept.-Oct. ’52: 3rd Batman story, 10pp

BATMAN #97, Feb. ’56: 3rd Batman story, 8pp

BATMAN #99, April ’56: 3rd Batman story, 8pp

BATMAN #105, Feb. ’57: 2nd Batman story, 6pp

BATMAN #118, Sept. ’58: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 10pp, 6pp

BATMAN #121, Feb. ’59: 2nd Batman story, 8pp

BATMAN #122, March ’59: 2nd Batman story, 8pp

BATMAN #140, June ’61: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 9pp, 8pp

BATMAN #147, May ’62: 2nd Batman story, 8pp

BATMAN #151, Nov. ’62: 1st & 2nd Batman stories, 17pp, 9pp

BATMAN #197, Dec. ’67: 1st and only Batman story, 23pp

There are also reprints of Ira’s lettering in issues 176, 187, 193 and 198.

So, adding up all those pages except for the ones I’m not sure about, that’s 1340 pages lettered by Ira Schnapp on this title. Plenty more titles to look at, and his total is mounting!

Other parts of this article and many others on Ira Schnapp can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “IRA SCHNAPP in BATMAN Part 3

  1. Nick Caputo

    Todd,

    Thanks for giving attention to Ira Schnapp and his work on Batman. I’ll add some of the missing credits to the GCD and credit your site. In regards to the Joe Rosen attribution, I’ve looked at a lot of his work, which was primarily for Harvey in this period; this job looks more similar to brother Sam.

    Keep up the great work researching and crediting these unsung greats.

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