All-American Comics, a sister company to DC Comics in the early 1940s because of some shared owners, had success with their superheroes Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Flash. In addition to one or more titles where they appeared solo, they teamed up in ALL-STAR COMICS and this title, COMIC CAVALCADE, though they actually appeared together mostly on the cover, the stories inside were usually unrelated to each other. When All-American and DC (National) merged in 1946, All-American editor-in-chief Sheldon Mayer continued to manage his titles for a while, but they were gradually integrated into the DC line. Some long-time DC editors like Julius Schwartz began at All-American. Mayer moved on to full-time freelance work for the company as an artist and writer/artist, and he did that the rest of his life. COMIC CAVALCADE #1 was dated Winter 1942. Ira Schnapp did no work for the All-American line until after the merge in 1946.
With issue #30 dated Dec. 1948/Jan. 1949, the superheroes moved out and funny animals, many already appearing in other DC Comics, moved in. At this time the funny-animal creators and personnel from DC followed, with the book now edited by Larry Nadle, who handled most of DC’s humor titles. It was a big book, 76 pages initially, and the stories were short, so there was room for lots of features and creators. Lettering by the unknown person I’ve nicknamed Proto-Schnapp (because I think his work was the model for Ira’s lettering) began showing up, as on this cover, and on inside stories. Ira’s work also began on story pages with issue #30, along with many others whose names I don’t know.
Many of the issues had no cover lettering other than the “Featuring” blurb by Proto-Schnapp that continued to be used. Issue #49 dated Feb.-Mar. 1952, is the first one with a typical Ira Schnapp cover balloon, as seen on every title in the DC line through the 1950s and early 1960s. His style on covers was larger, more careful, and more precise than his inside page lettering.
Ira’s cover lettering appeared on a few more covers, including the final one of the series, shown here, from 1954.
Here are the covers I see Ira’s work on: 49, 51, 53, 56, 57, 59, 61-63. That’s nine covers.
Many of the interior stories Ira lettered, like this one from issue #31 dated Feb.-March 1949, were features that also appeared in other DC titles like FUNNY FOLKS and ANIMAL ANTICS. I think editor Larry Nadle was able to move excess inventory from those titles into this one if he needed to, as it was a larger book. Proto-Schnapp’s work on inside pages appeared in the 1949 issues, then vanished, I think because he either retired or died. By late 1950 Ira was lettering about a third of the stories, with a variety of other letterers whose names are now unknown doing the rest. Ira’s lettering is very regular, with most letters fitting into a square, and his balloon shapes were artfully scalloped, often overlapping the panel borders above to fit things in.
Ira’s lettering on this Nip and Chip story from issue #37, Feb.-March 1950, is larger than usual, perhaps because he had the room.
While scanning through the issues, I was startled to find this Fox and Crow story in issue #45 with the Crow pretending to be Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep, in order to fool the Fox. It’s an interesting premonition of the 1980’s SANDMAN series written by Neil Gaiman, who told me he never saw it or any Fox and Crow stories. Comics expert Mark Evanier pointed out that the artist, James Davis, who was in California, pencilled and inked the art and balloon borders before sending the pages to DC in New York, where Ira Schnapp would have received them to letter. This is the likely reason many of the funny animal stories he and other letterers did have oddly-shaped or misfit balloons: the artists, who may also have been working as animators in California, put them in before the lettering, and Ira and his colleagues had to make the lettering fit as best they could. Mark wonders if the extra space in the last panel might have been where editor Larry Nadle cut some of the dialogue in the original script, which artist Davis would have pencilled on the page to estimate the balloon size.
Some of the humor artists were in New York, too. Shelly Mayer did lots of stories for the series, like this Dizzy Dog one from issue #53. Here Ira would have received the pencilled art to letter and put in his own balloon shapes. There’s quite a lot of lettering on this page also written by Mayer, but at least he left room for it, though spacing is tight in spots.
A story from the final issue, #63, dated June-July 1954, also by Mayer and Schnapp. I must admit that I never bought or read any of DC’s humor titles growing up. My limited funds and buying opportunities were focused on superhero comics. I didn’t come to appreciate the fine work of Sheldon Mayer until much later.
Here’s a list of all the inside stories I believe are lettered by Ira Schnapp in this series:
#30 Dec 1948/Jan 1949: Goofy Goose 6pp
#31 Feb/March 1949: Raccoon Kids 6pp
#34 Aug/Sept 1949: Ozzie Owl 6pp
#35 Oct/Nov 1949: Goofy Goose 5pp, Roly & Poly 6pp, Ozzie Owl 5pp
#36 Dec 1949/Jan 1950: J. Rufus Lion 7pp, Dodo & the Frog 6pp
#37 Feb/March 1950: Blabber Mouse 6pp, Raccoon Kids 5pp, J. Rufus Lion 6pp, Ozzie Owl 6pp, Nip & Chip 7pp
#38 April/May 1950: Blabber Mouse 6pp, Pete the Pup 6pp, Goofy Goose 6pp, Custer Cat & Cheesy Mouse 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 6pp
#39 June/July 1950: Fox & Crow 8pp, Blabber Mouse 7pp, Custer & Cheesy 6pp, Dodo & Frog 5pp, JR Lion 7pp, Nip & Chip 6pp
#40 Aug/Sept 1950: Dodo & Frog 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Ruff & Reddy 7pp, Goofy Goose 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 6pp
#41 Oct/Nov 1950: Fox & Crow 8pp, Dizzy Dog 8pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Doodles Duck 8pp
#42 Dec 1951/ Jan 1952: Fox & Crow 8pp, Blabber Mouse 5pp, Bo Bunny 4pp, Dodo & Frog 6pp, Bernard the Brave 6pp
#43 Feb/March 1951: Fox & Crow 8pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 7pp
#44 April/May 1951: Dizzy Dog 6pp, Doodles Duck 5pp, Blabber Mouse 6pp
#45 June/July 1951: Fox & Crow 8pp, Fox & Crow 1pp
#46 Aug/Sept 1951: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, JR Lion 6pp, Goofy Goose 6pp
#47 Oct/Nov 1951: Raccoon Kids 6pp, Presto Pete 6pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Dodo & Frog 9pp
#48 Dec 1951/Jan 1952: Tortoise & Hare 6pp, Fraidy Cat 5pp, Dodo & Frog 3pp, Doodles Duck 5pp, Nutsy Squirrel 6pp
#49 Feb/March 1952: Fraidy Cat 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Custer & Cheesy 5pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 5pp
#50 April/May 1952: Dizzy Dog 6pp, Doodles Duck 5pp, Blabber Mouse 6pp
#51 June/July 1952: Raccoon Kids 5pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Dodo & Frog 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 5pp
#52 Aug/Sept 1952: Custer & Cheesy 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Tortoise & Hare 4pp, Blabber Mouse 5pp
#53 Oct/Nov 1952: Fox & Crow 6pp, Fraidy Cat 4pp, Raccoon Kids 5pp, Bernard 4pp, Dizzy 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Pinky & Winky 4pp, Bo Bunny 6pp
#54 Dec 1952/Jan 1953: Fox & Crow 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 5pp, Dodo & Frog 4pp, Bernard 4pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Roly & Poly 4pp
#55 Feb/March 1953: Nutsy Squirrel 6pp, Bernard 4pp, Tortoise & Hare 4pp, Roly & Poly 4pp, Blabber Mouse 4pp
#56 April/May 1953: Fox & Crow 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 6pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Goofy Goose 4pp
#57 June/July 1953: Fox & Crow 6pp, Blackie Bear 4pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Doodles Duck 6pp
#58 Aug/Sept 1953: Nutsy Squirrel 5pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp
#59 Oct/Nov 1953: Dodo & Frog 4pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Nip & Chip 4pp
#60 Dec 1953/Jan 1954: Fox & Crow 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Dodo & Frog 6pp, Goofy Goose 4pp, Nip & Chip4pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp
#61 Feb/March 1954: Fox & Crow 6pp, Doodles Duck 6pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Bo Bunny 6pp, Nip & Chip 5pp, Custer & Cheesy 4pp, Bernard 4pp
#62 April/May 1954: Fox & Crow 6pp, Doodles Duck 4pp, Dodo & Frog 5pp, Nutsy Squirrel 7pp, Dizzy Dog 6pp, Tortoise & Hare 4pp, Goofy Goose 6pp
#63 June/July 1954: Fox & Crow 6pp, Nutsy Squirrel 5pp, Doodles Duck 5pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, Fraidy Cat 4pp
That’s a total of 775 pages if my math is right. More articles in this series can be found on the Comics Creation page of my blog.