Ira Schnapp in DOOM PATROL and HAWKMAN

Images © DC Comics

The Doom Patrol, created by writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani, began appearing in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #80 in 1963. They were a team of misfit heroes led by a man in a wheelchair, Dr. Niles Caulder. The original team was Robotman, Elasti-Girl and Negative Man with other members Beast Boy and Mento joining later. Their tag line was “The World’s Strangest Heroes.” Many comparisons were later made with Marvel Comics’ The X-Men, which came soon after, though the parallels could have been a coincidence. With issue #86 in 1964, above, the book was retitled after the team for the rest of its initial run to issue #121 in 1968. It was edited by Murray Boltinoff. Ira Schnapp designed the new logo using his standard block letters, and did the rest of the cover lettering on this and many of the covers to issue #117. Ira did no story lettering for the series, most were lettered by Stan Starkman.

For issue #91, Schnapp created a revised logo on two lines that was larger, added interest by slanting the word DOOM, and incorporated the tagline in a burst in the logo area. THE is now in typical Schnapp upper and lower case.

Issue #97 from 1965 shows the growing tendency at DC for too much cover lettering around this time, perhaps as a reaction to what Marvel was doing, but Ira manages to fit it in pretty well here.

Beast Boy was introduced in issue #99 with an elaborate and wordy Schnapp caption. This is the same character that would later become part of the New Teen Titans.

For issue #100, Ira was asked to revise the logo again, making DOOM taller and with the outlines broken by notches. The effect is not entirely successful to my eye, and the rest of the cover again has too much lettering, though at least it’s clear of the art.

Issue #102 has even more lettering, and includes Mento for the first time, as the Doom Patrol teams with the Challengers of the Unknown. Editor Boltinoff would have written the cover copy, so the surplus of lettering is his decision.

For issue #108, Ira designed another new logo that I like a little better than the previous one, but this suggests that sales were falling, and the company thought, “It must be the logo,” instead of any more realistic reasons. DC was also trying for hip language to appeal to readers and failing miserably with words like “freakniks.” The new look for Beast Boy also seems like a bad idea to me. I do like Schnapp’s burst balloon though.

Issue #110 adds head shots in circles at the top with the caption next to it, a better plan than many of these covers.

Ira’s final cover lettering was for issue #117 in 1968, and I like his rendering of the word VULTURE. Here are the covers lettered by Schnapp: 86-92, 94-111, 113-117. That’s 30 in all.

Hawkman was another Golden Age DC character revamped by Julius Schwartz following his successes with The Flash and Green Lantern, and the character had a tryout run in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34-36 in 1961. Sales on those issues must not have been as good as with the previous revamps, and there was another tryout in B&B #42-44 in 1962 before the character got his own series in 1964. For the tryouts, Ira Schnapp designed what I think is one of his best logos, which continued on the new series.

When the series did begin, it had a huge caption at the top by Schnapp perhaps expressing editor Schwartz’s frustration that it took so long! The series ran to issue #27 in 1968. Ira lettered most of the covers up to #24. He did no story lettering on this book, most stories were lettered by Gaspar Saladino.

Issue #4 has a pretty typical Schnapp caption except for those lines around the M in MAGNETIZED suggesting the same kind of attraction as in the art, a nice subtle addition.

The Atom guest starred in issue #9, and these two heroes would later appear together for a brief series after their books ended. Ira has done a miniature version of his Atom logo.

Issue #16 from 1966 is now in the era of poor cover design and big captions. Also the era of lame language like “Go-Go Gorilla.” At least the art by Murphy Anderson is the main focus here.

Issue #18 has another guest-star, Adam Strange, and these two heroes would have later crossovers and connections between Hawkman’s home planet Thanagar and Adam’s adopted homeworld Rann. I like the burst in one corner of the caption.

Issue #22 has a handsomely-lettered banner by Ira, and the caption manages to pick up a Stan Lee vibe, which is what editor Schwartz was probably going for.

Ira’s final cover lettering was for issue #24, above. The balloon is larger than usual and I think works well. Here are the covers lettered by Schnapp: 1-5, 7-24. That’s 23 in all.

Doom Patrol on Wikipedia.

Hawkman on Wikipedia.

More articles like this are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

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