Ira Schnapp in FALLING IN LOVE

Images © DC Comics

With three successful romance titles on the stands in 1955, DC added a fourth one with a Sept/Oct cover date. It’s unclear whether Robert Kanigher oversaw this one, but the actual editing was probably handled first by Zena Brody, then Phyllis Reed. In the 1960s it was handled by Larry Nadle and then Jack Miller. The series ran 143 issues, ending in 1973. By that time romance comics were no longer seen as relevant by teen readers.

Ira Schnapp designed the logo using an older style for the capital F that he favored, with the rest of the top line in appealing lower case, leaving LOVE larger and all caps to push the theme. Ira also lettered the word balloon and the caption, where he’s used a similar style to the top logo line in F of the story title. Ira would letter most of the covers to issue #98 in 1968 and also most of the inside stories, making it one of the most prolific for him. Like the other company romance titles at the time, this one did not use the DC bullet symbol in the upper left corner.

Issue #2 has a new Schnapp top line and appealing script lettering in the note. Many issues of this series had only a caption with a story title, though some also had word balloons.

Issue #10 uses a new “National Romance Group” symbol at upper left designed by Ira, and the logo is unusually filled with black, adding a somewhat funereal feel to the cover. Some of the captions on this title were full of melodramatic text, like this one.

The series followed this model for many years with hardly a variation. Issue #22 from 1958 is another typical example. Ira’s story titles were often decorative and well-crafted.

One thing that’s a bit surprising is how thin the outline on the logo is, but it always works fine even against busy art, as here on issue #39 from 1960. All the DC romance books seemed to use thin outlines on their word balloons and captions, too, perhaps thinking it might be more appealing to female readers, though that’s just my guess.

Here’s another cover for issue #57 from 1963, and as you can see, not a thing has changed in the style and approach from the earliest issues. Only the clothing and hair styles tried to follow the latest trends.

Issue #69 from 1964 shows a growing trend for more of that melodramatic cover lettering than in the past. That trend would continue.

With issue #71, a new Ira Schnapp logo appeared that used slab-serif letters and replaced that old-fashioned F with something more common. The general layout of the logo is the same, and it certainly reads well.

Issue #88 from 1967 had another new logo from Ira, this one in an odd trapezoid shape, perhaps an attempt to be more up-to-date and stylish in the swinging sixties. The word LOVE is back to almost the first style, while FALLING IN is now smaller and italic upper and lower case. I like the logo, but it was a difficult fit for the art on some covers, so probably not a great idea in that way.

Schnapp’s last cover lettering was for issue #98 from 1968. Here are the covers he lettered: 1-43, 45-56, 58, 60, 62-72, 74-75, 77-86, 88, 90-91, 93-95, 97-98. That’s 85 in all.

It’s unknown whether Ira enjoyed lettering romance stories, but I hope so, as he sure did a lot of them. He was the main letterer on this series until the mid 1960s when the work of other letterers became more common. Here’s Schnapp lettering for the first story in issue #1. His story titles were usually as elegant as his cover titles, and his generally small lettering worked well for wordy scripts.

It was rare, but occasionally Ira wasn’t able to finish a story and someone else had to fill in for him. This is page six of an eight-page story in issue #17 lettered by Ira.

Pages 7, shown here, and 8 were lettered by Gaspar Saladino. It’s a good chance to compare their very different styles. Gaspar’s work was larger, wider, more angular, and used a wedge-tipped pen giving a thick and thin variation to the lines depending on direction. If a reader was paying attention, this was an obvious style shift.

This story from issue #50 in 1962 has a large, handsome story title with a drop shadow, perfect for the words.

This story from issue #82 has the longest story title in the series, I think. Luckily the artist left plenty of room for it.

Ira’s final story lettering appeared in issue #97 dated Feb. 1968, though likely done in 1967. It shows no diminishing of talent for handsome story titles, and again the artist left room for a large one.

Here are the stories lettered by Ira Schnapp in this series. There were no continuing characters, so all the story titles are listed.

#1 Sept/Oct 1955: Dream Love 7pp, Unhappy Birthday 7pp, Flight to Heartbreak 8pp

#2 Nov/Dec 1955: Unfriendly Sweethearts 6pp, Hero & Leander 2pp, Unwanted Woman 6pp, Wedding Canceled 8pp

#3 Jan/Feb 1956: Orpheus & Eurydice 2pp, Sudden Enchantment 6pp, The Double Heart 8pp

$4 March/April 1956: Stolen Dreams 7pp, Suddenly…Heartbreak 6pp, Abelard & Heloise 2pp, Romance Can’t Last 6pp, A Lonely Love Is Mine 8pp

#5 May/June 1956: Strangers or Sweethearts 7pp, Farewell to Love 6pp, Say That You’re Mine 7pp, Unwelcome Heart 8pp

#6 July/Aug 1956: Other Loves 7pp, Too Wonderful to Last 6pp, Love Me Leave Me 8pp

#7 Sept/Oct 1956: Dare I Dream? 7pp, Wanted: One Love 7pp, I’ll Always Remember 6pp, A Fool At Heart 8pp

#8 Nov/Dec 1956: While My Love Waits 7pp, There Goes My Heart 6pp, The Only Man For Me 6pp, In Love With Love 8pp

#9 Jan/Feb 1957: A Heart Never Knows 6pp, A Love Like Ours 7pp, Tristan & Iseult 2pp, Plan for Heartbreak 7pp

#10 March/April 1957: This Foolish Heart 7pp, Passing Fancy 6pp, Phyllis & Acamas 2pp, Heartbreak Holiday 7pp, Love Walked Away 8pp

#11 May/June 1957: I’ll Care For You 7pp, Love Without Words 7pp, Isle of Tears 7pp, Love Me, Love Me Not 8pp

#12 July/Aug 1957: No Love At All 7pp, Dreams Are For Fools 7pp, A Summer Day’s Dream 7pp, Beyond Love 8pp

#13 Sept 1957: Magic Summer 7pp, Love Is A Red, Red Rose 7pp, Dream Date 7pp, Souvenirs of a Broken Heart 9pp

#14 Oct 1957: Magic Saturday 6pp, Give Love A Chance 7pp, Sweetheart’s Ring 7pp, Last Day of Love 9pp

#15 Dec 1957: A Shoulder to Cry On 7pp, Go Back To Tears 7pp, Stay With Me, Darling 8pp

#17 March 1958: Doomed to Love (1-6 of 8pp), Let It Last Forever 8pp

#18 April 1958: Too Proud to Cry 7pp, Written In The Stars 6pp

#19 June 1958: Letters In The Sand 7pp, Love Me Again 7pp

#20 Aug 1958: My Own True Love 7pp, Heartbreak For Tomorrow 8pp

#21 Sept 1958: Test of Love 8pp, Don’t Wait For Tomorrow 7pp

#22 Oct 1958: Wake Up To Heartbreak 7pp, I’ll Never Forgive You 8pp, A Toast To Heartbreak 8pp

#23 Dec 1958: Dream In Blue 7pp, A Souvenir From Susan 6pp

#24 Feb 1959: Bitter Victory 7pp, Happy, Happy Me 6pp, Language of Love 9pp

#25 March 1959: The Answer to Love 5pp

#26 May 1959: The Wrong Road to Love 7pp, Who Will Be My True Love? 7pp, Heartbreak for Hannah 8pp

#27 June 1959: Heart of No Return 8pp, Once Upon a Dream 7pp, Love Story 7pp, Double Date 8pp

#28 Aug 1959: More Than Ever 8pp, Bring Me Your Heart 7pp, That Special Kiss 8pp

#29 Sept 1959: Not Even a Dream 6pp, My Three Wishes 7pp, When Johnny Comes Home 9pp

#30 Nov 1959: Come To Me 7pp, In The Name of Love 7pp, A Broken Heart 9pp

#31 Dec 1959: Two Hearts Lost 7pp, First Love 7pp, A Searching Love 7pp, Love and Lose 8pp

#32 Feb 1960: Love Lives Forever 7pp, Catch My Heart 6pp, Dare I Love You? 9pp, Two for Heartbreak 8pp

#33 March 1960: Plain Jane In Love 7pp, Early Ending 6pp, Forever For Us 5pp, Dream Sweetheart 11pp

#34 May 1960: Somewhere I’ll Find You 8pp, He Loves Me Not 7pp, No Other Love 7pp, Stay Away Heartbreak 7pp

#35 June 1960: Remember Rosalie 7pp, What Must Be 7pp, Memo To A Broken Heart 7pp, Three’s A Crowd 8pp

#36 Aug 1960: Every Girl’s Dream 12pp, My Love Lies Dreaming 7pp, Tomorrow’s Heartache 11pp

#37 Sept 1960: Don’t Lose Your Love 7pp, The Touch of Love 7pp, When Dreams Come True 7pp, Rebel Heart 8pp

#38 Nov 1960: End of a Dream 9pp, Too Many Tomorrows 6pp, Love of No Return 7pp, Till Death Do Us Part 8pp

#39 Dec 1960: Model For Heartbreak 7pp, A Kiss In The Dark 7pp, Forgotten Heart 7pp, Meet Me At Seven 8pp

#40 Feb 1961: My Charley 7pp, Summer Heart 7pp, Duel of Love 8pp, Tell Me No Lies 8pp

#41 March 1961: He’ll Never Be Yours 7pp, Don’t Pity Me 7pp, Come Be My Love 7pp, Yesterday’s Sweetheart 8pp

#42 May 1961: Once And For All 8pp, A Message From Lois 7pp, My Loves Next Door 7pp, Goodbye Is Forever 8pp

#43 June 1961: My Enemy, My Heart 8pp, He’ll Never Be Yours 7pp, Meet Me At Eight 7pp, Between Love And Loneliness 8pp

#44 Aug 1961: Never Let Me Go 8pp, Kiss Me Never 7pp, Search For Yesterday 7pp, There Goes My Heart 8pp

#45 Sept 1961: You Are My Love 7pp, It Could Have Been Me 8pp, The Lie In My Heart 8pp

#46 Nov 1961: Waiting For His Arms 7pp, A Winter Song 8pp, Search For Yesterday 7pp, A Dream To Remember 8pp

#47 Dec 1961: Many A Long Day 7pp, I’ll Never Forgive You 7pp, A Restless Heart 8pp, A Threat of Heartbreak 8pp

#48 Feb 1962: Goodbye…Goodbye 8pp, Bittersweet Love 6pp, Once Chance At Love 8pp, A Promise of Heartbreak 8pp

#49 March 1962: The Girl From Yesterday 8pp, My Weeping Heart 5pp, Stolen Date 8pp

#50 May 1962: The Voice of Love 7pp, Shadow of Love 7pp, Heartbreak Tour 7pp, The Truth About a Lie 8pp

#51 June 1962: Out Of The Night 7pp, Return To My Heart 7pp, Secret Love 7pp, What Dreams Are Made Of 8pp

#52 Aug 1962: The One I Loved 7pp, His Ring Around My Finger 8pp, Impulsive Moment 7pp, A Letter From Marty 8pp

#53 Sept 1962: Two Broken Hearts 8pp, Second Love 7pp, Mr. Marvelous 7pp, Substitute For Love 8pp

#54 Nov 1962: Model For Love 7pp, Moment of Truth 7pp, Curtain For A Heart 7pp, Don’t Dream–My Heart 8pp

#55 Dec 1962: If Love Had Its Way 8pp, A Day For Tears 7pp, My Only Love 7pp, Come Back, My Heart 8pp

#56 Jan 1963: Too Dangerous 8pp, Shadow of a Lost Love 7pp, A Secret Sorrow 7pp, Hide From Love 8pp

#57 Feb 1963: The Girl I Love 8pp, Two Girls From Yesterday 7pp, Don’t Wake My Heart 7pp, We Belong To Each Other 8pp

#58 April 1963: A Make-Believe Woman 8pp, Too Long To Wait 7pp, A Time For Tears 7pp, Tell Me How To Love 8pp

#59 May 1963: My Many Loves 7pp

#60 July 1963: Lend Me Your Dream 8pp, My Faithful Heart 7pp

#61 Aug 1963: What Have I Done? 7pp, Marry In Haste 8pp

#62 Oct 1963: Picture of Love 8pp, Just One of Those Things 7pp, R.S.V.P. With Love 7pp, Second Love 8pp

#63 Nov 1963: Too Beautiful To Spoil 8pp, The Wrong Party 7pp, Three Loves 7pp, Journey To Love 8pp

#64 Jan 1964: Now And Forever 7pp, In The Beginning 7pp

#65 Feb 1964: The Handsomest Man In Town 8pp, A Thing Called Loneliness 7pp, Reunion 7pp, Leave Us Alone (1 of 8pp)

#66 April 1964: Like Never Before 7pp, The Nearness of Him 7pp

#67 May 1964: The Test of Time 8pp, A Fool Whose Love Was Soon Parted 7pp, Too Many Tomorrows 8pp

#68 July 1964: Report On Love 8pp, My Life For Yours 7pp, No Second Chance 7pp, Lost Bride 8pp

#69 Aug 1964: I Love You Again 7pp

#70 Oct 1964: One Girl’s Love 6pp, Big World, Little World 7pp, Alive With Romance 6pp, Don’t Throw Away My Love 11pp

#71 Nov 1964: I Was a Prisoner of Love 13pp

#72 Jan 1965: A Plaything of Love 12pp

#73 Feb 1965: The Battle of Love 13pp

#74 April 1965: Escape From Heartbreak 7pp

#75 May 1965: Jealousy 11 pp

#76 July 1965: Not Ready For Love 8pp

#78 Oct 1965: Too Rich For Romance 13pp

#79 Nov 1965: He Said He’d Wait For Me 9pp, They Called Me Man-Hater (2 of 12pp)

#81 Feb 1966: Happy Ending 8pp, Don’t Ever Leave Me 13pp

#82 April 1966: For Sale: One Yearning Heart–Never Used 10pp

#84 July 1966: Don’t Beg For Love 14pp, My Dream Man 13pp

#86 Oct 1966: Sleeping Beauty 7pp, A Fool In Love 13pp

#87 Nov 1966: Dry Your Tears 8pp, Last Chance To Be Loved 7pp

#88 Jan 1967: I Love You Again 7pp

#90 April 1967: What Is True Love? 4pp

#91 May 1967: He Couldn’t Love Me 9pp, The One Man For Me 4pp

#92 July 1967: The Secret of My Past 9pp

#95 Nov 1967: A Promise of Heartbreak 6pp

#97 Feb 1968: An Age Limit On Love 15pp

That’s a total of 1,924 pages, a large amount of lettering!

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

Ira Schnapp on Wikipedia.

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