Ira Schnapp in FRONTIER FIGHTERS and LEGENDS OF DANIEL BOONE

Images © DC Comics

These two short-lived adventure series ran eight issues each in 1955-56. FRONTIER FIGHTERS was an anthology with three features per issue, while DANIEL BOONE was all about that character. Both were likely prompted by the success of Walt Disney’s TV version of Davy Crockett in 1954-55, a big hit. These books were probably edited by Jack Schiff and/or his assistants Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan.

Ira Schnapp designed the logo, including the rough parchment or bark banner and powder horn. The original title was FRONTIER HEROES, as evidenced by this version of the logo I found in the DC files some years ago. The letter style is not particularly rustic or American, it’s closer to the Roman style Trajan, but that at least puts it in the long tradition of a style used ever since. Ira’s Davy Crockett character logo above is in a similar style but with rough notches, and he also did the rest of the cover lettering. Ira lettered all but three of the 16 covers in these two series, but only one interior story. Since I have room, I’ll show all the covers.

Issue #2 has a larger and more carefully designed Davy Crockett logo, indicating he’s the main star of the book, with the other features smaller in a circle. Oddly, Ira Schnapp rarely used circular captions on covers, while Artie Simek at Marvel used them often.

Issue #3 is one of the covers not lettered by Ira except for the repeat of his circular caption. I don’t know who did the word balloon and the other caption.

Issue #4 is back to all Ira lettering again with a new rectangular caption for the other features.

That wordy logo took up a lot of space, and on issue #5, Ira had a hard time fitting in the word balloon. I like the paper-clipped captions he was doing at this time.

Issue #6 is the other cover not lettered by Schnapp, though clearly whoever did it was trying to imitate Ira’s style. The result is reasonably close, but not the same. Story titles are added for the first time.

Issue #7 is back to all Ira again, including the contest lettering. It’s kind of odd that DC would set it in type on issue #6, and one issue later have Ira do his version, but it suggests they knew Ira’s work was a selling point. To make room for the art, the large Davy Crockett character logo is dropped here.

The final issue is again all Schnapp lettering. The usual reason for a title to be cancelled is poor sales, and that was probably the case with these.

Schnapp’s one story inside the book was the Kit Carson feature in issue #7. In all he lettered six covers and eight story pages for the series.

THE LEGENDS OF DANIEL BOONE also features a fine logo by Ira Schnapp. I can’t be sure he drew the rifle, but he certainly could have if given reference, or possibly it was done by cover artist Nick Cardy. The script used for THE LEGENDS OF is not one Ira used often, but it looks fine here. The side points and scallops on BOONE suggest period typography, but more a later period than the character actually inhabited, like wanted posters from the late 1800s. There’s no cover lettering other than the wordy logo.

Issue #2 shows the logo struggling a bit to stand out against a busy background, and theres a story title by Ira.

The same plan is followed on issue #3, and the solid color background works better with the logo.

Issue #4 adds one of those paper-clipped captions by Ira.

Issue #5 has the first word balloon on a cover in this series, and one of Ira’s rather wimpy sound effects.

Issue #6 has an unusual color treatment for the story title at lower left, yellow letters with a red or brown outline against lavender. It works okay, and the word balloons are more important anyway.

Perhaps in a last-ditch attempt to boost sales, a young sidekick was introduced. Again we have that typeset contest info, which really seems out of place on this cover.

The final issue includes what looks like a fun story with wild animals on the side of the heroes. The lettering for THE LEGENDS OF has been replaced with small type to make room for the contest info. Ira Schnapp lettered seven covers in all, and no inside stories in this series.

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

Davy Crockett on Wikipedia.

Daniel Boone on Wikipedia.

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