Like most comics publishers of the 1940s, National (DC) Comics kept an eye on what others were having success with. The genre of romance comics began at Prize with Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s YOUNG ROMANCE in 1947. It did quite well, and in 1949, DC entered the fray with this title. It had a long run of 180 issues, and a number of uncredited editors steered it through the 1950s and early 1960s including Robert Kanigher, Zena Brody and Phyllis Reed. Later in the 1960s it was briefly under Larry Nadle, then edited by Jack Miller, Barbara Friedlander and Joe Orlando in the late 60s. Ira Schnapp designed this elegant logo using much thinner forms than was usual for him. Perhaps he was instructed to imitate slick women’s magazines of the time. Comics printing on covers was always better than interiors, and the logo worked fine. The other copy was typeset on some early issues, again trying to look more adult and less like a comic book.
Ira Schnapp’s slightly old-fashioned cover lettering was the obvious choice when they did use it, as on issue #3 here, where his upper and lower case style works perfectly. Notice also that the DC Comics round symbol or bullet has been replaced by a round version of the series title, also by Ira.
As you can see, DC further distanced the look from comics on early issues by using stock photos. I’m not sure the lettering on this caption is by Ira, as it’s not typical of his work, but it probably is.
By issue #10, March/April 1951, the series had reverted to line art covers with captions by Ira. He lettered most of them until 1968.
Issue #15 had a new logo by Ira Schnapp following the plan of the first one, but with much wider letters, a thicker outline, and a second thin outline outside that to leave room for a second color and help the logo stand out against cover art. No problem with that here. These logo letters are in a more typical serif style for Ira.
By issue #32, Nov/Dec 1954, we see more familiar Ira Schnapp cover lettering with word balloons and a caption with the story title. Some issues continued to have no word balloons.
Issue #62, May 1959, is an example where they filled in the outer shape of the logo to make it a heavy black outline. The lettering on this one is overwritten and melodramatic. Note that the book title in a circle at upper left has been replace with a new one by Ira saying NATIONAL ROMANCE GROUP with a heart. The DC romance titles always seemed to be placed in a separate arena from the others.
By issue #101, Feb. 1964, the standard DC bullet was in place at upper left. On many of the later romance covers, Ira seemed to use thinner pens for the lettering, perhaps to give it a classier look.
Issue 118, April 1966 saw the advent of this new logo by Ira. It was a dreadful period for cover design at the company, with those “Go-Go Checks” at the top of each cover, blocky logos, and often too much cover lettering. This is no exception.
Ira’s final cover lettering on this series was on issue #134, April 1968, also using a new logo by him that I don’t think works well at all. I call it “The Egg.” Ira’s lettering works fine, but was being replaced by that of Gaspar Saladino on many issues, and Ira left the company in 1968 and died in 1969. He had an amazing run on these covers, here’s a list:
3-5, 10-35, 37-59, 61-67, 69-94, 96-115, 117-122, 124-127, 129-131,133-134. That’s 120 covers for this title.
Now on to story lettering. I knew Ira had done a lot of romance stories, but I had no idea how many until going through the first 146 issues of this comic. Issue #10, sample above, is the first one with his page lettering. That gradually increased.
By issue #20, above, he was sometimes lettering nearly entire issues! Ira’s style seems a good match for romance stories, it’s small, so he could fit the words in less space, and it has a somewhat old-fashioned look that worked well.
Here’s a page from issue #50, I’m just showing a few at random, as there are so many.
This example from issue #75 has a title employing a style similar to one Ira used on covers. I can only guess that he enjoyed working on these books. As an older man, he was 66 in 1960 when this book was published, the subjects may have appealed to him more than superheroes, though Ira also did lots of work on humor titles.
I like the title in this example from issue #106, it has more energy than many of Ira’s story titles.
The last new story I’ve found is this one from issue #142, April 1969. Ira had left the company at least a few months earlier, so this one may have sat for a while until they got to it. Again it shows his creativity in the title even at age 74. It will be interesting to see if DC’s other romance titles have as much story lettering by Schnapp as this one.
Here’s a list of all the stories Ira lettered, cross-checked with the Grand Comics Database to eliminate any reprints. There were very few continuing features or characters, almost none, so I felt the best way to list them is by story title. More work for me, but clearer. There may be duplicate or very similar titles on some stories. Starting with issue #116 some Schnapp stories from this and other romance titles are reprinted, I haven’t listed those.
#10 March/April 1951: Romantic Rebel 8pp, Storm in My Heart 8pp
#11 May/June 1951: Broken Vow 8pp, Tangled Hearts 8pp, Lonely Masquerade 8pp
#12 July/Aug 1951: Nobody’s Sweetheart 8pp, Destined for Heartbreak 8pp
#13 Sept/Oct 1951: You’ll Never Be Mine 10pp
#14 Nov/Dec 1951: Meddling Heart 8pp, The End of Love 8pp, One Way to Heartbreak 10pp
#15 Jan/Feb 1952: Footsteps to Heartbreak 8pp, Romantic Reunion 8pp, Jealous Rival 10pp
#16 March/April 1952: Tragic Bargain 8pp
#17 May/June 1952: For Just One Kiss 7pp, Return to Tears 7pp, Love Walked Out 9pp
#18 July/Aug 1952: Lost Happiness 7pp, Destination Heartbreak 8pp
#19 Sept/Oct 1952: Adventure for Three Hearts 9pp, Stand-in for Love 11pp
#20 Nov/Dec 1952: Kiss Me Once More 8pp, Flowers for Fran 6pp, My Foolish Dream 7pp, Ghost of Love 8pp
#21 Jan/Feb 1953: Loves of My Life 8pp, Deadline for Happiness 6pp, Farewell to Love 7pp
#22 March/April 1953: Change of Heart 7pp, Homecoming 6pp, Vacation From Love 7pp
#23 May/June 1953: Don’t Call It Love 7pp, Lonesome Heart 7pp
#24 July/Aug 1953: No Happy Returns 8pp, I Met My Love Again 8pp
#25 Sept/Oct 1953: Friends…Not Sweethearts 6pp, Too Young to Love 7pp
#26 Nov/Dec 1953: Too Few Kisses 7pp, One More Spring 7pp, Double Heartbreak 8pp, Gazing at the Stars 1pp
#27 Jan/Feb 1954: Doorway to Heartbreak 9pp, What Love Forgives 6pp
#28 March/April 1954: Exit Romance 8pp, I’ll Always Doubt You 6pp, Beloved Yesterday 6pp, Lost Love 8pp
#29 May/June 1954: No Hope for Love 6pp, I’ll Have a Lonely Heart 7pp
#30 July/Aug 1954: Romance Came Too Soon 7pp, False Kisses 7pp, Fool’s Awakening 6pp
#31 Sept/Oct 1954: Love Isn’t There 9pp, Tomorrow Means Goodbye 6pp, I Belong to You 6pp, Memory of Love 8pp
#32 Nov/Dec 1954: Marriage of Convenience 7pp, Give Me Your Love 7pp
#33 Jan/Feb 1955: There’ll Be No Wedding 7pp, Love Between Strangers 6pp, Change of Heart 8pp
#34 March/April 1955: Heart On Fire 9pp, Love Can Be Cruel 6pp, Escape to Nowhere 6pp, Heartbreak Crown 8pp
#35 May/June 1955: Maybe You’ll Love Me 7pp, Heartbreak Melody 7pp, I Found My Heart 7pp, This Time It’s Goodbye 8pp
#36 July/Aug 1955: My Only Love 7pp
#37 Sept/Oct 1955: Letter From An Unknown Love 7pp, Brooding Heart 7pp, Friend of the Bride 7pp, Love, Don’t Leave Me 8pp
#38 Nov/Dec 1955: Romantic Challenge 7pp, Stolen Sweetheart 7pp, Angry At Love 6pp, Heartbreak Bargain 8pp
#39 Jan/Feb 1956: A Special Kind of Love 7pp, Unhappily Ever After 7pp, Is This Heartbreak? 7pp, No Love For a Queen 8pp
#40 March/April 1956: Frightened Heart 7pp, Fools Fall in Love 7pp, End of a Dream 7pp, Mask of Love 8pp
#41 May/June 1956: Don’t Weep For Me 7pp, Window to Heartbreak 7pp, The Man We Loved 7pp, One Wish For Love 8pp
#42 July/Aug 1956: No Chance At Love 7pp, Long After Heartbreak 7pp, The Boy Next Door 7pp, Only A Dream Bride 8pp
#43 Sept/Oct 1956: Once To Every Heart 6pp, Dearest Stranger 7pp, Yesterday’s Kisses 7pp, Storm-Swept Heart 8pp
#44 Nov/Dec 1956: Somebody Else’s Dream 7pp, Free Me From You 7pp, Impatient Heart 6pp, Romance For A Day 8pp
#45 Jan/Feb 1957: Clash of Hearts 7pp, Rich Man Poor Man 7pp,
#46 March/April 1957: Second Choice 7pp, I’ll Only Love Once 6pp, Previous Engagement 7pp, You’ll Never Come Back 8pp
#47 May/June 1957: Undecided Heart 7pp, Laugh At Love 7pp, Empty Arms 7pp, Sleeping Heart 8pp
#48 Aug 1957: Two Loves Have I 7pp, No Right to Dream 7pp, Listen to Your Heart 7pp, No Love for Cinderella 8pp
#49 Sept 1957: Many Happy Returns 7pp, End of the Rainbow 7pp, Someone Somewhere 7pp, Shadow of Love 8pp
#50 Nov 1957: Rival’s Return 7pp, The Way of the Heart 7pp, On Stage For Heartbreak 9pp
#51 Dec 1957: This Was My Love 7pp, Lost in a Dream 7pp, Tears for my Wedding 8pp
#52 Feb 1958: Go ‘Way, Darling 8pp, Take My Heart With You 8pp
#53 March 1958: A Lesson in Love 7pp, Ring Around My Finger 7pp, Take My Love to Heart 8pp
#54 May 1958: Never Let Your Heart Say Yes 7pp, Love is a Stranger 8pp
#55 June 1958: Love of my Dreams 7pp, Love Looked the Other Way 8pp
#57 Sept 1958: Guest At His Wedding 7pp, Too Dangerous to Love 7pp, Picture of Heartbreak 8pp
#58 Nov 1958: Almost Sweethearts 7pp, The Hunted Heart 8pp
#59 Dec 1958: Out of Luck, Out of Love 8pp, Pity My Heart 7pp, Chain of Doubt 7pp, Look Into My Eyes 8pp
#60 Feb 1959: My Secret Love 7pp, Waiting 7pp
#61 March 1959: Asking for Heartbreak 6pp, The Lonely Walk With Love 7pp
#62 May 1959: Hearts Break Twice 7pp, Forget Her 7pp, The Evil Heart 7pp, A Second Chance For Love 8pp
#63 June 1959: Not Mine To Love 7pp, Letter of Love 6pp, Cold Cold Heart 9pp
#64 Aug 1959: More Than Friends 8pp, Heart-Shy 7pp, Dream of Love 8pp
#65 Sept 1959: Stars In Her Eyes 8pp, Only Us 7pp, I Thought You Cared 7pp, Wish On The Moon 8pp
#66 Nov 1959: My Album of Love 7pp, One Man in a Million 7pp, No Time For Love 8pp, To Hide In A Dream 8pp
#67 Dec 1959: My Three Loves 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, The Trap of Love 7pp, Held in Heartbreak 8pp
#68 Feb 1960: Prophecy of Love 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, The Sound of Heartbreak 7pp, A Glimpse of Love 7pp, Hello Happiness 8pp
#69 March 1960: Heart After Happiness 8pp, A Runaway Heart 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, Love is Wonderful 7pp, Mistaken Identity 7pp
#70 May 1960: Too Young for Love 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, A Second Look at Love 8pp
#71 June 1960: Shadow of Love 8pp, Meet Me At Midnight 7pp, One Heavenly Moment 8pp
#72 Aug 1960: Beloved Stranger 9pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, Boy From A Dream 5pp, Is This My Love? 7pp, Too Many Tears 8pp
#73 Sept 1960: Duel of Hearts 7pp, Love Is A Sudden Thing 7pp, A Secret To Share 7pp, For Better Or For Worse 8pp
#74 Nov 1960: Forgive Me, Forget Me 8pp, Jinxed Heart 6pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, Storm In My Heart 8pp
#75 Dec 1960: Turnabout Heart 8pp, Here To Stay 6pp, Love’s Last Laugh 8pp, When Tomorrow Comes 8pp
#76 Feb 1961: I’ll Miss You Always 8pp, Island of Farewell 7pp, This is Goodbye 8pp
#77 March 1961: Remember This 7pp, To Have And To Hold 7pp, Familiar Moment 8pp, Tomorrow’s Tears 8pp
#78 May 1961: One Way to Loneliness 8pp, The Odds Against Love 7pp, Miracle of Love 7pp, Surrender to Heartbreak 8pp
#79 June 1961: The Look of Love 7pp, I Bet My Heart 7pp, A Fool In Love 7pp, Love Out of Season 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp
#80 Aug 1961: My Midnight Love 7pp, Charm in Romance 1pp, Love Beyond Recall 7pp, What Love Should Be 7pp, Invitation to Tears 8pp
#81 Sept 1961: Blue Tomorrow 10pp, Too Happy To Last 7pp, First Date 6pp, The Wrong Time to Cry 8pp
#82 Nov 1961: The Perfect Girl 8pp, Wake Up To Heartache 7pp, Wait For Me 8pp
#83 Dec 1961: So Little Time 8pp, Another Broken Heart 7pp, Where Tomorrow Begins 7pp,
#84 Feb 1962: Sweetheart’s Cruise 6pp, There’s Only One You 8pp, Too Beautiful 7pp, Made For Each Other 8pp
#85 March 1962: Magic Moment 7pp, Believe Me, Beloved 8pp,
#86 May 1962: My Empty Heart 10pp, Stranger In My Heart 7pp, Not Mine To Hold 5pp, A Kiss Goodbye 8pp
#87 June 1962: Come Home To My Heart 8pp, Journey To Yesterday 7pp, The Season of Kisses 7pp, Tomorrow’s Heartache 8pp
#88 Aug 1962: Girl In A Red Dress 8pp
#89 Sept 1962: Two Sides Of A Coin 8pp, When Tomorrow Comes 7pp, Once In A Lifetime 6pp, No Love–No Life 8pp
#90 Nov 1962: The Next Time I Love 7pp, Heartbreak Came After 7pp, Sweet Mystery of Love 7pp, Three For Love 8pp
#91 Dec 1962: Tears Too Soon 7pp, Now It Can Be Told 8pp, Two Loves Have I 8pp, Love Lost Its Way 8pp
#92 Jan 1963: My Steady Star 8pp, Web of Heartbreak 7pp, Sealed With A Kiss 8pp
#93 Feb 1963: Flirting With Heartbreak 8pp, Gamble For Love 7pp, So Well Remembered 7pp, Love On Arrival 8pp
#94 April 1963: A Certain Kind of Love 8pp, Don’t Listen To Them 7pp, I’ll Never Be Back 7pp, The Face In My Dreams 8pp
#96 July 1963: Prisoner of Fate 7pp,
#97 Aug 1963: I Was A Teenage Model 8pp, A Love For Love’s Sake 7pp, Honeymoon For One 8pp
#98 Oct 1963: Be Still, My Love 8pp, I’ve Got a Right to be Happy 7pp, The One Man For Me 6pp, Never Mine 8pp
#99 Nov 1963: No Ring For My Finger 8pp, Come Back To Yesterday 7pp, Helpless Love 7pp
#100 Jan 1964: Love Is A Lie 7pp, The Wrong Bride 8pp
#101 Feb 1964: Old Love For New 7pp, Bride Without a Wedding 8pp
#102 April 1964: The Girl On The Pier 8pp, Knight in Shining Armor 7pp, Love Calls Twice 7pp
#103 May 1964: I Love You, I Hate You 7pp
#105 Aug 1964: Moment of Farewell 7pp, Stand-in For Heartbreak 12pp
#106 Oct 1964: Winter Weekend 7pp, Runaway Heart 7pp, Storm In My Heart 15pp
#107 Nov 1964: My Precious Love 8pp, Stars Don’t Cry 15pp
#108 Jan 1965: The Wrong Kind of Love 7pp
#109 Feb 1965: Midnight Cinderella 15pp
#110 April 1965: Stand-in For A Honeymoon 13pp
#111 May 1965: The Girl Who Hated Herself 8pp, Vacation From Love 8pp, Pity Me–Love Me 13pp
#113 Aug 1965: How Will I Know It’s Love? 13pp
#114 Oct 1965: Love, Love, Go Away, Come Again Some Other Day 7pp
#115 Nov 1965: Girl On The Run 10pp, Love–Love–Love 6pp
#117 Feb 1966: Don’t Pity Me 13pp
#118 April 1966: Double Date, Double Heartbreak 5pp
#122 Oct 1966: What Happens When He Finds Out? 7pp, Kiss Me Goodbye 13pp
#123 Nov 1966: The Girl I’d Rather Be 12pp
#125 Feb 1967: Fight For the One You Love 13pp
#126 April 1967: Love Came Too Late 11pp
#127 May 1967: Sweet Mystery of Love 7pp, He Couldn’t Be True To Me 14pp
#128 July 1967: My Past Ruined My Future 14pp
#129 Aug 1967: Love Was A Lie 10pp
#130 Oct 1967: The False Face of Love 9pp
#131 Nov 1967: A Girl Alone 14pp
#132 Jan 1968: A License To Love 11pp
#142 April 1969: So Long In Love 4pp
Whew! That’s a total of 2,422 pages on this title. An amazing amount! More articles in this series can be found on the Comics Creation page of my blog.
Ira Schnapp on Wikipedia.