Ira Schnapp in GIRLS’ ROMANCES

Images © DC Comics

Following the successful launch of their first two romance titles, GIRL’S LOVE STORIES and SECRET HEARTS in the summer/fall of 1949, DC began this third title with the first issue, above, having a Feb/March 1950 indicia date. Once again DC tried to distance it from their other comics by using photo covers for the first few issues, and in place of their DC bullet symbol, the name of the comic in a small circle at upper left. This and the book’s logo were designed by Ira Schnapp, who also did the caption and “In this issue:” at the bottom, though the story titles are type. The editor was probably Robert Kanigher initially, though he likely had help from Zena Brody and later Phyllis Reed, who took over the editing a few years later. Other editors were Larry Nadle, Jack Miller and Barbara Friedlander in the years covered here. Unlike most DC comics, their romance titles had very few references to any other DC properties and almost none of the same paid ads. At first the only ads were house ads for the other two romance books. Later, paid ads for things like dresses, fashion items and weight-loss gimmicks became more common. Only in the 1960s did the romance books become a more obvious part of the DC line. The purpose was to attract new readers, especially girls, and it must have worked, as the romance books all sold well until they were made irrelevant by social changes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A large part of Ira Schnapp’s work at DC was on the romance line, and he did elegant logos, house ads and cover lettering and a great many story pages for all of them.

By issue #7 the photo covers had given way to line art, and that continued for the rest of the run. Schnapp’s story title is in a style similar to the logo here, which has lost the slant.

Issue #20 is the first one with word balloons. With the audience firmly hooked, full comic book treatment was now okay. On this yellow backround you can better see Ira’s logo with a slight drop shadow.

By issue #32 in 1955, a new typeset top line was added. The captions were becoming more melodramatic.

Issue #44 has a rare oval caption border, but in general the look of this title was very consistent for many years. One change is a new corner symbol for the “National Romance Group” designed by Ira. National (DC) was finally acknowledging ownership of their romance line, but still keeping it mostly separate in other ways.

By issue #56 from 1958, Ira had created a new version of his logo with wider and more open letters and no drop shadow.

Issue #73 from 1961 is still following the same look with a slightly larger story title from Schnapp. His caption and balloon borders were very thin on romance covers, a conscious style choice I think.

Issue #103 from 1964 shows some new ideas creeping in: a three-panel cover, more stylized art and coloring, and a large caption by Ira with clever subtle indications of marquee lights around the inside border.

Issue #123 from 1967 saw the debut of a new Schnapp logo in an oval. It put the emphasis on GIRLS’ and allowed space for the fraught caption to its right. There’s also a rare round burst caption from Ira.

Ira’s final cover lettering appeared on issue #130 from 1968, but of course done the year before. It shows Ira’s skill for these had not diminished. I like the unusual color fill in the balloon. Ira would leave the company in 1968, and covers after this were mostly lettered by Gaspar Saladino.

Here are the covers with Ira Schnapp lettering: 1-2, 7-10, 12-29, 31-38, 40-42, 44-56, 58-97, 99-101, 103-113, 115-119, 121-125, 127-130. That’s 116 in all. Note that on issue #104 Ira did the caption but the balloons are by Gaspar Saladino, perhaps added later.

Most of the stories on the early issues of this series were lettered by Gaspar Saladino. Ira’s first story lettering appears in issue #7, sample above.

A more typical Schnapp story title appears on this one from issue #10 along with some sound effects that Ira rarely needed in this series.

I love the title on this tale from issue #19 in 1953. Ira might have added the leaves behind it, too.

While Saladino continued to letter stories for a few years, Schnapp’s story lettering gradually increased until by issue #32 from 1955, above, he was doing the majority of them. This story title reminds me of the original logo for THE FANTASTIC FOUR from Marvel, which would come a few years later. It shows that the style was out there in the world for the designers of both to draw on.

I love Ira’s elaborate title for this story on issue #57 from 1959. He seemed to have just the right styles for romance comics.

This story from issue #101 of 1964 has Schnapp employing his own handwriting for the diary caption and a larger, more careful version for the story title.

Ira’s final story lettering appeared in issue #130 dated Jan. 1968. The title shows he’d lost none of his skill in that area either.

Here are the stories lettered by Ira. There are no continuing characters and just a few continuing short features like “Charm in Romance,” which I’ve shortened to just “Charm.” Otherwise, most story titles are complete.

#7 Feb/March 1951: Password to Love 8pp

#8 April/May 1951: A Heart Betrayed 8pp, Lost Romance 8pp, Escape from Yesterday 10pp

#9 June/July 1951: A Kiss From a Stranger 9pp, No Love of My Own 10pp

#10 Aug/Sept 1951: Second Sweetheart 8pp, Immune to Love 8pp, Exile from Happiness 9pp, Leave Me, My Love 9pp

#11 Oct/Nov 1951: Forgotten Kisses 8pp, My Uncertain Heart 8pp

#12 Dec 1951/Jan 1952: Make-Believe Romance 8pp, My Lost Love 10pp

#13 Feb/March 1952: Love Without Faith 8pp, One Reckless Moment 10pp

#14 April/May 1952: Battling Hearts 12pp, My Handsome Johnny 1pp

#15 June/July 1952: Flight From Heartbreak 10pp, Unforgettable Kiss pages 2-8 of 8 only, 7pp

#16 Aug/Sept 1952: Secret Marriage 10pp, Kiss and Forget 8pp, Mistaken Heart 8pp

#17 Oct/Nov 1952: Love Me 9pp, When Strangers Meet 7pp

#18 Dec 1952/Jan 1953: Love For a Day 6pp, Substitute for Heartbreak 8pp, Death of a Heart 8pp

#19 Feb/March 1953: Dangerous Corner 8pp, Early Autumn 6pp, Something Blue 6pp, Runaway Sweethearts 8pp

#20 April/May 1953: Romance Quotes 1pp, Appointment by Candlelight 8pp, Always Goodbye 7pp, Never Too Late 6pp, Dangerous Decision 8pp

#21 June/July 1953: Desperate Heart 9pp, Let Love Alone 6pp

#22 Aug/Sept 1953: No Perfect Love 8pp, Two-Faced Woman 6pp, Heart of Shame 7pp

#23 Oct/Nov 1953: Bitter Souvenirs 8pp, Unlucky Wishing Well 6pp

#24 Dec 1953/Jan 1954: This Time It’s Love 8pp, Never Let Him Go 7pp

#25 Feb/March 1954: Three Loves 8pp, No Man Like Mine 6pp, Hopeless Love 8pp

#26 April/May 1954: One Chance to Choose 8pp, Runaway Love 6pp, My Angry Heart 7pp

#27 June/July 1954: Fallen Idol 7pp, Dreams For the Lonely 7pp, End of the Rainbow 7pp

#28 Aug/Sept 1954: Three Girls and a Man 8pp, Belated Love 6pp, End of Summer 7pp, Bitter Kiss 8pp

#29 Oct/Nov 1954: Another Woman’s Man 8pp, Time for Tears 6pp, Lost Moment 7pp, Heartbreak Journey 8pp

#30 Dec 1954/Jan 1955: Unmarried Sister 7pp, I Inherited a Sweetheart 7pp, Hidden Heart pages 8-9 of 9 only, 2pp

#31 Feb/March 1955: Never Dream Again 6pp, In the Heart of a Fool 7pp, Return of Heartbreak 8pp

#32 April/May 1955: End of a Dream 8pp, Romantic Notion 6pp, Do I Love You? 7pp

#33 June/July 1955: Our Last Goodbye 7pp

#34 Aug/Sept 1955: Just For Today 7pp, Some Call It Love 7pp, My Love is Not Mine 8pp

#35 Oct/Nov 1955: Parting At Midnight 7pp, Can Love Last? 7pp, Was It a Dream? 7pp, Exit Love 8pp

#36 Dec 1955/Jan 1956: Don’t Call Me Darling 7pp, Gazing At the Stars 1pp

#37 Feb/March 1956: Heartbreak Was the Prize 7pp, A Rose for Susan 7pp, Goodbye, My Past 7pp, Borrowed Heart 8pp

#38 April/May 1956: Sweetheart’s Moon 7pp, Escape From Love 7pp, Forsaking All Others 7pp, Fortune’s Fool 8pp

#40 Aug/Sept 1956: Untouchable Heart 7pp, Three Secret Loves 7pp, Empty Romance 6pp, Too Much In Love 8pp

#41 Oct/Nov 1956: Dream House 7pp, My Silent Love 6pp, Lost–One Heart 6pp, Love Is Not a Dream 8pp

#42 Dec 1956/Jan 1957: Remember My Kiss 7pp, Love Left Me Crying 6pp, Temporary Sweetheart 7pp, Three Minutes to Heartbreak 8pp

#43 Feb/March 1957: Two Lonely Hearts 7pp, Love Is a Distant Dream 7pp, Heartbreak Hour 8pp

#44 April/May 1957: Darling, Darling 7pp, So Close to Heartbreak 7pp, Never is a Long, Long Time 7pp, The Ring of Broken Dreams 8pp

#45 June/July 1957: Run From Heartbreak 7pp, Heartbreak Island 7pp, Be Still My Heart 7pp, So Near and Yet So Far 8pp

#46 Sept 1957: Echo of Love 7pp, Bridge to Heartbreak 7pp, Love is Only a Dream 6pp, Follow Your Heart 8pp

#47 Oct 1957: Fool’s Prize 7pp, Leave Me to Tears 7pp, Portrait of Heartbreak 7pp, Love Doesn’t Answer 8pp

#48 Nov 1957: Meet Me in Paris 7pp, Too Many Tomorrows 7pp

#49 Jan 1958: Almost Paradise 8pp, Where Love Leads 7pp

#50 Feb 1958: No Time for Happiness 7pp, The Morning of Love 7pp

#52 May 1958: A Walk in the Rain 7pp, Flight From Love 8pp

#53 July 1958: This Foolish Dream 7pp, Awaken to Love 7pp, Mirror of Heartbreak 8pp

#54 Sept 1958: Rebound to Love 7pp, The Face of Love 8pp

#55 Oct 1958: Second Chance 7pp, Lonely Autumn 7pp, Wild Heart 9pp

#56 Nov 1958: A Kiss from a Stranger 7pp, Sing to Me 8pp

#57 Jan 1959: Token of Love 7pp, Our Sweetheart 7pp, Lonely Heart 7pp

#58 March 1959: Somebody Else’s Sweetheart 7pp, Stranger to my Heart 7pp

#59 April 1959: A Dream for Diana 7pp, No Heart for Love 7pp, You’ll Never Know 7pp, Stranger to Love 8pp

#60 May 1959: A Puzzle Called Love 7pp, We Were in Love 8pp

#61 July 1959: Ten Days of Heartbreak 9pp, Dream’s Return 6pp, Love Is No More 8pp, Charm 1pp

#62 Sept 1959: My Secret Heart 7pp, Love Can Wait 7pp, Weep For My Heart 8pp, Charm 1pp

#63 Oct 1959: The Day I Met You 8pp, Let Me Love You 7pp, Love In Disguise 8pp

#64 Nov 1959: Don’t Cry, My Heart 7pp, A Kiss to Remember You By 7pp, Another Heart, Another Love 8pp

#65 Jan 1960: To J.S. With Love 8pp, Charm 1pp, Bon Voyage 8pp, A Message From Mike 5pp, Don’t Look Back 8pp

#66 March 1960: Heart’s Encounter 6pp, The Quiet Heart 8pp, Charm 1pp, Ring of Heartbreak 8pp

#67 April 1960: Love Walks a Lonely Road 16pp, A Lesson in Love 7pp, Nicolette 7pp

#68 May 1960: Three Steps to Heartbreak 7pp, An Answer to Loneliness 8pp, To Tell the Truth 7pp, This Is Love 8pp

#69 July 1960: One Moment of Bliss 8pp, Temporary Sweetheart 7pp, The Heart’s Deceit 7pp, Love Only Once 8pp, Charm 1pp

#70 Sept 1960: The Arms of Love 7pp, Charm 1pp, Love Without End 7pp, Waiting For a Dream 7pp, Dearly Beloved 8pp

#71 Oct 1960: Pawn of Love 7pp, What Is Love 8pp, Suddenly It’s Spring 7pp, If Love Is Blind 8pp

#72 Nov 1960: I’ll Always Be With You 7pp, Charm 1pp, Journey to Love 7pp, A Message of Love 7pp, Rival for Heartbreak 8pp

#73 Jan 1961: Girl On the Beach 7pp, Charm 1pp, Fly Away Heart 5pp, Have a Heart 9pp, Don’t Mention My Name 8pp

#74 March 1961: Say No To Your Heart 8pp, Someone In My Arms 7pp, Forever In Love 7pp, Hurry to Heartbreak 8pp

#75 April 1961: The Moon In My Arms 8pp, Silent Tears, Secret Tears 7pp, My Turn for Tears 7pp, Promise Me Nothing 8pp

#76 May 1961: I’ll Say Goodbye 7pp, It Was You 7pp, Charm 1pp, We’ll Both Dream 7pp, Lonely In Love 8pp

#77 July 1961: Gone From My Heart 8pp, Come To My Arms 5pp, The Boy Downstairs 7pp, You For Me 9pp

#78 Sept 1961: Beyond Tomorrow 8pp, One-Way Heart 6pp, Tomorrow and Tomorrow 8pp, The Wayward Heart 8pp

#79 Oct 1961: Love Without Hope 9pp, One Fateful Ring 6pp, Forgive a Fool 7pp, Eternally Yours 8pp

#80 Nov 1961: Carnival of Heartache 8pp, Panic In My Heart 7pp, A Seeing Heart 7pp, The Look in His Eyes 8pp

#81 Jan 1962: These Three 8pp, A Kiss From a Stranger 7pp, Give Me An Hour 7pp, Sincerely Yours 8pp

#82 March 1962: A Night for Remembering 7pp, So Out of Reach 7pp, An Answer to Tears 7pp

#83 April 1962: Out of Sight, Out of Love 7pp, Another Autumn Love 7pp, Proposal of Heartbreak 8pp

#84 June 1962: A Wounded Heart 7pp, A Moment Is Eternity 8pp, Goodbye For a While 7pp, Love Is Forever 8pp

#85 July 1962: True True Love 8pp, A Message From Yesterday 7pp, Not For These Arms 7pp, Rebel Heart 8pp

#86 Sept 1962: A Change of Heart 8pp, Out of His Past 7pp, A Loser at Love 8pp

#87 Oct 1962: Stay Away 8pp, A Dream of Roses 7pp, A Heart Alone 7pp, Heart In Flight 8pp

#88 Dec 1962: Love, Handle With Care 8pp, Not For These Arms 7pp, Catch a Falling Heart 7pp, Run From Your Heart 8pp

#89 Jan 1963: Not For Keeps 8pp, Escape From Love 7pp, Love or Run 7pp, My Ghostly Rival 8pp

#90 Feb 1963: I’ll Never Be Yours 8pp, Reunion 7pp, Your Love Is False 7pp, Dream Wedding 8pp

#91 March 1963: You Can’t Take Your Love With You 8pp, Walk Into My Heart 7pp, Another Dream 7pp, Look Out for Love 8pp

#92 May 1962: Come Love, Come Heartbreak 8pp

#93 June 1963: Swing Me To the Stars 8pp

#94 Aug 1963: All My Tomorrows 7pp, My Rival’s Secret 8pp

#95 Sept 1963: Every Girl Was the Other Girl 8pp, Hello–and Goodbye 7pp, Why Must I Love You? 6pp, No Home for My Heart 8pp

#96 Nov 1963: A Heart to Give or Take 8pp, Lover’s Quarrel 7pp, Love Is Not a Lullaby 8pp

#97 Dec 1963: Love Isn’t What You Make It 8pp, Too Much to Ask 7pp, Love Is An Act 8pp

#98 Jan 1964: I Would Never Find Love 8pp, Wait For Me 8pp, Holiday of Heartbreak 8pp

#99 March 1964: Less Than Perfect 8pp, In The Name of Love 12pp

#100 April 1964: Forget No More 8pp, How Deep Was My Love 8pp, Heart to Heart 12pp

#101 June 1964: Dreamers Love Their Dreams 8pp, Dear Peter 7pp, Come Back, My Heart 8pp

#103 Sept 1964: Too Late for Tears 13pp

#105 Dec 1964: My Floundering Heart 9pp, Don’t Kiss Me Again 12pp

#106 Jan 1965: I’ll Be Around 7pp

#107 March 1965: Come Back to Yesterday 7pp, The Love I Lost Twice 8pp

#108 April 1965: Come Home to Heartbreak 7pp

#109 June 1965: Why Would Anyone Love Me? 8pp, When My Dreams Come True 13pp

#110 July 1965: Love Is a Boy Named Joey 13pp

#112 Oct 1965: Give Me Back My Love 13pp

#114 Jan 1966: Heartbreak Follows Me 8pp, Kiss and Tell 10pp

#116 April 1966: My Divided Heart 6pp

#117 June 1966: The Wrong Side of Love 13pp

#118 July 1966: Say Goodbye to Love 14pp

#121 Dec 1966: I’ll Follow My Heart 7pp, My One True Love 7pp

#122 Jan 1967: Give My Love Away 7pp

#123 March 1967: Which One of Us Will He Marry? 6pp

#124 April 1967: Heartbreak House 6pp, That Crazy Thing Called Love 6pp

#125 June 1967: Her Reputation Ruined Her Love 9pp, When Will You Grow Up? 14pp

#129 Dec 1967: Big City Cinderella 10pp, What Makes a Man Fall in Love? 6pp

#130 Jan 1968: I Didn’t Want His Love 9pp, Mad Mad Mods 2pp

That’s a total of 2,410 pages, a large amount of work! And combined with equally large amounts on the other romance titles, and quite a lot on humor titles too, you can see what was keeping Ira Schnapp busy much of his time at DC.

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

Girls’ Romances on Wikipedia.

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