Ira Schnapp in GREEN LANTERN

Images © DC Comics

The second of editor Julius Schwartz’s revamps of Golden Age DC superheroes was Green Lantern. The new version visually designed by artist Gil Kane first appeared in SHOWCASE #22-24 beginning in 1959, where it had a new Ira Schnapp logo. Ira’s block letters were given added interest by putting them in a flaming rectangle. The flames actually looked back to the Golden Age version of the character, whose powers were expressed in green flame. The new version used green energy beams. Despite that, I think the logo works well.

The same Schnapp logo was used when the character gained his own title beginning in 1960. The flaming box always ran off the cover on the left side. Ira also did the caption and thought balloon, and he lettered most of the covers until issue #59 in 1968. Schnapp lettered no pages inside the books, most of the stories were lettered by Gaspar Saladino.

Though Ira Schnapp’s logo and cover lettering looked back to previous decades with elements of Art Deco design, somehow it works quite well with Gil Kane’s art on these covers, perhaps because both were sleek and simple.

Issue #8 from 1961 has an unusual painted look because of added gray wash tones from colorist Jack Adler, who removed the caption border too.

Issue #12 has some classic stone-carved lettering by Schnapp on the statue pedestal in the Trajan style he knew well.

Green Lantern was also appearing in THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, and faced some of the same villains in his own title. With issue #33 from 1964, a revised logo by Ira Schnapp removes the flaming box and puts the flames at the tops of the letters instead. Still not relevant to this version of the character, but I thought it looked great as a reader.

Issue #35 divides the cover into three panels, giving Schnapp more lettering to fit in, which he does expertly.

Issue #40 from 1965 not only teamed the Golden and Silver Age versions of the character, but filled in the background of the Green Lantern Corps and its Guardians of the Universe, all explained in Ira’s caption and word balloons.

The Flash was also an occasional guest in the series, as Green Lantern was in his. The two revamped characters worked well together. There’s too much Schnapp lettering on this cover (and perhaps his only use of brackets), but Ira fits it in…barely.

Issue #46 from 1966 is an unusual combination on the cover lettering. The circle caption at lower left is definitely by Schnapp. The burst caption at upper right looks more like the work of Gaspar Saladino, though the shape of the burst itself might be by Schnapp. Perhaps editor Schwartz asked Gaspar to redo it. At this time, Ira’s style was falling out of favor as being old-fashioned, while Gaspar’s work began to replace it.

Ira wasn’t quite done though, and his lettering for DAZZLER on issue #49 shows his creativity was still present.

Schnapp’s final cover lettering appeared on issue #59 from 1968, and it’s full of effective open lettering in Ira’s style that had been gracing DC’s covers since the late 1940s. This was a fine way for him to go out on the title.

Here are the covers lettered by Ira Schnapp: 1-20, 22-29, 31-37, 39-53, 55-59. That’s 55 in all.

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

Green Lantern on Wikipedia.

Gil Kane on Wikipedia.

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