Ira Schnapp in METAL MEN and CAPT. STORM

Images © DC Comics

Metal Men began with a four-issue tryout in SHOWCASE #37-40, example above, and a fine logo by Ira Schnapp with the appearance of bevelled metal and rivets on each M. The series was edited and written by Robert Kanigher with art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, and it’s one of the more unusual hero teams I can think of. Each member of the team—Gold, Platinum, Lead, Iron, Mercury and Tin—are made of living metal, sort of fluid robots designed by Doc Magnus, their creator and the director of the team. Often team members are melted or otherwise destroyed only to be resurrected for the next issue by Magnus. Schnapp lettered all but two of the covers up to issue #31 in 1968, and also lettered one book-length story. Many of the inside pages were lettered by Gaspar Saladino.

The first issue of the series from 1963 had a cover that I found incredibly fascinating when I saw it, and I loved the book and the team. Each member had unique personalities and abilities that reflected their metal characteristics. Ira’s caption at the top of the issue is, for once, not hyperbole. It was a spectacular book!

The second issue adds Schnapp word balloons for the first time. While not very scientific, I did find the ideas intriguing. I knew actual Mercury was silver-colored, though, but understood you couldn’t have three silver characters on the team, as Platinum and Tin were already that color, and red was chosen to match Mercury’s temper, I suppose, as well as the color of some thermometers’ “mercury.”

Kanigher’s villains were equally clever, like the Gas Gang. Ira lettered their names as well as the HA HA sound effects on issue #6.

Always in tune with a good idea, Kanigher brought back the Missile Men in issue #12. Even when the team worked well together, they tended to fall apart, which I found interesting.

Lots of Schnapp lettering on the cover of issue #16, and I like the word ROBOTS in the burst. The one character I didn’t warm to was Tin’s girlfriend, who was simply Nameless for a while.

Issue #24 from 1967 has an interestingly rounded treatment for BALLOON MAN in Ira’s caption.

Ira’s final cover lettering was on issue #31 from 1968. The pink tint in the word balloon is an unusual choice, though not Ira’s, of course. The series went on to issue #56 in 1978, and the team has had several later revivals. Here are the covers lettered by Schnapp: 1-2, 4-28, 31. That’s 28 in all.

Ira lettered the 24-page book-length story in issue #15, his only story lettering for this title.

A new Robert Kanigher-edited and written Pacific South Seas war book began in 1964 and ran 18 issues, ending in 1967. It featured a P.T. Boat captain who loses a leg in the first issue and spends the rest of the run trying to get revenge on the Japanese in a storyline similar to Moby Dick in some ways. Kanigher’s previous record on war comics at DC was stellar, but this one was not as successful as the others. Storm was later part of the Kanigher war team “The Losers.” This series featured a new logo by Ira Schnapp that includes a rope border and an anchor, but is otherwise standard Schnapp block letters. Note that the name of the book in the indicia, like the lettering, is CAPT. STORM. Schnapp also did the cover lettering for this and all but two of the covers, but lettered none of the stories inside, many of which were lettered by Gaspar Saladino.

Issue #5 shows that the covers and stories mostly followed a similar pattern, as did the Schnapp lettering.

For issue #9, the open background of the logo has been filled with solid red, making it read better. Ira’s two burst captions sell the stories, but perhaps cover too much of the art.

On issue #14, even the dreaded “go-go checks” work with the red background, and I love Ira’s star-shaped caption and the angled one at the bottom. This is an impressive cover.

For the final issue, Storm takes his battle to land. Ira’s burst caption adds to the drama, but again covers some of the action. Here are the covers lettered by Schnapp: 1, 3-15, 17-18. That’s 16 in all.

Metal Men on Wikipedia.

More on Capt. Storm.

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

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