Ira Schnapp in MORE FUN COMICS

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This and all images © DC Comics

MORE FUN grew out of one of the first comics published by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, NEW FUN, begun in 1935. The title changed to MORE FUN with issue 7, then MORE FUN COMICS with issue 9 dated March-April 1936. When the Major’s comics were taken over by Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz, MORE FUN continued as the first title published by “Detective Comics, Inc.” now DC Comics. For many years it was an action-adventure anthology containing features of all types, with superheroes gradually filling the pages, including Doctor Occult, The Spectre, Doctor Fate, Congo Bill, Johnny Quick, Green Arrow and Aquaman. The title was edited by Mort Weisinger for a while, with Jack Schiff taking over with issue #83 in 1942. With issue #101 dated Jan.-Feb. 1945, a new feature, Superboy, was introduced, the stories of Superman as a boy. With issue #108 dated March 1946, all the superhero features moved to ADVENTURE COMICS, and the remaining issues of MORE FUN were mainly filled with humorous stories. Issue #121 dated April 1947 saw the introduction of a fantasy strip, “Jimminy and the Magic Book,” which was the lead feature until the series was cancelled with issue #127 dated Nov.-Dec. 1947. I’ve recently looked at all the MORE FUN covers again and reevaluated who might have done the cover lettering. I now think most of it is not by Ira Schnapp. Issue #105, above, has some similarities to Ira’s work, and might possibly be by him, but I’m not sure. It could be work of another unknown letterer who I call Proto-Schnapp because I think Ira used his work as a model for his own. Proto-Schnapp’s lettering was usually wider, curvier and bouncier than Ira’s. This cover is one I can’t decide on.

Issue #112, July 1946 is the first one I feel is probably lettered by Schnapp, though the “Dover and Clover” blurb may have been done by Proto-Schnapp. Or it could simply be Ira imitating something done previously.

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Issue #121 featured the beginning of a new fantasy series with art by Howard Post very much in the style of Walt Kelly on Dell comics like FAIRY TALE PARADE. Here the lettering on the book is probably by Post, while the lettering at upper right is by Schnapp. As Jimminy stories were lettered by Ira, it’s likely the remaining MORE FUN covers were too. To sum up, I find Ira Schnapp lettering on these covers: 105 (maybe), 112, 121-127.

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Moving to interior stories, this Superboy story from #103 looks like Proto-Schnapp lettering to me.

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A closer look shows letters that are not much like Schnapp’s later work, with style differences like the B in the bold SUPERBOY where the center loop does not connect to the left stroke, and generally wider and rounder letters than Ira did. I don’t see any Schnapp lettering on the superhero stories in MORE FUN. I have also reevaluated my previous calls on the humor stories from #108 on, and see nothing by Ira until issue #121. Most or all of the Dover and Clover stories are by Proto-Schnapp.

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By far the most interesting and unusual lettering in this title is on the feature “Jimminy and the Magic Book” beginning with issue #121. At first I thought it might have been lettered by the artist, Howard Post, and he may have pencilled the logo, but looking closer…

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…I think this is Ira Schnapp trying out a fanciful style meant to suggest a fairy tale. The letters are mostly still his style with some extra curves and curls, and the balloon shapes are his. Perhaps artist Howard Post suggested this approach, and even pencilled it in that way for Ira to follow. Possibly he showed Ira some of Walt Kelly’s delightful lettering, the first few words of the caption are suggestive of that.

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A second Jimminy story in #121 is closer to Ira’s usual style (perhaps the editor thought the other one too hard to read), except that the balloons are not his, and are instead likely drawn in by Howard Post. The two Jimminy stories in issue #122 are by Ira. In issue #123 the first Jimminy story is probably lettered by Proto-Schnapp while the second is by Ira. Both Jimminy stories in #124 are probably lettered by Schnapp. The Jimminy stories in #125 are probably by Proto-Schnapp. The two in #126 are probably by Ira. Issue #127 has four Jimminy stories. I think the first is lettered by Ira and the others by Proto-Schnapp, but I have to say it’s a tough call on some of these Jimminy stories. Editor Jack Schiff loved Jimminy, but apparently it did not sell well enough to keep MORE FUN alive.

To sum up, here are the stories I see Ira Schnapp lettering on.

MF #121 April 1947: Jimminy and the Magic Book 8 pp, Jimminy (2nd story) 7 pp

MF #122 May 1947: Jimminy 8pp, Jimminy (2nd story) 8 pp

MF #123 June 1947: Jimminy (2nd story) 6pp

MF #124 July 1947: Jimminy 8pp, Jimminy (2nd story) 6pp

MF #126 Sept. 1947: Jimminy 8 pp, Jimminy 7 pp

MF #127 Nov. 1947: Jimminy 8 pp

Not a large amount of story lettering in this title for Ira Schnapp, but some interesting ones. Other articles about Ira’s life and lettering can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog along with more posts you might enjoy.

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