Ira Schnapp in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE

Images © DC Comics

In early 1955 DC launched a new adventure anthology along the lines of STRANGE ADVENTURES and HOUSE OF MYSTERY where the idea was to have each story depict the personal adventure of one man (or rarely woman) in the most remote reaches of our world, or in the most exciting situations writers could dream up. It was edited by Jack Schiff with his team of assistants Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan. Boltinoff took over as sole editor with issue #75.

Ira Schnapp designed the logo using thick block letters with a slightly Art Deco feel on the main words, and an open telescoping drop shadow, while the first word MY was thinner, rounded and with the Y in lower case. The telescoping gives the logo depth to help pop it off the page, and also a feeling of importance, like a movie logo. Ira also lettered the word balloon and captions on this and many covers of the series. He lettered 14 stories inside the book too.

The series did not take long to often veer into completely unrealistic fantasy, drawing from science fiction, monster movies, and adventures from history and literature for themes and visual ideas, and touching on many genres, including war stories in issue #9, above. On the logo, the word MY is now much smaller, and the new Comics Code seal is over the right end of the logo, which still reads fine. Schnapp’s cover lettering includes a nice upper and lower case top line in the caption.

Issue #24 from 1958 again combines war and science fiction for this cover image, and features a large story title by Ira, and the MY in the logo has changed again. The book must have been popular because it moved from bimonthly to monthly with issue #23.

The idea of personal adventure reached new heights (or depths) on this cover for #52 in 1961, with the narrator becoming a destructive sun creature. As a child, I found this scene irresistible, and I think it was the only issue I bought.

With Boltinoff as full editor, a new regular feature began, The Doom Patrol, with issue #80 in 1963. The book was in danger of cancellation, and writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney created a team of odd survivors of disaster, each with personal flaws and strange powers that caught on with readers. Soon after, Marvel premiered THE X-MEN with similarly agonized and argumentative characters. This first cover was NOT lettered by Ira Schnapp. I don’t know who did it, possibly Joe Letterese.

Schnapp’s first cover lettering for the new team was on issue #82, including a fine top caption and a rare thought balloon. The connection of Robotman’s speech balloon to his thought balloon is even more rare.

The final issue, #85, has cover lettering by Ira, though the top caption is by Gaspar Saladino, picked up from his cover lettering on issue #81. MY GREATEST ADVENTURE became THE DOOM PATROL with issue #86, and I’ll cover that separately later.

Here are the covers lettered by Ira Schnapp: 1-6, 8-9, 11-25, 27-56, 58-79, 82-85. That’s 79 in all.

Schnapp’s lettering on stories for this series got off to a slow start with the first one being for issue #22 in 1958, above.

Ira’s story in issue #37 from 1959 is one of a TV trophy hunter who seems to be encountering Congorilla. (I haven’t read the story to see if that’s true.) The story title is classic Schnapp.

Ira’s last story lettering was in issue #67 from 1962, above. He didn’t have a big presence in the series, as it was not a regular assignment, but was in it enough to have some impact. Here are the stories with Ira Schnapp lettering:

#22 July/Aug 1958: I Was a Stand-in for a Feudal Baron 8pp

#24 Oct 1958: I Was the First Future Man 6pp

#37 Nov 1959: I Hunted the Legendary Creatures 8pp

#44 June 1960: I Found the Fantastic Wheel 8pp

#45 July 1960: I Unleashed the Light-Ray Creature 8pp

#47 Sept 1960: I Was King of the Sea-Beasts 9pp, We Became Partners of the Beast Brigade 8pp

#57 July 1961: I Wore the Faces of Doom 8pp, A Beast Was My Judge 9pp

#61 Nov 1961: We Controlled the Earth’s Weirdest Weapon 8pp

#62 Dec 1961: I Was a Captive of the Doomed City 9pp

#63 Jan 1962: We Braved the Trail of the Ancient Warrior 9pp

#66 April 1962: He Made Me Into a Robot 9pp

#67 May 1962: I Protected the Idols of Idoro 8pp

That’s a total of 115 pages on this series.

More articles about Ira’s work are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

My Greatest Adventure on Wikipedia.

The Doom Patrol on Wikipedia.

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