Ira Schnapp in REAL FACT COMICS

This and all images © DC Comics

REAL FACT COMICS ran for 21 issues from March-April 1946 to July-August 1949. Editors Jack Schiff and Murray Boltinoff worked on it uncredited, with Schiff handling scripts and content and Boltinoff handling art editing most likely. Non-fiction educational comics had found a niche by the mid 1940s, and were a good response to criticism about the violence and sexuality of many comics. Typically they did not sell well, and this was DC’s only attempt. Some of the stories were more fiction than fact, particularly “The True Story of Batman and Robin!” in issue #5 and the science-fictional “Just Imagine” regular feature, some with art by pulp artist Virgil Finlay, who also introduced the DC character Tommy Tomorrow. Ira Schnapp designed the REAL FACT part of the logo, though it’s not one of his better efforts. The word COMICS is from early DC logos that predate Schnapp’s work at DC. Ira also lettered this and all the covers of the series. This early cover lettering is often different from what he would do later, but it does have similarities. The book was full of short features, some repeated in each issue, and Ira was the main letterer, though he didn’t do them all.

Early covers followed the plan of the first one with a feature story in a square and others in smaller circles.

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous story in the series is cover-featured on issue #5.

Issue #8 from 1947 features art in the lower section from legendary science fiction and fantasy illustrator Virgil Finlay, who was a regular contributor to the book, his only comics work. I like the paper-clipped caption by Ira.

Some of the styles Schnapp used on these covers are ones he was also using on story titles, but later moved away from. Clearly these covers, which needed to highlight so many different features, were a lot of work.

Toward the end of the series, beginning with #17 from 1948, Ira’s cover lettering is starting to look more like what he would do in the 1950s and 1960s.

Issue #18 from 1949 has lots of handsome Western poster lettering that Ira did not do often, but did well when it was appropriate.

Issue 19’s cover again is looking more like his later cover lettering. Perhaps this was the training ground for some of his cover styles.

The final issue has less cover lettering by Ira, but it’s done well. Schnapp lettered all 21 covers on this series.

There was also lots of Schnapp lettering inside the book. The style seen here is what he was doing at the time on the Superman newspaper strip and stories for other DC comics. His letters were wider than what he did later, and note the right leg on many of the letter R’s is curved upward.

Ira also lettered puzzle pages like this one…

…and a header for this continuing series of text pages, each featuring a different hobby. They all used the Hobbyland logo, and either Ira or someone else lettered the other text.

Features were wide-ranging, and some were brief biographies of Hollywood stars, like this one with a fine Schnapp title from issue #3.

Issue #3 also saw the introduction of a letters page, one of the first at DC, with a nice header by Ira.

Here’s the first page of issue #5’s Bob Kane puff piece that’s not true, factual or realistic.

A page from Issue #7 of “Just Imagine” with art by Virgil Finlay. Schnapp’s caption lettering here is more condensed than the previous examples, and therefore more like his later work.

The issue #9 story “Sky Writers” from 1947 also has more condensed Schnapp lettering to fit everything in. That became his regular style in a few years when most pages had too much lettering.

Issue #14 from 1948’s story “The Isle of the Dead,” features diary entries that are probably close to Ira’s own handwriting.

A story from the final issue, #21 with a large Schnapp title.

Below are the stories in REAL FACT lettered by Ira Schnapp. Continuing features are abbreviated after the first appearance.

#1 March-April 1946: Just Imagine 2pp, Danger! Men At Work 5pp, Quiz Corner 4pp, Scoops 2pp, Hobbyland (counting this as one page for the whole series) 1pp, Highlights in Sports 1pp, Know Your Animals 4pp, Pirate or Patriot? 4pp

#2 May-June 1946: Rin-Tin-Tin 4pp, Just Im 2pp, KYA 4pp, Scoops 2pp, The Story of Braille 5pp, QC 4pp, HIS 1pp, Wonders of the World 3pp

#3 July-Aug 1946: War In A Ward 6pp, HIS 1pp, KYA 4pp, Just Im 2pp, King of Signs 3pp, Scoops 2pp, The Man of 1,000 Faces 4pp, QC 4pp, DMAW 4pp, WOTW 2pp

#4 Sept-Oct 1946: He Wanted Wings 5pp, DMAW 4pp, HIS 1pp, KYA 4pp, Just Im 2pp, White House Photographer 4pp, Scoops 2pp, King of Jokers 3pp, QC 4pp

#5 Nov-Dec 1946: Batman and Robin 5pp, HIS 1pp, Paul Robeson 4pp, Just Im 2pp, QC 4pp, KYA 4pp, Scoops 2pp, Mental Marvel 5pp, The Andrews Raiders 6pp, Tom Mix 5pp

#6 Jan-Feb 1947: King of Keys 6pp, WOTW 3pp, Once In A Lifetime 2pp, Jungle in New Hampshire 5pp, Scoops 2pp, Father of the Submarine 4pp, QC 4pp, Genie in a Bottle 2pp, Ace Sportscaster 4pp

#7 March-April 1947: The Man Who Knows Everything First 5pp, Famous Disasters 4pp, Just Im 2pp, Gold Dust Druggist 5pp, DMAW 4pp, Scoops 2pp, Douglas Fairbanks 5pp, QC 4pp, The Cardiff Giant 2pp, OIAL 2pp, Master of the Sky 3pp

#8 May-June 1947: He Chose Danger 6pp, Tommy Tomorrow 4pp, I Hunt Big Game 4pp, OIAL 2pp, FD 4pp, Scoops 2pp, Laughter Is His Business 4pp, QC 3pp, Lucky Accident 2pp, Lady With A Lens 6pp

#9 July-Aug 1947: The Fighting Band-Leader 5pp, WOTW 3pp, Sky Writers 4pp, Just Im 2pp, The Man Who Raised The World 5pp, Scoops 2pp, QC 3pp, The Lost Secret 2pp, Airwave Adventurer 4pp

#10 Sept-Oct 1947: How a Movie Serial is Made 6pp, Modern Marco Polo 5pp, Fantastic Facts 1pp, Message to the Future 4pp, OIAL 2pp, QC 3pp, Scoops 2pp, Bat Man 1pp, FD 4pp, Wonder Weapon 4pp, Canine College 5pp

#11 Nov-Dec 1947: G-Men 6pp, The Man With All the Answers 5pp, Just Im 2pp, DMAW 4pp, Scoops 2pp, Baseball’s Clown Prince 4pp, The Man Who Captured Light 2pp, QC 4pp, Annie Oakley 6pp

#12 Jan-Feb 1948: FD 4pp, Hollywood Sports Album 2pp, The Marshal Who Tamed a Town 7pp, Just Im 2pp, The Human Cannonball 4pp, Fantastic Facts 1pp, The Wizard of Winter 5pp, The Twist of a Dial 2pp, G-Men 6pp

#13 March-April 1948: He Challenged the Unknown 6pp, Queen of the Westerns 5pp, Famous Cases of the F.B.I. 7pp, Scoops 2pp, QC 4pp, FF 1pp, King of Coins 5pp, TT 5pp

#14 May-June 1948: Isle of the Dead 4pp, Rookie of the Year 4pp, FF 1pp, Scoops 2pp, Of Human Hearts 2pp, Keeper of the Jewels 6pp, Will Rogers 6pp

#15 July-Aug 1948: Last War On Earth 4pp, World’s Greatest Gold Strike 4pp, Test Your Wits 4pp, Scoops 2pp, FF 1pp, Television 4pp, Beatty and the Beasts 6pp

#16 Sept-Oct 1948: Headline Hunter 6pp, TT 5pp, Famous Unsolved Mysteries 2pp

#17 Nov-Dec 1948: The Man Who Dreamed the Future 4pp, Fighting Bob Evans 5pp, I Hunt Lost Voices 4pp, Miracle Mammoth 2pp

#18 Jan-Feb 1949: Noah’s Ark in New York 4pp, FD 4pp

#19 March-April 1949: Super-Sleuth 6pp, The Weapon That Won the West 4pp, Old Glory Corner 4pp, The Inquiring Fotographer 4pp

#20 May-June 1949: The First Superman 4pp, Daredevil On Ice 4pp

#21 July-Aug 1949: Kit Carson 6pp, Fighter For Freedom 8pp, The Man Who Was Kind to Animals 6pp

That’s a total of 556 story pages by Ira on this book.

More entries in this series are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

Ira Schnapp on Wikipedia.

Real Fact Comics on Wikipedia.

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