Ira Schnapp in SECRET HEARTS

This and all images © DC Comics

DC’s second romance title followed quickly on the first, GIRL’S LOVE STORIES, beginning the following month and dated Sept/Oct 1949. Once again I believe Ira Schnapp created the elegant logo. He’s the only designer at DC who I think could have pulled off this appealing style with well-structured curved forms having open areas for color, but very readable. He probably also lettered “In this issue” and did the ornaments around DREAM MODEL, though the story titles are type. As with their other romance book, DC at first used stock photos on the covers to distance it from typical comic books and hopefully attract new female readers. Both titles did well, so it must have worked. While editing credits are not certain, this one probably had the same roster of uncredited editors: Robert Kanigher, Zena Brody, Phyllis Reed, Jack Miller, Barbara Friedlander, and by the end of its run in 1971 Dick Giordano and Dorothy Woolfolk. Once again I was astounded to discover the huge amount of work Ira Schnapp did for the title, as you’ll see.

By issue #7 in Jan. 1952, the photo covers had given way to drawn art, and the logo had an attractive banner subtitle drawn by Ira, who also did the cover lettering. From that point on until early 1968 Ira lettered most of the covers, often using his appealing cursive styles in story titles.

While most issues in this anthology title had unrelated stories, DC did try a few continuing series, like the one in Ira’s cover lettering above. Note also that the DC logo is missing in this period to further separate the romance books from DC’s usual fare. A new version of the logo without the shadows is also featured.

By issue #27 in 1955, the banner subtitle was gone in favor of a new tagline at the top lettered by Schnapp. This cover also features one of Ira’s word balloons with a puzzling amount of bubbles going to the thinker and thicker than usual border. Maybe one was a correction and the other should have been removed. A very large comics code seal covers too much of the logo at upper right, but it was a new addition the company wanted to make sure was seen.

By issue #57 in 1959, we have a National Romance Group symbol at upper left instead of the usual DC bullet, also lettered by Ira. By this time his word balloons on romance covers had thinner letters and borders, perhaps a suggestion from the editor.

Issue #100 from 1964 had this new Schnapp logo and a new continuing character, Amy Ames, as well as an overblown caption.

That logo lasted only two issues, replaced by another Schnapp one using wide, solid block letters, perhaps to suggest a slick magazine rather than a comic. No one did them more artfully than Ira.

By issue #116 in 1966 we’re into the nadir of DC cover design with the “Go-Go Checks” at the top and a new Schnapp logo in a large heart shape. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s an awkward fit on this and other covers.

Ira’s final cover lettering for this title appeared on issue #127 dated April 1968. His logo had been modified again to remove the heart shape, and the open letters in his balloons add to the melodrama. By then Ira’s cover work was gradually being replaced by others, usually Gaspar Saladino. He left the company in 1968 and died in 1969.

Here are the covers from SECRET HEARTS that Schnapp lettered: 1, 4, 7-24, 26-37, 39-87, 89-92, 94-96, 98-108, 110-112, 114-119, 122-124, 127. That’s 112 issues in this series, an impressive number.

The first story lettering I’ve found for Ira Schnapp in this series is two stories in issue #7, example above. As always, Ira’s small lettering was an asset in stories with a lot of text. Early issues also had many stories lettered by Gaspar Saladino. Despite the very off registration of the colors on this page, Ira’s title is still perfectly readable.

By issue #15 in 1953, Ira was often lettering the entire thing, sample above. With up to five stories per issue, Ira had to widen his title styles to make them all different. This one uses an E style he liked in an unusual way.

Ira’s story lettering was quiet, small, and somewhat bland, but remarkably consistent. Here in issue #50 from 1958 his story title gets a nice pop from red color and a black drop-shadow, while his newspaper lettering is as even as type.

In this story from issue #100, Ira’s title matches the one he did on the cover, seen above, but is relettered.

Some of Ira’s lettering was in reprinted stories in the later 1960s. The last new one I see is from issue #123 dated Oct. 1967, above. The title is just as appealing as ever.

Here’s a list of the stories Ira lettered for SECRET HEARTS, not counting reprints. I’ve listed the titles since there are almost no continuing characters or features. Some titles are very similar, or might even be repeats with new art and script.

#7 Dec 1951/Jan 1952: Dangerous Interlude 6pp, Never Kiss a Stranger 8pp

#8 Feb/March 1952: Condemned Love 7pp, Our Last Kiss 8pp

#10 June/July 1952: My Awakened Heart 8pp

#11 Aug/Sept 1952: My Secret Vow 7pp, Meeting At Midnight 7pp

#12 Oct/Nov 1952: Love Is Everywhere 8pp, Helpless Heart 8pp, Romance By Request 8pp

#13 Dec 1952/Jan 1953: Remember The Day 8pp, My Husband’s Secret 7pp, Unlucky In Love 7pp, The Girl He Left Behind 8pp

#14 Feb/March 1953: Fleeting Romance 6pp, My Heart Is Lonely 8pp

#15 April/May 1953: Romantic Quotes 1pp, Every Girl’s Dream 8pp, Beyond the Rainbow 6pp, Love Without Question 6pp, Promise of Love 8pp

#16 June/July 1953: Love Came Too Late 6pp

#17 Aug/Sept 1953: Two Men And A Girl 7pp

#18 Oct/Nov 1953: Half-Hearted Romance 8pp, The Wrong Love 6pp

#19 Dec 1953/Jan 1954: As Love Danced By 8pp

#20 Feb/March 1954: Misleading Heart 6pp, Love Ruled My Life 6pp

#21 April/May 1954: Love Passed Me By 7pp, Never Is Too Long 6pp, We Found Springtime 7pp

#22 June/July 1954: A Fool’s Heart 7pp, Once To Every Girl 7pp

#23 Aug/Sept 1954: Must It Be Never? 7pp, End Of A Love Song 6pp, Stay My Darling 7pp, Jealous Heart 8pp

#24 Oct/Nov 1954: Love Is A Lie 9pp, Blind Date 6pp, Love Came Calling 6pp

#25 Dec 1954/Jan 1955: Loser At Love 8pp, Trip To Heartbreak 6pp, Will You Leave Me? 7pp

#26 Feb/March 1955: Impatient Heart 6pp, Bitter Sweetheart 7pp, The Kiss I Didn’t Want 8pp

#27 April/May 1955: Don’t Say Goodbye 7pp, Meet Me This Spring 7pp, Can This Be Love? 6pp, The Sweethearts Dance 8pp

#28 June/July 1955: Heartbreak Date 7pp, No Wedding For Me 7pp, I Learned Too Late 7pp

#29 Aug/Sept 1955: Sweetheart For A Day 7pp, To Dan With Love 6pp, Only The Stars Knew 7pp, Tomorrow Means Heartbreak 8pp

#30 Oct/Nov 1955: Never Mind Tomorrow 7pp, Unromantic Love 7pp, Wavering Heart 7pp, Unhappy Triangle 8pp

#31 Dec 1955/Jan 1956: No Kiss For Me 7pp, My Last Heartbreak 7pp, Here Is My Heart 7pp, Love–Keep Out 8pp

#32 Feb/March 1956: Unhappy Parting 7pp, Where Is My Love? 7pp, Delayed Romance 7pp, Last In Love 8pp

#33 April/May 1956: Wishing Won’t Make It So 7pp, Remember Me Tomorrow 7pp, Restless Heart 7pp, Love Chose Another 8pp

#34 June/July 1956: One Magic Moment 6pp

#35 Aug/Sept 1956: Heartbreak For Three 7pp, Love Is A Game 6pp, No Time For Tears 7pp, Love Is Forever 8pp

#36 Oct/Nov 1956: Meant For Each Other 7pp, Only In My Dreams 7pp, For Love Alone 6pp, End Of A Summer Love 8pp

#37 Dec 1956/Jan 1957: Loser At Love 7pp, Romantic Escapade 7pp, Stars In My Eyes 6pp, Exit Love 8pp

#38 Feb/March 1957: Awakened Heart 7pp, Old Love New Love 7pp, Unlucky Bridesmaid 8pp

#39 April/May 1957: Secret Love 7pp, Sweetheart’s Wish 7pp, Appointment With Heartbreak 7pp, Love Is A Riddle 8pp

#40 June/July 1957: Hello Heartbreak 7pp, Stand-in For Love 7pp, Beautiful Stranger 7pp, Love Must Be Told 8pp

#41 Aug 1957: Love Finds A Way 7pp, To Bill…With Love 7pp, Your Dreams Are Mine 7pp, Lonely Lovesong 8pp

#42 Oct 1957: Dance Till Dawn 7pp, Lovingly Yours 7pp, Love Of A Lifetime 7pp, Who’ll Believe My Heart? 8pp

#43 Nov 1957: Too Late For Tears 7pp

#44 Jan 1958: Winter In My Heart 7pp, Tomorrow Is Never 7pp, Love Lost Its Way 8pp

#45 Feb 1958: Tears For A Dream 7pp

#46 April 1958: How Wrong My Love 7pp, Love Without End 7pp, Be Still My Heart 8pp

#47 May 1958: The Man In My Dreams 7pp, The Last Goodbye 7pp, Take Back Your Heart 7pp, The Anguish Of Love 8pp

#48 July 1958: Why Can’t I Love You? 7pp, Image Of Love 8pp

#49 Aug 1958: Catch A Dream 7pp, Pretending Heart 7pp, Diane 7pp, Come Back Heartbreak 8pp

#50 Oct 1958: Letter To Laura 7pp, Change Of Heart 7pp

#51 Nov 1958: Our Moment Was Forever 8pp, Dreamer’s Discovery 7pp, No Escape From Yesterday 8pp

#52 Jan 1959: Four Kisses And One 7pp, Second Love 7pp, Kiss Love Goodbye 7pp

#53 Feb 1959: The Frightened Heart 7pp, Dark Tomorrow 9pp

#54 April 1959: Eyes Of Love 7pp, A Mask For Cinderella 7pp, A Heart Is For Loving 9pp

#55 May 1959: Near My Heart 9pp, They Who Loved 6pp, To You With Love 7pp, A Stranger At Heart 8pp

#56 July 1959: Castle of Dreams 6pp, One Face of Love 7pp, Two-sided Heart 8pp

#57 Aug 1959: Change of Heart 7pp, Never Borrow Love 8pp

#58 Oct 1959: His Magic Spell 6pp, Out of Love’s Reach 7pp, A Heart Full of Pride 8pp

#59 Nov 1959: Be True and Betrayed 7pp, Dial H for Heartbreak 8pp, Favor My Heart 7pp, All Love’s Magic 8pp

#60 Jan 1960: A Thing Called Love 7pp, What Might Have Been 8pp, Our Midnight 7pp, Tears For Tomorrow 8pp

#61 Feb 1960: Enchant Me Forever 6pp, Love Comes Running 7pp, Charm In Romance 1pp, Mail-order Romance 7pp, A Promise to Keep 8pp

#62 April 1960: Twice Lost 7pp, Love Against Time 8pp, My One And Only Love 7pp, I’ll Take That Chance 8pp

#63 May 1960: Two-faced Heart 7pp, Fool’s Embrace 7pp, Heartbeat of Jealousy 8pp

#64 July 1960: Bitter Moment 7pp, Captive of Love 8pp, I’ll Never Love Again 7pp, Something Borrowed–Something Blue 8pp

#65 Aug 1960: Dream’s Awakening 5pp, Serenade To A Broken Heart 8pp, Goodbye…? 7pp, Betrayed Heart 8pp

#66 Oct 1960: Someone So Wonderful 11pp, Song of the Bells 6pp, Sad Song of Love 8pp

#67 Nov 1960: Come Home, My Heart 8pp, Believe Me, Beloved 7pp, Stop-over Love 7pp, The Girl In His Life 8pp

#68 Jan 1961: Pledge of Love 8pp, Happily Ever After 7pp, Too Beautiful to Love 7pp, A Love to Remember 8pp

#69 Feb 1961: So Little to Ask 8pp, A Date With Jon 7pp, Don’t Stop Loving Me 7pp, The Life in her Laughter 8pp

#70 April 1961: Girl In Love 9pp, Saturday Night Date 5pp, His Other Girl 8pp

#71 July 1961: So Many Souvenirs 8p, Love Me, Love Me Not 7pp, Hand-me-down Love 7pp, A Telling Glance 8pp

#72 July 1961: Dreamer’s Paradise 9pp, Reach Out to Love 6pp, No Magic in my Heart 7pp

#73 Aug 1961: Past All Pride 7pp, Uninvited Guest 7pp, Weep No More 8pp

#74 Oct 1961: In Somebody Else’s Arms 8pp, Part of my Heart 7pp, A Heart Must Lie 7pp, Ask Me No Questions 8pp

#75 Nov 1961: Goodbye To All That 7pp, Just Dreaming 8pp, The Shadow of Love 7pp, One More Kiss 8pp

#76 Jan 1962: It’s Only You 7pp, Better Late 7pp, Stranger To Love 7pp, Too Much to Hope For 8pp

#77 Feb 1962: Game of Hearts 8pp, My Friend, My Rival 7pp, Lost Love 7pp, My Leading Man 8pp

#78 April 1962: Here Was Love 7pp, A Time For Tears 7pp, Rain, Rain–Wash Away My Tears 8pp

#79 May 1962: This Guilty Love 8pp, Sudden Storm 7pp, Make My Heart Sing Again 8pp

#80 July 1962: The Edge of Yesterday 7pp, The Moment For Goodbye 7pp, Tide of Love 7pp, Cry Me No Tears 8pp

#81 Aug 1962: Childhood Sweetheart 8pp, Nothing But Despair 8pp, Second to None 6pp

#82 Oct 1962: The Net of Love 7pp, Jealous Love 8pp, Your Love Is Mine 7pp, Another Face, Another Love 8pp

#83 Nov 1962: Run For Love 7pp, Angry Heart 8pp, Only Heartbreak 7pp, My Love Will Know Me 8pp

#84 Dec 1962: Don’t Run, My Love 8pp, New Lives For Old 7pp, Have–But Not Hold 7pp, A Walk Through The Park 8pp

#85 Jan 1963: Please Say Goodbye 7pp, The Ache of Love 7pp, Look the Other Way 7pp, Heartbreak On Order 8pp,

#86 March 1963: No Heartbreak For Me 8pp, No Love For a Soldier 7pp, Missing Heart 8pp, The Secret of Love 8pp

#87 April 1963: My Wayward Heart 8pp, Farewell To Tomorrow 7pp, So Little Time 7pp, Loser’s Wish 8pp

#88 June 1963: Exit Love–Enter Heartbreak 8pp

#89 July 1963: A Fool’s Dream 7pp, Close My Eyes 7pp

#90 Sept 1963: Not Good Enough for Him 8pp, When My Time Comes 7pp, A Change of Heart 7pp, Dream With Danny 8pp

#91 Oct 1963: Heartbreak In Paradise 7pp, He Just Played With My Heart 7pp, Letter To A Lost Love 8pp

#92 Dec 1963: Plain-faced Me 7pp, No Relation To Each Other 8pp, Give Him Your Heart 7pp, Love–Look The Other Way 8pp

#93 Jan 1964: The True Glamor 8pp, One Perfect Love 7pp

#94 March 1964: Catch Me If You Can 8pp, The Only Man For Me 7pp, Come Back To Me 7pp, Love Letters 8pp

#95 April 1964: Go With Her 8pp, My Heart Deciding 7pp, Measure of Love 7pp

#96 June 1964: Be Careful…It’s My Heart 8pp

#98 Sept 1964: Never Give My Heart Away 8pp, Kiss Him For Me 15pp

#99 Oct 1964: The Love That Haunted Me 7pp, The False Face of Love 15pp

#100 Dec 1964: Run For Heartbreak 15pp

#101 Jan 1965: Unhappy Anniversary 7pp, Love Is Two Strangers 15pp

#103 April 1965: Old Love, No Love 13pp

#104 June 1965: A Woman Has Two Faces 13pp

#105 July 1965: Too Many Loves 13pp

#106 Sept 1965: Wait, Love–Wait 13pp, The Strings of My Heart 13pp

#107 Oct 1965: Heartbreak–Take Me 13pp, Girlfriend Number 1,001 6pp

#109 Jan 1966: One Love Too Many 9pp, What About Some Love For Me? 11pp

#110 March 1966: Reach For Happiness Part 1 15 pp

#111 April 1966: Don’t Trust Your Boyfriend 8pp, Reach For Happiness Part 2 15pp

#112 June 1966: Don’t Tell Me That You Love Me 6pp, The Truth About Love 7pp, Reach For Happiness Part 3 15pp

#114 Sept 1966: Reach For Happiness Part 5 15pp

#116 Dec 1966: Nobody Loves Me 7pp, Heart’s Choice 7pp

#118 March 1967: Waiting For the One I Love 6pp

#119 April 1967: Reach For Happiness Part 10 15pp

#120 June 1967: Please, Please–Don’t Let Me Wake Up 6pp

#122 Sept 1967: The Battle For Love 7pp

#123 Oct 1967: A Stolen Dream 6pp

That’s a total of 2,027 pages, a massive amount of work! Clearly Ira’s involvement in DC romance books was a large part of his output.

More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein created several paintings from the story “Run For Love” in issue #83 that Ira lettered, though the artist’s lettering does not look like Ira’s work.

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