In 1966 DC launched a new teen humor title about a motorcycle-riding musician they hoped might interest fans of The Beatles and other current teen idols. It was originally supposed to have a tryout in SHOWCASE, but instead moved right into a bimonthly series edited and co-written by Jack Miller and Barbara Friedlander. Ira Schnapp created the logo, which had more movement and bounce than many of his logos, and a small image of the character by artist Joe Orlando was added. The multi-colored letters suggest DC was going for a Pop Art look, as do the colored balloons, but the language in them lettered by Ira was typically lame and off the mark in my opinion, having been a teenager then myself. Ira would letter many of the covers and stories inside.
Issue #4 shows the book going far from reality in typical DC style, with Ira’s balloons trying to keep things together.
If the lame language wasn’t bad enough, the cover of issue #8 adds bad puns to the mix in the style of the Batman TV show, I suppose. What real teenager would find this funny and appealing?
For issue #12, Schnapp designed a new logo meant to mimic and appeal to readers of Archie comics, which is the direction the series was heading. This was also the last issue that had Ira’s cover lettering. The covers he worked on are 1, 3-6, 8-12. That’s ten in all.
Ira lettered many of the stories in the first eight issues, beginning with this synopsis of the characters from issue #1. The British musician is clearly in the style of Paul McCartney, as the captions emphasize.
A more typical Schnapp splash page from issue #4. Can you mix a teen idol with high school hijinks? Someone must have been buying this book, as it ran to 36 issues.
Ira also lettered a one-page story in issue #5 featuring Scooter’s sister Cynthia, who gets a lamely-worded logo.
Ira’s final inside lettering was the book-length story in issue #8 from 1967, which features one of the longest story titles I’ve ever seen, but nicely lettered by Schnapp.
Here are the stories lettered by Ira, all feature Scooter unless otherwise titled.
#1 June/July 1966: 24pp
#2 Aug/Sept 1966: 11pp, 13pp
#3 Oct/Nov 1966: 13pp (first story)
#4 Dec 1966/Jan 1967: 14pp, 10pp
#5 Feb/March 1967: 17pp, 7pp, Cynthia 1pp
#6 April/May 1967: Kicky Kenny 1pp
#8 Aug/Sept 1967: 24pp
That’s a total of 135 pages on this series.
When DC bought the rights to characters published by Quality Comics in the 1950s, Jack Cole’s creation Plastic Man was included, but DC did nothing with him until launching a new series in late 1966. Apparently there was a Plastic Man movie in the works, prompting DC to start the series, but the movie never happened. Murray Boltinoff was the editor, and fans of the character, who had last appeared just ten years earlier from Quality, must have been pleased. Ira Schnapp designed the new logo, which I think better represents Plas than any of his previous ones, and also lettered the cover. He would letter several more, but no stories inside the book. The series would run to 20 issues, and the character would make many later returns at DC.
The second issue has a new top line by Ira that I like, and the caption is pretty good too. Ira’s rounded style here is a good match for the character.
Ira’s final lettering for the series was on the cover of issue #9 from 1968. His logo is on two lines to fit around the art better, and still works well. If Schnapp hadn’t left the company around this time, I think his cover lettering would have continued to be a good match for the book. Ira’s lettering is on issues 1-4, 6 and 9, six covers in all.
More articles like this are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.
Swing With Scooter on Wikipedia.
Plastic Man on Wikipedia.