Ira Schnapp in THE THREE MOUSEKETEERS

Images © DC Comics

Of all the funny animal artists or writer/artists at DC Comics, Sheldon Mayer had the longest history at the company. He had been the editor-in-chief of DC’s sister company All-American Comics, and when the two branches merged, he continued as an editor for a few years before deciding to go freelance full time. Shelly produced many funny and memorable stories, and in 1956 this trio of mice was given its own title edited by Larry Nadle that lasted 26 issues. At first Mayer did all the stories and art, but gradually stories with art by Rube Grossman began to appear, and by issue #10 it was all Grossman, and using other writers. Mayer’s creations were not the first mice with this name at DC. A feature with the same title appeared in FUNNY STUFF from 1940 to 1948, but was unrelated to this one. This series ran to 1960, and was reprinted in 1970-71. Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club’s children were also called Mouseketeers, probably a coincidence. Both DC series drew inspiration from the book “The Three Musketeers” by Alexander Dumas, though the earlier series drew on it more.

Ira Schnapp designed the charming logo, which is more rounded and bouncy than most of his work. The covers had no captions or word balloons, but Ira lettered signs on some of them. He also lettered about half the stories inside.

Issue #4 has Schnapp lettering on the menu.

Issue #12 has handsome title work by Schnapp on the books. He also did BOOK ENDS, part of which is scraped off on this comic.

The antagonist in the book was, predictably, a cat. Ira did the titles on the TV ad here.

Ira’s last cover lettering was the song title and word HARMONICA on issue #22. He did lettering on the covers of issues 4, 12, 14, 16-17 and 22, six in all.

When Schnapp lettered stories by Sheldon Mayer, it was a collaborative process. Mayer did the titles, balloon shapes, sound effects, and sometimes any large display lettering. He might have done the OHO! in the final balloon on this page from issue #1. Sometimes Mayer lettered the entire story at first, but probably began to rely on Ira and other letterers to save time. When the main artist became Rube Grossman, Ira and others were lettering all the stories.

This page from issue #3 has lots of lettering by Schnapp, including a chart.

This story from issue #20 had the extra challenge of backwards lettering, which Schnapp handled easily, from the look of it. His very regular and square letters weren’t hard to do backwards.

A page of Schnapp lettering from the final issue. There was a large gap between issues 24 and 25, so the last two issues were probably using up inventory.

Here are the stories lettered by Ira Schnapp. All star the Three Mouseketeers unless otherwise noted. I’m adding the story titles to avoid confusion, but some are shortened.

#1 March/April 1956: Air Minded 6pp

#2 May/June 1956: Hi-Ho and Away 6pp, Hep Mouse 6pp, Griping 4pp, Dizzy Dog 1pp, Buzzin’ Cousin 6pp, Brain vs Brawn 1pp

#3 July/Aug 1956: Working Railroad 6pp, Dizzy Dog 1pp, Patsy 4pp, Disappearing Cave 6pp

#4 Sept/Oct 1956: Getting Up 6pp, Food for All 6pp, Patsy 4pp, Fleetin’ Meetin’ 6pp

#5 Nov/Dec 1956: Meet Cousin Rodney 6pp, Under Two Flags 4pp, Fatsy 2pp, Quiet Snooze 6pp, Crowded by Crickets 6pp

#6 Jan/Feb 1957: Letter from Petey 6pp, Lady in Distress 6pp, Stoppin’ Choppin’ 1pp, Dizzy Dog 1pp, Never Call Names 3pp, no title 2pp, Big-Feets 6pp

#7 March/April 1957: Squeaky Shoes 6pp, Dizzy Dog 1pp, Patsy 4pp, House Cleaning 2pp, The Black Ball 6pp, Hold the Phone 6pp

#8 May/June 1957: Why Minus 1pp, Happy Daze 1pp, Spring Time 6pp, Dizzy Dog 1pp

#9 July 1957: Make Mine 4pp, Captains 4pp, South Pole 6pp

#10 Aug 1957: Paging 6pp, Great Treasure Hunt 6pp, Bed-Time Story 4pp

#11 Oct 1957: Bubble Heads 4pp, Adventure Ahoy 6pp

#12 Nov 1957: Stone’s Throw 6pp, Time Out 4pp, Sky’s the Limit 4pp, Nip & Chip 4pp, X Marks the Spot 4pp

#13 Jan 1958: Yo-yo Trouble 6pp, Fire Away 4pp, Better Late 4pp, Oh, Say 4pp, Meet Max 6pp

#14 Feb 1958: Money Happy 6pp, Namedroppers 4pp, Out to Launch 4pp, Cheese It 6pp

#15 April 1958: Club-Mates 6pp, Berries 4pp, Return of Mr. Mole 4pp, Nap Happy 6pp

#16 May 1958: Food for Thought 6pp, All that Glitters 4pp, Big City Blues 6pp

#17 July 1958: Be It Ever So Humble 6pp

#19 Oct 1958: Saved by a Skin 6pp, Bugle Blues 4pp, Scout 6pp

#20 Nov 1958: Cold Comfort 6pp, Dues and Don’ts 6pp, Happy Talk 6pp

#21 Jan/Feb 1959: Blast Off 8pp, Slugger Patsy 6pp, Rip Van Patsy 6pp

#22 March/April 1959: Snooze Happy 6pp, Herman Hop-Toad 6pp

#23 May/June 1959: Smart Dumbbell 2pp, Heroes Are Made 6pp

#24 Sept/Oct 1959: Bally Ho Island 8pp, The Big Mystery 6pp

#25 Aug/Sept 1960: Oh Captain 2pp, Disappearing Cave 6pp

#26 Oct/Dec 1960: Hamilton Hawk 10pp, Patsy’s Job 1pp, Patsy the Engineer 2pp, Springtime for Rufus 6pp

That’s a total of 415 pages. More articles in this series are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

The Three Mouseketeers on Wikipedia.

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