IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS: 1946-1947

All images © DC Comics. From ANIMAL ANTICS #1, March 1946

In 1945, National (DC) Comics began a new funny animal title after having had success with converting LEADING COMICS to one a few months earlier. It saw print with a March, 1946 cover date, though the work on the first issue had been done in 1945, but throughout this series we will take the cover dates as a dividing point between posts. As with LEADING, Ira Schnapp once again did the lettering and logos for most of the stories in the first few issues, and many after that. He also designed the cover logo, above, using rounded, bouncy letters that he was employing for humor logos at the time. The drop shadow helps pop it off the cover, and it reads well. By this time Ira was doing plenty of work for the company, lettering both the Superman and Batman newspaper strips, lettering covers and stories in many titles, and creating house ads, but humor stories were relatively light on text, and perhaps easier and more fun than superhero ones, and I think he probably enjoyed them.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #1, March 1946
Eight feature logos from ANIMAL ANTICS #1, March 1946

Though all these logos have a loose, humorous approach, look at the variety in them. From the fancy script of Presto to the bulk of Walrus there’s a lot to appreciate. Skooky is so tall because it filled the first square panel. Presto Pete was the cover feature in ANIMAL ANTICS at first, but was soon pushed out by The Raccoon Kids, and their logo was the longest-lasting of these, with a revised version eventually appearing on their own series.

From REAL FACT COMICS #1, March 1946

Another new title began in the same month with a very different approach. It was DC’s first and only attempt at a non-fiction comic, the idea being to do biographies and stories of real events in comics form. Readers did not flock to it, and while it lasted a while, I don’t think it was ever very popular. Ira Schnapp designed two-thirds of the logo, with COMICS pulled from one of several older logos by others. I don’t think it’s one of Ira’s better efforts. The horizontal strokes are not consistent, with the one on the A very thin, the ones on the F and T thicker, and the C having no variation at all. REAL also looks like an afterthought. The emphasis is on FACT, though some of the stories inside had few of them.

Five feature logos from LEADING COMICS #23, Feb 1947

With the February, 1947 issue, LEADING COMICS jettisoned some of their features and replaced them with five new ones, again all with logos by Ira Schnapp. This batch seems more assured to me, and familiar style elements are creeping in such as the thin middle stroke of the E’s in PETER and DOODLES, and the open script of LIKE A. The handsome script tagline under DOODLES DUCK is charming, and that feature was the best-looking of the new group with great art by Howard Post. Peter Porkchops took over the cover, making it the lead feature, and he proved popular and long-lasting. His logo with some revisions later appeared on his own long-running series. Doodles Duck was also popular, and later had many stories created by Sheldon Mayer.

From STAR SPANGLED COMICS #65, Feb 1947

Robin received a solo feature for the first time in STAR SPANGLED COMICS #65, and a new feature logo by Schnapp. ROBIN is based on the one in this older logo by Jerry Robinson that began appearing in the summer of 1941:

From BATMAN #7, Oct-Nov 1941

Ira’s version copies some of the letter shapes, but his right leg of the R looks better to me, and the serifs are wider and more effective, even with one missing from the upper left corner of the N. Ira’s tagline THE BOY WONDER is in a style he was using at the time with squared-off strokes that leave small notches in some places. The bat shape is not as good as Robinson’s but gets the idea across. Ira’s feature logo for Robin was used for many years.

From MORE FUN COMICS #121, April 1947

I think this logo is one of Ira’s best from the 1940s. It’s from a new fantasy feature launched in MORE FUN COMICS #121 with wonderful Walt Kelly-inspired art by Howard Post, who might have had some input on the design. The detail and decorative elements are great, and the letter shapes are full of interest and whimsy. The tagline is in a nice scroll and lettered in a storybook style that works well. Too bad this feature was not popular enough to last long.

From STAR SPANGLED COMICS #69, June 1947

With this feature, DC first dipped its toe in the Western genre, though the character was really a frontier fighter from an earlier era. I believe Ira Schnapp designed the logo, including the tomahawk behind the T based on the style, which is similar to other logos he was doing at the time, though he did not letter the first three stories. By this time I think Schnapp had become the person at DC usually asked to create new logos. This one is not particularly appropriate for the genre or time period, but the tomahawk helps make it memorable.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #8, May-June 1947

A new feature was added to ANIMAL ANTICS #8, a mostly silent strip with a Schnapp logo filling the first panel.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #9, July-Aug 1947

Presto Pete got a new feature logo in ANIMAL ANTICS #9 that I think is very appealing, and more appropriate for a magic bunny. The treatment is somewhat similar to what Ira did on Jimminy, though the very rounded letter shapes are not. The top-heavy appearance of most letters (except the S and O) also give it an Art Deco feel. Designing this Pete in almost the same style as Pete the Pup seems like a bad idea to me, though, and could have confused readers.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #10, Sept-Oct 1947

Another new feature began in the next issue with a very long title that Ira makes work well. This one is somewhat similar to the last two, but different enough to stand apart from them.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #1, Oct-Nov 1947

With this new title, DC entered the teen humor market that was proving so successful for Archie Comics. DC based theirs on a popular radio show, and it had a long run, but probably did not sell as well as Archie titles (my guess). Since radio shows didn’t usually have or need logos, Ira was on his own, but I think he came up with an appealing logo that’s made more memorable by the character art of Graham Place, though Perhaps Ira added the NBC microphone.

From GANG BUSTERS #1, Dec 1947-Jan 1948

With the appeal of super-heroes falling, DC was looking to branch out into as many new genres as possible, and this was their first entry into crime comics that didn’t involve a superhero. Again, it was based on a popular radio show, and the series did well. The logo by Schnapp shares some style points with his REAL FACT one, but I think this is a better effort. The feel is again Art Deco, which seems appropriate for a genre that first became popular during Prohibition years in pulps and movies when Art Deco was the latest thing.

That’s 23 logos by Ira Schnapp in books with 1947-48 cover dates. His logo work was on the rise. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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