IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS: 1949

All images © DC Comics. From SUPERBOY #1, March-April 1949
Original logo from the DC files.

With this logo, I feel that Ira Schnapp had truly arrived at his role as the primary logo designer for National (DC) comics. Perhaps for legal reasons, it did not follow the style of Ira’s Superman logo but headed off in a new direction. The influence is Art Deco, the curve adds interest, and the drop shadow provides a three-dimensional aspect as the logo seems to float above the cover. It’s friendly and appealing, perfect for the character. From this time forward Schnapp would design logos for nearly all new titles at DC until he left the company in 1968, even as he set the style for the publisher through lettering nearly all the covers and house ads as well.

From GREEN LANTERN #36, Jan-Feb 1949

I skipped past this feature logo chronologically to put the more important logo for this year at the top. Streak was a precursor of Rex the Wonder Dog who nearly took over GREEN LANTERN, but was not enough to keep that book alive. Ira’s logo has lots of forward motion, which is appropriate.

From MISS BEVERLY HILL OF HOLLYWOOD #1, March-April 1949

This short-lived series features a fine Schnapp logo. The graceful flag wave curve of the main section leaves room for the rest in the gaps. MISS and OF are typical open script from Ira with a bit of extra elegance, and HOLLYWOOD is his typical block letters. BEVERLY HILLS has an Art Deco feel with an open drop for a second color. Well done all the way.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #139, April 1949

Schnapp continued his roll of fine logos with this vast improvement over the previous ADVENTURE logo. COMICS keeps the old design, but I think redrawn by Ira, and ADVENTURE is a much better open script treatment than the one on the book for many previous years. Again the arc adds interest, and this logo is in a slightly tilted box, as was the style for other titles at the time like ACTION and DETECTIVE, giving these superhero anthologies a similar look that fans could spot quickly.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #21, July-Aug 1949

A new funny animal feature in ANIMAL ANTICS with a new Schnapp logo full of bounce.

From ROMANCE TRAIL #1, July-Aug 1949

DC was about to enter the romance genre with new titles, and editor Julius Schwartz, the western editor, thought, why not combine the two? A clever idea, but it didn’t find enough readers to last long. The Schnapp logo uses rope for the top word and logs for the bottom one, adding a heart at the left. I don’t think the logo succeeds, the styles don’t go together well.

From GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #1, Aug-Sept 1949

Romance comics had been launched by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby at Prize in 1947 with YOUNG ROMANCE. It was a big hit, and imitators soon followed. DC joined the party with this title, and I think editor Robert Kanigher’s idea was to try to appeal to young girls by making the covers look more like movie magazines than comics. At first they had photo covers, and the logos, beginning with this one, pushed the boundaries of what comics printing could handle. Ira did a fine job on this elegant logo, but the thin areas tended to fill in from ink gain. Schnapp’s skill with this style is undeniable, it’s a classy and impressive job. I’ve written in detail about all the DC romance title logos beginning HERE.

From JIMMY WAKELY #1, Sept-Oct 1949

DC was still trying to land a popular cowboy for a comic series, and they tried this one. Wakely is considered the last of the singing cowboys, and never reached the prominence of Gene Autry or Roy Rogers. His comic did not last long. I think Ira’s logo was meant to represent the star’s signature, which looks something like this in examples I’ve seen. It doesn’t seem a very effective approach for a western to me.

From SECRET HEARTS #1, Sept-Oct 1949

DC’s second romance title has a Schnapp logo equally as elegant as the first one, but with somewhat thicker letters. The black shading (it’s not really a drop shadow) helps pop it off the background. There are still some very thin areas that could fill in, as on the bottom of the first S.

From THE ADVENTURES OF ALAN LADD #1, Oct-Nov 1949

DC continued to try to find success making comics about Hollywood actors. This one also did not last long. The name here is solid, masculine block letters with a drop shadow, while the top line is heavy script. Nothing wrong with Ira’s work, I think the lack of success was more due to kids not being that interested in the actor.

From THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET #1, Oct-Nov 1949

Perhaps comedy stars on radio and TV had a chance to succeed, thought someone at DC, probably editor-in-chief Whitney Ellsworth. This logo again seems to suggest signatures with the addition of stars over the I’s. It also did not last long.

From THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET #1, Oct-Nov 1949

Inside the book a different logo was used on the first page of each story. Perhaps this was the original cover logo and replaced by the final one, I don’t know. The names are more typical of Ira’s humor work.

From GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #2, Oct-Nov 1949

With the second issue of this romance title, the DC Bullet symbol in the upper corner was replaced by this small circular logo, which I’ve included larger to show it better. It was used on many following issues, and despite the small size, I think it qualifies as another logo for Schnapp. In 1950 I will show an original for one of these on another title. SECRET HEARTS avoided the problem by having no corner symbol at all for a while.

From LEADING COMICS #39, Oct-Nov 1949

Over in LEADING COMICS, this new feature logo appeared. It’s pretty generic, but I think it’s by Schnapp.

From Superman Sunday strip of Oct 23, 1949

I thought I would include this variation by Ira of his Superman logo used as a top line on the Sunday strips beginning at this time. Despite it being very squashed vertically, and with an off-model S, it still works okay. Later it was made even smaller and simpler with open block letters, but I don’t think that version qualifies as a logo, more of a title.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #152, Oct 1949

Here’s an impressive new feature logo from DETECTIVE where Ira seems to have found a better way to incorporate wood into a western logo. I’m not sure if wood is the best way to represent the character, but I like the logo.

From ANIMAL ANTICS #23, Nov-Dec 1949

A new funny animal feature logo from ANIMAL ANTICS by Schnapp.

Some time in mid 1949, Ira revised the DC Bullet symbol. His new version makes SUPERMAN bolder, and replaces PUBLICATION with NATIONAL COMICS. He also adds two divider dots at the sides, and makes the circles bolder. The DC is larger and shaped better, too, in a style similar to the font Cooper Black. Not a startling change, but definitely an improvement. It first appeared on November cover-dated issues.

From PETER PORKCHOPS #1, Nov-Dec 1949

Peter Porkchops gained his own humor title at the end of 1949. The logo by Schnapp is very similar to the one he did for Peter’s first story in LEADING COMICS in 1947, but it’s redrawn, and has a thicker outline and a drop shadow. The character art is by Rube Grossman.

From LEADING COMICS #40, Dec 1949-Jan 1950

Over in LEADING, this new funny animal feature began with a Schnapp logo.

From WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #43, Dec 1949-Jan 1950

Finally, this new feature began in WORLD’S FINEST with a series logo by Ira that I guess is meant to be made of steam, though it looks more like sky writing.

In all, I found 21 logos by Ira Schnapp, the same as in 1948, but I think with some more important and long-lasting examples. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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