IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS 1950-1951

All images © DC Comics. From THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE #1, Feb-March 1950

After several failed attempts, DC finally found a Hollywood star that could succeed in a comic book, and this new title lasted for 18 years. It had several Schnapp logos during that time. This first one reuses THE ADVENTURES OF from Ozzie and Harriet’s logo, but the rest is new. BOB HOPE is full of energy and quirky humor that I think is a perfect match for the subject. That very small first O is unusual for Ira, and I love it. The bottom tagline is close to the top line for balance.

From GIRLS’ ROMANCES #1, Feb-March 1950

A third romance title joined SECRET HEARTS and GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES following the style of the latter, with another elegant but very thin logo by Ira Schnapp. Again, this was liable to fill in at the thinnest points, and I think was meant to mimic movie and romance magazines for girls that were not comics. This one also had a special logo done for the upper left corner, and here’s the original from the DC files:

As you can see, despite the tiny size on the cover, this was as much work for Ira as any of his logos. There’s quite a bit of white paint covering areas he changed, and some of it is flaking off on the G. You can also just make out remnants of his original pencil drawing. This was not a title meant to fit into a circle, but Ira made it work pretty well anyway, and his letters here are just as elegant as on the main logo. I don’t recall how big the original art is, but my guess it at least five inches wide.

From MISS MELODY LANE OF BROADWAY #1, Feb-March 1950

DC’s obsession with media stars led in this surprising direction, a companion title to MISS BEVERLY HILLS. The logo follows the exact same design and uses the same MISS. Neither book lasted very long despite these fine logos.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #156, Feb 1950

This series of weird detective stories starred Roy Raymond, and later gained a new title with his name in it. Some earlier versions were more like story titles than logos, this is the first one that seems intended for reuse, and it’s by Schnapp. It’s an interesting combination of serif and sans-serif forms, just slightly cartoony, and with a drop shadow to help it read over art.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #156, Feb 1950

In the same issue, this feature received a highly stylized new logo. I like the ideas in it, but can’t understand why the character’s name is so small, and why there’s so much empty space in the eagle. I’m also not sure why the star is droopy. Not a good effort by Schnapp in my opinion.

From FEATURE FILMS #1, March-April 1950

This new title intended to present comics versions of popular new films, something Dell was having success with, is right up Ira’s alley, probably reminding him of his showcard work for movie theaters. The book’s own logo is standard open block letters with a handsome script PRESENTS. Ira’s logo for the film uses typical Chinese-like letters popular at the time, but now considered in poor taste. Promotional art for the film did not follow the same idea. I’m counting this as two logos for Ira, even though the movie title was used only this once.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #16, April-May 1950

Ira designed this feature logo for a regular two-page one in the teen humor books. There were a few earlier versions, this is the first one that seems like a logo, and it was reused.

From DANGER TRAIL #1, July-Aug 1950

This new title featured international thriller stories and featured King Faraday. It was not a success, but the character had a long though intermittent history. The logo uses very plain block letters. Perhaps editor Julius Schwartz was trying to appeal to older readers buying men’s adventure magazines. The red and white colors grab attention.

From FEATURE FILMS #3, July-Aug 1950

The second issue of this series had some poor lettering not by Schnapp, but this third one has an excellent movie title by him. It uses the open script style he had developed with the alternate style E, but larger letters starting the two main words and a very long tail on the G add style, and it looks great on the red background. The final issue, #4, used mainly type on the cover. Clearly the book had not found a following.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #1, Aug-Sept 1950

Editor Julius Schwartz had been an early science fiction fan and agent before taking a job at All-American Comics, and then when that company merged with National (DC) became one of their long-term editors until his retirement. I imagine this was something he campaigned for, and in 1950 he was finally able to launch a science fiction anthology.

Original logo from the DC files

Ira’s logo, seen here in a later version where the black areas were opened up for color, suggests he was looking at science fiction pulp magazines, perhaps provided by Julie as examples. It could also be showing the inflluence of science fiction movies, and the first issue featured a short adaptation of one, “Destination Moon.” The block letters themselves are ordinary, it’s the angle and the telescoping that make it memorable. Science fiction fans were often comics fans, and this book was a success that led to more.

From SENSATION COMICS #99, Sept-Oct 1950

Over in SENSATION, long the home of Wonder Woman, this science fiction feature was begun. ASTRA takes a similar approach to STRANGE ADVENTURES, but angled the other way. The tag line adds interest, but the feature did not last long.

From TOMAHAWK #1, Sept-Oct 1950

Tomahawk moved from STAR-SPANGLED to his own long-running title, and the cover used the Schnapp logo he had created for the feature, but inside the book this backup feature had a new logo by him. Another attempt to use logs as letters. I like this one better because of the arrows forming the horizontal bars of each A.

From RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER #1, Dec 1950

At the end of 1950, DC began a series of large yearly issues featuring a character from a popular Johnny Marks song. Ira’s logo captures the wintery feel perfectly with snow-draped letters, an early example of this idea in comics. I also like the coloring of the tag line.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #3, Dec 1950

This feature headlines STRANGE ADVENTURES from the first issue, but only received a Schnapp feature logo with issue #3. The square format allowed more art in the first panel.

From BIG TOWN #1, Jan 1951

DC added this new crime title featuring newspaper reporters to their two previous ones, GANG BUSTERS and MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY. It was again based on a popular radio and then TV show, and lasted for 50 issues. Ira’s slab serif block letter logo is pretty tame but easy to read, and I think the torn paper border below was meant to suggest stories “torn from the headlines.”

From BIG TOWN #4, April 1951

For issue #4 the same letters were put into an angled rectangle with rounded corners perhaps meant to suggest a TV screen. I’m sure Schnapp would have had to redraw the letters to do this, though he might have had an angled photostat by Jack Adler to use as a guide, so I will count this as another logo.

From BIG TOWN #2, Feb 1951

The second issue saw the debut of this backup with a feature logo by Ira, though the tag line is set in type. Possibly Ira lettered one that was not liked and replaced with this, or maybe Ira knew they wanted type there and left it blank.

From DANGER TRAIL #5, March-April 1950

The final issue of DANGER TRAIL had this new logo by Ira, which I like better, though I think TRAIL is too small. Even if a new logo could have turned sales around, which is unlikely, sales figures on this issue wouldn’t have come in until long after the book was cancelled. This is the first DC logo that uses stencilling, something that would be more popular later.

From DANGER TRAIL #5, March-April 1950

Inside the book King Faraday was replaced by Johnny Peril, a adventurous newspaper reporter who had been around as a backup character for a few years. This is one of those cases where the feature logo by Schnapp was intended to be reused, but the book’s cancellation meant it wasn’t.

From ALL-STAR WESTERN #58, April-May 1951

ALL-STAR COMICS had been the lead title of that company and home of The Justice Society of America for years, but with interest in superheroes waning, DC decided to convert it to a western book. Schnapp did this new logo with ALL in a star very similar to the previous version, and the letter shapes of the rest in typical block letters with a drop shadow. Superhero fans mourned, western ones bought it.

Four feature logos from ALL-STAR WESTERN #58, April-May 1951

All four features inside were new and had fine Schnapp logos. Trigger Twins and Roving Ranger have examples of his open script styles, Strong Bow returns to the Native American look of Pow Wow Smith’s second logo, and Don Caballero is Art Deco made memorable by the giant C.

From MYSTERY IN SPACE #1, April-May 1951

The success of STRANGE ADVENTURES led to this second science fiction anthology from editor Julie Schwartz. The logo is in the same style. I don’t like the color choices on this first issue, but generally it looked good, and the black areas (reversed and filled with yellow here) were also opened up for color later.

This photostat of the original logo from the DC files show how it looked when Schnapp lettered it. The black areas give the feel of lighting from below and to the right, the opposite of the telescoping on many other Schnapp logos.

From MYSTERY IN SPACE #1, April-May 1951

This feature began in the first issue with a logo by Ira that makes use of one of his Old English styles that he thought appropriate because of the word KNIGHTS. It works for me, even though it’s not science fictional.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #9, June 1951

Issue #9 of STRANGE ADVENTURES introduced a new regular feature and a character that would have a long life at DC. I’m not sure if Ira added the comet art around this logo…

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #10, July 1951

…but it was dropped by the next issue and remained like this for the rest of the run.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #1, Dec 1951-Jan 1952

Always looking to expand their line, it was inevitable that DC would try horror comics, though theirs were mild compared to others on the market, and they preferred to call them “mystery” comics after this first title. Ira’s logo is not at all scary (perhaps a good thing, as scary was not a strong point for him), but the open letters with a drop shadow are effective all the same.

Here’s a photostat of a later version from the DC files with the drop shadow opened up for color. Not as effective in black and white, but it worked fine on the covers.

To sum up, I found 30 logos by Ira Schnapp in 1950-51 issues. His logo output was down some from the previous two years, but the work itself includes many title logos that would last for a long time. More articles in this series and others you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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