IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS 1952-1953

All images © DC Comics. From THE ADVENTURES OF REX THE WONDER DOG #1, Jan-Feb 1952

When National (DC) Comics and All-American Comics merged around 1946, that brought in a raft of All-American titles with logos Ira Schnapp did not do, but over the next few years some of those were cancelled and others were renamed because of a genre change. A few of DC’s long-running titles had logos created before Ira began working at the company like ACTION COMICS and DETECTIVE COMICS, but all the new titles of the late 1940s and 1950s were designed by Schnapp. Above is the first new one for books with 1952 cover-dates. I think it’s one of Ira’s best. The short word REX gets the most space and attention, but the tagline THE WONDER DOG is equally appealing. THE ADVENTURES OF is again pulled from a previous title, THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET. If Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie could attract movie viewers, why not a comic about a dog? It did pretty well.

From GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #15, Jan-Feb 1952

Issue #15 of this romance title featured a new Ira Schnapp logo with much thicker letters than the earlier one. This is a better logo for a comic, where the printing was not always top quality. The letters are just as appealing as before, and the double border allows for a second color.

From HERE’S HOWIE #1, Jan-Feb 1952

This new teen humor title joined BUZZY, LEAVE IT TO BINKY and A DATE WITH JUDY in 1952 with a bouncy logo by Schnapp. After a few issues, the main character and his buddy were drafted and it became a military humor book.

From HERE’S HOWIE #1, Jan-Feb 1952

That friend was featured in his own stories beginning in the first issue with a feature logo by Ira. I actually like the curves of this one more than the straight edges of the cover logo.

From SENSATION COMICS #107, Jan-Feb 1952

SENSATION, originally the home of Wonder Woman, was struggling, and Johnny Peril was tried as a new feature in issue #107. The new logo by Schnapp is well-designed, but Johnny didn’t last long here either. Perhaps there should have been an All-Johnny League with Johnny Everyman, Johnny Thunder, and Johnny Law.

From THE ADVENTURES OF DEAN MARTIN AND JERRY LEWIS #1, July-Aug 1952

Bob Hope had been a hit in a DC comic, and Martin and Lewis were equally popular, suggesting that movie comedians were a better choice than stars like Alan Ladd. This title is WAY too long, but Ira makes it work by cleverly emphasizing and matching the words MARTIN and LEWIS on the bottom line, with double borders for a second color. THE ADVENTURES OF looks like type, but I think it’s lettered by Ira in his block letter style.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #1, Aug 1952

With the horrors of World War Two beginning to fade from the public memory, war comics glorifying heroic soldiers and sailors grew in popularity, and DC joined in with three new titles. Again, Schnapp picks the important words to emphasize, and uses his open block letters with a double outline for a second color.

From ALL AMERICAN MEN OF WAR #127, Aug-Sept 1952

ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN had not done as well as expected, so that title was converted into a war book with a fine logo from Schnapp. WAR matches the one above, but might be redrawn. ALL AMERICAN is in a handsome banner that adds interest, depth, and movement.

From STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #131, Aug-Sept 1952

This title uses a similar banner to the one above with added appropriate stars, but the letter shapes inside and the ones in the rest of the logo are different. Editor Robert Kanigher must have been pleased with Ira’s work on these logos. All three books were popular and lasted many years.

From THE PHANTOM STRANGER #1, Aug-Sept 1952

DC tried another “mystery” title with a story host like EC Comics, but it did not sell well or last long. The character later became a mainstay of the company’s spookier types. Ira Schnapp rarely seemed to do well with scary logos, and this is no exception. The wavy outlines tend to look poorly-drawn rather than ghostly or frightening to me.

Before settling on the name for the series, DC was considering a different one and had Schnapp also design this logo for an ashcan, a hand-made sample sent to the U.S. Copyright Office to secure rights to the name. A similar one was probably made for PHANTOM STRANGER, but is not in public hands if it still exists, the one above was found on the Heritage Auctions site ha.com where Alex Jay spotted it, thanks Alex! For some reason I like this logo a little better than the one that was chosen. While STRANGER is very similar in each, there are differences, showing that Ira completely drew the word twice. Note that the cover art and contents on ashcans were completely random and had nothing to do with the name.

From HERE’S HOWIE #5, Sept-Oct 1952

Once in the army, Howie and friends had to find another way to meet women, and the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was it, as noted in this new feature title by Ira.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #31, Oct-Nov 1952

And in A DATE WITH JUDY, this feature began with a Schnapp logo. I like the upper and lower case approach.

From ALL-STAR WESTERN #67, Oct-Nov 1952

ALL-STAR WESTERN continued in that genre until 1961, and in issue #67 this new feature began with a logo by Ira. He would do a better one later, as the character was popular and had a long life.

From OH, BROTHER! #1, Jan 1953, publshed by Stanhall Comics
From OH, BROTHER! #5, Oct 1953, publshed by Stanhall Comics

Now we come to the only comics publisher Ira Schnapp designed logos for other than DC, as far as I know. Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz had gotten their start in publishing with sleazy pulp magazines in the early 1930s, as described in articles beginning HERE. In 1933, Harry partnered with artist Adolphe Barreaux who acted as art director for the pulps and who soon opened a studio which produced all the story illustrations as well as short comics stories for the Donenfeld pulp magazines under the umbrella name of Trojan, but everything was hidden behind a maze of shell companies and ever-changing publisher names. This continued until the late 1940s, with Barreaux eventually editing the magazines too. Then readers lost interest in the pulps, and starting around 1950 Barreaux tried to convert his line to comic books under the names Trojan, Ribage and Merit, among others. His first efforts were in the western and crime genres, and the ones I’ve looked at had no Ira Schnapp work.

In 1953, Barreaux (probably backed by Donenfeld) teamed with Stanley Estrow, co-owner of Leader News, a magazine distributor, and Hal Seeger, a former Fleisher Studios animator, to create Stanhall Comics. All were written by Seeger, who probably did some of the art, perhaps layouts, with finishes by artist Bill Williams. The editorial offices of Stanhall and other Barreaux comics were the same as National/DC Comics at the time, 480 Lexington Avenue, so it’s not hard to see how closely they were connected, though there was no public acknowledgment of it. The only names promoted in Stanhall were Seeger and Williams, though Barreaux’s name is in the indicias. These comics were very different from the other Barreaux comics, more cartoony and humorous. Their first title, above, was teen humor. I’m not sure if Ira Schnapp designed the logo on the first issue so I won’t count it, but the other one that began on issue #2 looks very much like his work. Schnapp would have known Barreaux from his time doing logos and cover lettering for the Donenfeld-Liebowitz pulp magazines, and they were now working out of the same building. It’s not a stretch to believe that Ira was asked by Barreaux, or even Liebowitz, to create some logos in a more “DC” style for Stanhall comics, and I believe he did. This title lasted for five issues.

From REX THE WONDER DOG #7, Jan-Feb 1953

A backup featuring another smart animal began in REX with issue #4, and gained this fine Schnapp logo with issue #7. DETECTIVE is somewhat like the original logo for DETECTIVE COMICS, but with more interesting E’s.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #33, Feb-March 1953

This new feature in A DATE WITH JUDY is in almost the same style as Coby, above.

From BUZZY #48, March-April 1953

Ira provided a new logo for BUZZY #48. It’s more sedate and regular than the previous one, and seems an odd choice for a teen humor title.

From G.I. JANE #1, May 1953, published by Stanhall Comics
From G.I. JANE #10, Dec 1954, published by Stanhall Comics

The second Stanhall title was probably geared toward sales at Army PX stores. It’s equally humorous and cartoony looking, but with a more adult teasing sexuality from the lead than anything DC Comics was publishing, though perhaps THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE got close at times. I think Schnapp designed both these logos. The first appeared only on the first issue, the second on the rest. He might have lettered a few of the covers, but I’m not sure, so I’m not going to count those in my Schnapp inventory. Stanhall published ten issues, and an eleventh came out under another publisher name, making it the longest-lasting of the group.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #35, June-July 1953

This was a two-page dating advice feature in comics form that appeared in the teen humor books. It did not have a consistent logo until this one by Schnapp, which was then reused.

From MUGGY-DOO #1, July 1953, published by Stanhall Comics

The third Stanhall title was this funny animal one much like some DC was also publishing. The logo is very much in Ira Schnapp’s style, though you can see the word balloon isn’t. It lasted four issues.

From WONDER WOMAN #60, July-Aug 1953

Wonder Woman’s original writer and co-creator William Moulton Marston had died in 1947. His artist collaborator H.G. Peter continued as the character’s artist for another ten years, but Robert Kanigher, the book’s editor, gradually took over writing the stories and moving the character away from Moulton’s ideas into ones he felt were more in line with DC’s other superheroes. One step in that process was this new logo design by Ira Schnapp, replacing the original elegant script one I think was by Peter. There’s still a script influence, but Schnapp’s very bold letters are separated rather than joined, and more like block lettering than script. This logo would last for years. While I like it, it always bothered me a little that the E and R of WONDER are not joined together, though they seem to be reaching for each other.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #36, Aug-Sept 1953

Another two-page dating feature in comics form with a logo by Schnapp. I like the open diary behind the D.

From PETER PANDA #1, Aug-Sept 1953

This new series was sort of a funny animal one, but really more of a fantasy, having human kids interacting with talking animals. Schnapp did a great job on the logo, making it fun, curvy, and a little bouncy, but with enough square corners to give it a bit more gravity, and a double outline for a second color.

From PETER PANDA #1, Aug-Sept 1953

In addition to stories featuring the main character, this backup also appeared in PETER PANDA with a feature logo by Schnapp. Inspired by “The Wizard of Oz” perhaps?

From EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO HARVEY #1, Sept-Oct 1953

DC added this teen humor title to their line with a nice Schnapp logo, but it didn’t last long. Perhaps the market was saturated by this time.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #202, Dec 1953

At the end of 1953, DC finally changed the feature name of “Impossible But True” to one which included the main character’s name and occupation. The logo by Ira is sedate, with only a slight curve and a drop shadow to add interest, but it and the feature continued for years.

To sum up, I found 28 logos by Ira Schnapp in comics with 1952-53 cover dates, many of which would last a long time. Lots more would follow. Other articles in this series and more you might enjoy are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

One thought on “IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS 1952-1953

  1. Steven Rowe

    Leader News lasted at least until Jan 1956, when they distributed their last issue of Mad.
    And Hal Seeger claimed in an interview that he was fired by DC from writing Binky, etc. because he worked at Stanhall, which was in direct competition . So if some of DC’s owners owned Stanhall, they certainly didn’t tell anybody at the DC offices about it.

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