IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS: 1954-1955

All images © DC Comics except as noted. From THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER #1, Feb-March 1954

No, you’re not mistaken, this is not a DC title, it’s another one from Stanhall Comics. As I explained in the previous post, Stanhall had offices in the same building as National (DC) whose owners Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz likely had a financial stake in it. This is their fourth title, and I think also likely to have been sold at Army PX stores like G.I. JANE, as the teasing sexual humor is more adult than what DC was doing. The word DAUGHTER is very much in Ira Schnapp’s style, and I believe this is one of the logos he produced for the short-lived comics line.

From BROADWAY HOLLYWOOD BLACKOUTS #1, March-April 1954

Here’s the final Stanhall title, and again I think the logo is by Schnapp. The lower case letters in the top line are particularly familiar from other logos by him. This title only lasted two issues. The line was distributed by Leader News, one of the financial backers, and when Leader went bankrupt in 1955, this and many other small publishers went under with it. Harry Donenfeld had a financial stake in Leader, too, as well as Independent News, so in a way he was competing with himself as far as comics distribution goes, but when Leader went under it put Independent News in a solid position as the main distributor of comics, and most other comics publishers had to accept whatever deal they could get there.

From FUNNY STUFF #77, March-April 1954

In 1954 DC converted some of their funny animal anthologies to new titles featuring the lead characters. The transition was gradual, with the new logo appearing first on the last few issues of the series they came from, FUNNY STUFF in this case. The new title DODO AND THE FROG was still a funny animal anthology, all that changed was the name. This idea was probably an attempt to revitalize flagging sales, and it did not work for long, lasting only another 13 issues. Ira’s logo is appealing.

From PETER PANDA #5, April-May 1954

Over in PETER PANDA, Schnapp designed this feature logo for three frogs. I like the way SKIP is not slanted but the rest is.

From HOLLYWOOD FUNNY FOLKS #59, May-June 1954

Another of the title conversions of DC’s funny animal books with another fine Schnapp logo. The character art is by Rube Grossman. Again, this ploy only worked for about two more years. Note that Ira also did a new logo here for HOLLYWOOD FUNNY FOLKS that I will count for him even though it lasted only two issues.

From MOVIETOWN’S ANIMAL ANTICS #50, May-June 1954

The same thing happened with this title, and again I will count this as two new logos. The RACCOON KIDS one is close to what Ira had designed as a feature logo in 1946, but redrawn more carefully. The character art is probably by Otto Feuer, the feature artist. This series also lasted about two more years.

From WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #71, July-Aug 1954

WORLD’S FINEST had been a larger annual-sized quarterly book since its creation. In 1954 it shrank to the size of other DC titles and became bimonthly. Where before Superman and Batman appeared together only on the cover and had separate stories inside, now because of the shorter book length they appeared together, and Ira created this new feature logo for the first page of those stories. It uses Ira’s 1940 Superman logo and Jerry Robinson’s Batman and Robin logo from 1941, so only the remaining text above, between and below are new, but as it remained on these stories for many years, and even appeared on an 80-Page Giant cover, I’m calling it a new Schnapp logo.

From CONGO BILL #1, Aug-Sept 1954

Congo Bill had been a regular “white hunter in Africa” feature in MORE FUN COMICS and ACTION COMICS since 1940, and finally got a shot at his own title. It did not last long. The backup feature continued and in 1959 gained new fans with a fantasy approach as Congorilla.

From SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #1, Sept-Oct 1954

DC’s Superman line of titles included ACTION COMICS and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS, and in 1954 they added this spin-off featuring sidekick Jimmy Olsen. Schnapp again expanded his Superman logo at the top (but not changing that name itself) and did JIMMY OLSEN in large open letters that walk the line between heroic and humorous quite well. I love the giant J and almost as large O. There are some unavoidable blank spaces between the two lines, but it worked fine. Jimmy’s stories were indeed often funny, and he generally needed Superman to get him out of trouble.

From OUR FIGHTING FORCES #1, Oct-Nov 1954

DC added this fourth war title in 1954, and the logo by Ira breaks the pattern of the first three by going in a different direction. The letters are slanted and rounded, almost cartoony, but given importance by telescoping that makes the logo seem to loom down from above over whatever was in the art.

From A DATE WITH JUDY #44, Dec 1954-Jan 1955

While the main characters headlined most of the teen humor stories, short backups starring others were tried out occasionally. This is one with a feature logo by Schnapp.

One of the longest-lasting logo designs by Ira Schnapp was this one, for the Comics Code Authority, a group formed by several major publishers to combat public sentiment equating comic books with juvenile delinquency, a movement that led to mass public comics bonfires. It was meant to signal to parents that comics with this seal were not depicting violence, sex and gore like some from other publishers like EC and Lev Gleason. I have no proof that Ira designed this, but it sure looks like his style to me, and since DC management was a leader of this new self-censorship group, it makes sense their main designer would have been given the assignment. The “code seal” appeared on many comics from many publishers until it was deemed no longer relevant around 2010.

From MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #1, Jan-Feb 1955
Original logo from the DC files.

1955 began with a new anthology title for adventure stories and a new Schnapp logo. The most interesting things in the logo to me are the curved corners on the E’s, which match the curves on other letters. The open telescoping adds depth and importance, providing a movie title feel. MY had several other versions over time, not enough of a change to show, but one is on the original logo photostat here.. The book started out with somewhat realistic adventures around the globe but was soon featuring aliens and monsters like other DC anthologies.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1, Aug-Sept 1955

A new anthology with a great logo by Ira presented heroic fighters from previous eras. The logo letters use some of Ira’s Old English styles and are in a huge pennant-style banner.

Three feature logos from THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1, Aug-Sept 1955

Each of the three features in the book had fine Ira Schnapp logos, with Golden Gladiator in the style of the inscription on Trajan’s Column in Rome from ancient times, and the other two using Old English styles, which is perfect for Silent Knight and works fine for Viking Prince.

A photostat of the original Schnapp logo for Silent Knight survives in the DC files, and can be appreciated even more in this clearer image without color.

From FALLING IN LOVE #1, Sept-Oct 1955

With romance titles selling well, DC enlarged their line with this new title. Ira’s logo gives emphasis to LOVE with handsome serif letters, while FALLING IN is script with a style of F no longer used much, and probably not used often then. Today it seems backwards, but still reads okay in context.

DC decided to put out another heroic anthology featuring characters from the early pioneer days of America, and Ira prepared this charming logo. The letters again turn to serif forms based on the Trajan style on a weathered scroll and with a powder horn decoration.

From FRONTIER FIGHTERS #1, Sept-Oct 1955

When the book came out, it had a title change: HEROES to FIGHTERS, which the editor must have thought would attract more readers.

Three feature logos from FRONTIER FIGHTERS #1, Sept-Oct 1955

Inside the book were three features with new logos by Schnapp. None are particularly memorable except for the Indian buffalo art, but I’m not sure if Ira did that, probably not. This book featured Davy Crockett, then starring in a very popular Disney TV show, but it didn’t last long.

From THE LEGENDS OF DANIEL BOONE #1, Oct-Nov 1955

Another frontier fighter received his own title and an equally fine Schnapp logo, but also did not last long. I don’t know if Ira did the rifle art here, but he might have.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #225, Nov 1955

This new feature in DETECTIVE COMICS would have a long-lasting impression on the DC universe. Though begun as a sort of noir detective series with a science fictional twist, the character grew in popularity and powers to become almost the equal of Superman, and found a permanent home in the DC pantheon as J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Ira’s logo is sedate and offers no clues to this.

To sum up, I found 26 logos by Ira Schnapp first published in 1954-1955 dated comics. More to follow. Other articles in this series are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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