IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS: 1964

All images © DC Comics. From THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE #85, Feb-March 1964

By 1964, DC’s Hollywood humor titles were starting to struggle for readers, and one way editors tried to gain new ones was to put a new logo on the book. I don’t think this ever worked, but they kept doing it through the 1960s when pressure from the growing popularity of Marvel Comics was being felt. This new Bob Hope logo by Ira Schnapp moves away from the bouncy humor of the first one to very tall and conservative open block letters with the top line in very small script. It certainly announces the contents well, but I don’t think is as good a logo as the previous one, and it creates large open areas above the smaller letters that aren’t used well here.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #317, Feb 1964

In ADVENTURE, the popularity of the Legion of Superheroes had grown so great that Ira was asked to add them to his logo. It remained until Supergirl took over the title in 1969.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #52, Feb-March 1964

In BRAVE AND BOLD, editor Robert Kanigher tried teaming three of his most popular war heroes in this one-shot with a new logo by Ira. The large 3 is an attention-getter.

From THE DOOM PATROL #86, March-April 1964

The Doom Patrol was DC’s team of misfit, angry heroes, a direction Marvel was having success with, and there’s some debate over whether they inspired X-Men or vice versa, or neither. They first appeared in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #80, and with issue #86 took over that book. Schnapp’s first logo for them was sedate, but there would be several more in quick succession.

From CAPT. STORM #1, May-June 1964

While most of Robert Kanigher’s war books were successful, this one did not last very long. The logo by Schnapp features a rope enclosure and an anchor, but is otherwise his standard open letters.

From SHOWCASE #50, May-June 1964

With the popularity of spy films like “Dr. No,” DC may have felt they’d have success bringing back King Faraday from the short-lived title DANGER TRAIL. These reprints in SHOWCASE were not successful enough to move into a new series, but I like Ira’s logo, perhaps the first one to use a double dash. An unrelated TV show with the same name began the following year.

Ira’s original logo from the DC files shows that he drew the box around SHOWCASE and PRESENTS as part of this logo. In this way he was often the cover designer as much as the logo designer.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #327, May 1964

In 1964, editor Julius Schwartz took over the Batman books from the soon-to-retire Jack Schiff, and he went with a more realistic approach in the art and stories. He commissioned this new logo from Ira that seems more serious and adult to me. The angled shape inside the box and the drop shadow add interest, and the entire treatment might have been used on a detective pulp magazine.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #327, May 1964

Inside the book, Elongated Man moved over from THE FLASH to backup stories in DETECTIVE with this new Schnapp feature logo that visualizes the name well.

Here’s an unpublished Ira Schnapp logo from 1964 for a character that was intended to have a SHOWCASE tryout but never received one. All that remains is the logo with a patriotic theme and a well-drawn feather by Ira. The cut-out area was probably where the Showcase logo had been pasted, and that might have been reused elsewhere.

From BLACKHAWK #197, June 1964

BLACKHAWK was another property DC bought from Quality Comics, a mix of war themes and aviation superheroes, and it had been their best-seller, so DC simply kept it going with the same creative personnel and fine logo by Al Grenet for many years. Perhaps sales were falling in 1964, so surely a new logo would fix that, right? I like this one by Schnapp with a hawk emblem by Dick Dillon and Charles Cuidera.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #143, June-July 1964

J’onn J’onzz moved to HOUSE OF MYSTERY in this year and his feature had this new logo from Ira that includes elegant script and reversed block letters.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #54, June-July 1964

The beginnings of the Teen Titans first emerged in this issue of BRAVE AND BOLD with three kid sidekicks teaming up. Schnapp did new logos for each of them, and I consider this three logos for him even though Kid Flash’s logo is similar to the one on his feature stories. This version is different enough to qualify in my opinion.

From 80-PAGE GIANT #1 and #2, Aug-Sept 1964

The title of this new series that grew out of DC’s annuals is pretty small, but I think still qualifies as a logo rather than simply cover lettering as it was the book’s title and reused many times. The one on the first issue has a shape around it showing the remains of the word GIANT, as it was a last-minute switch from a GIANT SUPERMAN ANNUAL. The second issue one is in a more typical burst shape, which varied to fit the main character logo. The second one is relettered, but I will count them as one logo.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #55, Aug-Sept 1964

For this team-up, Schnapp had to create a new version of his Metal Men logo with much shorter letters. This time he made each M a little larger than the rest. His logo for The Atom was okay as is.

The original logo from the DC files shows where The Atom had been pasted on but AND is new. Metal Men has quite a bit of white correction paint.

From YOUNG ROMANCE #131, Aug-Sept 1964

Schnapp did a new logo for this issue of YOUNG ROMANCE that has less tall letters and an uphill slant. Otherwise it’s similar to the previous one.

On the original from the DC files you can see some of Ira’s pencil work behind the inks.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #56, Oct-Nov 1964

For this BRAVE AND BOLD team-up, Ira created a condensed (less wide) version of his Flash logo and a new one for the Manhunter From Mars that I like. This book was making lots of extra logo work for Schnapp.

From OUR FIGHTING FORCES #87, Oct 1964

Ira’s new logo for this war title is one I like better than his looser previous one. It has a more serious feel that I think is appropriate for the subject.

The original from the DC files shows very little white paint correction.

From SECRET HEARTS #99, Oct 1964

This new logo by Schnapp for SECRET HEARTS lasted only two issues. Perhaps the shape was not a good fit for cover art.

From THE DOOM PATROL #91, Nov 1964

Ira’s second logo for this book emphasizes DOOM by slanting and angling it, and ads a new tag line in a burst that has an almost Marvel Comics sound, probably written by series scripter Arnold Drake.

From FALLING IN LOVE #71, Nov 1964

This title had had the same Schnapp logo since 1955, and was due for a new one, the editor thought. Here Ira replaced his old-fashiones script for the top line with more modern upper and lower case open letters, and LOVE follows the same layout as the previous logo but now has larger serifs that join the V and E.

The original logo from the DC files shows how tight the spacing is in the top line, but those tiny openings between the letters do show on the cover.

From SHOWCASE #53, Nov-Dec 1964

It’s not clear if this SHOWCASE tryout for G.I. Joe has any connection to the new line of Hasbro toys out at the same time. There doesn’t seem to be any official connection, but the toys were advertised in the comics. The concept had already had several comic book and comic strip versions by then. This logo by Ira shows a TM, meaning a tradmark was applied for, but DC did nothing else with it after this two-issue appearance. The letters are massive, commanding attention, but Joe Kubert’s figure art makes it work, and the letters seem even larger because of it.

The original logo from the DC files shows that Ira and Kubert did their parts on the same art paper, so they must have worked on the design together. I think this original is very large, as it seems to have been folded through the O to fit in the file drawer. Proofreaders would likely have wanted periods after the G and I, which originally stood for Galvanized Iron, but was commonly thought to mean Government Issue or Ground Infantry. The logo is better without them.

From GREEN LANTERN #33, Dec 1964

Ira created a new Green Lantern logo for issue #33. It still features green flames, which are actually appropriate for the golden age character not this version, but I like it anyway, and the flames add texture and interest. I think this is better than the previous version in a flaming box.

I think this is a photostat of the logo from the DC files, as I see no correction paint or pencil lines. The flames show up better here, and they are done with skill using a wedge-tipped pen. I love the way they break up the letter borders.

From HEART THROBS #93, Dec 1964-Jan 1965

Ira’s new logo for HEART THROBS also gives it a more modern look with only the heart inside the O breaking the block letters. I think it’s quite effective.

The original from the DC files shows some pencil lines and a little white correction paint.

From THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #57, Dec 1964-Jan 1965

This BRAVE AND BOLD tryout has a logo by Ira I don’t care for much. The texture in the main word makes it look kind of dirty rather than conveying the metamorphic quality of molten lava Schnapp might have been going for.

That texture shows up better on this photostat from the DC files, and by comparing it to the printed cover you can see that the texture Ira did was not used anyway but replaced by even cruder coloring work. Was this logo meant to be scary? If so, not a success in my eyes. The character was sort of an anti-hero.

From SGT. ROCK’S PRIZE BATTLE TALES #1, Winter 1964

This was DC’s first and only war annual other than some in the 80-Page Giant series. From the top lettering, this seems like it might have been intended for that, but was issued separately. The Sgt. Rock logo is by Gaspar Saladino, one of his first, the rest is by Schnapp, including the apostrophe and S. Gaspar would become DC’s main logo designer in a few years.

To sum up, I found 28 new logos by Ira Schnapp in books with 1964 cover dates, a big increase from the previous few years. Other articles in this series and more you might like are on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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