IRA SCHNAPP’S COMICS LOGOS: 1966

All images © DC Comics. From SHOWCASE #60, Jan-Feb 1966

Another of Julius Schwartz’s golden age revamps, The Spectre is perhaps the scariest of all DC “heroes.” Ira Schnapp captured that well in his logo, one of the few times he succeeded in doing scary lettering in my opinion. This one works because he retained the pointed ends of the serifs and made the edges with smaller random edge variations so it doesn’t look wavy, it looks rough. The character art by Murphy Anderson makes it even better.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #164, Feb 1966

Part of the 80-Page Giant series, this is similar to the 3 Battle Stars from BRAVE AND BOLD #52, but the bottom line is all new lettering. It’s interesting to compare Ira’s S shapes in STARS with Gaspar Saladino’s in SGT.

From ACTION COMICS #335, March 1966

In this year DC began listing and describing all their current and upcoming issues in a column originally by editor E. Nelson Bridwell with this logo by Schnapp. It incorporates the infamous “Go-Go-Checks” that Ira added to the top edge of every title for a while, but that actually works okay here.

This photostat of the original logo has the checks removed, so a later version, but you can appreciate Ira’s linework better than on the cheap newsprint edition above. the DC letters are much larger versions of the ones he did for the DC bullet symbol.

From JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #43, March 1966

Ira was asked to create a new logo for the JLA that first appeared on issue #43. The letter shapes were the same, but the shield was gone and the open letters now had black telescoping. This allowed the logo to be a little larger and less tall, but I don’t like it nearly as well as the first version.

The original version from the DC files has the usual white paint corrections and faint pencil lines. Some of the letters are very close, leaving tiny gaps between them, but those all show up on the cover.

From GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #118, April 1966

The third Schnapp logo for this title again goes with wide block lettering similar to the others he’d recently done for romance titles. The subtitle is corny, and the most surprising thing to me is how small STORIES is, and it’s in type.

The original logo from the DC files shows a different subtitle, you can see where the revised one on the cover was pasted over it and fell off. I actually like this one better. STORIES is not here at all, so either Ira forgot to letter it, or the plan all along was to do it in type. Ira had trouble with the O in LOVE, lots of correction paint there.

From SHOWCASE #62, May-June 1966

Writer/editor E. Nelson Bridwell and Ira Schnapp must have liked each other. Nelson appreciated the history of DC that Ira had been a part of, having been a comics fan first himself, and Nelson is the only person to have given Ira a lettering credit on two stories for this feature when it gained its own title. I don’t find this logo by Schnapp very effective even for a humorous one, the shape is odd, but Nelson must have liked it.

The original logo from the DC files shows where the SHOWCASE logo had been pasted in, and in pencil Ira has added a tag line likely written by Bridwell that wasn’t used or inked: THE GREATEST GROUP OF GOOF-UPS IN COMICS HISTORY. It’s the only example of Ira’s pencilled-in lettering I know of, and it looks like he was planning to do it in a bouncy, funny way.

From SHOWCASE #62, May-June 1966

Inside the book Ira did a straight version of INFERIOR that was the feature logo on several tryout stories, and therefore I’m counting it as another logo for him.

From HEART THROBS #102, June-July 1966

For issue #102, the HEART THROBS logo was shrunk to make room for a new addition, a continuing feature much like a soap opera. Ira’s logo works okay in the space he had, but the 3 is not very well shaped, and each S is also uneven. Ira was nearing the end of his long career, he was 71 when he did this, and perhaps his skills were not as sharp as they had been.

From SWING WITH SCOOTER #1, June-July 1966

This book was an attempt to attract fans of British pop bands like The Beatles. The protagonist was a British musician landed in a small American town. Ira’s logo has lots of movement and is enhanced by the character art by Joe Orlando, but the letters in SCOOTER are more goofy than gear, and I think miss the mark.

From YOUNG LOVE #56, July-Aug 1966

Young Love receives the same block letter logo approach from Schnapp that the other romance titles have recently had. Nothing very interesting about this one, but the size of LOVE sells it.

From CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #51, Aug-Sept 1966

With issue #51, Schnapp added black telescoping to his Challengers logo. I’m not sure if he just added to the existing one or redid it all, but I’m counting it as a new logo. The three-dimensional effect makes it stand out more.

From PLASTIC MAN #1, Nov-Dec 1966

DC had acquired the rights to Plastic Man with the other Quality Comics properties in the 1950s, but hadn’t used him until now. A potential movie deal was the incentive, but that never happened. Even though DC already had a few super-stretchy characters, Plas was a good addition. The logo by Ira expresses the stretch and the cartoony feel, the black telescoping adds depth, and the arc adds interest.

This photostat of the original from the DC files makes the rounded corners more obvious.

From THE DOOM PATROL #108, Dec 1966

Ira created yet another logo for this series after only seven issues for the previous one. Clearly sales were not good and the editor was desperate, but changing the logo was not the answer. I do like this logo better than the earlier ones. It feels a bit more modern with the rough outline around DOOM, and the layout is improved, but THE looks like an afterthought.

From SWING WITH SCOOTER #4, Dec 1966-Jan 1967

Scooter’s supporting cast each received a character logo and short feature, this is the first. I like Sylvester’s logo better than Scooter’s actually.

From SECRET HEARTS #116, Dec 1966

Someone must have felt this romance title needed a more romantic logo, so Ira created one that kept the block letters but put them in a giant heart. This seems an awkward fit for most cover art.

The original from the DC files, and you can see the white paint corrections on it, as well as some pencil lines. The last S was changed quite a bit.

From STRANGE ADVENTURES #195, Dec 1966

This feature logo for a character appearing in STRANGE ADVENTURES is probably my least favorite of all Schnapp logos. The letter shapes are okay, but the animal skin patterns are distracting and a bit disgusting.

This photostat from the DC files shows those patterns better. I mean, perhaps a horrible villain with animal attributes could have hairy letters, but it’s quite off-putting for a hero, and the textures make it hard to read too. Also, if you’re going to use a variety of patterns, why do the A in ANIMAL and MAN all the same?

To sum up, I found 16 logos designed by Ira Schnapp in issues with 1966 cover-dates. I will wrap this survey up in the next post. Others from this series and more you might enjoy can be found on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.

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