Ira Schnapp’s DC Ads: 1958

All images © DC Comics. From ACTION COMICS #236, Jan 1958

The number of ads lettered by Ira Schnapp was up a bit in 1958. There were considerably more house ads for the main line, one new paid ad and two for the romance line. Ira’s public service ads were down a little with only eight new ones. DC reran several old ads in all these categories. The Kings of Comedy ad above is a fine start to the year. I wonder who wrote that mirth-quake line in the center? Of these four titles, only Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis would last.

From ACTION COMICS #236, Jan 1958

The first public service ad of the year is not lettered by Ira, I don’t know who did it, but the title is definitely sub-par.

From ACTION COMICS #237, Feb 1958

The second PSA gets back on track with a nice title by Schnapp. The subject is historical and a bit hard to understand.

From THE FOX AND THE CROW #47, March 1958

With Jimmy Olsen’s solo title a success, Lois Lane’s was next. The ad promotes Lois as a reporter, though in the comic she was rarely seen doing that. I might have wanted to read it if she did.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #246, March 1958

Another nice Schnapp title on this PSA, with nary a DC character in sight.

From ACTION COMICS #239, April 1958

With their move from SHOWCASE to their own title (the first to do so), Challengers of the Unknown gained a new Schnapp logo and house ad, both better than what had come before.

From ACTION COMICS #239, April 1958:

Finally we come to a DC character in one of this year’s public service ads. I like the message of this one. The flashback sequence of three panels has thought-balloon borders, but it’s a bit confusing all the same.

From ACTION COMICS #240, May 1958

This short-lived series based on a TV show went nowhere for editor Julius Schwartz, and would not work today.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #75, June 1958

On the other hand, Sgt. Bilko did well enough to garner a spinoff for a favorite supporting character, though neither series lasted very long. This is a rare example of Ira Schnapp lettering comics panels in a style closer to the one he used on covers and ads. A little more careful and precise.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #75, June 1958

Nature is wonderful, but man is moreso, this PSA indicates.

From ACTION COMICS #242, July 1958

This PSA is drawn by Henry Boltinoff, creator of countless gag strip fillers at DC, and he also lettered the single balloon, though the title is by Schnapp. I will still count it for him.

From ACTION COMICS #242, July 1958

Space Ranger was one of two science fiction heroes tried out in SHOWCASE, along with Adam Strange. The logo by Ira Schnapp is a bit clunky and old-fashioned, but certainly gets the idea across. The burst caption grabs attention.

From FALLING IN LOVE #20, Aug 1958

There were only two new romance ads by Ira in this year. Several older ones were repeated, and the new ones ran in multiple issues. This is another very appealing back cover ad. The figures may be pulled from a story, but the rest of the background is by Ira, I believe.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #251, Aug 1958

A PSA on the value of friendship with another nice Schnapp title.

From ACTION COMICS #244, Sept 1958

This half page paid ad uses some of the same text as the one from 1956, but adds new material and I think is all relettered. The park has upped their offer to a mighty 65 cents!

From ACTION COMICS#244, Sept 1958

Editor/writer Jack Schiff must have loved animals, they show up a lot in these PSAs. The mom in this one is more forgiving than mine would have been!

From FALLING IN LOVE #22, Oct 1958

Another effective though sappy Schnapp romance ad for the entire line. He might have done the silhouetted figures on this one, he certainly did the rest.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #79, Oct 1958

Created in the form of a rebus, this is one of the most memorable Ira Schnapp ads. Not a true rebus, but the use of tiny images from stories is clever and amusing while also conveying the Superman story. Different covers from the list at lower left were used in other appearances. In tiny letters at bottom right it reads HA 44 for House Ad #44. I don’t know when the numbering started, but it’s interesting that they did that, indicating there was an ad register somewhere, probably for bookkeeping and payment as well as indicating where the ads were to be used. Usually those numbers were removed before color separations and printing.

From ACTION COMICS #246, Nov 1958

Here’s the other new science fiction hero in SHOWCASE. I don’t think this ad is lettered by Schnapp, but I like it well enough to show it anyway. The bottom tagline imitates Ira’s style, but is not as good. The rest is just barely similar to Ira’s style, and I think the top two panels are from the comic.

From ACTION COMICS #246, Nov 1958

The PSAs were mostly free of DC characters in this year. I like the information supplied in this one, and Ira’s title.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #76, Nov 1958

The only war comics ad of the year is this one, which ran in a few war titles. Sorry about the damage to the top display lettering, this is the best copy I could find. Ira’s lettering and background are great, as usual.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #262, Dec 1958

Well, I guess you could also count this as a war comics ad, though BLACKHAWK always seemed more like a wartime superhero book to me.

From ACTION COMICS #247, Dec 1958

The final PSA of the year is distinctively lettered by Gaspar Saladino, a very different but equally appealing style from Ira’s. Gaspar’s lettering is larger, too, and takes up more of the page.

From JIMMY OLSEN #32, Oct 1958

Pages full of letters to the editor from readers were starting to replace generic text pages in 1958, and while many used type in their headers, as here with the top line, I think Ira Schnapp lettered the second line of this one, the earliest example of his letters page work I’ve found. It’s not an ad, but this is the best place I have to include it, so I am, and adding it to the list below.

To sum up, I found eleven new house ads by Schnapp, one new paid ad and eight public service ads for a total of 20 ads lettered by Ira plus one letters-page header in 1958.

Other articles like this are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

The surprisingly long history of the rebus.

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