Ira Schnapp’s DC Ads: 1959 Part 2

From ACTION COMICS #255, Aug 1959
From ADVENTURE COMICS #263, Aug 1959
From SUPERMAN #131, Aug 1959

Continuing my look at the many DC ads lettered by Ira Schnapp in 1959, this is the August version of the COMING SUPER-ATTRACTIONS ad. The text is probably all written by editor Mort Weisinger, and Ira does a fine job of selling the issues shown in the small space available in these third-page ads. The same lettering also appeared in one in LOIS LANE that month.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #271, Sept 1959

Plenty of good advice in this public service ad lettered by Schnapp and probably written by editor Jack Schiff.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #264, Sept 1959
From DETECTIVE COMICS #271, Sept 1959
From JIMMY OLSEN #39, Sept 1959
From SUPERBOY #75, Sept 1959

The September version of COMING SUPER-ATTRACTIONS has new blurbs for Sept and Oct cover-dated titles, and the one in DETECTIVE includes a blurb for BATMAN. Those were not edited by Weisinger, showing that the ad was also occasionally being used by other editors. Some blurbs are again repeats from the previous month. It’s hard to decipher how many of these blurbs Ira was creating each month, and I might not have found all the uses of the ad.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #87, Oct 1959

In editor Robert Kanigher’s war titles, not as many new ads were present. This third-page one by Ira shows his wise use of black, and there was at least one other third-pager not by him.

From ACTION COMICS #257, Oct 1959
From ADVENTURE COMICS #265, Oct 1959
From JIMMY OLSEN #40, Oct 1959
From LOIS LANE #12, Oct 1959
From SUPERMAN #132, Oct 1959

The October COMING SUPER-ATTRACTIONS ads, each having at least one new blurb, all counted as one new ad. Lots of work for Schnapp.

From HOUSE OF SECRETS #25, Oct 1959

Another third-page ad about a specific issue of SHOWCASE. The proliferation of third-page ads began in 1958, though some were done earlier. DC was asking artists to leave that much space on the final page of most stories they drew. If no paid ad was available, house ads went in.

From LOIS LANE #12, Oct 1959

Pat Boone’s short-lived series from DC tried to stay as far away from the word and look of “comics” as possible, here described as simply a magazine. The full-page ad for it used his photo and type, but this half-page version was lettered by Ira and had pretty nice art probably by Bob Oksner.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #272, Oct 1959

Some of the PSAs strike me even now as unrealistically goody-goody. Real kids didn’t talk or act like this as I recall.

From THE FOX AND THE CROW #58, Oct/Nov 1959

For realistic kids, you needed to look no further than Sheldon Mayer’s SUGAR AND SPIKE, as in this charming third-page ad by Schnapp. Yes, there were elements of fantasy in the way they understood each other, but their behavior and motivations were spot on.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #25, Oct/Nov 1959

DC was struggling to keep readers interested in their funny animal comics. This one tying them to cartoons on TV was a last gasp attempt. Ira’s lettering is the best part.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #273, Nov 1959

BATMAN and DETECTIVE editor Jack Schiff was also commissioning his own third-page ads from Ira, like this one.

From ACTION COMICS #258, Nov 1959
From ADVENTURE COMICS #266, Nov 1959
From SUPERMAN #133, Nov 1959

November versions of this ad, each with one new blurb. Other ads I found used the same ones, though I might have missed something.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #273, Nov 1959

DC and editor Julius Schwartz weren’t going to miss the boat on promoting his next Silver Age revamp in SHOWCASE. Note how the large open WHO and matching question mark by Schnapp bracket the first caption of this handsome full page ad. I used to despair at the tagline, “On sale everywhere,” as comics were not on sale in my rural small town. I had to wait for a trip to a bigger town with my parents to find them, which didn’t happen often enough.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #273, Nov 1959

Another ad for TOMAHAWK with Ira selling it well.

From DETECTIVE COMICS #273, Nov 1959

This PSA celebrates the additions of Alaska and Hawaii to the United States of America. It’s hard for me to fathom that that happened in my lifetime, but it did. Ira’s title is perfect.


Another example of a third-page ad for a specific group, the Hollywood humor books.

From TV SCREEN COMICS #131, Nov/Dec 1959

Even the annual Rudolph comic got a small ad charmingly packaged by Schnapp.

From BATMAN #128, Dec 1959

Some of the text is the same as the full-page BLACKHAWK ad earlier in 1959, but this is all new lettering by Ira.

From ACTION COMICS #259, Dec 1959
From ADVENTURE COMICS #267, Dec 1959
From JIMMY OLSEN #41, Dec 1959

December versions of this ad, each with at least one new blurb by Schnapp.

From BATMAN #128, Dec 1959

Another third-page ad for a specific issue, hoping fans of Batman will want to read it.

From FALLING IN LOVE #31, Dec 1959

The second and final new Schnapp romance ad for the year is one of his best. The lively bounce of his large serif lettering seems modern for him, and all the lettering is great. Fine use of black and white space, too.

From BATMAN #128, Dec 1959

This third-page ad is generic enough to be used for almost any DC titles, and is ideal for the science fiction and adventure ones.

From BATMAN #128, Dec 1959

The final public service ad for the year is very optimistic about the use of atomic energy in science. I like Ira’s atom drawings in the title.

From SHOWCASE #23, Dec 1959

Like SHOWCASE, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD had become a tryout book for new series such as this one, with some fine lettering and a logo by Ira.

From BATMAN #128, Dec 1959

Saving one of the best for last, this second ad for THE FLASH, again probably written by editor Julius Schwartz, epitomizes the appeal of DC’s new Silver Age heroes and the clever villains that opposed them. Ira’s lettering is a good as ever. I’ve never forgotten this ad and character.

Okay, so for all of 1959 I count 38 new house ads, one new paid ad, and ten public service ads for a total of 49 ads lettered by Ira Schnapp in 1959! That’s up from just 20 the previous year. Will this trend continue? Stay tuned as I look at 1960 ads next.

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

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