Ira Schnapp’s DC Ads: 1961 Part 1

All images © DC Comics. From ACTION COMICS #272, Jan 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #280, Jan 1961

Ira Schnapp continued to do plenty of house ads in 1961, though possibly a few less than in 1960, we’ll see. For one thing, there were no new romance group ads, the new ones from 1960 were reused through 1961. There were twelve new public service ads for the first time in a while, and Ira lettered all of them. A few new titles received support from multiple ads, but many new ads were smaller ones following past styles, like COMING SUPER-ATTRACTIONS, above, with four new Schnapp blurbs in January cover-dates, counting as one new ad in my opinion.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #280, Jan 1961

I think this is what happened when Ira wasn’t available to letter a rush house ad and they set it in type instead. Pretty awful, isn’t it? You can see the reason DC valued his contributions. Why they didn’t have someone else letter it I don’t know.

From BLACKHAWK #156, Jan 1961

Many of the 1961 public service ads dealt with issues between kids like this one. While the sentiments were admirable, I don’t think many readers would have been interested in them, but I could be wrong.

From ACTION COMICS #272, Jan 1961

A different version of this ad appeared in late 1960, and I now see that this was the original version by Ira Schnapp. The revisions of the previous one (including a form for readers to give to their comics retailer) might have been added by someone else, but I’m not sure, so I’ll let both versions count for Schnapp. This one is better.

From ACTION COMICS #273, Feb 1961

This is one of the more memorable full-pagers by Ira. The text is probably written by editor Julius Schwartz, presenting another of his Golden Age character revamps, but the presentation by Schnapp is excellent. DC and Schwartz were on a roll, this revamp also soon gained its own series.

From ACTION COMICS #273, Feb 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #281, Feb 1961

Four new blurbs by Ira for February cover-dated books, all probably written by Mort Weisinger, editor of the Superman-related titles.

From ACTION COMICS #273, Feb 1961

Framing a PSA as a quiz seems a good way to get more readers involved, though anyone who could read upside down lettering easily could get the answers quickly. Even then, it may have imparted knowledge.

From ACTION COMICS #273, Feb 1961

Lots of fine lettering by Ira in this ad that ran on inside covers only I believe, though there might also have been a color version somewhere. My process in looking for these ads is to go through many of the DC titles I have scans for, but not all of them, so it’s always possible I missed something. Aquaman also went on to his own title, and about time, too, he’d been around since 1941.

From SUGAR AND SPIKE #33, Feb/March 1961

This was one of only two new humor ads I found, several generic ones from the past were reused.

From G.I. COMBAT #86, Feb/March 1961

There were a few new third-page war ads that only ran in war titles, like this one promoting one of the weirder ideas from Robert Kanigher: soldiers vs. dinosaurs.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #282, March 1961

Aquaman in SHOWCASE received a second ad push in this full-pager from Ira. He might have done all the background art as well as the design and lettering, I’m not sure.

From ACTION COMICS #274, March 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #282, March 1961
From JIMMY OLSEN #51, March 1961

I found six new blurbs from Ira for this ad in March cover-dates. Some are crammed with text, and hard to read, but Ira did what he could with them.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #283, March 1961

I think editor Julius Schwartz did a very smart thing in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA by starting out with a small team and then inducting new members gradually. It made each addition an event that could be promoted in fine ads like this one, drawing in even more readers.

From ACTION COMICS #274, March 1961

As a nature lover myself, I heartily approve of PSAs like this one. As always, Ira’s lettering adds value.

From ACTION COMICS #274, March 1961

RIP HUNTER…TIME MASTER made the jump to his own title, which had lots of ad support, starting with this fine full-pager. Ira did the logo, and I never understood the bullet shape. Here, he’s added some motion lines around it as if it’s traveling, but the ship in the series was spherical.

Both from BLACKHAWK #158, March 1961

In March, DC began promoting the fact that their comics were still 10 cents, in comparison to price increases by other companies. The third-page ad is the same as a generic one from 1960 with just the bottom three words changed. The banner ran at the top or bottom of pages in many DC titles. I’m going to count these as one new ad.

From ACTION COMICS #275, April 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #283, April 1961
From LOIS LANE #24, April 1961

Five new blurbs for April cover-dates from Ira. Someone in the DC production department, possibly Ira, spent a lot of time adding the small art images pulled from the issues.

From ACTION COMICS #275, April 1961

This was a welcome change of heart from DC after decades of treating American Indians as villains in their frontier and western comics, though of course they were hardly alone in that.

From ACTION COMICS #276, May 1961

I don’t recall liking the Bizarro idea as a reader, but many others must have, as it was used a lot. This half-pager celebrates that, and even invites mail about it. The logo by Ira was used on the series splash pages.

From ACTION COMICS #276, May 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #284, May 1961

Four new blurbs found for the May books. I’m counting each month as a new house ad, as it’s certainly that much work.

From ADVENTURE COMICS #284, May 1961

This PSA is the equivalent of “Hey, kid, you’ll put your eye out!”

From BLACKHAWK #160, May 1961

Another fine full page ad from Ira for the second issue of this new series. If time travel wasn’t enough of a draw, why not add aliens?

From ACTION COMICS #276, May 1961

DC went all in on holding the ten cents line with this inside front cover ad that ran in many titles. These must be the largest letters Ira Schnapp ever drew for DC! His upper and lower case text is appealing, too. I don’t think he did the figures. Despite this bluster, the ten cents cover price only lasted another six months.

From ALL-AMERICAN MEN OF WAR #85, May/June 1961

Editor Robert Kanigher kept up reader interest in his war titles with hooks like a haunted tank. Lots of lettering in this small ad, but it doesn’t seem crowded.

From BLACKHAWK #161, June 1961

A third handsome full-page ad for Aquaman in SHOWCASE, with attention-grabbing lettering by Schnapp and an intriguing monster. Ira’s lettering was usually heavy enough to hold up when reversed on black, but sometimes the uneven printing of the time made it hard to read anyway, as on the bottom of this ad.

From ACTION COMICS #277, June 1961
From ADVENTURE COMICS #285, June 1961
From JIMMY OLSEN #53, June 1961
From SUPERBOY #89, June 1961

Six new blurbs found for June cover-dates, but the Jimmy Olsen one from June (Giant Turtle Man) was probably done for May issues and either not used, or I didn’t find it.

From ACTION COMICS #277, June 1961

This PSA sounds like a cry for help from the writer, or someone he knows.

From ACTION COMICS #277, June 1961

DC was still occasionally using Ira’s Superman on Television ad from a few years back, and here they had him hand-letter a list of TV stations across the country that were carrying the show, now in reruns. If ever there was a job for set type, this was it, but Ira was handy, so they used him.

That’s it for the first half of the year, I will have the rest and year totals in Part 2. More articles like this are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

One thought on “Ira Schnapp’s DC Ads: 1961 Part 1

  1. David Goldfarb

    I’m not old enough to remember “Still 10¢” but I’m old enough to remember DC covers with a price of “Still only 25¢” in a big burst. That one also went away after a few months.

    Ahh, “Doom of the Star Diamond”. One of the most on-rails JLA stories ever. I imagine the reader and the story’s narrator having a dialogue…
    READER: Ah, the JLA has been trapped inside a hollow diamond! Well, Green Lantern’s ring should make short work of it.
    NARRATOR: Except that the diamond is yellow.
    R: Superman could shatter it easily.
    N: If it didn’t have Kryptonite incorporated into it.
    R: The Martian Manhunter is strong —
    N: The yellow diamond with Kryptonite is on fire.
    R: Wonder Woman —
    N: SHUT UP SHUT UP I DEMAND THAT IT HAS TO BE GREEN ARROW WHO SAVES THEM!!

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