Ira Schnapp’s DC Ads: 1963 Part 1

All images © DC Comics. From ADVENTURE COMICS #304, Jan 1963

The volume of DC ads did not decrease in 1963, and Ira Schnapp was still lettering and designing most of them, though in this year there were again more with lettering by others including Gaspar Saladino. As always, I will focus on the ones Schnapp did. There were no new romance group ads, but a few new ones for other DC books appeared there, showing that the separation was beginning to loosen, though only in one direction. There were four repeated public service ads and eight new ones, but Ira lettered only six of them. DC’s new lame mascot Johnny DC, above, appeared in many ads, Ira did some fine Old English style lettering in this one. Did Ira also draw the mascot and background art here? I don’t know, but it’s possible. Or it may have been done by someone else on staff.

From ACTION COMICS #296, Jan 1963
From ADVENTURE COMICS #304, Jan 1963
From LOIS LANE #38, Jan 1963

I found five new blurbs by Ira in books with January cover dates for this now venerable third-page ad. It also has a new frame and title by Ira and includes Johnny DC, which suggests that Ira was drawing the mascot too, though it could have been reused from somewhere else.

From ACTION COMICS #296, Jan 1963

The first public service ad of the year has an intriguing title by Schnapp.

From ACTION COMICS #296, Jan 1963

This ad for the annual Rudolph Annual is rather small and hard to read in places. There was a full page version that simply turned the ad sideways to fit. Many house ads were now being prepared in more than one size.

From ACTION COMICS #297, Feb 1963

ComicPacs got a full page ad that ran on inside covers in 1963 with a photo of the store display and a larger Johnny DC. As I compare the mascot images, I’m more convinced Ira was doing them. ComicPacs still seem like a bad option for comics fans, but a good one for parents.

From ACTION COMICS #297, Feb 1963
From LOIS LANE #39, Feb 1963

Four new blurbs by Ira in February books, and the first set are longer and larger, using a different previous layout for that, probably to fit the space available.

From BATMAN #153, Feb 1963

This third-page ad is unusual in that it promotes two different issues of the same title. I don’t think that had been done before. As a child, I remember flipping through the comics racks in stores looking for older issues, and sometimes I found one, but it wasn’t common. I like the symmetry and diamond shape by Ira in this ad.

From BATMAN #153, Feb 1963

Generally DC’s war titles were not promoted in their superhero books, so this is a rare exception, and it ran in many titles. I have no idea who decided what ads were used in each book, there seems to be no set plan except in a few cases like those COMING SUPER-ATTRACTIONS ones, but generally ads ran in similar titles, or titles from the same editor more often than not. Maybe editors made the call when they could, but were sometimes overruled?

From BATMAN #153, Feb 1963

Tommy Tomorrow was a feature that ran for many years in several titles, and had a SHOWCASE tryout, but never achieved a series. Ira does his best to sell it here.

From ACTION COMICS #297, Feb 1963

I can see editor Julius Schwartz pushing hard to get this tryout of his new book promoted, and it was. The ad appeared in several sizes and over several months with different covers in many titles. The effort did not immediately succeed in landing a new series, though.

From HOUSE OF MYSTERY #131, Feb 1963

This title was only promoted in other DC mystery/adventure/science fiction ones, for instance. This use of the UNEXPECTED logo by Ira shows how long that telescoping was!

From ACTION COMICS #298, March 1963
From ADVENTURE COMICS #306, March 1963

Four new blurbs for March books.

From OUR ARMY AT WAR #128, March 1963

As was typical, this war ad ran only in war titles.

From ACTION COMICS #298, March 1963

Home safety is featured in this PSA likely written by Jack Schiff. It’s an ad I probably skipped by as a child.

From MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #77, March 1963

Not exactly a western title, but TOMAHAWK was the closest thing to it at DC in 1963, and it had to be promoted elsewhere, as there was no longer a western line. In fact, they were trying to sell it as a war title here.

From ACTION COMICS #299, April 1963
From ADVENTURE COMICS #307, April 1963
From LOIS LANE #40, April 1963

Six new blurbs by Ira in April books. Color was missed on the Superboy logo in the last one.

From BLACKHAWK #183, April 1963

This adaptation of the first James Bond film was picked up from Gilberton when they didn’t want it for their CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED line in America, though they used it in England. It was an odd fit at DC, who generally didn’t do movie adaptations then, but this third-page ad by Ira tried to sell it in a number of titles.

From BLACKHAWK #183, April 1963

Now, this PSA is one I find much more interesting: full of information that might intrigue kids, and good public service. Rita Moreno, at least, is still with us.

From FALLING IN LOVE #58, April 1963

One of two new ads created by Schnapp for the DC romance books trying to get those readers interested in other female DC characters. This one was kind of a stretch, but nicely designed.

From THE ATOM #6, April/May 1963

Another small ad promoting the GL-Flash team as they crossed over into each other’s titles. The deep shadows on DOUBLE add depth.

From HEART THROBS #83, April/May 1963

Here’s the other new ad by Ira for the romance line. This one seems like it would have a better chance of success to me, as Lois’s title was played more in the romance direction than Wonder Woman. An interesting combination of superhero and romance styles from Ira, and great use of black.

From ACTION COMICS #300, May 1963
From ADVENTURE COMICS #308, May 1963
From SUPERMAN #161, May 1963

Five new Schnapp blurbs for May titles. Where I can only find three or four, did I miss one, or perhaps one wasn’t used? Hard to say.

From ACTION COMICS #300, May 1963

The May PSA is not lettered by Ira Schnapp, I don’t know who did letter it. Probably someone else working on staff at DC.

From ACTION COMICS #300, May 1963

This is one of several similar subscription ads from around this time that are mostly not lettered by Schnapp, but this one has a section by him in a box. I’m not sure how that happened or why. Perhaps Ira started it and couldn’t finish it? Perhaps it was a separate house ad originally? The rest of the lettering is definitely not as good. I am going to count this for Ira based on what he did.

From ACTION COMICS #301, June 1963

Here’s a first, COMING SUPER blurbs by someone other than Schnapp. I can only find these three. Perhaps he was away when they were needed.

From ACTION COMICS #301, June 1963

This new generic line ad could be used with any four titles, though the baseball theme was probably only good for a few months. Still not liking the mascot.

I will continue with ads running in July to December 1963 books in Part 2 of this article next time, and do totals for the year then. Other posts you might enjoy are on the Comics Creation page of my blog.

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