Logo Study: DC Comics Cover Logos 1939-1949 Part 3

1947_ADateWithJudyAll images © DC Comics

In 1947 National Comics started a new licensed title that was a teen humor book based on a popular radio show. The logo style definitely says “humor,” and the word JUDY is large and well-designed. A DATE WITH is not so good, having uneven shapes and strokes, but maybe that was intentional, to make it more fun and jazzy.

DateWithJudy4With issue 4, A DATE WITH became much larger and more important, and is redrawn. I think it’s quite possible Ira Schnapp designed this one. The rest of the cover lettering on issue 1 looks like his work, too.

1947_GangBustersThe other new title for 1947 was GANG BUSTERS, as DC dipped a toe in the lucrative but often denigrated crime comics genre. This looks like another Ira Schnapp design to me. The very thin strokes at the middle of the G, B and E don’t work very well, but in general these letter forms look like Ira did them.

1948_MisterDistrictAttorneyEarly 1948 brought another new crime comic with a logo that I think was designed by Ira Schnapp. Ira had become the go-to man for logos, in my opinion, and in 1948 the number of new titles was increasing. Super-hero comics sales were declining, and National Comics was looking for entry into other genres that might give their sales a boost. This logo has the same too-thin center bar of the E as the one above, but overall is solid and appealing.

1948_WesternComicsAnother new genre for National, the western, was the topic of this title, also looking very much like it was designed by Ira Schnapp. Ira did not often use the kind of rough-edged letters seen here in WESTERN, but the shapes of the letters look like his work to me. COMICS in an Art Deco style is picked up from previous titles. The other cover lettering, especially that EXTRA, looks like Ira too.

1948_AllAmericanWesternDCNational also converted the long-running ALL-AMERICAN COMICS to ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN with a logo I think is probably also by Schnapp. The banner is somewhat awkward, but the look of WESTERN is professional and appealing, even if it doesn’t have much of a western flavor. Note that Schnapp is using either a double outline or a heavy drop shadow on many these logos to help them read better against cover art. The style of ALL AMERICAN is from the previous logo for a small amount of continuity, though I imagine kids looking for the super-hero comic would have been puzzled by this anyway.

1948_DaleEvansRoy Rogers comics were already being published by Dell, so National licensed a series featuring Roy’s movie sweetheart, Dale Evans with a logo I think is by Ira Schnapp. The remaining issues had the word EVANS to the right of DALE, but here they were stacked to leave room for the horse’s head. That text at the top is classic Ira Schnapp cover lettering, and around this time he seemed to be doing more of that.

1948_LeaveItToBinkyAlso in 1948, National began this new teen humor book with a logo that I think is by Ira Schnapp. It has a nice combination of wide well-formed letters that read well and also have a humorous bounce. The shape of the Y is unusual, like an upside-down H, but it works fine for me.

1948_ScribblyI’ve already shown 1948’s SCRIBBLY by Sheldon Mayer, but I’ll put it here again so you can compare the style with BINKY. Mayer’s letters are less consistent, the strokes uneven, but he manages to make it very appealing all the same. His Y is more cartoon standard, too.

1949_AdvofAlanLaddDCBy 1949 I believe Ira Schnapp had moved from being a freelancer for the company to a staff position, where he became the regular logo designer and cover lettering man, while still working on story page lettering. He would soon begin to produce the elaborate “house ads” promoting new titles and continuing titles that ran in all the comics. Certainly by 1950, all or nearly all that work was by Ira, and continued to be until Gaspar Saladino began getting some of it around 1967, and took over most or all of it when Ira left the company in 1968. Ira Schnapp, through his somewhat old-fashioned but very professional and distinctive style, leaning heavily on the Art Deco and classic show-card alphabets that were his favorites, created a company look for National or “DC” comics that appealed to kids, and helped sell new titles through their familiar trade dress. THE ADVENTURES OF ALAN LADD looks like his work to me, using show-card styles, and more follow.

1949_AdvOzzieHarrietSchnappTHE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET, another radio show license, is one of the open script styles that Ira Schnapp used through the rest of his time at DC. This example is uneven in spots, and could have been crafted more carefully, but it’s pure Schnapp.

1949_JimmyWakelyA similar script style was used for the movie cowboy licensed title JIMMY WAKELY, one I think meant to represent the man’s signature. Not terribly appropriate for a western comic, but well done, and a bit reminiscent of the WONDER WOMAN logo. Definitely Schnapp, in my opinion.

1949_RomanceTrailNow here’s a western comic logo with real artistic skill in evidence, and I have no doubt it’s the work of Ira Schnapp, this time working very carefully to create convincing and well-shaped letters from rope and logs. Rather old-fashioned, in fact this kind of log lettering looks back to Victorian times really, but you have to admire the craftstmanship. Getting rope to work as letters and still look like rope is not small task, either. And a heart to emphasize the cross-genre combination of romance and western comics, the idea of editor Julie Schwartz for this title, which didn’t last long.

1949_PeterPorkchopsA new funny animal title with a very rounded logo that I think is by Ira Schnapp. Notice the thinner central arm of each E, for instance, and the generally even and consistent rows of letters. The drop shadow helps it read well and pop off the cover.

1949_MissBeverlyHillsHollywood MISS BEVERLY HILLS OF HOLLYWOOD was a short-lived attempt to attract female readers, and the logo, I believe, is by Ira Schnapp. That graceful curve of BEVERLY HILLS allows room for the other words to fit in without taking up too much vertical space, a technique Ira used on other long logos, and this one is very long. The Art Deco style Ira loved is perfect to suggest movie star elegance. The EXTRA in the top banner looks like Ira’s work, but not the rest, which might have been filled in by someone else.

GirlsLove1SchnappSpeaking of female readers, DC was also getting into the romance comic genre created a few years earlier by Simon and Kirby, and very popular. I’m not sure Ira Schnapp designed this logo, the thin letters are not something he did as a rule, but on the other hand it has lots of style and graceful curves, and some elements that do suggest Ira to me, so perhaps he did design it, and the thin letters were the editor’s suggestion. ADDED: this is a new, better scan, and I now believe it is a Schnapp design.

1949_SecretHeartsThe other new romance title of 1949 has a logo that looks more typical of Ira Schnapp to me, and the black shading on the letters give it a touch of elegance that I find appealing. Sorry for the poor quality of the images on these last two, the best I could find. Note that both romance logos use larger first letters on each word, something Ira liked to do, as evidenced by many of the logos here.

1949_SuperboySchnappWe’ll finish off this logo study with the first new super-hero title from DC in several years, and a logo I’m sure is by Ira. This is a scan of the original logo from DC’s files. The graceful arc, the Art Deco style, the deep drop shadow that makes it read well and pop off the surface are all the work of one of DC’s longest-running and most important designers and letterers.

Superboy_v._01Here’s how it looked on the first cover, accompanied by Ira Schnapp’s word balloons, and in color for a change. I find it easier to study the logo designs themselves without color, but of course, color is part of the appeal of comics. Ira Schnapp, now firmly ensconced as the company’s staff logo and cover lettering man would continue his long, successful reign in that position, and kids like me soon learned his style was a signal for entertaining comics.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this logo study. Other articles you might like can be found on the COMICS CREATION and LOGO LINKS pages of my blog, including several about Ira Schnapp.

5 thoughts on “Logo Study: DC Comics Cover Logos 1939-1949 Part 3

  1. Dave Hunt

    Todd-
    Do you remember how thrilled I was when you showed me the actual original Superboy logo up at the office? I loved that book as a kid and it was amazing to hold that little piece of history in my hands.

  2. Martin Gray

    Thanks for a madly ambitious three-parter. That Romance Trail logo is fascinating, and how nice that you end on possibly my all-time favourite logo … why DC dumped that Superboy logo I’ll never know, it’s so classic – hugely appealing.

  3. Jim Kosmicki

    The Ozzie and Harriet book was almost assuredly an adaptation of the radio show that pre-dated the TV show. Looking at the covers on the GCD, to the left of the logo you show it says something about America’s favorite radio family. The TV show was on for something like 15 years, but it didn’t start until about 1952.

    as always, love these logo studies. What intrigues me more than anything else is how slow the DC editorial team was to try new titles at this time. They really were the opposite of Martin Goodman, weren’t they?

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