Ira Schnapp in ALAN LADD and OZZIE & HARRIET

Alan Ladd 1 cover
All images © DC Comics

Two Hollywood star titles that began with Oct/Nov 1949 cover dates are covered this time, THE ADVENTURES OF ALAN LADD and THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE & HARRIET. Both were short-lived and neither have much involvement from Ira Schnapp, but I’m including them in my survey of his work for completeness. ALAN LADD ran nine issues and the editor of record is Whitney Ellsworth, though the actual editor may have been someone else. Ladd seems an odd choice for comics, though he may have had some appeal for kids of the time. I think the logo was designed by Ira Schnapp, and he probably also did the cover lettering, at least the parts that aren’t set in type. It’s possible they were done by the unknown letterer I’ve nicknamed “Proto-Schnapp” because I think his work was the model for Ira’s lettering, but Proto seems to have used a looser style for logos than what’s seen here.

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Rereading: STARMAN JONES by Robert A. Heinlein

Cover illustration by Clifford Geary

Max Jones lives in a future America where technology is advanced and space travel to distant stars is a reality. Max’s uncle had been an astrogator on a starship, a highly skilled and valued position right below the captain, and had left Max his astrogation manual and a promise to vouch for him with his guild when he was old enough. But both Max’s uncle and father are gone, and his mother has remarried a man Max hates. The boy runs away from his rural farm home heading for the nearest spaceport where he hopes to begin a career as an astrogation trainee. Sadly, when he asks at the guild headquarters, he finds his uncle had not left any word about him. A man named Sam that Max met on the road had stolen his astrogation manual and tried to use it to gain entry to the guild himself. That didn’t work, and both man and boy meet again outside. Max is reluctant to take help from Sam, but has no where else to turn. An apologetic Sam helps Max find food and shelter, and soon manages to get illegal access for both of them as crew on a departing starship, the Asgard. While spending many months on the ship in menial jobs, Max gradually makes friends, learns all about space travel, and eventually becomes the astrogation trainee he dreamed of, but not without many difficulties and roadblocks to overcome. Max is helped by his unusual memory that allows him to remember everything he reads exactly. When the ship goes off-course and is lost, Max will have a crucial role in the crew’s last hope for a return home after the planet they find is not as welcoming as it first seems.

I loved this book when first reading it, and have loved it every reading since, this is probably at least the fourth. Of the Heinlein juvenile series of novels for young readers, this is one of the most appealing. Any reader can understand and empathize with Max’s hopes, fears and dreams, and Heinlein makes it a pleasure to root for him. The characters are appealing (or horrible as required), and the insights into human nature are spot on. The science is dated, but it’s easy to overlook that and go with the flow.

Highly recommended.

Reviews of other Heinlein books can be found on the Book Reviews page of my blog.

Incoming: BLACK HAMMER LIBRARY EDITION 2

This new oversized collection includes the comics BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #1-12 plus the CTHU-LOUISE one-shot and THE WORLD OF BLACK HAMMER ENCYCLOPEDIA as well as many extras. Or so it says on the back cover, I haven’t opened it, as I already have previous collections of most of this. If you’re a Black Hammer fan, this is for you—if you can afford it: $49.99 US. I enjoyed working on the series, it’s a clever modern take on superheroes, and an Eisner Award winner, deservedly so. Fine writing by Jeff Lemire, fine art by Dean Ormston. Amazon link below, or check with your comics vendor.

Ira Schnapp in SUPERBOY

This and all images © DC Comics

Superboy, the adventures of Superman when he was a boy, was the creation of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #101 dated Jan/Feb 1945. Soon after that Superboy stories moved to ADVENTURE COMICS and stayed there for decades. The character was popular enough that DC decided to launch his own title edited by Jack Schiff in 1949, though Mort Weisinger took over as editor with issue #24. The book was published bimonthly for a while, then eight times a year, and generally had three Superboy stories in each issue, occasionally two, and rarely a book-length story in three parts. The regular cast included Ma and Pa Kent, Clark Kent as Superboy’s secret identity, his super-dog Krypto, and his girlfriend Lana Lang. The logo and cover lettering on the first issue above were designed by Ira Schnapp. The original Superboy logo by Schnapp is one of the oldest still in the DC Comics files, here’s a scan of it:

The logo draws on Ira’s love for the Art Deco era that was popular when he was a young man in the 1920s. Ira lettered many covers for the title, but just a handful of stories inside.

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Ira Schnapp in ROMANCE TRAIL and JIMMY WAKELY

This and all images © DC Comics

There’s very little work by Ira Schnapp in these two late 1940s titles from DC Comics, but I’m including them as part of my effort to list all of Ira’s lettering for the company. ROMANCE TRAIL ran for only six issues under editor Julius Schwartz, and is an early example of a relatively rare crossover genre, “romance western.” On the cover of the first issue, July/Aug 1949, is singing cowboy Jimmy Wakely who would soon get his own title. The logo is probably by Ira Schnapp, with ROMANCE in script made with rope. It reminds me of a logo I think Ira designed in 1937 for a pulp magazine published by DC Comics owner Harry Donenfeld, below, more on that HERE.

The word TRAIL in the comic logo is based on an old tree stump or rustic wood font from Victorian times that I’ve seen but can’t find to compare. I think it was more complex than the one seen here. The entire logo seems like the kind of thing Ira Schnapp would draw to me. The rest of the lettering on the cover does not seem quite right for Schnapp, though. While other covers in the series used some of the same cover lettering, they were all photo covers and did not have word balloons. None have work by Ira other than the logo.

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