Ira Schnapp in FALLING IN LOVE

Images © DC Comics

With three successful romance titles on the stands in 1955, DC added a fourth one with a Sept/Oct cover date. It’s unclear whether Robert Kanigher oversaw this one, but the actual editing was probably handled first by Zena Brody, then Phyllis Reed. In the 1960s it was handled by Larry Nadle and then Jack Miller. The series ran 143 issues, ending in 1973. By that time romance comics were no longer seen as relevant by teen readers.

Ira Schnapp designed the logo using an older style for the capital F that he favored, with the rest of the top line in appealing lower case, leaving LOVE larger and all caps to push the theme. Ira also lettered the word balloon and the caption, where he’s used a similar style to the top logo line in F of the story title. Ira would letter most of the covers to issue #98 in 1968 and also most of the inside stories, making it one of the most prolific for him. Like the other company romance titles at the time, this one did not use the DC bullet symbol in the upper left corner.

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Images © DC Comics

These two short-lived adventure series ran eight issues each in 1955-56. FRONTIER FIGHTERS was an anthology with three features per issue, while DANIEL BOONE was all about that character. Both were likely prompted by the success of Walt Disney’s TV version of Davy Crockett in 1954-55, a big hit. These books were probably edited by Jack Schiff and/or his assistants Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan.

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Image © DC Comics

Just arrived from DC is the third and final volume of this new collected edition of PROMETHEA, written by Alan Moore, art by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray. It holds issues 24-32 as well as Promethea segments of other ABC comics (TOMORROW STORIES SPECIAL #2, TOM STRONG #36 and a few other brief bits), plus Alan Moore’s script for PROMETHEA #29 and a 14 by 20 inch double-sided poster of issue #32, which formed two large images when the pages were combined. Very small on the text, but readable. A nicely-produced package slightly larger than original size on good paper with excellent printing, though it’s a glued binding. This three volume reprint is not nearly as large or well made as the PROMETHEA ABSOLUTE EDITION of some years ago, if you can find that, but it’s quite a good buy at the lower price of $39.99 per volume. This one is due out the third week of December. Check with your comics provider, or here’s an Amazon link.


Images © DC Comics

In 1955, DC began a new adventure title that went through several incarnations. Initially it was an anthology featuring fighting heroes from the past, as seen on the cover of the first issue, above. With issue #25, it became a tryout book like DC’s SHOWCASE, most famously for The Justice League of America. With issue #50 it became a team-up title allowing DC heroes and heroines who did not normally interact to appear together. After #75, Batman was featured in every team-up until the series ended with #200 in 1983, so it essentially became a Batman title. The editor in the original adventure anthology was Robert Kanigher. For the tryout issues, each feature had an editor, so it was a rotating assignment, and for the later team-up series the most frequent editors were Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan, though others sometimes filled that role.

Ira Schnapp designed the large logo in a waving banner that would continue to be used for many years, though it got smaller later. The letters are Ira’s own mix of Old English and classic serif font styles. The rest of the cover is set in type on this issue, but Ira lettered most of the covers until issue #77 in 1968. He also designed many character logos for the book’s covers and interior title pages, but only lettered two story pages inside.

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Rereading: WHO WILL COMFORT TOFFLE? by Tove Jansson

In addition to the Moomin novels I’ve been rereading, Tove Jansson also wrote and illustrated three charming picture books for younger readers that are part of the Moomin series. They were unknown to me when I was young, but have been reprinted in America in this century, and I have added them to my library. This is the second, and it tells of a sad, lonely young Toffle who is afraid of all the other creatures who live around him, including Hemulens, Fillyjonks, even Moomin friends Mymble and My, but especially the truly frightening Groke, whose presence freezes the very ground it walks on. This book follows Toffle as he searches for a friend, while trying to avoid all the boisterous activity around him. Even solitary Snufkin, playing his flute in a field of flowers, is too scary for Toffle to approach. At last he arrives at the seashore, and he finds a note in a bottle from a young female Miffle, who is also looking for a friend, and asks for help. Toffle decides he must finally be brave and seek out Miffle. He sets out on the wide ocean in his suitcase to look for her.

If you have only seen Tove Jansson’s black and white illustrations for the Moomin novels or even her comic strips, the gloriously bright and charming large illustrations for these picture books will give you new insight into her artistic talent. The story is equally charming, and is ideal to read to a young person, if you know one. The translation is by poet Sophie Hannah, and the lettering (in the style of Tove) is by Peter Blegvad.