STAR SPANGLED Schnapp!

ss42fcfullThis and all images © DC Comics.

STAR SPANGLED COMICS began with the first issue cover-dated Oct. 1941 and ran 130 issues, the last dated July 1952. Early on it starred the Jerry Siegel creation Star-Spangled Kid, and he continued for a long run. Other features came and went until a new lead, Robin (often with Batman making a brief appearance) took over with issue #65 cover-dated Feb. 1947. Later the western character Tomahawk took the lead spot. And, as you can see above, other features like Simon and Kirby’s Guardian and the Newsboy Legion took the cover at times. The cover above for issue #42 is the first one I feel sure was lettered by the legendary Ira Schnapp, probably in late 1944, but let’s look back at some earlier ones.

ss38fcnotschnappThe cover blurb on issue #38 is definitely not by Schnapp, a very different style, as are all earlier covers.

ss39fcIssue #39 has a different lettering style that could be early Ira Schnapp work, but I think it’s by someone else. There are too many differences from the way Ira formed his letters. Issue #40 is by the same person, and issue #41 uses type instead of hand lettering. I don’t have a clear scan of the cover of issue #43, but it’s probably by Ira.

ss44fc

Issue #44 has cover lettering with Ira Schnapp elements like the script ANOTHER, but the rest is more like the lettering on issues 39 and 40, which confuses the issue. This could be Ira Schnapp still finding his way with cover lettering, and perhaps copying the style used on those earlier covers. I’d give this one a probable yes.

ss45fcfullIssue #45 is looking more like Ira Schnapp lettering, particularly the word ROBOTMAN at upper left. The rest is still not quite in Ira’s style, but a little closer.

ss46fcblurbBy issue 46, we see much more of Ira Schnapp’s typical upper and lower case, and the rest is also close to his regular cover style.

ss51fc

By issue #51 the Schnapp style is more evident in the very regular letters on the top two lines, and even the handling of the open letters, though with more bounce that he usually used later. The script is also typical of Schnapp.

ss65fcfirstrobin

By issue #56, the first of the solo Robin stories, the cover lettering is unmistakably by Ira Schnapp. I also think he might have lettered this Robin logo used on the splash page of all the Robin stories in this title, though that’s a guess I’m not sure about.

To sum up, I see Ira Schnapp lettering on the covers of the following issues:

42 to 80, 82 to 87, 89 to 93, 95-96, 98 to 120, 122 to 127 and 129-130. As with other titles I’ve looked at, Ira’s involvement seems to begin in late 1944.

ssc04003notschnapp

Moving on to interior story page lettering, I first see Ira’s work appearing on the Newsboy Legion feature credited to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, but actually by others at this point. The lettering for the story in issue #40 is definitely NOT by Schnapp, a quite different style.

ssc04103

The story in issue #41 dated Feb. 1945 is much closer to Ira’s style.

ssc04104detailA closer look at part of the next page shows lettering I think could be by Ira, though it’s somewhat more curvy and uneven than his mature style. The balloon shapes are right, though. I’m not positive about this one, but I think it’s probably by Ira.

ssc_042_004By issue #42, the Newsboy Legion story lettering looks even more like Ira Schnapp’s work, and I feel sure it is. I have a very blurry scan of issue #43, but the lettering is probably by Schnapp. Issue #44 is by someone else.

star-spangled-045-04In issue #45, Ira Schnapp was definitely lettering the Newsboy Legion story, and he continued to do so in issues #46-49 and issues 54-55, 59-60, and 63-64.

ssc55021sskid

With issue #55 dated May 1946, Ira Schnapp began lettering the Star-Spangled Kid stories, look at the tricky jigsaw puzzle title on this one. He also lettered the feature in issues #58-86.

star-spangled-065-03robin

When Robin solo stories began in issue #65 dated Feb. 1947, Ira Schnapp was the regular letterer. and continued to be so for years. Note the typical Schnapp open letters on the story title, and here’s a better look at the Robin logo Schnapp might have designed.

ssc07239When Tomahawk began appearing with issue #72 dated Sept. 1947, Ira Schnapp was lettering that too. By then he was lettering about two thirds of the book, which was still 52 pages then.

star-spangled-comics-084-015

When a new nautical feature, Captain Compass, began in issue #84 dated Sept. 1948, Ira Schnapp was again the letterer, and worked on quite a few. Ira occasionally lettered other features like “Merry” and “A Perfect Crime Mystery,” but with issue #99 dated Dec. 1949, his involvement was cut back to just Robin stories, and not all of them.

star-spangled-comics-123-1951-12-01

By issue #123 dated Dec. 1951, STAR-SPANGLED was floundering, trying to recapture an audience with things like the supernatural series The Ghost Breaker. Schnapp lettered this and one other, and his lettering here is uncharacteristically shaky and uneven, perhaps due to being rushed or over-tired. I can certainly understand the latter! Ira’s last story lettering appeared in the penultimate issue #129 on Captain Compass.

So, here’s a complete list of the Ira Schnapp story lettering I’ve found in this title, which I’m supplying for future inclusion in the Grand Comics Database.

STAR SPANGLED #41 Feb. 1945: Newsboy Legion 10 pages

SS #42 3/45: Newsboy Legion 10 pp

SS #43 4/45: Newsboy Legion 10 pp

SS #45 6/45 to SS #49 10/45: Newsboy Legion 10 pp

SS #54 4/46: Newsboy Legion 10 pp

SS #55 5/46: Newsboy Legion 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 9 pp

SS #58 7/46: Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #59 8/46 and SS # 60 9/46: Newsboy Legion 10pp, Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #61 10/46 and SS #62 11/46: Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #63 12/46 and SS #64 1/47: Newsboy Legion 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #65 2/47 and SS #66 3/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 7 pp

SS #67 4/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #68 5/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 6 pp

SS #69 6/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 7 pp

SS #70 7/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 8 pp

SS #71 8/47: Robin 10 pp, Star-Spangled Kid 7 pp

SS #72 9/47 to SS #74 11/47: Robin 10 pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #75 12/47: Robin 10 pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 9 pp

SS #76 1/48: Robin 10 pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 8 pp

SS #77 2/48 to SS #83 8/48: Robin 10pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #84 9/48: Captain Compass 10 pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #85 10/48: Robin 10 pp, SS Kid 7 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #86 11/48: Robin 10 pp, Capt Comp 10 pp, SS Kid 6 pp, Tomahawk 7 pp

SS #87 12/48: Robin 10 pp, CC 10 pp, Merry 7 pp

SS #88 1/49: Robin 10 pp, Merry 7 pp

SS #89 2/49: Robin 10 pp, CC 10 pp, Merry 7 pp

SS #90 3/49: Robin 10 pp, CC 10 pp, A Perfect Crime Mystery 3 pp, Merry 6 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #91 4/49: Robin 12 pp, CC 8 pp, A Perfect C M 4 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #92 5/49: Robin 12 pp, CC 10 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #93 6/49: Robin 12 pp, Tomahawk 10 pp

SS #94 7/49: Robin 12 pp

SS #95 8/49: Robin 12 pp, CC 9 pp

SS #96 9/49: Robin 12 pp, CC 8 pp, Dover & Clover (humor) 4 pp

SS #97 10/49 and SS #98 11/49: Robin 12 pp, CC 8 pp

SS #99 12/49 and SS #100 1/50: Robin 12 pp

SS #101 2/50 and SS #102 3/50: Robin 10 pp

SS #103 4/50: CC 8 pp, Robin 10 pp

SS #108 9/50 to SS #110 11/50: Robin 10 pp

SS #112 1/51: CC 8 pp

SS #113 2/51: CC 8 pp, Robin 10 pp

SS #114 3/51 and SS #115 4/51: Robin 10 pp

SS #117 6/51 to SS #121 10/51: Robin 10 pp

SS #122 11/51: Robin 8 pp

SS #123 12/51: Ghost-Breaker 8 pp, Robin 8 pp

SS #124 1/52: Ghost-Breaker 8 pp

SS #129 6/52: Captain Comet 6 pp

Okay, if I’ve added correctly, that’s 1,247 pages lettered for this title (that I’m sure of), and not counting covers, house ads and public service pages. Impressive, but only a small part of what Ira Schnapp was lettering at the time. More to come! Many other articles about Ira Schnapp and his work can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.