STAR SPANGLED Schnapp!

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This 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 one of many I think were lettered by an unknown letterer I call Proto-Schnapp because I think Ira modeled his own work on that of this person. Some of the styles are the same, but Proto-Schnapp’s work is generally wider, and his open letters are bouncier.

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

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Issues 39 to 43 have elements similar to Schnapp lettering, but I think they are by Proto-Schnapp instead. The same is true right through issue 60.

Issue 61, Oct. 1946, has cover lettering that is much more regular and not as wide or bouncy, and I think is the first with Ira Schnapp lettering.

Issue #65, Feb. 1947, the first of the solo Robin stories, has cover lettering I believe is by Ira Schnapp. I also think he might have designed this Robin logo used on the splash page of all the Robin stories in this title.

Ira did the cover lettering for many of the following issues, #77 above is a good example and an early one for his balloon lettering. To sum up, I see Ira Schnapp lettering on the covers of the following issues: 61, 65-67, 69-79, 82 to 87, 89 to 93, 95-96, 98 to 120, 122 to 127 and 129-130.

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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.

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The story in issue #41 dated Feb. 1945 is much closer to Ira’s style, but not quite the same.

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A closer look at part of the next page shows lettering I think is by Proto-Schnapp. The letters are too wide and rounded, to be Ira’s.

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Issue #45 has similar lettering, but a little less wide. Is this by Ira Schnapp? I think it’s still Proto-Schnapp making his letters a bit narrower to fit in all the text. He lettered many stories in this title.

The first story I think is lettered by Ira Schnapp is also the first Robin solo story in this title, from issue #65, Feb. 1947. The story title is very much in Ira’s style, and here’s a larger look at the Robin logo Ira may have designed.

Another page fo the story. There are some letter forms that are more similar to Proto-Schnapp than what Ira was doing for most of his career, but the overall look here is narrower and more square than Proto-Schnapp. Ira continued to letter the Robin feature.

In issue #69 Ira also lettered the Star-Spangled Kid story, most of which had previously been by Proto-Schnapp. Notice the square W’s in the third panel, a very Ira look.

Robotman had been a regular feature for some time in Star-Spangled, with art and lettering by Jimmy Thompson. In issue #82 the feature was lettered by Ira Schnapp for the first time. It was the last appearance of the character in this book.

In issue #85, Ira lettered the Tomahawk feature for the first time. In previous issues it had been done by Proto-Schnapp. He and Ira continued to letter many stories in this series.

In issue #87, Merry, the Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks took over the Star-Spangled Kid strip, with lettering and logo by Ira.

In issue #90, March 1949, Ira lettered the Captain Compass feature for the first time. Previous ones had been lettered by Proto-Schnapp. This title gives a continuing chance to compare the two, and highlights the similarities between them, making identifying one over the other harder, but as time passed, Ira’s style became more settled, and it’s easier to tell from Proto-Schnapp, who I think was an older man and whose work would disappear around this time.

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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.

SS #65 2/47 and SS #66 3/47: Robin 10 pp

SS #67 4/47: Robin 10 pp

SS #68 5/47: Robin 10 pp

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

SS #71 8/47: Robin 10 pp

SS #73 10/47 and SS#74 11/47: Robin 10pp, Star-Spangled Kid 7pp

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

SS #77 2/48 and SS #78 3/48: Robin 10pp, SS Kid 7 pp

SS#79 4/48: Robin 10pp

SS#80 5/48: Robin 10pp, SS Kid 7 pp

SS#81 6/48: Robin 10pp

SS#82 7/48: Robin 10pp, Robotman 6pp

SS#83 8/48: Robin 10pp

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

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

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

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

SS #89 2/49: Robin 10, 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 766 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.

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