Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Love Fool

This weekend I realized that I need to start making my travel plans for Wizard World Chicago. As I was thinking about booking a hotel room, I thought back to last year. I bought a ton of romance books during the show and one evening I was going over my purchases while relaxing in the hotel, as I usually do. I started reading one of the romance books I had bought, and I was totally sucked in to the story right away. I was able to get to about the third page when some friends came by to go to dinner. I put the book away, not thinking to somehow denote where I left off. That particular book got lost in the shuffle and mixed in with the rest of my purchases.

Thinking about booking a hotel the other day jogged my memory about reading this particular story partway last summer, so I decid
ed to look for it. I couldn’t remember what the cover looked like, but thankfully, I found it last night! Behold… the awesome power of “A Million Laughs in Every Kiss.”

This story comes from Young Romance #167 (August/September 1970), and it is one of my favorites for its sheer goofiness and because the accompanying art is really exquisite. I am not positive who drew it (the story is unsigned), but I think it looks to be the work of Tony DeZuniga of Jonah Hex fame.

“A Million Laughs in Every Kiss” introduces us to Nan, an attractive young woman dating Tom, who constantly clowns around. After planting a tack on a park bench for her to sit on, he fools her into thinking that the police are after them. The voice of the police turns out to be a tape recorded message in his car. After each prank he plays on her, a fight erupts. The (almost) final straw comes when he embarrasses her at a Halloween party.

Several weeks go by and Nan refuses to talk to Tom, but one cold winter night she sees him standing outside her house. Nan invites him in, and makes him promise to never play another trick on her again.

As time goes by, Nan thinks that Tom has overcome his playful nature. Out of the corner of a panel on the eighth page emerges the… drum roll please… engagement ring! But, as one might suspect, Tom’s impulses are stronger than his word. Out of the ring box jumps a jack-in-the-box type clown figure.

Nan is livid and as “an ice cold fury” comes over her, she tells Tom she never wants to see him again. Never is a short time in romance comics though
(approximately a week), and after finding herself consumed by questions of what made him break his promise, she goes to his apartment. The landlord lets Nan in (I think that is illegal nowadays!) and as she goes to wake Tom up, she notices the real engagement ring on a table.

Now you can see why I had to finish reading this story! I was dying to find out Tom’s reason for being such a goofball. I would have just chalked it up to a personality quirk, but obviously Nan wouldn’t have gone for that. They embrace, with happy and relieved looks on their faces and once again, all is well in the land of Young Romance.

I think it’s a pretty good lighthearted story and the art is killer, especially that splash page. I also really like the coloring scheme of the warm purples enhanced by the cold blues. I was ecstatic that I was able to find it rather quickly so that I could share it with all of you!


  1. That's a great, great story. I love Tom (although I wouldn't want to be married to someone like that). Wouldn't it be great if DC revisited some of these characters and showed what became of their relationships 40 years later? Just take a random issue of Young Romance - reprint the original story and then do a two-page update. Of couse, they'd only sell a dozeon copies - but we'd be the happiest 12 people in the world.

  2. I like Tom too, I wish Nan would have accepted him more for his goofy-self, he sounds like a fun guy!

    What a great idea, Scott! You never know, maybe romance will come back into vogue and DC will do something along those lines. Probably a slim chance...but we can dream, right? :)

  3. Scott, I've often thought that you could do some gags like that with old rock songs:

    "I couldn't help him get her out of his heart--Rhonda"

    "I wasn't going back for your crappy ring; I left my purse in the car--Teen Angel"

    There is some funky characterization in that story, and her deduction at the end would leave Sherlock Holmes shaking his head in amazement.

  4. Haha, I love how his reaction to her theory is equal parts shock, amazement and confusion. That's a lot to take in after being roused from one's sleep!