Friday, July 31, 2009

Forgotten Romance: Artists of a Bygone Genre

While in San Diego, I participated in the Comic Arts Conference which is the academic branch of the Comic-Con, and what aids in keeping the convention a non-profit, educational entity. One of the sessions I participated in was the "Poster Session" in which a dozen or so people (such as myself) set up a display concerning comics scholarship. I gave a digital and oral presentation, as well as handed out a little booklet -- which you can download here on Gumroad as a pay as you wish pdf.

As with anything in life, I wish I had had more time to work on it. I continue to learn new things about romance comic books and comic books in general every day, and I realize it is nowhere near perfect! It is simply a little piece that serves to introduce romance comics into the scholarly sphere of comic studies, and show how the art of romance books tends to get pushed to the sidelines in favor of superheroes in academic circles.

So with that, enjoy! I welcome your comments and thoughts!

Have a great weekend!!!


  1. Read it all; I'm surprised you left out Estrada, but I guess you have to work in time considerations on your presentation.

    On your point about still learning stuff, I agree wholeheartedly. Blogging is a process by which we become experts in a field, not that we start out that way. I'm amazed at how much I've learned about the Silver Age of Comics since I started my blog.

  2. Yeah, there were so many artists I wanted to include, but I had to pick just a few or it would have gotten out of hand.

    I like the whole continual learning thing! I never want to stop!

  3. Thanks for making this available, this definitely helps my research.
    Currently reading Nolan's Love on the Racks.

  4. Hey Vee (Scratch)! I am glad it has helped you out! Let me know what you think of Nolan's book. Out of curiousity, where is your research taking you?

  5. Jacque,
    I'm seriously thinking about creating a romance comic (strip) of some sort. I've been a regular (read-super hero) comic book fan for quite a while but never heard of romance comics until recently. Growing up on X-Men, Spiderman, etc. I find it fascinating that romance comics was so dominant in the 50's.

    So I'm trying to absorb as much information about the romance-adult-pulp fiction books from the past to what exists now. When I finish Nolan's book, I'll send you my quick thoughts. After that there are a couple more books on my list, including Trina Robbins book.

    I really think you have THE only blog dedicated to romance comics, I'm glad you're doing it - currently subscribing via RSS. Curious, is there a reason why you're not covering the genre from the late 40's and 1950's?

    Occasionally I post some romance/relationship related artwork on my sketchbook blog. Really simple stuff. When you have the times, please feel free to check it out!

  6. Hey there Vee,

    First of all, thanks for the links to your sketchbook. You are very talented, and I can definitely envision a romance strip -- I think your style would fit very nicely.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on Nolan's book. I did a review on it in the Journal of Popular Culture back in June, but for contractual reasons I cannot post it here for a year. If you would like me to email you a copy of it though for your research, I would be more than happy to.

    There really isn't a whole lot of secondary source material (including blogs) out there about romance comics, unfortunately. All my research is leading up to an eventual book, but until then I hope this blog helps!

    I have decided to focus on just the '60s and '70s romance comics for a few reasons. Most simply, I am more drawn (no pun intended!) to the aesthetics of this time period than the immediate post-WWII era -- in both the comic books themselves and the general aura of the two later decades. I have also noticed that as far as the secondary sources that ARE out there (including Nolan's book) tend to focus on the earlier days of romance, and I want to give due credit to the 1960s and '70s romance comics so that they do not get left behind in the dust. I also just find the time period to be really fascinating with the advent of women's liberation, which is a theme that is reoccurring in the later romance comics. I also like the 1960s and 1970s romance comics because of the more diverse array of characters, which include characters from various subcultures and ethnic backgrounds. While I really like the romance comics of the 1940s and '50s and what they have to say about the state of domesticity, the '60s and '70s are what really get me excited!

  7. Sounds reasonable, some times ignore the time period some comics were created but I realize how important the context in which era the art was created.

    Please feel free to e-mail me the article.

    I've been using, Nolan's bibliography, and some articles as a resource to pick up more information. I'm going to try to get some past issues of Alter Ego in a couple of weeks. Please notify me when your book comes out.

    Recently I've been a lazy reader and a bit busy, so I've been slowly going through Nolan's book. Not to mention, that some of the statistical information is a bit boring. I should be finished some time this week, so I'll make sure I'll send you a full-review as soon as I'm finished.

  8. I swiped your face! I was looking at Charlton covers online the other day and noticed a very familiar image. Then, was looking at your booklet just now and realized where I'd seen it before. Compare the "crybaby" covers of Marvel's OUR LOVE STORY #21 (2/73) to LOVE DIARY #85 (7/73.) I've seen companies recycle material before, but I wonder if there are a lot of these cross-company swipes.


  9. Marshall,

    I have seen a few. This one is great! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!!! I am keeping track, so I will add this to the list! :)