Welcome to the first installment of Sequential Crush! This blog will share the stories, the art and the history behind an oft neglected genre of comic books – Romance!
Romance comic books are often overshadowed by the medium-defining genres of superhero books, science-fiction, and horror. It is too bad too, because romance comics are overflowing with pages of beautiful art, gorgeous girls, fashion and history. Due to the disposable nature of comic books, and even more so, the disposable nature of these non-superhero books, many romance comics are somewhat difficult to find. They also just aren’t as sought after as superhero books. Romance books tend to get left behind by dealers because they just don’t sell as well as their superhero counterparts. Thus, they are rather hard to find at comic book conventions, and even in the back issue boxes at comic book stores. Luckily for people who are into romance comics, the hunt for them is half the fun and what makes them so collectable! There are innumerable issues out there with countless pages drawn by such talents as Winslow Mortimer, Don Heck, Ric Estrada, and more. The key is just finding the issues in the first place! I have an insatiable thirst for these books, and I have looked high and low for them. It is with this blog that I hope to fill a niche. Very little has been written about romance comics compared with the secondary literature on the superhero genre or graphic novels, but… do not fear, Sequential Crush is here!
I have a particular interest in romance books of the 1960s and 1970s due to their rich content, the fantastic art, and the dynamic story lines. I find that the art and the stories of these Silver and Bronze age books to be particularly spectacular. Topics such as careers, civil rights and women’s lib become an issue and stories dealing with heartbreak (which are in the majority) become oh-so-modern. This is not to say that I will never mention earlier books from the 1940s and ‘50s. I may for comparison sake, and because many of the old issues and titles are pretty fascinating in their own right. But, I find the 1960s and ‘70s to be a really compelling time for comic books and American culture in general, which also narrows my focus to this era.
It should also be noted that most of my entries will be written through the lense of history, rather than say, women’s studies for example. It is not that I am not concerned with women’s issues, but this blog’s purpose is not to give a critique on heteronormativity or impose today’s political discourse on these romance comics. I will be looking at these books as products of their time, and hopefully instilling a sense of appreciation for them. Though not all the romance issues are of superior quality, many stand as testaments of artistic accomplishment and bear witness to the time period in which they were created. Therefore, the historical and aesthetic aspects are what I will be concentrating on.
Within this historical and aesthetic framework, Sequential Crush will take a look at the art, the creative teams involved, and the reoccurring themes of romance comic books, as well as the collecting aspect of these books. There will also be a healthy dose of the advertising and the fashion from the pages of the romance comics, because who doesn’t dig paisley and bell-bottoms? I may even throw in some superhero romance, because frankly, I admit, I love superheroes too!
So without further ado, welcome to Sequential Crush! Enjoy! Hopefully you will find these romance comic books as groovy and stunning as I do. Thanks for stopping by!