Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Mis-Adventures of Penelope Potter

Happy belated Turkey Day everyone! Unfortunately, I was unable to find any Thanksgiving related romance stories from the '60s and '70s. Perhaps the publishers figured it would contradict all the dieting advice! :)

Anyhow, I am always on the lookout for recurring characters in the romance stories, and I have found another series of one-pagers -- "The Mis-Adventures of Penelope Potter." These two are from Young Love #80 (May/June 1970), but the Mis-Adventures of Miss Potter are also chronicled in a few issues of Secret Hearts.

"The Rival"

"Caught, At Last"

The premise of the stories are simple. Essentially Penelope jumps to conclusions over things, which are sometimes warranted and sometimes not. Either way, she ends up asking for Guy's forgiveness and admits that she feels like a fool. Notice the Cockney accents and the fact that Penelope prefers magenta and Guy, green plaid. I sure 'ope you enjoyed 'ese stories!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DC's Pity Party

Influenced by the struggles of other groups fighting for Civil Rights, the Disability Rights Movement gathered steam and momentum in the late 1960s and early '70s. During this time, DC made efforts to be socially "with it" and began to feature stories of the Women's and Student Movements as well as African-American characters. It was also during this time that DC published numerous stories with wheelchair-bound characters.

DIAGNOSIS: Paralysis from car accident

"Don't Pity Me -- Love Me!"
Falling in Love #108 (July 1969)
Cover pencils by Ric Estrada, inks by Vince Colletta

DIAGNOSIS: Broken leg due to falling of porch

"Love, Love Go Away... Come Again Another Day"
Falling in Love #120 (January 1971)
Cover pencils and inks by Nick Cardy

DIAGNOSIS: Knee injury as a result of a football accident
(yes, even guys can be pitied)

"Too Much Loving... Too Many Tears!"
Girls' Romances #150 (July 1970)
Cover pencils by Nick Cardy, inks by Vince Colletta

DIAGNOSIS: Hit by a car while trying to catch up with two-timing Paul

"Pity Her -- But Love Me!"
Love Stories #147 (November 1972)

The word "pity" seems to be the signifier of a character in a wheelchair. In the world of DC romance, pity and wheelchairs go hand-in-hand. In these stories, none of the characters are permanently disabled or in a wheelchair due to congenital disorders or childhood illnesses. All are results of recent accidents, are temporary, and are overcome within the course of the story.

I have yet to come across any wheelchair-bound characters in the Marvel or Charlton romance comics, but I am sure they are out there somewhere!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Kid on the Block!

Romance comic book lovers! There is a new romance blog out there that you should check out called Out of This World. In the short time it has been up, it has featured the stories of DC's Mary Robin, RN from Young Love, Charlton's free-spirited Jonnie L♥ve and some other fine examples of romantic goodness. Check it out -- I have a feeling there will be lots of more good stuff to come!

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few hours of the weekend! I know I am!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?

It is not that unusual for the stories in romance comics to adhere to the old adage, "you can't have it all." Sometimes, the stories have stellar art with so-so plots, and sometimes it is the story that shines, accompanied by mediocre art. Lucky for us, with "Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?" from Girls' Love Stories #147 (November 1969) we can have it all! In the market for a highly satisfying story with delicious art by the legendary Ric Estrada? Continue reading!

The star of our story, Felice is a well... um, how do I put this nicely? A gold digger. After turning down a date invite by her perfectly handsome office mate, Dick -- Felice recounts to her other co-worker, Myrna that her goals include finding herself a rich guy and not wasting her time on a "poor dum-dum" like Dick.

Felice is a pro-active kind of lady. Instead of waiting for a man of the wealthy class to find her, she decides to go scoop one up herself at the Lakeside Resort for millionaires. Felice realizes getting a millionaire at the resort will take spending a small fortune in itself, and has already saved the necessary funds for the vacation by skipping meals and going to movies only when asked to on a date. To demonstrate her scrimping prowess to Myrna, Felice asks Dick to lunch and manages to coax him into buying her a gift.

Lunch turns into dinner, and poor smitten Dick tries to convince Felice they should give it a shot. Instead of keeping an open mind -- Felice proclaims, "I'm not marrying anyone who can't support me in a manner to which I'm definitely not accustomed."

Seeing he can't change her mind, Dick says goodbye to Felice and she departs for her vacation. Felice quickly forms an ally on the beach who points her in the direction of a multi-millionaire with the largest mansion on the lake -- Peter Mason.

Felice tries to be patient while waiting to spot the elusive Peter Mason, and almost has her attention diverted for a moment. But alas! Only a lowly waiter beckons! Finally though, she spots Peter's speedboat and makes her way over to introduce herself.

A whirlwind romance ensues, and Felice feels the bliss. She visits Peter's mansion, eats delectable dinners cooked by the millionaire himself, spends afternoons in the pool with him and rides in his fancy sports car.

And then, tragedy strikes! The man Felice has fallen for is not Peter Mason at all, but Larry -- one of Mr. Mason's caretakers!

After being lied to, Felice (understandably) looses her cool. What ensues next only proves the other old adage is true, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned who is armed with a bowl of spaghetti marinara."

Possibly the best use of Plop in the history of comic books

The next morning, Felice heads home on the train and thinks about the events that transpired. She realizes that next time she will be sure she knows who the guy really is before taking it too far. This epiphany hits Felice hard, and she wisely conjectures that "being able to spot the real thing is half the game!" Unfortunately, her realization is much too little, too late. Upon her return to work, the real thing (charming and handsome Dick) has passed her by for the sweet Myrna, and he turns out to be the boss's son to boot!

Karma -- it will get you every time!

Well, there you have it folks! A story that not only portrays a character that gets what she deserves, but has the art chops to back it up! In my opinion, this is one of those stories that will make it hard for you to choose between art and stories in the current poll. No need to choose with this one though. Just enjoy it all!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can This Romance be Saved?

Occasionally, the romance comics would run contests. Sometimes they were for poetry or recipes. In this instance, "Can This Romance be Saved," was designed to have readers decide a couple's romantic fate.

The following plight of Bruce and Lisa appeared in Girls' Love Stories #169 (May 1972). Chronicling the problem through the eyes of both parties involved, the readers were then asked to put on their "thinking caps," and write in with advice for the desperate couple.

What do you think? Should Bruce and Lisa have broken up or taken the plunge and gotten married? And oh yeah, first place answer is worth $10! Ok, just kidding on that! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marvel House Ad + Comic Book Store Adventures!

This lovely little Marvel house ad from My Love #2 (November 1969) advertising Our Love Story, serves as a reminder of the days when pre-teen girls had a plethora of titles to choose from when it came to selecting a comic book to read. Although there are some really great all ages, fun-for-all comics out there currently, it seems that many comic books geared towards females today are for the older teenage and young adult set.

Yesterday I had the day off of work and I of course hit up the nearest comic book store while out running errands. I witnessed something that made me smile for the rest of the day. Two mothers brought their two little girls into the store who were about eight years old or so. The little ones proceeded to dig through the long boxes full of Archie's and other assorted funny animal and humor comics. After picking out about four comics each, they excitedly brought their selections up to the counter and proceeded to pay with their own money that they anxiously dug out of their Hannah Montana purses.

This story may not seem like such a big deal to some, but I work in an industry (museums) that frequently asserts that "people just don't read anymore." I have never bought this silly unfounded argument, so seeing these little girls buying comic books helped to restore my faith in humanity! Ok, maybe it wasn't that dramatic -- but it sure was cute!

I know this story is a tad off topic from romance comics, but I just had to share!!! Thanks for humoring me!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Page Peterson's Do's and Dont's of Dating

The advice columns of romance comics were entertaining in their own right, but when illustrated sequentially they became a real treat. While Young Love had the nasty Marc as its patron saint of advice, Young Romance had a more likeable character -- Page Peterson and her "Do's and Dont's of Dating." As you will see in this episode from Young Romance #172 (June/July 1971), Page dishes out no-nonsense etiquette-type advice on the art of courtship.

From what I can tell, Page Peterson is the only regularly reoccurring non-white character in the romance comics of the 1960s and '70s. Her illustrated advice column appeared in no less than fourteen semi-consecutive issues of Young Romance. While there were not a whole lot of ethnically diverse characters in the romance comics, Page's presence demonstrates that the socially relevant issue of diversity was at least on DC's radar.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poll Result Time!

Good evening everyone! I hope you are having a great weekend! The last poll ended and here are the results as to what you the Sequential Crush readers would like to see more of!
  • Chronicles of recurrent characters garnered eight votes for the win!
  • Issue reviews, individual story reviews, and socio-historical themes each had six votes a piece.
  • Advertisements and fashion features were the least desired, both with two votes.
Thank you to all those that voted. This will help me continue to deliver all the romantic goodness you have come to expect from Sequential Crush! If you didn't have a chance to vote, feel free to put your wishes in the comment section of this post. Also, check out the new poll!!!

Stay groovy! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sequential Elizabeth Story

While perusing for something else this evening I came across this short sequential story, "Kiss Me Only in My Dreams!" from Girls' Love Stories #149 (February 1970) by the talented Elizabeth Berube. Last week when I made my initial post on Elizabeth, I was only aware of one sequential story -- so this one makes two! Pretty exquisite, huh?!

Though I love the line work and the decorative quality about the story, the coloring is what really makes it stand out for me. Those almost fluorescent colors against the black really pop out. Since Elizabeth colored many DC stories later on, it makes me wonder if she colored her own romance stories?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

There is no doubt that this gorgeously drawn one-page story, "Uptight" from Young Romance #166 (June/July 1970) by Black Cat artist Lee Elias, is a great example of the diversity of artists featured in the romance comics. Unfortunately, it is also a good example of the kind of story that helps propel today's notion that romance comics are filled with worthless drivel deserving of a few laughs and nothing more.

On one hand, this story serves as a handy historical document and a reminder of how far our notions of women in the workforce have come. The same year this story was published in Young Romance, a very important stride concerning equal pay for male and female workers was made with the case of Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. Though legally this cased helped to solidify the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it is obvious from this story that not all facets of society had embraced the concept of the career-driven woman.

On the other hand though, I myself as a woman who is actively pursuing a career, can sympathize with the obvious internal conflict felt by our protagonist, Carol Loring. Balancing a career, and the ever-present cultural and biological pressures to "have it all" are something I think that many young women still feel today.