Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Women's History Month!

Tellin' it the way it is:
"To You... From Carol Andrews"
Falling in Love #122 (April 1971)

Though Women's History Month did not exist yet (it wasn't officially declared by Congress as such until 1987), DC columnist Carol Andrews sure knew the score concerning the Women's Liberation Movement! Heavy stuff for a romance comic, but thoroughly informative!

Be sure to stay tuned for more Women's Movement related material this month, right here at Sequential Crush!!!


  1. This is certainly not pulling any punches. Yet again I'm amazed by the details you uncover from the vaults of your comic collection. I had kind of assumed that the male-dominated comic book industry had largely paid lip service to feminism, without really supporting the issues, but this clearly says different. You have no doubt read those stories where there's a women's libber who starts out all assertive but ends up reverting or at least accommodating to traditional patriarchy by the end of the story. I think Stan Lee might have promoted that sort of resolution. I'll have to re-read some of his material to make sure I'm not misrepresenting old Stan.

    If you're going to run a series of posts for Women's History Month then I'll see if I can find a particular Wonder Woman story from the 40s that struck me as ahead of its time when I first read it, and post that. This Carol Andrews column was a new one for me, though. Very interesting.

  2. Jacque: Carol here is WAY ahead of the curve for a 1971 comic book advice columnist.

    KB: I think Stan summed up his philosophy best in an issue of Fantastic Four- "Wives should be kissed and not heard."

  3. I agree that this is quite a progressive editorial appearing in a romance comic. I don't know if "Carol Andrews" was a pseudonym, but I don't recall seeing the name anywhere else at DC at the time.

    Of course, all the talk of equality is fine, but DC was male dominated at the time, with the rare woman working in editorial or art positions, usually on romance comics. None that I know of worked on their superhero, war or mystery comics and none were in positions of power until Jeanete Kahn became publisher in 1976.

    Nick C.

  4. Hey Jacque - regarding landmark stories of the women's movement in comics, let me nominate for your consideration a tale entitled "It's a Woman's World" from Mystery in Space #8 (written by John Broome, illustrated by the great Bob Oksner). While it's not a romance story, I still think it worthy of your subject as it managed to take the conventional image of women's role in society and turn it on its ear - and in 1952 no less!

    Here's a few excerpts - if you're interested I can provide you with the complete story:

  5. Nice little tid-bit of Her-story, Jacque. This is actually a wonderful reminder that~ when we become frustrated about the lack of positive CHANGE occurring in the world around us, we must realize that change DOES occur, only, in its own time, when conditions are right. The down-side of course is that all things are cyclical, so~ any day now we might be dragging women by the hair back into caves~! 'UGH ! Me BLOG, you BLOGGA~!'

  6. Lysdexicuss: Or instead of a cycle, a pendulum swing so that the women end up dragging the men by their hair! Could happen!

  7. "The Government recently abolished anti-sex discrimination in Federal jobs..."

    I'm having a little trouble parsing that triple negative. If they abolished sex discrimination, that would be a good thing, but if they abolished anti-sex discrimination, isn't that bad?

    Osgood, didn't that "Woman's World" story end with the wife vacuuming the carpet while the hubby went off to work?

  8. I wonder if there really was a Carol Andrews or if she was a DC invention. I hope she was real. What a hottie! What spirit! -- Mykal

  9. KB: Yes, I do have one of those stories... comin' up! Please do post that Wonder Woman story, by the way!

    Aaron: She was! I feel like I have seen other similar examples in other columns. I will have to look for them. It would be interesting to see if there was an earlier one.

    Nick: I am guessing Carol Andrews was made up. Sorry to disappoint guys!!! Somebody wrote it... but who??? Yeah, I really wish for Women's History Month I could tell the stories of the women who worked on romance comics, but like you said -- few and far between.

    Osgood: I would love to read it... especially since Oksner drives me wild! :) Maybe I can find a way to juxtapose it with the romance stories. Thanks for the suggestion!!!

    Lysdexicuss: Thank you! I think us ladies are here to stay though! :) At least for a while!

    Pat: Ah! Good catch! That does seem incorrect, doesn't it? Must have been a tight deadline?!

    Mykal: I think we all hope she was real, Mykal. Carol Andrews... if you are out there... contact us!!!

  10. Pat - I can understand how that ending can be interpreted as a cop-out - a return to the status quo. But I'd like to think that Broome knew that by subverting the traditional gender roles throughout the story, the ending could just as easily be flipped as well. Regardless, it's clear that his intent was to show that such societal norms were changeable and arbitrary, and that's quite progressive by 1952 standards IMO.

    Jacque - here are the remaining pages of that story:

  11. Great! Thank you, Osgood. Maybe I can work it in somehow...

  12. I can't help but wonder whether Carol Andrews would be pleased at what's changed - what's BEEN changed - where women and their rights are concerned over the past 40 years. A mixture of being pleased by the advances and disappointed by the fact that so much of what she was describing is still relevant today, I suspect.

  13. Jacque: I'd never seen a Carol Andrews before. Far preferable to "Mark" and "Paul".

    Mykal: I know you'd be first in line to help Carol Andrews burn her bra, but do you really think that's appropriate for Women's History Month?

  14. Everyone seems to like Carol! Who would have known?

  15. Colsmi: It would be interesting to know, wouldn't it? The last couple of sentences resonate with me, as I still think it is difficult for women to strike the balance between working and family (this holds true for fathers too). It does seem like (some) employers are becoming more flexible as far as telecommuting and non-traditional schedules, but there is a long way to go for sure!