Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Look of Love

Greetings! As promised last week, I present to you The Look of Love - The Romantic Era of DC's Lois Lane, Supergirl and Wonder Woman, by yours truly! Click here to download a pay as you wish pdf version on Gumroad. This booklet was prepared in conjunction with a presentation I gave at the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association Annual Meeting held last week in St. Louis, MO.

Although I usually try to stick to the romance comics here at Sequential Crush, I couldn't resist presenting on these late 196os/early '70s issues of Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, Adventure Comics featuring Supergirl, Supergirl's short-lived solo title and Wonder Woman. As you will see, these issues embody many of the lovable qualities of romance comics. They also showcase the amazing artwork and fast paced stories by many of the same creative teams that worked on the romance comics including Win Mortimer, Werner Roth, John Rosenberger, Vince Colletta, Robert Kanigher, Tony DeZuniga, Mike Sekowsky and the recently departed Dick Giordano.

Please enjoy!!!


  1. Absolutely marvelous presentation, Jacque! Outstanding! Congratulations on a job well done!
    Your thoughtful analysis escapes the bounds of bloggery as you leapfrog over the rest of the pack to emerge as 'Queen of Coquetry', the ruling 'Regina of Romance'!!
    (Er, I hope that doesn't sound too sexist...)
    Congrats and I hope everything went successfully. Welcome back!

    PS - In your presentation you show the cover of Supergirl #3 by Bob Oskner. There is a slighlty 'blue' subtext to the imagery on that particular cover, as admitted by Oskner, and better judgement dictates that I don't elaborate further here, as I am already blushing thinking about it, so perhaps another time...(it is possible a Google search may reveal the hidden sexual implications to anyone desiring to know) I'm already embarrassed I mentioned it.

  2. It's a mark of fine criticism that it makes the object of its scrutiny more rather than less interesting. And, of course, that's exactly what you did here. My sincerest congratulations to you. Too much more of this and you'll surely have a book I'll just have to order.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Jacque! I really enjoy Mike Sekowsky's work from that era, especially his WW and Supergirl. Kanigher's LL tales, on the other hand, are a bit uneven to say the least!

    If there's any way you can share the scan of that Young Love 100 house ad, I'd really appreciate it - those cross-genre promotions really intrigue me, and I've never seen that one before. I'd like to add it to our DC house ad thread if I could.

  4. Jacque this article is absolutely brilliant and a thoroughly good read. I totally adore those panels you chose with Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Lois flung on their beds or lying in bed at night, to illustrate these major super-heroines mentally and emotionally wrestling with their romantic dilemmas, romance comics style. I also think you expose one of the strongest examples of genre blending here. I could go on and on. Have you submitted a version of this to the Journal of Popular Culture or another journal that publishes on topics like this? I wish I'd been there to hear you give the presentation. Wonderful stuff and first class research! If you are ever interested in working with me on articles or book chapters please let me know. I'd consider it my good fortune to be associated with you in print, if that ever happened. I have one or two ideas that might interest you, so e-mail me off the blog if you'd like to discuss. But this article of yours here - magnifique!!

  5. P.S. The hearts around the page numbers are such a cute touch!

  6. Great article, Jacque. I confess that the mingled romance and superhero genre left me cold at the time. Part of the problem was that the women (especially Diana and Supergirl) were constantly falling in love with rats, which (mostly) doesn't happen in romance stories, but which adds to the drama in adventure/superhero tales. Wonder Woman goes rapidly downhill, from Steve Trevor to Tim Trench, to Reginald, and Supergirl pretty much does the same.

    BTW, I'm interested in the point about Wonder Woman changing back into her old duds as a result of pressure from the feminists. I know that Gloria Steinem and others criticized the Diana Prince era (partly because she went from being an independent woman to having a "men"tor (I Ching) and being more passive with her love interests. But I didn't know it went much beyond that.

  7. Jacque: Excellent piece – one I really enjoyed. I even printed it out, which I always do when I really want to savor a piece of writing for enjoyment. This is the kind of scholarship the world of comics needs. I perfect blend of the popular (which I favor) and the academic (which is admirable and necessary). I see on Comic Blog Elite your numbers are climbing ever higher for this post! Very much deserved. -- Mykal

  8. Sorry everyone to be so late in replying to your comments! I truly appreciate your support!!!

    Michael: Thank you so much!!! Things did go really well, but now I am just really behind on everything! 'Queen of Coquetry' - it has a ring to it!

    colsmi: You are too kind! A book on the romance comics is going to become a reality in the not so distant future! For now, I hope I can keep providing interesting snippets of information here!

    Mr. Peabody: I would be more than happy to send you a high res of that scan! Just send me an email at jacquenodell at yahoo dot com and I will send it your way!

    KB: I really appreciate your comments! I wrote this just for the conference, but I may bring it out again in the future. I have only written a book review for the Journal of Popular Culture, which I will be able to share with you all here a year from the date of publication (which is sometime this summer). I have so many ideas swirling around in this brain of mine... I will email you soon!

    Pat: Thanks, Pat -- maybe this helped warm you up a bit! A statement from Steinem refers to the new Wonder Woman as "the female James Bond, though much more boring because she was denied his sexual freedom" (quoted in Mitra Emad's article) helps to explain her decision to place her on the 1972 Ms. Magazine cover. From what I know, Steinem was one of the catalysts to bring Wonder Woman back to her original version, though I can only guess that there were many other factors. Harvard's Schlesinger Library has the Ms. Magazine Letters collection. I would love to have the chance to look through it someday and see what they have concerning the Wonder Woman cover to see what other hints it may provide.

    Mykal: I am glad that you felt it was the right blend between the two worlds. I have a hard time being too academic in my writing -- how can one be when they are writing about such a fun topic?! I have started your book (about 4 chapters in), so I definitely take this as a compliment from such a talented writer!

  9. Jacque,

    A great overview of an very interesting period in comics history. I read all of the comics discussed at the time of pulication, so the cross over of genres worked for me and my older brother (who had the money to buy the comics!). I particularly enjoyed the new Wonder Woman, possibly because I found the old WW so boring. The Sekowsky/Giordano art didn't hurt, either! I suspect WW reverting back to normal was a combination of poor sales and a need to merchandise the identifiable WW costume, which would soon appear in cartoons and on TV.

    At the least, new (or hybird) ideas were being attempted at the time. A very interesting subject and terrific presentation by the "Queen of Romance" herself!

    Nick C.

  10. Just a quick heads up. Liz Berube is going to be a guest at our 2 day spring con here in Minneapolis!

  11. Nick: You are correct... it was a very interesting period in comics history! Thanks for taking the time to read the booklet, I am glad you approve! :) A good thing about DC bringing back the iconic WW costume was that I was bestowed with a pair of Wonder Woman Underoos as a kid!

    Diana: You read my mind... this is what I am posting on in just a few...

  12. Thanks! Just downloaded it and will read later.

  13. Oh wow, just come across this - I cannot wait to download it! Nice one.

  14. Great presentation. I read the Supergirl series last year. I was surprised how it read like a romance comic. Hopefully I will get to the Diane Prince run this year but in trade paperback format.

  15. Hi Anonymous! Glad you enjoyed it! I actually have listed my copies of the WW Diana Prince vol. 1 and 2 in my store!