Monday, December 13, 2010

The Tiny Fists of Mortimer or Identifying a Romance Comic Book Artist

"It is not the thrill of the chase. It's not a game. It's your tiny ineffectual fists."
-Derek to Meredith on
Grey's Anatomy Season One

For longtime readers of Sequential Crush, the fact that Win Mortimer is pretty much my most favorite romance artist of all time should come as no surprise. For those of you new to the blog, you should be made aware immediately -- I love Win Mortimer! His men are handsome; his ladies simultaneously sweet and sexy. Once you get the hang of it, Mortimer's work in the romance comics is actually quite easy to identify, which is partially due to the great little fists he depicted his characters as having. Here are a few examples through the years in which Mortimer's tiny fists stole the show!

Win was drawing fists
way back in his Superman days!
Action Comics #193
June 1954

Mortimer's fists
were very expressive --
here we see sheer frustration
from "Cindy the Salesgirl."
"Cindy the Salesgirl"
Girls' Love Stories #136
(July 1968)

A thought bubble is complimented
well by a little Mortimer fist, don't you think?
"No Time for Love!"
Girls' Romances #141
(June 1969)

The October 1969 issue of Secret Hearts
had two Mortimer illustrated stories in it!
Twice the fist -- all for 15 cents!
"Not That Kind of Girl!"
Secret Hearts #139
(October 1969)

"How Can I Tell Him the Truth?"
Secret Hearts #139
(October 1969)

A tiny fist put to a
more practical use -- ironing!
"Too Beautiful to Be Loved"
Girls' Romances #147
(March 1970)

Even guys need to flex
their fist muscles once in a while!
"Substitute Sweetheart"
Heart Throbs #129
(December 1970/January 1971)

A delightful Mortimer cover,
complete with fist!
Falling in Love #132
(May 1972)

Mortimer incorporated a little fist action
into the Marvel classic, Night Nurse!
Night Nurse #1
(November 1972)

Even short two-page stories
deserve the Mortimer fist treatment!
"The Walk"
Young Romance #198
(March/April 1974)

I count three
little fists in this panel!
"Love Expert"
Young Love #111
(August/September 1974)

Even as romance comics were winding down,
Mortimer took the time to draw an emotive fist!
"Love is the Answer!"
Young Love #123
(January 1977)

Though small and perhaps not noticeable on a first glance, the curled hand just adds so much and works for so many emotions. Can you see why I love Mortimer so much?! Any Mortimer fist panels you would like to share? Don't forget to check Spidey Super Stories!


  1. Good call, Jacque! Being an eyes and face man myself, I developed a different technique for identifying Mortimer's artwork and obviously overlooked the obvious.

  2. Hey Jacque!
    I found a recent quote from Joe Simon about Young Romance.

    JS: I’m especially proud of having created the romance comics, the most successful line of comics ever produced–each issue of Young Romance and Young Love sold a million copies and up. Those titles took a smaller publisher, Prize Comics, and gave them a huge hit. We were sitting on top with the big boys inside of a year, and they were stealing our ideas in an attempt to copy our success. Jack and I were on the way to see my wife in the hospital, where she had just given birth to our first child. We stopped in a candy store to pick up a card and saw a cluster of girls crowding around the comic book rack for the very first issue of Young Romance. That was when we knew we had a hit. We loved all of the different genres in which we worked, but the romance books hold a special place for me. It’s a shame that so much of the diversity we once had in comics has practically disappeared.

    Source: INTERVIEW: Joe Simon

  3. Anonymous: Mortimer's faces and eyes are definitely recognizable too -- the doe-like eyes seem to be set rather far apart and he left ample forehead room. I bet now you will be unable to overlook the little fists!

  4. Vee: Great find!!! Thank you for that. It is always so wonderful to hear that the creators actually liked what they were working on and in this case, Simon was obviously very pleased! How cool it would be to hop in a time machine and go back and see those girls crowded around the first romance comic!?

  5. I have SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #12 due to my unhealthy interest in The Cat. Looked it up on the GCD and it looks like the guts are all Mortimer. Can't wait to have another look at it.


  6. Marshall: Let us know if there are any good fist examples! I only have #11 -- I will have to check out that one.

  7. Not so many fists, as it turns out. Just some cops and villainous sidekicks. IMO it doesn't really count if the character is running. If you don't run with fists, you are weird. No Ladyfists to speak of, which is sad, because those are my Favorite Fists.


  8. You are correct, Marshall -- in some situations, fists are necessary. Like on the cover of Spidey Super Stories #11 -- Spidey and Doc Ock are in a boxing match, therefore necessitating some sort of fisticuffs!

  9. Wow, that's a wonderful catch! I'm embarrassed to say it never occurred to me before. I'll go bury my head now ...

  10. It is actually kind of subtle, Scott, if you aren't actively looking for it! No worries! :) Now, you will never be able to NOT see the fists in his work!

  11. On my DAYS OF ADVENTURE blog, we're in a phase where we're seeing lots of Mortimer covers and PSA's.

  12. I'm always interested in how people identify different artists, Jacque. It never would've occurred to me to look at the fists. Well done!

    1. Thank you, John! So glad you liked this post!!! One of my favorites to write!