Friday, July 30, 2010

Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic! - Career Girl Romances #66 (December 1971)

Last week, KB over at Out of This World presented a nice post with some car-themed work by Alex Toth. One of the beautifully draw pieces by Toth featured a young woman working on a car -- much to the surprise of a few of the male characters. The Toth story reminded me of "Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic!" from Career Girl Romances #66 (December 1971).

Published six years after the Toth story, "Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic!" tells the story of bright Lisa, an aspiring car-fixer-upper looking for work. Lisa gets turned down by shop after shop without even having an opportunity to show her skills. Trying one more time at Chuck's Auto Repair, Lisa is greeted with the same response - a big fat no.

That's coffee he just spit up Exorcist-style.
I think. I hope.

Frustrated by the same response she is used to getting, Lisa makes a dash for it, accidentally leaving behind her tool kit. Chuck's sister, Mae first scolds Chuck for being such a "big man" and then promptly goes to return Lisa's tool box. When Mae goes to return Lisa's tools she apologizes for her brother's archaic behavior and conducts an impromptu interview with Lisa and her male family members, all who can vouch for her talent in fixing up their cars and motorcycles. Convinced that Lisa would be a great mechanic, Mae cooks up a plan to stage a protest outside of her brother's auto repair shop.

Mae and her crew of activists don't relent until Chuck gives in and hires Lisa, proving a costly move for the business. Though Chuck is willing to give a female mechanic a shot, his customers aren't. The business declines rapidly, and the customers stop rolling in.

Feeling responsible for losing Chuck's clientele, Lisa decides to leave the shop. Chuck won't have any of it though and declares, "Now this is my fight too..." and decides to take up the cause of women's lib.

Mae convinces the next customer, Ted Bosswell to let Lisa work on his car. Happy to prove her talent, Lisa gets to work.

The engine starts like a gem, and Ted tells Chuck he only wants Lisa working on it from there on out. Obviously impressed with her work, Chuck grabs Lisa and lays a big smooch on her -- and the rest, as they say, is history!

Not a bad story, wouldn't you say?! "Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic!" manages to incorporate the women's movement in a non superficial way and yet retain a believable romantic essence. There is just a certain sweetness to it -- and I am not gonna lie -- that jumpsuit is tops!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That Pow Look - Mod!

Rare in an American romance comic of the '60s and '70s is a feature in black and white. Rarer still, is a fashion spread in a Charlton book! I have no idea who may have illustrated this page, but it is fantastic!

"That Pow Look -Mod!"
Teen Confessions #48
(January 1968)

Sadly, by the time this issue would have hit the stands, Mod fashions would have already been on the way out. A very cool page nonetheless!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Choosing a Career - The Romance Comic Book Way!

Romance comics are filled with stories of career girls -- actresses, flight attendants, nurses, secretaries. All glamorized occupations which promised readers not only a salary, but perhaps a man as well. Charlton's Career Girl Romances took it a step further with a semi-regular text article entitled, "Choosing a Career." Written by advice columnist, Jeannette Copeland, these articles are straight-to-the-point and detail the various opportunities within the mentioned fields, as well as the education and training necessary for each.

Modeling is a rather "traditionally" female occupation, and was often featured in romance stories as a ticket to freedom and style. Though a rather predictable career option to feature in a romance comic, this article has some good information concerning salary ($85 to $90 a week, approximately $470 in 2010) and fall back options for models -- typing and shorthand.

"Choosing a Career: Modeling!"
Career Girl Romances #71
(October 1972)

An article on modeling is to be expected, but how about an article on becoming a Female Sky Marshal? Bet you weren't expecting that! Do yourself a favor and read this -- it is terribly interesting from a historical perspective and a little eerie too, in light of the recent events of the past decade.

"Choosing a Career: Female Sky Marshal!"
Career Girl Romances #66
(December 1971)

The final "Choosing a Career" article this evening (courtesy of Mykal Banta of The Charlton Story) presents two career choices that couldn't be more different -- Federal Architect and Entomologist. Though they may seem like random choices for one article, they both demonstrate ways in which educated women could enter into the ranks of Federal employment.

"Choosing a Career: Federal
Architect or Entomologist?"
Career Girl Romances #69
(June 1972)

I was really excited to read these articles in Career Girl Romances as they are rather divergent from the usual sequential romance stories of working girls. Though a tad dry, Ms. Copeland and the gang from Charlton gave young women career ideas and options that provided alternatives to nursing, secretarial work, and other female-centric vocations.

If I find any more of these gems, I will be sure to share! They are such great snippets documenting attitudes of women in the workforce in the '70s, and I don't want any of you to miss out! Ya know -- just in case you were thinking of a career change!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Frilly Frocks!

Fashion is cyclical, with certain elements constantly going in and out of style. This summer, ruffles are incredibly in as demonstrated in Vogue. Feminine ruffles were also hot in the winter 1969 issue of Heart Throbs. Give me the vintage ruffles any day!

Heart Throbs #117
(December/January 1969)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Imprisoned by Frizz - Young Love #106 (October/November 1973)

"Imprisoned by Frizz" featured in Young Love #106 (October/November 1973) is a romance comic book story I can completely identify with. Girl meets boy, boy breaks... er... holdup. Actually, this isn't your usual romance yarn. Maria, our doubtful heroine, is plagued by a mop top of curly golden locks and fancies herself an ugly duckling. Over the years, I have learned how to tame the beast that is curly hair, but things aren't so easy for teenage Maria. Keep reading, and join me for the expertly drawn (thank you Creig Flessel!) "Imprisoned by Frizz."

Yup, I too had those baby soft curls
that quickly turned out-of-control!

Like most curly girls, Maria tries everything on the market to tame, subdue and otherwise obliterate her curls. Nothing works, and she is left with a broken heart and a cross mother.

Instead of dwell on her hair, Maria makes the resolution to turn her attention to her books and her schoolwork, declaring, "I'll be a smart ugly duckling!"

Awash in a sea of straight-haired cohorts, Maria develops an intense dislike for the popular, smart and handsome man on campus -- Bruce. Despite his attempts to get to know Maria, she brushes him off and buries her nose even further into her books. She feels that the only reason he is nice to her is because he pities her.

Now, as any curly haired person knows -- rain and humidity are foes, not friends! So when the weather forecast calls for rain on the day of Maria's huge presentation (determining whether or not she will be sent to the state conference) she naturally is spooked. Fortuitously, Maria's hair holds up, despite the rain.

Maria's dedication pays off, and she is picked to go to the state competition... and so is Bruce!

Feeling frustrated that she has to share the glory with her arch-nemesis, Maria pitches a fit. Quickly realizing that she has made a terrible mistake in being so cold to Bruce, she is doubly crushed when Bruce suddenly withdraws his hat from the ring.

Being the little ball of fiery passion that she is, Maria runs off into the woods surrounding the school -- despite the frizz-inducing storm going on outside. As she clings to the trees, Maria sobs over the way she behaved towards Bruce and laments, "Please, please, let me start this day again!" Hearing her cries through the downpour, Bruce comes running to her side. As he kisses her moist cheek, Bruce whispers that it is her wildness and down-to-earthiness that made him fall for her long ago. The following weekend, basking in the glow of young love (and a good hair day) Maria and Bruce head to the state capital, together.

I love this story because frankly, there is no other romance story quite like it! The story is unique, and so is the art. Flessel sure could draw some mean curly hair!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm Back!

Hi all! I am officially back from my vacation, but still getting caught up. I had a really nice time exploring a few cities I had not been to before, and I even picked up a couple dozen romance comics along the way! I will get back to a full post tomorrow night, but until then here is a little preview!

Story of my life!

As a curly girl living in a very humid area, I can totally relate to this epic tale from Young Love. Be sure to join me here at Sequential Crush next time for one of the greatest comic book stories ever told- "Imprisoned by Frizz."