Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Feature - Time Travel Tuesdays! 1940s and 1950s Romance Comic Book Stories!

The wait is over! I am very happy to present a new monthly feature here at Sequential Crush -- Time Travel Tuesdays! On the last Tuesday of each month I will feature a romance story from the early days of the love comics! While the '60s and '70s romance comics will always be number one in my heart, these stories are fantastic in their own right!!! Today's story is "My Life Was a Lie" from the Harvey series, Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #15 (May 1952). Not sure who the artist is on this one, but it is quite lovely! Our story goes a little something like this...

After meeting on a train headed to Clayton College for the new academic year, Bonnie and Bob start to date and go mad for one another. Problem is, Bonnie is hiding just one minor detail from dear Bob... she isn't actually a student!

A lovely evening is spent by the young lovers nestled by the fireplace of the Delta Alpha Theta sorority house, while the sorority sisters enjoy a night at the theater. Bob thinks that Bonnie ditched the girls for an evening with him, but little does he know; come morning, Bonnie is going to be cleaning the ashes out of the hearth.

That's right. While the sisters of Delta Alpha Theta attend their classes -- Bonnie, who cannot afford to get a college education, attends to their dishes and laundry. But Bob must never find out!

How did Miss Bonnie get into such a pickle, you may ask? Well, when Bonnie and Bob met on the train headed to campus, she ran with Bob's assumption that she was a fellow incoming freshman. How could she not? He made it very clear that he was smitten by the idea of an educated and interesting woman.

Soon, dating Bob becomes problematic for Bonnie, as it gets harder and harder to hide the fact that she is just the "help." Dodging the ladies of Delta Alpha Theta is a full-time job in itself, and Bonnie wonders if she can give up the act without losing Bob's love.

The charade doesn't last long, however; Bob unexpectedly shows up at the sorority house for a dinner with the newspaper staff of which he is a member. Knowing she is caught in her lie and expecting fallout worse than any nuclear testing site, Bonnie tries to make a run for it. Before she can get out of dodge, she is stopped by an unexpected and life-changing offer.

Though it is obvious that Bonnie is overjoyed because she can quit her act and be confident in the fact that Bob will stick by her side, it is neat that the last few panels are written in such a way as to portray Bonnie as being thrilled about the prospects of going to college! Quite ahead of its time, wouldn't you say?!

I hope you enjoyed the first
installment of Time Travel Tuesdays --
check in next month for your fix of "vintage" romance stories!


  1. Being a HUGE Fan of 40's & 50's stuff, I already have a stock-pile of tissue boxes waiting for each Time-Travel Tuesday !

  2. I certainly agree about her joy at attending college being ahead of its time. In fact, the entire story has a maturity to it that outpaces some of the later "free love" silliness of later romance mags. And it's always a kick to see the old stuff.

  3. Wonderful opener, Jacque! What a splendid tale. The story subverted my expectations in having the sorority sisters not be spiteful.

    I bet Bob is secretly delighted at having a sweetheart so proficient in the domestic arts ...

  4. Lysdexicuss: Fantastic! There won't be a dry eye in the blogosphere!

    Jared: These older stories do have a maturity to them. I have a feeling the audience was a little older during the hey-day of romance!

    Martin: Thank you!!! I was surprised by the offer of the sorority sister as well -- kind, generous and very humane. I guess they had to add in the bit of bossiness at the end to make it realistic!

  5. Ahhh - I took that final line as gentle encouragement to just kiss the guy, already!

  6. According to Gerard Jones' "Men of Tomorrow," comics had a high adult audience in the fifties, though that shrank after the anti-comics scare. In any case, I agree with everyone else, it's cool to see a story take this approach (not to mention a male lead who actually cares about her education).