Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Strange Good-Bye - Love and Romance #20 (January 1975)

Ready for another Charlton story of romance and heartache? Sure you are! This evening, I have for you the funky stylings of Enrique Nieto in "A Strange Good-Bye" from Love and Romance #20 (January 1975).

Though this story doesn't directly reference the Women's Movement, it is obvious that by the time this story was published in 1975 the idea of women pursuing education and careers had started to sink in with society and mirrored in popular culture. Enjoy!

Didi is an ambitious young woman -- unwilling to abandon her dreams for love, or as she puts it, "become a victim of Cupid and throw everything way..." So when she meets hunky Wade on a beach vacation in California, her plan is foiled! Or is it?

Didi decides that no matter her feelings for Wade, she will just have fun -- but not commit herself to anything serious. For Didi, finishing college and starting her career is most important.

Wade is also ambitious and lets Didi know that he too is unwilling to sacrifice his education for a serious romance. The vacation draws to a close and Didi and Wade part, without so much as a promise to write.

The months pass and Didi graduates from college and starts her industrial design career with the prestigious Nichols & Rodino design firm.

So impressed with her work, the firm decides to send Didi on a six week European tour to scope out the latest in design trends. Thrilled to be recognized and rewarded for her dedication, Didi starts the trip in Paris. Lonely in the city of lights and love, she begins to have doubts over her decision to abandon the prospects of a future with Wade.

While sketching and photographing skyscrapers in Rotterdam, Didi is shocked when she is approached by none other than her long lost love, Wade. They discover that they have both made strides in their careers, but have been at a romantic standstill since leaving the arms of one another after that summer in California.

They also discover that they will both be in the Netherlands for another month, and that their domestic offices aren't drastically far apart (he in Chicago, she in St. Paul). Deciding that they have been sensible enough for far too long -- they marry.

Now, the art of Nieto is definitely an acquired taste. But, if you can get past his flair for the ultra groovy, "A Strange Good-Bye" is actually a pretty good little story. Though throughout the story Didi has doubts over delaying romance, it is refreshing to see that in the end, she was happy with her decision to wait.


  1. "keep up the good work" as Didi said to hunky Wade - thanks for your own good work Jacque. I want a tshirt with hunky wade now.
    mal E (downunder

  2. Thank you so much!!! A Wade t-shirt would be too much, haha!!! :)

  3. I want to know what happens next! Does Didi keep her job? Do they live in separate cities while maintaining their marriage? Or does she wind up giving up the career she worked hard for and becoming a stay-at-home mom, seething with barely-concealed resentment for both her husband and their new children?

  4. I know, right?! I think that they lived in separate cities for a little over a year, until Didi started freelancing and consulting in Chicago. Since she freelanced, she was able to balance life as a mother, wife, and designer. It helped that Wade's job was flexible, enabling him to stay home with the kids when Didi had to travel.

    Or something like that! :)

  5. Jee-suss ! I feel like I just dropped acid. Psychedelic Plaid will be burned onto my retina for days. oh~ and the Guy on the cover with the Sailor Cap & White Scarf ? That's me.

  6. Actually, I kind of like the way it ends: they respect each other's careers and neither is forced to make a compromise for the other. Rather progressive attitude - so I think Jacque's proposed denouement is more likely than Jamie's.
    By the way, I kind of enjoyed the art. Nieto seems to be trying to imitate Steranko, but a few of those panels and pages are really nicely designed.

  7. great story! whenever i come across a blog that i like, i always browse through the archives. Do you still have that "too clumsy for love story?" i would adore to see how it ends, it looked so darling. you have a very cute blog!!

  8. I rather like Nieto's stuff. He was a cut above a lot of the "artists" they had on the romance books, though nowhere near as classy as Garcia-Lopez, or Demetrio.

  9. Thanks for taking a look at this one, everyone! Nieto is an acquired taste, but I will take bright, a little crazy and bold over some of the bland indistinguishable artists used on some of the other Charlton stories.

    Anonymous: I have had requests for that one and for the "Too Spoiled" I better get on those for April!!!

  10. I assume those are supposed to be freckles, but she looks like the before picture in an ad for blackhead removers.

  11. It is interesting you point that out, Pat. Freckles in the romance comics usually designate a flaw or unattractiveness!

  12. Cool post, Jacque!
    I had a stack of these old Charlton's and had planned on posting some of these heavily Steranko-like stylized Nieto stories, but never seemed to get around to it. Glad someone did! It reminds me that even though many art buffs feel that Steranko pioneered this pop-artsy style, I have somewhere a groovy psychedelic romance story that pre-dates Steranko's that may have actually been an influence on his vision...if I could just remember where I put that ol' comic...
    Keep up the stellar blog-work!

  13. Thank you, Apocolyte! I would be curious to know what story you are thinking of -- let me know if you come across it!