Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Time Travel Tuesdays - Romance Comic Character asks, "Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?"

For this special Women's History Month installment of Time Travel Tuesdays I have a striking one-pager about a young career driven young woman with a heartbreaking choice to make. In "Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?" Rita Benson, head of the copy department at a large publishing firm finds she must choose between her fulfilling job and her beau, Paul. Her potential husband declares that no wife of his will work, but Rita finds herself wanting to have it "all."

Illustrated by Bob Powell
"Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?"

Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #15
(May 1952)*

Perhaps the most interesting facet of this short story is the last panel which appears to take place in some sort of clinical setting. The 1950s are often associated with various experts (think Dr. Wertham!) and the last panel of this romance story is a very good example of reliance on the musings of authoritarian figures.

*I know I have used this issue before, but I just couldn't resist sharing this one-page story!


  1. Y'know, I read and enjoy romance comics for the kitschy appeal (and occasional Jack Kirby artwork), but things like this make me want to barf.

  2. Jacque,

    The art looks like the work of Bob Powell.

  3. It's also interesting that Rita appears to be the only woman who works for that publisher!

  4. Josh: Oh no! No barfing! :) But really, a lot of the things dealt with in the romance comics are hard to take from our 21st perspective. I find it amazing how one little eight panel story can encapsulate so much cultural history in it... Interestingly, both of my grandmothers worked throughout their adult lives and raised families simultaneously, which seems to contradict many portrayals of women in the mid-century years. We can only hope that Rita followed her heart honestly, even if it meant losing something cherished!

    Nick: Thanks! Mr. Caputo to the art IDing rescue again! :)

    Diana: She does, doesn't she? It is cool though that her boss is confident in her talents and so willing to promote her based on merit!

  5. Where do I meet one of these hard working women so I can stay home and make comics all day in front of Turner Classic Movies ?

  6. On this one, Jacque, I think our heroine should skip her heart and follow her head: if this's how hubby-to-be behaves when it comes to winning her hand, he'll become even more vehement, bullying and dictatorial as he starts taking the marriage for granted.

    It's amazing how, as soon as people enter into relationships, they start trying to shut down so many of the characteristics - sociability, chattiness, independence, free spiritedness, etc. - that were the reason for why they were attracted to the person in the first place!

  7. Lysdexicuss: Ha! A hard working woman would probably inspire one to reach maximum potential.

    Borky: By saying heart in my previous response, I don't mean Rita should necessarily follow into a relationship with Paul, but rather, follow the path she feels is best for her, whichever it may be.