Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reach for Happiness! - Episode Three

If you can handle the intense drama, keep reading for another emotion-fueled episode of "Reach for Happiness!" from Secret Hearts #112 (June 1966) as illustrated by Gene Colan.* The last time we took a trip to Danville Corners, the old beau of Rita Philips, Ray Silva, had snuck his way back into Rita's life to tell her that he wasn't through with her.

Rita is in love with Dr. Greg Marsh and doesn't hesitate in letting Ray know. Ray teases her about it, believing Greg is just giving Rita the runaround. In a moment of intense passion and rage, Rita slaps Ray for his cruelty.

Ray stands in shock after Rita's display of aggression -- for at one time she was grateful to him for taking a chance on her as no one ever had. The two ex-lovers seem to come to terms, but Rita fears that Ray will get in the way of her potential future with Greg.

Meanwhile, Lila and Roger Smathers are preparing for a dinner party to celebrate the homecoming of their godchild, Karen. While setting the table, Lila and Roger get into it with their teenage son Ritchie who took the car without permission the night before. Interrupting their disciplinary procedures is Lila's father who insists that Richie have the best life has to offer. Lila and Roger abhor the spoiling of their son. In a vindictive move, Lila's father reminds her that Roger owes everything he has to him.

A few hours later, the party for Karen begins. All invited guests seem to be in attendance except Dr. Greg Marsh. With loving feelings for the doctor creeping back in, Karen is devastated that he is a no-show.

Unbeknown to Karen, Greg wants to attend the party but Rita's jealousy prevents him leaving her side. He stays with Rita and Karen is left at her party heartbroken at his absence.

And that, my friends, is where this episode ends!

I don't know about you, but I am most interested at this point in the Roger and Lila storyline -- why does Roger owe everything to her father and why is he guilt-tripping them? Only time will tell!!!

*Scans for this episode most generously provided by Pat Curley of the blog, Silver Age Comics!


  1. Gene Colan is amazing. That cover ! And the interior, every bit as great as his gothic romance work in Tomb of Dracula ! Thanx for posting ;~j

  2. I agree - I love the artwork in this series, even after Jay Scott Pike picked it up. The serial format also gave them an opportunity to expand on characterization and plotlines that the "one-off" romance story just didn't allow.

    I'm curious, Jacque - at 29 parts, is it safe to say that this was the longest running romance story in comics history? I can't think of anything else offhand, at least with serial continuity of this nature, that ran longer.

    I've been trying to assemble a collection of the entire series myself - there's still a few parts that have proved elusive. I'm looking forward to your review of future installments!

  3. Edo: I am so sorry -- I accidentally deleted your comment! For some reason Osgood's showed up twice and I was trying to delete one -- oops!!! This is what I get for trying to blog before having coffee! But I still have the text from the email notification... so listen up everyone... this is what Edo Bosnar has to say!!!

    "Too bad there's probably no chance of this story ever being collected anywhere; it's a veritable soap opera, and Colan's art makes it all the more engaging. Speaking of soaps, it's interesting that most of the romance comics largely consisted of self-contained, "done-in-one" stories rather than ongoing tales like this one - while one could argue that Marvel got so popular in the 60s onward by turning super-hero comics into soap operas."

  4. Edo hits the nail on the head. When Marvel tried to switch to one-and-done super-hero stories in the Mid-60's, there was such an uproar from fans, Stan Lee had to write a Soapbox column explaining why they were going to reverse themselves and go back to continued story narratives ! It really separated them at the time from other companies.

  5. Lysdexicuss: Enjoy that Colan art while it lasts! :)

    Edo and Lysdexicuss: Wouldn't it be great if this was collected somewhere? I could see there being interest (and sales) and it would be cool to see them in one spot for continuity and because of the artist switch from Colan to Pike. I can just imagine waiting for the next issue of Secret Hearts to come on the newsstands to find out the fate of Dr. Marsh, Karen and Rita. Having familiar characters is very appealing and I think that is why they tried doing some serials and having recurring characters.

    Osgood: Yes, as far as I know, this is the longest running romance serial coming in at 29 episodes. The 3 Girls serial from Heart Throbs is a close second with 22 episodes. Pretty amazing!