Friday, May 20, 2011

Frank Langford's - Love on a Rooftop!

I've got Frank Langford fever!

Yup, ever since I saw Allan Harvey's post on the Langford story "Cry, Soul; Cry, Love" over at his blog Gorilla Daze, I have had an unquenchable thirst for the art of Frank Langford! Can you blame me?! Hopefully you will see what I mean in the beautifully illustrated "Love on a Rooftop!" from Young Love #90 (December 1971) in which we meet Mark and Lori -- a couple with little in the way of money, but rich in love (or so Mark thinks).

Lori feels that things will never look up, but Mark assures her that if she is just content, their luck will turn around. Having lived all their lives in a tenement building in the slums, Lori's patience diminishes on a daily basis.

While at work the next day, a handsome guy by the name of Peter Forrest introduces himself and asks Lori out to dinner. Feeling lonely, Lori accepts. That evening, Peter picks her up in a fancy sports car and takes her to an opulent French restaurant. The two have a wonderful time and continue to see each other.

Lori dates Peter and has a great time, but meanwhile, she is still in a sort of limbo stage with Mark. Eventually they do break up, but Mark clearly still has feelings for her. But Lori's world only has room for Peter and eventually her days and nights revolve around the wealthy young man who has adventure, glamor, and love to offer.

One day when Peter drops Lori off at her tenement, Mark encounters them and declares that he won't back down from loving her. It turns out to be very bad timing though, as Lori has just accepted Peter's marriage proposal. Peter announces that he will be introducing Lori to his parents during a formal dinner party that Saturday. Peter's plan stresses Lori out, as she does not own a gown. As Mark looks on, Lori and Peter walk away as she verbally frets about her attire for the party. Peter assures her that she will be beautiful in whatever she wears.

The day of the party, a package containing a stunning white gown is delivered to Lori. Her heart brims over with joy and she cannot thank Peter enough for the surprise. The two make their way to the home of Peter's parents, but the young couple is not welcomed with open arms.

Peter's parents do not want him marrying Lori because as his mother puts it, "He has a future to think of..." Lori is obviously crushed, but Peter acts pretty nonchalant about it and tells her that he doesn't want to risk his parents cutting him off financially. Lori thinks that Peter is ashamed of her and that is why he bought her a new gown to wear. But suddenly, it clicks that it wasn't Peter that purchased the dress -- but Mark!

"One man wanted me -- but not enough to
risk his future for me, and another had spent his meager savings
to insure [sic] my happiness..."

Lori runs to Mark and lets him know that nothing can substitute for real genuine love. Mark doesn't give her the old "I told you so," but simply, embraces her. In a sweet narrated ending, Lori announces that the white gown Mark gave her will be her wedding dress.

So, what do you think? Do you have Langford fever now too?! Not only is the art fantastic, the story is quite good too with the dress bit and all! Hopefully this was a nice start to what I hope is a fantastic weekend for ya!


  1. Langford fever is one condition I don't mind suffering from!

    As I think Shakespeare once wrote, "If Frank Langford be the food of love, give me excess of him..."

  2. Such a great piece of work. There is a wealth of underrated art within the romance comic genre—how could anyone doubt this after seeing this story? Surely, Langford is equal to the best of them. Neal Adams, or anyone else.

  3. It has to be said that there's also a lot of sloppy, substandard art -- especially in the 1972-75 period. However, a trawl through a pile of romance comics is all the sweeter for the unexpected discovery of a Langford, or a Romero, or a Redondo. Makes it all worthwhile.

  4. Sorry, luv; great rendering, mediocre (but competent) breakdowns. And this is worse, I think; just awful layouts, still pretty rendering:

  5. Hi Allen. There is plenty of bad artwork from any genre between 1972 and 1975. In fact, there is plenty of bad artwork from any genre before 1939 through and after 2011. For sure, I do not presume romance to be a special case. If my post has lead to an interpretation otherwise, then I think a clarification is due.

    However, I believe that one would find it hard to argue that the romance genre has enjoyed the same critical examination which the superhero or horror genres have had, for example. Therefore, those exceptional careers which can be found within the pages of romance comic books have not been brought into popular awareness, as has happened with those who have reached acclaim through the superhero or horror genres. Simply, because of this, I say that there is a wealth of under appreciated art within the romance comic book genre *when compared to the due appreciation of art of other genres, not compared to the totality of art of those books.*

    Hi Seditionist. I would like to hear the reasoning behind your critique. And this request should not be considered antagonizing—I believe that perhaps you are evaluating the properties of Langford’s work on quite a different set of conditions than what I have done, therefore, arriving at a different opinion of the value of the work.

  6. I'm not seeing the grounds for Seditionist's criticisms, either. This is a beautifully rendered story - at least the pages shown here.

  7. Jacque: Yep, I got the fever. I love the cinematic quality of his layouts. That last page is a real beauty. Great stuff.

  8. Justin,

    I agree with you completely regarding the wealth of undiscovered gems withing the long neglected romance genre. In the past decade or two I've slowly begun to appreciate a genre I rarely took notice of, learning of the wealth of superior artists and stories (I've recently read some great Alex Toth romance comics that are reprinted in the new book about Toth: "Genius Isolated" - highly recommended to anyone who appreciates a master craftsman. Jacque, you have to post a Toth story!)

    Jacque's blog has been an invaluable resource, a place to learn and discuss the entertaining and culturally interesting stories of this special genre.

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments! I am glad Sequential Crush has become a place to discuss artists and what seemed to work and not work in the romance comics!

    I will definitely look for some Toth stories... anything else you all would like to see as far as themes, etc.?

  10. Justin: super-hero, mystery and war comics were generally held to a minimum level of quality, while the romance stuff was frequently sloppy in a manner that would not have occurred in the other genres. I'm thinking mostly of the appalling reprints, where Win Mortimer, or someone else, was brought in to hastily redraw hairdos and/or outfits when a 1950s story "needed" to be brought up to date. That was never done with the super-hero material, and the results were often terrible.

    The all-new stuff was as well drawn as anything else on the stands, though it suffered under the inks of Colletta.