Friday, September 23, 2011

My Chat With Jim Steranko on His Only Romance Comic Book Story - "My Heart Broke in Hollywood!"

While I was at the San Diego Comic-Con a couple months ago, I had the good fortune of meeting Jim Steranko. He was kind enough to divert his attention away from his convention duties and chat with me a bit about his only romance story, “My Heart Broke in Hollywood!” that was originally published in Our Love Story #5 (June 1970). Our meeting was happenstance, so naturally I was without a recording device. After we talked, I quickly ran off to scribble down some notes! So without further ado, the following narrative is what Steranko told me about his one and only romance story! The accompanying pages are the original color guide for the story!*

Initially, Steranko was asked to draw a Western story, but said that he wanted to do a romance story instead. He felt that so much of the romance comic book stories were done in the “Jay Scott Pike” style that he wanted to try something radically different, and unlike any other romance story anyone had ever seen!

After penciling and inking the Stan Lee plotted story, Steranko decided he would color it himself. Knowing his color choices were non-traditional for a romance story, he decided to wait to turn the pages in just before the 5pm deadline – by which time it would be too late to change anything! Steranko recollected that Marie Severin thought it was pretty wild, but ultimately let the story pass through as he intended.

Steranko went on to tell me that when Our Love Story #5 appeared on the newsstands, Carmine Infantino apparently called a meeting with his staff over at DC. As Infantino chomped on his trademark cigar, he passed out ten copies of the rival Marvel romance. He instructed his staff to open up to Steranko’s “My Heart Broke in Hollywood!” and exclaimed, “Top this next month or you're fired!”

And that, my friends is the story that Steranko told me! Unfortunately as I said, I didn’t have anything to record this discussion with since it occurred spur of the moment. But sometimes, those encounters are the best and elicit the most genuine of stories! It was clear from his enthusiasm that Steranko not only enjoyed telling me about his sole romance story, but that he had a great time creating it!

*A big thank you to color guide owner, Matthew Holtzman, as well as Tony Robertson who runs the terrific website, The Drawings of Steranko where the above pages are hosted. If you would like to read “My Heart Broke in Hollywood” it has been reprinted a few times and can be found on a number of websites including True Love Comics Tales which posted it just a few days ago!

Have a splendid weekend!!!


  1. Steranko is a master of the form -- it's such a pity that he hasn't drawn more than a handful of comics. I was so happy to find a copy of Our Love #5 for a good price a few months ago: it completed my Steranko collection, and I can now die happy...

  2. Awesome. Thanks for sharing! I set up at the Cincinnati Comic Expo last weekend where Steranko was the guest of honor, but unfortunately I didn't get to meet him.

  3. What incredible composition. Each page so beautifully balanced. And I love those colors!! that's 1970 at its very best. I think this is one of the best romance stories I've seen posted here. I'd love to see the final comic.

  4. Great article! Thank you and SO good to have you back in action!

  5. Hahahaha. Last weekend I met Jim again in Cincinnati and as I was telling my son about his many accomplishments I thought of this story and actually wished you had had a chance to ask him about it before you left. Apparently you did! Thanks!

  6. Allan: Imagine if he had drawn more romance! That is great you found a copy -- I saw one a while back for a good price, but passed it up for some reason. Now I wish I had scooped it up when I could!

    Josh: If you ever have another chance, be sure to say hello. He is very approachable.

    Mykal: Here are two links to see the whole story:

    Ryan: Glad you liked it, and I am very happy to be back as well! :)

    Booksteve: I did! Yay!

  7. Great story; so glad these bits of history weren't lost to the sands of time. Carl Jung might have a few things to say about synchronicity regarding your brief chance encounter with Steranko. His groundbreaking art clearly influenced the Spanish contingency and contemporaries such as Howard Chaykin.

  8. Those colors are absolutely fantastic! Thank you for sharing Steranko's story with us, it's so interesting to know what went on behind the scenes.

  9. Great story! The Infantino part may well be true as DC's "Lilly Martin the Swinger" series, began in Young Romance #170 (Feb/Mar 1971) - the timing is just about right.

    1. Yes, that issue could certainly be the result of Infantino's lecture! I need to post the Lilly Martin story soon. It is a two-parter in just that issue. Although it seems as if it should have continued (and initially I thought it did), that book was also the last of her, making it a rather usual issue.

  10. these were all my favorite artists. i bought love comics for the steranko story gene colon and john romita. great stuff. story lines are funny now and dated but the art is amazing.