Monday, December 5, 2011

Malt Shops, and Drive-Ins, and Bowling Alleys! Oh, My! Typical Settings for Romance!

We all know that romance can happen anywhere -- but in the romance comics, love generally blossomed at a few select places. The following panels illustrate perhaps the most popular settings for 1960s and '70s romance stories. As you go through this post you may ask yourself, why no romance scenes in the bedroom? Bedroom scenes in the romance comics were few and far between and typically, reserved for married characters. Another thing to remember -- prior to the in-home entertainment revolution (e.g., devices such as VHS and DVD players) most amusements happened outside of the home, thus accounting for the public nature of the romantic venues shown here.

The great outdoors is always a perfect spot for love when the weather is nice!

Park Benches
"Too Beautiful to Spoil"
Falling in Love #63 (November 1963)

♥ Beaches ♥
"Don't Bet on Love!"
Falling in Love #64 (January 1964)
Pencils and Inks: Jay Scott Pike

♥ Under Trees ♥
"Cry Alone!"
Heart Throbs #115 (August/September 1968)
Pencils: Tony Abruzzo

A little vigorous exercise never hurt the heart, so say the characters of romance comics!

♥ Tennis Courts ♥
"The Most Bitter Lesson of Her Life!"
Falling in Love #113 (February 1970s)
Pencils: Lee Elias

♥ Bowling Alleys ♥
"No Time for Love!"
Girls' Romances #141 (June 1969)
Pencils: Win Mortimer, Inks: Vince Colletta

♥ Ski Slopes ♥
"Swinging Singles Hotel"
Heart Throbs #134 (October 1971)

Nothing like being afloat at sea with the one you love as the many boaters in the romance comics demonstrate!

♥ Sailboats ♥
"Easy to Kiss"
Girls' Romances #145 (December 1969)

♥ Canoes ♥
"Tame a Wild Heart"
Girls' Romances #151 (September 1970)
Pencils: John Rosenberger

Miscellaneous entertainment is always available for those characters fortunate enough to live in the city!

♥ The Zoo ♥
"I'll Never Love Again!"
Girls' Romances #146 (January 1970)
Pencils: John Rosenberger

♥ Malt Shops ♥
"The Face in My Dreams!"
Girls' Love Stories #94 (April 1963)

♥ Nightclubs ♥
"Substitute Sweetheart"
Heart Throbs #129 (December 1970/January 1971)
Pencils: Win Mortimer

♥ Amusement Parks ♥
"Ring of Gold!"
Young Romance #159 (April/May 1969)

♥ Museums and Art Galleries ♥
"How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?"
Our Love Story #20 (December 1972)
Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

It is no surprise that the popularity of cars in mid-century popular culture infiltrated the pages of romance comics as intimate spaces for young lovers.

The Drive-in
"The Lost Love"
Young Love #123 (January 1977)
Pencils: John Rosenberger, Inks: Vince Colletta

♥ Lookout Points ♥
"A Million Laughs in Every Kiss"
Young Romance #167 (August/September 1970)
Pencils and Inks: Tony DeZuniga

Many romance stories took place where characters spent a majority of their time -- the workplace.

♥ Hospitals ♥
"My First Love Was My Last Love!"
Young Romance #161 (August/September 1969)

♥ The Office ♥
"Hide From Love!"
Secret Hearts #139 (October 1969)
Pencils: John Rosenberger

♥ School ♥
"Don't Bring Him Home"
Young Love #117 (August/September 1975)
Pencils: Creig Flessel


This list is by no means conclusive, but is a nice sampling of some of the most common settings for romance in the comics! Maybe you now even have an idea or two of where to take your next date!


  1. i love the title of "Can I love a member of the Establishment?" There's something fascinating about how strange the slang sounds now compared to how it sounded when i was a kid.

  2. Yeah, I don't think it is a phrase that anyone would ever use now! Definitely very time specific!

  3. Thanks for that neat collection. I'm always in Joss-mode, and I laughed at the one that had "Mal" at the beach (my brain said, "Look, it must be Capt. Malcolm Reynolds!" and I dreamed she was Inara). Oh, and, as was putting together a lecture for my students, using comic book pieces (I do that when I have time--even if some find it corny--and love to use comic books as evidence for students, when we study WWII through the present) I'm always shocked--and your posting here is no different--how unified, and false, the color of societal skin appears. Yup, after brain was done freaking over the "Mal," while I tried to think about the "romance" of each piece, I just kept thinking: Does this mean only "White" people have romance and can find love? Hmm. Thanks again, Jacque! Keep up the great work!

  4. Lisa's Bad Friend: Thanks for stopping by! It is true, the romance comics predominately featured homogenous white characters. I am always excited to come across stories with diverse characters, but unfortunately they are few and far between -- making posts like this tricky. I am pretty close to having a full run of the '70s Marvel and DC books and I am sure once I have them all, I will have more stories with diverse characters to share!

  5. Heart Throbs #134, see the guy's hair, that's "Vinnie hair."