Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time Travel Tuesdays - Filler Pages from Romantic Marriage #6 (October 1951)

The stories of 1950s romance comics are great, but so are the filler pages! The four pages below hail from Romantic Marriage #6 (October 1951) published by Ziff-Davis. Collectively, the messages of the filler material do not really bode well for marriage -- especially these first two cartoon pages called "Wedding Belles." Click to read and see what I mean!

"Wedding Belles"
Full page

"Wedding Belles"
Half page

"Marriage Can Be Fun!" is definitely on the sunnier side and depicts marriage as an exciting and rewarding partnership. Very different from the previous two pages which just make the institution of marriage sound like a drag!

"Marriage Can Be Fun!"

"Strange Marriage Customs" is well... a bit strange, but I wouldn't say a rarity. Quite a few romance comics into the early '60s featured pages uncovering courtship rituals of "primitive" people.

"Strange Marriage Customs"

Thanks for joining me for another fun Time Travel Tuesday! I always look forward to it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Hunk, an Orange, and a Runaway Bride - "Perfect Match" from Girls' Love Stories #158 (April 1971)

Hello! This evening I have for you a story that is rather unusual for the romance comics. Most stories of love involved rather innocent displays of affection -- a goodnight kiss after a trip the soda fountain, a peck on the cheek, or at most, a visibly clothed tumble in the grass. Presumably all necessary depictions within the constraints of the original Comics Code and practical too, considering the varied demographics of readers -- some of who were quite young. "Perfect Match" hailing from Girls' Love Stories #158 (April 1971) is different. Read on to see what I mean!

As Louise prepares for her wedding day to Philip, she cannot get a man named Kirk out of her mind -- no matter how hard she tries.

How did Louise come to doubt her marriage to Philip, you ask? Well, it all started one day at the construction site of the couple's future home -- a gift from Philip's father. As the couple examines the property, a well-muscled stranger (Kirk) catches Louise's eye.

Yup... this guy.

Later that day, Louise visits with her mother who senses her misgivings about the impending marriage. She reminds Louise what a good and stable life Philip will give her. But security means little when the gorgeous stranger consumes Louise's thoughts as she lies in bed.

Despite feeling guilt over fantasizing over another man, Louise goes to visit the construction site the next day. Alone. She tells the hunky construction worker that she is afraid of heights and silently, he takes her by the hand. When he turns his back on her, she becomes enraged. However, the stranger's coolness towards her doesn't prevent Louise from taking comfort in her fantasy of the chiseled mystery man.

That evening while dining in a crowded restaurant, Kirk asks to join Philip and Louise due to lack of seating. Philip reads his menu while Kirk essentially undresses Louise with his eyes and the two press their knees together under the table.

Louise stuns herself when she realizes she has slipped out of her shoe to start a game of footsie with Kirk. She is momentarily stunned, but quickly becomes entranced by Kirk once more when he seductively (and a bit strangely) eats an orange. After dinner and after parting ways with Philip for the evening, Louise waits in the darkness for Kirk. When he shows up, the two passionately embrace... and embrace some more...

The two daring lovebirds continue to see each other right up until the wedding. As Louise makes her way out of her house for the church on the big day, Kirk appears. After a steamy kiss, Kirk picks Louise up and puts her in his car and drives off.

"I froze... melted... was burned by my
volcanic love..."

Thinking she has been kidnapped, Philip and Louise's father call the police. When the escapees are pulled over, the officer inquires as to Louise's compliance in the affair. Ascending from her past guilt over her infatuation with another man, Louise declares loud and clear that she loves Kirk and intends to marry him. As the two speed away, Louise's father is left in a state of bewilderment.

Interesting, no?! Between the images and the text, "Perfect Match" reads unlike most romance comic book stories from the '60s and '70s. Few are so blatantly sexy, mildly erotic, and full of potential euphemisms. Though the Comics Code had been loosened somewhat in early 1971, this story when read closely, still seems as though it just slid under the radar.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Examining Copy

"Mad Mad Modes for Moderns"
Illustrated by Tony Abruzzo
Falling in Love #90
(April 1967)

Happy Monday everyone! This is probably a short week for many of you with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching! I have some good stuff planned this week, so be sure to check back! And now... a little observation!

I personally, love the "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" filler pages. I am especially fond of the one above as it displays not only some enviable outfits, but the subtle background design pulls the two pages together nicely. However, I have noticed with this series that I find myself concentrating on the artwork and ignoring the copy. After all, it is a little *ahem* cheesy if you will, and occasionally it borders on the nonsensical side. Interestingly, they also almost all contain multiple references to felines! Most utilized in the "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" across the board seems to be the word "tiger." Today's example contains no less than eight references to the creatures belonging to the Family Felidae, including: tiger (mentioned three times), pussycat (used twice), cat, feline, and tomcats!

Usually when I read the romance comics I try to take both art and text into consideration when deciding my feelings on a story, but with "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" I find it is best to just enjoy the art for what it is -- gorgeous fashion illustration!

How about you?
Do you tend to gravitate toward
the art or the stories in romance comics?

Friday, November 18, 2011

1963 Romance-Themed Wonder Woman House Ads

Ad from
Girls' Love Stories #94
(April 1963)

Ad from
Falling in Love #60
(July 1963)

Hey all! Above are two Wonder Woman house ads hailing from romance issues with 1963 cover dates. Last year I shared a few Wonder Woman ads from the late '60s and early '70s romance issues advertising the issues in which Wonder Woman renounced her powers and lived as Diana Prince. The above ads were published years earlier, but were similarly directed toward the romance comic audience. Though Wonder Woman was billed as a super-heroine, these ads sent the message to romance comic readers that she was still relatable and not immune to the hardships associated with love -- despite her super powers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cautionary Tales - "Uptight" with Lee Elias and Win Mortimer

Some days are great for curling up and reading full-length romance comic stories. Other days call for short bursts of sequential goodness. Today is one of those days! Below are a few pages of "Uptight" -- well thought out cautionary tales from Lee Elias and Win Mortimer!

"Uptight" - Lee Elias
Girls' Love Stories #157
(February 1971)

"Uptight" - Lee Elias
Girls' Love Stories #158
(April 1971)

"Uptight" - Lee Elias
Young Love #84
(January/February 1971)

"Uptight" - Win Mortimer
Girls' Love Stories #157
(February 1971)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrate Veterans Day with Career Girl Romances

Hello everyone! Happy Veterans Day! In celebration and appreciation of the many women and men who have served in and supported the armed forces over the years I present "Saigon Kisses" from Career Girl Romances #46 (August 1968). Our story starts with the departure of Tommy Suchak -- Green Beret and fiancé to Wendy Miller.

Sent to the jungles of Vietnam, Tommy writes frequently to Wendy. She always writes back and always dreams about him when her head hits the pillow. One night Wendy wakes up from a terrible nightmare. She fears the worst...

Wendy's nightmare becomes reality -- Tommy is announced missing in action. Wendy fears he is either a prisoner of the Viet Cong or dead. Tommy's parents tell her to continue to pray and not give up hope that he might still be alive. Weeks pass. Frustrated with waiting and not knowing, Wendy decides to take matters into her own hands by joining the Red Cross.

Before long, Wendy finds herself in Saigon. Her days are filled with visiting wounded soldiers, delivering packages from home, and meeting helicopters carrying freed American POWs. All the while, Wendy keeps alert to any signs of Tommy.

Not one to sit on the sidelines, Wendy does whatever she needs to do (including using her feminine wiles) to gain entry into combat zones in order to search for Tommy.

Just as she starts to lose hope that he is alive, a soldier comes in without dog tags, clinging to life. Amazingly, it is Tommy!

Back at the Red Cross station, Wendy sticks by Tommy's side while he regains his health. In a simple but happy ending, the two kiss.

Naturally, lots of romance stories were centered around wartime, but few featured such a proactive heroine and a happily ever after!

Thank you, Veterans!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Because You Demanded It! Doormat for Love!

Hi friends! Friday's post of my favorite Nick Cardy covers was a big hit! A few of you actually inquired about the interior story depicted on the cover of Girls' Love Stories #148 (January 1970) and I couldn't resist sharing! The cover is indeed Cardy, but the actual story was penciled by Win Mortimer and appears to have been inked by Mortimer as well -- although, there do seem to be a few inconsistent and uncharacteristic panels. Anyhow!

Brace yourselves for "Doormat for Love!"

Gorgeous Nick Cardy cover!
Though as you will see, a tad misleading!

"Doormat for Love!" is not a complicated story, but it is a good one. The splash page introduces us to fellow students, Trina and Hal. After a slightly awkward introduction, Hal asks Trina if she would care to grab a Coke. New to the dating game, Trina enthusiastically says yes.

Their date proves to be a bit of a disaster. After Hal asks Trina to go steady, she nervously spills her drink on Hal's shoe. To make matters worse, Trina gets down on the ground and cleans off his shoe with her hanky. The rest of the kids start laughing. Embarrassed, Hal grabs Trina to scram.

Once away from the scene, Hal pulls Trina in for a romantic kiss. The two continue to date for a few weeks, but Trina becomes increasingly accommodating and borders on obsessive in her quest to please Hal.

From knitting to baking to running out in the rain to grab refreshments for Hal, Trina puts his interests miles before her own. The last straw for Hal is when Trina agrees to see a Western film despite not being a fan of the genre. After the movie, Hal dumps Trina.

Trina is devastated. Assuming Joan (Trina's best friend) will back her up, Trina is surprised when Joan tells her she has been foolish for pampering Hal. Fuming, Trina decides to get back at Hal.

The next day at school, Trina acts aloof as she drops her books and walks through the doorway where they met -- announcing clearly, "Ladies first, sir!" Trina continues to act unaffected by Hal's presence for the remainder of the school day.

After school, Hal drops by Trina's house. He makes a quip about her having a cake set for him like she did last time. Trina fires back that she wouldn't bake him a cookie, much less a crumb. Her new attitude of independence pleases Hal. Obviously!

Though brunette Nan from the cover scene never makes an appearance, "Doormat for Love!" is a cute story with an admirable ending! Ahhhh! Romance comics!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Coats and Slacks - Ever So Wow!

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! Let's ease into the week with another gorgeous "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" from Secret Hearts #119 (April 1967) by the incomparable Tony Abruzzo.

Click to view in their full glory!

Never one to disappoint, Abruzzo pairs the delightful coats with some pretty fantastic pants. I for one would be super excited to wear those pink bell-bottoms!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Favorites - The Romance Comic Covers of Nick Cardy

Hey all! I hope you are doing well this fine Friday! Today I have for you a few of my absolute favorite Nick Cardy romance covers!!! Attractive characters, expressive characterization and super groovy outfits -- few can top the romance covers of Cardy in my eyes!

Falling in Love #137
(October 1972)

Girls' Love Stories #148
(January 1970)

Girls' Romances #153
(December 1970)

Girls' Romances #154
(January 1971)

Young Romance #157
(December 1968/January 1969)

I unfortunately don't have the following two in my collection, but they are also favorites! Hopefully someday I will be able to make them mine!

Girls' Romances #148
(April 1970)

Heart Throbs #121
(August/September 1969)

Do you have any favorite Cardy covers --
romance or otherwise?