Monday, June 18, 2012

Because You Demanded It! All's Fair!

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for your most favorite romance comic book cover fail! From the comments, it appeared that the majority of readers wanted to know what could possibly explain the absence of the lower half of the above pictured lovebirds! So today, I have for you "All's Fair" from Romantic Story #115 (October 1971) penciled by Charles Nicholas and inked by Vincent Alascia -- an artistic duo whose work frequented the Charlton romance comics.

Our story starts with a highly educated Miss Patti Newton, secretary to H.J. Adams -- the most powerful pharmaceutical sales manager in all the land -- or at least at Ribbs Inc.

Patti's days at work are not only interesting and fulfilling, but filled with plenty of eye candy. Both her boss, Mr. Adams and red-headed salesman, Farley Moore are quite foxy. Patti confides in her cousin/roommate, Eleanor, that she has a crush on both.

Patti worries a bit that Mr. Adams is a bit too stern. One of Patti's co-workers, a matronly woman named Mrs. Smith, explains that he is just trying to seem more mature and dignified.

It isn't long before Patty starts dating Farley. Without giving it too much thought, Patti lets information slip that had been told to her in confidence by Mr. Adams. Farley takes the free advice and uses it to his advantage to get ahead in the company.

Patti may be without legs on the cover, but she definitely isn't without a conscience.

Guilt overwhelms her, and Patti decides to step down from her job. Just as she does, Mr. Adams reveals that he been planting information for her to give Farley all along because he knew they were hanging out. Understandably, Patti is furious and quits. When she tells Farley that she came clean to Mr. Adams, Farley calls her a "real idiot," and exclaims that "maybe it's a good thing you are leaving!" Farley doesn't realize that he is the idiot in the eyes of Mr. Adams.

After a few days of moping around over the loss of her job and her dignity, Eleanor convinces Patti to dress up and make some dinner for them. Little does Patti know that her cousin had invited Mr. Adams -- err, Hank over to apologize. Hank brings her flowers and lets her know that Farley will be transferred to the Pittsburgh office.

With Farley far away in the Steel City, Hank can express his true feelings for Patti. He admits that he is a "stuffed shirt" in the office, but he turns out to be a fun guy outside the workplace. He helps Patti find a new job as a secretary and they frequently spend their lunch hours together. Farley is gone, but not forgotten. Definitely not from my mind, anyhow! That smirk face attached to a legless torso still haunts...

"All's Fair" ends like many of the workplace romance stories do, with secretary and former boss getting together after the boss recognizes that their prior employer/employee status made it impossible for them to date. Quite a common theme in the romance comics, but this one portrays Patti as quite strong and level-headed, motivated by hard-work and doing the right thing. The bizarre cover of this issue really goes to show that you can't always judge a comic book by its cover!


  1. Hi! Love the blog! Two things struck me -- I wonder how many plots, dialogue, etc., were ripped off of 40 s and 50s comics...or is it just that there are only so many different plots to begin with. Also, it seems odd that they used "Leroy" type. I thought that died with EC comics!

    1. Hi Tmdess! Thanks for stopping by! The '60s and '70s books definitely borrowed from their predecessors concerning plots and character types. When you read a lot of these you do tend to get a sense of "haven't I read this before?" I would like in the near-ish future to put together a post on the overarching plots that were used time and time again. In the meantime, check back next week and I will have a post about two "swiped" tales!

  2. Hi, Jacque! Nice art. Most of the Nicholas and Alascia stories I've seen use six square panels per page. They really opened it up here.

    Jake Oster

    PS: I believe the lettering is by A. Machine, a typewriter that Charlton used that was big enough to fit a comic-book page.

    1. Interesting note about the lettering, Jake. I am not really a fan of it -- it is too cold and impersonal. I definitely like hand-lettering better!