Today, just for fun, I thought I would share a little bit with you just exactly why I am passionate about these little gems!
1.) The art Ok, this one is pretty much a no-brainer. Some of the art in romance comics is just soooooo good. It kind of makes me want to cry that they aren't published anymore! But, we just have to enjoy the issues that were published and savor the art of masters such as Alex Toth, Win Mortimer, José Luis García-López, along with so many others.
2.) Their usefulness as historical documents I have learned so much about 1960s and '70s history that I would not have learned otherwise because of the stories, advice columns, and advertising of the romance comics. My view on everything from mid-century dating etiquette to social mores of the time has changed and increased tenfold from reading romance comics!
3.) Not your everyday superhero comics The romance comics stand out from the rest of comic books in that they were specifically designed to be consumed by a rather young female audience and that makes them pretty special. I love superhero comics -- there is no doubt about that, but there is something reassuring about sequential universes that revolve around everyday, ordinary people and situations.
4.) The stories Sometimes the repetition of themes can get a little old, but at the same time it is comforting in a way to know that the romance comics followed a number of patterns. Running the gamut from serious to kooky, the stories acted as both inspiration and cautionary tales for young daters. They are all the more peculiar and fascinating to me in that the majority were crafted by men for a female audience. The social issue plot lines of the early 1970s are my favorite.
5.) The characters The romance comics wouldn't have been what they were without an impressive set of stock characters and leading characters who just wouldn't give up on love. Many times insecure and flawed, these characters show us that relationships can be worth fighting for.