Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Jack Kirby!

Romance! A genre of comic books synonymous with Jack Kirby -- undisputed father (along with Joe Simon) of the genre. Let's take a moment today to remember Kirby on what would have been his 95th birthday!

A big happy birthday to Kirby --
whose legacy will never be forgotten!

Image sources (all penciled by Jack Kirby, inked by Vince Colletta. These three images are from the reprint issues):

1.) "He Was Perfect -- But I Lost Him!" Originally from My Own Romance #74 (March 1960), reprinted in Our Love Story #12 (August 1971) 2.) "He Never Even Noticed!" Originally from Teen-Age Romance #86 (March 1962), reprinted in My Love #10 (March 1971) 3.) "The Summer Must End!" Originally from Teen-Age Romance #84 (November 1961), reprinted in Our Love Story #9 (February 1971).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wacky Ad - Miniature Dog!

You definitely want to read this one.
Click to enlarge!

Of all the strange ads I have come across in the romance comics, this one from the back cover of Teen Confessions #24 (August 1963) may just take the cake! The ad doesn't have anything to do with romance, but they sure had the audience right -- what young lady wouldn't have wanted her very own "Miniature Dog?" After reading it you will probably come to the same conclusion I did -- wouldn't it just have been easier to adopt a dog from the pound?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Whap! Pow! Splat! - The Guy Fights of Charlton Romance Comics!

The Charlton romance comics of the 1960s and '70s are noteworthy not only for their inherent wackiness, but for the sheer number of fights that take place between male characters. The DC and Marvel romances have the occasional fight, but not as often as the Charlton books. The panels with flying fists usually involve fantastic onomatopoeia, entertaining dialogue, and guys with unkempt hair. But why so much fighting, you ask? Well, for the ladies of course! Whether out of jealousy, defense, or to impress -- the guys of Charlton don't hold back. And though many of the ladies stand on by with clenched fists, it isn't unusual for them to get in the action with some fierce purse swinging!

"Old Enough for Heartbreak"
Teen Confessions #48 (January 1968)

"Always Near"
Time for Love #33 (April 1973)
Pencils: Charles Nicholas, Inks: Vincent Alascia

"Another's Love"
Teen Confessions #85 (September 1974)
Pencils and Inks: Sururi Gumen (GCD Identification)

"Nobody Owns Me"
Teen-Age Love #93 (June 1973)

"My Lonely Heart"
Time for Love #40 (February 1975)
Pencils and Inks: Art Cappello

"Sweeter Kisses"
For Lovers Only #70 (March 1973)
Pencils and Inks: Charles Nicholas

"I Dream of Love"
Love Diary #67 (July 1970)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Romance Comic Book Panel - Out of Context

"Too Beautiful to Spoil"
Falling in Love
(November 1963)

This is a scenario that doesn't
occur very often in the romance comics!

Monday, August 13, 2012

DC Serial Romance Story - Alex Toth's "20 Miles to Heartbreak" Part One

Not too long ago, I said that I would post the serial story, "20 Miles to Heartbreak" starring sisters, Melanie and Monica Winters -- don't worry, I didn't forget! Today I have for you the first episode of the "soul-searing story" which first appeared in Young Love #78 (January/February 1970). The four-part series was spread out between Young Love and Secret Hearts, and was written by Barbara Friedlander, penciled by Alex Toth, and inked by Vince Colletta. The series was reprinted later on in 1976. Since I haven't been able to add Young Love #78 to my collection, today's scans come from the reprint, Young Love #122 (November 1976).

Young Love #78
(January/February 1970)
Cover image from the
Grand Comics Database

"20 Miles to Heartbreak" contains all the sorts of twists and turns that one would expect in a serial romance story. We are introduced to leading lady -- Melanie, on the splash page with a catchy blurb:

"Manchester -- a town like yours! Melanie Winters,
a girl like you... a girl trapped between her own dreams of love
and her mother's grasping 'plans' for her future..."

Just what are Melanie's mother's plans for her anyhow? Well, her main goal is to get Melanie married off to the respectable and wealthy, Bill Anderson. She does not want Melanie ending up shamed like her sister, Monica.

Mrs. Bryan instructs Melanie to keep a hold on Bill. As she sends her youngest daughter to bed, Maria (the maid) passes by. Mrs. Bryan continues to show off her stellar personality by reprimanding Maria for her for her lack of English skills, as well as for neglecting to wear a robe. Melanie heads to bed, but ponders how she can feign loving Bill when she already is in love with someone. Who is she in love with you ask? Keep reading to find out!

The next day, Melanie's best friend Julie comes over. The two sit and chat about love and marriage. Julie coolly explains how she gave up on dreams when she met her well-off fiancé, Jim. As they chat, Maria swings by with a book. Melanie encourages Maria's efforts to learn English, while Julie laughs behind her back. It is obvious that Melanie's life is filled with pretty vile people.

Later that evening, Melanie goes out with Bill as instructed. During their date, Bill goes off to make a phone call. While Melanie waits, a handsome fellow by the name of Juan Perez introduces himself. Bill comes back, sees the scene, and immediately takes action by roughing up Juan.

Melanie arrives home from the date understandably upset. When she walks in the door she is greeted by her stepfather, Roger. We are quickly let in on why Melanie can't love Bill... she loves Roger! Bet you didn't see that one coming!

The first part of the DC love saga ends with Melanie packing her bags for New York to see if sister Monica can put her mind at ease. As Melanie makes her escape, she runs into none other than the bandleader, Juan!

Well, that's all for part one! Does "20 Miles to Heartbreak" and its serious nature intrigue? I would love to hear what you think!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Praise for the Romance Comics!

Usually advice columns were full of letters from young adults seeking advice. These two from 1966 and 1967, respectively, are a little different -- letters of praise for the DC romance comics!

"From Barbara Miles with Love"
Girls' Love Stories #122
(October 1966)

"Ann Martin Counselor-At-Love"
Secret Hearts #121
(July 1967)

Quite interesting short reads that give a glimpse into what young women thought about the romance comics at the time! I have found that quite a few people today rag on the romance comics of the '60s and '70s, citing that they are inferior to those of the '40s and '50s. However, it is clear from these letters that readers appreciated the "new type of realism" and style in which their generation of romance comics were written in. What do you think? Which time period of the romance comics do you find most intriguing?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fashion Files - Girdles!

Click to enlarge!

The other day I came across a news story about a growing trend of teen girls wearing Spanx and other body-slimming undergarments. While it may seem like a new occurrence, girdles and other devices to keep wayward fat in check have been around for a looooong time and no doubt worn by the teen set. Though this ad (from Teen-Age Love #94 - August 1973) appears to be written for grown women, the fact that it appeared in a publication geared primarily at teens points to the fact that these undergarments were probably purchased and worn by at least a few teens! Just goes to show, some news really isn't that new!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Favorites - Blindfolded by Love!

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Friday Favorites! I picked these five covers from DC and Charlton for their intriguing unifying theme of "guy blindfolded." As you will see, with the help of a little white linen (medical or otherwise) the leading men are rendered blind (and subsequently confused over who they love). A pretty common plot element in the romance comics, but effective nonetheless!

Young Love #42*
(March/April 1964)
Pencils and inks: John Romita

Time for Love #23*
(July 1971)

Girls' Love Stories #180
(November/December 1973)
Pencils and inks: Jay Scott Pike

I Love You #109
(November 1974)

Pencils and inks: Art Cappello

Love and Romance #23
(July 1975)

*Cover image from the Grand Comics Database