Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Groovy Art! Enrique Montserrat's "The Look of Love!" - My Love #12 (July 1971)

Hey! How’s your week going? Today I have for you one of the most delightfully illustrated romance tales of the ‘70s Marvel books, "The Look of Love!" from My Love #12 (July 1971). Don’t get me wrong, the usual Buscema, Heck, Colan, etc. stories are great, but this one is outta sight! Definitely along the lines of Steranko’s “My Heart Broke in Hollywood” on the uniqueness front.

I came across this story when I was browsing some original art and saw the original cover page (above). Previously, I wasn't quite sure who was responsible for the cover, but as it turns out it is from the hands of none other than John Romita, Sr. Notice the bottom of the page is signed by him and reads, “Done in the French romance style.” Though the art on the story itself is very similar to the cover, the interior is actually by a Catalan artist named Enrique Montserrat (whose surname appears to be misspelled on the splash page). I own a copy of the book, but since mine is a CGC copy, Nick Caputo was kind enough to help me out with scans so that I could share the story with you!

Let's begin! Derek is a fashion designer, and a good one at that. Jill is one lucky lady -- she is showered not only by Derek’s affection, but by his fashionable separates!

Their relationship is great in so many ways. Derek even wants to marry Jill. There is just one problem -- Jill's father disapproves of Derek and his line of work.

Jill's mother has her back, but Dad on the other hand just sees Derek as a good-for-nothing loafer who refuses to adhere to the 9 to 5.

Perhaps his own business troubles have Jill's dad in a tizzy? Well, that's what Jill's mom seems to think anyway. Meanwhile, Derek has found a job working at Saks Fifth Avenue. But to Jill's distress, he has turned it down. Before he can explain himself, Jill takes off.

Jill begins to doubt the romantic and freewheelin' nature of Derek's creative endeavors.

Just as Jill begins to sort things out, her mom comes to tell her the news that the family is not doing well financially due to the decline in advertising revenue from Jill's father's job. Jill vows to get a job to help the family. She also contemplates what life would be like without Derek in it. But just as Jill starts to sink further into her thoughts, Derek shows up in a fancy sports car.

Derek explains what he originally tried to when he broke the news to Jill that he turned down the department store job. He signed a deal to open a franchise of boutiques across the country! Not only that, but he has also given all the advertising work for the company to Jill's father. The two marry and live (most likely anyhow) happily ever after!

Wow! What a visual treat, don't you agree?! I do have to admit, despite the breathtaking art the story is a little simplistic and fantastical. But... even though the pieces seem to magically fall into place for all characters involved a little too perfectly, it is easy on this one for me to look past the plot flaws and revel in the gorgeous art! What do you think? Is the art or the story more important for you when it comes to comic books?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Front Page News!

Here's a little fashion news to start your week!
"Mad Mad Modes for Moderns"
Young Love #65 (January/February 1968)
Illustrated by Jay Scott Pike

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Miss Peeping Tom!

"Miss Peeping Tom!"
Young Romance #193 (April/May 1973)
Pencils: Art Saaf, Inks: Vince Colletta

Welcome to Tecumseh High School -- home of budding photographer and Peeping Tom... well, Miss Peeping Tom, actually. Tina is incredibly shy around the boy-folk. Her best friend, Wendy convinces Tina to go and join the school camera club to see first hand that guys aren't anything to be afraid of. Wendy's plan backfires.

After the club's overwhelmingly unwelcoming response to Tina, Wendy convinces her to go see the principal the next day. They do, and the principal agrees to do something after Wendy threatens to sic "Women's Lib" on him if he doesn't.

The principal speaks with the faculty advisor of the club. He agrees to give Tina a chance, but reminds her and the principal, "...she can't be given special treatment either -- just because she's a girl! She must qualify --" And so, Tina is given a list of tasks to make it into the club. She must take candid shots of a number of the school's male athletes, including Steve Anderson -- her crush.

Tina succeeds in photographing all her subjects, with the exception of Steve. He wants nothing to do with her. Wendy convinces Tina to take to Steve's roof in an effort to get a shot. The camera lens isn't sufficient though, and Tina must get closer!

Before departing, Wendy tells her to go up to the roof and hide behind one of the chimneys to get the shot. Tina obeys her friend's advice and gets some good shots, but when she goes to change her film roll, Steve catches her!

In a rage, Steve rips the film out of the camera as Tina begs him to let her explain. He refuses to listen and instead, grabs her and kisses her violently. When he releases her from his grip, he yells at her that all women are worthless and to get out of his sight. Yeesh!!!

Tina is confused about what went down with Steve on the roof, and questions whether she should turn in the pictures of him from the roll that she saved. Wendy is ecstatic Tina has completed the assignment, and turns the photos in for her. Days later, Tina is notified that she has won first place in the camera club's contest. Tina enjoys a new found respect from the guys in the club. Suddenly, she is swamped with not only compliments over her technique and form, but with dates as well. Problem is -- Tina doesn't dig anyone else but Steve. But the even bigger problem is that Steve doesn't dig hurling insults at anyone other than Tina.

Who's the Peeping Tom now, Steve?!

Wendy explains to Tina that love and hate are like "two sides of the same coin" and that Steve is most likely fighting his feelings for her. But, the only way she will truly know according to Wendy, is to go see him up on the roof again. And whaddya know? After hurling insults at her again and accusing her of trespassing, Steve breaks down and admits to Tina that he really just has been scared all along.

Kind of a strange story, don't you think? I have to admit, I was completely drawn in initially by the kooky title. In the end, I would have liked to have seen a good explanation for Steve's fear. Something more concrete was needed to redeem him a bit more in the eyes of the reader. Not the most likeable romance love-interest, that's for sure!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gene Colan Romance Page Identified!

Well howdy there! I have to apologize for things being pretty quiet over here at Sequential Crush lately. Between work and everything, I am a little behind! But! I am gonna do my best to get caught up, and continue on in bringing romance comic book gems to you!

Last week, fellow romance comic book enthusiast -- Darci, brought a piece of original art to my attention -- a Gene Colan page that had been featured on the blog, Jon's Random Acts of Geekery a few years ago. In the post Jon posed the question, "Does anyone know which issue of which Marvel romance comic this Gene Colan page came from?"

Darci provided me with a list of stories that were possible matches, and after flipping through pages of the Marvel romance issues I have in my collection, I was able to figure it out!

The page comes from the story, "A Boy to Marry!" that appeared in Our Love Story #8 (December 1970). The Gene Colan penciled/Dick Ayers inked story was subsequently reprinted in Our Love Story #24 (August 1973). Thanks Darci for the fun little challenge and the great excuse to look at lots of gorgeous Colan romance art -- more of which I will share with you next week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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

Part two originally published in
Secret Hearts #141 (January 1970)*
Cover image from the Grand Comics Database

Ready for the second installment of the four-part DC serial romance story, "20 Miles to Heartbreak?" Get caught up here on the first episode of the Alex Toth/Vince Colletta illustrated story and then read on to find out what happens next!

Part two begins with Melanie accepting a ride from Juan (the bandleader) after deciding to run away from home. It so happens that he too is trying to make his way to New York. Melanie worries that he is leaving because of the incident at the club, but Juan assures her that he has a job set up there and all is cool. As he drives, Juan tells Melanie that the incident wasn't the first time he had felt the sting of prejudice.

As they continue to make their way down the road, Melanie dozes off and begins to think about all the troubles that caused her to leave... her "arranged" marriage to Bill... her mother's overbearing pushiness... her intense romantic feelings for her stepfather...

Juan snaps Melanie out of it when he stops the car at a restaurant for some eats. Juan is very much aware of the fact that upon their entrance, they are looked over by their fellow diners.

Melanie eases Juan's mind by telling him that their stares are inconsequential to her. With a new sense of confidence, Juan asks Melanie out on the dance floor.

The two dance and as Juan stares into Melanie's eyes he utters melancholy words, "Funny, eh, Chicquita [sic], that we had to meet the way we did... on a lonely highway... leaving town...?" Melanie answers that it is sad that it was the only way they even could meet. The two lament over their star-crossed romance, doomed from the start just because they come from different ethnic backgrounds. Things come to a head when the couple is confronted by an older man and woman who threaten to tell Melanie's mother about her liaisons with a "foreigner." As Melanie makes a run for it, she is hit by a car. As Juan rushes to Melanie's side, the bigoted couple cite the accident as punishment for her sins.

Melanie has been rendered unconscious. In her unaware state, the faces of her stepfather, Bill, and Juan fill her head, silently tormenting her. When Melanie comes to, she realizes she is back at home -- the place that is the source of all her troubles. Her mother informs her that Juan has been put in jail and they will try to convince a judge that he lured her into running off from the start. As Melanie protests, an unknown visitor enters, visibly shaking Melanie's mother to her core.

Ohhhh! Who could it be???
I guess you will just have to wait
until next time to find out!

*Scans for this installment are from the reprint issue, Young Love #123 (January 1977)