Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I hope 2013 is off to a good start for you! Since winter is officially in full swing, today's story "Winter of Love" is quite fitting. Though this incarnation of the story was published in Heart Throbs #137 (January 1972) it is actually a retouched reprint of a story that originally appeared in Young Romance #140 (February/March 1966). Though it has no bearing on the plot, the characters in the original story "Winter in My Heart" were white, whereas in this reprint they are African-American. Though rare, there are a few other instances of this occurring in the romance comics, and it was done simply to diversify the comics for a new audience in a new age.
Lois moved to the big city to pursue a career in modeling, as well as find friends and true love. But sadly, Lois has a tough go at all three. Her modeling career is taking off slower than she had hoped, and Lois has to take a secretary job at an insurance company to make ends meet. Lois is invited to a few parties here and there and also befriends her neighbor named Hope, but overall, Lois is disappointed with how things are going in her life.
Lois starts dating a guy named Vic out of loneliness. Though eventually she feels as if she is falling for him, Lois never quite feels as strongly about Vic as he does about her. Then, one day they get in a fight -- Vic doesn't like Lois working overtime. He thinks that she has eyes for her flirty boss, and Lois can't convince him otherwise.
The couple splits. To make matters worse, Hope moves away and Lois gets fired from her job. Her boss says it is because she is just too unfriendly (or because she has turned down too many of his date requests, Lois thinks to herself). Lois sinks into despair and contemplates going back home to Ohio. But thankfully, her troubles are short-lived.
Suddenly and out of the blue, Lois is contacted for modeling jobs -- her career is finally picking up! She is invited to many glamorous parties at which she makes lots of new friends and meets "Mister Right."
Marty is charming and everything Lois has ever wanted in a guy. She begins to fall deeply in love with him, continues to meet new people, and secures more and more modeling jobs. But, Marty is too charming, and one evening at a party Lois walks in on him making out with another woman. Brokenhearted (and embarrassed too, since her new "friends" warned her Marty would cheat) Lois questions everything -- her career, her friendships, and her dreams.
Lois decides to take some time for herself to sort out her feelings and heads to the "Rustic Lodge." The lodge has no other visitors, so Lois uses the solitude to try to find some answers to her unhappiness. But, she comes up empty-handed and can only conclude out of her sorrow that maybe happiness just isn't her lot in life. Upon returning to the lodge after a long walk, Lois is surprised with an announcement that she has visitors... Hope and Vic! They are a sight for sore eyes! Vic apologizes for being a "jealous nut" and asks Lois to marry him. In the end, Lois feels that dreams do come true, though not always how one envisions them.
And that my friends is "Winter of Love." The story is overall pretty typical for mid-1960s DC romance comics, but it is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, there are only a handful of stories out there that featured retouched artwork to promote diversity (and not retouched just to update fashions and hairstyles as was common), and this is one of them. It is also an important story because it is one of the few where the main characters are not only African-American, but one where the color of their skin has nothing to do with the point of the story.