Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Favorites - DC Romance Cover Swipes!

Greetings, readers! Here at Sequential Crush, we've witnessed Charlton swipe DC, but how about DC borrowing from their own past artist efforts? Today I have for you five sets of covers that range from being pretty much exact reproductions, to the strikingly similar. Since most of these "swiped" covers on these particular issues do not contain the same stories as their original predecessors, do these covers point to a busy schedule? Lack of inspiration? Or just the norm in comic book publishing? Though it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for these cover similarities, they sure are a pleasure to look at. These ten covers are just the tip of the iceberg concerning this phenomena in the world of DC romance comics -- part two, anyone?!

 Young Love #94
(April 1972)

 Girls' Romances #56
(November 1958)

 Heart Throbs #139
(March 1972)

 Girls' Love Stories #172
(August 1972)

Falling in Love #130
(March 1972)

 Young Romance #184
(July 1972)

Young Romance #189
(December 1972)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Credits: 1.) Girls' Romances #96 (November 1963) Pencils: John Romita 2.) Young Love #94 (April 1972) 3.) Girls' Romances #56 (November 1958) Pencils: Bernard Sachs 4.) Heart Throbs #139 (March 1972) 5.) Falling in Love #92 (July 1967) Pencils: Jay Scott Pike 6.)  Girls' Love Stories #172 (August 1972) Pencils and Inks: Jay Scott Pike 7.) Girls' Love Stories #82 (November 1961) Pencils: John Romita 8.) Falling in Love #130 (March 1972) 9.) Young Romance #184 (July 1972) Pencils: Art Saaf 10.) Young Romance #189 (December 1972) Pencils: Jay Scott Pike

Friday, July 19, 2013

10 Things to Look For in a Man!

Click to enlarge!

This text featurette from Girls' Love Stories #172 (August 1972) is an enlightening read on the attitudes of dating and romance in the early 1970s. I found point #8 ("Do you have the same attitudes toward sex and romance?") most interesting, as it is one of the few explicit discussions of sex in the romance comics that I have found so far. This inclusion leads me to continue to believe that the editors knew not only were very little girls reading these comics, but older women as well.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Ashamed of Her Love!" or The Allure of the Bad Boy on a Motorcycle

Hello there! Today I have for you a little story from Falling in Love #96 (January 1968) called "Ashamed of Her Love!" The cover was penciled by Jay Scott Pike, and interior art chores were done by Howard Purcell and Jack Abel (as listed by the Grand Comics Database). As you will see from the get-go, a couple of the pages have a sort of ghostly painted component to them that makes the story visually stand out a bit from the pack.

The time has come for Steve to head off for his last year of law school. Dina (accompanied by her friend Irene) sees him off at the airport. Steve is hopeful for the future and their impending nuptials, but it is obvious Dina is a little more apprehensive over the separation.

Irene comforts Dina by asking her what first attracted her to Steve. Dina then goes on about all of Steve's qualities. When Dina drops Irene off, Irene reminds her not to get too down about it all.

But, that is no easy task. Naturally, Dina is sad and lonesome for her guy. No matter where she goes or who she sees, she can't escape Steve's name. 

A month after Steve's departure, Dina is out walking and runs into an old classmate -- Jerry Welky. The two catch up, and a little flirtation ensues. Dina tells him that she is Steve's steady and Jerry tells Dina that his girlfriend is out on the coast, so he's stranded there all alone.

Jerry proposes that the two "comfort" each other while their sweethearts are away and hang out as pals. Their first activity as friends? A high-speed (and very touchy, I might add) motorcycle ride.

Just pals you say?

Turns out Dina isn't impressed by Jerry's daredevil ways. But, at the same time, she can't resist him. Though he teases her and is generally a jerk to her, Dina keeps going back for more.

That is until one day, when he introduces Dina to his crew as his "hen." When Dina confronts him about his linguistic ownership over her, he tells her to flake off. But like the bad boy (read: jerk) that he is, Jerry predicts that she'll be back.

At home, Dina cries tears of frustration. She knows she wants to go back to Jerry, but what about Steve? How could she forget about him so easily?

Despite her conflicted heart, Dina makes her way back to Jerry. A very pitiful facial expression ensues.

But things can't be fun and motorcycle rides forever. A week later, reality strikes. Steve has come back to surprise Dina with a visit. She realizes upon seeing him how foolish she has been to fall for Jerry, for it is Steve she truly loves. Thanks to Dina's mom, Steve knows all about it (hence the visit) but tells her it is all over and forgotten now. Obviously no one cleared that with Jerry, because he shows up at Dina's door and confidently walks right on in.

Whoa. Those eyes. Those eyelashes. 
I wouldn't want both those guys looking at me
 at the same time -- far too intense!

Despite another brief bout of confusion over her feelings, Dina announces that she is most certainly not Jerry's "chick," but that she is Steve's steady! Jerry then has a bit of a meltdown, and Dina sees him for what he really is. He isn't a tough guy! He's a huge baby! Steve is the real man.

See? Nice guys do finish first, and "Ashamed of Her Love!" proves it. In later stories, generic bad boys such as Jerry would be replaced by "long-haired" hippies and other members of the counterculture. But for the overwhelming majority of romance stories, good, clean-cut guys such as Steve would get (and continue to get) the girl.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One of These Girls Has the Knack of Getting Any Man She Wants - Can You Guess Which One?

I bought this issue of Girls' Romances (#124, April 1967) merely for the cover... and I'm not afraid to admit it! Look at it and tell me you aren't intrigued!

With pencils by Jay Scott Pike (and potentially the longest title in all of romance comics), the story begins by asking readers to guess which character has "the knack." Before you continue reading, take a stab at it!

Friends Janie, Susan, and Brenda get along great. Only thing is, Janie (the redhead) seems to get along even better with the guys in town. Simply put, she's a magnet for male attention.

Susan and Brenda can't figure it out, and its been that way as long as they can remember -- from the day Janie moved in to their neighborhood.

 Best pouty face in the entirety
of romance comics, hands down.

But you see, this story isn't about catty frenemies (thank goodness too). When Janie approaches the girls and asks to hang out with them, the two are happy to bring her into the fold. After all, what have they to lose?

The three become fast friends. Finally, one day Susan and Brenda feel close enough to Janie to ask her what her secret is. Janie is oblivious to her charms, and is sincere when she tells her new friends that they are just as pretty and friendly as she is. She volunteers to help Susan and Brenda find dates, but they just really want to know why they have such a hard time finding boys of their own.

The years pass and Janie continues to date like a maniac, while Susan and Brenda continue to be stumped over their seemingly unending misfortune. Just when things seem like they can't get any worse, Susan rings Brenda to tell her that she has managed to snag them a double date for the night. Brenda unenthusiastically commits to the evening.

 But, things go well... really, really well as indicated by the events on the next page. Susan and Brenda's impromptu double date leads them down the aisle in a double wedding. And now it is Janie's turn to envy them. Susan and Brenda comfort Janie and assure her that all will turn out right for her too.

Susan decides that they should ask their new husbands if they know anyone that would be a good fit for Janie -- after all, Janie had offered to help them years ago in their time of need. Luckily, Bill and Bob (yes, those are their husbands' names) know just the guy. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Though a straightforward story, I think it illustrates what I see as a strength of the DC romance stories -- their hopeful nature and overarching message that all will turn out right. Regardless of the doubt and heartache that tends to go along with growing up, true love is just around the corner. Simple, comforting, and timeless.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Keep Him Guessing (With False Hair)

"Mad Mad Modes for Moderns"
Girls' Romances #136 (October 1968)
Illustrated by Jay Scott Pike

Happy Monday, all! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! Today I have for you a Mad Mad Modes for Moderns that extols the virtues of synthetic hair. I didn't really realize the full importance of fake hair in the 1960s until my foray into the romance comics. Between fashion featurettes such as this, and advertisements for wigs and falls -- it appears false hair has played a rather substantial role in our nation's history! Just ask the Founding Fathers!* 

I also dug up for your reading pleasure "How to Play it Cool This Summer, Baby!" from Girls' Romances #150 (July 1970). I was actually surprised to read (and I think you will be too) the insistence on staying safe under the hot rays of the summer sun. Definitely advice we can all dig today, right?

So, I think you may have noticed, I'm spending less time here at Sequential Crush lately than I used to. It makes me sad, but unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day and I've been working on a few other projects. I'm definitely not quitting anytime soon though, rest assured! Absolutely not! But, if you need some more romance comic book goodness in between posts, I encourage you to go over to the Sequential Crush Facebook page that I have created, and give it the ole "Like." I post links and art over there -- I don't think you'll be disappointed!

*Cue awkward laughter :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This Reminds Me of That

Falling in Love #134
(July 1972)

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #126
(September 1972)

Whenever I look at the cover of Falling in Love #134 (Nick Cardy pencils, I believe), I am instantly reminded of the cover of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #126 illustrated by Bob Oksner. Not that red-headed Rick is in anyway as nefarious as Dingle the clown, but still. Reminiscent, wouldn't you agree?