Monday, December 30, 2013

As We Head Into 2014!

Hi everyone! I know I'm a little early, but I want to wish you a Happy New Year! I was hoping to do a more thorough "year in review" type post, but sadly, my grandmother passed away the other day, so I will be with family over the next few days.

Before I sign off for a week or so, I do want to tell you a bit where Sequential Crush is heading in 2014! As you may have read in a recent interview with me, I have decided that it is long overdue for me to get a book about the romance comics off into the universe. I am so super excited, I can't even begin to tell you! I am currently looking for the best home for it, and my hope is that by the end of the year a huge chunk of it will be completed. 2013 was a big transitional year for me and I didn't get a chance to blog as much as I would have liked, and I felt a huge amount of guilt because of it. Since 2014 will be all about getting this book off the ground, I am going to commit myself to doing my very best to blog once a week -- but probably no more, and with no guilt (I know you fellow bloggers can relate!). I hope you -- my fantastic readers, will stick around. I promise it will all be worth it! I am planning to continue to grow the Sequential Crush Facebook page, as it has proven to be a popular extension of the site. I am also toying with the idea of adding a Tumblr page to supplement posts, so I'll be sure to keep you updated! 

All in all, I'm looking forward to 2014 being the best year ever for Sequential Crush, and I really hope you'll join me for it! Have a most happy and safe New Year's celebration! And because this is a romance blog after all, I hope that when midnight strikes, you are kissing that special someone! Happy New Year! See you soon! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays From Sequential Crush!

A rare holiday cover
(image from the GCD)
Teen-Age Love #44
(October 1965)

Hi all! I just want to take a minute to wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! I'm enjoying my first Christmas in Tennessee with nary a snowflake in sight, and I'm kinda diggin' it! Wherever you are, I hope you get the opportunity to have a few relaxing days with friends and family. Thanks again for all your comments and support. I can't say it enough -- I have the best readers in the world! And if you missed it, a few days ago I did an interview over at Splice Today about Sequential Crush and romance comics in general. Be sure to read to the end because I have a little surprise for you! Happiest of holiday wishes! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advice From the Romance Comics - Page Peterson Helps You Realize The Error of Your Ways

If Page Peterson were a real person, you better believe she'd be on retainer as my life coach. If I had Ms. Peterson in my life she probably would have told me, "Jacque, don't try to hand make all your holiday gifts -- it's just too much!" Or she would have at least told me I should have started in July. She would also hopefully tell me to walk daily and buy a better conditioner. Well, sadly, I'm a few decades too late and in the wrong universe for Ms. Peterson's advice. But really... couldn't we all use a Page Peterson in our lives? An unbiased professional willing to dish out tough love on matters such as dating and other sticky situations? Luckily for Karen from issue #174 of Young Romance, romance guru Page Peterson is at the ready to fill the dancing diva in on the error of her ways. Just click to enlarge and enjoy!

"Do's & Dont's of Dating by Page Peterson"
Pencils: Steve Englehart, Inks: Vince Colletta
Young Romance #174 (September 1971)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - Be Batman's Girl Wonder in Capes!

This "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" from Secret Hearts #118 (March 1967) may be one of my favorites yet. Not only are the fashions (expertly illustrated by Tony Abruzzo) utterly gorgeous and full of sixties mod goodness, but "Holy Hanna!" It's essentially an ad for Batman!

Click to enlarge!

Since this was published at the height of the campy television show, it is likely this was done to capitalize on the popularity of the character, and also serve as a sneaky advertisement for the comics! Not a bad way to start the week, eh?! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Develop Sex Appeal!

Sex appeal! Do you have it? If not, then read on to discover how Girls' Romances suggests you get it!

"Make a note -- but not an issue -- of whether
your man loves blue (most men do), hates sugar in his coffee,
digs the Rolling Stones, and so on." 

Essentially, it boils down to having self-confidence, moving and living with grace, developing a sexy voice (no mumbling!), being a good listener, getting to know his likes and dislikes, and practicing good grooming habits.

"How to Develop Sex Appeal"
Girls' Romances #158
(July 1971)

With sex so infrequently discussed in the romance comics, I immediately take notice at anything that mentions it. Though it has a "sexy" headline, this advice is definitely tame and age appropriate for all romance comic readers of the day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fan Illustrated Romance Story - Marvel's "I Can't Love Anyone!"

Tonight's story, "I Can't Love Anyone!" from My Love #33 (March 1975) (originally published in My Love #19 - September 1972) is one I'm really excited to share with you. Not only does it have a compelling plot and gorgeous art, the creative team is somewhat of an unusual one.

This tale of "tender triumph" was written by Anne Spencer (nom de plume of Steve Englehart), and illustrated by John Tartaglione (inks) and "Paty" (pencils). On the last page of the story you will notice the postscript: 

"A few words about the artist: Paty,
(rhymes with "Katy") is a long-time Marvel fan
who always decorated her fan mail with pictureswe asked for a
whole storyand got this romantic result.
We love it, and hope you do too!" 

Fan turned artist, Paty Cockrum, née Greer is none other Marvel bullpen penciller, inker, and colorist, as well as the wife of the late Dave Cockrum. With the ironic fact that there were so few women who worked on the romance comics (despite it being a genre intended for them), I definitely take notice and get super excited when I find a story with the contributions of a talented lady such as Paty.

"I Can't Love Anyone!" is the story of Wanda Kingston, a young woman whose life is pretty darn "out of sight." As you will see, Wanda is quite the love addict. Her days are booked solid with thrilling dates, her nights filled with passionate goodbye smooches.

Sounds like heaven, right? Well, Wanda certainly doesn't think so. Despite enjoying the company of her suitors, she is troubled by the fact that every single one of them seems to fall in love with her. And for Wanda, love equals seriousness, and serious relationships lead to marriage, "squawling [sic] babies... and smelly armloads of laundry... and red hands from household drudgery." To that, Wanda gives a resounding thumbs down. For her, there are simply too many thrilling things to be accomplished in life to be tied down in such a domestic fashion. 

Wanda longs to meet a guy who shares her feelings on casual romance, and finally, one day she does. Simon is not only handsome, but he enjoys playing the field as well. For Wanda, he's perfect.

But in the spirit of we always want what we can't have, Wanda becomes increasingly devastated every time she runs into Simon and his never ending bevy of lady companions. Could it be? Could it be that Wanda Kingston has fallen in love?  

Wanda takes her new found realization to Simon, clearly hoping for the fawning reaction she would get in the past from all the other men she dated. But Simon is committed to playing the field, and chastises her:

"Oh wow, baby! Back off!
I'm not interested in staying with one chick!
I thought you were different from
those other dumb broads!" 

And to that, Wanda makes no apology for her feelings. She doesn't crumble. She doesn't break. But, she does concede that she is merely just human. And though it may not seem like this story has a particularly happy ending, we can be sure that Wanda's temporal heartbreak will lead to her future happiness.

This story is in part so fascinating because we are given a taste (in that great pink background colored panel above) of the very real fears associated with becoming a midcentury housewife. No doubt many a young reader could identify. We are also presented with a female protagonist who goes against norms and acts as she pleases -- stopped only by her own internal realizations and not the often harrowing demands of cultural expectations. In my opinion, this story represents so much of what is good about the romance comics of this time period. Not only is the art beautiful and exciting, in it, love is depicted as the complex beast it really is. "I Can't Love Anyone!" is a "tender triumph" indeed.