Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fear of the Domestic - Three Short Stories from Charlton's Just Married

I’m excited to share with you today, three one-page sequential stories about marital fears that appeared in Charlton’s Just Married #39 (December 1964).* Whereas DC and Marvel published romance stories that were more general, Charlton, with titles such as Just Married and Career Girl Romances, published stories thematized around issues like marriage and careers. These three stories are Charlton's interpretations of what a new bride could possibly expect in her new union in terms of cooking, quarrels, and pregnancy. It also could potentially be construed as a subtle message that brunettes aren't very good at domestic life! Though these stories seem outdated to us as modern readers, I love these because they show what would have been typically expected of a young woman, and the fears associated with her new role as a Mrs. I find the last one especially haunting -- pretty serious stuff for a romance comic!

Click to enlarge!

"Try, Try Again"

"First Quarrel"

"Three's a Family"

*One of the issues that you, my fine readers, helped me purchase with your generous donations back in the fall. 


  1. These certainly are interesting, and yes, very much relics of their time. Of course, the "wife as domestic servant" message could be found in pretty much all popular entertainment media, and I think it probably persisted the longest on television (I'm looking at you, sitcoms).

    A few thoughts: Burt in that second bit is quite the jerk. I think a better epilog after she tells him off would have been: "From that day onward, Burt always fixed breakfast for both of us!"
    Also, I noticed that while the husbands are all named, i.e. Harry, Burt and Joe , we only learn the name of the wife, Joan, in the first one - unless those other two women are actually named "Honey."

  2. Oops, almost forgot: did you see today's post on Diversions of the Groovy Kind, Jacque? It's from a Charlton romance comic from the 1970s, with beautiful art and an, erm, interesting story.


    Off topic again, have you seen these?

  4. Thanks for sharing these, Jacque! While the one-page format necessitates that the "plots" are pretty bare-bones, I agree that they probably speak well to the fears young women might have had in that era when society expected that their ultimate goal was to be a wife and mother. I can't imagine the pressure some young women must have felt, who did not feel interested in or ready for those roles!

    Also, thanks, jdh417, for the links to the Warren romance magazines. Those are FABULOUS! I especially love the psychedelic lettering and layouts.

    1. Lots of pressure, indeed, David! Of course, young women (all young people) are not exempt from the pressures of growing up -- just amazing to see how things have changed over time!

  5. The semi-clip-art drawing style really reinforces the "Proper Behavior For Female Citizens Public Service Announcement" feel of these, doesn't it? (I imagine them as posters in a Gender-Role-Reeducation Detention Facility.)

    I take it that Burt calling her "Sweatheart" is a Freudian typo subconsciously acknowledging her role as domestic beast of burden.