Saturday, December 27, 2014

Romance Comic Link Roundup!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! If you are off from work and doing a little relaxing, here are a few romance-related links for you to check out!

Don't get me wrong. I love the bell-bottoms
and polyester stylings of the '60s and '70s romances,
but a prairie bonnet in a romance comic?
Sign me up!

This one, over at Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine features a short story combining two of my favorite things -- presidential history and romance comics! Read the story of Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge as featured in the 1950s romance comic, Thrilling Romances.

Scott Edelman has been delving into romance stories over at Comic Book Plus and has found a couple intriguing ones revolving around that touchy subject of weight. One story, "Too Fat for Love" ends pretty typically, while the second, "Was I Too Fat to Be Loved?" may just surprise you. Check 'em out!

A new romance comic?

Over on Facebook and Twitter I mentioned that I had the honor of writing an afterword for a new romance comic from Jamie S. Rich, Megan Levens, and Oni Press titled, Ares & Aphrodite: Love Wars. It will be out in April, so be sure to watch this space for more info as the time gets nearer. In the meantime, get your Jamie S. Rich fix by checking out his other new book (with Joélle Jones), Lady Killer which will hit comic book stores in January. Here's a preview! Though dark, fans of romance comics will definitely appreciate the mid-century style.

Thanks so much for reading!
If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for the
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Holiday Wish for You

"Look the Other Way!"
Pencils: Mike Sekowsky, Inks: Bernard Sachs 
Secret Hearts #85 (January 1963)

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you are enjoying some quality cozy time with your loved ones, and enjoying the festive season! As we celebrate and leave 2014 behind us, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read the blog and keep up with all the goings on of Sequential Crush. I'm looking forward to a new year, and I hope you'll join me for more romance in 2015!   

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Showgirl and the Bully - Falling in Love's "Anybody's Girl!"

Cover by Bob Oksner
Falling in Love #124
(July 1971)

Today's story, "Anybody's Girl!" from Falling in Love #124 (July 1971) (pencils: Werner Roth, inks: Vince Colletta) is a little different from the rest of the pack. While most stories of working girls in the romance comics are about secretaries and stewardesses, this particular one features a working girl of a different type... a showgirl.

The story begins with a bleach-blonde dancer named Barbara. Though the job pays the bills, Barbara loathes it.

"...I hated being ogled, whistled at --
and how I had to keep smiling..." 

One night, the glares and gropes just become too much and Barbara snaps. She smacks one of the customers clear in the face.

"Maybe I shouldn't have done that,
but do you know what it's like to despise yourself?
To be fed up with hungry eyes and clutching hands?
I hit him and then ran, and I didn't stop..."

Barbara starts her life anew. After a few months taking odd jobs, she finally lands a waitressing gig. Though her hair is back to its natural color and her circumstances have changed, Barbara is still getting back on her feet. In the midst of the big life change comes another -- Cliff, a farmer who comes to the diner once a month while in town to deliver produce. The two quickly fall in love, and Cliff presents to Barbara his plans to marry her.

Cliff proposes that Barbara come stay at his farm until they are married, so that she can get to know Jonah, Cliff's older brother. Barbara is totally on board, at first. But once she meets Jonah, she regrets having come to their home at all. You see, Jonah is, uh, uptight, and a jerk. Immediately upon meeting Barbara he accuses her of dressing like a jezebel. Poor Barbara! As if she hasn't been through enough!

Jonah's judging eye continues to follow Barbara no matter what she does. He continues to belittle her.

"Woman, have you no shame?
My brother is young, he knows nothing of the wiles of women.
But I do! I know the sinful ways of the city!" 

Barbara gets sucked into a whirlwind of guilt, self-loathing, and confusion. Jonah makes Barbara remember her days as a dancer and makes her feel like "shoddy merchandise." Worse yet, every time Barbara tries to talk to Cliff alone, Jonah busts in, hurling insults and accusations.

Barbara decides it is time to leave, and she writes a note of surrender. As she opens Jonah's dresser drawer to slip the note in, she makes a shocking discovery that changes everything. She makes a run for Cliff.

"I was a sinner -- but not for the reasons I had cried over.
I had been willing to give up my love...
I'd been so blind!"

No longer distraught, Barbara finds Cliff in the fields and throws her arms around him, and boldly tells Cliff to marry her, "Now! Today!" Jonah is predictably, mouthy in his protestations.

With a new found confidence due to the discovery in Jonah's drawer, Barbara does not let Jonah's cruel words go without reprimand. And just like that, Jonah's holier-than-thou attitude is shot down. For what was in his drawer that gave his hypocritical indiscretions away? One of Barbara's garters!

And there you have it folks! Though it may have seemed at the outset that Jonah was concerned about his brother, it turns out he was just a bully, plain and simple. Barbara's mild-mannered, affable personality fails to convey her strength (until the end), as does the well-drawn, but misleading cover. Just another reason not to judge the romance comics by their covers!

I hope you enjoyed this story -- the reveal at the end is definitely gratifying. I've had this story planned for some time, so when I saw Scott Edelman's blog post last week, it was serendipitous. In it, Scott looks at the story, "Woman of Shame" from Dream Book of Romance #8 (September/October 1954). Though nearly twenty years separates the two stories, both have a similar message of empowerment. For both women, the journey to discovering that the shame of their occupations is not on them, is one that ends well.

Thank you so much for reading! I'd really love to hear your opinions on "Anybody's Girl!" And, if you haven't already, be sure to sign up for the Sequential Crush newsletter email list to get updates and other romance comic book goodness!