Cover by Bob Oksner
Falling in Love #124
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..."
"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 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!"
I'd been so blind!"
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!