Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sequential Crush at Wizard World Nashville 2015!

If you find yourself in Music City, USA (aka Nashville) for Wizard World this coming weekend, be sure to visit me! This will be my first ever convention setting up a table for Sequential Crush, so I am very excited. I'll have copies of Ares & Aphrodite (I wrote the afterword) for sale, as well as my Look of Love booklet. You can find me in Artist Alley, table B21 -- I'll be the one with the big hair!

In addition to having a table in Artist Alley, I will also be on two panels talking about two topics near and dear to my heart -- romance comics (of course) and my grandfather/the 75th anniversary of the Green Lantern.

Friday, September 25th
7:00 – 7:45PM
(ROOM 105)
What is a Strong Female Character to you? Who is she? Is it Wonder Woman? She-Hulk? Is it someone who doesn't fight but kicks butt in other ways? Join Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Most Craved), Genese Davis (author, The Holders' Dominion), Janet Lee (artist, Return of the Dappermen), Jacque Nodell ( and Renee Witterstaetter (editor, She-Hulk, colorist Avengers) to talk about your favorites, how things are changing and what makes someone 'strong.'

Sunday, September 27th
2:00 - 2:45PM
(ROOM 104AB)
75 years ago, in 1940, as the Nazi conquest of Europe continued and the Battle of Britain raged, the United States watched from the sidelines while instituting the first peacetime draft. At the same time, the world of comics was experiencing an incredible sustained period of invention, as The Joker, Robin, Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, the Spirit, Catwoman, and Captains America and Marvel all debuted! (Not to mention the debuts of pop culture icons Bugs Bunny, and Brenda Starr, and classic movies Fantasia and The Great Dictator!) Showing and discussing historical and cultural factors that made that year so important is a panel including moderator Danny Fingeroth (Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero) as well as an array of history and pop culture experts, including Joe Casey (Ben 10) and Jacque Nodell (granddaughter of Green Lantern creator Martin Nodell).

Will you be there? If so, please be sure to stop by and say hello!

Thanks so much for reading!
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for more romance comic book goodness! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Memoriam - Jay Scott Pike (1924-2015)

Yesterday morning I learned that we lost comic book great, Jay Scott Pike. He passed away on September 13th, though news of his death seems to have just reached industry folks this week. He left this world at the admirable age of 91, and his impact on the comic book industry will not be forgotten.

The artist at work.
Photo via Plymouth Harbor

Born in 1924 in Philadelphia, Pike started his training at the early age of 16 at the Art Students League in New York City. As so many comic book artists did, Pike took a break from his formal artistic endeavors when he joined the Marines. Following his military service, he continued his education at the Parsons School of Design, Syracuse University, and the Ringling School of Art.

During the 1950s, Pike was a frequent artist for Atlas, contributing to genres such as horror, westerns, jungle, and our favorite here at Sequential Crush -- romance.

Lovers #59 (March 1954)
Cover image from GCD

From the mid-1960s through the early ‘70s, Pike lent his extraordinary talent to DC Comics, where he contributed covers, interior art, and fashion featurettes to the romance comics such as "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns." When I had the opportunity to ask Pike a few questions about his romance work a few years ago he candidly remarked in regard to the fashion spreads, "Now there I must admit I did use reference from fashion mags." Reference or not, Pike clearly excelled in translating fashion from real life to the pages of the comics. 

Pike's romance work oozed
sophistication and glamour.

"Dolphin"- not quite romance, but close!
Showcase #79 (December 1968)
Cover image from GCD

Pike later went on to a successful career in advertising with accounts such as Pepsi, Trans World Airlines, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills. Pike is also well known for his continuation of Art Frahm's pin-up girl calendar series. For romance fans, he will always be remembered as one of the mainstays of the genre.

Pike also illustrated one of the most iconic
romance covers ever created. I'll be
posting more in-depth on this one soon.

Thank you Jay Scott Pike for the immense (not to mention gorgeous) body of work you left behind. I have a feeling that generations to come will get as much of a thrill from your work as we have.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Recolored Reprint - DC Comics and Diversity

Hey everyone! I've missed you!!! I apologize for the lack of updates lately, but the end of summer turned out to be quite busy due to things like visiting with family, prepping for Wizard World Nashville (will you be there?!), and finishing the draft of my book. That's right! I finally finished writing it. Phew! It's been a long time coming and the hard work isn't over yet, but I'm pretty pumped. Currently, I'm in the editing phase and super excited for the steps ahead. If you'd like to stay in the loop about the progress of the book, as well as other cool stuff going on in the world romance comics, be sure to join the Sequential Crush mailing list!

Now, on to this evening's post! Back in 2011 during Hispanic Heritage Month I blogged about a story from Young Romance #171 (April/May 1971) called "Strangers in Love!" I promised back when I wrote that post that I would update you when I acquired the issue with the original story, as the 1971 version had been redrawn and recolored. Well that day has come! I finally picked up Heart Throbs #93 (December 1964/January 1965) which contains the original story, "A Date with Heartbreak!" illustrated by the legendary John Romita.

Go back and read about the 1971 version here!

As I had suspected in my 2011 post, Maria was originally Lisa --  a poor girl from the "wrong side of the tracks." You'll also notice that in addition to Lisa/Maria's change of ethnicity and name, Brad became a ginger.

Naturally, as these stories usually go, both of their families disapprove of the relationship and both young women are told to stick to their own kind of people.

In fact, the two stories are identical in plot and diverge from one another very little besides the art revisions.

In the end of both stories, the couples' relationships triumph -- proving that love not only unites people, but has the power to overcome deeply ingrained prejudices.

The fact that these two stories are six years apart and yet have a similar plot seems to suggest a high degree of DC's familiarity with their inventory. Whereas sometimes romance stories seem randomly selected for hairstyle and fashion revisions, this one was clearly intentional.

The original story, "A Date with Heartbreak!" really isn't all that unusual or special; after all, there were numerous comic book romance stories depicting the woes of star-crossed lovers. What is special about these two stories is that when considered together, they give us a glimpse into a past in which diversity was becoming an increasingly important aspect of American society, and consequently, was reflected in popular culture.

I hope you enjoyed this little update, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend to boot!