Frank Langford's "Hungry Heart"
As highlighted last week, British illustrator Frank Langford had the art of romance nailed on the head. His sexy leading ladies and handsomely rendered men, make it hard to deny that Langford was one of the most dynamic purveyors of the romance genre. The following story about a summer at the beach, "Hungry Heart" comes to us from Young Love #81 (July/August 1970).
As the guests of the Surf Hotel at Pink Beach look on, it appears that two young people have made a connection. The outgoing Bill has approached the beautiful, red-headed Eve and convinced her to go surfing with him.
Bill is not the only young man to notice Eve on the beach. A newly arrived guest, Adam Woods sets his sights on her and moves in for the kill when she falls off of her surfboard.
Once Adam loosens his death-grip on Eve, a proper introduction is made. Eve's first prospect, Bill is not impressed by Adam's forthright ways. Fortunately for Bill though, Eve goes out to dinner with him. But as our narrators, Mr. and Mrs. Reed say -- Adam has a "hungry look in his eyes" and he isn't backing down!
Adam continues to butt in between the blossoming romance between Eve and Bill, asking Eve to dance. Curiously, Adam and Eve seem to dance (and quarrel) like old lovers. Eve eventually gives in and invites Adam to go shopping in town the next day.
After biking into town and doing a little shopping, Adam presents Eve with a bottle of perfume. Coincidentally, it is her favorite kind -- Nuit Azure. He then invites Eve to go to the beach party hosted by the hotel that evening, and she accepts.
Later that evening, the glow of the bonfire and the smell of Eve's new perfume drives Adam wild. His forceful ways get him into trouble though, and Eve is off put by his sensually-charged demands.
Adam and Eve's underwater kiss is interrupted by the fists of Bill, who is all too eager to get Adam out of the picture. Eve is not impressed by the barbaric display.
Adam returns to the shore and Bill and Eve continue surfing. Suddenly, the weather turns and a huge wave engulfs the surfers. Bill reaches the surface, but Eve is nowhere to be seen. Adam jumps in without thinking twice.
As Adam pulls Eve out of the swirling waters he declares with certainty, "I'll -- never -- let you go -- never!" Strong words for a woman he has just met! Or did they just meet? Duhn Duhn Duh!!!
Ohh! A trick ending! As it turns out, Adam and Eve were married! Eve was just rebelling in order to receive the excitement of courtship she never had!
Though this same trick ending of the "already married couple pretending to have just met" is used rather frequently throughout the romance comics of the 1960s and '70s, this particular story really stands out as one of the best examples of just how good romance comics can be.