I Was a Teenage Skag!

You may recognize the word "skag" as being a slang term for heroin, but in the '60s and '70s, it meant oh-so-much more! It was also a term for an unattractive girl. Harsh, I know -- but roll with me here...

"Skag!" is the title of the following story from Charlton's Secret Romance #29 (October 1974), drawn by Charles Nicholas and inked by Vincent Alascia. The story chronicles young Joanne and her quest for clear skin, which ultimately becomes a lesson in the importance of self-esteem and confidence.

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

As Joanne explains to her diary, she had plenty of friends until she was 14 years old, and the breakouts and the name-calling started.

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

After being called "skag," Joanne looses it, and decides to run away to her cousin's apartment. Her older and wiser cousin -- Lynne, sets her straight and lets her know that pimples aren't forever.

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

Luckily Lynne recognizes that Joanne could use a break, and some help. Besides taking Joanne to a dermatologist, Lynne sets her straight with a no-nonsense talk about her condition.

Diagnosis: Low self-esteem

Diagnosis: Low self-esteem

The road to recovery includes some sort of Caladryl-looking medication, and lots of stretching while wearing a turtleneck leotard.

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

Though arduous, the strict regime set forth by cousin Lynne works. Joanne gets noticed by not only guys who like pizza, but by guys with shocked looks and large bow-ties.

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

Bow-tie trumps pizza however, and the new and improved Joanne takes her new beau to meet her parents. All's right with the world!

Charlton Secret Romance Story I was a teenage Skag romance comic books

"Skag!" is a romance story meant not to merely entertain, but to inform and perhaps empower as well. Take control over yourself -- pity is not your friend! I concur, Charlton!!!