Romance Under the Covers - My Romantic Adventures #127 (October/November 1962)
As you probably know, I am a huge fan of the DC romance comics, especially the ones from the late '60s and 1970s. But the old saying, "variety is the spice of life" rings true here at Sequential Crush and today I present for your reading enjoyment, ACG's My Romantic Adventures #127 (October/November 1962)!* And what an adventure it is!
Standing for American Comics Group, ACG published only a handful of romance issues (254 to be exact) during its existence. Most were edited by a fellow by the name of Richard Hughes, who also happened to write many of the company's stories. This particular title, My Romantic Adventures was known simply as Romantic Adventures up until issue #68 (August 1956), when the "My" was added.
The first story, "The Brainless Type" sports art by the talented Ogden Whitney -- the original artist responsible for the rotund character, Herbie. Starting on this awesome splash page, Margie Tucker relays that she has "never been one for heavy thinking" and therefore cooking has become her default occupation.
When it is announced that a new manufacturing plant is opening up in town, Margie is eager (along with the rest of the locals) to witness the plant president, Dr. Joel Bentley give his speech. In need of temporary lodging, Dr. Bentley considers Margie's offer to stay at her farmhouse. Lured partially by her prettiness (and partially by her promise of good cooking) Joel moves in immediately. Naturally, the two become quite fond of each other and a romance blooms.
Margie eventually takes a position at the plant, primarily to be around her increasingly busy beau. Margie is understanding of his duties, but her world is shattered when the beautiful, smart and wealthy Catherine Carr drops in for a visit. Catherine isn't just any old flame of Joel's -- she is the girl who broke his heart at the senior prom.
Catherine doesn't let her past behavior get in the way of stealing Joel from Margie -- she hops right in! From the foul way she treats Margie, it is obvious Catherine has not gotten any sweeter with time. Joel is not phased however, and continues to take Catherine for a tour of the plant.
Suddenly, the operations of the factory begin to break down after the workers are told that mandatory overtime is expected due to a regional labor shortage. The workers aren't pleased with the situation and decide to go on strike the next day. Margie tries to warn Joel, but is caught off-guard when she finds him and Catherine smooching in his office. Though Margie is there only to warn him, both Catherine and Joel start taking jabs at Margie's intelligence. Poor patriotic Margie!
Putting her pride (and shock of Joel's betrayal) on the line, Margie speaks out against the strike. You go girl!
"...If you stick by this walkout, the plant will close. Not only will he lose, but America will, too, because it needs the products we turn out. Would you rather let our enemies win out -- and work even longer hours for practically nothing and not be allowed to complain?"
Following her rousing speech, Margie resigns from her position -- but not before Catherine slams her again for being too brainless to operate the machinery. Joel silently stands by, while Margie dashes out in tears. However, something changes in Joel and he refuses to continue to put up with Catherine's shenanigans. In the end, it is sweet and dutiful Margie who wins the man!
From today's perspective, the second story "Immune to Girls!" could very well be read as a thinly veiled story of a gay man. Or perhaps it is just the tale of a guy who couldn't find the right lady? After you read it -- feel free to weigh in!
Constantly chased and fawned over by the girls at school, Harvey Hayes grows up to be a "perennial bachelor." Save for Ann Harris (Harvey's best chum), Harvey prefers to avoid the company of women.
Avoiding beautiful and influential women is difficult in Harvey's line of work (race car driver) but none of them catch his fancy. He appreciates Ann for her loyalty, but Ann is frustrated by the front he puts on. She feels that deep down, he is just afraid of women. In an attempt to show him the error of his ways, Ann gives Harvey a big kiss.
After the lip-lock, Ann admits her affection for Harvey. Completely shocked, Harvey requests that they try kissing again. With another passionate embrace, Harvey has found what he wanted all along -- real love!
These two one-pagers, "Sure He's Handsome...But..." and "A Pretty Girl Can Be a Malady!" extol the virtues of humbleness and serve as cautionary tales for both guys and gals who are inclined to take vanity too far.
On to the next story, "The Right Kind of Marriage!" Clara Williamson is a (former) rich girl turned working girl -- thoroughly unexcited about the routinized life of a broke typist.
While helping to plan a friend's vacation, Clara decides that she could stand to liven things up by taking a trip herself. She doesn't want to go to just any resort, however. Clara decides to withdraw her entire savings (her only form of security) and head to the exclusive Star Beach Hotel. Since she plans to pretend to be a rich girl, she scoots off to the finest boutique in town to purchase a whole new summer wardrobe. While at the shop, one of the employees tells Clara about a wealthy man that she had heard of that runs a hot dog stand near the Star Beach Hotel. Intent on finding herself a sugar daddy to marry, Clara drops by the hot dog stand as soon as she gets into town to meet the proprietor, Fred.
After a few run-ins (including pulling Clara out of the water after accidentally knocking her in) the two go on a date on a sailboat that the increasingly broke Clara has chartered. After the romantic afternoon, Clara is brought down to reality by the hotel desk clerk who reminds her of her past due account with the hotel. Unable to pay her bill, Clara decides to just come out and tell Fred about the charges and ask for his assistance. Fred is horrified to learn of her scheme to find a rich husband and Clara is equally enraged by Fred's deception.
Clara leaves the resort, broke and alone. She heads back to her monotonous life as a typist. One day at work, just as she loses all hope of ever finding love, Fred walks in and the two make amends. But someone else walks in -- Clara's boss! Not a romantic, he promptly fires her for her indecent behavior. No worries though! Fred employs her at his hot dog stand -- making for a funny and oh-so-mid-century ending.
The final story, "The Odds are Against Us!" is a short little yarn about co-workers John and Mary -- both statisticians. Love grows between the two and naturally, John asks Mary to be his wife.
Mary turns him down. She reasons that mathematically speaking, the odds are against a happy life together and she would rather not risk everything to find out.
In an effort to show Mary that true love can prevail, John takes her on a few field trips. First, they visit John's grandparents who have been blissfully married for 60 years! Then it is off to meet a pair of John's friends who met accidentally, and now have a happy marriage and bouncy baby. He even brings Mary to the slums to show her that love can flourish even under the worst of circumstances. The lady-statistician softens around the edges and what do ya know? It seems that for John and Mary the odds aren't so bad after all!
So, what do you think of ACG's My Romantic Adventures? If you are hunkering for more, then head on over to the blog, Silver Age Comics which a few months back, covered the last issue of the title!
*The cover of My Romantic Adventures #127 is actually fashioned directly after the cover of
Confessions of the Lovelorn #78 (February 1957)!