My Chat With Jim Steranko on His Only Romance Comic Book Story - "My Heart Broke in Hollywood!"
While I was at the San Diego Comic-Con a couple months ago, I had the good fortune of meeting Jim Steranko. He was kind enough to divert his attention away from his convention duties and chat with me a bit about his only romance story “My Heart Broke in Hollywood!” that was originally published in Our Love Story #5 (June 1970). Our meeting was happenstance, so naturally, I was without a recording device. After we talked, I quickly ran off to scribble down some notes! So without further ado, the following narrative is what Steranko told me about his one and only romance story! The accompanying pages are the original color guide for the story!*
Initially, Steranko was asked to draw a Western story but said that he wanted to do a romance story instead. He felt that so much of the romance comic book stories were done in the “Jay Scott Pike” style that he wanted to try something radically different, and unlike any other romance story anyone had ever seen!
After penciling and inking the Stan Lee plotted story, Steranko decided he would color it himself. Knowing his color choices were non-traditional for a romance story, he decided to wait to turn the pages in just before the 5pm deadline – by which time it would be too late to change anything! Steranko recollected that Marie Severin thought it was pretty wild, but ultimately let the story pass through as he intended.
Steranko went on to tell me that when Our Love Story #5 appeared on the newsstands, Carmine Infantino apparently called a meeting with his staff over at DC. As Infantino chomped on his trademark cigar, he passed out ten copies of the rival Marvel romance. He instructed his staff to open up to Steranko’s “My Heart Broke in Hollywood!” and exclaimed, “Top this next month or you're fired!”
And that, my friends is the story that Steranko told me! Unfortunately as I said, I didn’t have anything to record this discussion with since it occurred spur of the moment. But sometimes, those encounters are the best and elicit the most genuine of stories! It was clear from his enthusiasm that Steranko not only enjoyed telling me about his sole romance story, but that he had a great time creating it!
*A big thank you to color guide owner, Matthew Holtzman, as well as Tony Robertson who runs the terrific website, The Drawings of Steranko where the above pages are hosted. If you would like to read “My Heart Broke in Hollywood” it has been reprinted a few times and can be found on a number of websites including True Love Comics Tales which posted it just a few days ago!