Unidentified DC Romance Artist - Young Love's "How Long Can I Go on Loving the Man I Hate?"
I have a romance comic book conundrum to share with you today! Young Love #57 (September/October 1966) features a story titled, "How Long Can I Go on Loving the Man I Hate?" After studying the artwork for quite a while, I am completely stumped by who the artist(s) could be. Read on and see if you have any thoughts concerning who may have been responsible for this story!
One day, out of the blue, Gary breaks things off with his girlfriend, Myrna. He says that he thinks he loves her, but he needs time to think things over. Myrna tries to give him back the ring he gave her, but Gary tells her not to.
Myrna stays glued to the bench in the park, completely in shock and frozen to the spot. Eventually, she goes home and cries things out. Her mother comforts her for a while until she asks to be alone. Myrna then cries herself to sleep. When she wakes in the morning, she is confronted with a sudden burst of conflicting emotions -- hate, love, more hate! (Oh, girl -- I so understand!) Myrna's hate for Gary leads her to picture a scene in the future in which Gary returns and wants her back. In this waking dream, Myrna exclaims to the man who jilted her, "Take your hands off me! I no longer love you!" And so go the next few weeks -- love, hate, hate, love...
During one of Myrna's "hate cycles," her cousin Carol comes to visit for a few months. Myrna asks Carol to help her seek revenge on Gary.
Carol tries to talk Myrna out of it, but since Myrna won't relent, Carol decides to help her cousin out. Carol meets Gary out at one of his usual haunts and secures a date with him for the next evening. Though it was her idea, Myrna is still upset. Carol suggests that Myrna stop wearing Gary's ring and give it to her to hold onto until Myrna figures out what she wants to do with it.
The weeks pass and Carol and Gary see more of one another. One evening, Carol comes home in tears -- Gary has fallen in love with her. Myrna is confused why she is crying, as making Gary fall in love with Carol was the object of the "game" all along. Carol confesses that she has fallen in love with Gary in return, and that was certainly not in the plan.
Carol decides to head back home, and Myrna does not convince her to stay. The two cousins do not see each other for weeks, except in Myrna's nightmares. About a month after Carol confessed her love for Gary to Myrna and leaves, Carol shows up at Myrna's house crying. Gary broke up with her, and she is crushed. Myrna suggests she either cry it out or attempt to seek revenge as she did. Awkward! Thinking of her own heartache, Myrna says to her cousin, "I'm sorry, Carol! You'll get over it!" But Myrna herself hasn't gotten over Gary.
And because life seems to work this way, right after Carol leaves, Gary shows up at Myrna's door. She tells him that Carol has left -- but Gary isn't looking for Carol. He wants Myrna back. Myrna reacts strongly and calls Gary out as she did in her daydream:
"You mean -- now that you've finished with her, you're ready for me again? No, thank you -- I've suffered enough! Please go away!"
Gary goes on to say that he wanted to call her -- to tell her that he hated himself for ever having doubts about loving her. When Myrna quizzes him as to why he didn't call her then, he says it was because Carol gave him the ring and said that Myrna never wanted to see him again. Myrna wonders how her cousin could do such an awful thing to her. But Gary shifts the blame to himself, saying the only thing that bothers him is that he hurt her. As Gary slips the ring back on Myrna's finger, he tells her to never take it off.
Quite the story! It really solidifies the saying that love and hate are two sides of the same coin, doesn't it? Art wise, it is unlike any other story I have seen in the romance comics. And the strange thing is, even though the art is sort of bad (a bit amateur looking and many of the faces are almost grotesquely rendered) I am strangely attracted to it. Maybe something about Myrna's eyes in some of the panels or maybe it is because of the large, dramatic Gene Colan-esque panels on pages four and seven? Perhaps it was drawn by a rarely used artist? There is something vaguely familiar about it. Could it have been from the hands of a more well-known artist trying out a different style? If you have any thoughts on who it might be, please share!
Update: Thanks to some very knowledgeable readers out there, this mystery has been solved! This story was penciled and inked by Manny Stallman. Read more about Stallman here!