How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?

  "How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?"  My Love  #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

"How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?" My Love #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

Girl, I honestly don't know. How can one love a member of the establishment?  In the second counterculture-themed story from My Love #5 (May 1970) that I told you about last week, college student Lorna falls for "the grooviest male on campus." But groovy he certainly is not! According to Lorna's hip friends,  "He's an organization man!" They warn Lorna not to go there, but all she can think about is instructor Walter Price's dreamy ways. 

 "How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?" My Love #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

Lorna is surprised and delighted when Walter takes a mutual interest in her. The two start dating, and Lorna's evenings are suddenly filled with sophisticated trips to art galleries and the theatre.

 "How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?" My Love #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

Once Lorna's friends and acquaintances find out about the pairing, all hell breaks loose. Lorna is now a traitor to the student power movement.

Despite being head over heels for Walter, Lorna does feel some dissonance. She knows that by dating Walter and skipping the protest she herself helped organized, she is sacrificing her own principles. Things get even worse later that evening when Lorna comes home to a note from Aggie that the student committee has planned another protest and she has been selected as one of the leaders. Lorna knows that if she refuses to lead the demonstration as asked, she will be turning her back on her peers. At the same time, participating in it could cause her to lose Walter. That night, Lorna thinks long and hard about her difficult decision. Will she chose love or the movement? 

 "How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?" My Love #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten

In what may surprise some readers (especially those familiar with the Charlton career stories), Lorna chooses the movement.

 "How Can I Love a Member of the Establishment?" My Love #5 (May 1970) Story: Stan Lee, Pencils: Don Heck, Inks: John Verpoorten
It had to be this way! I couldn’t betray my beliefs — just for a boy!
 Don Heck romance comic book from Marvel

As the protest rages on, Lorna is convinced she sees Walter through the crowd. It turns out it is him, and Lorna moves in his direction without hesitation. She is confused over his presence at a students' rights rally (surely something he would have no interest in as a member of the establishment). But Walter sets Lorna straight. He is for justice for all. Even if he is "one of them." And so, the story wraps up nicely, with Lorna having learned an important lesson:  

"...A girl can be true to her convictions -- without losing what she wants the most!" 
 Don Heck My Love romance comic book story member of the establishment counterculture

Definitely a different ending for this Marvel story than many other romance stories from the genre's history. By questioning her principles and her desires instead of just blindly going with her heart, this is a memorable and uniquely 1970s story. In my opinion, this internal struggle is part of what makes the romance comic book characters so appealing, and ultimately, relatable.