Romance Comic Book PSA - Charlton's Jonnie Love Speaks Out on Narcotics!
First introduced in Teen-Age Love #61 (November 1968) by writer Joe Gill and artists Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico (both credited under the united pseudonym Tony Williams); Jonnie Love was a roaming, long-haired, quasi-hippie on a quest to find meaning after a life-changing altercation with his high school principal over his follicular indiscretions. Stories featuring Jonnie appeared in 31 issues of Charlton romance comics across their various titles. Not long after his introduction, a PSA-style sequential one-page collaborative story between Charlton and the Nassau County Police Department, called, “Jonnie Love Speaks Out on Narcotics” was published and appeared in multiple Charlton romance titles. This particular one is from Career Girl Romances #48 (December 1968).*
In it, Jonnie is quickly established as a killjoy. When the traveling moralist overhears a young boy in a teen club offering drugs to a young girl (and yes, much to our collective disbelief, wise Jonnie Love is a teenager himself), Jonnie quickly springs in to action to stop the two from doing anything they would later regret. Jonnie informs the youngsters that they are playing with fire, and they will get burned. He lets them know under no uncertain terms that “Drug abusers never live successful lives...” The teens listen to Jonnie, and declare in the last panel, “You’ve convinced us, Jonnie Love...”
This PSA is slightly puzzling in retrospect in that Jonnie Love’s crusade against drugs made it past the stringent hands of the Comics Code Authority (CCA) at all. Though the depiction of drugs were not technically banned by the CCA, this is the same organization that in 1971 infamously forced Marvel to publish a three-part Spider-Man anti-drug story in conjunction with the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare without the CCA’s approval. Jonnie Love’s long-term love affair with staying on the right side of the law and his helpful demeanor must have earned him some brownie points with the CCA!
*Scans courtesy of Spectergirl over at her blog, As Told to Stan Lee. Be sure to check out her impressive and hilarious collection of Jonnie Love stories!