Women Write Romance Comics - "As Good As Any Man!" As Told to Holli Resnicoff
In my last post, I briefly mentioned that romance comics might have looked different if more women had been involved. As we enter into the month of April and Women's History Month draws to a close, let's look at the work of one woman who was involved in the romance comics -- Holli Resnicoff.
Holli is a bit of a mystery. After doing some research and asking others from the industry who might have known her, I came up pretty much empty-handed. The only information readily available is that she was a production assistant at Marvel and Stan Lee's secretary. She was also at one point, married to Mike Ploog. When I asked Linda Fite (Night Nurse, The Cat) if she remembered Holli, she told me she hadn't heard from her in decades, but that she and Holli, along with Flo Steinberg and a few other friends, went to meetings of a consciousness-raising group in Manhattan. The group of friends even participated in the Women's Strike for Equality in August of 1970. Other than that, I wasn't able to gather much, and unfortunately, everyone I talked to eventually lost touch with Holli.
"As Good As Any Man!" -- one of the stories that Holli wrote (along with uncredited co-writer, Steve Englehart) from Our Love Story #16 (April 1972) takes a look at the more personal side of the Women's Movement. Though the Alan Weiss art is not my favorite, it does have a youthful, very 1970s quality about it that is pretty hard to resist. In fact, every time I look at it, I think it grows on me more and more!
The story starts out with the premise of a guys-only weekend camping trip. Blond-tressed David is headed out for some outdoor time with his girlfriend's brother, Ted. David cites not inviting his lady, Laura, because she wouldn't like it anyway -- "Camping is too rough for girls!" Laura requests for him to let her make up her own mind.
The next day, the two lovebirds head out, sans brother Ted. As they hike into their campsite, Laura is determined to show David that she can camp with the best of 'em. David teases Laura for going too slow, and at one point, for almost stepping on a snake. All's well and in good fun until David pulls a jerk move and makes Laura pitch the tent by herself.
Struggling with the tent, David finally says he'll help Laura if she cooks him up a meal. Laura complies and the two share a romantic moment before retiring to bed. At least David was gentleman enough to let Laura sleep in the tent!
The two head out bright and early to climb. A few hours after setting out on the trail, a storm rolls in. David's cockiness finally does him in and...SLIP...! He plummets down the mountain.
Naturally, Laura freaks out. Though karma appears to have gotten David, Laura is a good and loving girlfriend -- not to mention, a super strong chick.
Though David has his doubts at first, Laura makes the three mile hike to the ranger station. As David waits for Laura's return, he makes the admission to himself that "She's got more strength and character than most men I know!" There ya go, David... looks like that fall knocked some sense into ya!
All's well that ends well, and Laura makes the trip back to David with the rangers. The story ends on a sweet note... or does it?
I'd love to find Ms. Resnicoff and ask her what she thinks today of her story written in 1972, but until then, let's discuss! I'd love to hear what you think! Did you think David's compliment at the end was a backhanded one or just plain romantic? Can this personal, seemingly innocuous story, act as a linchpin for our understanding of the Women's Movement and second-wave feminism? Please, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!
Speaking of women in comics... one more thing before we part! Good friend of Sequential Crush and famed DC letter writer, Irene Vartanoff, has published her first novel, Temporary Superheroine. If you are a fan of adventure, comic book culture, and romance novels, you should definitely check it out!