Recolored Reprint - DC Comics and Diversity

Hey everyone! I've missed you!!! I apologize for the lack of updates lately, but the end of summer turned out to be quite busy due to things like visiting with family, prepping for Wizard World Nashville (will you be there?!), and finishing the draft of my book. That's right! I finally finished writing it. Phew! It's been a long time coming and the hard work isn't over yet, but I'm pretty pumped. Currently, I'm in the editing phase and super excited for the steps ahead. If you'd like to stay in the loop about the progress of the book, as well as other cool stuff going on in the world romance comics, be sure to join the Sequential Crush mailing list!

Now, on to this evening's post! Back in 2011 during Hispanic Heritage Month I blogged about a story from Young Romance #171 (April/May 1971) called "Strangers in Love!" I promised back when I wrote that post that I would update you when I acquired the issue with the original story, as the 1971 version had been redrawn and recolored. Well that day has come! I finally picked up Heart Throbs #93 (December 1964/January 1965) which contains the original story, "A Date with Heartbreak!" illustrated by the legendary John Romita.

Go back and read about the 1971 version here!

 Heart Throbs and Young Romance Diversity Hispanics in romance comic books

As I had suspected in my 2011 post, Maria was originally Lisa --  a poor girl from the "wrong side of the tracks." You'll also notice that in addition to Lisa/Maria's change of ethnicity and name, Brad became a ginger.

 Brad and Maria romance comic book characters DC comics

Naturally, as these stories usually go, both of their families disapprove of the relationship and both young women are told to stick to their own kind of people.

 Parents don't understand Romance Comic books

In fact, the two stories are identical in plot and diverge from one another very little besides the art revisions.

 Kiss Romance Comics Romita Sr. Sequential Crush

In the end of both stories, the couples' relationships triumph -- proving that love not only unites people but has the power to overcome deeply ingrained prejudices.

 John Romita, Sr. Romance comic books 1960s

The fact that these two stories are six years apart and yet have a similar plot seems to suggest a high degree of DC's familiarity with their inventory. Whereas sometimes romance stories seem randomly selected for hairstyle and fashion revisions, this one was clearly intentional.

The original story, "A Date with Heartbreak!" really isn't all that unusual or special; after all, there were numerous comic book romance stories depicting the woes of star-crossed lovers. What is special about these two stories is that when considered together, they give us a glimpse into a past in which diversity was becoming an increasingly important aspect of American society, and consequently, was reflected in popular culture.

I hope you enjoyed this little update, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend to boot!