"Lady President" - 1964 Charlton Romance Comic Story Ahead of the Curve!
I don't like to get very political here at Sequential Crush and consequentially, I've kept pretty mum during this election cycle. I want to keep the focus on comic books and history. But, when I found out a story from Sweethearts #79 (November 1964) titled "Lady President" existed,* well, I just had to post it to commemorate the unprecedented excitement I've felt during this campaign season. Frankly, we are long overdue for a "Lady President!"
Like many characters in romance comics, Beth's whole world revolves around her beau, Paul. The two plan to get married and raise a family when Paul finishes college. As Beth bids her sweetheart adieu the two reiterate their plan to date others, have fun, but ultimately reunite.
Naturally, Beth misses Paul in his absence, but she takes solace in school, friends, and the company of a few swell dates. One of her regular dates, a guy named Will starts to fall in love with Beth. Not wanting to lead him on, she breaks things off with Will. Feeling ashamed about her brief romance Beth tells Paul when he returns for a visit. Paul is understanding and proud that he is with a girl that doesn't break hearts for sport. Paul knows Beth is a catch!
Beth is also well liked by her classmates and one day she is approached by a fellow senior named Vera. Unbeknownst to Beth, she has been unofficially nominated by Vera and her crew to run for Senior Class President.
Shocked at the proposition, Beth agrees to run with Vera at the helm of the campaign. Ohhh yeah!
Beth's campaign for presidency ensues and after much excitement and even a large rally in her honor, she is elected president! She can hardly wait to tell Paul the good news.
Paul is excited for Beth, and eager to show her off to his college buddies, invites her to a party. The only problem is the other senior girls are throwing Beth a party to celebrate and she very much wants to attend. Paul is cool with her skipping out on his party because he can introduce her to his friends at the upcoming Christmas party. Unfortunately, the holiday party is scheduled for the same evening as Beth's big acceptance speech and official inauguration. Paul flips and tells Beth she must choose -- it's either him or the presidency.
Beth is committed to her new found leadership skills and does the unexpected (at least for a 1960s romance comic) -- she chooses herself and the presidency!
Long sleepless nights ensue but Beth resists the temptation to call Paul. She rises to the occasion and at her inauguration gives a killer speech to her adoring classmates.
The end! Well, not exactly... Paul makes a surprise appearance at the school. He has come to his senses and apologizes to Beth for his stupidity. The two embrace and we are given the hint that all ends well for the First Man and Beth, the forever changed civic-minded Lady President! Huzzah!
In a sea of Charlton romance stories where romance and ambition clash, "Lady President" is refreshingly different. I love Beth. She is strong and won't let a guy stop her yet she knows that romance is what makes life rich and well-rounded. I also love Vera, the undercurrent of the supportive classmates, and the clear message of women helping fellow women. Given the prevalence of romance comics in their heyday, I'd like to think that maybe Hillary read this as a teen and was inspired!
I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did and whatever the outcome of today's election -- let's remember that love is where it's at!
*I unfortunately do not have this issue in my collection (yet) but a big thank you to Andres of a blog titled Miracle Machine for posting this story in its entirety back in 2010. We are indebted to you!
For more romance comic book goodness, read How to Go Steady!