Hot Streak: Bob Oksner’s Leave It to Binky

« Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves. » — J. B. Priestley

Here at WOT central, we’re both massive Bob Oksner (1916-2007) fans, and it’s not generally for the writing. For a long time, his multi-faceted talent was used to great effect all over the DC Comics line, but he rarely received the acclaim he so richly deserved.

Take for instance, a peek at this jaw-droppingly generous, downright encyclopedic overview of his lengthy career, and then just try to tell me Mr. Oksner wasn’t even more accomplished than you’d reckoned.

After DC sent up a trial balloon with Showcase no. 70 a year prior, Binky returns after a decade’s sabbatical (an eternity in the teen world!). This is Leave It to Binky no. 61 (June-July 1968, DC). The product was slightly updated (fashions and hairdos) dusty reprints with fabulous new covers.
This is Leave It to Binky no. 62 (Aug.-Sept. 1968, DC). For the record, Peggy is Binky’s blonde girlfriend. Let’s face it, she’s the true star of this book.
This is Leave It to Binky no. 63 (Oct.-Nov. 1968, DC). Lovely inks provided by fellow Golden Age veteran Tex Blaisdell (1920-1999).
This is Leave It to Binky no. 64 (Dec. 1968-Jan. 1969, DC).
This is Leave It to Binky no. 65 (Feb.-Mar. 1969, DC).
This is Leave It to Binky no. 66 (Apr.-May 1969, DC).
During last year’s Hallowe’en Countdown, I spotlighted Mr. Oksner’s fine work on DC’s long-running licenced Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis titles, but also featured his holiday-appropriate Binky cover. For thoroughness’ sake, here it is again: this is Leave It to Binky no. 67 (June-July 1969, DC).
And one more: this is DC Special no. 2 (Jan.-Mar. 1969, DC). Hard to fathom why this one came out at all, its great cover aside.

And then it was over, in this visual idiom anyway: with the following issue (LITB68), DC brought in well-traveled Henry Scarpelli to handle the covers and create the impression that Binky was just one more Archie clone. Over the subsequent four issues, a handful of (pretty good) new stories were mixed in with the reprints. Then came a change of title and a new logo. The book, now simply called Binky, was a full-on Archie ersatz, and lasted another ten issues into 1971… with one final special popping out of nowhere in the summer of ’77. For ol’ Binky, par for the course!

-RG

Treasured Stories: “Emancipated Amanda” (1971)

« The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself. » — Virginia Woolf

It has dawned on me that we’ve been neglecting the romance genre of late, and so the time has come to remedy this regrettable situation. To that end, I’ve opted to spotlight some early work by Spanish-Argentine master José Luis García-López (born 1948, Pontevedra, Spain).

If you ask me, Mr. García-López is far under-appreciated. His graceful but unassuming virtuosity, and the seeming ease with which he wields it, makes it too easy to take him for granted. And while he’s tackled just about every major character (and many a minor one) in the DC Comics stable, much of it has been behind the scenes, in the way of style sheets and promotional artwork.

Meanwhile, in comic books, he’s mostly made pedestrian scripts* shine more brightly than they deserved. But there’s only so much, er… polishing one can do.

As it stands, my favourite portion of his œuvre is the romance comics he illustrated for Charlton early in his career, roughly 1968-74, before he moved to New York to launch his North American phase. While my predilection for his romantic material is a minority opinion, I’m not alone in this, I’m relieved to report.

It seems to me that, as a man who can clearly draw anything at all, JLGL’s chops are largely squandered on superheroes and such. But, in comics as in life, romance is hard. As Mr. García-López confirmed in the definitive interview he granted in 2010 to the championne of romance comics, Sequential Crush‘s Jacque Nodell: « Even now, I consider romance stories the most difficult genre to illustrate properly. » Bingo.

If you’ve at all read comics from the early 70s, romance or otherwise, you’ll have noticed that clothing and hair fashions can generally be termed (charitably) ‘of their time’. Not so much here. Have we come full circle, or does JLGL have a secret? He confides (do read the full entrevista… it’s well worth it):

« In those years we also had photo-novel magazines (like the foto-romanzo or fumetti in Italy) and they were very useful to design the characters and for the romantic scenes. Doing a good kiss without a good reference was very hard, honest. Besides, I was lucky to have two kindly girl friends that helped me with fashion advice and suggestions and even posed for me. That period was full of learning experiences – there is no better way to learn to draw than from a living model. »

Where can I get myself a pair of those snazzy Letraset pants?
Writer unknown, incidentally. Which is a shame.

Now, artwork aside, why am I fond of this particular story?

I love the mise-en-scène: characters are introduced in the background and without dialogue before they enter the stage. Namely Dorothy in the first panel of page 2 and ‘that beanpole’, Jim Loomis in the first panel of page 6. His first line comes in the final panel of page 7, but he and Dorothy have been staring holes into each other from the start. That’s great staging, not to mention something that, arguably, only the comics medium can achieve effectively.

I also enjoy the evolution of Amanda and Dorothy’s friendship; at first testy and tentative, Amanda’s calling her roommate ‘Dot’ by page 7. And they learn from, and support, each other. No cheap betrayal in this one.

It’s a lovely change of page for the genre that, once gridiron ‘hero’ and BMOC Dan Sruba commits his inevitable transgression… he’s gone (save for a passing mention from Les): no ‘second chance’, no confrontation, no revenge, no melodrama.

Despite the headline, I’m reading this as the story of Dot and Jim’s romance. Amanda’s interest in Les, beyond playing matchmaker for her roommate, is uncertain.

My wife was disappointed in the ending, and I can certainly see why: will Dorothy lose her fire and her beliefs? I prefer to think not — she was looking for an equal, respectful relationship, and I do think she’s found it with Loomis. And she had him well before word one, and she was clad in glasses, picket sign and dungarees. The guy seems like a keeper to me. They’re both quiet, thoughtful observers, for the most part. I like their odds.

There are a few glitches here and there, but given that the script had to first be translated into Spanish (Mr. García-López claims to still not speak English to this day… technically) to be illustrated, there may have been here and there a nuance missed, a description gone astray. Loomis isn’t quite a beanpole, and neither is Dorothy, for that matter. And ‘Plain Janes’? (page 8) And I scarcely think that Les and Jim were planning a hatchet piece (given Jim’s evident interest in Dorothy, for one), no-one would mistake these two for Plain Janes. Well, that’s always been a systemic weakness of the romance genre, in comics and elsewhere: the plain one, the skinny one, the rejected one? Still gorgeous.

This is I Love You no. 95 (Jan. 1972, Charlton). For a variety of factors, distance chief among them, Garcia-Lopez never drew an original cover for Charlton, but the publisher often creatively recycled story panels, a task handled exceptionally well in the present case.

What’s that? Oh, right. Fine, here’s that « FREE Pin-Up Poster of David Cassidy » already.

Art by Don Sherwood. For more David Cassidy (the good stuff, which is to say Sururi Gümen‘s), check out our earlier spotlight Farewell to David Cassidy, pop star… and Charlton Comics hero.

-RG

*as a well-scripted exception, I submit the opening chapter of David V. Reed‘s The Underworld Olympics ’76!, in Batman no. 272 (Feb. 1976, DC).

Love and Romance and Enrique Nieto

« The precious hours seemed to hurtle by, as if we were in some kind of vicious time machine! »

Today’s birthday number seventy-six for one of Charlton Comics’ most singular and hardest-working artistes, namely Enrique Nieto Nadal (born August 15, 1943, in Tangiers, Morocco, to Spanish parents), who injected some edgy excitement into the Charlton Comics line, handling with equal aplomb and virtuosity tales of romance, horror, war, adventure… and every combination thereof.

To mark this special occasion, I’ve picked out the lovely tale of A Strange Good-Bye from Love and Romance no. 20 (January, 1975); it provides a sterling showcase for his remarkable design chops and, as my dearest co-admin ds has earlier pointed out, Enrique’s tales provide, as a rule, beefcake and cheesecake in equally generous shares. Is anyone else that fair-minded?

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I’m particularly fond of this yarn because of its unusual avoidance of most romance clichés: there are no scheming rivals, no duplicitous so-called friends, no disapproving parents, no melodrama… just two serious-minded, intelligent young people who are *really* into each other, but don’t lose their heads over it. And they may be yuppies, but  success wasn’t just handed to them. Call me a sap, but I can’t help but sincerely root for Wade and Didi.

Oh, and let’s face it, can you think of any other US romance comics that pack such an erotic charge? It may be subjective, but I’ve rarely seen such convincing depictions of tenderness and affection, physical and otherwise, between two characters… and in mainstream, comics-code approved funnybooks yet. Full marks to Mr. Nieto and his masterful understanding and depiction of body language… male and female.

While he’s not credited, it’s still obvious to me that Joe Gill is the writer; my favourite facet of his romance tales is how he grounds what could be stock situations in the everyday, endowing his characters with actual, credible occupations, as opposed to soap opera ones. When a character describes a business deal or an industrial process, it makes perfect sense. I suspect this to be a by-product of Gill’s authorship of a 1973 series of promotional career-choice Popeye-branded comic books. The research clearly fed his subsequent work, which is just as it should be.

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A Strange Good-bye was the cover feature of Love and Romance no. 20 (Jan. 1975). Blast that puzzle page!

Well, once more… ¡feliz cumpleaños, Enrique!

-RG

Nick Cardy’s Romantic Side

« In YOUNG LOVE, how can people talk when they kiss? My mom can’t talk when she’s kissing. Can you? I am nine years old. » — Mary K, an astute young reader

It’s recently occurred to me that, in a year-and-a-half of posting, I’ve utterly neglected to feature one of my favourite artists, Nick Cardy (1920-2013); I suppose he’s been easy to take for granted, as he was DC’s main cover artist during most of Carmine Infantino‘s management years (1967-1976).

Much has been made, in various forums, of Cardy’s covers for Aquaman, the Superman titles, The Teen Titans, the Mystery books, and so on. I figured I’d have to dig a bit deeper. Cardy, ex aequo with the even more underappreciated Bob Oksner, was arguably DC’s primo portrayer of feminine pulchritude, and what I’d seen of his artwork for DC’s romance line was pretty stunning. It just turned out that there was far less of it than I had assumed.

DC’s romance books were sadly treated as the proverbial Siberia of the company’s roster. How else might one explain calling upon top illustrative talent, the likes of Jay Scott Pike, John Rosenberger, Ric Estrada, Werner Roth … then taking these fine men’s work and slathering it with wall-to-wall Vince Collettafinishes. We’ll return to this topic, naturally. This time around, we’ll showcase the sentimental side of Mr. Cardy. He seems to have produced fewer than thirty covers for the romance line (not counting a handful of gothics he did), of which I’ve retained an even dozen. I’m reserving a handful for an eventual thematic post, plus one that Colletta “fixed” (in the criminal, rather than useful, sense.)

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Falling in Love no. 115 (Feb. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff.

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Falling in Love no. 119 (Nov. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff. Something tells me Mr. Older Generation is holding a pipe off-panel.

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« Goodbye, and as my sister once said, good riddance! » This great Nick Cardy cover puts an attractive spin on an issue unfortunately marred by the omnipresent and indigestible Vinnie Colletta sauce over half the stories. Poor Ric Estrada and Werner Roth! Girls’ Romances enjoyed a healthy 160-issue run from 1950 and 1971. This is number 144 (Oct. 1969).

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« Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots. » – Unknown purveyor of sage quips –  This is Girls’ Love Stories no. 139 (Nov. 1968) Edited by Jack Miller. Inside: The Only Man for Me, illustrated by Ric Estrada, How Could He Stop Loving Me?, by Tony Abruzzo, a Mad Mad Modes for Moderns from Jay Scott Pike, a reprint from 1963, Kiss Me If You Dare, by John Romita, Sr. and Bernard Sachs, and our cover story, She’s Young, Beautiful–and Alone! … Why?, illustrated by John Rosenberger.

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Girls’ Love Stories no. 143 (May 1969), edited by Joe Orlando, who couldn’t be less suited to the genre.  Cover wise, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I  suppose, but I adore Cardy’s expressive, roughly organic inks. Still totally in control!

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Girls’ Love Stories no. 148 (Jan. 1970), edited by Joe Orlando.

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Girls’ Love Stories no. 151 (May, 1971), edited by Joe Orlando.

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Interesting, given that these were the prime days of women’s lib, how little actual sisterhood was in evidence in these comics. Too many *male* cooks, surely. Girls’ Romances no. 147 (Mar. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff. Carmine Infantino‘s fingerprints are all over this particular layout… which is more than fine: he’s a master.

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This is Super DC Giant no. S-17 (Sept.-Oct. 1970), “edited” by Dick Giordano. Despite comprising nothing but crappy reprints, the scarce item will cost you a pretty penny if you can find it in decent condition. Here’s its only worthy selling point, Mr. Cardy’s cover, of course.

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Talk about a question that provides its own answer… this is Young Love no. 74 (May-June, 1969). Edited by Dick Giordano (who lost the bet that month). Cardy’s Alex Toth-ish side rises to the surface.

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Young Romance no. 157 (Dec. 1968 – Jan. 1969), edited by Joe Orlando. Never was the “Have a Fling With…” tag more appropriate… and more disturbing. « Oh, Ann-Margret‘s your mom? »

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Young Romance no. 163 (Dec. 1969 – Jan. 1970), edited by Joe Orlando. YR, as you may know, was the original romance comic book, created way back in 1947 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Things improved near the end of the series’ run, when Simon briefly returned to ride it into the sunset.

-RG

Just a Humble Boy From Tupelo, Mississippi

« When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream. » – Elvis Aaron Presley (1935 — ?)

Today, somewhere, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll celebrates his eighty-fourth birthday, be he alive, dead or undead, he lives on. And never forget: Elvis is everywhere!

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A most salty salute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on his birthday! Compared to earlier decades, the 1980’s (and on!) were not kind to the anthology comic book. Thankfully, the meagre rewards and resounding indifference weren’t enough to quite dissuade some foolhardy souls from giving the format a go. But the fanboys wanted spandex, they wanted continuity and they soon wanted their « decompressed storytelling ». Bah. 
In 1981, Kitchen Sink Comix published the lone issue of Terry Beatty‘s labour of irradiated passion, Tales Mutated for the Mod. (June, 1981). Unlike John Byrne and others’ unceasing and pointless ‘tributes’ to Fantastic Four No. 1, this cover version of Harvey Kurtzman‘s Mad No. 1 is fiendishly clever. Kudos, Mr. Beatty!

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Gary Panter crafted this loving tribute in 1984, a one-shot published by RAW. Such heady stuff was well ahead of its time!

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The back cover… this beats Power Records‘ meek offerings flat!

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The oft-inaccurate Grand Comics Database really fumbles it this time: the instantly-recognizable icon on the right is, according to them… Fabian. Dopes. Hamilton, Ontario’s Win Mortimer (1919-1998), inducted into the Joe Shuster Hall of Fame in 2006, drew this cover for DC’s Heart Throbs no. 95 (April-May 1965); given the time period and The Pelvis’ shirt, he would presumably be shooting the dire Paradise, Hawaiian Style. If you’re of a mind to commemorate the King’s anniversary with one of his mid-60s cinematic offerings, better opt for the far finer Tickle Me (1965).

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His (alleged) paper boy claims, and I do want to believe him, that the Big E has peacefully decamped to the quietude of Eerie, Indiana. Looking good, Big E!

-RG

The Overwrought Allure of Golden Age Romance Comics

I’m reading a play by Anton Chekhov these days. What relevance does this have to comics? Let me explain. I don’t know about the so-called « mysterious Russian soul », but this particular play is histrionic. And the chief cause of drama, of course, is love. One woman tries to poison herself upon discovering her husband has a mistress and is preparing to run off with yet another man’s wife; others literally crawl around while trying to convince the rascal they’ve fallen in love with to condescend to granting them a small sign of affection; small children are threatened with deadly diseases; men launch into hair-tearing monologues, intermittently planning suicide or murder but never actually getting around to it; money is borrowed, and is immediately tossed in the air, friendships are shattered, insults are hurled and then profuse apologies proffered… and everybody, and I do mean everybody, goes hysterical.

Which brings us to Golden Age romance comics. Ha!

I’m not intending to suggest that *all* of them are ridiculously over the top. However, a lot of them are plotted like your average soaper – understandably, as these stories were written with a drama-hungry, lovelorn audience in mind. « Boy meets girl, everything goes well, they’re happy together » is not the kind of thing that moves copies.

Here’s a selection of covers I really like (for various reasons), depicting some common situations in a young woman’s life – like getting back-stabbed or pawed or pregnant while dreaming of some Perfect Love.

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Some gals don’t merely have to contend with vigilantes, but also wolves (of the animal *and* human varieties).

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Cowgirl Romances no. 10 (1950, Fiction House). Cowgirl Romances lasted for 12 issues, and usually featured strong heroines capable of defending themselves… although this one looks like she might need a bit of help. Read it here.

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Oh, never mind – she doesn’t need help after all. It’s a refreshing change from women who stand by doing nothing while their loved one gets pummelled… or try to help and end up conking the wrong man.

Speaking of wolves, we have this cozy scene with distinctly creepy overtones. Anytime someone mentions an “experienced man”, run the other way.

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A Moon, a Girl…Romance no. 11 (January-February 1950, EC). Cover by Al Feldstein.

Julie fought, but now she fought as much against her own hungry response as against his muscles. Try as she would, she could not keep herself from returning that kiss with all the fiery ardor of her wild loneliness.” Untamed Love is quite racy, as the title promises, and as much over-the-top as one could wish for. The cover story is about an evil seductress, but the rest of the tales all concern themselves with a love triangle of another kind, one in which a girl has to choose between two guys. This one’s for the ladies – it’s hunks galore!

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Untamed Love no. 1 (January 1950, Quality Comics). Cover by Bill Ward. “Scary” comes to mind more than “ravishing”! Read the issue here.

Here’s the “ravishing creature” in action, in case you’re interested:

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Alaskan beauties don’t understand English grammar, but they dig the language of love! Panel from “The Wrong Road to Love”: “Julie falls in love with truck driver Steve, but he moves to Alaska to become a fisherman. She follows him there, only to discover local resident Becky considers Steve “her man.” Julie is consoled by Steve’s partner Hank. Steve and Becky run off, taking all the money Steve and Hank have earned. Julie decides to go home, but Hank says she can stay — as his wife.

 

 

Another sentimental overload (though one would think that being at war was dramatic enough)? The redhead in the square on the right is in love with a gay man! (She was in love with a man’s fiancé, after all.) The girl at the dance is struggling to get away from a grabby asshole! (Unfortunately, all-too-common even today.) The girl in the green dress is faking it because she’s too polite to say no! (Ditto.)

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Wartime Romances no. 10 (October 1952, cover by Matt Baker).

“They were like two jailers, my pa and my brother Bill! At 18, I hadn’t tasted the sweetness of courtin’! And I was hungry for it… bitter hungry…” Things quickly get out of hand in this issue of First Love – a young maiden meets a charming young man who kills her brother (by accident), after which she gets shot by her dad (also by accident). The story concludes with the two lovebirds reuniting while the father realizes that “his soul is black with sin“. Geez, the things some people have to go through to reach a happy ending in a comic story.

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First Love Illustrated no. 34, 1953. Read the issue here.

This issue has plenty more “man-starved” maidens up for grabs…

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Panel from “Bad Girl”, illustrated by John Prentice.

… and one memorable male character, Alan, “the gay, vital, gloriously-alive lover”.

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Page from “My Heart Cried Out”, pencils by John Giunta, inks by Manny Stallman.

The next cover reminds us to never send our dates for refreshments (punch, you say? looks more like something out of a witch’s cauldron), for this is where femmes fatales lurk in hopes of snaring fresh prey.

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My Own Romance no. 26 (January 1953, Marvel). The irresistible team-up of two comic-field professionals who would later become terrible Archie artists: Al Hartley (art) and Stan Goldberg (colours). Is that teacup floating in her hand or what?

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Pictorial Romances no. 19 (May 1953, St. John). Cover by Matt Baker. Read the issue here. If I had to recommend only one issue out of today’s roster, it would be this one: there’s nice art, and the stories are actually detailed and interesting, and even boast a certain internal logic.

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It’s important to know the difference in different tinned meats. Art by Matt Baker.

If you want a lover who doesn’t resist, put her in a trance, first, and then Miss Smith won’t be able to help but say “yes!”

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Lovers no. 50 (June 1953, Atlas). This, again, is the handiwork of those two buffoons, Hartley and Goldberg. Look, she’s still holding the chloroform-dosed handkerchief he used to knock her out!

Romance comics love to pit a woman’s career against everything a female should strive for (i.e. marriage). Am I carping that romance comics weren’t very progressive in the 1950s? Ah, I wouldn’t be, if I didn’t know for a fact that Silver Age romance comics often don’t do that much better in that department.

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Romantic Marriage no. 23 (July 1954, St. John), cover by Matt Baker. “Companionship”, eh? Read the issue here.

What do we have here? Despite what one would tend to think, this necklace was stolen, not given as a romantic offering. Such are true life secrets: kleptomania, clandestine children, and double-crossed partners.

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True Life Secrets no. 25 (March 1955, Charlton). Read the issue here.

For an excellently written romp through the history of romance comics, read Tales From the Code: You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.

~ ds

“I never wore a studded leather jacket, y’know. Ne-va!”*

Brooding pretty boy (is that you, Brian Setzer?) is about to get a pleasant shock in this Dave Stevens (1955-2008) cover featuring a “punk rocker” in the well-scrubbed tradition of, say, Lea Thompson in the infamous Howard the Duck movie. Still, it’s a dazzler, as you’d be right to expect from Mr. Stevens.

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This is True Love no. 1 (Eclipse Comics, January, 1986), featuring reprints of 1952-54 Standard romance tales, boasting artwork by Alex Toth (two stories), Nick Cardy, and, er… Vince Colletta. Edited by Catherine Yronwode.

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Stray Cat-in-chief Brian Setzer, circa 1981.

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What passed for Howard the Duck and his ‘hairless ape’ companion Beverly Switzler (1986).

« True love leaves no traces 
If you and I are one 
It’s lost in our embraces 
Like stars against the sun »
Leonard Cohen (1977)

– RG

*Johnny “Rotten” Lydon

Treasured stories: “Abide With Me” (1975)

« She stared at Douglas… at this man she had judged to be an ideal mate… yet he had this very fatal flaw. »

Even to the occasional reader of mystery or ghost comic books from the late 60s to early 80s, the absurdly narrow range of plot variations must have been glaringly obvious. Same goes for any genre, of course…

For instance, at DC, mainstays Jack Oleck and Carl Wessler drove the same hoary scenarios into the old sod with numbing insistence (editor Joe Orlando‘s insistence, presumably): the greedy nephew murdering his rich, elderly uncle, the avaricious white explorer / big game hunter / mercenary purloining the sacred idol and incurring its terrible vengeance, the bank robber on the lam getting his ironic comeuppance, satanists vs werewolves vs vampires vs witches and so on… Still, the occasional inspired yarn did crop up, often to the outraged bafflement of readers.

On the other hand, Charlton was the field’s top producer of ghost stories, wisely keeping away from Marvel and DC’s spandex preserve. While one hears (correctly) about artistic laisser-faire attracting maverick stylists, Charlton’s ace in the hole, and the backbone of its comics line, was the remarkably prolific and versatile writer Joe Gill (1919-2006). Unlike his counterparts at DC, Warren, and most famously EC Comics before them, Gill rarely resorted to the O. Henry “twist” ending. An overplayed strength becomes a weakness, and so the “sting in the tail” soon was anything but. Having to write most of Charlton’s line, Gill could afford to experiment and improvise. Fact is, he pretty much had to. In my view, Gill’s work stands out from most of his peers’ in that it seems nourished by high and extensive erudition. When a Gill character discusses business deals or the combustion engine, it’s not just hot air and a family-size tub of Fluff.

Here’s a favourite of mine, a tale scripted by Gill and illustrated by Sururi Gümen (1920-2000). It appeared in Ghost Manor #23 (May, 1975). The nearest it skirts a ghost story is when Regina says « I… I’ve heard that people who die unhappily haunt the place where they die! »

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I love how Abide With Me carves out its own niche between romance and horror without calling upon any of these genres’ habitual devices. It’s like a well-played game of chess, a philosophic two-character play, a gravesite deliberation. Hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

– RG

Don’t Renege on the Romance!

« Comics! If you wanna read,
read a newspaper like normal people. »

In the late 1980s, Deni Loubert’s Renegade Press published two issues of this neo-romance anthology. While the results were perhaps a smidge uneven, it was a worthy enterprise, a refreshing change from the often out of touch romance titles from earlier decades… RR’s feminine perspective wasn’t a token one and the boys were, for once, in the minority. Among the contributors: Lee Binswanger, Angela Bocage, Jackie Estrada, Colleen Doran, Krystine Kryttre, Cynthia Martin, Barb Rausch, Mary Wilshire… and some guys.

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This is Renegade Romance no. 2 (1988). Cover illustration by Jaime Hernandez, with colours by Trina Robbins.

– RG