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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #75

Joe Simon week, part five. Did you know Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created an entire genre of comics? They did. And I’m gonna talk about it.

3/16/07

75. Romance comics

Romance 1.jpg

Behold: the first cover of the first romance comic, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. They had no idea the genre would take off like it did– they were just trying to spin those “True Confessions” into a comic. Imagine that: comics for women! For girls! For adults! Holy crap. It was epic.

Romance 6.jpg

Dozens upon dozens– hundreds, even– romance comics jumped onto the bandwagon and flooded the market. Ahh, escapism. These books verged on the ridiculous, casually tossing in sexism, racism, and silly family tradition, trying to appeal to any audience they could. I mean, stuff like this hit the stands:

Romance 3.jpg

Photo covers were used a lot in the romance genre. I find this one particularly hilarious:

Romance 2.jpg

All sorts of comics were switching over to romance, too. Moon Girl went from a superhero comic to a crime comic to a silly romance comic:

Romance 4.jpg

Lots of great artists worked in the romance genre, though, like our man Mike Sekowsky. And hey, some of these covers featured some pretty good layouts:

Romance 5.jpg

Shades of that Spidey-in-Ock’s-glasses cover.

Okay, I admit, I really don’t know anything about romance comics. Some of them were awesome, lots of them were completely insane, but they were fun and opened comics up to a grand audience that only manga reaches anymore. America still has a couple romance books. There’s, uh, True Story Swear to God, I guess, and there was, like, Love Fights… They’re different spins on the ol’ love story.

Here, have some links to make up for my lack of content:

Toonopedia on Simon and Kirby’s Young Romance and its successors
Romance Comics Wiki
Whatever Happened to Romance Comics?
The Golden Age Romance Comics Archive – includes entire issues to read

Thanks to Simon and Kirby, the comics medium became just a little more diverse. That’s a great achievement. It’s a shame the industry couldn’t maintain it.

18 Comments

Why would you have to wear a white coat to work in a Love Clinic?

Boy, I thought that second cover was coming from a very different place for a second…

A while back, somebody posted an old romance story on Scans Daily that was quite clearly telling young lesbians to ignore their sexuality and just wait for the right boy to come along. I’ll see if I can pull it up.

I love that it’s “Mr.” Anthony that runs the Love Clinic, not “Dr.” Anthony. I guess you don’t need to be a doctor to cure the heart.

He probably lost his license after word got out about his “Love Clinic”

“Boy, I thought that second cover was coming from a very different place for a second.” Ha! Me too. “I’ve just left Cliff … ” Funny how that reads so very gay today, but it probably went over most people’s heads decades ago.

heres a obscure comic homage: see that first Young Romance cover? Look familiar? Anyone remember Ben Afflick’s comic at the end of Chaising Amy (it was titled “Chaising Amy”)? It was a homage to that cover.

Is it just my imagination, or is the woman on the “Negro Romance” cover a very white woman in blackface?

The Kirbydotter

March 17, 2007 at 9:29 am

Michael, from what issue of Young Romance was that scan (That Strange Girl) taken from?

It looks like either Bob Oskner art or Mike Sekowsky.
Maybe Bob inking Mike?

Is it just my imagination, or is the woman on the “Negro Romance” cover a very white woman in blackface?

No…I think what we’re seeing there, even more unfortunately, are ‘Negro’ models chosen on the basis of how ‘white’ they looked. Back then, it was axiomatic; Caucasian = standard to be admired, even physically.

“No…I think what we’re seeing there, even more unfortunately, are ‘Negro’ models chosen on the basis of how ‘white’ they looked. Back then, it was axiomatic; Caucasian = standard to be admired, even physically.”

Yeah, the guy even has a side parting.

Wow. And to think that after Bro. Power and Prez, I was expecting the third in the Holy Trinity of Joe Simon “WTF?” awesomeness, THE GREEN TEAM!

…this is much, much better, though.

“Michael, from what issue of Young Romance was that scan (That Strange Girl) taken from?”

No idea; I just got linked to it a while back.

StephenSanders

March 19, 2007 at 3:27 am

One of my favourite pieces of cultural cross-fertilization is that Hank Williams, the long-gone Daddy and ‘Shakespeare of the South’ was an avid reader of Romance comics.

His friends used to get at him for it, but he’d tell them that they were where he got a lot of his inspiration for his songs of heartbreak and lonesomeness.

Indeed, its not hard to imagine ‘Your Cheating Heart’ and ‘Take these Chains from my Heart!’ as titles for Kirby and Simon stories. My favourite Hank Williams songtitle replicates the tone if not the subject matter of those angst laden storytitles – ‘My Son calls Another Man Daddy!’

Why would you have to wear a white coat to work in a Love Clinic?

So that the stains don’t show

I wish DC or Marvel would reprint some of these in their Showcase or Essential collections. I like to read these every once in a while, since they are so funny.

Sorry to bring such an old posting back up but I’ve been reading throught these (I also read through Comic Book Urban Legends and Storytelling Engines; Love the blogs guys)

Take a look at the guy in the first cover; rumpled trench coat, sandy blond hair, named John…
now picture a cigarette in his hand instead of a paint brush.

Hee :D

Is it just me or does that first cover look like some form of time paradox Constantine appearance.

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