Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome!

Welcome to the first installment of Sequential Crush! This blog will share the stories, the art and the history behind an oft neglected genre of comic books – Romance!

Romance comic books are often overshadowed by the medium-defining genres of superhero books, science-fiction, and horror. It is too bad too, because romance comics are overflowing with pages of beautiful art, gorgeous girls, fashion and history. Due to the disposable nature of comic books, and even more so, the disposable nature of these non-superhero books, many romance comics are somewhat difficult to find. They also just aren’t as sought after as superhero books. Romance books tend to get left behind by dealers because they just don’t sell as well as their superhero counterparts. Thus, they are rather hard to find at comic book conventions, and even in the back issue boxes at comic book stores. Luckily for people who are into romance comics, the hunt for them is half the fun and what makes them so collectable! There are innumerable issues out there with countless pages drawn by such talents as Winslow Mortimer, Don Heck, Ric Estrada, and more. The key is just finding the issues in the first place! I have an insatiable thirst for these books, and I have looked high and low for them. It is with this blog that I hope to fill a niche. Very little has been written about romance comics compared with the secondary literature on the superhero genre or graphic novels, but… do not fear, Sequential Crush is here!

I have a particular interest in romance books of the 1960s and 1970s due to their rich content, the fantastic art, and the dynamic story lines. I find that the art and the stories of these Silver and Bronze age books to be particularly spectacular. Topics such as careers, civil rights and women’s lib become an issue and stories dealing with heartbreak (which are in the majority) become oh-so-modern. This is not to say that I will never mention earlier books from the 1940s and ‘50s. I may for comparison sake, and because many of the old issues and titles are pretty fascinating in their own right. But, I find the 1960s and ‘70s to be a really compelling time for comic books and American culture in general, which also narrows my focus to this era.

It should also be noted that most of my entries will be written through the lense of history, rather than say, women’s studies for example. It is not that I am not concerned with women’s issues, but this blog’s purpose is not to give a critique on heteronormativity or impose today’s political discourse on these romance comics. I will be looking at these books as products of their time, and hopefully instilling a sense of appreciation for them. Though not all the romance issues are of superior quality, many stand as testaments of artistic accomplishment and bear witness to the time period in which they were created. Therefore, the historical and aesthetic aspects are what I will be concentrating on.

Within this historical and aesthetic framework, Sequential Crush will take a look at the art, the creative teams involved, and the reoccurring themes of romance comic books, as well as the collecting aspect of these books. There will also be a healthy dose of the advertising and the fashion from the pages of the romance comics, because who doesn’t dig paisley and bell-bottoms? I may even throw in some superhero romance, because frankly, I admit, I love superheroes too!

So without further ado, welcome to Sequential Crush! Enjoy! Hopefully you will find these romance comic books as groovy and stunning as I do. Thanks for stopping by!

11 comments:

  1. Thumbs up, Jacque! Although like most boys I did not appreciate the romance comics as a kid, I find them very entertaining today. It is obvious that they were written for older readers than most of the superhero books of the same era.

    If you get a chance you should check out the American Comics Group romances of the 1950s-1960s. Lovelorn/Confessions of the Lovelorn and Romantic Adventures/My Romantic Adventures were two of their big titles, each with over a hundred issues. Many of these comics are now out of copyright and can be downloaded from the Golden Age Comics site:

    http://goldenagecomics.co.uk

    I've added you to the Silver Age Comics blogroll and will try to remember to highlight you on my next roundup of blogs. I am looking forward to reading your posts!

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  2. Thank you so much Pat! I really enjoy your blog, so I am thrilled you are interested in reading mine! I would love to be highlighted on your next roundup!

    Yes, the romance books definitely must have appealed to the older crowd. I would like to get my hands on some numbers to find out how many people were reading them and if the readership was primarily male or female. Once I find that info I will be sure to post it!

    Thanks for the link also... that site looks great. I am sure I will spend many hours looking through it!

    Happy reading!!! :)

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  3. Great work, looks like you have a very overlooked genre that you are well versed in to bring into the light.

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  4. Jacque,

    I look forward to future instalments. Romance comics have been neglected for far too long. I've been collecting many of the Marvel romance comics of the late 1960s-early 1970s, which have incredible artwork by the likes of Romita, Buscema, Heck, Colan, Morrow, etc. I've even written an article on these stories which will hopwfully be published sometime soon.

    I have not picked up as many DC's but have a few and they also have wonderful art, as do some of the Charlton comics. did you know that Steve Ditko drew a few romance stories for Charlton in the 1970s?

    I look forward to reading and learning more.

    Best,

    Nick Caputo

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  5. I am glad you are staying tuned, Nick! I would love to read your article on the Marvel romance books. Please let me know when/where it is being published!

    I am the opposite of you it seems... I have more DC romances than I do Marvel! I guess I am just a DC girl when it comes to romance! I will get around to featuring Marvel books though, and Charlton too.

    I look forward to your feedback!!!

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  6. I have a complete set of MY LOVE and OUR LOVE STORY and they are some of my favorite Marvel comics! I only own one DC at the moment--my favorite cover--GIRLS' ROMANCES #144. Have the last six issues of YOUNG LOVE from '76/'77 coming in the mail, though. Those were DC's very last romance comics, right?

    --Marshall

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  7. Marshal,

    I am still working on rounding out my runs of My Love and Our Love Story. I usually gravitate towards the DC romances, so that is usually where my convention budget gets spent for the most part!

    Wow! What a great issue to have, as far as the DC books go. I love that cover, but haven't been fortunate to find that issue yet. You are very lucky!

    You are correct, those last issues of Young Love were the end of the DC romance titles. Young Romance's last issue was in the winter of 1975, and the rest of the titles ended by the latter part of 1973, or before.

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  8. Just ought to let you know Jacque, THIS IS BRILLIANT! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this :)

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  9. Jacque...It's very awesome that you started this blog. Seriously, I love to keep little patches of certain under-appreciated history alive. I found your blog because I wanted to get back into Elizabeth Berube's work. I discovered her about 7 years ago, and madly...MADLY fell in love with her beautiful style. I even went ahead and bought some romance books from the mid70s that featured her work. To this day, her GEMINI horoscope page in one of those comic books...It just left this lasting impression on me. Just so beautiful!
    Anyway...I will seriously be a life-long reader of your blog.

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  10. Thank you, Johnny (and everyone!) for being such awesome readers! :)

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  11. I've got to tell you that i always felt the Iron Man soap opera that got rolling in Tales of Suspense #72 or so when Gene took over the strip felt more like a romance comic to me... especially with the ever-delightful Pepper Potts-Happy Hogan-Tony Stark love triangle.

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