Sunday, August 30, 2009

Meet Marc!

Most every romance comic book published had some incarnation of an advice column. Usually they were written from the viewpoint of a female character, with each title having a signature columnist. Some memorable ones from the '60s and '70s include "To You...from Carol Andrews" (Falling in Love), "Suzan Says" (Our Love Story and My Love), and Page Peterson's "Do's and Dont's of Dating" (Young Romance). Most tried to give honest and kind advice, saving harsh words and criticism for only those letters that truly required it. Not Marc though. Oh no, not Marc.

"Marc - On the Man's Side" debuted in Young Love #90 (December 1971) and ran in the romance title for quite some time. Marc, though anything but kind -- was honest. Brutally honest. Read the introductory column below to get a feel for Marc's acid-tongued style of love advice!


Marc's debut makes me wonder if these letters were in fact real, or if they were created by DC to get a jump start on the column. I tend to think that this first batch was planted in order to generate reader response. However it started, this column was obviously a way to get readers riled up and create dialogue between them and the comic book. It certainly work, as in subsequent columns Marc went farther and farther to insult almost every reader that wrote in to him. That in turn generated more letters and even attempts to get rid of Marc through polls! Though we may cringe today, it was a pretty smart marketing tactic in order to create a return audience.


The thing I find most interesting is that DC chose to use a picture of a real person to portray the character Marc (and later - his counterpart, but we will save that for another post). Most other advice column characters are represented by an illustration of the advice giver, making the case of Marc a bit unusual. Who is this Mike Nesmith looking character? Was it a stock photo or a photo of an employee at DC? Where is "Marc" now? If I ever find out the answers to these questions, I will be sure to share!!!

3 comments:

  1. Looks kind of like a young Dean Martin. There were a lot of people around this time who became popular as the "guy you love to hate"; see Joe Pyne for example.

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  2. That is bizarre!

    An interesting marketing angle - insult your audience, and they'll come back begging for more! The editor at the time was Dorothy Woolfolk - hard to believe a woman cooked this up - you've really got me curious now.

    I know one of the romance columns actually used the pseudonym Julia Roberts - I kid you not!

    Do you mind if I share this on a thread I have going where I post various DC memorabilia (mostly house ads)? I'll also be happy to point you to various DC romance house ads I've posted over the years if you're interested.

    And great subject for a blog by the way!

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  3. Pat: I had never heard of Joe Pyne before, but thanks for the tip. I looked him up and read a bit about him, obviously a very important person in the history of radio and television! I wonder to what extent "Marc-On the Man's Side" was inspired by Pyne?

    Osgood Peabody: Yeah, for some reason the tactic worked! Perhaps people were merely just curious to see what would come out of Marc's mouth next; I can buy that! That would be great if you shared a link to this post! I have a lot of the romance house ads, but I am definitely interested to see which ones you have! I am happy you enjoyed the post and thanks for keeping up with Sequential Crush!!!

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