Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Artist Spotlight - Elizabeth Berube

Elizabeth Berube
Secret Hearts #142 (March 1970)

If you read a lot of '70s DC romance comics, you will undoubtedly come across the work of Elizabeth Berube. Simply signed "Elizabeth," Berube's work stands out amongst other romance artists of the time for its quiet beauty and unique sense of movement.

In The Great Women Cartoonists by Trina Robbins (Watson-Guptill, 2001), Berube is cited as being the "last woman to illustrate a romance comic" -- working on the DC romances until 1974. Elizabeth's contribution to the romance comics included fashion featurettes, horoscope pages, tables of contents and other various intricate and ornamental pieces.


"Beauty on a Budget"
Falling in Love #119 (November 1970)


"Think Thin"
Young Romance #166 (June/July 1970)

I personally am a fan of Elizabeth's artwork -- I think that something about its softness and femininity speaks to me. She did so many featurettes in the romance comics of the 1970s, so I have many examples to share in the future. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this little taste of her whimsical style!

12 comments:

  1. I love her artwork but could live without the horoscope stuff.* Did she ever do stories? Also, was she literally the last artist to work on DC romance books? If so, and if she called it a day in '74, are those last books from '77 all-reprint, or just using up warehoused inventory?

    --Marshall

    *Let me put that differently. Those text-heavy one-pagers seem like an under-utilization of her talent.

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  2. Nice work. I seem to recall her name at DC even though I didn't read romance comics in that period. Did she work in another capacity at DC, perhaps as a colorist or production artist?

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  3. The style appears to be influence by Art Nouveau

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  4. I know Art! He was a fine artist who toiled away on DC's romance comics for many years! :)

    Nick C.

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  5. Marshall: I know of one story that Elizabeth illustrated, "The Stranger Next Door!" from Girls' Love Stories #148 (January 1970). In the Grand Comics Database it is listed as being done by Ric Estrada, but it is Elizabeth for sure. She even signed it. Eventually I will put that story up here. I only know of that one, but that doesn't necessarily mean she didn't pencil any other full stories -- I just haven't found them yet if they are out there! I actually prefer these little short pieces of hers to the full six page story. You will have to let us know what you think when you see it!

    Elizabeth wasn't the last artist to work on the DC romances, but Trina Robbins cites her as being the last female artist to work on the romance comics at DC. Whether that is completely the case, I am not sure.

    Anonymous: The only other DC credit I could find for her that wasn't romance was for coloring a story in 1975 that was in Claw the Unconquered. Perhaps that is where you recognize her? I don't doubt though if she took on other duties with the company.

    Vee: I concur -- very much so. Her style is definitely very reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century Art Nouveau style. I also suspect she may have been influenced by Nell Brinkley, whose early work was also very Art Nouveau. That could be another post, I do believe!

    Nick: Oh silly! :)

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  6. I like the art very much, but I do wonder why Aquarius has a sword in that picture.

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  7. Jacque,

    Forgot to sign me name on the anonymous post (I hould have left it off the "Art Nouveau" pun), but Liz Berube became a prolific colorist for DC, see credits from GCD:

    http://www.comics.org/colorist/name/liz%20berube/sort/alpha/

    Nick C.

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  8. No clue, Pat! I don't really know too much about the zodiac.

    Nick: Ahhhhh, they have her listed under Liz. Gottcha! I didn't even think to look under that.

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  9. i want to see more of her work!!

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  10. Thanks for the kind words. Yes ... if you look at some of the blog interviews, you will see that I was influenced by Art Deco and Art Nouveau .... through my Mom, who used to sketch ... and Alphonse Mucha. Never heard of Nell Brinkley ... although some of the comic strip ( that was my own - " Karen" - before " Cathy" for Newsday ) I was told that my work was reminiscent of John Held, Jr. ( couldda been Helg - long time ago. :) Will be at the Minneapolis Comic Con May of 2013,
    if there are any more " wonderings ". And Pat, Aquarius had a sword, because I
    was studying Egyptian Tarot cards, at the time. Mellon, you said a mouthful -
    Thanks !!

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  11. I've been in love with Elizabeth's style since I can remember, but because it was 30+ years ago, I'm sure I'm melding her style with a few others' from the mid70s styles of the day. I can just swear that I've seen those big drawn eyes and blushing cheeks somewhere other than a comic book; maybe on some kid school folders or something. Anyway, about 7 years ago, I came across Trina Robbins name in a big comic book history book.I then looked her up online,and asked how to find her Women Cartoonists book. I found that book and another one on Amazon, bought them both and came across Elizabeth Berube's BEAUTIFUL sampled work. I know this sounds crazy, but as soon as I saw the look on her faces and style, I felt like I found something from my childhood.I can't explain it, but it felt like 1976 again.I then immediately looked up anything on Elizabeth,but couldn't find much except an index on her comic book output in romance books and DC coloring jobs. I then started buying some of those old romance comic that featured her work. I LOVE ALL HER WORK! I cannot emphasize that enough. I even started trying to emulate her style with my own drawings :)
    Ms. Berube, if you are listening, I so much wish you could publish your own book of work!

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