Saturday, August 7, 2010

Romance Comic Book Ads Starring Wonder Woman and Supergirl!

What I love most about long term research (which I consider Sequential Crush and my pursuit of romance comic knowledge to be) is that over time, various pieces of information come to the fore. As many of you probably remember, last spring I presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association's annual conference a piece titled, "The Look of Love - The Romantic Era of DC's Lois Lane, Supergirl and Wonder Woman." One of the sections of my presentation chronicled the ways in which the marketing campaigns of Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, Adventure Comics starring Supergirl, Supergirl's solo title, and Wonder Woman were designed to be highly attractive to the readers of romance comics. Recently, I came across a few more examples of house ads which illuminate the tactics to win over already established romance fans of the time. Have a look!



The above two-page spread is from Girls' Romance #134 (July 1968). On the left-hand side is an advertisement for Wonder Woman #177 (July/August 1968) -- the issue directly prior to the issue debuting the "new," mod Diana Prince. The ad lifts the cover image of Wonder Woman #177 where Wonder Woman and Supergirl are seen fighting over a potential husband -- Klamos. Now pan to the right-hand side of the spread to the splash page of "Memory of Heartbreak!" The page depicts two Jay Scott Pike charmers "battling" it out over a potential mate -- Bruce. Interestingly enough, the positioning of the characters on the advertisement and the splash page mimic each other; dark-haired vixen to the left and light-haired beauty to the right. Intentional? Coincidence? Either way, it is probably safe to say that DC editors were gearing up to court the romance reader accustomed to female rivalry in their romance titles.

The next example that I recently found in Girls' Love Stories #145 (August 1969) is more clear-cut. Addressed to "Girls!" who "dig romance," there is no doubt that in this ad, DC was trying to sway romance readers to give Wonder Woman a try. With those awesome fonts, wouldn't you have?!


This final ad selling Supergirl #6 (August 1973), appeared in Falling in Love #142 (August/September 1973). Besides the imagery of Supergirl smooching a presumed "Gang Lord," readers are given a sense of the romantic content from the copy of the ad. Implying that Supergirl has to choose between her emotions and making peace amongst the bad guys (part of her superhero job description), this ad posits Supergirl as being one in the same as her romance comic counterparts.


Like I mentioned earlier, one of the exciting parts of learning about a topic in-depth is all the nuanced pieces of information that seem to pop up as time goes on. These ads may not be earth-shattering revelations or long-lost drafts, but they do add nicely to the body of evidence suggesting that DC was attempting to lure fans of romance comics over to the superhero genre. If I find any more such examples, I will be sure to share them! Until then... have a great weekend!!!

12 comments:

  1. In the late 1940s, Timely-Marvel was doing much the same, most notably with VENUS. Was it a superhero comic, a humor or romance comic? (It eventually became a sci-fi/horror comic.) Issues 1-3 (Aug-Dec 1948) had Hedy De Vine back-up stories, while 5-9 (Jun 1949 - May 1950) had generic romance back-ups; her only two appearances outside her own title were in Lana 4 (Feb 1949) and Marvel Mystery Comics 91 (Apr 1949), a humor comic and a superhero comic!

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  2. VENUS will almost certainly get "Masterworked" this year. Cannot wait!

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  3. Great info Tom! I was just looking at the covers on GCD -- I love the tagline, "Romantic Tales of Fantasy!" That seems to sum it up nicely!

    Very cool, Anonymous! I will have to get it too!

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  4. Oops, my bad. The Masterworks calendar for "this year" has been completely announced as of June; I meant "the year that Marvel is currently in the process of gradually revealing," or 2011 to you and me. There is much buzz about VENUS over at the Masterworks boards; it may be the most-anticipated "Atlas Age" book! Mostly for the Bill Everett art, but personally I am excited to see all those different genres in one book. Well, ultimately two.

    --AnonyMarsh

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  5. Jacque - I love those "cross-genre" ads! There were at least 2 other "mod Wonder Woman" ads that appeared in romance comics that I'm aware of. Also - there was at least one instance where they marketed in the other direction - there's a plug for the romance mags in a WW issue!

    Let me know if you need copies of those, and I'll send them over!

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  6. AnonyMarsh: Thanks for the info!!!

    Osgood: I love them too! I would be interested to see which ones you have -- perhaps they are ones I haven't seen! If you wouldn't mind, feel free to send them my way! I do know of three ads that were in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane that were advertising the Young Love/Young Romance 100-page Super Spectaculars and Marc and Paul. They are all very cool!

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  7. Jacque: DC definitely appeared to view romance readers as a good demographic to tap into for the female superhero lines. I would be curious to find out exactly how that correlated to actual readers.

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  8. Me too. Would probably be pretty hard to tell from the numbers alone, though.

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  9. This is kind of the opposite of what you're looking for, but I remember some Stan's Soapbox where the ad-copy for a romance-mag went something like, "Don't knock romance, guys! Wait'll you get a load of these chicks!"

    Truth to tell, I do think I bought one romance comic because it featured a hot chick. Now my secret is out!

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  10. Gene: I will have to keep an eye out for that! Good to know! Your secret is safe with me ;)

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  11. Recently I saw a discussion (I think it was in CBR's forum) wondering if any superhero-type characters ever appeared in any romance comics. Nobody could recall any examples of that happening. (They did recall some Silver Age or Bronze Age crossovers from superhero to western comics...)
    Thanks!

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