Friday, January 21, 2011

Marvel Romance Redux + Giveaway!

Don't worry -- you aren't seeing double! Below are pages from 1960s and '70s Marvel romance stories along with pages from the Marvel Romance Redux issue Love is a Four Letter Word from August of 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Marvel briefly published a line of romance comics that re-scripted romance stories from the 1960s and '70s, but retained the original art. Incorporating smatterings of 21st century popular culture and technology with new dialogue -- these updated stories are no holds barred goofy! Check out the splash page from each story, accompanied by the splash page from the original story!* Don't forget to click on the images to enlarge them!


Our first story, "Hot Alien Love" originally was titled "Another Kind of Love" and appeared in My Love #18 (July 1972) with a script by Stan Lee and art by John Buscema. What was once a story of a nurse who falls in love with a patient after breaking it off with a dull banker, is transformed into a story of a "Homeworld" security agent who catches extraterrestrials for a living.



"Buffy Willow Agent of A.D.D." is a crazy take on "He Never Said A Word!" originally from Love Romances #101 (September 1962) with art by Gene Colan. The 1962 version has a sweet and simple plot of a young woman who falls for a quiet hero, but the 2006 version turns the young woman into a forgetful secret agent looking for defectors.



The third story in the Redux issue, "Mice and Money" is a retelling of "By Love Betrayed!" first presented in Love Romances #102 (November 1962). With pencils by Jack Kirby and inks by Vince Colletta, "By Love Betrayed!" chronicles the fears of newly engaged Laura. "Mice and Money" turns the original story on its head to include a serious rodent obsession on behalf of the main characters.


"Love Me, Love My Clones!" was originally titled, "Jilted!" and was published in My Love #14 (November 1971) with art by Don Heck and John Romita, Sr. In the original story, raven-haired Connie is jilted by her boyfriend, only to find out that it is a blessing in disguise. The Redux version, "Love Me, Love My Clones!" is about -- you guessed it -- a girl who is smitten by a set of handsome clones!



The Colletta inked "They Said I Was... Insane!" originally, "Someday He'll Come Along!" from Teen-Age Romance #77 (September 1960) goes from being about a young woman working at an advertising agency who isn't willing to settle, to a story of a woman convinced that there has been an alien infiltration in town.



So what do you think of Marvel's modern spin on the romance comics? Do you like? Do you think these humorous takes on romance comics are fun or blasphemous?! I want to hear your opinion! When you leave a comment with your feelings about the Marvel Romance Redux concept, I will throw your name in a hat (AKA random.org ) for a chance to win your very own copy of Marvel's Our Love Story #11, plus a few other goodies! You have until this Sunday evening at 5pm (EST) to comment and be eligible for the giveaway. I will announce a winner Monday! Good luck!

*All of the original stories appeared in the 2006 Marvel trade paperback Marvel Romance. Scans and credits appearing in this post are from that publication. 2006 was a dynamite year over at Marvel for the romance comics!

18 comments:

  1. I think some of them were funny and other were really poorly done. I remember the Kyle Baker one being good.

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  2. I have a strong dislike for the cynicism and snark of "reinterpreted" romance comics. That goes for the Marvel series,of which i read every issue, the DC "love" books of the same timeframe, and John Lustig's Last Kiss.
    It's sometimes funny, but always mean-spirited. As naive and occasionally sexist as the 40s-70s love books could be at times, they are ultimately optimistic about the possibility of human tenderness.
    Lest you think me a total curmudgeon on this issue, I also rather liked the Kyle Baker story. But hey, it's Kyle Baker. What's not to like?

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  3. I think this is hilariously bad. Especially "Damn, I am one good-looking fox." Classy, Marvel.

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  4. Jacque, (good job there's a picture of you or I'd be thinking you were some weird gay French guy!), the secret of Marvel's ability to retread stories like this, of course, was their house-style: it started with the 'silent movie' of the art being laid down, followed by whatever narrative/dialogue the writer could impose upon the picture sequence.

    You probably already knew this, though, to go by your interview over at Random Acts of Geekery.

    When I first read you saying you favoured romance and monster comics, I unthinkingly dismissed these areas as negligible aspects of the field - until it suddenly hit me how even the superhero stuff, (Conan, Superman, Hellboy, even Wendy the Witch), mostly boils down to hero(in)es saving people they're smitten by from 'monsters' trying to smite them!

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  5. I like the idea of re-writing old artwork for fun. Marvel is just capitalizing on an idea that John Lustig has been working with for over a decade now. http://www.lastkisscomics.com/ Lustig bought out Charlton Comics archive of original Romance art and has been playing with it ever since. There were some issues of Crazy Magazine that also did this with Adventure & Super-Hero stories back in the 70's & 80's.

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  6. These are a mixed bag - a few are pretty funny, I guess. However, like Lysdexicuss, I'm not generally opposed to the idea, and it can be done, with hilarious effect, on other comic genres as well.

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  7. The credits are a bunch of fails. The Buscema piece clearly inked by Colletta (reasonably well). The Colan/Everett piece wasn't by them; since it was a splash, maybe the story was. (A gorgeous match, GC and BE.) And the alleged Colan "solo" was inked by someone, maybe someone on the tip of my tongue :(

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  8. Scott Lovrine aka Cherokee JackJanuary 22, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    I enjoy these. Recently, at a used book store, I found a copy of a book that does this with DC romance stories. To me, it's worth it for the art alone, especially because they identify the artists. This helps me in i.d.ing art in other DC romance comics

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  9. If only they would have included the old (and best) Colletta romance stuff, that would have been great.

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  10. I'm with Diana -- these are easy targets for our own self-congratulatory hipness, assuring us of our superiority to the historical past. Sure, they are often funny, but there's a smugness about this revision that's worrisome. And revising these also tends to make girl's otherwise dismissed culture acceptable for boys, also troubling as that avoids any attempt to engage with girl readers historically.

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  11. Thank you everyone for weighing in!!! I will announce the random winner (and my thoughts too) tomorrow!!!

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  12. I agree with Corey and Diana's comments but I also think such reworkings have their own place and right to become valid historical documents in their own right, especially when rewritten by women - i.e. 'Truer Than True Romance' by Jeanne Martinet (available second hand for next to nothing!) who fully engages with the issues of girl readers and her motivation for the project in the foreword of the book (or at least I think she does, if my memory serves me ok. 'Goodnight Irene' by Carik Lay also comes to mind on this subject as a modern romance comic with a heart spanning several decades.

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  13. I was also thinking of John Lustig's "Last Kiss" when I saw this.

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  14. Well, they're funny, but I have some misgivings about them. Think I would prefer the originals over the cynical redos.

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  15. My take: old modes of storytelling--ones that directly conflict with the emphasis of the contemporary mode--are brought back into circulation precisely to show the distance between then and now, ie. they valorize the newer mode of storytelling (the one that 'feels right' in the contemporary context) by showing how 'wrong' things used to be. It is therefore a double movement for Marvel to publish stuff like this, in the sense that 1) they are affirming the rightness of their current storytelling mode, and 2) they are hoping that the very 'wrongness' of the old mode can become its source of value/profit.

    But what is also revealed here is the precarity, the insecurity, of whatever is the current dominant mode of storytelling: that there are/were other possible worlds that Marvel or its audience wished to dispense with, ones that they hope to completely leave behind, but which live on through small groups of fans and the need to capitalize upon old sources of value (old artwork that remains Marvel property).

    So, Marvel's cynical redo is a kind of working-out of this process, an attempt to establish the current mode's dominance by removing all that could be genuinely estranging, or difficult, from the older material. This is how I would explain the presence, as I see it, of a slightly forced, slightly too-loud, slightly uncomfortable laughter that comes from the re-done material.

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  16. Again, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts on this topic! You all have given me tons to think about!

    Joel: I am really intrigued by your analysis of the subject. I would not have thought about it in this way. I tend not to read current comics, because I just don't "get" them. It is curious though that Marvel published the trade of romance stories the same year... but it could have been merely a logistical thing rather than an attempt to connect with romance fans.

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  17. Jacque: that is interesting about the proper Marvel Romance trade. I would see it that the redo is sort of the framing device which allows the publication of the original material in the right context: that it's okay to find romance comics odd, or terribly anachronistic, because hey, Marvel does too! (This is not to say, of course, that Marvel does not also want to legitimately cater to fans of the original comics.)

    I suppose I am looking at it from the angle that the superhero comic is the paradigmatic form of contemporary mainstream comics, but that it was once more clearly a synthesis of many different strands of 'pulp' storytelling, ie. adventure and science-fiction, romance and monsters, and existed in a milieu with all of them.

    The romance element represents very much what the superhero comic had to do away with in order to remain 'relevant' in the larger field of mass media. So the romance comics of the mid-20thc are hieroglyphs in some sense, revealing of what narratives and moods and signifiers were later excluded from mass-cultural forms, and posing the question of why this is.

    Anyways, great work on this blog, it's always fascinating and enjoyable reading.

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  18. I thank you kindly, Joel! I am always amazed at the different perspectives on the romance comics and it seems this post generated some really fantastic discussion. Thanks for giving me all these great things to tumble around in my brain!

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