Wednesday, February 9, 2011

African-American Couples on the Covers of 1970s Romance Comics

At first glance, these ten covers seem to have no apparent unifying theme, other than that they are quite lovely and from a relatively short range of time -- late 1971 to Spring of 1973. Take a closer look at them and you will see that in the background, each has an African-American couple as witness or participant to the focal events. Interestingly, the majority of these ten issues have stories in which African-American characters are either the main characters or primary supporting characters in at least one of the interior stories. More interestingly, the issues from this time period that do not have African-American characters on the covers tend not to have African-American characters featured in the interior. While necessarily not always the case, it is a rather striking trend. As covers are generally the first thing a reader sees when they come in contact with a comic, the African-American couple on each acts almost as a type of "signal" that African-American characters will be found underneath the cover.

Falling in Love #127
(December 1971)

Young Love #92
(February 1972)

Heart Throbs #140
(April 1972)

Girls' Love Stories #169
(May 1972)

Girls' Love Stories #170
(June 1972)

Falling in Love #135
(August 1972)

Girls' Love Stories #172
(August 1972)

Heart Throbs #145
(September 1972)

Young Love #100
(October 1972)

Love Stories #149
(March/April 1973)

4 comments:

  1. Interesting!

    That Falling in Love logo is probably my favourite logo in all of comics. It's a beautifully designed piece of work.

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  2. What always strikes me in television and comic depictions of this period is that there's always only one African American couple in a sea of white people. There are never two or more sets of Black people, in any group, party or professional setting, ever. If there are no couples depicted, theen there's one African American in a sea of white faces. In real life, that couple would have a lousy support network!

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  3. Love your blog! I'm sure you've seen these, but I figured I'd send you the link anyway because they are amazing: http://sweetmilke.blogspot.com/2010/05/girls-romances.html

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  4. Allan: You probably have seen these, but Tod Klein's series on DC romance logos is fantastic! Here is the link to the Falling in Love post.

    http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=7910

    Ray Ferrer: The majority of these covers do have the "token" African-American couple, but it looks like two have a few more African-American characters (HT 145 and YL 92)

    lowra: Thanks for stopping by!!! :)

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