Monday, September 19, 2011

A Classic Tale of Unrequited Love... Almost!


Every so often I come across a romance story that is a little on the bizarre side, and I just have to share! This edition of the semi-regular feature "Sweet Mystery of Love" was penciled by Tony Abruzzo and appeared in Girls' Love Stories #136 (July 1968). Contrary to what may seem like a pattern in romance comics, not all stories were about instantaneous attraction!


Janice's first mistake was agreeing to be set up on a blind date by her friend Cara with a guy named Freddy. Freddy is immediately enamored by Janice and she in turn, is completely repulsed!


After an uncomfortable evening and an awkward attempt at a kiss, Freddy professes his love for Janice. As he promises to call, she just shirks and vows to let her friend Cara know exactly how miserable the date was for her.


The next day Janice calls Cara up and reprimands her for arranging such a mismatch. Cara apologizes and suggests that she just refuse Freddy's offers to go out again. As you will see, that plan proves to be a situation that is easier said than done!


Freddy ignores (or doesn't get) Janice's attempts to get rid of him. Not only does he continue to call her, but starts showing up at her work...


...and even on her dates with other guys!


The situation becomes too much to bear, and Janice finally decides that she must confront Freddy directly and firmly. She tells him that he is not her type, and that he is wasting his time and needs to move on. Freddy calmly asserts that his love for her is unwavering, and that he will continue to be there for her until she changes her mind and embraces his love, or marries someone else -- whichever comes first.

Janice goes to the big dance with George. Having told him about the situation with Freddy, he is impressed that her talk with "Old Faithful" seems to have done the trick. As for Janice, she starts to get a little fidgety when Freddy doesn't make an appearance at the dance.


That night after the dance, Janice finds herself unable to shake thoughts of Freddy and his whereabouts. The next morning, the phone rings and Cara delivers some news -- Freddy was hit by a car just prior to the dance.


Janice quickly heads the hospital and while at Freddy's bedside, admits her realization of love for him. It seems that his absence, made her heart grow fonder.


In a way, this "Sweet Mystery of Love" is a classic tale of wanting what you can't have. In another light, it could be interpreted as a story about a young woman merely falling for her stalker. Perhaps Freddy just came on too strong and Janice wanted the thrill of the chase? What do you think? Sweet or scary?

8 comments:

  1. Scary, definitely. Freddy is indeed a stalker, but Janice is a weirdo too, completely overreacting on the first date, then becoming queen of mixed messages.

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  2. Scaaaaaary. Freddy was one bunny-stew away from being Glenn Close.

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  3. I'm not really sure how "No, never ever" is a mixed message. Definitely scary. What a bizarre, nonsensical story.

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  4. Looks like Stockholm Syndrome to me.

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  5. I'm so glad you posted this story-- I love the Tony Abruzzo artwork, and the mod fashions and club-goers. But Freddy is one of the scariest stalkers I've seen in romance comics-- when Janice finally leaves him, she's going to be in real trouble.

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  6. In fairness, I'd probably have seen it as romantic if I'd read it back then (I can't speak for how the intended female audience took it). Stalking and even violence were seen as signs of true love--like the movie The VIPS where Elizabeth Taylor goes back to Richard Burton after he slams her against a mirror and accidentally cuts her on it. Because only then does she see how much he cares for her ...
    But yeah, by today's standards, incredibly creepy.

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  7. Thanks everyone for your comments! The swingin' Abruzzo artwork is what sucked me in to this one and once I read the story I knew I had to post it! I am not a big movie buff, but I figured as frasersherman pointed out, there were probably some movies during this time which depicted stalking behavior as romantic and I figured this off-the-wall story was probably based on such films!

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  8. Freddy didn't have the best game but at least he got the girl in the end.

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