Saturday, December 8, 2007

More than Superheroes

Hi all,
Yes, I love super men. A Lot. But my brush with the comics was not in the super hero world. In fact, I thought those comics were kinda dumb (12-14 year old girls were generally not impressed with comics). But then I inherited my sister's comic books. My eyes popped. Why? They were ROMANCES! Some of them even depicted some seriously steamy kisses - well at least to my eyes at the time. I hadn't yet seen an R rated movie - which back in the day was as hot as you got if you were a "good" girl.
I think these comics were my introduction to romances because I hadn't picked up my first Barbara Cartland or even discovered Georgette Heyer yet. Of course they were filled with angst, teen and otherwise, so I really related to them. Some of them were funny, some serious, and some had ugly ducklings that got the guy. I related to those the most.
Hot kisses abounded and there were betrayals enough to satisfy even a fan of Desperate Housewives! I don't know if I absorbed any of the storytelling technique, but I sure absorbed the stories. I read and reread them. Heck, I still have them in a box somewhere.

They showed fantasy lives I wanted to live when I grew up. One series that I remember was called Millie the Model. Those girls were so catty at times, they could teach a few things to the contestants on America's Next Top Model.
Millie was blonde, cute, and sweet. Chili, the redhead, lived down to all the worst stereotypes about redheads. Catty, scheming, but they managed to humanize her and make readers like her anyway. That takes talent.
I cut my romance eye-teeth on these. So when you think of Marvel (and other comics) giants, don't forget their smart marketing. They went for the girl's money as well as the boys by providing reading material geared for the young ladies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Yup, romance comic books were printed in different incarnations for thirty or more years.
If you see one somewhere, pick it up. I'd guess you'll learn a bit about pacing, cliff hangers, and grabbing the reader from these little blasts from the past!


  1. Francesca, I had no IDEA! Honestly! Boy I would have loved them for sure but my older brothers' comics were what came into the house and I never thought to even look for romance comics...I just sorta inserted my own imagined romances into stories that lacked any. ;)

    talia (feeling a bit deprived)

  2. Talia,
    I didn't know they existed either until I saw my sister's when she left for college. She didn't want to go through her stuff and asked me if I wanted them. I said yes. I think she wanted them back but by then they were mine. Little sisters can be evil. ;-)


  3. If you're still interested in romance comics, try, which gives you romance in a comic book form, but online!

  4. I think I read some Archie comics back in the day, but never any of these. How scandalous! I wonder how they compare to the subgenre of romance manga comics? I know next to nothing about manga.


  5. I never saw these, either! I'm so jealous! Of course, if they stopped doing them in the 70s, maybe that's why. I didn't turn 10 until the end of 1980.

    I've read one modern manga, the sequel to Meg Cabot's Avalon High. I found the same limitations in that as I've always found in regular comic books--way lacking in story (as in, very short, not much of an arc).

  6. These are so great. The covers alone would have had me thumbing through them. How fun! And yeah, little sisters can be evil. I know, because I have one:-) I think it's part of the job description. But I love her anyway, and we've learned to share our romance novels! Great post, and pics, Francesca!