It’s really hard to review romance comics. I did one a few years ago with Stella on the second episode of my “80 Years of DC Comics” miniseries and that issue of Secret Hearts was kind of a goofy mess of a comic. The stories were all similar and I think we had more fun with the ads than the actual stories. I may still have that book or I may have chucked it because the cover was so beat up, it was falling off.
The same can be said for this issue of Young Romance, which I fished out of a quarter bin and is in terrible shape from what looks like either water damage or a coffee spill, a cover that has completely come away from the staples, and a badly rolled spine. No amount of bagging and boarding can save it if I think it’s worth saving.
I should point out for the sake of Professor Alan, that the cover price on this book is a quarter, so if I’m not accounting for inflation, I bought this at a 0% discount.
And it kind of isn’t? The stories are all pretty goofy and involve a woman or girl who isn’t quite sure of herself or her love and eventually either proves it to her man or goes back to her man or finds the right man. I think that the only really interesting thing are the creator credits (which you have to look up because there aren’t any in the actual book), which include Robert Kanigher, Don Heck, Tony DeZuinga, and John Romita. In fact, Romita does the majority of the artwork in the issue, so if this were in much better condition, I probably could get a little bit of money for it if I could verify that it’s his work.
But yeah, the comic. It reminds me of when I used to flip through Amanda’s old issues of Cosmopolitan or my sister’s issues of YM back in the day (you’ll read anything if it’s lying around and you’re bored enough)–there’s a sense of upholding rather sexist gender stereotypes throughout each story as the men are women are shown to be wishy-washy or paranoid and the men kind of laugh them off throughout. It’s not exactly like that and I’m sure there’s someone who would tell me that there’s nuance to “Let Me Share My Heart With You” and “Strangers in Love,” but in general, this does nothing for feminism.
Neither do the ads. Aside from a wicked awesome classic Columbia House ad, you’ve got all sorts of beauty and weight-loss stuff directed at girls. There are nail kits, beauty creams, wigs and a leg shaping kit that I think I might do some research on for a possible Pop Culture Affidavit post.
So here’s the thing: old romance comics, if in really good condition, are probably worth picking up if you can get them on the cheap and might net you a profit. If they are in whipped-to-shit condition, I would grab them for the novelty, but you have to go in expecting general silliness, which is worth a quarter.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?