Monday, August 30, 2010

British Romance Comics: Star Love Stories 371 - "Too Many Kisses"

For readers who have never seen a British romance comic, Star Love Stories #371 "Too Many Kisses" (here just the front cover and first 25 pages) exemplifies the genre as it manifested in the UK. Digest size, with a color cover and black-and-white interior, many of these series were weekly rather than monthly. Inside the front cover there's a small pin-up of one of the heart-throb bands of the time:

What is atypical about this story is the quality of the art and the cross-cultural theme. The art looks to me to be by a European rather than British artist, possibly Spanish. I would be grateful for an identification if anyone can provide one. The style gives me a certain sense of deja-vu, like I've seen it in some late 60s or probably early 70s American romance comics. I've only scanned up to page 25, and won't have the opportunity to scan the rest until I get back to the States next year, so you're going to be left hanging in suspense!

It's all very high society with beautiful people. Some lovely artwork, I think you'll agree! I forgot to check the date but this one is late 60s/early 70s. I'll clear that up when I get back and scan the rest.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nurses as Supporting Characters: Love Confessions 29 - "Victory in His Arms"

Love Confessions 29 published by Quality Comics has a nice Ogden Whitney cover. Despite the temptation to think so, the nurse is not romantically involved with the wounded soldier in the hospital, as the cover might suggest. Instead the nurse figures as a support character in "Victory in His Arms", and really only appears at the beginning and end of the story. This story is interesting in that it certainly has an anti-war component. Joan's anti-war sentiment is, however, about to cause her some grief:

As Joan ponders her fate, she begins to moderate her anti-war position to accommodate the need to defend the freedom that allows her to be outspoken against war. I love the panel on page 5, so typical of romance comics, where the woman lies awake in bed at night, wrestling with emotional turmoil. As might have been predicted, this part of the tale, in which Joan is in a kind of love limbo imposed by her break up with Gar, is brought to an end when she receives news that he's been wounded.

Gar has had a few realizations after having been on the front line, and so his position has mellowed. The two are now in the same place regarding this difficult topic, and ready to move forward with their relationship, the division resolved. The nurse's motherly and friendly role is befitting of the image of nurses in the mid-1950s, and we're left having received the message that war is sometimes a necessary evil.

Romance comics came into being 2 or 3 years before EC launched the war comic genre with Two-Fisted Tales in 1950, but blends of the genres exist, especially in the first half of the 1950s concurrent with the Korean War. These blended stories are, however, mostly found in the romance comics, and of course there are even romance comics with war in the title, such as True War Romances and Wartime Romances.