Monday, April 4, 2011

Retro-View: My Love #1 (Marvel Comics)

The comics of yore used to run the gamut of all genres and it's no secret that the legendary team of Joe Simon & Jack Kirby helped introduce romance comics for female readers back in the waning days of the golden age.

This particular issue of My Love #1 (Sept.1969) features outstanding artwork by "Jazzy" John Romita that is of the same loving quality that he brought to his classic run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Twin Romita tales of love and loss comprise the bulk of this under-rated series. In "A Boy, A Girl, and My Broken Heart!" writer Stan Lee and illustrator John Romita showcase Linda Starr, a smoking hot blond that easily reels in every guy she wants, with just a smile and a coy turn of phrase. In fact love comes so readily to luscious Linda, that she has become quite arrogant about her romantic conquests. Considering that this story is from the House of Ideas back in its heyday, something is bound to go awry, especially when Linda learns a harsh lesson after disparaging a couple of "plain Jane's" who are staying at the same resort. Ultimately Linda loses her new spiffy beau, Doug, when he makes a love connection with one of those plain Jane's, whose kinder personality is more to his liking.

Lee & Romita also present "I Dream of Romance", in which studious Val pours herself into her schoolwork at the expense of her love life, constantly daydreaming about that elusive point in time when it will be her turn for an ideal relationship. During a bout of babysitting, she actually believes that she has stumbled upon her dream man, only to discover that he's the married father of the household, dashing out into the night, with regret. The next day Val encounters this cad on a crowded street and learns that she had been wrong, he is in reality the uncle of her young charges and with no barriers to love, flings herself into his arms.

Two find Romita drawn stories, are followed by an awesome story by "Big" John Buscema. "Must I Live Without Love" is just as well drawn as any of his work on The Avengers, in fact this series and others like it are undiscovered gems for anyone who may have missed these books on the first pass. Head for eBay and seek out some of these titles. You might find them to be worth the effort, and for little coin. Be advised though that Marvel recycled many of the stories in their romance books and the tell-tale sign of that practice was often a re-used cover image.

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