Young romance vintage comic book

In my vintage collection I have 2 ‘Romance Comics’ entitled ‘Love Romances and ‘My own Romance’.

1950s 1960s Romance Comic

I recently dug them out and started to read them on a lazy Sunday afternoon and really was pulled into the stories of love, romance, choices and the hard push about the women’s place in society. So today’s post is going to be of insight into the genre and a peak into my magazines (which by the way have some fantastic fashions).

History of the Romance Comic (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Romance Comic is a comics genre depicting strong and close romantic love and its attendant complications such as jealousy, marriage, divorce, betrayal, and heartache. The term is generally associated with an American comic books genre published through the first three decades of the Cold War (|1947–1977). Romance comics of the period typically featured dramatic scripts about the love lives of older high school teens and young adults, with accompanying artwork depicting an urban or rural America contemporaneous with publication.

The origins of romance comics lie in the years immediately following World War II when adult comics readership increased and superheroes were dismissed as passé. Influenced by the pulps, radio soap operas, newspaper comic strips such as Mary Worth, and adult confession magazines, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the flagship romance comic book Young Romance and launched it in 1947 to resounding success. By the early 1950s, dozens of romance titles from major comics publishers were on the newsstands and drug store racks. Young Romance, Young Love and their imitators differed from the earlier teen humor comics in that they aspired to realism, using first-person narration to create the illusion of verisimilitude, a changing cast of characters in self-contained stories, and heroines in their late teens or early twenties who were closer to the target audience in age than teen humor characters.

With the implementation of the Comics Code in 1954, romance comics publishers self-censored any material that might be interpreted as controversial and opted to play it safe with stories focusing on traditional patriarchal concepts of female behavior, gender roles, love, sex, and marriage. The genre fell into decline and disrepute during the sexual revolution, and the genre’s Golden Age came to an end when Young Romance and its companion Simon and Kirby title Young Love ceased publication in 1975 and 1977, respectively (Source).

Romance comics 1950s and 60s

Are you ready for some romance, friends? 

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

“The World was at my feet! I had everything a girl could want…a boy who loved me, wonderful parents…and I won first prize at a beauty contest! How was I to know that everything wasn’t quite peaches and cream when you’re a…BEAUTIFUL LADY”

Right off the bat..I started to laugh because this opening statement seemed ridiculous to me in 2016 BUT then I got to thinking that maybe it was not as ridiculous as I originally thought. In the world of Selfies, internet fame, reality shows many people are relaying on their looks to move them forward in life, just like our very concerned heroine in today’s story.

950s 1960s Romance Comic

But then as we move thru the story we are back to the 1950s as her mother tells her she had the same options in front of her as a young girl (the theater or her man) and gave it up to be a wife and mother because there was really no other choice. “Why would she want to lose her man for the theater?”

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

“And that’s how another beautiful lady became…a Happy Housewife!”

Right next to our “Happy” ending was this ad. As a marketer I seriously cannot stop laughing that they named the lady giving her testimony “Miss B.S.” LOL!!! ohhhh they are literally telling you it’s BS right in the second heading.

1950s vintage advertising

Moving on lets look at the story of this pretty blonde in “A Reason To Marry”.

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

Long story short, our pretty blonde struggles with the idea of marriage, kids and housework. After talking to a friend who just got married, quit her job and has tons of regrets about those choices, the blonde breaks it off with her man.

Then her friend takes back what she originally said about her regrets which causes our young lady to become all confused. She chats with her mom and realizes she cannot lose “The most precious thing a girl could have…the love of the right man”. Well that was easy.

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

But what happens when…”The Honeymoon Ends?”

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

Or “When a Girl is Lonely”?

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

And the worst of them all “But he won’t marry me!”

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

Blame it on….

Love Romance 1950s Vintage comic book

All the stories end up pretty much the same. The girl realizes that no matter what she needs to be with a man. It could be the man at the beginning of the story or her boss who always had the hots for her (that was one of the stories). But whatever the story, it is Happy Endings for all! Oh that Young Romance 🙂

To close off the post I want to share a couple of other ads that tickled my fancy.

20 dresses for $3.95!! WHAT?! do you think that mail order is still in service? And please don’t forget that the road to popularity starts with a guitar (many of my guitar playing friends would agree).

1950s vintage advertising for dresses

Time to get on the newest shoe craze that will make you rich quick….adding your school letters to your shoes (not sure if this ever caught on).

1950s vintage advertising

Well I don’t know about you but I enjoyed learning all about this genre and I might need to pick up some more comics for my collection.

But for right now….I’m off to find out what happened to Pamela.

Liz 🙂

12 comments on “Romance Comics of the 1950s and 60s”

  1. Hahaha! This is brilliant! We can laugh about it today but can you imagine being a young girl, full of ambition, being bombarded with this moral story every wear you look? I guess it’s the same today though with media telling us we should be slim, healthy, beautiful, a super mum and a career woman all rolled in to one. It exhausting no mater what era you live through! xx

    • So true and I think that is why in some of the stories you see the young women struggle with NOT wanting to be mothers and wives, because that fight was real for them. Dang Media 😛

      Have a good weekend!

      Liz

  2. OMG HEAVY LEGS! What an awful thing 😛 Oh dear.

    I feel like all those pressures are still out there, but with the added pressure of being supposed to have a career too. Maybe not as universal, but anyone who is single or childless or being a stay-at-home mum will have had those choices questioned by others. Hmmm.

  3. Fantastic fashions and accessorising. But, I do feel sorry for the young women of the day who might have wanted to do something different and we’re having their choices questioned at every turn.

    • Tanith made a comment below (above, where every this shows up lol!) about how we STILL to this day do have our choices questioned and as I thought about it, I agree that she was quite right. The difference today though, is that we are standing up to those society ideals that think we should be… married, with kids, skinny, etc. etc and saying “Nope don’t have too”. Where in the 1950s it was more “this is your path and no questioning it”.

  4. These vintage publications never fail to surprise and it always makes me wonder what we’ll look back on in horror in the coming decades. That said, I find it interesting that there were publications like this aimed at women. Now, comics seem to be aimed at children, and graphic novels, unfortunately, have gone the way of some other aspects of alt culture and tend to exclude women from their creation and consumption.

    A great post, thanks!

  5. These are so fun. I had no idea there were so many. My writing has a romantic edge, too. I’ve think I’ve got something new to collect. Thanks for your story and all the great artwork. I love it!

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