Friday, May 30, 2008

Kiss and Tell 1970

We have a racy one today, folks. Scanned from DC's excellent Girls' Romances title, Kiss and Tell shows us just what my grandmother meant all those years ago about how fierce boys can be when a girl gets a reputation. Of course our heroine hasn't done anything to deserve all the whistles and leering invitations, but that makes them even funnier.

It seems so impossibly innocent now to think that once you could be labeled as a bad girl for just smooching a guy. I think nowadays it would take cameo appearances in several Girls Gone Wild videos and an illicit sex tape made with three costumed Furries and a man wearing an oversized diaper.

Rosemarie, what have you been up to? Have you been frenching that boy that looks like L'il Abner? GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT THIS INSTANT YOUNG LADY.

Oh, Ricky! Tell me more about your teachers. What was third period Biology like?

Maybe the other girls on the beach are jealous - or maybe they were all scared away by that orange suit.

Forget about Rosemarie's shocking lack of morals - why is there a mariachi hat store on the boardwalk?

Nice to rub it in, Rosemarie. I'm sure Doris is thrilled that she's on vacation with a girl who left her alone in the hotel room to read a book. Go on and eat the food in the mini-bar, Doris! When she's paying for $25 Toblerone Rosemarie will regret this evening's fun.

Guys in the 70's were so subtle. Take a look at the monster in the third panel! He looks like Paul Lynde with chest hair.

Not so smug now, are we Rosemarie? I guess someone should've listened to her homely friend and stayed home to play canasta like a nice girl.

Why does Ricky keep wearing a sweatshirt to the beach?

I don't know how Ricky's going to talk his way out of this one, but more importantly, is Rosemarie NAKED under that robe? I can't see the straps of her bathing suit or her nightie.

I think Rosemarie's the first girl on the beach to buy that stupid excuse, I'm sure Ricky can't believe his luck that some chick finally bought his "feelings" crap.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Second Hand Love! 1975

Today's story is Second Hand Love, a mid-70's masterpiece from the DC title Secret Hearts. The story trots out the shopworn premise of the secretary falling for her young, handsome boss, but it has two things going for it that raise it above its mundane plot: a Paris Hilton-style debutante and a heroine who is so completely lacking in self-esteem that she really needs to be institutionalized.

If a man has to choose between two girls, they can never have the same hair color. Will it be the sassy redhead or the cheerful blonde trying to strangle herself? Does it really matter when their skirts are that short?

Run along now, and remember I want that note to be classy, so only mention my dick like, once. Twice at the max. Oh and Carol, can you not wear those weird socks to work again? I've asked you before but you still keep coming to work in them. If I see those things again I'm going to dock your pay.

How can Kip be the greatest guy that ever lived? I could buy it if the writers had squeezed in a few panels of him rescuing a kitten from a tree or maybe just giving his spare change to the homeless, but as it stands he's just some creep who can't be bothered to compose his own love letters. He also apparently talks to his secretary's belt buckle.

Does Kip ever actually do any work? If I ran that company he would be so fired.

Mr Lawson, I--I-- I have to tell you t-that you're a total dumbass!

Office attire has really changed since the 70's. I'm not sure if even the most casual workplace today would let you come to work wearing a skirt that turns every dropped pen into an x-rated peepshow.

Whoa, take it easy there, Carol. I'm pretty sure that those scissors are company property... wait, did she just say she's been in love with this guy for five years? I bet that her skirts started out ankle-length and then, in desperation, she began to shorten her hems in the hopes that eight hours a day of looking at her ankles, then legs, and then finally her beav would get the hint through Kip's thick skull.

It's a good thing she just quit, if that trend kept up in a few months she'd coming to work wearing an oversized bandaid over her buttcrack.

So, Carol... tell me all about how much you like me. Is it because I'm so awesome? Have some more champagne and tell me how awesome you think I am, really. Don't be shy. It shouldn't bother you at all that I never noticed you were alive until now.

Obviously nobody has ever explained the concept of being on the rebound to Carol. It's not that Kip is making it obvious or anything by constantly thanking her for taking his mind off his broken engagement.

Check out the crazy eyes action in the last panel while Carol chants what appears to be some kind of spell. You know that just out of the panel she has a stalker shrine set up with clippings from Kip's electric razor and a Kleenex she pilfered from his trash can. Possibly with KIP LOVE ME scrawled on her walls in pigeon blood.

Looks like someone didn't chant hard enough, because here comes Paris Hilton and her big hair! When Carol snaps and bazookas everyone in the office, Kip will have no one to blame but himself.

Take a letter, Miss Gates... I'm a big square-headed clod, and while I could've blown off my ex-girlfriend over the phone, it was way more fun to mess with your head. Let's have dinner tonight, you can tell me how awesome I am. I promise to remember your name this time. Signed, Kip.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Courage and Kisses! 1960

Our story today is Courage and Kisses. It comes from a 1960 copy of My Romantic Adventures. This is my only copy of My Romantic Adventures, but judging by the excellent stories in this issue it was apparently a fairly ambitious title: here is a sample cover that shows how risky they were willing to be. Unfortunately, the writing has too much of the sexist sensibilities of the 1950's for my tastes. The humbling lesson our heroine Jean learns at the end of the story makes very little sense and ruins an otherwise inventive (and intentionally hilarious) story.

I know I'm supposed to sympathize with Jean's loneliness, but check out that awesome pony.

Jean's afraid of jumping and any locomotion above a brisk walk? Okaaay. You can't really blame the local hoodlums for not wanting to hang around with her, games of standing in one spot and taking even breaths never really caught on with kids.

That's right, Jean. Bow to the peer pressure.

Jean really can't win, now that she's an adrenaline junkie it makes the guys feel like sissies! C'mon, what's a girl to do? Apparently not shooting grizzly bears at point blank rage. Maybe staying home and ironing the pleats on her skirts or bedazzling a sweater or something.

I kind of like the dweeb she ends up dating, he's got a really great hairdo going on. He sort of looks like a Dick Tracy felon, his name could be Moustache Head.

Things are looking promising for Jean, since at least Dan Baker has a full head of hair. Though Jean's acceptance of Dan begins with "I guess... you're the one for me!" and that doesn't sound very enthusiastic. Doesn't she really mean that he's the only guy besides Moustache Head who wasn't intimidated by her gator wrestling?

Dan probably thought Jean was joking when she said she would've killed him if he hadn't proposed, but this is Jean we're talking about. He'll never know that if he'd claimed he wasn't ready to commit he would've been turned loose in the family's hedge maze with a dagger and a canteen while Jean gave him what the grizzly got on page four.

Dan's water wings and his ability to drown in waist high water? So awesome.

Even though Dan's phobias are hilarious, I kind of have to sympathize with Jean's decision to end the engagement. This is 1960 we're talking about, so it's not like she could just go find him a doctor to pump him full of anti-depressants or force him into some kind of phobia therapy where you get a box of caterpillars dumped on your head. She's going to have to put up with him losing his shit whenever a spider gets in the house or sees an episode of Lassie. He's probably one of those really fussy eaters, too, so she'll be cooking his steaks until they're gray and won't be allowed to use any spice other than celery salt.

Do you see what happens when you act like a big pussy, Dan? Mountain goats die.
Even if his phobias weren't enough to turn Jean off, I think that Dan's checkered shirt would've ended the engagement.

Okay so maybe they did have therapy in 1960, because Dan's definitely got Jean psychoanalyzed. She does all these stunts because she's a coward. So I guess panicking at twenty feet makes Dan extremely brave.

Jean's fainting now because she didn't faint as a child? That's kind of sketchy. So is the convenient way that she's dangling over the mountain ridge.

Look, it's the autogyro! Is that what helicopters looked like back then, or did the artist just combine a helicopter and a cropduster? None of that matters, though, because look, in the sky! It's Fraidy Pants to the rescue, no matter how inexplicable that might be!

So it seems that Jean has learned her lesson. Despite all the canoe paddling, bronc busting and the slaughter of endangered species, it was she who was really the coward, while the man who was afraid of small dogs, caterpillars, elevators, devilled eggs, his own saliva, frilled toothpicks, the letter K and the volume knob on his radio is the real hero Whatever you say, 1960. I'm not buying it.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Strange Girl, 1973

Unlike many stories that use a bait and switch cover image to lure a reader in, Strange Girl is just as daring as this cover image implies. Everyone thinks our heroine Liz is a lesbian, even her own mother.

Let this be a lesson to all of the parents out there: general maintenance and yard work will turn your daughter into a lesbian. I know because one time when I was like 12, my parents let me rake some leaves to earn extra money and I spent the next six weeks having these feelings about Lynda Carter.

The artist who worked on this story isn't credited, but he must've worked for MAD at some point, because his style is very familiar and I keep expecting the story to turn into a parody of a 70's movie. It kind of distracts me from the awesome lesbian content. 

I know I'm supposed to hate the catty girl in the second panel who strongly implies that our heroine Liz is a lesbian, but I kind of have sympathy for her. There she is in her best pink shirt with matching pink go-go boots, and the red-haired dork she's walking with just wants to talk about putting the town lesbian in a dress. Talk about a burn!

Thanks for the Veruca Salt dress, MOTHER. Where's my Golden Ticket?

It's a good thing that Agnes' mother is distracted by the pain of wearing about 14 pounds of industrial-size curlers, or else she might've picked up on the subtle clues that Agnes' bedroom is about to become Makeout Central.

Oh sure, let Agnes walk home alone, in the dark, with a crowd of lecherous basketball fans roaming the streets.

What's Fred's bag, anyway? I mean, first he's standing on the court during a basketball game, and faking whiplash, and now it's 10 minutes later and he's asking personal questions and trying to hold hands. I think he has boundary issues.

Smooth, Fred. Questioning a girl's sexuality is the perfect way to endear yourself to her. So is launching at her in the dark, come to think of it.

There goes Fred and his boundary issues again, now he's in love. I'm starting to think he really did bump his head and that puffy red hair of his is masking the contusion. Check out Liz's mother's ecstatic reaction: LIZ IS THERE A BOY? LIZ I AM CALLING GRANDMA RIGHT NOW SO SHE CAN WRITE YOU BACK INTO HER WILL!

Yeah yeah, don't we all wish for a boyfriend like Fred... to act as our unwitting beards.

So that's Strange Girl, and even though our heroine isn't a lesbian (I think that'd be too much to ask for) it's a pretty racy story regardless. It's the only story I've ever read where a character's sexuality is questioned, and it gives me an insight into why, when I was growing up girls' sports teams were always referred to as the powderpuff teams. Even well into my highschool years the girls played Powderpuff Football or Powderpuff Basketball. It was just a way of forestalling the lesbian jokes!


Friday, May 9, 2008

"I Dare Not Tell Him!" 1963


Today's story is from the May issue of Love Romances, a Marvel title that was published in May 1963. This is the first Marvel story I've scanned, and while Marvel can't compete with DC's quality, the art is decent and the stories are quite nice, with a naturalistic touch that you don't often find.

Some of you will be interested to know that all of the stories in this particular issue were written by Stan Lee, but don't get your hopes up about any crossovers: our heroine doesn't find herself on a blind date with Bruce Banner or copying her lecture notes for Peter Parker.  Instead, she finds herself married to a creep on the first page of the story, which is definitely the wrong way to get a romance started.

I really like this cover, because the heroine looks completely spazzed out underneath that Jiffy Pop hairdo she's rocking.

What a minx, getting married at the beginning of the story. We all know this isn't going to work out, right?

I love Paul's rage, here he's just so pissed about those tickets. He'd probably have pistol whipped her if she overcooked his eggs or brought him the wrong slippers. The mother's comment that Bette was lucky to realize her mistake "in time", means while she was still a virgin. Girls who are damaged goods don't get to star in their own romance story, Bette!

Jesus, ask a girl out on a date, Stu. Don't make her stay late typing up reports while you admire her hair dome. Is it just me, or is Bette's hair growing larger? It appears to be collapsing under its own weight.

I've changed my mind, Bette is so guilty about the annulment that she must've stopped for a quickie with Paul before he figured out about those tickets. Also I can't believe Bette went out in the rain without an umbrella protecting her hair. Maybe she's fumbling in her pocket for a beehive-shaped rain bonnet.

Come to the park and mug me, Stu! Be my skulking footpad! In the fourth and fifth panels the Marvel artists were a little overwrought, you can tell they weren't used to drawing for girls. Stu looks like he's about to start like shaking Bette until spare change falls out of her pockets.

Oh shit, you were married for like 50 seconds, Bette. Stop being such a drama queen and kiss your boss! I think anything short of your boss whipping out his dick and insisting that you use it as a pen blotter wouldn't be considered sexual harassment in the 60's, and probably not even then.

New story on Monday, and make sure to vote in the new poll.