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.

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