Kiss Me You Fool: My secret love affair with romance comics.
MyRomanceStory Guest Blogger
romance comic artist
It’s absolutely true that the first girl I ever kissed was a farmer’s daughter that collected romance comicbooks. I was barely a teenager. During part of my father’s vacation we were staying on a farm for a few days while my city-bred dad helped a farmer buddy bring in some crops. Meanwhile, Sandra and I nervously and awkwardly necked inbetween reading love comics. Thus began a lifetime interest in romance comics. Oh…and girls, too.
As a teen I read and collected all sorts of comics and wasn’t even embarassed to buy Marvel Comics’ Our Love Story or DC’s Falling In Love. Why should I be? I was getting serious about drawing, and the romance comics had hired some of the top comicbook artists in the field, including Jay Scott Pike, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, John Buscema, Wally Wood, Gray Morrow, and even comics-innovator Jim Steranko. Decades earlier in 1947, artist Jack Kirby had co-created the very first love comic Young Romance #1. And Kirby was no sissy. Kirby had previously co-created Captain America and would go on to bring the world The Hulk, Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, X-Men and countless others.
I met the love of my life, writer & artist Janet L Hetherington more than 15 years ago, and one of the first projects we collaborated on was a series of comicbook romance pages. This was before we’d even met, actually. A decade later she’d write, draw and self-publish her own comicbook series Eternal Romance. We’d later collaborate on a number of projects together including my long tenure drawing issues of Claypool Comic’s Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She’s also scripted an upcoming Myromancestory.com script called “Dangerous Seductions”, and I’ve drawn two, “Summer Love” and the upcoming “Love In Site”. Maybe we’ll get to do one together soon.
I always wanted to draw romance comics and lately I’ve had a chance, thanks to Myromancestory.com. For inspiration in my studio there’s a big box stuffed with issues of Heart Throbs, Secret Hearts, Young Love, Girls’ Love, and more. The ones from the late 1950s and early 1960s are the best ones, packed with gorgeous artwork by John Romita. He may have spent later decades as the longest running artist on Spider-Man, but when you look at his romance comics you can tell he was really into it.