Tuesday, September 18, 2012
TONY'S BACK PAGES: HI-SCHOOL ROMANCE DATE BOOK
The next-to-last Harvey Comics romances hit the newsstands in late
1958, but the publisher would take one final half-hearted crack at
the genre in late 1962 and early 1963. First Love Illustrated #89
and #90 were 12-cent, standard sizes books reprinting already-dated
comics stories and features from the 1950s. That was also the case
with Hi-School Romance Datebook #1-3, bimonthly “giant” issues with
dates from November 1962 to March 1963.
Hi-School Romance Datebook #2 [January 1963] turned up in my Vast
Accumulation of Stuff. It’s 68 pages of cover-to-cover comics and
features with the only ads being small bottom-of-text-page panels
promoting Sad Sack, Wendy the Good Little Witch and Little Audrey.
The uncredited cover looks to be new, but it could just as easily
be retouched art from the 1950s.
There are eight comics stories. While I think I see the art of Bob
Powell in a couple of them, the writers and artists of these tales
have yet to be identified by the Grand Comics Database. The issue
also contains twenty single-page features on dating, odd romantic
customs, fashion and more.
The stories are your typical romantic triangles with a few notable
exceptions. In “I Tried to Elope,” the 15-year-old heroine and her
18-year-old beau use forged documents to thwart the objections of
the girl’s parents. In “Lovesick Fan,” a woman meets and dates the
celebrity piano man of a nightclub band. No rock-and-roll in this
“vintage” tale of the 1950s.
The single-page features are a hoot. One is a young lady’s guide
for getting ready in the morning. After a “beautifying” breakfast
of “fruit juice, cereal, toast and coffee,” the page recommends she
“check once over: slip not showing, stocking seams straight, suit
pressed spic-and-span, gloves clean and neat.”
Readers of this comic could also get the best five-to-ten-years-old
advice on their T.Q. (telephone quotient), acting their age, how to
lose a man, the rules of romance, being a little independent (but,
apparently, just a little), and the answer to that most important
of questions: “Is he for you?”
Hey, if you can’t trust in what you read in comic books...
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella