Sunday, November 20, 2016


OC stands for Old Comics and what I have for you today is my second installment of an occasional series of bloggy things. Going through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I often come across old comic books I want to write about. I don’t always remember from who or where I got these comics. I just have them. So, I figured, why not write about them?

Although I’ll concentrate on old comic books in this new series, I won’t always be writing about them. Sometimes I’ll write about old books, magazines, movies, TV shows or anything else that strikes my fancy. The one rule...I’ll only write about comics and stuff that came out prior to Halloween, 1972, the day I started work at Marvel Comics.

Today’s OC is Our Love #1 [Marvel; September 1949]. The next issue was published four months later. Those were the only issues, though Marvel would launch Our Love Story in 1969.

The identity of the model on this cover of this issue is unknown to me. Since the cover was also used on Bell Features’ Movie Life #9, a circa 1950 issue reprinting Quality Comics romance stories, I’m guessing the photo came from one of the New York studios that made such images available to publishers.

The inside front cover advertised Tex Smith’s “famous” A-B-C simple course on how the play the harmonica, which includes a free 10-hole harmonica. The cost was $1.69 plus C.O.D. postage or just $1.69 if you paid with your order.

There are three stories in this issue. We don’t know the writers of any of them, but comic-book art detectives are confident they know who penciled them.

“I Bet My Heart!” (9 pages) was drawn by Mike Sekowsky, who is best known for his 1960s work on DC’s Justice League of America and many  titles from DC and other publishers, including Archie, Gold Key and Tower. Sekowsky’s speed and versatility were legendary. He could draw any kind of comic book and draw it faster than most artists.

All the comics stories in this issue share the same layout on their first pages. A teaser panel followed by a title panel followed by the first four panels of the story. All subsequent pages have six panels on them. Why did many of Marvel’s comics of the era go with this layout formula? I haven’t a clue, but I’m hoping one of your fellow bloggy thing readers will have the answer.

“Guilt!” (7 pages) is penciled by Gene Colan and possibly inked by him. Colan was another speedy and versatile artist who could draw any kind of comic book.

“Tortured by Love” was a two-page text story that was stretched to three pages to make room for a pair of half-page ads for fireworks. The Rich Brothers Fireworks Company of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, offered over 550 pieces for $4.95. Banner Fireworks Manufacturing Company of Toledo, Ohio, promised over 1000 pieces for $4.95. I’m going to guess the implementation of the Comics Code put an end to fireworks ads in comic books.

“Love Letters Can Go Astray!” (7 pages), the third and final tale, was penciled by Marion Sitton and possibly inked by him. Sitton had a short career in comic books (1949-1953). At Marvel, he did crime, romance, spy and western comics.

Since I’ll be describing this issue’s three stories in some detail,  let’s throw up the standard warning...


“I Bet My Heart” (9 pages) is my favorite of the three stories in this issue. Diane and her beloved Dan are equal partners in the purchase of a racehorse. Diane holds her own where their dreams of success are threatened by an old flame of hers - a crooked racer - and Dan is never less than supportive of Diane. To save the day, she overcomes her fear of riding while Dan is openly proud of her courage.

“Guilt” (7 pages) is  a dark, more typical of the times tearjerker.  Soon-to-be-wed Nan is bored because fiancĂ© Fred is out of town. She agrees to drive out to the lake with George Ross, husband of her friend Marcia. Though she doesn’t particularly like George, Nan is looking for something to enliven her weekend. George puts the moves on her while driving and the car crashes. George is killed. Nan leaves the scene of the accident.

At Nan’s wedding reception, Marcia is consumed by bitterness. She hates Nan’s happiness as much as she hates “the women who robbed me of my husband.”

Nan is equally consumed by guilt, which causes problems between her and the unsuspecting Fred. When Marcia learns it was Nan in the car with George, the crazed widow pulls a gun on Nan. Fred is there to save Nan and forgive her for her indiscretion. Fred forgives her, saying “anything is easy when you love a person.” This happy finale came off as too easy for me.

“Love Letters Can Go Astray” (7 pages) is a strange tale of assumed identities. When Monica receives a letter from would-be suitor Steve, she dismisses the notion of responding to the letter. Her friend Janine is moved by the letter and starts to correspond with Steve while posing as Monica. The young woman is more than a little torn by this deception. Then she meets handsome Bob Martin and they fall in love. When Bob uses a phrase Steve used in one of his letters, Janine knows she must confess her deception to Steve. In person. Surprise, Steve and Bob are the same person. Bob tells Janine he knew she wasn’t Monica all along. They embrace and live happily ever after. They have two kids and, presumably, never tell them their parents met through fraud. It’s a weird story and I keep thinking that sometime, perhaps in one of Marvel’s crime or horror comics of the era, things eventually ended badly.


The advertisements in comic books of the late 1940s and 1950s are often fascinating. Besides those already mentioned, Our Love #1 has pitches for...

“Fireworks for All Occasions” from the Acme Sales Company, Atlanta, Georgia. Five different assortments that ranged from $4.50 to $10.

“Hot Water from your Cold Water Faucet!” Only $4.98 for the Little Marvel Water Heater, an electric device that attached to any sink or water faucet and plugs into the nearest outlet.

Sent in a plain wrapper, “How to Get Along with Boys” cost a mere 98 cents and was said to allow women to put psychology to work from getting “him to date you” to getting “him to propose.”

A multi-ad page offered an “Amazing 16mm Movie Projector Bargain” for $6.98; a unit that would allow you to “Make Your Own Records” at home for $8.49; and a “Home Radio Mike” (only $1.98) that would let you talk, sing and play through your own radio.

If you gave fitness guru Charles Atlas 15 minutes a day, he would give you a new body. The book “Everlasting Health and Strength” was the free come-on to the Dynamic Tension” system created by the man who held the title of “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man.”

Readers were told “Now you can have daring newest look beauty with all-in-one tri-lette,” which was an uplift bra, a waist nipper and a garter belt in one. For $5.95, they could have the “tiny waist - full bosom figure” of their dreams from the Wilco Company of New York, New York.

The inside back cover of Our Love #1 told readers that they could “Reduce Fat Up to 5 lbs. A week” by buying and taking “Kelpidine tables” from the American Healthaids Company of Newark, New Jersey. Only two dollars for a month’s supply. You know, if someone wrote a book investigating these old-time comic-book ads and the outfits who sold this stuff, I’d buy it.

The back cover sold relief from “Foot Itch Athlete’s Foot.” Gore Products of New Orleans, Louisiana would send you a bottle of the liquid “H.F.” on free trial to ease your suffering. If it worked, you sent them $1 in ten days.

The Overstreet Comic-Book Price Guide lists Our Love #1 at $290 in near-mint down to $22 in good. As I write this, there are a couple copies being offered on eBay, a “Good+”at $79 and a “Very Good” at $50. Mile High Comics has a “Fair” copy listed for $18.

That’s all for today, my beloved bloggy thing readers. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2016 Tony Isabella


  1. Do you know about Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads by Kirk Demarais?

  2. I'm pretty sure I own that book. Now I just have to find it and read it.