Sunday, September 23, 2012


One last romance comic book from my December 1951 birth month and
then we’ll be on to other genres for a spell.  Lovers #38 [cover-
dated March 1952] had a cover penciled and signed by Al Hartley.
It’s a classic Atlas cover layout of the era: one large panel and,
running down the left hand side of the cover, a series of smaller
panels illustrated other stories.

Lovers took over its numbering from Blonde Phantom.  Issues #23 to
#86 [May 1949 to August 1957] added up to a total of 64 issues.  I
don’t much information on the issue’s four stories, but, thanks to
the Atlas Tales website, I know their page lengths and a couple of
artistic credits.

That I don’t know anything about the plots of these stories isn’t
a concern to me.  Because I can make stuff up real good.  Here we
go again...

“The Last Embrace” (7 pages). Still trying to cash in on the horror
market wherever possible, this Atlas romance story involves rigor
mortis.  Maybe Oswald shouldn’t have hugged his dead wife so long
after he killed her.  Maybe some one will come by the family crypt.
But it’s so terribly far away from the mansion.

“Worth Waiting For” (5 pages). Penciled and signed by Morris Weiss,
this is a tale tries to cash in on the crime genre.  A woman vows
to wait for her imprisoned lover.  To make ends meet, she herself
takes up a life of crime.  On the day her lover is released, she’s
sentenced to prison.  He vows to wait for her.  To make ends meet
while he’s waiting...

“Which Man is Mine?” (4 pages). Near-sighted Abigail won’t wear her
glasses because she thinks they make her look unattractive.  When
the disc jockey at the homecoming dance announces a ladies choice
dance, hilarity ensues. The unknown writer of this story sold this
same script to...every comics publisher with an Archie-type title.
Talk about re-purposing!

“The Talk of the Town” (7 pages). See that cab driver on the cover?
Something’s not right about him.  Connie and Marion will soon be
the least of Jack’s problems.  The pencils on this story have been
attributed to Bernie Krigstein.  He probably did a brilliant job,
but he would’ve done an even better job on my version of the story.

Truly I am the god of romance.  Keep watching this bloggy thing for
more vintage comic-book covers from my birth month.


Kevin Keller #4 [Archie; $2.99] takes Archie’s newest pal, his family and
Veronica to London for the Olympics.  Kevin’s dad has been chosen
to be a torchbearer.  The Keller family has dual citizenship, which
strikes me as just a little too convenient.

Just to be clear, I love this title, its star and his wonderfully
supportive family.  That Archie Comics is publishing this comic is
courageous in a country in which one of the major political parties
has enshrined bigotry against gays in its platform.  The Riverdale
world of Archie and Kevin Keller is nurturing and safe, regardless
of one’s personal circumstances.  I wish I lived there.

I’m entertained by and pleased with the work of writer/penciller
Dan Parent on the title.  It’s one of the few currently published
comics series I collect.  But...

Kevin and his family are too perfect.  I understand the tendency to
make them so.  He’s the only gay lead character of any title from
a major mainstream publisher.  He and his family are role models in
an industry sorely lacking in role models.  But...

No one in Riverdale is perfect.  Every major character screws up in
his or her unique way.  Kevin deserves to have his own foibles and
follies.  In this issue’s London adventures, he channels Archie’s
klutziness.  It was amusing, but each incident had me thinking “How
Archie of him.”  When I should and want to be thinking “How Kevin
of him.”

Kevin Keller is still a very young character in comics years.  He
isn’t fully developed yet.  I contend that he’s a good kid who can
handle not being perfect.  He’s strong with a strong family...and
he can take a few knocks.  Lord knows everyone else in the Archie
cast gets their fair share of egg on their faces.

Archie Comics and Dan Parent should be proud of Kevin Keller.  But
they need to be tougher on him.  Not necessarily with stories that
reflect the prejudice he would face in the real world.  Just with
stories that reflect he’s human and a teenager. 

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Good morning. Just wanted to tell you I used to look forward to getting my Gladstone comics fix each month. They were great.