Oh, Romance Comics: The 10 Most Ridiculous Covers Ever

After the end of the Second World War, superhero comics quickly started to fall out of favour. Comic fans were looking for entertainment they could identify with, which would allow them to move past the war. In 1947, amongst a slew of new radio soap operas and newspaper comic strips, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon – the pair behind Captain America – came up with the idea for the very first romance comic, Young Romance.

By 1949, romance comics outsold every other type of comic in America and by 1952, there were upwards of 500 different titles available for purchase. Aimed at men and women in their late teens and early twenties, these romance comics dealt with the often-melodramatic relationship issues faced by young people in mid-century urban and rural America.

Unfortunately, at their core, romance comics weren’t as harmless and fluffy as today’s 2pm soap operas. Despite being written from a female first-person perspective, these comics were almost always written and drawn by men from a contemporaneous male standpoint, pushing a Cold War-era ideology about the female role in America between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

Encouraging early marriage and a homemaker lifestyle, romance comics maligned female sexuality, independence, and career-related aspirations. Usually replicating a Wuthering Heights-style plot, women in romance comics were often faced with a choice between an exciting but unstable man, or a dull but respectable man. Obviously, women who chose cheap thrills over domestic stability were punished. Consequences were also laid out for women who chose a career over a family, or who didn’t wait faithfully for their men during the Korean War. Women who made the “correct” choices in romance comics ended their narratives contented with a middle-class suburban family life.

So, now that you know the horrible motives behind most romance comics– and because Valentine’s Day is mere days away– let’s take this opportunity to make fun of the most ridiculous romance comic covers ever.

1. Young Love

She clearly should have known better than to pick her career AS A NUN over a relationship with this nice fellow here.

2. Heart Throbs

You can’t marry him, Stell! He LAUGHED AT YOUR TEARS.

3. Love Romances

No way the guy who’s banging both sisters is the bad guy! Oh, no – your SISTER is the enemy!

4. Romantic Adventures

Are we not at all concerned with the fact that your boyfriend is seeing spirits of the dead? No? Okay, totally normal then. Cool.

5. Girls’ Romances

Nothing says “true love” like this rapey cover!

6. Young Love (multiple offender!)

Her OUTFIT says “Too many boy-friends,” am I right, guys?!

7. Diary Secrets

What could she POSSIBLY be doing in her apartment in New York City? Not… working for a living?! FOR SHAME.

8. Romantic Marriage

Oh, Joan, girl. Just run away. There’s no way this ends well for you. Just run.

9. First Love

Those gifts are not for you, girl.

10. My Personal Problem

Spoiler Alert: Elizabeth is not your friend.

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Comments

  • Aitchwood

    Who produced these female driven romance comics? Big companies like Marvel? Were they successful with their intended market?

  • Sam

    Romance Comics were published by DC and Marvel, but also smaller publishers like Crestwood, Fox Features, and Fawcett. They were hugely successful through the late 40s and most of the 50s, outselling almost every other genre of comic book!

  • Aitchwood

    Thank you for the information! I did a search on Modern Romance comics for girls/ women. Reason being I am studying the “Girls” series by Roy Lichtensten. It is very famous, you have probably seen some of the images. This particular book I am looking at has copies of the original inspiration for these paintings-Comic books like Girls Romances, and Heart Throbs, both published by DC.