Twins Part Two: My Love / Our Love Story

We are in the month of June with the last vestiges of spring, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, and a young couple’s thoughts turn to marriage and a life lived happily ever after… (insert screeching brake sound here)! Well that might have been the norm in days gone but today it’s just a wee bit different. In today’s Arcs & Runs we will look back at the Bronze age of Marvel romance titles and a period of time with profound changes, that have changed the way we live today and likely will forever.

Before we get to those changes we first have to look at our two entwined comic titles. My Love and Our Love Story were two new romance titles for Marvel comics that began in the fall of 1969. My Love #1 started it off in September 1969 and was followed by Our Love Story #1 in October 1969. The two titles ran bi-monthly until the end of their runs in the spring of 1976, My Love at issue #39 and Our Love Story at issue #38. Both titles stopped running original stories at the end of their 22nd issue.

The romance genre has had a long and successful history in comics. Much like war and western comics that also shared space with the romance genre of comics, the popularity of all of these genres was rapidly fading in the late sixties. Marvel Super-Heroes which had a seven-year run (1962-1968) of enormous popularity, hit a speed bump in terms of sales and introduced our two romance titles and two new horror titles (Tower of Shadows & Chamber of Darkness) in the fall of 1969. These books featured all new material in an effort to boost comic sales. They threw the whole Marvel bullpen at all four titles and it was a real comic art feast for me at least, to see my super-hero artists tackling these other genres.

My Love and Our Love Story both benefitted from the superb artwork of two old romance artist stalwarts in John Romita Sr. and Big John Buscema. The covers of the first fifteen issues or so of both titles is really first rate. You can see a few close characterizations of Flash Thompson, Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Janet Van Dyne, and Shala-ba on the covers. Win Mortimer, Jim Steranko, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, and many other fine artists contribute here as well.

The interior pages of these books are where it always fell apart for me. I realize these books were meant for young girls and women but for me it was drivel. Stan Lee wrote most of these stories and I wondered where he came up with this stuff. To be fair he probably hadn’t been on a date with anyone but his wife since the 1940’s. Honestly, Spidey Super Stories directed at children did a much better job of articulating women issues and problems of the day better than our two romance titles did. They did try a couple issues on women’s rights My Love #10 – No Man is my Master! Our Love Story #18 Tribute to the Women’s Lib. Both stories were treated like they were passing fads, and we know now they were not.

The big and profound change in the early seventies I alluded to earlier came in the form of a little pill. The adoption of the birth control pill as an accepted form of contraception changed many women’s lives. I lived my own teenage and early twenties years through the 1970’s. I saw first hand the struggles that young women faced with the new life choices that were in front of them. Options they may have never dreamed of previously. Higher education, career, independence, plus they could have motherhood and family too – when they wanted one. It was very exciting and scary all at the same time. Some women embraced it, some were a little afraid and wanted things to stay the same. Religious beliefs were tested. Mothers seemed to want their daughters to have the pill to avoid an unwanted teen pregnancy. Fathers didn’t want them to have it for fear of their daughters becoming promiscuous. The common way to sell Dad on the idea was the pill helped ease monthly cramps. A very interesting time.

Fast forward to today. I bring out a small stack of My Love and Our Love Story comics including the two issues mentioned above to some young females in their mid-twenties. They look at the books and burst into uncontrollable laughter. I point out to the ladies their mothers went through some of this -they can’t believe it. Today’s women all grow up thinking like men and with all of the options. It is “normal” way of life for them now and less than two generations ago it was quite different. I for one (despite a much higher divorce rate in families), like the way it is now. Thank you for enduring my rant!

I will confess here and now I am not much of a fan of romance books beyond their covers. If you are a fan or want to know more about them I would suggest you look up the writings of comic historian Michelle Nolan. I first read Michelle’s work in Comic Book Marketplace magazine years ago. Her love of romance books was infectious. She is a very informative writer and could write a column about washing dishes and make it interesting. Highly recommended.

My Love and Our Love Story comic titles have been gone for over forty years now. They still have an audience and fans though. High grade copies are still highly sought after and are pretty tough to find. I recently picked up the tough 25 center My Love #14 with the Win Mortimer Woodstock cover. It’s a cool book – if you don’t look too hard between the covers 😊!

Listed below is the 46th Overstreet Price guide prices for our two runs today. Happy Hunting.

8.0 9.0 9.2
My Love #1 $56 $108 $160
My Love #2-9 $31 $53 $75
My Love #10 $33 $57 $80
My Love#11-13,15-19,23 $27 $44 $60
My Love #14 (Giant) $38 $69 $100
My Love #20 $28 $47 $65
My Love #21,22,24-27,29-38 $23 $37 $50
My Love #28,39 $25 $40 $55
My Love Special #1 $34 $60 $85
Our Love Story #1 $56 $108 $160
Our Love Story #2-4,6-8,10,11 $33 $57 $80
Our Love Story #5 Steranko $70 $150 $230
Our Love Story #9,12 $34 $60 $85
Our Love Story #13 (Giant) $37 $66 $95
Our Love Story #14 $33 $57 $80
Our Love Story #15-20,27 $25 $40 $55
Our Love Story #21-26,28-37 $23 $37 $50
Our Love Story #38 $27 $44 $60

Editor’s note: check out this great interview with Jim Steranko about his only romance comic work.

Mike Huddleston Written by:

Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.

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8 Comments

  1. Matt Ames
    June 8, 2017

    Yeah, it’s tough to like those books now. Sort of like trying to look past the story
    Iine of Gone With The Wind and appreciate the importance of the film.

  2. June 8, 2017

    X2 on that comment Matt. These romance books still work like a bad movie with unintentional humour.

    Scott thanks for adding the Steranko piece. You know there is something special about a “run” book when it’s the highest valued book of both series by a wide margin. Amazing how much love Steranko garners from the comic fan base (I am one of them) for the relatively small amount of comic work he produced.

  3. Matt Ames
    June 8, 2017

    Steranko is just so damn trippy.

  4. June 8, 2017

    When discussing Romance Comics, it is eazy to fall into the trap of debating old social values. Its just like with War comics we fall into anti War discussions.

    But Romance Comics are far more than dating norms. Romance comics are foremost short stories with a heroic heroine and often bad-guy villain in a struggle, possessing internal super-personality-powers of human emotion and fortitude.

    In Romance stories there is a triumph of the human spirit, and love for life!

    Beyond that there is the art!

    There were 6,476 romance comics published from 1947 until now. Simon and Kirby are credited with founding the gendre.

    I list some of the more spectacular titles by covers. Titles were intentionally started alphabetically as My Love…or Our Love…or Love Stores to be in the centre of the alphabetical newsstand in letters L-M-N-O.

    Fox titles: My Story, My Life, My Past, My Secret Affair, My Love Affair, Strange Love, Women in Love, My Love Story, My True Love, My Confession, My Great Love, I Loved, Love Problems, Intimate confessions, My Desire, My Love Life, My Love Secret, My Secret Story.

    St. John (often with Matt Baker covers): Teen-Age Romances, Diary Secrets, Pictorial Romances, True Love Pictorial, Teen-Age Diary Secrets, Romantic Marriage, Cinderella Love, Teen-Age Temptations, etc. Some of the best romance comics here, esp. with Baker art.

    Matt Baker is regarded as most valuable Romance Cover artist. L.B. Cole in my opinion is most undervalued Romance cover artist. Maybe Wally will write a L.B. Cole spotlight!

    Avon/Realistic: Realistic Romances, For a Night of Love (1-shot),

    ACG (American Comics Group): Romantic Adventures. There are some good ACG romance titles.

    Ziff-Davis: Cinderella Love (note: many titles later crossed over to St. John), Women in Love #nn, Perfect Love, Strange Confessions, etc. Not a lot but, often with cool painted or photo covers.

    Quality: Love Letters, Flaming Love, Forbidden Love, Torchy (more comedy), Untamed Love. These are some of the rarest and most collectible.

    There was a time when one of every five comics sold in the U.S. was a romance comic.

    Remember actually, Archie Comics was really a teen romance publication leading to, the romance comic boom and bust of the 1950s,.

    EC romance titles are very good but they’re very tough to find,

    Timely/Marvel (more comedy than romance though): Nellie the Nurse, Millie the Model, Hedy De Vine, Tessie the Typist, Junior Miss, Lovers (Atlas), etc. Though Nellie, Millie etc. aren’t “romance” they are really cute with lots of GGA etc., so they have a lot of appeal to romance fans. There are dozens of other titles such as Comedy, Joker and, Gay,

    Modern 200 to 2017 Romance comics are more a comment on gay and kinky love.

    1960s Romance books are dominated by Charlton who produced the most.

    DC silver age Romance had superhero artist like by Gil Kane and Infantino.

    The foremost Romance author for 40 years is Ms.Michelle Nolan who wrote Love on the Racks. This is the first book devoted entirely to the rarely studied world of romance comics. The text includes information on several types of romance comics and their creators, plus the history, numbers, and publishing frequency of dozens of romance titles.

    Some of the top 10 most desirable romance comics IMO are –
    1. Negro Romance, all
    2. Daring Love #1,
    3. Diary Secrets (Giant Comics Edition),
    4. Strange Love #nn,
    4. Teen-Age Romances #8-9 (the one with the “hold dick” cover),
    5. Reform School Girl!, Burning Romances (Fox, 132 pages),
    6. All Great Confession Magazine (Fox, 132 pages), 7. Throbbing Love #nn (Fox).
    8. Matt Baker Art…so many to choose
    9. L.B.Cole Covers…all excel!
    10. Young Love 1970s squarebound DCs

    “Negro Romance” almost never shows up for auction, and when it does it goes for amazingly high prices. Its still undervalued because of scarcity!

    Romance Comics, as a genre, suddenly disappeared when fantasy and superhero comics began to dominate mainstream comics. in the late 1970s.

    My favorite Romance Comics to actually read are Love Romances #94 to 106. These are the Jack Kirby issues from 1962 and 1963. An undervalued spotlight should be written on them. It was contemporary to early marvel fantastic four 1 to 14 and gave way with title cancellation to x-men in 1963.

    Lets not reduce Romance Comics to social debating about male-female stereotypes and norms.

    Lets think L.B.Cole cover art

  5. June 8, 2017

    Thanks Stevie for the quick history of romance comics. They were at one time – huge just like the war and western genres, but had the advantage of being current rather than time or period bound.. The art was terrific as you have pointed out. Outside of the art, I have been looking for Overvalued spotlights in these genres as I have no idea who is going to pick up these books going forward as the older collectors pass on. The connection to super-hero comics old and new is still current. The connection to romance titles and to some extent war and western comics is fading, and I personally don’t see it ever coming back. I’m sure we will have lot’s to talk about on this topic in the future.

    The good news is I have an L.B. Cole column coming up in Arcs & Runs in a few months. One of my favourite artists from the 40’s and 50’s as well!

  6. June 8, 2017

    Great post Mike!

    You don’t still happen to have that stack of romance books you were showing off do you ??

  7. June 9, 2017

    I only have My Love #10 (about a 6) &14 (nice copy 8.0) left Walt. The rest (about 15 issues) were pretty beat up vg copies anyway.

  8. June 9, 2017

    I too loved the artwork by Big John Buscema,John Romita and combinations there of.Didn’t have any attraction to the stories , but the visual story telling was masterful!
    I just came across a collection of Romance Pulp magazines.About 50-75 issues from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.Quite a few in very nice condition!Ranch Romances,Love Magazine,Romance Range ,Love Story and many more.Some really nice cover illustrations as well.Adds for Doc Savage magazine and a ton of interesting historical stuff and many printed in Canada.

Make It Good.