Black and white romance

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There is nothing I find more interesting about American comic book history than romance comics. These were targeted toward girls in the same way war comics were targeted toward boys. These were usually published by DC Comics. What is strange though is that DC decided to publish the same story twice, the only major difference being race. This decision to publish black and white romance stories in repetition like this is strange. Let’s take a closer look.

This anomaly can be seen in Young Romance 151 (Affiliate Link) from 1967, and Girls’ Love 170 (Affiliate Link) from 1972. Both were published by DC Comics. It was not uncommon for publishers to rehash old stories. But making use of both black and white romance stories in the exact same context is bizarre. Both stories are identical, with verbatim dialog. The only difference is race, hair styles and clothing. Even the character names are the same. Oddly though, the titles are different. One is called “Take Me Back”, the other “Revenge”.
racial diversity in comics
Close examination of the art work shows that much of the inking is exactly the same. This suggested that the older version of the story may have been simply photocopied and not traced or redrawn. So why the difference? The only reason I can think of would be for diversity. Perhaps it was the timing when it was published. However I did notice that Girls’ Love 170 is thicker, being 52 pages. Young Romance has 15 pages. Maybe this encouraged to include a story that was more diverse than the others by adding an African American romance as well.

So what is the story? A boy breaks up with a girl, and she is crushed. After some time she decides that he is a jerk and dreams of the day when he comes crawling back. When this day comes, she doesn’t have the heart to be mean and they decide to be friends. Eventually they discover that being friends strengthened their overall relationship and was what they were missing all along. This plot apparently goes well with both black and white romance stories, regardless of race. I have always been impressed with these girl comics and how the writers were able to come up with tiny moral lessons with each relationship shown.

Leave a comment with your opinion.