• WEIRD Love: You Know You Want It

    Published by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: Mar. 25, 2015

    Written by: Various
    Illustrtaed by: Various
    Purchase From Amazon

    IDW has collected the first three issues of this series of short stories published over 20 years in various romance comics. The stories are pretty varied, considering the message is ultimately the same in all of them. But, like any good comics collection, that’s what’s so engaging. Here, then, is a list of all the stories in this collection:

    I Fell For a Commie - First published in Love Secrets #32 in Aug., 1953, this story is the near-tragic tale of Gladys, who fell for a man that was apparently a Communist! Unable to find a job, Gladys finds herself at the unemployment office. But a rabble rouser causes some confusion and she’s kicked out with the troublemakers. However, one of them is just dashing and this gentleman, Tom, helps her out by getting her back into the unemployment line and smoothing things over there. Of course, they fall head over heels but, soon, Tom is quiet more often, preoccupied by something. Gladys can’t figure it out and is then heartbroken when he leaves her with a letter, saying it can’t work between them right now. She’s devastated but soon afterward she spies Tom driving with her friend Ruth. She confronts Ruth who tells her it’s an innocent association, that he was just giving her a drive home from a “special club meeting.” Gladys jumps at the chance to spend more time with Tom again so Ruth offers to bring her along.

    So they head off to the Young Americans club and, despite her misgivings at all their talk of a peaceful Russia and workers, her love for Tom is so strong that she shuts down her objections. She becomes more and more indoctrinated the deeper she goes with this group and so great is her love for Tom that she keeps fighting down the urges of “truth” there. But, eventually, it’s even too much for her and she lashes out at the leaders for being traitors. She runs, then, fearing for her life and it’s Tom that catches her. She tells him to get it over with quickly since she’s certain he’s going to kill her. But it’s then that Tom reveals he’s an undercover F.B.I. agent - that’s what he coudn’t tell her and why he had tried to talk her out of joining the group. Relieved beyond measure, Tom then calls in to his bosses that the group is indeed a bunch of evil Commies, leaving he and Gladys to pursue their true, pure, capitalist love together.

    Love - From Love Diary #71, published Mar. 1971, is a one-page, five-panel “story” of John who gets jealous of his girlfriend Laura’s old flame saying hello, causing Laura to leave John for being stupid and jealous. But that’s okay as John closes with, “Women! You can’t trust any of them!”

    Love of a Lunatic! - From Romantic Adventures #50, published Oct.-Nov. 1954, is the story of mental-ward case Ruth, who did indeed once know love! She details how she never knew her father, so different, with such a violent temper - traits she had inherited and her mother resented. When her mother sets her up with the son, Ed, of an old friend, Ruth is incensed. At the first opportunity, she’s going to let him have it but he beats her to the punch. Neither is happy about this arrangement but, sensing the similar in each, decide to play along, pretending to be a happy couple, just to fully dash their mothers’ hopes. But, of course, as the charade continues, the two realize that they are indeed in love. Once they admit it they make plans to get married and all seems well and perfect in the world.

    But then a surprise appearance from Ruth’s father tips everything upside-down. He apparently had been confined to an insane asylum and rather than live with that shame Ruth’s mother had pretended he was dead. Once she recovered from this shock Ruth then embraces him and the three try to live together. However, father and daughter are too much alike, with both her parents fearing that Ruth has inherited her father’s mania. This gets worse and worse over time until one night she cracks, running from the house into a blizzard, wandering for hours until Ed finds her and takes her home. But she’s very sick and, out of this, much weaker, letting her parents’ fears take hold to such an extent that she views herself as so broken no man should have her. She pushes Ed away harshly, just to “save” him and then she loses it again with her mother who calls the asylum due to her violence and has her carted away.

    This, clearly, does not help her mental state and she slides further into insanity. But, soon, the head psychiatrist brings Ed back in to confront her. She freaks, he gives her a hearty slap to the face, and she’s rational again. The doctor explains that she’s not sick, that insanity isn’t inherited, that her parents are screwed up but that she still needs help. Soon enough, then, she’s certifiably sane and off to procreate with Ed.

    The Taming of the Brute - Originally in Just Married #53, published July 1967, is the tale of Loretta who sets out to domesticate the muscly, brutish Nic. She has a plan that basically uses her sex to force him to behave like a gentleman. It becomes overbearing, though, as she begins making all the decisions and forcing them on Nic. Finally, one night hosting people at their home, she pushes it too far, with even the guests remarking negatively at Nic’s timidity. Loretta then pushes him too far and he dismisses the guests and, taking her over his knee, gives her the spanking she deserves/secretly craves, making it clear who’s in charge here, that he’d just been humoring her up until this point. And she’s delighted. Ah, white people love.

    Love In High Style - from Dear Lonely Hearts, Aug. 1954, wherein Bobbie and her steady boyfriend, Chick, are beset by the wolfish, older Doug Brown. They meet and Doug immediately sets his sights on Bobbie while mocking Chick’s “high style” of youthful, exuberant clothing. He even asks Bobbie’s dad if he can take her out on a date which she initially rejects. But after arguing with Chick later she accepts Doug’s offer. And he’s one smooth player for a balding older man. At the end of a splendid night out, though, he’s all “Roman hands and Russian fingers,” ignoring Bobbie’s pleas of “No!” That’s enough for Chick to intervene as he’s waiting at her place for her to return, to apologize to her. The two males exchange words but Doug speeds off, leaving the two lovers to politely belittle each other and declare their perfect love to one another.

    You Also Snore Darling - from Just Married #57, Mar. 1968, is the cautionary tale of newlyweds Sam and Linda Brennan, on their honeymoon in exotic Hawaii. Their love is pure, fresh and strong in the way only the American youth of the Fifties can be. She wants to be THE perfect wife for him - but then she discovers that he snores! And he has to shave first thing in the morning! And he admires a well-stacked broad in a bikini on a beach! Saddened, disappointed and angry, she storms off the beach back to their hotel room, dozing off on her own. Sam reappears, apologizing for all those things but, then to her shock and amazement, points out that she, too, snores! She doesn’t - she can’t! - believe him but figures she can forgive him those few faults indeed if what he says is indeed true. The power of love, detailed.

    About Face - from Best Romance #7, Aug. 1952, is a one-page, six-panelled warning to all young women to always think of their “back-view.” That only a neat, well-presented all-around package will succeed in men’s critical eyes and win the day for the smart, young woman. Thankfully, this is the last installment in this collection as it makes one question how we ever evolved out of the 1950’s at all.

    Yes, I Was an Escort Girl - Originally appearing in True Life Secrets #12, March 1953, it’s the nearly-tragic tale of Vivian, a pretty young woman who finds her employment options limited. Thinking she can just do this job for a short time until she finds something better she joins an escort service. Creepy owner Mike has his own designs on her but she keeps getting clients that are all grabby and squeezy at the end of the night. Vivian is sad at her situation but things turn around once she meets Jerry, a rich young man stopping over in town on his way to Europe.

    He turns out to be too good to be true and Vivian wishes he knew that this job isn’t who she really is. Jerry shows up one day to whisk her away to a lakeside picnic where he proposes! But her situation makes Vivian hesitate. And to make matters worse, creepy Mike wants to take her away as well since, as he tells her, she “ain’t up on his level” anyway. Clearly, Vivian has some thinking to do so she goes for a walk, ignoring the quite literal gathering storm clouds that soon leave her soaking wet - and right by Jerry’s apartment. He’s surprised by her visit at his door but welcomes her in, even offering her a privacy screen so she can get out of her wet clothes. But then creepy Mike busts in and makes up a story, accusing Vivian of being a con artist only interested in Jerry’s money. Jerry is upset and boots them both out.

    Vivian is, naturally, devastated and returns home. But she’s interrupted by someone at her door late. It’s creepy Mike, intent on taking her away with him, out of the country. She fights back but then, suddenly, Olga bursts through the door, gun in hand! Apparently, she started creepy Mike in this business, originally blackmailing their customers. But she’s got no intent of letting him go off with some other woman. He tells her she doesn’t have the guts to shoot him then rushes her and kills Olga in the process. And just as suddenly there are cops filling Vivian’s room, telling creepy Mike that this is a sting operation, that her room was bugged and everything’s been recorded. And, to Vivian’s biggest surprise, Jerry is an undercover detective, having worked the case for months. They’ve got creepy Mike dead to rights, so he grabs Vivian as his hostage! And he threatens to kill Jerry. That’s it for Vivian who smacks him to the ground and the police haul him off.

    She tearfully tells Jerry that she just couldn’t let that happen, no matter what he thinks of her. But now that he’s received her full story from other men, Jerry says that his proposal still stands and he can make an honest woman out of her. Weird love is also pretty simple, too, apparently.

    Too Fat For Love - From Darling Love #7, 1950-1, a story from the perspective of Mona, trying to get readers to understand what young love is like (or not like) for fat girls. Despite the protestations to the contrary by Tony, the sincere boy next door, Mona hates her fat self and when the doctor tells her it’s probably glandular she loses all hope. That is, until handsome young Gene Gibbs - an up-and-comer in her father’s candy factory - shows up to dinner, intent on making his move on Mona, having fallen in love with just her picture in her dad’s office at work. Mona is big on denial, though, and doesn’t believe him at first (just like she doesn’t believe anyone else telling her she’s beautiful, that she’ll find love, etc.). But Gibbs seems sincere and is quite insistent so she allows herself to be romanced - at last!

    Because it’s the 1950s they are engaged almost on the spot and, while quick even by Ike’s standards, Mona nevertheless gives herself to it completely. Her parents are surprised but pleased, other schoolmates are confused and Mona’s deliriously happy. Until one day, when she swings by her father’s factory and sneaks upon her father and Gibbs discussing Mona. Apparently, they have an arrangement wherein Gibbs receives half of the company if he marries the boss’ daughter! Oh, shame! Oh, the indignity! Mona runs away from them, back home and locking herself in her room “forever.” Despite her dad trying to tell her he was just trying to make her happy and boy-next-door Tony wanting to talk to her and comfort her, she retreats from everyone and everything, staying in her room, refusing to eat for weeks.

    Dad finally breaks into her room, bringing her doctor with him. She’s too weak to fight back at all and the doc says she’s suffering from malnutrition and shock. Then it’s Tony’s turn to come in and finally say his peace. He declares his life-long love for Mona but she’s convinced this is another trick of her father’s. But Tony presses on and, finally, Mona realizes that he truly is not like any of the others and honestly cares for her. They soon find themselves happily in each other’s arms, her gaining strength from his, returning to health immediately and jumping out of bed - only to realize that all her fat had miraculously rolled away! Beautiful, in love and happy at last, it seems that weird love encompasses the supernatural as well!

    Slave To Despair - Found in Romantic Secrets #22, Sept. 1951. Here we finally see the influence drugs can have on a susceptible young woman who just wants to find love and acceptance. This is the story of Edith and her long-suffering beau Phil who start off happily enough, with Phil introducing her to his circle of friends and Edith determined to become a leader now, not a follower.

    At a dance one night, she’s soon seduced by slimy lethario Ritchie who dances her off her feet and then takes their whole party to “some place that really cooks!” Phil hesitantly agrees and soon they find themselves in a smoke-filled, dank dive bar with cranked-up hot jazz blaring at them. They continue to dances themselves into a frenzy but Phil’s having none of it, knowing what’s best for Edith, trying to get her out of there. But a quick right jab from Ritchie and a new-found sense of independence from Edith send him packing. The rest of the group of gals hangs with her, though, and she’s finally found herself in a leadership role.

    But one night soon thereafter she comes home late and finds Phil waiting for her. He just wants to talk to her, to find out what’s happened to her. Edith is defiant, though, enjoying her independence and lack of Phil’s control over her. He storms off and she convinces herself she’s happy to be rid of him. Soon, then, out with Ritchie yet again, she wonders why the people in this bar are so manic with energy but aren’t drunk? Ritchie confides that the secret is narcotics, drugs that give you a great feeling and lots of energy! He offers a pill to Edith who, not wanting to jeopardize her leader status in front of the other girls, ingests it and is suddenly unsure of anything. The other girls split at this point, knowing that’s just not for them, while Edith trips balls.

    Manic and tense all the time, Edith begins to realize that she just wants more narcotics. She forgets everything else - school, her appearance, clothing, everything! And then Ritchie stops calling on her. She finally tracks him down and he gruffly dismisses her, telling her the free ride is over and, now that she’s hooked on narcotics, she’ll have to pay for them herself. Edith knows she could never afford it but, in the clutches of the narcotics, will do anything to keep up her habit. She goes back to Phil and the grocery store he runs, faking an apology and gaining access to the cash register. She skims from the till for about a week before Phil catches her. She spills about her addiction to the narcotics and he immediately takes her to the hospital for treatment.

    Edith protests this move and every day in her “prison.” Phil keeps visiting, hoping to find her recovered, but she’s chasing that dragon and the depths of her despair are too great. Soon enough, though, she’s broken through and her cravings disappear. She sobs openly when she sees in the mirror what the narcotics have done to her, chastising herself for being so stupid and immature. She’s released and, with much trepidation, returns to school, expecting to find accusations and cold shoulders. But her friends all welcome her back, knowing this recent phase just wasn’t who she really was. And Phil shows up after school, too, to give her a ride home just like before, and their love is now normal - no longer weird thanks to the narcotics.

    Sweethearts’ Picture Biography of Ronald Reagan - Published in Sweethearts #111, May, 1952, a one-page description of the life and wonder that is that star of stage and screen, Ronald Reagan! Sports, acting, politics and radio - all are met with great success by this wonderful prospect of humanity and Fifties’ male-ness!

    Bosco Plays Matchmaker! - Appeared in Confessions of the Lovelorne #111, Feb. 1960. Bosco is the entertaining attraction at the zoo - that’s right, weird love can even come from the perspective of a playful bear! Bosco enjoys the month of May the most, he confesses, as that’s the month of love. He delights in all the couples and families coming to the zoo. But he also notices the sadly single cases of Mary and Pete who both independently come and visit him, having “no one else to talk to.” They both have jobs they hate and dream at night of finding true love. And Pete’s got no game as he tries to talk to Mary who brushes him off as some kind of flirt. But the two can’t stop thinking about each other, even though they left off in a huff.

    At the most primal animalistic level, then, Bosco is attuned to the universe and the needs of humans so he decides to get these two together, however he can. So when Mary and Phil find themselves at his cage again, Bosco snags Mary’s purse and pulls it inside. She’s upset as all her money is apparently in that purse so she wriggles herself into his cage to retrieve it. Then Bosco pretends to threaten her, causing Phil to react by also jumping into the cage to rescue her. Bosco sells it well enough, forcing Phil to bop him on this nose at one point in order to drive this union forward for good. And he’s successful, even getting a congratulatory handshake from Cupid in the last panel, witnessed by a well-to-do drunk who swears he’s off that stuff now!

    Mini Must Go! - From Love and Romance #6, June 1972, featuring a complete asshole of a boss named Mr. Childers who can’t concentrate on running his business due to the shortness of skirts around the place, especially on the curvy goodness that is his new secretary, Ms. Tait. He finally has his office manager, Jeff - who digs this new fashion - draft a memo to all the girls that mini skirts are now forbidden! No one else in the office likes this but are pleasant enough to his face. Jeff tells him that some guys are even out looking for work in other, less repressive offices. But Childers is having none of it, being convinced that now he’ll at least be able to get some work done.

    When Ms. Tait appears another day, appropriately attired, she gets his negative attention again. He accuses her of wearing some exotic perfume just to distract him. She’s had enough so she hauls in Jeff as a witness who says he only smells soap and water on her and that Childers is out of line. She also says maybe Childers should get himself another secretary if he can’t keep his mind off of her. But, she also privately confesses, she can’t stop thinking about him, either! Oh, weird love! When will you ever stop?!?

    He gets a new secretary but Ms. Tait shows up again, knowing he’s been eye-fucking her from the start and she confidently makes her own move on him. He’s finally honest and realizes what an utter dick he’s been, the last one to realize that, Ms. Tait tells him (I like her - why doesn’t she have her own comic series?)

    Beautiful One! - Showing up in Radiant Love #6, Aug. 1954, and it shows that not much has changed in sixty years. Lanu is an island girl who meets and falls in love with an American military man. He confesses his love her and desire to take her back to the States with him as his bride. But she’s unsure and wants to know, for certain, that when he calls her his “beautiful one” he truly does mean it. They agree on waiting a year and, if Jon still feels the same then, he can come back for her and take her with him.

    He reluctantly agrees but does so and, as soon as he’s back, starts writing to her often. However, the subject of his letters is all the women he’s trying to bang (wtf?). There’s Rita, the bombshell, then Mona the model, and then pretty Susan and then? Nothing. Lanu is saddened by this, figuring she was right all along and that he never meant what he said to her. Time passes sadly for her then but then Jon appears as it’s been a whole year. She’s confused and asks him what happened to all those other girls. Jon explains that Rita was just a maneater, looking to add him as another in her “rogue’s gallery;” Mona was an independent woman who didn’t want to give up her freedom; and Susan was apparently just after his money. Jon reiterates his love for Lanu, telling her those others were ugly compared to her as “they didn’t know of love!” That’s all it finally takes for Lanu to understand and believe him and join in their love, feeling truly beautiful and asking the reader if they can see it in her face? Which, in the final panel, is revealed to be a butt-ugly, bad-tranny-looking broad. So, um...weird love.

    There’s No Romance in Rock ‘N’ Roll - First published in True Life Romance #3, Aug. 1956, this story is 100% accurate about the delirious distraction that is rock ‘n roll. Shirley is a young girl only interested in dancing and listening to rock ‘n roll, despite her mother’s attempts to rule her life and keep her in the house. When her and her friends get too rowdy around the jukebox in the candy store, they move the party to Shirley’s place. It’s then that Shirley sees her mother as just a frumpy, repressive old woman who couldn’t possibly understand her.

    Mom begins clamping down more and more, forbidding Shirley from going out even when it’s the nice of the big school hop (the nerve!). But Mom is also a mother so when Shirley’s birthday rolls around she hosts a proper party for her. When mom’s old roommate Marie shows up unexpectedly she brings along another surprise - her grown son Tom who seems pretty smashing. He’s polite and nice and the envy of all the other girls at the party. And he doesn’t really care for that “music” they’re playing and, through this, Shirley starts to see how she and her friends might look a bit foolish.

    This allows Shirley to begin to see her mother in a new light, as an admirable character worthy of emulation. Things then start going better for her, especially when Tom and Marie come over for dinner and he declares his love for Shirley. They start to go steady and she realizes what she really has in Tom and thanks her mother for that. As they stroll along, arm in arm, they walk past a joint blaring that now-disdainful music and Shirley’s thankful she matured so quickly, thanks to Tom and her mother because, in the world of weird love, no music beats a sweet love song. None. Ever.

    Weep, Clown, Weep - Courtesy of Romantic Secrets #27, Feb. 1952, this story has perhaps one of the greatest titles of all time. It’s the story of uber-bitch Janie and Ben, a circus clown. They meet when Janie goes for a job interview in the publicity department of the circus. She’s overwhelmed by the behind-the-scenes setting of the place and Ben, sensing this, offers to get her to where she needs to be - the office of Ms. Howell. She strikes Janie as the kind of woman she’d like to be and lands the job. Since it’s early, Ms. Howell sends her off to get breakfast in the circus mess tent. There, she meets Ben again and they talk and talk and talk, with him doing most of the listening.

    She senses Ben as being a special man but can’t quite figure him out, with his attentiveness but also air of sadness about him. He’s then called off to perform as he tells Janie he’s a “circus performer.” They don’t see each other for a few days until the night of a circus performance. Janie is annoyed by the clown that keeps coming up to her and playing around, worse when he approaches her after the show outside. When he reveals himself to be Ben she’s beyond shocked - she’s horrified. She sees this as a ridiculous, non-grown-up job but when he reappears out of his outfit and offers to walk her home she changes her mind. She realizes she really does love him after all and he, in turn, loves her.

    They date for a little while but it all begins to unravel when he shows up in her office in his clown garb. She’s humiliated and calls off their date that night. But that night he’s again out of uniform and bearing a bouquet and she turns around yet again. And yet she still thinks that Ms. Howell and the others are laughing at her for dating a literal clown. So, later, at the circus anniversary party, when Ben’s called on for an impromptu performance, she runs away, disgusted, disappointed and humiliated. Ben pursues, telling her he wants to marry her but then she lets him have it with both barrels: She says she’ll never be the wife of a clown!

    Later, then, Ben shows up out of his outfit at her desk at work, saying he’s taken a job in the commissary, having dropped the clowning act. She’s thrilled that he’s decided to play grown-up now and is totally happy. However, that doesn’t last too long as after a couple weeks she spies an afternoon circus performance and there’s Ben, being the clown yet again. She’s furious that he lied to her, throwing his engagement ring in his face and storming off, quitting her job and leaving the circus behind.

    She manages to land a much better job for a television magazine (wtf?) doing publicity. Six months in and she’s sad but does a good job, earning the role of covering the local entertainers’ awards dinner. Fast track! Anyway, as she’s there, having a great time but still realizing how sad she is, the humanitarian award is awarded...to Ben! Everyone there goes on and on about how awesome he is, giving him a standing ovation, with him humbly accepting it and even weeping a bit. Each thing is like a dagger in Janie’s cold-ass bitch of a heart and she just wants to get to him, just to apologize. As she’s trying to do that she runs into Ms. Howell who, in turn, confesses her own unrequited love for Ben. She knows, though, that he truly loves Janie and so she gets her to Ben’s side. He unquestioningly embraces her and washes away her tears. I guess she’s down with the clown now. Weird love!

    You’re Fired, Darling! - From the pages of Career Girl Romances #45, June 1968, examines the difficult life of a successful woman and the trials of love. Doris is the office manager at an industrial analysis office (huh?) and her beau, Mike, works there as well but there’s a problem - he’s a terrible employee. He’s a great guy but is clearly not cut out for this line of work. Doris knows that, for his own good, she’s going to have to fire him. So on the way home from a beach date she tells him she loves him and that, no matter what happens at their work this week, for him to remember that. Mike’s a little confused by all that but agrees amiably enough.

    Come Monday morning and Mike’s late yet again. He’s called into Doris’ office and tries to be his usual self but she’s all business and before she can fire him Mike angrily quits, telling Doris her kind of love is “strictly poison!” She’s also pretty upset but then has a flash of insight, calling Mike’s uncle Jeff who has a construction business, thinking that’d be the perfect fit for him.

    Doris’ daily life is out of its spark then, with her seeing other gals’ happiness and wondering if any job is worth such a price to pay. She goes out walking in the rain, thinking all this over and, as a result, staying out way too long and coming home sick. Her mother nurses her back to health but Doris is still quite saddened. Cut to a few weeks’ later and her mother’s putting together dinner for a surprise guest. She makes Doris answer the door and, sure enough, there’s Mike! This proves too much for Doris, though, and she begins to faint so he takes her out to the patio, to sit and talk (with her parents’ consent, of course).

    It’s there that he’s able to confront her about what happened and why she fired him. She confesses that she wanted a better, more appropriate job for him and he sees her busybody ways, telling her that he, his uncle and a cousin now have a successful construction company together. She asks his forgiveness and promises never to interfere like that again. Mike agrees she won’t, taking her over his knee and smacking dat ass into submission. She’s only too happy with this take-charge man who tells her that they’re going to get married later that month. She calls this “masterful” rather than misogynistic, angry, arrogant or hate-filled and winks at the reader in the final panel, now that she’s attained that weird love version of happiness.

    Two Wayward Girls - Not a hit CBS prime time comedy but first appearing in Romantic Love #22, July-Aug. 1954, this also features two hot, young broads Nicole and Rita who think taking men for a ride and getting all their money and expensive gifts is THE way of life. The redheaded Nicole tells the tale as she firsts joins a modeling agency who make it very clear to her up front that, if she’s to have a career there, she’ll “entertain” the male clients from advertising agencies that show up in town. Carole isn’t quite sure of this but sultry raven-haired roommate Rita tells her that’s how she’s been paying her half of the rent!

    So Carole decides to go out on that first date, meeting handsome and rich fellow. He takes her out on the town and makes his move on her. Carole, new to this role, eats it all up and falls in love with him. When she gets home at 8am it’s Rita who has to set her straight - that she’s being a silly little girl and that he clearly understands the game, as Rita fetches the big tip he left in Carole’s purse for her. Carole is confused but then figures it out when he never calls/appears again. She then joins in Rita’s scheme to “bleed these suckers white.” Um…

    The money and gifts come easy then as Carole’s a fast-learner under Rita’s tutelage. They go out on a double-date one night with Tom Dulane and his old frat buddy, Worth Brent. Carole’s paired up with Tom who’s a wise-cracking, fun-loving drunk while Rita’s saddled with stick-in-the-mud Worth. Carole decides to go to Rita’s aid at one point and dances with Worth. But, in doing so, she soon finds herself really enjoying his company and disdaining the boorish antics of Tom. But Tom’s three sheets to the wind by the point and begins making fun of Worth. Carole tries to stick up for him and that’s when Tom loses it, finally socking her in the jaw. Worth does the same to him and then the cops show up and haul them all off to jail.

    While sitting in lockup Carole has the brilliant epiphany that maybe this way of life isn’t for her. She’s ashamed and worried about the indignity should her parents find out. Just then, she’s released from holding as her father appears, taking her home. Carole thinks she’ll never live down the disgrace but then Worth appears at her door, confessing his feelings for her. They soon are married and, as she closes the story, Carole tells that she’s still in touch with Rita, having just invited her out to stay with them in the hopes they can turn her life around as well. Weird! Love!

    Love, Honor & Swing, Baby! - “Fresh” from the pages of Just Married #67, Oct. 1969, we finally get some dirtbag hippies! Ruth is a pretty, young blonde who marries Buckie, a free and groovy young man. They live the hippie life, taking odd jobs and free food, free of the constraints of normal society. They get married at the courthouse and then by some far-out cat named Zuza at their favorite coffee shop. While Ruth still regrets a little at not getting the wedding she wanted as a girl and that her folks weren’t there she figures that’s just the boring society trappings talking.

    Buckie cuts off any thoughts about a honeymoon, choosing to hang in the Village with their own kind. When they go to the coffee shop later and “wait around for someone to get an idea,” a voluptuous dark-haired beauty makes eyes at Buckie and says she has an idea. Ruth tells her off but Buckie wants no part of her squared, married girl routine getting in the way of his swingin’ freedom. He goes off with this mysterious beauty and it’s then that Ruth realizes she doesn’t like this lifestyle at all. So she pawns her watch and gets a bus ticket back home ASAP.

    There, her father’s shocked at her appearance but welcomes her in, where she’s able to finally shower and dispose of all that hideous hippie garb. After just a few days Ruth says she feels like a member of the human race again but wonders about living life without Buckie. It’s then that there’s a handsome stranger buzzing her door. Turns out, it’s Buckie, all clean-shaven and wearing a suit! And he’s bearing tickets to Bermuda for the honeymoon she deserves! But before that her mother insists on her daughter having a proper wedding and they’re only too happy to comply and become, in Ruth’s words, “be ordinary, dull, happy newlyweds!” Take that, hippie scum! Weird love!!!

    Gangster’s Girl - Found in First Love Illustrated #37, Feb. 1954, this story closes out this latest collection in grand style. The plot concerns three friends - Joey, Phil and Ann - who all grew up together but went down very disparate paths with their lives. Told from Ann’s point of view, she’s attempting to explain why she was a gangster’s kept girl.

    That gangster is Joey who’s become a serious crime boss. He’s trying to get his bought-and-paid-for candidate elected to city council but his having a tough fight thanks to his squeaky-clean opponent, Phil, their former friend. Joey has a plan, though, and that’s to send in Ann, who used to date Phil at one point long ago, to gain insider information and beat him in this election.

    Ann’s reluctant to play on their old emotions but all Joey has to do is wave something expensive in her face and she’s all-in on the plan. She surprises Phil one day at “random” and they soon can’t stop talking, catching up on all that’s happened to them since they were kids. Ann starts seeing Phil often, saying all the right things and then reporting back to Joey later to receive yet another expensive gift. Phil, oblivious to her duplicity, falls hard for his childhood sweetheart and soon enough confesses his outright love for her.

    Ann is conflicted by this, seeing Joey’s world for what it is and her life there as yet another commodity. As the election nears she finds herself falling more and more for Phil. But when Phil loses the election he suspects foul dealings from their old friend Joey and goes to confront him. Ann protests, wanting them to just leave town, but he won’t hear of it. So she accompanies him to Joey’s place for the showdown. There, he accuses Joey of his dirty dealings but says that while he might have lost the election he considers himself a winner, having gained Ann back in the whole process.

    Joey smirks and asks Ann if that’s truly the case. She says true love has changed her but, as she and Phil go to leave, Joey throws her mink coat to the floor, telling her she forgot to take that and that it belongs to him! Upon seeing that, Ann’s conflicted again and Phil can read that look on her face. She tells him it could never work between them so Phil leaves in defeat. Joey picks up the coat and puts it around Ann and as she curls into it and his grasp, she tells the dear reader that’s why and how she sold herself out. Further, though, she wonders why it is sometimes at night she just can’t help crying...but we know the answer to that, don’t we?

    Bonus: Great Lover Romances, Bottle Heartache – This section at the end of this magnificent collection contains a series of loose reprints from Aug. 1953 by Jack Sparling. The story here is of Dr. Anthony King, the “Love Doctor,” and his strange case history regarding Letty, a young, pretty girl who’s just become engaged – to alcohol! They meet at a cocktail party where Dr. King’s reputation has preceded him. They agree to meet the next morning, so long as he doesn’t get “too preachy” for Letty’s tastes.

    Letty is, of course, late the next day, having stopped at a bar on the way (around 11am, no less!). She asks Dr. King for a drink and he provides her one, along with a side of anecdote of another young woman who seemed to love the booze more than the men in her life. He begins telling the story of Mary and Bud, a young couple who seem to have everything going right for them. They get married, move into a cute little house and a year later have a baby with them. While Bud’s off doing well at his job, Mary finds that she can sneak drinks at home, away from his “stuffiness.” She’d be perfectly happy doing this, too, if that darned kid didn’t keep crying…

    Bud knows what’s going on, though, and can only take so much. He finally decides to leave, to give her space and time to get her act together. He also bravely leaves their young son with her in the hope that his presence will help her come to her senses. With father-of-the-year out of the picture, Mary’s condition worsens. She drinks more and more, hating herself for it but unable to stop. She’s also taken to smacking their son when he is too noisy for her headache as well.

    She soon runs out of money and hits her credit limit with her local liquor dealer. But he’s a nice guy, offering to home-deliver a couple bottles for her, along with his own sleaziness. They drive off toward Mary’s place together but she has him stop a block early so he can arrive a little later, not raising any neighborly suspicions. He agrees to this but also wisely takes the booze with him. Mary sets off in her car then but is soon presented with a shocking site: a crowd of onlookers and ambulances at her house!

    She gets out of her car and rushes in to find Bud there with the medical personnel. Apparently, their son – cleverly named “Little Bud” – had a spill on the stairs and broke his leg. A neighbor heard his cries and called the hospital and Bud. Mary is aghast and shocked, to say the least, just when the doorbell rings. Bud answers it and finds the very surprised liquor dealer there with two large bottles of whiskey. Bud calls Mary to the door and asks her if she wants the delivery. She dramatically cries, “NO!” and, the next day, seeks out the aid of Dr. King, as the narrative returns to him and Letty. She sees the wisdom in the tale and pushes her drink away, thus cured now and forever.

    WEIRD LOVE!!!!

    Appropriately titled with, “YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT,” this is just a fantastic collection that captures not just an era in comics publishing but, oddly enough, a timely commentary on female roles and relationship stories. As ridiculous as some of these stories sound they do play out the human drama with a focus on female roles in society (even while reinforcing those stereotypes as the stories were written by older white dudes). IDW has a bunch of the covers here as well which only serve to enhance the zaniness of this type of collection, one that’s well worth having a place in your own.