Charlton Romance
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One issue that grabbed my attention, and that I had some questions about, is Just Married #104. 

There are no copies anywhere online for sale as far as i can find, and only a couple fuzzy scans of the cover. But it looks like it features an interracial couple kissing, something I have never seen on a romance comic before. 

 

I haven't finished going through all the Charlton covers yet, but I am wondering a few things. If someone has a copy of this, is it an interracial couple on the cover? This scan seems kind of washed out compared to the other one I found online, but the other one is such low res you can't see what you're looking at. Is there a story inside about an interracial couple? I know this came out right after they finished the David and Eileen arc about a Jewish-Catholic mixed faith relationship, so I could see it happening. Are there any other Charlton covers with interracial couples? Any other romance comics, period? I mean, actual romance comics, not post-70's indy books or undergrounds comix. Finally, is this issue rare? I've obviously just started looking, but compared to others around it I'm not having much luck finding a copy, and I know Charlton had distribution issues a decade earlier when they tried to sell Lobo, so I'm wondering if the cover material might have caused low distribution/sales for this issue.

Really curious about this one, it jumps out to me as very unusual among the thousands of other romance covers I've seen. Of course, if this is just caused by poor color balance on the scans, then ignore everything I just said. :bigsmile:

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Good eye!  This is a great 1975 book with a fantastic Joe Staton cover.  But no, in the story this guy is white.  So either something went "wrong" with coloring and continued on to printing, or the Charlton staff wanted to poke a stick in DC's eye, grab a cultural step on the competition, without having to purposefully write and draw an interracial story.  Which it is not.

This book doesn't come up on anybody's interracial comic list.  Except mine.  Cause I don't believe it was an error.  On the other hand - to me it is one of the five or six books that define the new romance Bronze Age. 

It isn't particularly easy to get.  But if you're patient, a copy will float by on Ebay.

As far as I can tell, the first interracial romance cover would be Young Romance 171 (5/71) - Anglo/Latin apparently.  And an implied Anglo/Afro cover on Young Romance 194 (8/73).  The generally accepted first interracial comic kiss would be Amazing Adventures 31 (7/75).  And then Iron Fist and Misty Knight clinching in Marvel Team Up 65 (1/78).

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Pulled the trigger on a couple of my favorites so far. I'll post them when they arrive, though... they are both more Bronze Age I guess. So far!

Strange, I usually don't care about condition when I buy comics, but I want these to be in nice shape - I guess most Charltons I see in person are trashed, and they look so much better when I see these nice copies instead. it makes much more difference for me than it does with DC or Marvel books for some reason. 

I've identified a couple subsets of covers I have a particular interest in - covers about Vietnam and covers about women's lib are at the top, but I also tend to gravitate towards covers where people are dancing and masquerade ball covers.

Still researching covers! When I'm done I'm going to present my top 25 or 50 or something. A lot of good stuff hidden amdist the chaff (is it just me, or is the period from like 1960-65 pretty dire compared to earlier and later?)

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Look forward to seeing them!  and you're mostly right about the time period.  60-63 were predominately Joe Sinnott pencils and Colletta inks but ended up tepid anyway - Sinnott was a bit wooden.  But that's also the Win the Treasure Hunt period, when Charlton was trying out promotions put on the front cover.  The best of these were the "WIN 8000 PRIZES" covers in 1959.  John Santangelo was all about making the money, and he'd try almost anything.  63-65 was heavy Giordano, and he had some nice work in there - in the midst of the chaff, as you said.

Love and Romance 21 for women's lib

and not exactly dancing, but the Luis Avila below is a sort of underground classic, the sunglasses are very retro, and the Nestor Olivera below that is a wartime cover I'm always moved by.  Both these guys are part of the Spanish artists that Giordano hooked up with.

 

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On 2/23/2018 at 12:37 PM, Dr. Love said:

ah remember those days Jack?  you old fart you - and check out the cross earring that bad boy is wearing - they did have a gay old time drawing and horsing around in that enormous 129 acre Charlton compound in Derby, CT

and as to who collects Charlton?  FETT would be the #1 answer.  You'd have a better chance of catching a glimpse of Bigfoot in your backyard then Sweethearts 122. And True Life Secrets 25 makes a Top 20 List of all romance comics. imho of course! :bigsmile: 

Charlton btw was the most prolific romance publisher.  1,370 issues (my original number is off), crushing the nearest competitor DC at 932 issues, and in the end beating DC's longevity as well.  The Romance Era ended with Soap Opera Love #3, June 1983. 

 

Is it because she is someone famous or popular on Sweethearts #122 that makes it hard to find ?

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Okay, compiling my final list. I ended up with 55 books that seemed like standouts to me, but I think i will probably trim another 5-10 when i rank them. I'm also missing one candidate where I forgot to note the issue number - there's a cover where a lady is making out with a guy, and another woman is saying something like "she doesn't know Bill is actually just a GIGOLO!"

Does this ring a bell? I don't want to go back through 1400 covers to find it!

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First, a couple purchases. I wouldn't consider these among the must-have Charlton romance books from my few days of studies, but I have a soft spot for Soap Opera storylines, like Night Nurse and 3 Girls, so I have to get this series as well as Soap Opera Love even though they are both reprint books:

 

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Both are miscut pretty badly, particularly #3, but they are in really nice condition. 

Edited by Crimebuster
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So! After days of study, I have finished my list of top books. There are a lot of great covers hiding among the hundreds of duds. 

This is a pretty subjective list, of course. I love Haunted Love, for instance, so my ranking of those is probably higher than it would be for other people. 

I also had another 150 or so covers I liked, but that I didn't quite think were top level. 

I'm going to focus my Charlton collection on these 49 books. If there are any missing - other than the gigolo cover I mentioned before that I can't remember the issue # for - let me know!

Note: I didn't put Negro Romances #4 on the list because it's just way out of my range. Otherwise it would be at the top. 

 

Here's my ranking!

 

1. Just Married 104 - the combination of art and subject matter put this at the top for me

2. Secret Romance 30

3. Romantic Story 92

4. Intimate 1

5. My Secret Life 20

6. True Life Secrets 25

7. Romantic Secrets 34

8. Romantic Story 46

9. Haunted Love 5

10. Just Married 102

11. Haunted Love 6

12. Sweethearts 45

13. Secret Romance 1

14. Haunted Love 7

15. True Life Secrets 23 - Just based on a quick ebay search, this seemed much more common than the other notable covers from this run. Or is it just because popularity has flushed out more copies?

16. Romantic Secrets 20 - it seems clear someone was studying Matt Baker, if not holding a Romantic Secrets #24 in their hands when they drew this

17. Brides in Love 8

18. Career Girl Romances 71

19. Brides in Love 33

20. Secrets of Love and Marriage 1

21. Romantic Secrets 28

22. Love Diary 64 - I noticed they re-used the image of the model for another cover later, but I like the original better. 

23. Summer Love 48

24. Just Married 86

25. Teen Confessions 45

26. I Love You 95

27. Haunted Love 11

28. Sweethearts 115

29. I Love You 36

30. Teen Age Love 44

31. Teen Age Love 63

32. First Kiss 10

33. I Love You 126 - this is a reprinted cover, but it's much better than the original, which had a box covering half the composition, and more muted colors

34. My Only Love 6

35. True Life Secrets 12

36. Sweethearts 25

37. True Life Secrets 16

38. True Life Secrets 26

39. For Lovers Only 73

40. For Lovers Only 67

41. Romantic Story 103

42. Romantic Story 128

43. Just Married 101

44. My Secret Life 46

45. Teen Confessions 61

46. Love Diary 87

47. Secret Romance 33

48. Love and Romance 18

49. Teen Confessions 77

 

@Dr. Love How does the list look? Did I miss anything major?

 

I have purchased 4 from this list so far, but they haven't arrived yet. I'll show them off when they get here. 

Edited by Crimebuster
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Hey Buster

Great list!  It was fun to go through yours and see where your personal preference is at.  I agree with much of it for sure.  You hit most if not all the major categories.  True Life Secrets 23 is a warehouse book.  As you saw, 25 is the answer to 23 (and you will want both, to me they're a pair) and the most violent romance cover.

Some that should go on imho, as long as you're asking:

In Love 5 - Kirby.  Because Kirby, the King of Romance who started the whole thing, under the Charlton label is delicious.  One of two Charlton Kirbys.

Young Lovers 18 - Elvis photo, very collectible and scarce

Time For Love 40 - you have most of the Demetrio covers on your list.  I would add this one too.

True Life Secrets - they all can make a list.  Me, I love #8 because it's SO red and uses an awesome printing technique.  And #14 is a huge underground favorite and Cappello's best.

one of the 68 pagers or, even better, one of the two 100 pagers:  Giant Comics #2 or Romantic Story #40

 

 

Edited by Dr. Love
deleted the Negro Romance 4
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17 hours ago, Dr. Love said:

Hey Buster

Great list!  It was fun to go through yours and see where your personal preference is at.  I agree with much of it for sure.  You hit most if not all the major categories.  True Life Secrets 23 is a warehouse book.  As you saw, 25 is the answer to 23 (and you will want both, to me they're a pair) and the most violent romance cover.

Some that should go on imho, as long as you're asking:

In Love 5 - Kirby.  Because Kirby, the King of Romance who started the whole thing, under the Charlton label is delicious.  One of two Charlton Kirbys.

Young Lovers 18 - Elvis photo, very collectible and scarce

Time For Love 40 - you have most of the Demetrio covers on your list.  I would add this one too.

True Life Secrets - they all can make a list.  Me, I love #8 because it's SO red and uses an awesome printing technique.  And #14 is a huge underground favorite and Cappello's best.

one of the 68 pagers or, even better, one of the two 100 pagers:  Giant Comics #2 or Romantic Story #40

 

Thanks for the tips - I somehow totally missed the entire Time for Love series, so I have added 40 to my list. And probably 13, because it's just so stupid. 

 

Got the first book from my list in the mail today!

 

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:banana:

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Third book checked off my list.

The paper sticking out the top is thanks to Charlton's terrible production values - it looks like they cut this book with the edge of a brick or something, it's so jagged. 

But it's in very nice shape, and it's just a crazy weird cover from a young Jose Luis Garcia Lopez before he went to DC. There are a ton of artist covers on romance books, with the artist painting their love interest or something, but few of them have the woman as the artist - and none of the others have a random crazy dude in tighty whities screaming angrily at the couple. So weird!

 

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Edited by Crimebuster
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On 2/25/2018 at 12:01 AM, Crimebuster said:

I sense I am being sucked down an endless abyss here. I thought starting to collect Archie comics was bad enough. 

if you are a die-hard completist then bring plenty of patience. If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt also though.... :) 

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