Let's discuss Bronze Age Romance!
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Hey guys, let's discuss Bronze Age Romance!

I've been collecting romance for a few years now, but am just really starting to make it more of a focus, thanks in part to some conversations and encouragement I've received here on the boards in recent weeks. 

As a result of those conversations, I have gone through all the Bronze Age romance books from Marvel, DC, and Charlton, and put together my own want lists and ranking charts of what I think are the top Bronze Age romance books from each publisher. I personally find Bronze Age romance to be much more vibrant and interesting than Silver Age romance, so while I am also still studying the Silver Age books, I am planning to make the Bronze Age my collecting focus for romance. 

I know I'm breaking the first rule of Fight Club by actually revealing what I think the top books are, especially since so many great romance books are undervalued, and are so hard to find in grade. But I'd love to have a discussion about what books are underrated, which books are overrrated, and see if there's any kind of consensus on the top Bronze Age romance books. I just think this is a seriously underappreciated segment of the hobby, and I'd love to hear from other romance collectors. I also didn't want to clog up the current Romance collecting thread with a bunch of discussion, since that's more for posting our books, so I figured I'd start a separate thread. 

 

Anyway, here are my highly subjective lists. I am using the cover date of May, 1968 as the beginning of Bronze Age Romance, as that is the date for Falling in Love #99, which I just can't consider Silver Age despite the 12 cent cover price. 

 

Thoughts? Paging @Dr. Love!

 

TOP 27 BRONZE AGE ROMANCE

1. Love 1971

2. Just Married 104

3. Falling in Love 99

4. My Love 14

5. Night Nurse 1

6. Secret Romance 30

7. Our Love Story 5

8. Just Married 102

9. Sinister House of Secret Love 1

10. Love 1970

11. My Love Special 1

12. Young Love 68

13. Young Love 106

14. Love Stories 150

15. Heart Throbs 120

16. Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 1

17. DC 100 page super spectacular 5

18. Falling in Love 118

19. Haunted Love 5

20. Haunted Love 6

21. Secret Romance 1

22. Career Girl Romances 71

23. Love Diary 64

24. Summer Love 48

25. Young Love 69

26. (tie) Our Love Story 1 and My love 1

 

Bronze Age DC Top 25

1. Love 1971

2. Falling in Love 99

3. Sinister House of Secret Love 1

4. Love 1970

5. Young Love 68

6. Young Love 106

7. Love Stories 150

8. Heart Throbs 120

9. Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 1

10. DC 100 page super spectacular 5

11. Girls Romances 144

12. Falling in Love 118

13. Young Romance 170

14. Young Love 69

15. Secret Hearts 147

16. Girls Love 137

17. Dark Mansion 2

18. Sinister House of Secret Love 4

19. Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 3

20. Young Love 104

21. Girls Love 139

22. Love Stories 149

23. Young Romance 194

24. Secret Hearts 137

25. Heart Throbs 124

 

Bronze Age Marvel Top Ten

1. My Love 14

2. Night Nurse 1

3. Our Love Story 5

4. My Love Special 1

5. Our Love Story 1

6. My Love 1

7. Night Nurse 4

8. My Love 31 / Our Love Story 18

9. My Love 10 / My Love 25

10. Our Love Story 28 

 

Bronze Age Charlton Top 20

1. Just Married 104

2. Secret Romance 30

3. Just Married 102

4. Haunted Love 5

5. Haunted Love 6

6. Secret Romance 1

7. Career Girl Romances 71

8. Love Diary 64

9. Summer Love 48

10. Haunted Love 7

11. Just Married 86

12. I Love You 95

13. Haunted Love 11

14. Time for Love 40

15. Teen Age Love 63

16. I Love You 126

17. My Only Love 6

18. For Lovers Only 73

19. Just Married 101

20. For Lovers Only 67

Edited by Crimebuster
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1 hour ago, Crimebuster said:

Question - it seems like My Love #14 is much more desirable than Falling in Love #118. Is this strictly because of scarcity? People like the cover better? Or is FiL #118 just overlooked?

Taking a quick snapshot.... from a census view 1 person has a  set of  Falling in Love with  only 1 graded comic in same set . My Love has 10 registered sets, higher demand is a factor and generally I believe all these books are very scare in high grade

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I would reverse the positions of #17 DC 100 Pager #5 , as the psychadelic Love back cover puts it over the top compared to #13, Young Love #106. Although the writing of the teen in hot pants and 2c Women's Lib story is more memorable in YL #106.

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Fantastic work!  Great lists!

The only thing I would add, and it's more historical and not a personal preference thing, is the Young Love 69. 

"In the beginning, there were the 80-Page Giants, and they were good. Much had changed since DC began its series of thick reprint collections in 1960, though, and one of them was that pesky 80.  Something that hadn’t changed since 1966 was the group of characters chosen to appear in the Giants’ monthly rotation: Batman and Superman (each twice a year), the Flash, Jimmy Olsen, Justice League of America, Lois Lane, Sgt. Rock, Superboy, Supergirl, and the Superman/Batman team. The Sgt. Rock annuals were a catchall for DC’s various war series, but every other genre—active or dormant—was virtually shut out by superheroes.

In the summer of 1968, DC took its first tentative step toward rectifying the matter when it expanded Young Love #69 to a Giant for that one issue.  It was also a stealth introduction of the slimmer 68-page Giants."

It's a sought after minor key for these reasons.

 

YoungLove69f100_zpshjklizzh.jpg

 

 

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21 hours ago, Dr. Love said:

Fantastic work!  Great lists!

The only thing I would add, and it's more historical and not a personal preference thing, is the Young Love 69. 

YoungLove69f100_zpshjklizzh.jpg

 

 

 

Oh yeah, thanks. I will update my list with this when I have a chance!

I've never personally been a fan of the DC Giants, mainly because I don't like reprint books, but I understand the collectibility of them. 

 

This actually prompts two questions from me, curious what people's thoughts are!

1) Reprint Covers -  It seems like a lot of the interest in specific romance issues is driven by the cover, so I'm wondering how reprints affect this. Both Charlton and Marvel have reprints of issues where they used essentially the same cover, just with tweaks to coloring and trade dress. Does this lower the interest in or value of these books? Or are they taken on a case-by-case basis? In at least a couple instances, I think the reprinted covers looks a lot better than the original, such as Our Love Story #28 and I Love You #126. But I could see how having multiple issues with the same cover could drive down interest in both issues. 

2) Lois Lane and Romance Adjacent Titles - How do romance collectors treat cross-genre books like Lois Lane? Young Love #69 reminds me of Lois Lane #113, for instance, while Lois Lane #114 is for me a classic Giordano romance cover. I'm just curious what other romance collectors think of Lois Lane or other titles like it, which have romance elements or overtones (Supergirl #3 is another fantastic pure romance cover on a non-romance book). 

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I've been collecting BA romance for a while now. Mainly I chase after the Marvel books, shooting for raw or slabbed FN/VF or higher, if possible. 

I believe that Our Love Story 1-21 and My Love 1-21 are essential. After that, the interiors are all reprints, and most of the covers are reprints as well, with some notable exceptions (like OLS 32).  The reprint issues are even tougher to find in high grades, if that scratches your itch.  The issues with white covers (My Love 8, 15, 17, 23, 31 & OLS 16) seem to be very difficult to find without tanning pages and covers.

The first handful of issues for each series has some great artwork by Buscema, Colan and Romita. In fact, when reading these stories I sometimes feel like Peter Parker  and Matt Murdock are somewhere in the background, just out of panel, doing whatever it was they were doing in 1970!

Night Nurse 1-4 are also essential, and great reads, too! I see these books alot more often now that their popularity has increased. Slabbed copies Night Nurse 1, IMO, get alot of gift grades because of the unforgiving red, picture-frame cover.

I agree with most of your Marvel top ten list, although I'm not sure if ML14 is really more in demand than Night Nurse 1, if only because I'm under the impression the super-hero collectors decided they need a copy of that book.

I am curious about your choices for spots 8, 9 and 10. What is your reasoning for these particular issues? My guess is your pointing out the Women's Lib content?

I don't really go after BA DC romance. There's just too much, and I have a hard time deciding on what to focus on. Adams covers? Toth artwork? 52-pagers?

I do have the gothic books, though, which if you're into that kind of thing are all great books for Romance and Horror collectors. Dark Manison of Forbidden Love 1-4 and Forbidden Tales of Dark Manison 5, Sinister House of Secret Love 1-4 and Secrets of Sinister House 5 are all you need, because after that the titles switch over to all-horror books. (The horror issues are pretty good, too.) I don't really consider Lois Lane a romance book, although I don't know why not.

Chartlon is another publisher I've dabbled with, but gave up mostly due to the frustration of finding high grade books. Haunted Love 1 is around, but subsequent issues, especially the Ditko ones, seem tough to find. (At least for me.)

That's my two-cents. Now I'll wait for Greggy to take us to school...

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56 minutes ago, MisterX said:

 

I am curious about your choices for spots 8, 9 and 10. What is your reasoning for these particular issues? My guess is your pointing out the Women's Lib content?

 

 

Yeah, My Love 31 / Our Love Story 18 and My Love 10 / My Love 25 I noted for the Women's Lib covers. I have a personal interest, as I want to put together a subset of all the women's lib romance covers (DC and Charlton both have 2 or 3 as well), but I also think the subject matter is going to continue to be more and more relevant and collectible in the same way that Wonder Woman #7 has become a breakout key (though obviously to a much lesser degree). 

For Our Love Story #28, I just think it's a fantastic pop art cover. It feels like the pop art embodiment of what people think of romance comics as. 

I also think the coloring on the reprint makes the cover of Our Love #28 much more dramatic than the original, Our Love Story #15. I mean, I love Marvel's frame covers, but the yellow background just makes this explode off the cover much more than the blue background. I've seen a few copies online, and there also seems to be some variance in the intensity of the colors depending on (I presume) when in the printing process it was made. Finding a copy that is both high grade and has deep rich colors might be impossible. We'll see!

GTOCg0F.jpgZXq2T4O.jpg

 

(not my copies)

Edited by Crimebuster
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Charlton Comics romance covers that caught my attention:

Teen-Age Love #68 (January, 1970):

NrMXwB5.jpg
 

Teen-Age Love #85 (July, 1972):

8HpmfLT.jpg

Teen Confessions #76 (October, 1972):

dEFCY01.jpg
 

Haunted Love #7 (January, 1975):

tvSaZKj.jpg

Love and Romance #20 (January, 1975):

MhpjI5u.jpg

Secret Romance #30 (January, 1975):

bFxZoRW.jpg
 

Time for Love #40 (February, 1975):

wzH1NMg.jpg
 

For Lovers Only #78 (April, 1975):

r00iRXQ.jpg

Teen Confessions #89 (June, 1975):

HfDpmQB.jpg
 

Teen Confessions #90 (August, 1975):

wYSkpeV.jpg
 

For Lovers Only #81 (October, 1975):

6vnkRpZ.jpg

I Love You #114 (October, 1975):

ZXK5Srr.jpg
 

Love Diary #95 (October, 1975):

8ACkzEf.jpg
 

My Only Love #3 (November, 1975):

Okh69Xl.jpg
 

Secrets of Young Brides #4 (January, 1976):

NELxYAx.jpg

For Lovers Only #83 (February, 1976):

lQ0WWvB.jpg

I Love You #116 (February, 1976):

hI1LdM8.jpg
 

Love Diary #97 (February, 1976):

TBxRPuO.jpg
 

Time for Love #46 (February, 1976):

lagKnLe.jpg
 

Secrets of Young Brides #5 (March, 1976):

waTmHpm.jpg

Teen Confessions #94 (May, 1976):

I58GQKW.jpg

I Love You #118 (June, 1976):

eugYOno.jpg
 

Love Diary #99 (June, 1976):

9NdEIJh.jpg
 

Secrets of Young Brides #6 (June, 1976):

iAIqAjm.jpg

Teen Confessions #95 (July, 1976):

bRwDasq.jpg

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4 hours ago, Crimebuster said:

I have never come across any of these in the wild, but they are definitely on my radar. 

I collected all the Skywald comic titles about 12 years ago. The romance were the toughest, fun to hunt these. All 25 cent, 52 pagers.  They are uncommon in high grade

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