Friday, October 3, 2014

British Romance Comics: Love Story Picture Library 1336 - "Tell Me Why"

While visiting England earlier this year I was lucky enough to purchase a few of the digest-size British romance comics. The ten I found were from the 1960s and early 70s, and most of them belonged to the Love Story Picture Library series published by Fleetway. What was great about these finds was that some of them contained some very nice artwork that looked like it was by Spanish artists. Here's one. Love Story Picture Library # 1336 has, unlike many of these comics, one long story and a shorter story at the end (usually there's just one longer story filling the book). The total page count is 68 pages, starting at the outside front cover, so stories typically start on page 3. "Tell Me Why" is a 9-page short story at the end of the book, and as you can see it is not the cover story for this issue. This issue is from 1976, but it says inside that it was originally published in 1970, and I'd guess it probably had a different cover then. Eight new issues were published by Fleetway on the first Monday of every month, according to an ad inside. When I was a kid and buying comics in the 1960s, my main go-to was Aladins Book Shop up the top of Hornsey Road in Islington in London. It was run by Shirley and her husband Alan, and I remember that they had a huge selection of these romance books along with all the other second-hand comics, pulps, and paperbacks. Of course, at the time I was buying The Flash and Mystery in Space, but those rows and rows of British romance comics are far harder to find nowadays than their more well-known American counterparts, and contain some surprising gems. Anyway, here's the 9-page story in its entirety. Any guesses on the artist? It's fairly roughly hewn, but it looks kind of familiar!









Look out for another example in my next post - it's a beauty!

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing, KB! I always love seeing international counterparts to the American comics. I guess I never really connected it before now -- but you grew up in London? Do you have a preference for the American comics or the British ones, or are they equal in your heart?

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  2. Hi Jacque - I like some of both. My favorite British comics are the classic weekly funny papers, especially The Beano and the Dandy when the great Leo Baxendale and Dudley Watkins were working on them, on strips like The Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, and Lord Snooty. Their humor is totally surreal and unlike anything you'll find in American comics. As far as romance comics, I think I enjoy both British and American equally - they are kind of different even though they both fit the same genre. I love American Silver Age comics of pretty much any kind, but I have my favorites. My grandmother started me off reading comics in 1959 - she paid for weekly copies of the Beano, Dandy, and later the Beezer and Topper. But she also started me reading American comics. She used to take me to and from school, and we'd pass Aladins Book Shop. She'd take me in there and she bought me all kinds of Harvey comics, plus The Atom, The Flash, Justice League, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and all the DC line, ACG, Charlton, and Atlas (Marvel) fantasy books like Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Forbidden Worlds, and Strange Tales! Eventually I got into Marvel superheroes as well, and that's when I started collecting comics instead of just reading them and trading them back in. My greatest prizes in my first collection were perhaps X-Men 1-3, Avengers 4, Daredevil 1, Tales of Suspense 1, and everything by Jim Steranko, the pinnacle being Nick Fury #s 1-3, and #5, and his Captain America issues. They were just a total mind blow! But when Jack Kirby left Marvel, my world turned upside down!!!

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  3. I love hearing how people got into comics and what they read as a kid! Thank you for sharing, KB!

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  4. Fantastic share! Thanks! Wish I could find more British romance comics.

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    1. If you are interested in buying some, you can find them on eBay UK, and with a bit of searching find a seller that will mail to the USA.

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  5. The artist on "Tell me why" Seems to be Jose Pepe Gonzales also famous Vampirella's artist.

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    1. I think you may be right, Anonymous. Very quickly sketched and inked, looks like.

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