Monday, November 23, 2009

Latino/Spanish Artists at Charlton: Demetrio (4) - Secret Romance 30

Well I did say that Just Married 102 is probably the most famous Demetrio Charlton romance cover but this one is definitely a contender, especially because it has the trippy, full-blown Steranko-style psychedelic bit on this gorgeous cover. This is a re-posting of a scanned story in the Romance Comics Reading Room, "Ring Twice" from the January 1975 issue of Charlton's Secret Romance.
Demetrio's stories seem to gravitate towards the wealthier, middle and upper middle class set. He certainly draws them like he's part of that scene himself. This one's about Bob, maneuvered towards engagement and pending marriage by his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Davies.
Carolyn sets up a super-trendy engagement party populated by lots of beautiful people apparently drinking electric Kool Aid! But Bob stands his ground when Carolyn tries to push him on the wedding date. He wants to be self-sufficient before they take that step, and Carolyn acquiesces.
Bob works for his uncle, who has noticed Carolyn's ongoing tactics to get her fiancee to the altar as soon as possible. Bob's uncle, Wyatt Forbes, needs someone to go to Puerto Rico to evaluate a new line of merchandise for their business, and he'd like Bob to be the one to deal with this account, AND it will give Bob a couple of weeks' breather from the pressure to get hitched to Carolyn. The paintings in the office building look like they're original Demetrios from his early tribute-to-Steranko phase.
Of course there's a beautiful girl waiting to meet Bob in PR, the lovely Rita Martin, whose family owns the business Bob's uncle has been purchasing from. Panel 3 looks like Demetrio took a lesson from Gene Colan here, with all the shading. Bob obviously likes Rita.
Rita gives Bob the VIP treatment appropriate for an important business associate, with everything well organized - food, entertainment, transport, accommodation - but there's a little more to it than simple business for Rita as well.
Demetrio draws a fabulous wrought iron gate on this page. Rita has made Bob realize how he really feels about Carolyn.
 Bob is forced to acculturate to the Puerto Rican way of doing things - they don't work 24/7 but lead a more balanced lifestyle. They're at another posh Demetrio style party but not, because they're really more interested in each other. Things are really warming up between Rita and Bob.

After work the next day, as promised Rita takes Bob to a lovely Puerto Rican beach where they snorkel in the clear water and sample the visual delights of a Caribbean coral reef. Bob's made his mind up to break off his engagement to Carolyn - he's falling head over heels for Rita, and the feeling's mutual.
 The two weeks over, Bob's life is transformed, Rita's on her way to NYC on the invitation of Uncle Wyatt, and yes, Carolyn will be annoyed, upset, but just as well Bob realized now that he wasn't in love with her, BEFORE they got married and started having kids. Having successfully averted a future broken home and the suffering any potential children would have had to endure, Bob looks like he's found a solid prospect in Rita. She's obviously smitten with him. It's going to be an inter-ethnic marriage, and judging by Bob's first experience of Puerto Rico, he's going to enjoy learning about his new wife's culture. The two families will also be united, which will hopefully be really good for business.

Gotta love Demetrio!


  1. I do love Demetrio -- gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. The hair always gets me.

  2. I agree. And Demetrio's young people are certainly well-endowed with plenty of it (hair). The ladies have those sumptuous dos even slightly before the rise to fame of Farrah Fawcett.