Tuesday, November 17, 2009

True Life Secrets

Sequential Crush is what motivated me to start this blog, and I'm going to stay with the romance comic theme. It's my favorite genre, and there's a lot that can be extracted from even a cursory glance across the covers and pages of these books. They speak of the times out of which they emerged, and are often thought of as reflecting transient phases in the development or evolution of society. Yet they also reveal aspects of human nature that are more subtle, more persistent, and maybe just as true today as back in the 50s, 60s, or 70s when most romance comics were published. More recent attempts at the genre tend to deliberately take a cynical standpoint towards romance. Case in point the DC Vertigo second series of Heart Throbs, supposedly what romance, if you can call it that, is really like in the 21st century. But despite gender equality, the breakdown of the family, more widespread acceptance of diversity in all its forms, there are certain things about the way heterosexual males and females relate to each other that have a timeless quality to them. Take this cover of True Life Secrets #23, for example. Published by Charlton Comics (Nov/Dec 1954, reprinting Fox's My Desire Intimate Confessions #4 from 1950, with a yellow instead of red background for the cover), it depicts, in admittedly no uncertain terms, the position women find themselves in, in some form or another, in a materialistic patriarchal society. When men hold the power in a world convinced that the pursuit of material ownership is the purpose of life, women have to use whatever other means they have at their disposal to acquire the desired objects.