Saturday, October 4, 2014

British Romance Comics: Love Story Picture Library 752 - "Sheriffs Mustn't Cry"

Unlike the example in the previous Out Of This World post, Love Story Picture Library #752 features just one story, the one advertised on the cover - "Sheriffs Mustn't Cry." The quality of the interior artwork in this story is simply outstanding, and although I am at this point unable to identify the artist, I would guess that it is drawn by one of the Spanish artists. The story itself is not that bad either. It is an interesting genre crossover - romance and western, recalling the romantic western sub-genre of the American romance comics of the late 1940s and early 1950s. This one is a little different, though. It is set in the 1960s, and starts with a British girl selling cosmetics in the American wild west, which somehow seems to have survived relatively intact in this real backwater town that she's visiting, the ominously named Rockbottom! Aside from the odd car and other Twentieth Century electrical devices, the town looks straight out of the 1880s. The girl's name is Bernice Granger, and she's about to experience the adventure of her life! The whole story is 55 pages long, so I've tried to pick the best pages, and filled in the gaps with synopses of what's taking place. Truthfully, every page is worth savoring!

As soon as Bernice enters Rockbottom, she's commandeered by the local sheriff, who needs her assistance in going after a thief. There's just been a robbery, and it's a car and a chauffeur he needs. Bernice figures she might as well help out. They catch up with the crook, but things don't work out too well for the sheriff. He gets wounded and the crook gets away. Bernice runs to help the sheriff...

The town's new sheriff is a big hit with the locals. They've never had a lady sheriff before, and a pretty one to boot! The local newspaper editor sees an opportunity to boost his circulation, and figures he'll start by helping Bernice look the part...

While the Federal Marshall figures out a plan of action to deal with this unorthodox development, the newspaper man has gone to press with some fabricated background stories of the supposed crime-busting exploits of the new sheriff:

Meanwhile the Marshall has appointed a new sheriff himself, Jed, and sent him to Rockbottom to clear up the mess, at this point unbeknownst to Bernice, who hasn't forgotten that she initially came there to sell cosmetics:

Bernice finds herself falling head over heels for Jed. There's not much going on in Rockbottom for a young couple looking for places to hang out together, so they go off for a ride into the desert, which turns out to be a suitably romantic option:

But when Bernice finds out Jed came to replace her as the sheriff, and Jed realizes that Bernice is the illegally-appointed sheriff he's been sent to oust, a spanner is thrown into the cog-wheels of their romance. Bernice insists that she'll walk the 10 miles back to town, but Jed's macho, chauvinistic, traditionally sexist world view convinces him that forcibly grabbing Bernice and bringing her back to town is an appropriate course of action. Bernice lets him know otherwise when they get back to Rockbottom:

Press man Brad Nolan has a new idea that he thinks will help Bernice, and sell more papers. He's arranged for an election in the town for sheriff. The next day...

Then there's another unexpected turn. The festivities surrounding the election provide the perfect cover for a bank robbery. And guess who the townsfolk are expecting to apprehend the thief? Bernice accepts her responsibility, and drives off in pursuit of the robber in her classic Cadillac. She realizes that it is probably the same thief she was originally deputized to help bring to justice. It doesn't take long for her to figure that she's out of her league, but of course Jed wouldn't let her face such danger alone:

The robber steals Bernice's Cadillac and heads back to town, to the railroad yard. Jed has his man in his sights, however. With the bad guy behind bars, we can have ourselves a wedding! All ends well for our happy couple, and the newspaper has another front page story! Hopefully Bernice won't have too much trouble getting a green card and eventually American citizenship!

Amazingly, that was all based on a true story! Well, it could happen, couldn't it!? So, any ideas on who the artist of this little masterpiece was?


  1. Artwork is of Enric Badía Romero (Spain). Sure.

  2. Another great British romance comic! I loved the mixing of elements here; it somehow really worked. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I say this artwork is of Enric Badía Romero... is possible, but is more possible artwork of your brother, Jorge Badía Romero. I think.

    1. Thanks for checking back in José. I find it very difficult to tell the difference. It is a big problem that the artists were so rarely credited when the stories were published.

  4. Definitely Enrique Badia Romero pencils, but I think Jorge inked it!

    1. Thank you again, David. I really enjoy the work of these brothers.