Friday, June 05, 2009

Number 535

Bob Powell's Good Bad Girls

Regular Pappy's readers know I can't go long without showing something by Bob Powell; in this case original art for two love stories.

Love comics were once the best selling comic books. Unlike today's testosterone-driven comic book market, girls and young women were buying a lot of comics. What the female readers got with these two stories are cautionary tales of girls with bad reputations. Everybody knows about the girl in school who goes "all the way," or at least has that reputation.

I found scans for the original art to these two 1950's Harvey Comics stories on the Internet, and you may have seen them here and there. They're worth looking at again, though.

"I Joined a Teen-age Sex Club," besides having the wildest title ever to appear in a comic book, is about a girl trying to fit in with the crowd. In this case she ends up with a group of teen swingers who hold regular make-out parties. Propriety and good breeding, also the idea of losing a straight-laced boyfriend, straighten Geri out.

"Anybody's Girl" is about a girl who does succumb to temptation. She's lucky to get out of one bad situation only to have created another when her bad rep costs her a boyfriend. Tsk tsk. You know about those nights in a ski lodge. I had a few fantasies like that myself. I love the line in panel two of page one: "You're even more fun than your sister!" I think I'll put that on a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

The artwork is Bob Powell at his big-lipped best. The kissing scenes are great. With those lips a guy could kiss two girls at once.


prof. grewbeard said...

re: Sex Club-

so the first group she tries to join up with are the art nerds? wow...

Chuck Wells said...

Pappy, I'm sure that lots of young girls read these great comics back in the day, but I've long suspected that lots of young guys also took a "peek" from time-to-time too.

Testosterone-fueled curiosity notwithstanding, good art is good art, and Powell was one of the best.

Tamfos said...

Fantastic to see these, and shot from the originals! Thanks for sharing! What I really love about comics from this era (especially Romance books) is the "caption panel" -- which is to say, those small panels taken up mostly with expository text, but enhanced with a tiny illustration that frequently adds a dimension. Toth kept employing these well into the 70's, but it was the 50's when they were most widely used and accepted. Unlike the rest of the panels in a story where they show up, these frames were open to much broader rules of style. The illos could be representational, or purely metaphoric, and somehow -- likely due to their small size -- these departures of style are never the least bit disruptive. Very interesting. Certainly, they seem anachronistic now (primarily because comics storytelling styles are so, so different these days) but I miss them.

Anyway, "I Joined a Teen Age Sex Club" is lousy with the little buggers, and an expertly executed bunch they are. The lonely street corner on Page Two, the spilled glass of excess on Page Three, the galaxy of confusion orbiting Geri's addled eye on Page Four, and the racing heart on Page Five, among others. Powell was a master of many things. Great, great stuff! Thanks again, Pappy!!

aracona said...

I happen to own the original art to both of the Powell "good/bad girl" stories you've posted. My favorite feature of "Anybody's Girl" is the through-the-fireplace shot on page three (ouch! hot!), a device Powell used in other stories.

You can find more great Harvey romance art in my online gallery at CAF:

Or check out my classic Golden Age comic website at:

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