Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Number 893

Broadway's broken heart

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. They say there's a broken heart for every light on Broadway. Or is it a broken light for every heart on Broadway?

Whatever. Darla Manners, once the darling of the Great White Way, has returned after five years only to find she's been forgotten. What terrible memories Broadway fans must have to forget a big star like Darla in a mere five years! But, memories aside, Darla realizes what's important and in the end true love prevails.

This stirring tale of love in the limelight is drawn by Bill Ward, and is scanned from Quality Comics' Broadway Romances #1, 1950.


borky said...

Ah, y'big softy, y'u!

Oddly enough, I've always had a secret fondness for girlie romance comics myself, (which is why you'll periodically find me hanging out at Martin Nodell's granddaughter Jacque's place, Sequential Crush).

As a kid I always used to secretly read me younger sister's girlie comics like Bunty and Jackie - not 'cause I was soppy like you, mind, but because I was doing serious research into the psyche of the female - honest!

The thing is, like the guy that knocked out that Dynamic Man - was it? - story you blogged a little while back, you can always tell when someone's writing these things merely by the numbers, with no child-like innocent sense of romance, or authentic longing in their still secretly young heart for love that'll last forever.

Unlike a lot of so-called rom-com movies, where the definition of being faithful is trying not to shag around with other people so much, and sharing the same bed for at least 18 months, you can tell the writer of Yesterday's Darling really meant it. Even Bill Ward the artist obviously believes. I believe, damn it!

In the words of David Bowie's Drive-in Saturday, "She's not certain if she likes him, but she knows she really loves him..."

Pappy said...

Borky, when I was younger I wouldn't have given 2¢ for a love comic, but now I'm getting into them. They fascinate me as much for what they don't say as much as what they do. They dwell on the first body rush of love, but ignore what comes after.

As for your "psyche of the female," I spent over 30 years working for a large organization comprised mostly of women. I spent a lot of time studying them. Learn by immersion is my motto! I believe women believe in romantic love. I don't believe the kind of romantic love in the comic books lasts beyond the last panel, (or in the movies past the end credits).

Besides decades of working with women, I've been married for 42 years, and know that once the hormonal gush is over, the real work of relationships begins. That's where the love comics--and a female idealization of love, probably yearned for by the typical female pre-or-adolescent reader of a love comic--ends, with a dazzling wedding and Happily Ever After.

As far as I know the same guys who wrote horror comics, science fiction, Western and super hero also worked on love comics, so they were already working with fantasy. I do think that this particular story, even though it fits into that pattern of romantic idealization of love, is well written (except for the fans forgetting a Broadway star after only five years), and of course well drawn. I do know what Bill Ward's fantasies were, and he kept them a bit more covered up here. Still a fine piece of work.

Errrrr, what's "soppy like you" mean? Should I feel insulted?