Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Number 1894: “The thrills didn’t come.”

Michael is guilty of looks-ism. He loves Faye only because she is beautiful. In almost every panel where Michael appears in “I Couldn’t Go Back to Him,” he comments on Faye’s beauty. Faye and Michael are so close to marriage that Michael has even bought them a house. But then something awful happens, an accident. It makes Faye doubt her beauty. And Michael’s love.

While reading this little essay on the shallowness of some men the phrase “trophy wife” came to mind, The artwork is by L.B. Cole, whose glossy style lends itself to pretty characters. Faye needs plastic surgery and complains that her face is completely different, but to me it looks exactly the same after surgery as before. It must’ve puzzled Cole when he read the script. Make her beautiful still, but different. Cole’s figures look like they are out of magazine ads. Michael and Bob (the doctor who performs the surgery, and falls for Faye) even look alike, down to the unfortunate use of the same colors for their suits. In that way it seems Michael’s prejudices have rubbed off on Faye.

From All Romances #1 (1949):

More L.B. Cole, this time with a Toni Gayle story. Just click on the thumbnail.


Unknown said...

"She'll get over it. Faye, wasn't it lucky you got back today? I was going to marry Gloria tomorrow?" I laughed out loud at that. Now, Michael won't even get the pathetic Gloria. He'll end up with some pretty girl that's even more vapid.

You're wrong, Pappy! Cole made Michael and Bob look completely different: Michael smokes a pipe!

At least in this story Faye's new face looks like her own old one (even if she doesn't think so) rather than looking like another actual person, like David Hasselhoff on Knight Rider or Tom Berenger in the movie Shattered, where they are made to look like someone else who exists.

Daniel [] said...

In real life, women are so conditioned to see their appearances as of great importance — and men as preöccupied with female physical beauty — that many women simply don't know how to deal with a man who places much more emphasis on other things. My second girl-friend was, physically, remarkably beautiful, and never adjusted to the idea that I wasn't over-whelmed. My third girl-friend was constantly worried that I'd leave her for a trimmer, prettier woman.

The art here is … bad. It has occasional moments, but sometimes these don't even last through the whole panel. It's as if someone inked carefully here-and-there, but then went back to complete the work in a state of panic or of utterly lack of concern.

Like so many of the stories that I've seen from love comics, this is a tale of passion, written with no passion. Were I publishing a love comic then, while I'd want some stories that were closer to our ordinary experiences of love and of heartbreak, I'd also want to do things such as license the characters of Nick and Nora Charles. (I'd tell my writers that they'd d_mn'd well better emphasize the love between these two characters, as they solved crimes.) I'd tell the writers that if they had a science-fiction or fantasy story with a love angle, then I wanted to see it. I'd want writers to do work about which they could be passionate.

Pappy said...

Ryan, of course. I cleaned my glasses of the smears of jelly from my morning toast and see that you are correct. Michael and Bob are completely different.

I think there is a place for vapid beauties in our lives...the ones whose selfies end up on the Internet. (Actually, I bless those girls for the happiness they bring to me, even without knowing me.)

Pappy said...

Daniel, I assume that the story was written by a man. But maybe not. It is the man in the story who is so unsympathetic. We know that type of man...he is the one who collects women as trophies. A female writer might have a different view of that than a male.

All love stories are formula. If I watch a movie with my wife I can always guess when certain events will happen, because they are built into the formula. And they are formulaic because real relationships follow the same course as the fictional ones.

I can't really think of any science fiction I've read that has a strong love interest. (My science fiction reading in the past few years has been just like my comic book reading, from the forties and fifties.) I assume it is because science fiction writers didn't have love affairs, being too busy hunched over a typewriter writing for a readership made up of other guys. That is a stereotype, but probably more true than untrue.

What I am trying to say is that I don't think anyone can write about the vicissitudes of love and relationships unless one has been through a few of them, both successful and unsuccessful. Knowing now what I did not know 50 years ago when I first started having relationships, I wonder if I'd had a glimpse of my future, that knowledge of the bumpy road to love would have had me hunching over a typewriter to write science fiction, forgoing the real-life dramas to come.