Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seek Thy Love - Love Diary #56 (October 1968)

Of all the romance comic books I bought last weekend at the Motor City Comic Con, this one -- Love Diary #56 (October 1968) has me smitten, primarily due to the gorgeous cover. The scenario depicted on the cover is expanded on in the story, "Seek Thy Love." Though perhaps not the most compelling plot, the art by Spaniard José Luis García-López, who later went on to do work for DC, makes up for it.

Ruthie's mother has always had high expectations for her, going so far as to plan out the course of Ruthie's life for her. Having selected Wallace Schmidl for her husband, Ruthie's mother is in for the shock of her life when the young woman runs off with Arthur Barrows -- just as she is about to walk down the aisle.

During a flashback we find out that Ruthie's father was killed in combat during the Korean War. After his death, Ruthie's mother makes a solemn vow to always care for the little girl in the best way that she could. The mother worked hard to give Ruthie ballet lessons, drama classes and a prestigious education. Ruthie's mother even hand-selected the most eligible bachelor in the state -- Wallace Schmidl. Though Wallace is a perfectly nice guy, Ruthie finds herself more attracted to his friend, Art.

Though Ruthie has fallen for Art, her mother arranges a marriage for her to Wallace. As depicted on the cover, Ruthie decides to do what is best for her and runs from the impending wedding. She skips town with Art and winds up in New York City. Art arranges for Ruthie to live with his downstairs neighbor, and Ruthie quickly finds a job.

The love between Ruthie and Art grows, and it even seems that Ruthie's mother has accepted their love for one another. Finally, Ruthie is free to live the life she wants and marry the man she loves.

Bland story, yes. Bland art? No way! García-López's work exemplifies all that is good with Charlton romance comics, perhaps convincing the naysayers.

In other news, you may have noticed that the last poll ended, crowning the 1970s as the most fashionable era for romance comics. I can't say that I disagree! I will be back next week with a new poll, more goodies from my latest acquisitions and a brand new feature -- Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays!!! See you then!

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