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Saturday, August 29, 2015 

Jack Kirby's romance tales

The East Valley Tribune has a short item for Jack Kirby's 98th birthday about the romance comics he penned in the late 1940s and 50s. All done at a time when there was actually an effort made to write, publish and market romance stories on a serious basis, to women and even men. But by the end of the 60s, they'd largely been phased out and while there have been some here and there in recent decades, the mainstream certainly doesn't make much of an effort to market and promote them. Not that you could expect them to know how either, and the prices for monthly issues won't encourage anyone to check them out.

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...are you sure we're talking about the same romance comics here?

Well, the romance comics were probably aimed at girls, not adults. Grown women read the same kind of love stories, but in other media: paperback books, and "real" magazines (e.g., True Confessions). They also had radio (and, later, TV) soap operas.

In Kirby's time, a lot of kids read comics, and there was a variety of genres. Westerns, romance, war, science fiction, comedy. Today, at the Big Two, the medium is dominated by one genre (costumed super heroes), and one style (grim-and-gritty). The lack of variety may be one more reason that the medium is dying.

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