Thursday, October 21, 2010
My Romantic Adventures #138
I've said it before and I'll say it again; ACG is the great unknown comic book publisher of the Silver and Golden Age. It's unknown because they (mostly) didn't put out any superhero books. But some fine art, and terrific stories featuring quirky characters put Richard Hughes' mags on the top shelf for me.
This is the final issue of My Romantic Adventures, which lasted a total of fifteen years, from 1949-1964. The opening story is It's Never too Late to Love, and illustrates perfectly why I love the ACG line so much. Meg Foster had grown up plain, unlike her older sister, Dulcy. Dulcy married and moved overseas, where she had a daughter. Meanwhile, Meg started working in a department store as a sales clerk. But she had ideas:
She is soon promoted to head of the department. But when she returns home that evening, she gets bad news. Dulcy and her husband have died in a car crash, and their daughter, Clarice, is coming to live with her. Meg sacrifices herself to make sure that her niece gets everything:
Fortunately the promotions just keep coming for Meg, so she's able to agree when Clarice wants to go to an expensive prep school. But there's still one thing missing in her life, and Meg realizes what it is:
It turns out that Stanley is impressed with Meg's work and her softer side as well, and they begin dating, and become engaged. Clarice comes home for a vacation and Meg realizes that she's developed into a lovely woman. But you can probably see the fly heading towards the ointment here:
Sure enough, Meg comes home from getting fitted for a wedding dress to find:
Clarice insists that she loves Stanley and that they plan to get married, so Meg buries her own dreams and starts to help plan things. But:
And the wedding dress has to be the most expensive and the flowers and the gifts for the bridesmaids, etc. Meg soon realizes that her niece is likely to bankrupt her with the lavish plans. And is she really in love with Stanley, or does she just want him for his money? So she lays a trap:
She plays the recording for her niece, pretending it's coming over the radio. The "news" is that Stanley has been fired from his job over losses in the stock market and is now penniless. Sure enough, Clarice announces haughtily that she's dumping him, until she realizes that the recording was just a trick. But when Meg announces that she's going to fight for Stanley, she claims that he never really loved her and that he thinks of her as an old maid. Just then:
So Meg and Stanley are on again, and Clarice isn't heading back to that exclusive boarding school:
Comments: Wow! What a total beeeyatch Clarice is; Meg should have given her the old heave-ho years ago, although you could argue that she was partly to blame by spoiling her niece as a youngster. Overall a very entertaining story, and the ending is very satisfying due to the terrific characterization of Meg.
The second story is a brief advice bit:
Nothing objectionable in there, and note that it even suggests that the woman stand up for herself; not bad by 1964 standards.
The next story is the cover feature, and it's a weird one. A man and a woman fight over a taxi (a classic plot-starter), but agree to share the ride when the cabbie points out they're both going to Grand Central Station. The cabbie decides to push things forward a bit:
But when he plays some music on the radio, they both reminisce about a romance in their past where they were jilted. Ah, they have something in common! The next stage for the cabbie is to show them that he has a TV they can watch, featuring the story of a man coming home to his wife:
What the heck? That's the end of the story; they never do explain how the couple ended up on the television, or the whole bit with the cab apparently flying around erratically. I can only assume that we're intended to see the cabbie as some sort of magical being who could make anything happen.
The last story is about women who are just begging to be jilted by their boyfriends, taken from the files of a marriage consultant. The first girl is too much of a manager:
The second one is a spendthrift:
The third is a liar, while the fourth continues to flirt with other men after her engagement. The moral of the story?