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Marvel Romance Paperback – February 8, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (February 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785120890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785120896
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert J. Petersen on June 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read thousands of Marvel super-hero comics over the years and wasn't sure if I had much interest in their other genres, especially those that pre-date the introduction of The X-Men, Daredevil, etc. But I picked up Marvel Romance on a lark and cannot believe how much I loved this book.

The stories themselves are incredibly campy and fun. In a weird way, they remind me of reading modern day Grant Morrison stuff. All the characters are slightly 'off', their speech is incredibly formal and the situations totally absurd. Story #1 alone (there are 24 in total) involves the lily-white Diane who states "In the summer Manhattan is a bore...it's too hot, there are few cocktail parties, and the most eligible men are gone!". At a summer resort she meets the also lily-white Jim Scott who authors under the name Norman Taylor. Following a trend soon to be obvious, the story ends with them kissing as she declares to us in voice-over, "His lips sealed our true and lasting love with a kiss!"

Rich, educated and white seems to sum up all the characters in the book. With names like David Hunter, Leslie Mitchell, Scott Bentley and Pete Carter the objects of affection for these women seem to step right out of the young, handsome, rich East Coast mens club. I don't know who read these things originally back in the early 60's but I have a hard time picturing my teenage Mom on a farm in Indiana identifying with these books at all. But maybe that was the point?

All I know is I couldn't stop grinning while I read stories like 'Please Don't Let Me Be a Spinster' which opens with the line "I used to date too, laughing and loving like other girls! But now I walk alone, my yearning embracing only groceries."

This entire book seems like a Roy Lichtenstein exhibition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have long been a fan of the clean artwork of John Romita Sr, especially his expert delineation of the female form (Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson being standouts during his legendary Spider-man run), so I was interested enough to flip through this recent Marvel reissue of old romance comics from the 60s and 70s. Boy, am I glad I did! This 176 page volume contains wonderful artwork by Romita in the form of his clean, bold inking to the excellent penciling of the great John Buscema and the underrated Don Heck. Any fan of lovely Romita girls will enjoy Marvel Romance as it contains 4 stories with Romita inking some of the most beautiful woman ever to grace the pages of comics. Another highlight is the Steranko art on "My Heart Broke in Hollywood". This story appears in the Steranko collection, Marvel Visionaries: Steranko, as well. It is a true masterwork of psychedelic design. The hairdos and sexy outfits of the stories from the late 60s and early 70s are great and the more adventurous design and layout styles that had become predominant in comic's Bronze Age adds extra flair to these stories. I can't say I'm as big of a fan of the first half of the book, as these tales come from earlier Marvel romance comics (1960-1964). Although the artwork for these stories is mostly provided by two comics legends that I love, Jack Kirby and Dick Giordano, I prefer their more accomplished later work in the mid-to-late 60s and early 70s. Having said this, the whole book has a fun, campy feel to it that will appeal to anyone who enjoys overwrought melodrama (i.e. Douglas Sirk films).Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Robert J. Petersen's review captured the gist of this book perfectly - no others really need to be written. I will say that this book is certainly not a joke, as romance comics made up a significant amount of sales in the period immediately following the arrival of the comics code authority, so Marvel deserves a pat on the back for bringing an overview of the genre into print. Where Marvel really stumbled is in not providing an introduction to the book, but instead launching straight into the stories. An introduction would have helped put these comics into their proper historical perspective and maybe warranted a 5-star review. Anyway, MARVEL ROMANCE provides the reader with a decent selection of tales that span the years 1960 - 1972. Most are written by smilin' Stan Lee, with great art by Dick Giordano, Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky, John Buscema, Jim Starlin, Jim Steranko, and Gene Colan. Two very important things can be learned from these stories:

1. Stan Lee's overwrought dialogue for his heroines Sue Storm (Invisible Girl), Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), and Janet van Dyne (the Wasp) was developed in stories such as these - see any Marvel Essential!

2. The artists of Marvel's Silver Age had solid artistic skills and were professionals in the truest sense of the word. All of these guys could easily switch gears and fit right in drawing stories featuring not a single cape or flexed bicep. Picture a modern artist like Ed McGuiness or Rob Liefeld trying to do something like this... pretty ridiculous, eh?

So again, thumbs up to Marvel. If nothing else, give this book a shot to strengthen your comics education. Maybe it's corny, maybe the fellas will laugh at you - but you'll know better!
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