House of Romance 19 - Are Romance Comics Foolish?

Just added Old Crow Medicine Show to iTunes list. That is so far beyond cool.

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I’m thinking its from John Byrne’s Doom Patrol, as I can see a skosh of Byrne’s style in that panel.

I don’t recall Grodd being in that series, but I haven’t read it in full, and the last time I read anything from it was 2007 or so.

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Yeah, it looks familiar to me too. I think it’s from Salvation Run? I think I remember Mallah and Brain being teamed with Grodd in that story, but I could be totally wrong.

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Anyway, I had previously read the New 52 Romance Special for the World of Wonder club, so I think I’ll just copy and paste my thoughts from that:

Batman/Catwoman in “Think it Through”:

Easily the worst story in the entire issue. It’s better than most of Nocenti’s work on the Catwoman book at the time in that it at least doesn’t read like one of Neil Adams’ first drafts while on mescaline, but that’s about it.

Her idea of how Batman and Catwoman meet is so drab and boring, and she manages to get both characters completely wrong. Like, Selina’s whole thing is she robs from the rich, why does she need Batman to tell her not to steal from the needy? Why is Batman telling her what she should steal and who to steal from in the first place? It’s just so WRONG it kind of boggles the mind.

The art by Emanuela Lupacchino was really good, though.

Aquaman/Mera in “The Lighthouse”:

A marked improvement, though still just an okay story. The story of the two lovers is kind of old hat and distracting because, well, I’m looking for an Aquaman and Mera story. I guess it’s written in a way that makes the two lovers analogous to Arthur and Mera, but not in a way that really felt all that interesting. I guess since the regular Aquaman book was already had a strong focus on their relationship they felt like they had to do something different here, but…it just didn’t work very well for me.

Batgirl and Ricky in “Dreamer”:

Oh man, I forgot all about Ricky. That was a weird story. Like, I get that Gail/Fawkes thought someone who was also crippled by crime, but different in that he’s from the wrong side of the tracks could make for an interesting romantic partner for Barbara, but I just don’t think it really worked out all that well. It just feels super forced and kinda cringy.

Apollo/Midnighter in “Seoul Brothers”:

Again, super weird story. Like, there’s two people, one of them at least acts like he’s not really interested in or can’t be in a relationship with the other, so the other just has an empty hook-up at a bar. Uh…Happy Valentine’s Day, I guess? And I like Simon Bisley’s art well enough for certain stories, dude was made to draw Lobo stories, but putting him on this was…certainly a decision.

Nightwing and Ursa Major in “Another Saturday Night”:

What, and I cannot stress this enough, the frick? Nightwing gets dumped by some random chick, meets another random lady, gets a date with her, and gets ghosted the next night? Sheesh, it’s like this one-shot is trying to do the opposite of getting one in a Valentine’s Day mood.

And who doesn’t like pepperoni on pizza? I mean, I get it’s kind of the basic white girl of pizza toppings, but yeesh!

Superman/Wonder Woman in “Truth or Dare”:

As a wise man once said, “Delicious, finally some good f:face_with_symbols_over_mouth:king food.”

I mean, this still has it’s problems. I never fully got what the two song ladies were and what their purpose/plan was. I did like the first few pages where Clark and Diana are just having a good time at a dinner, y’know, nice V-Day activity, and I liked the idea that Clark was able to stop Eros’ love bullet and loves Diana because of who they are and not by the whim of the gods.

Overall:

Really, outside of the SuperWonder and Aquaman/Mera story, everything else felt kind of terrible, to be perfectly honest. You know, sometimes I scoff when I hear people say that DC/editorial/Didio make these couples suffer because he doesn’t like superhero marriage, but considering this was the best kind of couples they could have highlighted for this kind of one-shot, it makes one wonder if they might have had a point…

Kind of rough, but hey, I’m sure the others will pick up. :slight_smile:

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Hear hear!

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Hipster bluegrass was definitely a thing. The Deadheads needed something to do in the early 2000s.

A quick shortlist of bands to check out:
Yonder Mountain String Band
Keller Williams
Leftover Salmon (this is slam grass as they have drums)
Acoustic Syndicate
Old and In the Way (this is a band from the 70s but totally fits the vibe)
Garcia & Grisman

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I will be sure to keep and eye out for the SuperWonder and Aquaman/Mera stories when I read this week’s selections over the weekend. I am really hoping I will dig the Batgirl story but I can see this being cringy.

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Like I said there, the idea’s interesting in theory, but I just didn’t think it was executed well.

But hey, that’s just me, I’m sure others here will read those stories and like 'em. :slight_smile:

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Hmm, now that I think about it, I wonder if that Simone Batgirl story will be included in that Batgirl omnibus that was recently released. My copy is somewhere in the mail system but should arrive here by the end of the month.

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Looks like it is! Via Amazon:

Collecting Gail Simone’s celebrated New 52 run in one volume for the first time, Batgirl Returns Omnibus contains stories from Batgirl #0-34, Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1, Batgirl Annual #1-2, Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1, and Batgirl: Futures End #1.

I’m guessin the issues by Ray Fawkes are still there too, back when Editorial fired Simone abruptly for apparently being both too dark and too light or…something.

Y’know, I think the New 52 gets a bit of a bum rep, there was some AMAZING runs from that time, but then you hear some of the weird and insane editorial mandates going on at the time and you can kind of get why.

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I think Birds of Prey 8 is one of the few comics I have read more times than I can count. The art is amazing and the story is told via Nightwing’s memory during a conversation with Black Canary. Seeing Babs overcome her own fears, even if only momentary, has always got me. This is a perfect one and done story that I would love to see more of in comics. While it connects to the past it also leaves plenty of room for the future.


The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 2 was everything I was hoping it would be and more!!! The first story told in the form of chapters over 26 pages is hauntingly ridiculous and a great example of romance comics. There is an over-the-top story of a confused woman who has just experience severe trauma. Her reality and her new reality blend and she cannot tell what is real or what is a dream.

The backup story in The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love is a nugget of a bygone era, for the better. I enjoyed this weird story about a mysterious Siren in the waters of Greece that is in the business of sinking ships. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and laugh at some of the dialogs and thought bubbles.

Once again, The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love came through and was an excellent read. It is a perfect mix of horror and romance from the early 70s and I wish more comics in this genre were available to us.

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Read BOP #8 again yesterday and the moments of Dick and Babs at the circus and doing the trapeze is sweet, some of the stuff around it hampers it for me.

For one thing, I don’t get why this was done in flashback. The only reason I can think of for this to work like it does is if this was put in the middle of a arc where Babs couldn’t do this, in which case…why put it here in the first place? Why not wait until the end of the arc?

Also, maybe this is hypocritical of me since Bat/Cat is one of my favorite couples in comics, but the whole “we can’t be together” thing with Dick and Babs gets real old really fast. Like, with Bat/Cat you can at least understand why there’s angst and struggle there – he’s a crime fighter, she’s a criminal, kind of a big gap to deal with. But with Dick and Babs, it feels like it’s just there for the old Moonlighting syndrome, but they never really interact enough for the tension to really hold.

I don’t know, I just think they either really need to commit to them as a couple, or just drop it for a while.

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Finished reading Young Romance: New 52 Valentine’s Day Special. I have rated each story next to the story title using emojis. This is on a 5 point scale.

Think It Through (Batman/Catwoman) :catwoman_hv_3:
This is more of a Catwoman origin story than anything else. Not a bad story but it really could have used more and it appears the comic book agrees with me as the end of the story is telling me to check out Catwoman 18.

The Lighthouse (Aquaman/Mera) :00_aquaman: :00_aquaman: :00_aquaman: :00_aquaman: :00_aquaman:
This story hits all the marks that I am looking for in a romance comic. Maybe because I just read The Dark Mansion but I was definitely in the mood for this. The way this story was told had a great effect shifting between the letters from the 1800s and modern-day Aquaman and Mera. The ending of this story did not disappoint.

Dreamer (Batgirl/Ricky) :00_batgirl: :00_batgirl:
Dreamer isn’t horrible but it does suffer by being a story that only leads to another, and more than likely, more full story in Batgirl 17. There is not much here other than Ricky asking Batgirl to kiss him again. My rating may be a little higher than it deserves because I am all in for anything Batgirl.

Seoul Brothers (Apollo/Midnighter) :waxing_crescent_moon: :waxing_crescent_moon:
I am not familiar with these characters or Stormwatch. I have read an issue or two years ago but I couldn’t tell you anything about them. This isn’t a bad story as an introduction to the world of Stormwatch and these characters. The ending did kind of kill any kind of momentum but Midnighter does have some amazing inner dialog.

Another Saturday Night (Nightwing/Ursa Major) :yjo_nightwing: :yjo_nightwing: :yjo_nightwing:
I really liked this story. It was short but it also left me wanting to more about Ursa Major. This was her first appearance and I have no idea if she shows up again. Sheesh, New 52 was soooo long ago. Anyway, I really dig Ursa Major and her interactions with Nightwing. The ending seemed almost perfect for her as she quickly becomes an elusive character.

Truth or Dare (Superman/Wonder Woman) :00_wonder_woman_stars: :00_superman: :00_wonder_woman_stars: :00_superman:
I really, really enjoyed this story. The story starts with Clark and Diana on a date. Honestly, I would have been okay with just getting the inside look at their relationship but the action picks up quickly with Sirens and Eros. Superman is the star in this story as he stops Eros love bullet.

Overall, this is a fine collection of stories. Some are way better than others which leaves the book kind of uneven. There is something for everyone so I think others will like what I didn’t liked and vice versa.

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A little-known secret is that I enjoy 90s comics. They have problems but that doesn’t mean they are all bad. In fact, I have read many that have problems that I really enjoyed. I am glad to say that Superman: The Wedding Album is not one of those.

I really don’t remember the comics leading up to this story but I don’t think it matters. What does matter is that we get to see Clark and Lois finally get married! We also get to see Bibbo in a barfight and Lois hunt for an apartment with Martha Kent. Sam Lane is in his normal grouchy attitude but also used for comedic effect throughout the book.

One thing that I completely forgot about happening in this story is Bruce coming through for Clark multiple times. I also laughed when Lois and Clark were stating their vows, especially the “till death…” part. I added or “until Barry Allen tries to save his mother by going back in time effectively ending this universe.”

Happy cake day @LaserPuff!!!

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Thanks! It was a surprise when @vroom mentioned it earlier.

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Just be glad I didn’t turn down the lights and have everyone yell “Surprise!”. :slight_smile:

There’s always next year though, if you’d like. :clark_hv_4:

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I also enjoyed the Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love issue. I think I liked this issue a lot more than the first one we covered near the beginning of this club’s history, if only because the woman protagonist was a bit stronger here. I mean, she was still wispy, indecisive and “needed a strong man” or whatever, but considering she just lost her newlywed husband and is going through the worst gaslighting attempt in history, I can hardly blame her.

The only thing I didn’t like was the sudden “I love yous” between her and the detective. Like, I get that this is a romance comic and you want something romantic at the end, but it kind of makes her previous romance with her husband look bad if she just falls in love with another guy in, what, a couple of days? Since this is a horror/romance book, maybe they could have had a twist ending of a “ghost” of her husband saving her, reminding her that her love is never truly gone. Or if they really wanted to hint at something with the detective, maybe just hint at it with him comforting her after this whole ordeal by holding her hand.

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I thought this was weird as well! It really made no sense, like this character that is maybe 3 panels says “I love you” out of nowhere?!

I do think that this series is a gold mine just waiting for House of Horror to get through but I don’t want to burn people out on it.

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I read through the Superman Wedding Album. I enjoyed it a lot. It was light hearted and took you through the whole wedding process and all the drama involved in there in. It was missing the many, many late nights looking at wedding crap though. But it did capture all the great relationships they had over the years. Granted my limited knowledge of pre-New 52 stories are pretty limited, it hit all the notes from Lana, Lori, Batman, Lex to Mxyzptlk.

My only problem with the book was that the art was really sub-par for such an important event book. There was some good art in here and there were some real eye gougers.

I don’t know what the artist had against Jeanette but someone did not like her.
eye gouge 2 eye gouge


I enjoyed the book over all. It was slow but the writer did a pretty good job of livening it up with a drug cartel bust, a bar fight and a bridal shower filled with kitchen appliances.

The jaded comic reader in me assumes the next issue is going to be someone waking up from a dream or someone being send off to the phantom zone or something.

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Those smiles are horrible! There was some pages that were great but then there was many pages with those smiles.

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