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Golden and Silver Age romance comics have long languished in a…

Golden and Silver Age romance comics have long languished in a kind of postmodern carbonite, frozen in mainstream consciousness as images of tearful women in Roy Lichtenstein paintings, held in ironic disregard that often seems born of both feminism and misogyny (depending on whether one is judging the perceived messages sent by the often-male creators, or their intended audience as is often the case with media aimed at teen girls). The fact that the genre endured–and at one point even dominated the comics market–for about 30 years means that it is usually “graciously” afforded a cursory overview in most comics history books, and not much else. But could a whole genre of comics really have endured for so long with ultimately so little to offer?

For almost a decade, Jacque Nodell has been answering that question, finding and sharing forgotten gems of vintage romance comics on her blog, Sequential Crush, showing time and again that that was very much not the case. Romance comics not only often contained mature human drama that the rest of the medium lacked for decades after their own popularity had waned, but frequently conveyed positive, sometimes even empowering, messages to young girls that remain relevant to this day.

It is for that reason that Nodell has pulled together the best of the romance comics’ version of the letter column, the advice column, for her book How to Go Steady. Presented as both a collection and a history, the book aims to shake up the view of romance comics of the ‘60s and ‘70s as mere cultural artifact and offer up certain timeless pearls of wisdom. And it’s capped off with an afterword by former Marvel romance advice columnist (that’s a phrase I’m sure you never thought you’d read), Suzan Loeb of “Suzan Says”!

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Charmingly illustrated by Jenny Cimino, the art’s retro aesthetic encapsulates the spirit of Silver Age romance comics for modern audiences, rather than aping Pop Art detachment.

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And it’s endorsed by Stan Lee!

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But if you want to get your hands on a copy, you’ll have to act fast– the book’s Kickstarter has just under 4 days to go and is not quite half-funded. At just $20 for an eBook or $35 for a print+eBook bundle, it’s a great deal for a fun and worthy project! (And if you’re a retailer, there’s still nine retailer packages left– 10 books for $175!) Even better, a full third of the total goal is earmarked to pay Jenny Cimino for her illustrations, so not only would you be helping preserve a forgotten slice of women’s comics history, you’ll also be directly supporting a modern female artist!

I personally pledged $250 to this book and pulled myself out of semi-blogtirement to encourage, implore, entreat, and flat-out beg you to give whatever help you can by Wednesday, 9:40 am EST, to make this book a reality. What more needs to be said?

For samples of what Nodell has worked so hard to bring to modern audiences, check out the “Advice Column” tag on the Sequential Crush blog.

SOURCE: Ladies Making Comics – Read entire story here.


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