Showing posts with label Demographics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Demographics. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Miss Young America Winners as Depicted by John Romita!

Remember this call for entries for the Miss Young America contest that I posted last year? Well, today I have for you two of the winners! These lucky ladies were featured in Young Romance #140 (February/March 1966). As their prize, they were given the original sketch of themselves by none other than John Romita! Lucky indeed!

Two things struck me about this filler page. First of all, it was published in the comic horizontally -- something that wasn't too common for one reason or another. The other thing that is interesting about this page is that in 1966 when this issue was on the newsstands, there weren't any African-American characters in the DC romance comics. Yet, the presence of Lessie Williams as a winner clearly demonstrates that young women from various ethnic backgrounds were reading romance comics -- despite the fact that the genre depicted almost exclusively white characters. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to stumble upon this page, as it reveals quite a bit about the readership of the romance comics!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Demographics of Romance Comic Book Readers - Part II

Last spring I shared with you a letter from the "As Jane Ford Sees It..." advice column written by a nine year-old reader. The above letter was featured in the "Ann Martin Counselor-at-Love" column in Secret Hearts #115 (October 1966) and speaks to a similar matter -- demographics of romance comic book readers. Our career girl, "Debra" at 28 years is quite a bit older than what one would normally think of as a romance comic book reader. But there she is anyhow, asking a question of Ann Martin as to whether she should settle or continue the hunt! I think we can definitively say that readers of the 1960s and '70s romance comics were at least between the ages of 9 and 28, with certainly some variance on either end. Quite a range really, and a little surprising too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Selling Romance - Pursettes Tampon Ads

Anyone who has flipped through a romance comic knows that they hold a few strange ads, considering the primarily female demographic. Take for example, the ubiquitous fishing equipment advertisement that can be found in many '60s/'70s comics, including the romance books. Trolling lures and trout flies just aren't things you would typically associate with a young female audience! But tampons? Now that definitely makes more sense! The following are advertisements for Pursettes brand tampons ("the tote tampons") that ran in romance comics as well as teen magazines such as Seventeen from the late 1960s into the the '70s.

Girls' Love Stories #144
(July 1969)

I Love You #108
(September 1974)

Time for Love #40
(February 1975)

Young Romance #207
(September/October 1975)

Young Love #118
(October/November 1975)

Young Love #119
(December 1975/January 1976)

Young Love #120
(Winter 1976)

The bulk of these ads centered around teenage anxieties and the eternal quest to fit in, are effectively illustrated by legendary Mad artist, Mort Drucker.

Friday, September 30, 2011

1972 Romance Comic Book Contest - "The Woman I Want To Be!" from DC's Falling in Love

Not only do I love the stories of the romance comics, I love the stuff in between the stories, including the contests that were held to engage with readers. The following pages are from a contest that was held in Falling in Love called, "The Woman I Want to Be." Readers were encouraged to write in about their future plans, hopes, and dreams for a chance to win $5.00 (equivalent to approximately $25 today).

National Periodical Publications asks:
"Do you look forward to a happy marriage?
Or a successful career?"

Contest announcement from
Falling in Love #133 (June 1972)

The contest's first winner, 15 year old Alice Evans declared to the DC editorial staff and fellow readers, "I really feel that I could manage both a home life and a business career, and I want to grow up to be the kind of woman who does."

First contest winners
Falling in Love #134 (July 1972)

The second first prize winner, Eve Davidson had the greater good in mind when she wrote, "I want to be the kind of woman who extends her love beyond her own home. I hope to have a happy marriage and a family, but I would also like to do something for the world."

Second round of winners
Falling in Love #135 (August 1972)

"The big deal is: girls in various parts of the country,
East or West, North or South, big city or small town, are beginning to feel that being a woman is a wonderful thing in today's world."

The final winner of "The Woman I Want to Be!" contest was a young lady named Frieda Margolin who shared that along with marrying a "fine man," her dreams included "...working hard in school to get good grades, so I can go on to a college with a good veterinary school. That way I'll earn money as a vet so I can get my own farm someday."

Final contest winners
Falling in Love #136 (September 1972)

These letters are quite moving, no?! It is so cool that they are not only pages of text, but documents that give a view into the audience of conscientious young ladies who were reading romance comics in the '70s! Not only do I wonder if these young women achieved their goals, I have to wonder if DC held on to all their letters in their archives or if they were regarded as throw-away pieces of everyday business? Either way, I definitely feel lucky that we have these three responses to treasure!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Demographics of Romance Comic Book Readers

The first romance comic, Young Romance #1 (September/October 1947) clearly stated across its cover -- Designed For the More Adult Readers of Comics. Early stories such as last month's "Nightmare Romance!" demonstrated the adult nature of the love comics. As the 1960s and '70s wore on (thanks largely in part to the Comics Code Authority) it became apparent that the romance comics were written for a younger audience. Though I have never found an official statement from any of the comic book publishers as far as their target demographic, I think it is safe to say that they were aiming at a readership of around ages 12 years to early 20s.

A few weeks ago as I was flipping through Young Love #53 (January/February 1966), I came across this letter addressed to the "As Jane Ford Sees It..." advice column. Interestingly, the reader monikered "Worried" was only 9 (and one half) years old -- making her quite a bit younger than the 12+ target demographic.

I am sure "Worried" was not alone
and that many a mid-century little sister
borrowed big sis's comic book!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Somber Cautionary Tale - Win Mortimer's Pajama Party!

This four page Win Mortimer illustrated story, "Pajama Party: The Night I Wish Never Happened" from Young Romance #200 (July/August 1974) is a tad unexpected. Stuck in between the usual stories of flirting and heart break, this somber tale chronicles a teenager and the disastrous results of her decision to serve alcohol to her friends one night. Though nothing completely tragic happens, its tone is still unusual to the romance comics. My favorite line?

"So we left my mother's wigs on the chair, and we ran downstairs feeling frisky, and I made the next big mistake that night, by showing them my father's whiskey."

One can only wonder how effective this was, but it definitely points to a younger demographic. Quite a different scene from a mid-1950s romance panel!

"I Hate You, Darling"
Love Romances #54
(December 1955)

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