Preventing for Love on the Cowl of Romantic Hearts #9, Up for Public sale

Preventing for Love on the Cowl of Romantic Hearts #9, Up for Public sale


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Editor William Okay. Friedman was decided to check the bounds within the wake of the 1954 Senate Hearings on comics, and Romantic Hearts #9 is an instance.

Article Abstract

  • Romantic Hearts #9 showcases pre-Comics Code romance comics’ boldness.
  • Editor William Okay. Friedman deliberately challenged ethical panic critics.
  • Friedman’s authorized background consists of defending publishers from censorship.
  • Romantic Hearts #9 is an uncommon instance of Nineteen Fifties comedian guide romance.

Grasp Publications and its associated corporations are finest remembered by historical past for his or her Pre-Code Horror output, however Romantic Hearts #9 helps cement their place in romance comedian guide historical past as properly.  As historian Michelle Nolan places it in her indispensable Love On the Racks: A Historical past of American Romance Comics, “Maybe no higher instance exists than Romantic Hearts #9 of what some romance comics had grow to be within the days earlier than the Comics Code Authority imposed self-censorship on the trade.”

Romantic Hearts #9 (Master Publications, 1954) Romantic Hearts #9 (Master Publications, 1954)
Romantic Hearts #9 (Grasp Publications, 1954)

“The basic cat battle cowl on Romantic Hearts #9 — one of many few within the historical past of romance comics — represented an apparently unintentional parody of just about the whole lot the Fredric Wertham-inspired critics would have abhorred, although the difficulty appeared properly after the psychiatrist’s anti-comics screed, Seduction of the Harmless, hit bookstores earlier in 1954,” Nolan additionally famous. “There have been, in fact, quite a few passive-aggressive conflicts and tears on the covers of previous romance comics, however this was one thing totally different — one of many wildest, weirdest covers ever slapped on a comic book guide that presupposed to take care of actual life.”

I will disagree with Nolan on only one level right here — I believe Grasp Publications editor William Okay. Friedman was very intentional about making this cowl precisely what the ethical panic critics claimed to abhor.  Writing about Pre-Code Horror challenge Darkish Mysteries #19, which was additionally edited by Friendman and hit stands not lengthy earlier than Romantic Hearts #9, I famous that “It virtually looks as if the editor of Darkish Mysteries was purposefully testing the boundaries at this level — and I believe this simply may need been what was occurring.  As a result of Darkish Mysteries writer Grasp Publications had an editor who had made a profession of serving to publishers check limits.”

Romantic Hearts #9 and Darkish Mysteries #19, hit the newsstands in mid- to late-1954.  Grasp Publications editor, William Okay. Friedman, additionally the proprietor of writer Story Comics amongst others, testified in front of a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency earlier that yr, with these points maybe within the planning phases or manufacturing shortly after he gave his testimony.

As Friedman’s snug sparring in that testimony implies, this was not his first brush with defending publishers towards authorities censorship.  He was additionally a lawyer, and In 1934 he took on New York City over Commissioner of Licenses Paul Moss‘s actions in ordering 59 magazines off the newsstands there, together with numerous pulps.  Amongst different pulp publishers, Friedman represented Harry Donenfeld, who would quickly grow to be the writer of DC Comics however was then the writer of pulps together with Pep Tales, Spicy Tales, and Homosexual Parisienne.

Friedman was known to be extremely hands-on as an editor, so the truth that the likes of Romantic Hearts #9 and Darkish Mysteries #19 contained so many components that  Wertham and the Senate frowned upon was in all probability no accident.  Friedman was accustomed to the perceived boundaries and was prepared to check them.  And that is probably why, as Michelle Nolan once more notes, “Romantic Hearts was a superb instance of the kind of guide the Comics Code Authority wished to censor, or ideally get rid of.”

Romantic Hearts #9 (Master Publications, 1954) Romantic Hearts #9 (Master Publications, 1954)
Romantic Hearts #9 (Grasp Publications, 1954)

Romantic Hearts #9 (Master Publications, 1954) CGC FN+ 6.5 Cream to off-white pages. Solely copy to have been licensed by CGC up to now. Cat battle cowl. CGC mistakenly indicated that is from the primary collection of the identical title revealed by Story Comics. Overstreet 2023 FN 6.0 worth = $39; VF 8.0 worth = $74. CGC census 1/24: 1 in 6.5, none larger.

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