After my last two posts on the topic of counterculture bleed into Romance Comics, and my broad assertions as to the slow death of the genre at Charlton, I thought it might behoove me to post an example of how bad things got. So here’s Love Diary #99. The cover is suitably amazing, and suitably inept, and all kinds of incomprehensible:
I have no idea what the hell this cover references. Janis Joplin had been dead for years, and while my understanding of the 1970s is spotty, I’m fairly certain there wasn’t a mid-decade acoustic acid-haze chartreuse of any particular note. Karen Carpenter this ain’t. Furthermore, what the hell is the dude with the coffee mug doing? Is he dancing? Having a small stroke? Does this all take place in a coffee house? Why does the coffee house have ultra-disco lighting? These mysteries are unsolvable!
This cover is also notable for its complete disconnect from any of the book’s interior content.
I scanned the longest story, but by now it doesn’t matter. They’re all totally bland and horrible– and stuffed with T&A. There’s enough half-naked women in Love Diary #99 that I’m wondering if the comics’ main function hadn’t degraded into a system of low-grade T&A distribution. That said, I cop to adoring this panel, in all of its ineptitude:
Something about the stars and the trashy eye-shadow. The blooming cactus on the right side of the panel don’t hurt, either. Also note the distorted spatial anatomy– whatever they’re doing, it ain’t kissing. But these flaws aside, I am genuine in my affection for the panel. It’s great.
Unfortunately the story is not. Herein a girl finds true love by, well, I’m not sure, really. Being a jerk, I guess. Anyway, her old man is rich and bland, but her new man works on an oil field and gets called a gypsy. Lots of T&A, though. Risque shadowy stripping! Underwater love-making!
As if to underscore the repetition of content, here’s the first two pages of another story from Love Diary #99 with more underwater love-making. This story is way more glam, which is a plus.
I’ve got no final insight on this book. Honestly, I bought it for the ugly, tripped-out cover. It’s bleh in extremis. Instead, let me leave you with an era-appropriate possible solution to the age old mystery of how The Kinks late-60s career mutated into their 1970s stadium rock: what if Ray Davies didn’t like pot or acid, but really, really, really liked cocaine?
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