Weird Love #2 Review

Creators: Various

Publisher: IDW

Weird Love is an anthology of pulp-romance comics from the 1950s through the 1970s edited by Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni. Each issue contains six comic reprints, and occasionally a little extra heart throb profile or an illustrated poem. In the second issue of Weird Love that little extra is a stunning “Picture Biography of Ronald Reagan: Dream Beau of the Month” and that in itself might be worth the price of the issue.

Each of these stories is definitely strange, and gives the reader an interesting look at the sort of things that were published in the 1950s. In some ways, it’s a great look at how far we’ve come as a society, and in others it’s a really unfortunate reminder of how far we still have to go.

The second story in the issue, “Too Fat For Love” was exceptionally disturbing. It follows a high school girl as she is ridiculed for her weight, and let’s be clear, the drawings of this girl are not in line with my definition of fat. After trying diet and exercise to lose weight, she is diagnosed with a glandular condition that can’t be treated and told that unless her body resolves the issue magically, she’s probably going to be fat forever. She goes to bed without dinner, sobbing “why do I have to be so fat? Why can’t I be like the other girls?” This would be a lot funnier if there weren’t overweight girls all over America crying themselves to sleep after skipping meals because of being bullied about their weight. Even 60 years isn’t enough to change some things.
In “Mini Must Go,” Mr. Childers begins policing what his staff wears when he becomes overly distracted by his new secretary’s mini skirts. He bans the skirts, and then Gina comes in wearing a long skirt with a slit, and that distracts him as well, so he requests that she covers up even more. This doesn’t work either, as she shows up to work in a turtle neck and a long skirt and then he accuses her of wearing exotic perfume to distract her. The truth of the matter is that he is attracted to Gina and that distracts him regardless of what she’s wearing. In the comic, the dress code is revoked and Gina and Mr. Childers fall in love. If only policing the way women dress could be resolved this easily in the 21st century.

All of the stories are intended to seem absurd and the humor in these issues is supposed to lie in the fact that things have changed so much since then. I certainly got some chuckles out of some of the dialogue, especially in the third story “Slave to Despair,” about a stand-up girl who is lured into the dangerous world of narcotics use and ends up in an institution. “Bosco Plays Matchmaker” is definitely a stand-out. Bosco is a bear in the Brooklyn Zoo and he brings two lonely New Yorkers together, despite their initial distaste for each other.

There’s some good, strange stuff collected in Weird Love. The nostalgia factor is obviously high, and seeing comics straight from the Mad Men era is pretty entertaining. The editors have done a good job of selecting comics that were popular in the area and spreading them out to give the reader a good idea of what comics were like back in the day. On the other hand, if you’re a feminist, there’s chance that some of the content of these comics may irk you because there are so many issues touched on in a comic manner that are still very real, frustrating problems for women in the 21st century.