While iconic characters like Batman and Spider-Man were mesmerizing readers with their dual identities and crime-fighting ways, an alternate comic book timeline was booming, featuring the adventures of airline stewardess Bonnie Taylor, tragically unhappy actress Lisa St. Clair, and countless other female characters seeking love and fulfilling relationships in the pages of romance comic books. Popular from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s, romance comic books introduced teenagers to the joys and heartache of love. Featuring advice columns, fashion spreads, and allegedly true stories of romance, teenagers could be whisked away to a more glamorous and mature world for as little as ten cents.

Students enrolled in the Intersession course Romancing the Comic Book received a whirlwind introduction to the development of the romance comic book genre and analyzed numerous issues to see exactly how its love stories were shaped by popular culture and social change. For this exhibit, students have selected comic book cover art exemplifying a variety of topics, ranging from youth culture to the representation of disability in love comics. While one should never judge a book by its cover, the cover art is meant to entice its viewer to pick up an issue and get lost in a world of romance, be it by finding one’s love at Woodstock or equating love as nothing but a flood of tears!

This vibrant and and thoughtful display is on view in the Special Collections Reading Room (M-level, Brody Learning Commons) for the entire month of April. If you are unable to visit the installation, you can view the online companion exhibition which features content currently not on display!

Photograh showing comic books on display
Look at the amazing romance comic books selected by our student curators!

The Sheridan Libraries’ Department of Special Collections began acquiring romance comics during the summer of 2021. The collection contains nearly 300 issues, including such titles as Falling in Love, Girls’ Love Stories, Teen-Age Romances, and Young Romance. You can view cover art from the entire collection online.