The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number ten: Break out your violins and hankies, because our next entry is from Just Married #113 from Charlton Comics, cover-dated October 1976. “A Sacred Vow” is illustrated by “Nicholas Alascia,” the pen name for the long-time team of penciler Charles Nicholas and inker Vince Alascia, who drew numerous stories for Charlton. Their style was well-suited to the romance genre, and they also worked on Charlton’s horror, war and Western titles.

Young, beautiful Anne is trying to make her marriage to Gordie Barton work, but doubts are beginning to creep in…

“When we were first married, Gordie planned to take night courses at community college. Why does Gordie have to be a bookkeeper? Kevin O’Shay, upstairs, is a commercial artist… he’s interesting.”

We can tell that Kevin is an “interesting artist” because he wears a foulard & black turtleneck, and has a mustache & long-ish hair. Kevin must also be thinking about Ann, as one day when Gordie’s at work our resident artist is asking Anne if she’d like for him to pick her up something at the bakery, because there’s something he’d like to discuss with her. Anne invites Kevin back to her apartment for coffee, where the artist, spotting her coffee pot, elatedly exclaims…

“Aahh… REAL coffee! I always use instant coffee and I hate the stuff.”

No, Anne, don’t do it! Any man who’s too lazy to brew his own coffee is just not worth it! Especially when he comes right out and admits instant coffee is awful!

Kevin asks Anne if she will model for him, offering to pay her $20 an hour. Anne agrees, but keeps it a secret from Gordie, who she knows dislikes the artist because he feeds the stray cats outside. A week later Anne models again for Kevin. This time the artist begins putting the moves on her, declaring “You’re the most beautiful model I’ve ever had, Anne.” And with that he grabs Ann in his arms and kisses her. A shocked Ann pushes him away and flees.

Flash forward hours later and Gordie returns home to find Ann sobbing on the couch. A distraught Ann confesses her activities, and Gordie admits “Oh? I knew you’d been in his apartment. I feel like sneezing… I am allergic to cats, remember?” Anne realizes that, though she is attracted to Kevin, it is Gordie she wants to be with. Realizing that she needs to voice her earlier doubts, she tells her husband “Darling, I’d like to go back to my old job… and then we’d both take courses at night.” Gordie thinks this is a great idea.

As the story closes, Gordie casually mentions “If it’ll make any difference… I’ve seen O’Shay with at least three different girls this week! One woman will never be enough for him!”

So… Kevin O’Shay is a smooth-talking lothario who attempts to seduce married women and who is too lazy to make his own coffee. On the other hand, he DOES feed the local stray cats. Well, even Hitler loved animals, but we all know he was a huge @$$hole.

In all seriousness, it needs to be said that several decades ago romance comic books were a pretty big deal, and that a lot of young girls read them. This is borne out by Just Married, which Charlton had been publishing since 1958. However by 1976 the demographics of the readership had changed. Super-heroes had come to dominate the medium, and the audience was now primarily boys in their early teens. Just Married was a casualty of these changes, being cancelled just one issue after this one.

We can look back on these stories and mock them for their overwrought, melodramatic plots. Nevertheless, at least back then there was an effort by publishers to appeal to more than just adolescent males. Besides, if we’re going to be honest, if we look back on the superhero comics of our childhood years, we have to admit, a lot of those were overwrought and melodramatic, as well.

So the next time some idiot complains about female readers, just remember that for a long time girls and women DID read comic books, and at long last they’ve returned to the medium. That’s a positive, because we need a growing audience, especially with the comic book industry’s current financial crisis.

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The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number ten: Break out your violins and hankies, because our next entry is from Just Married #113 from Charlton Comics, cover-dated October 1976. “A Sacred Vow” is illustrated by “Nicholas Alascia,” the pen name for the long-time team of penciler Charles Nicholas and inker...