Weird Love #1: Oh, Woman!
IDW reminds us how strange dating used to be with its throwback compilation Weird Love.
Remember those old pulp fiction comics from the 1960’s where a man was the head of the household and a woman knew her darn place? Or those comics that made neat daddy-o x-ray specs available in the back pages for only a nickel? Probably not, so here’s your chance to check out the weird stuff your mom and dad (or even perhaps your grandpa and grandma) were reading in between ditching school, working at the soda fountain, or making out under the school bleachers. Weird Love is a compilation of the strangest love stories of the 50’s and 60’s, also known as the Silver Age of the comic book industry. It was a time when communism and capitalism were battling for world domination and Eisenhower was our Commander in Chief. The space race was afoot and while women could vote, they were more than likely told to just stay in the kitchen.
Although the main theme of the book is “love,” many of the stories contain echoes of the cultural landscape of the day, such as the McCarthy era in I Fell for a Commie. It’s a love story that seemingly functioned as a scare tactic for young women in the dating scene, chock full of close-up kissing and American traitors. Other stories focus more on the social issues of women during this time, such as The Taming of the Brute. It served as a reminder to women that although they can train a man and get him down the aisle, they may miss the savage rogue he once was. There’s also Love of a Lunatic, a sad story of a crazy woman who chooses to push love away in order to save her betrothed from her own downward spiral into inherited insanity.
Each of the stories were a kitschy brand of fun and I never missed IDW’s wink at the sheer lunacy of some of the narratives and dialogue that seem so ridiculous to us now. The art was enjoyable to behold in a delicious Andy Warhol “pop art” sort of way. And while I fully embraced my time in this Weird Love world, it only further reminded me of why I am always glad to have been born a woman in the later part of the century. Now I can spend my time worrying less about how my rear looks (yes, one of the stories About Face is actually about maintaining your fanny) and more time on my career, passions and personal goals. Also, I get to wear pants, which is nice.