Two things: First, he photographic cover and the term "picture stories" implies that this is a photo-story, a format that has been used on occasion in the industry. Nope. This is a comic book. Period. With hand-drawn art, inking, and lettering. Second, Big Book Romances turned out to be a one-shot. But was it? According to the publisher's notice at the bottom of page three, this is Volume 12, Number 71 of Sweethearts. Huh. Actually this book appears to be a compilation of three comic books: Sweethearts (January 1949), Life Story (December 1949), and Romantic Secrets (September 1949), with the publisher's notice for all three reprinted. (It also announced a picture biography of Tyrone Power, as well as your horoscope in pictures. Neither are in Big Book Romances.)
Now on to this issue. To my mind one of the neatest (and by neatest, I mean how glad I am I am no longer living in less aware times) things is an interview with actor Guy Madison. When asked to describe his ideal woman, Madison answered, "She has to have inner as well as outer beauty -- intelligent, but not too intelligent." Gak! Also, "There's something in my personality that makes people resent me, especially men. They think I'm conceited." Go figure.
And then there are the stories. A girl who thinks her humble origins are not worthy of happiness, a girl whose superstitious nature impedes her chances at love, a good girl about to be dragged down by bad influences, and so on and so on. Typical fare, emphasizing female insecurities that can be resolved by a handsome, understanding man. Did I say Gak!?
Here's the line-up:
- More Than Beauty
- The Captive Heart
- The Happiness and Heartbreak of Vicki Carter, Chapter II: The Crisis, a text story by John Messman
- Lost Embrace
- Love Was a Game
- Strange Delusion
- My Perfect Love
- I Dreamed Life Away...who knew Walter Mitty was a love-starved girl?
- Exclusive Interview with Guy Madison...I think I covered that above
- The Entombed Heart...a pro-coal romance, sans black lung -- Trump would love it!
- A Short Wait for Paradise
- The Unforgiving Heart
- A Tearful Illusion
- Rendezvous of the Heart, a one-page text story
- Glamour Girl, another one-page text story
Because this is a "big book," the cover price was a quarter.
As I was reading this issue I kept thinking about my sister. When she was very young, she had two great loves, romance comics and horses. Has she been old enough when this issue came out, she would have loved it. And one of the stories even had horses!