Heart Throbs #93 Poster (1964) John Romita


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If nothing else, formulaic titles like Hearth Throbs, a long-running romance anthology series that DC acquired from Quality Comics in 1953 served as a proving ground for artists who would one day go on to greater things. In this case, it’s John Romita (often called John Romita Sr..) For most of the 1950s, Romita worked on a range of genre titles at Stan Lee’s Atlas Comics. When that company went down in flames in 1957, Romita moved to DC, where for the next eight years he toiled almost exclusively on romance titles like this one, Girls’ Love Stories and Secret Hearts. Romita would later describe his time spent cranking out melodramatic tales like Heart Throbs #93’s “A Date with Heartbreak”- about a working class girl who falls for the scion of a wealthy family- as a “terrible period of dullness” during which his dream of drawing super-hero titles was repeatedly thwarted. He only saw it fulfilled after he rejoined Lee at Marvel, where he did his best known work as the long-time penciller on The Amazing Spider-Man. “It really was boring, maddening after awhile. The only reason I did it was that I had to support my family. The normal issue is very bland. A few teary faces but nothing really happening. So when I jazzed that up and got a little more personality into it, I felt proud of myself. There’s a little bit of satisfaction in making a job better than the normal.”- John Romita. Heart Throbs was a romance comic published by Quality Comics and DC Comics from 1949 to 1972. Quality published the book from 1949–1957, when it was acquired by DC. Most issues featured a number of short comics stories, as well advice columns, text pieces, and filler. John Romita, Sr. (who was cover artist for many of DC’s romance titles) drew most of the covers from 1960–1963. Bob Kanigher wrote many stories during the later half of the 1960s. John V. Romita, Sr. (often known as simply John Romita) (born January 24, 1930) is an American comic-book artist best known for his work on Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002. In the mid-1950s, while continuing to freelance for Atlas, Romita did uncredited work for DC Comics before transitioning to work for DC exclusively in 1958. His first known work for the company is the tentatively identified penciling credit for the cover of Secret Hearts 58 (Oct. 1959), and, confirmably, pencils for the seven-page story “I Know My Love”, inked by Bernard Sachs, in Heart Throbs #63 (Jan. 1960). Other titles to which he contributed include Falling in Love, Girls’ Love Stories, Girls’ Romances, and Young Love. “I was following the DC [house] style”, he recalled in 2002. “Frequently they had another artist do the first page of my stories. Eventually I became their romance cover artist”. He would “swipe” — an artists’ term for using existing work as models, a common practice among novices — from movie stills and from the Milton Caniff comic strip Terry and the Pirates. Bernard Sachs and Sy Barry inked some of Romita’s romance work, but “by the late ’50s and early ’60s, I was inking my own stuff”. Shortly afterward, however, romance comics began declining in popularity, and by 1965, DC had “stopped buying any new [romance] art”, Romita recalled.