Teen-Age Love #93 cover

Teen-Age Love #93, June 1973

As remarkable as it perhaps sometimes seems, there are actually a few gems to be found amongst Charlton’s romance output. Charlton’s comics as a whole are pretty poor fare and the romance line, especially, is the poorest of the poor. But, occasionally, something good shows up, as here: yep, this cover is by José Luis Garcia-López! What’s more, the interior story that this cover pertains to is also drawn by the great man. 1973 was around a year before Garcia-López pitched his tent at DC Comics, so this is a late chance to see his work just prior to him hitting the big time. It’s lovely stuff, head and shoulders above the other couple of stories in the issue.

“Never Forget Me!” is an admonishment made to Jonnie Love by Diane, the “kicky blonde” he meets in Acapulco. The following day he’s knocked off his motor bike as Diane’s car speeds past him — only to crash around the next bend. She is unhurt, but begs Jonnie to help her get away from the thugs following. Jonnie guns his bike and the pair race for the border pursued by the bullet-happy crooks. Unfortunately, Diane is cagey over why she’s being chased and, as they cross the border into the US, she’s reluctant to contact the police. Going against her wishes, Jonnie does inform the police — and turns in Diane, whom he has realised is a diamond smuggler. She’d hidden a small fortune in jewellery in Jonnie’s bike’s petrol tank. Jonnie muses on what a lucky escape he’s had as Diane is carted off to jail. So, it’s an unusual “romance’ story to be sure, but, in true romance comics fashion, we do see Diane shed a tear at the end. This wasn’t the only Jonnie Love tale: unusually, he was a semi-regular feature of Teen-Age Love. Sadly, though, not all these stories were drawn by Garcia-López, so buyer beware.

image ©2010 Charlton Periodicals/the respective copyright holder