Why You Need at Least One Last Kiss
(Click to enlarge!)
Sure itís schlock! But...
In late 1987, Charlton Comics was selling off the rights to all its comic
books. By then, most of the "good stuff" had already been sold. What was left
were series and genres (war, romance, western and horror) that had little appeal
to modern American comic book fansómost of whom were only interested in
superhero comics. Despite that, I had a vague idea that it might be possible to
do something with the Charlton material.
For $400 I bought all rights to First Kiss - a 40-issue romance series
published from 1957 to 1965. I took a gamble and bought the series sight unseen.
It was the series with the most issues for the least amount of money. And I
pretty much got what I paid for - schlock!
Oh, it had some good art too - stuff by Dick Giordano, Vince Colletta, Jon
DíAgostino and others. But Charlton paid the lowest rates in comic books to its
creators and to make a living artists and writers had to churn out stories very
quickly. Speed was more important than quality.
And so, despite editor Pat Masulliís pledge to readers on the first page of
the series, First Kiss fell far short of being "the finest of the
magazines dealing with affairs of the heart." Instead, it was often shoddy and
almost always quirky. Some stories (notably "Campus Crush" the first story in
the first issue of First Kiss) donít make much sense. Despite the
now-quaint, 1950ís morality of these stories, thereís a nightmarish quality to
many of them. Primary First Kiss writer Joe Gill was working much too
fast to worry much about keeping characters consistent and logical. Anything can
happen in First Kiss stories.
I guess thatís why I find them so entertaining.