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Love Hurts: ‘I Felt Drenched By The Scalding Tears of the Heartsick’

As we head towards Valentine’s Day, ComicsAlliance is offering up a daily tribute to love, as depicted in the somewhat dubious world of Romance Comics! Today’s entry: Secret Hearts #107’s “Heartbreak — Take Me!”

In this novel-length tear-jerker from 1965, Robert Kanigher and Gene Colan tell the story of one Amy Ames — The Listening Heart! — an advice columnist who is fed right the f*** up with dealing with letters from teenagers about their dumb romance troubles. Now, I’m not saying that this characterization was definitely based on Kanigher himself, but I’m pretty sure that dude had found himself anonymously penning the advice columns in Young Romance enough times that it’s a pretty solid possibility.

Anyway, Amy has become so sick of being “drenched by the scalding tears of the heartsick” that when a friend comes by on advice to deal with a broken heart, she’s a bit callous. Admittedly, this girl did tell someone that they would love each other forever after exactly one (1) date…

…but still, Amy’s dismissal is a little heartless. See, Amy doesn’t believe in love at first sight.

But, in a surprising twist that you could never see coming unless you had read any romance comic ever, she soon finds herself falling in exactly that! The reason: News photographer Doug Austin, whose “rich, masculine laugh” melts her heart toute suite.

He’s doing a story on the people behind newspapers — you know, like how the Daily Planet is always reporting on three people who work for the Daily Planet — and offers to take her on a date in exchange for a few shots. Amy agrees because she’s become thoroughly smitten, and within abou ten minutes, she’s head over heels in a romance that manifests itself as pure insanity.

It’s worth noting that this is about where Kanigher’s purple prose goes straight off the rails and into crazy town, with Amy referring to a bridge as resembling a “magic ladder hanging over the city” (?) and her own actions as being “like an obedient little open-mouthed girl” (!).

And then there’s this.

Unfortunately for Amy, Doug doesn’t share her love — cue tragic ending — although I can’t possibly imagine what could’ve turned him of.

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