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Love Hurts: ‘You’re Just a Fresh Old Man — A Wolf!’

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, Teen-Age Romance #84’s “An Older Man!”

A garden, a wheelchair and a textbook: The classic recipe for romance. Or at least, that’s how it is this Stan Lee/Don Heck tale of tragedy from 1961 seems to think it works.

See, when 17-year-old Jan Fenton breaks her leg and gets stuck in a wheelchair, her parents hire 35-year-old French tutor Fred Roberts so that she won’t fall behind on her studies. But whether it’s his Bruce Wayne-esque good looks or the fact that he’s teaching her how to say je t’aime in the Language of Love, Fred soon finds himself the object of a downright Nabokovian crush. She’s got it bad, got it bad, got it bad. She’s hot for teacher.

When her leg heals, he asks her to meet him, only to take her to a seedy bar, offer her cheap booze and start in with an attempt to steal second base right there on the street. The twist? It’s all an act! Fred put on his boorish show so that Jan would hate him, because — as the closing caption puts it — “she deserved someone better than an older man!

And also he didn’t really want to walk around the neighborhood introducing himself to his neighbors because of a court order.

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