Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Marvel Comic Where the Jerk Wins in the End, no, not Civil War #7...

Cover of Civil War #7 (January 2007), pencils by Steve McNiven, inks by Dexter Vines, colors by Morry Hollowell

...but rather, My Love #10!

Cover of My Love v.2 #10 (March 1971), pencils by John Buscema, inks by John Verpoorten, letters by Sam Rosen

Yes, My Love! The only Marvel comic book named after a Sir Paul McCartney song. (At least until Magneto/Titanium Man Team-Up came out.)

Our scene opens in a fancy restaurant, where Our Heroine™ Gwen Stacy Beverly Dayton is out on a date with her jerky boyfriend "Flash" Thompson Nick Howard, waited on my Professor Charles Xavier a waiter. This story is, as the credits tell us, "narrated to Stan Lee," which is pretty much the way the rest of the Marvel Universe books were written, if I recall correctly. Remember when Stan 'n' Jack would head on over to the Baxter Building to get the low-down on what had happened in the past month to the Fantastic Four? And how the FF would toss them out because they'd betrayed the FF to Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #10? Oh, how they all laughed and laughed.

Nick is, not unlike Doctor Doom, a jackass himself:

Now, I don't want to contradict our heroine, but I was pretty certain that in Marvel Comics, girls named Beverly loved duck:

Panel from Howard the Duck Annual #1 (May 1977), script by Steve Gerber, pencils and inks by Val Mayerik, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Joe Rosen

It's pretty obvious that Nick doesn't give a dang 'bout the opinions and wants of Beverly, dragging her off to all the places she'd rather not go on a date: the fights, a nightclub, a Star Trek convention... I bet that prize fight would have been a lot more interesting if it had been Muhammad Ali versus Superman, but alas, that was not to happen for another seven years.

Because it is the 1970s, it is federally mandated that Beverly discover Women's Liberation! Probably around the same time she discovered est, the Ford Pinto, the typeface Helvetica, the television series All in the Family, and many other events that occurred in 1971. It was a tumultuous age, after all!

Hooray! At last, Bev asserts her own identity and say so long and see you later...not! to that loser Neanderthal Nick. Also, she bought some groovy pop art and a "5" sign for her wall. Who says this isn't the age of far-out flourishment?

The story woulda been lovely and had a very happy ending...if it had just stopped there. "I am woman, hear me roar!" should declare Beverly! Instead, the Divine Ms. D. attempts a disappointing string of romantic dates with wishy-washy modern men. How rude! They actually give her a chance to voice her opini9on. Well, that's no good, either.

As the old folk song goes, "nice guys finish last," and they also have an entire Wikipedia page devoted to them. What the Sam Scratch, Wikipedia? Must you have a page for everything? Geez! (This is okay, though.)

In a panel that could have been ripped off by Roy Lichtenstein if only he'd been reading My Love, Beverly "realizes" that Womens' Lib only applies to her right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work. She then immediately returned to her career as Secretary of State under Richard M. Nixon, earning a peachy $7,800 a year.

So, by the end of the story, she's back in the arms of he-man woman-hater Nick. Boo! Boo! "The Start of Something Lovely!" declares the caption. More like "Three Years Later, the Divorce!" Hah! (Also, once again I ask...where do you find a green suit?!?)

Poor, poor Beverly, saddled with a jerk thug for a boyfriend and misguided ideas of what Women's Lib is all about. Somebody send her a copy of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique or is a nonfiction book by Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman or at least Ms. Marvel #1.

We started this post with Paul McCartney's "My Love," but it's too bad, for Bev's sake, that it would be another 12 years until Sheena Easton sang

He asks her to dinner, she says I'm not free
Tonight I'm going to stay at home and watch my TV

I don't build my world 'round no single man
But I'm gettin' by, doin' what I can
I am free to be, what I want to be
'N all what I want to be, is a modern girl

Yeah! You tell it, Sheena, sister!
Na na na na na, na na na na na, na na na na na, she's a modern girl
Na na na na na, na na na na na, na na na na na, she's a modern girl


-- MrJM said...

Wonder Woman never let Jerry Lewis treat her like that!

-- MrJM

Blam said...

Once I got past my disappointment that "No Man Is My Master!" wasn't a long-lost Marvel/Tower crossover, Bully, this was brilliant.

SallyP said...

Oh Romance Comics, you are a never ending source of mirth and joy to me.