Chicago Spanking Review

Sweethearts #121

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sweethearts #121 cover

Elizabeth Taylor and Fernando Lamas on the cover of Sweethearts #121 (May 1953). (The movie they co-starred in was The Girl Who Had Everything.) Published by Fawcett. Posted by the Web-Ed on 02/17/2017.

Fawcett had gotten into the romance game fairly early with Sweethearts, the fourth romance title to hit the newsstands (in 1948), and this is the second spanking in the title (the first was in issue #70 which we'll see next time). It appeared in Sweethearts #121 (May 1953) during a rich period for M/F spankings in comics; they were appearing at the rate of 8 or 10 per year!

Now, a high degree of reader identification with the protagonist was the rule in romance comics, and it will be instructive to keep that in mind as we take a look at "You'll Come A-Begging!" This story would no doubt have been entitled "You'll Come A-Spanking!" if Laura Brennen, our spankee-to-be, had only been able to gaze a short way into the future.

sweethearts #121 spanking panel

From Sweethearts #121 (May 1953, artist and writer unknown). Look at those bobby sox waving around! Posted by the Web-Ed on 02/17/2017.

Because this is a full-length story (nine pages - and we'll see all of them), let's take an advance peek at the spanking, which doesn't occur until page 7.

The OTK position is quite good, with Laura's hips right about where they should be. Her feet are kicking around in response to the sting, which is always a good sign (note the bobby sox fashionable at this time). One problem is that our unknown artist takes a short cut and fails to draw her belt, making it look as though her slacks extent to her midriff. (In a previous panel, her top extends to her waist and below that the top of her slacks and her belt are plainly shown.) And of course her buttocks could have been better defined. On the writing side, "I've had enough of your guff!" sounds pretty silly, but her own narration "He put me across his knee and paddled me until I wept with humiliation!" is much better!

And that brings us to the element of reader identification that we mentioned above. It was strongly encouraged, of course, because young readers often expect and want to be able to identify with the lead character, and this must have been much of the appeal of romance comics to girls who were trying to sort out all their questions regarding boys and dating. So what would a girl between the ages of, say, 12 and 18, have thought of this panel? Reading "He put me across his knee and paddled me until I wept with humiliation!" must have been a little scary and yet thrilling at the same time.

"Do boys really do that to girls?" she may have wondered. Every girl seeing this must have pictured herself over a boy's knee, and of course a few of them later found confirmation in their own lives that some boys, at least, do spank!

Let's keep the factor of reader identification in mind when see the complete story now. We mention this because the effect of the spanking panel must have been all the stronger when the preceding six pages of the story certainly provided ample ground for a girl to vicariously experience some common fantasies. We'll point a few of these out.

"I was young, beautiful -- and entirely aware that the world was my oyster!" What young girl hasn't wanted to feel like that?

sweethearts #121 page 26

We meet Jeff Conlon, a very handsome boy. Conveniently, he is stripped to the waist, appealing to a girl's innocent desire which is nonetheless sexual in nature. (More reader identification).

sweethearts #121 page 27

Laura tries to get Jeff to kiss her, not so much out of desire for him as to exult in her power to do so. And girls naturally fantasize about having the power to make a boy desire them.

sweethearts #121 page 28

"I wanted him to see for himself that, in my life, men were a dime a dozen!" Again, this is not an expression of desire on her part but a wish to exult in having power over men. And of course the immature girls reading this had exactly that fantasy of being able to attract multitudes of boys, just as immature boys fantasized about having multiple girl friends. (Again, reader identification).

sweethearts #121 page 29

But Jeff is wise to her games and quickly takes charge, kissing her back unexpectedly and leaving her more determined than ever to lead him on just to prove she can.

sweethearts #121 page 30

She decides the way to get to Jeff is to take flying lessons. Impulsively, she takes off in an airplane (why she switched from a helicopter to a fixed-wing aircraft isn't clear, but it isn't important, either).

sweethearts #121 page 31

Bad girl - you've earned a spanking!

sweethearts #121 page 32

Actually, the writer has sort of boxed himself in at this point. Laura's vain impulses have to be replaced by something deeper if she's ever to have a real, satisfying romance with Jeff. So out of nowhere comes a fire, needing their assistance in the helicopter:

sweethearts #121 page 33

The near-death experience makes her realize, rather improbably, that she really loves Jeff, and she ends up saving his life. Interestingly, she must humble herself to make him aware of her feelings. Again somewhat improbably, he reciprocates and we get the happy ending that is the norm in these stories (and that is justified when a spanking brings it about!).

sweethearts #121 page 34

O.K., at the risk of overdoing it, let us reiterate that the female reader was strongly encouraged to identify with Laura Brennan for six long pages before the spanking, thus when it finally happens, there's no way these girls would not have imagined themselves in Laura's place when she got spanked. It seems quite possible that the older readers in particular might well have felt an awakening desire to be turned over the knee of a strong, handsome boy.

This was the last issue of Sweethearts Fawcett published, and in that sense it joins all those other romance titles which, by a peculiar coincidence, ended their runs with a spanking story. However, its story doesn't end there, for after Fawcett's demise, Charlton Comics acquired all their titles and characters except for the Marvel Family (see The Effect of the Comics Code Authority on Comic-Book Spanking - Part 1), and they resumed the publication of Sweethearts, at first even keeping the numbering intact (thus the first Charlton issue had #122 on the cover).

But nothing is ever simple for poor Web-Ed and his searches, for one month later Charlton decided that #122 was really only #22, numbering the next issue (the true #123) as #23. Perhaps they did this because there never was a #22 published by Fawcett, which had begun the series with #68! (It was the continuation of Captain Midnight's numbering, and no, we're not making any of this up). Unless they expected to cancel the book, they certainly weren't thinking very far ahead, because the result was that there are two different issues with the same number for every issue from #68 to #122, with both #122s being published by Charlton!

Only twelve of the Charlton issues have been available to us, and so far no spankings. But there are still 104 Charlton issues and 6 Fawcett ones remaining to be located and searched, if by this time we can remember which they are!

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