Chicago Spanking Review

Young Romance #39

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young romance #39 cover

Young Romance #39 (November 1951). No cover artist since a photograph was used. Published by Crestwood/Prize (click to double-size).

The second of the two romance comic spankings that we discovered this past year comes from Young Romance #39 (vol. 5 no. 3, November 1951). Since at ten pages it is a fairly long story, we will only present four pages of it, but that will be enough to follow the plot and furnish the context for what we're most interested in - the spanking! Before we get to that, let's take a look at the cover.

As we mentioned last time, with a romance comic it was not uncommon to have a cover that was photographed rather than drawn. A blurb claims "The original! The biggest! The best!" In the context of a romance comic, the latter two of these three boasts could be taken as a double entendre, although we doubt it was intended that way. Of greater interest to us is the first claim: "The original!"   What did they mean by that?

Well, as it happens, Young Romance is usually considered the title that started the entire comics romance genre back in 1947. Romance comics caught on quickly and were around for almost thirty years, although their popularity began declining in the '60's, in our opinion because the Comics Code would not permit anything like the presentation of sexual matters that adolescent girls could easily find in romance novels (see The Effects of the Comics Code on Spanking, Part 1 for some further discussion).

Our story is called Too Sweet to be True, and one of the remarkable things about it is that the eventual spanking is referred to four times by three different characters, including the spankee herself! That's a lot of emphasis on the spanking, and we'll come back to this point later.

dream book romance #5 holiday heart-throb page 2

The splash page of Too Sweet to be True. Web-Ed believes the pencilling to be by Jack Kirby, probably inked by someone else (John Prentice?). The writer is unknown.

Next page: Frank calls on Kitty at her family's home, and finds out she's something of a wildcat. Interestingly, she says to her brother, "What you need is discipline," a diagnosis that she could more properly be applied to herself...

dream book romance #5 holiday heart-throb page 3

Having slapped her brother, Kitty then proceeds to demand that Frank take her out Thursday night, even though she knows that Frank always goes bowling on Thursdays. When Frank refuses, she breaks their engagement...

dream book romance #5 holiday heart-throb page 4

Well, that does it! "In that instant I saw Kitty as she really was! A spoiled, domineering, selfish little hellion!... I exploded like a two-ton blockbuster!" After the spanking, Kitty's father takes Frank's side, and says that despite Kitty being out of hand, "Kitty is a good girl, even though she does need a spanking now and then!" (Spanking reference #1).

dream book romance #5 holiday heart-throb page 5

Kitty's little brother, whom she slapped back on page 6, makes a rather obvious attempt to reunite the couple, and it works. Perhaps he just wants Frank to spank her again, because he makes the second and third references to the earlier spanking: "The spanking may be over but the sting lingers on!" and "She doesn't try to order everyone around like she did before. I guess that spanking you gave her was just what she needed!" (It sure was!)

Then Kitty herself admits, "I suppose I deserve another spanking." (Spanking reference #4). We bet she won't get any arguments from CSR readers on that! And it's clearly the spanking, along with Frank's "take charge" attitude, that ultimately saved their relationship.

dream book of romance #5 spanking panel

The spanking panel (click to increase in size). Posted by Web-Ed on 2/27/2015.

Let's take a closer look at the spanking panel. It has an undeniable dynamism as Kitty is plainly struggling but to no avail as Frank applies the spanks where they'll do her the most good. So who are the artists?

The splash page says "Produced by Simon and Kirby". That would be Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, two of the most famous names in comics history, and the ones who convinced the publisher, Prize, to go ahead with Young Romance four years earlier in 1947. (Among other things, Simon & Kirby had created Captain America and the Newsboy Legion). They could not have written and drawn each issue by themselves, let alone all the others that they were producing for Crestwood/Prize in the wake of Young Romance's success, so they ran a small shop of creators. Still, they reportedly oversaw each story, and apparently had a hand in some of them.

We're convinced that Kirby did the layouts and pencilling on this story, aided by an unknown inker. Looking at the the spanking page, in panel 2 and the spanking panel Frank is plainly drawn by Kirby; in panel 1 the many parallel lines used for shading on Frank's face make it look as though the character is being drawn by someone else - our interpretation is that this is the inker's work. The spanking is dynamic, as we have said, for Kirby could never be faulted in that department, but some spankos might be disappointed because he was not a "good girl" artist and did not render the human figure in an erotic way. Nonetheless, this is a good spanking scene and Kirby's enormous importance in the world of comics makes this one of great historical interest as well.

For all his vast output, Kirby is only known to have drawn one other M/F spanking scene, the Code-censored Ben Grimm spanks Sue Storm in Fantastic Four #38. He did a number of M/M scenes, but we won't bother linking to those here. Interested persons may consult the Comics Spanking Data Base (follow the link and then use your browser's "FIND" function to search for "kirby"). As for Young Romance itself, only one other spanking is known, a really badly-done father/daughter scene from issue #70 that we discovered back in 2010. However, we haven't seen all the issues from the Crestwood years, and DC picked up the title when Crestwood ceased publishing in 1963, so there are more than a hundred issues yet to be searched.

Finally, we really wish we knew who the writer was, because it certainly seems like he was a spanko. When you have four references to a spanking, one of which is, "she does need a spanking now and then" implying that it shouldn't just be a one-time thing, and another of which is "The spanking may be over but the sting lingers on!", you know the writer really enjoys having his female character spanked!

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