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I have a special fondness for classic romance comics. It’s a genre that has long since died out, but in its hey day (the late forties though the early fifties) it was HUGE. In 1949 romance comics, comics made for girls and young women, outsold all other genres. It’s a fact that is missing from most comics history texts. Collections of old romance comics are hard to find, so when I stumbled across Agonizing Love I bought myself a xmas present.

In its pages I found these gems:

A classic meddling mother story.

A story about a disabled vet’s who returns home after the war. Can she love a man with a claw?

Among the  female comic pioneers who dabbled in romance comics is Lily Renée, whose early life was chronicled in Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins.

For more on romance comics, I recommend From Girls to Grrrlz, also  by  Trina Robbins.

Lily Renée, Escape Artist was included in this past Sunday’s Bookshelf in The New York Times Book Review. Reviewer Pamela Paul had this to say:

“This graphic biography, illustrated in a retro comic book style that befits its subject, describes the life of Lily Renée Wilheim, a Jewish Kindertransport refugee who became a graphic artist of superwomen comic books in New York. Raised in a well-off family in Vienna in the ’30s, Lily saw her idyllic childhood descend into one of prejudice, tragedy, Kristallnacht and, finally, escape. This is a smart little biography that will appeal to history buffs, comic book fans and anyone who likes a gutsy, pioneering heroine.”

The theme of the column was “voyages”. Lily Renée was reviewed alongside another graphic novel, Around the World by Matt Phelan. It looks like we’re in good company, I look forward to reading it!

Last week, School Library Journal (Review) published a stellar review of the first two installments of the new Graphic Universe series “Summer Camp Science Mysteries”, Volume 1: In Search of the Fog Zombie and Volume 2: The Nighttime Cabin Thief. These highly readable science themed titles, written by veteran educational author Linda Beauregard and including art by high school biology teacher Der-Shing Helmer, combine loads of reading fun while learning the fundamental principals of science.

School Library Journal writes, “I did enjoy the Summer Camp Science Mysteries…there is something appealingly earnest about them”. The article continued by calling praise to Helmer’s illustrations by saying, The characters are distinctive and the settings believable, even when drawn in a clear, easy to follow cartoon style that is pleasingly bright and colorful”.

The SLJ article also spoke well of the book’s multicultural emphasis by saying, “Volume One: In Search of the Fog Zombie is one of the first graphic novels I’ve read in a long time that has four non-white characters on the cover”.

The review concluded with this affirmation: “Schools can happily add these to their roster of educational graphic novel titles, secure in the knowledge that they will likely spark some scientific curiosity in the children who read them.”

And that sentiment is exactly Graphic Universe’s prime objective.

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