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Slow Ride (Fast Track)

Slow Ride  - Erin McCarthy, Emily Durante Whoa. I never thought I'd be writing a romance review! I guess this is my debut into the genre, so I'm trying to be open-minded here. Are you reading this, Lady Danielle "the book huntress"? :)Don't let that scary bloody-nosed avatar fool you... or all the goth images, or the fixations with Batman and menstrual blood. Deep down, Christy Leigh Stewart is a sweety pie. Don't get me wrong; she could probably kick my ass... but I think she's sweet. She collects old comics, and shared this one with me. In a way, it's more disturbing than her avatar. I always thought that comics were a guy thing- a boy thing, maybe, although I continue to read them into my 40's (the infantilization of adults in our times is a seperate conversation, so I'll leave it alone for now.) Not so for "I Love You" comics, published by Charlton Comics. These are obviously aimed at teenaged girls (the advertisements between stories are for dollhouses and nail polish). That's an alien enough world to me; now throw in the fact that this comic is from 1969, and you can believe me when I tell you that reading this was disorienting, but also very funny. This printing contained the following stories:A Gorgeous Hunk of ManHahah- on the first page, that's what main character Rita calls athletic beefcake Brian! ...So this is a fantasy, I'm guessing. Lovely Rita goes on a ski vacation with beau Carl, but on the slopes she becomes enamoured by Carl's football buddy Brian. Rather than string Carl along, she tells him what's up, and asks him to introduce her. Wait a sec... is that thoughtful and mature, or cruel? I can't tell. Also, would that happen today or is it a swinging 60's kind of thing? Suddenly I feel like a really, really old man. Um.. so Carl goes along with it and introduces Rita and Brian. The importance of a proper introduction seems to be a large issue in Rita's mind. What's the big deal? just go talk to him, if you want to. There is romantically tense banter... he calls her "doll". Is that condescending? It seems like it is to me, but she doesn't take it that way. So Rita and Brian hit it off. Miraculously, Carl finds a different girl (improbably named "Minerva") of his own the very next day . I guess that releases Rita from any guilt about dumping him. PROBLEM- seeing Carl and Minerva frolicking in the snow makes Rita jealous. Yeah... she thought she wanted Brian, but now all she can think about are all of Carl's great qualities. (aside: Rita is a liberated woman who doesn't want to be objectified, or judged for her looks, but then when she wants to tear down Minerva, what does she do? First thing: she goes for the looks. She tells Carl "She's got a face like a bad accident". I noticed my sister and her friends used to to this too. It is realistic. ) Surprise!!! It was Carl who was the "gorgeous hunk of man" all along, not Brian, like you probably thought at the beginning. Rita goes back to Carl- tells him how she was wrong, and he takes her back. We never hear what Minerva thought about any of this, and Brian takes the whole situation extremely well. I guess nobody in this universe feels bad when you reject them, and the relationships are all very fluid. Basically everybody does what Rita wants, without making her feel guilty about jerking them around. I guess that's the fantasy in play here. I'm trying to picture what a teenaged girl in 1969 would think about this story. I can't do it.Love Cannot Die!Oh, this is timely for the Vietnam era. Leah and Arthur were in love (were they married? I can't tell). Then he went off to "some little war on the other side of the world"- that's really what Leah calls it! Then he's killed. Months of appropriate grieving go by- the publisher makes a big point of that- and then Leah meets a stranger: Bob Tolbert, who is mysterious, alluring, and very handsome. Despite lingering feelings of guilt to Arthur's memory, Leah falls for Bob. There's a party that serves no function to the story, and some walks by a very dramatically drawn lighthouse. Leah wants to kiss Bob, but before they do, Bob has something to tell her... he produces a picture of him and Arthur in a very Vietnam-y looking jungle. They were best friends (whom I guess Arthur never mentioned). Hold on! Does this make things better? In my mind that complicates the situation, because now Bob isn't a "fresh start"; he has indelable associations with Arthur. In fact, isn't it a bit suspicious that he kept his relationship to Arthur hidden up to this point? Did he just figure that Leah must be free, now that Arthur is dead? Is that why he just suddenly blew into town? He wasn't from that small town, else Leah would have known who he was. The whole thing is very fishy now, isn't it? That's just me, I guess, because in the story the revelation seems to signify Arthur's posthumus blessing on the budding romance. Leah goes in for the kiss, confident that Arthur would approve! (the end) Okay. Whatever. That's pretty heavy stuff. Is that really what teenaged girls fantisize about? New romances which are permissible in the eyes of their deceased former lovers? It seems very prim and abstract. How old were the girls reading this? 14? At that age, I just really, really wanted to touch a breast. This story, taken as an approximation of what girls that age want, would have blown my fuckin' mind.A Kiss... in Two Languages(BTW: which two langugages? Nobody speaks anything but English in this story.)Emily is the assistant to powerful Congresswoman Roberta Shaw. They go jet setting all over the world, attending glamourous parties and meeting celebrities and royalty ...instead of staying in Washington and representing the voters' interests, like the Congresswoman was elected to do. Seriously, WTF is up with this Congresswoman? All she does is party. Anyway, Emily meets suave Juan at a costume ball in Argentina. She is attracted to him because he's an excellent dancer, and makes good conversation. It is only at the end of the evening, when he finally unmasks that she is delighted to learn that he's the most handsome man she's ever seen! I guess it would be wrong to just be attracted to somebody first? They kiss in the garden of some palace, and the Congresswoman- obviously jealous, breaks it up and forbids Emily to see him again. Then Emily and Congresswoman Shaw fly over Argentina in somebody's private plane. (why? we never learn.) The Congresswoman makes some dismissive comments about "peddlers and tradesmen". Then the plane has to make an emergency landing. The pilot radios for help, and who shows up in a better plane? Yeah, Juan. What were the odds? And what were the odds of this: Juan sees Emily crying, and tells the Congresswoman off for making Emily feel bad about the garden kiss... then he flies her directly to his parents' house and proposes marriage on the spot! And she accepts! Hey, you guys just met yesterday!! This is very impulsive, but at least it is a little easier to understand than the first two stories.Little SisterAnne secretly pines for her older brother's friend, Roy (who just happens to be drawn like Mr. Universe, although no professional bodybuilding career is mentioned). When the guys decide to head off to the beach, Anne asks if she can tag along. At the beach, she shows off her hot bod, and Roy totally goes for her. That was easy.Extras!If these stories didn't do it for you, maybe the old 60's advertisements will. There's weight-loss chewing gum, an electric dollhouse (what part is electric? lights maybe?), a weight-loss magazine you can send away for, acne medicine, and a "finish high school at home" program. Great stuff.There's also an advice collumn in the middle: "Just Jeannette". This month "Darlene" in California writes in. She's 18 and married, with a 2 year old daughter. The husband is now serving a sentence in state prison (duration not specified). On reflection, Darlene beleives her marriage was ill-advised, and that she does not love the man. She wants to obtain a divorce and move on with her life. Jeannette replies with a page and a half which basically says that under no circumstances may Darlene get a divorce. She should have thought about all this stuff before she got married. Tough luck, Darlene; deal with it. On one hand, I felt sorry for Darlene. On the other hand, she's an adult asking a comic book for marital advice.A BIG THANK YOU TO CHRISTY LEIGH STEWART! This was a reading experience to remember!