Another worthy webcomic

Technically, Last Kiss is also a traditional comic, since it appears weekly in the Seattle Times, but John Lustig deserves the recognition anyway. He also distributes bonus strips via his email list, and his “gimmick,” if I may call it that, is a hoot:

Sure it’s schlock! But…

In late 1987, Charlton Comics was selling off the rights to all its comic books. By then, most of the “good stuff” had already been sold. What was left were series and genres (war, romance, western and horror) that had little appeal to modern American comic book fans—most of whom were only interested in superhero comics. Despite that, I had a vague idea that it might be possible to do something with the Charlton material.

For $400 I bought all rights to First Kiss – a 40-issue romance series published from 1957 to 1965. I took a gamble and bought the series sight unseen. It was the series with the most issues for the least amount of money. And I pretty much got what I paid for – schlock!

Oh, it had some good art too – stuff by Dick Giordano, Vince Colletta, Jon D’Agostino and others. But Charlton paid the lowest rates in comic books to its creators and to make a living artists and writers had to churn out stories very quickly. Speed was more important than quality.

And so, despite editor Pat Masulli’s pledge to readers on the first page of the series, First Kiss fell far short of being “the finest of the magazines dealing with affairs of the heart.” Instead, it was often shoddy and almost always quirky. Some stories (notably “Campus Crush” the first story in the first issue of First Kiss) don’t make much sense. Despite the now-quaint, 1950’s morality of these stories, there’s a nightmarish quality to many of them. Primary First Kiss writer Joe Gill was working much too fast to worry much about keeping characters consistent and logical. Anything can happen in First Kiss stories.

I guess that’s why I find them so entertaining.

The latest bonus from John prompted me to write him a quick fan/thank you note, based on my own experience with raising awareness and funds for cancer cures, and my personal involvement with saving a cancer patient’s life (have I mentioned that before?).



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