Timely and the Romance Glut

In Chapter 6 of “The Art of Romance” I presented a graph of romance titles that vividly depicted what Michelle Nolan described in her book “Love on the Racks” as the love glut. I mentioned that the two greatest participators in this rush to produce romance comics were Timely and Fox Comics. The reward received by Fox Comics for their zealous jump into love comics seems to have been the bankruptcy that terminated the company a few months afterwards. Timely obviously survived, but I wondered if more could be determined about what effect the love glut had on them? This time I turned to Atlas Tales (what a great site). I used their search engine to provide all the titles between August 1948 and June 1951. I then entered that information into a database and segregated the titles to romance and non-romance.

Chart of Timely Titles (Romance titles in blue, non-Romance titles in red, and the combined titles in black).

The resulting graph is not perfectly smooth but it still is revealing. It looks to me that when romance titles were first introduced they took the place of other genre comics as shown by the small dip. However the non-romance genres quickly recovered to their pre-romance levels while more and more romance titles were added. Finally a maximum of 24 romance titles were reached, just 3 titles short of all the other genres combined. This was followed by the crash. Now the cancellation of romance titles is expected but note that the non-romance titles also dipped in February 1950. This suggests that the glut resulted in enough of a financial loss that it impacted other titles as well. As I mentioned in Chapter 6 a low of romance titles was achieved in November of 1950 after which the number of romance titles began to climb although never reaching anything near the levels at the peak of the glut. Timely did not participate in this resurgence and instead maintained a steady level of 6 romance titles for the period covered. The non-romance Timely titles quickly returned to their pre-glut levels (by September 1950) and then continued to levels even higher then before the glut. Whatever financial loss Timely suffered was short lived. I wondered if the even higher levels that Timely achieved after the love glut could have been at the expense of other publishers, like Fox, who were not able to recover so quickly?

2 thoughts on “Timely and the Romance Glut

  1. Dan McFan

    A Jack Kirby site as extensive as this one with no mention whatsoever of Jacks’s best inker, Vince Colletta?

  2. Harry Post author


    Why do I vision you wearing an evil grin while you typed your statement?

    Seriously, since Colletta did his inking of Jack Kirby during the silver age he would generally be considered outside the normal subject matter of this blog. (I have touched on silver age topics but I have no understanding of Kirby’s inkers of that time.) However Vince Colletta did do a little work for Simon and Kirby and so might one day show up in this blog.

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