Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Joe Orlando's Girls' Love Stories' Creators

Girls's Love Stories 152 'Laura'

I chose a DC romance comic's run edited by Joe Orlando because he used one writer I can recognize at a glance paging through the comics: Jack Oleck. Another writer surprised me, although he's known to have worked for Orlando in 1969 on House of Mystery—see GLS 146 on the list.

As far as artists go—with the inkers striving to make everything look alike, you could ask ten people and get ten opinions, but here are mine. I will point out that "Laura" in #152 has been attributed to Art Saaf by his son, Steve Saaf per the CGD, but the evidence of the art itself shows that, under Jack Abel's inks, the pencils are by Werner Roth (above). On the other hand, Art Saaf's pencils under Colletta on "The Cheat" in #153 (below) have gone unattributed. "He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not" in #144 mostly looks like Roth, but on page five I see one panel with a close-up I'd otherwise credit to Saaf.

With the new stories hard enough to ID, I've left out the reprints with their slapdash updating obscuring things even further.

Note that the name in the #144 story is not Margaret but Margret; it took me a while to actually see that. I haven't seen issues 148, 154, or 156—romance comics not having been collected as assiduously as superhero ones, there aren't any uninterrupted runs of the DC titles that I can find.

UPDATE: I've added corrections (in bold) from Robin Snyder and SangorShop taken from Joe Orlando's payment records. See the new post for the additions of features like the text pages. Nothing more than the surname Scruggs is known about the artist in #155; a possibility would be Wilson Scruggs of the syndicated strip "The Story of Martha Wayne" (1953-1962).

Girls' Love Stories edited by Joe Orlando

Apr/69 142  Thrill-Chick w: ?  p: Jim Aparo  i: Bill Draut
So Long in Love w: ?  p: Win Mortimer
  i: Nick Cardy
What Should I Do? w: ?  p: Mortimer  i: Cardy
May/     143  Love Today--Cry Tomorrow w: Robert Kanigher
  p: Mortimer  i: Wally Wood
Only Love Can Create w: ?  a: Ernie Colón
Cindy w: ?  p: Mortimer  i: Cardy
Jul/      144  Can Love Last Forever? w: ?  a: John Rosenberger
He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not w: ?  a: Vince Colletta
Memory of Margret w: ?  p: Ric Estrada  i: Colletta
Aug/      145  Tears for Tomorrow w: ?  p: Estrada
  i: George Roussos
My Secret w: John Albano  p: Jay Scott   Pike  i: Colletta
Oct/      146  Abandoned w: ?  p: Tony Abruzzo
  i: Mike Peppe
Which Love Is Mine? w: Otto Binder  a: Rosenberger
Nov/     147  Confessions w: Barbara Friedlander
  a: Rosenberger
The Ugliest Girl in the World w: Friedlander  p: Mortimer
  i: Jack Abel
Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? w: Jack Miller  p: Estrada
  i: Colletta
Feb/70 149  Forbidden Love w: Friedlander  p: Estrada  i: Abel
For Better or Worse w: Jack Oleck  p: Roth
  i: Colletta
...But Only in My Dreams w: Kanigher  a: Liz Berube
Confessions: Episode Three w: Friedlander
  a: Rosenberger
Apr/     150  Confessions: Episode #4 w: Friedlander
  a: Rosenberger
Her Secret Shame w: ?  a: Abruzzo
  i: Cardy
Wallflower w: Oleck  p: Roth  i: Wood   (some Murphy Anderson?)
May/     151  The Wrong Kind of Love w: Miller  p: Pike  i: Colletta
Love Thief w: Miller  p: Roth  i: Abel
Confessions: Episode 5 w: Friedlander
  a: Rosenberger
July/     152  Laura w: Friedlander
  p: Roth  i: Abel
Confessions: Episode Six w: Friedlander
  a: Rosenberger
The Prettiest Girl in Town, Poor Thing w: Miller  a: George Tuska
Aug/     153  For Love or Money w: Oleck  a: Tony DeZuñiga
The Engagement Ring w: Oleck  a: Don Heck
The Cheat w: Oleck  p: Saaf  i: Colletta
The 3 Faces of Love w: Miller  p: Mike Sekowsky
  i: Dick Giordano
Nov/     155  Will No One Trust Me Again? w: Miller  p: John Calnan
  i: Joe Giella
Scrapbook of Tears w: Friedlander  p: Scruggs  i: Colletta
Feb/71 157  One Husband, Two Loves w: George Kashdan  p: Roth  i: Calnan?
Love Thy Neighbor w: Oleck  a: Saaf
Uptight (cheaters) w: Henry Boltinoff  a: Lee Elias
Uptight (wolf) w: Boltinoff  p: Mortimer  i: Abel
Anatomy of a Romance w: Friedlander  p: Estrada


  1. 'Art Saaf's pencils under Colletta on "The Cheat" in #153 (below) have gone unattributed,' you write.
    The inks are obviously Colletta to me, but - and please don't take me as an expert - I'd have said from that second panel, the extreme close-up, that that was Jack Sparling under him.
    I am now wondering whether all that Sparling work I've seen in DC romance comics is actually Saaf.
    Note that from memory I think that the Sparling work I've seen in DC comics is edited by Jack Miller rather than Joe Orlando.
    Is the an 'idiot's guide' on how to tell Saaf from Sparling? O ris it something only I see that makes me confuse the two, apparently?

  2. I was trying to save space by going with a single tier from the Saaf story. The splash page probably shows his pencils to better advantage, since it has full-length figures in typical poses.

    Roth's poses are stiffer, Saaf''s are more fluid (and look as if he posed them like an action photographer might), and Sparling's are probably the most natural and casual. Sparling inks himself on the romance stories before Colletta arrives at DC. Saaf has one or two stories inking himself-- in fact he signs "Love Thy Neighbor" in GLS 157--but a better place to be sure of finding him inking himself might be on Hunter's Hellcats in Our Fighting Forces 118-122.

  3. Martin,

    I agree with you on the Roth attribution on "Laura" the woman with the open mouth in panel 2 and the "Hank McCoy-ish" man in the bottom three panels point to Roth's involvement.

  4. Those faces in the right-hand panels made me choose those tiers, Nick, as Roth-like in general--but the glasses certainly made me think of Hank McCoy as well!

  5. Looking at a transcription of DC's records for #157, 1 Husband was by Kashdan, Roth and Anderson. Anatomy was by Friedlander, Estrada and DeZuniga. Barbara was written by Fein, (Neighbor and Uptight were by who you say). Note the DC records are who was paid for the work, Wasn't Calanan an assitant to Anderson around this time?

    1. Robin Snyder has sent me a list of what the records say for all these issues that I hope to put together for an early post and use to update this one.

      I should have seen Estrada's pencils under DeZuniga's inks on "Anatomy". They're only really evident in a few panels--but the story title is very noticeably lettered by Estrada in the psychedelic style he used on many of his other stories.

  6. I definitely see Saaf in "The Cheat" (including the splash page you linked to). I tend to identify Saaf by the torsos of the women. They tend to have a distinct curvature and movement about them.

  7. Jacque, that's another good way to explain what I mean by his posing them. I wish it were easier to put down specifics of artist-identifying in cold print!

  8. How can you tell Oleck scripts so readily ?

  9. It's all in the captions and a general "Had-I-But-Known" tone:

    In the beginning, she thought it would work...

    Even then, he felt no fear...

    In the end, she knew what love should be...

    Another man might have done something different. But he went ahead...

    How could she know the truth?

    "The last thing said in the previous panel"? She didn't believe in such things...

    Look over his credited mystery stories and you'll quickly pick up on the rhetorical questions and philosophical asides in the captions. Oleck has a unique voice.