Lonely Hearts Ep. 17: Kill Your Boyfriend – Romance in the 90s

After love in the 80s, love in the 90s, with Grant Morrison’s Kill Your Boyfriend as the prototypical romance comic of the era. What made romance so hard in that decade, and why were we so keen on mixing it with crime stories? And in Romance Comics Theatre, we go back in time to the early 50s for an altogether different criminal love story, “I Was a Border Racket Girl!” Which story feels most dated? You make the call!

Listen to Episode 17 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings apply), or subscribe to The Lonely Hearts Romance Comics Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: Lonely Hearts Ep.17 Supplemental

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5 responses to “Lonely Hearts Ep. 17: Kill Your Boyfriend – Romance in the 90s

  1. Loved this issue. Hard not to like Morrison or Bond separately. Together? Magic.

    I suppose I read books like this because this craziness was (like th drug scene if the 80s) light years away from me. So this was a peek in. My family, my college, my life were all pretty standard fare. No counterculture at all. The most progressive place for me in the 90s was med school, a very liberal institution. But everyone there had their eyes on the prize. So no weird van trips. But part of me always wanted to have some wild experience so seeing our protagonist she’d the doldrums and run off made this entertaining.

    As for me, I might be intrigued by counterculture girls but they wanted nothing to do with me. And I couldn’t imagine bringing one home to meet my family if they were.

    Thanks for revisiting this issue. And fabulous theater!

  2. SOOOOOO much to unpack, where does one start?

    I’ll actually start with a jump to the end and say that, setting the reliability of the narration aside, I kind of hate the ending. Because if you’re going to say that she had these violent, transgressive tendencies in youth, but put enough of a lid on them to date a man long enough for a proposal, get married, and have a kid before that surfaced again then there’s a WHOLE other story that you just decided to skip over. Did something bring these tendencies back? Was she actively fighting them up to this point? Was she just biding her time for what would frankly be a preposterously long period? No. No, Grant Morrison, I’m not going to let you gloss over that for the sake of a wink at the reader ending.

    I do expect that the relative casualness of the transvestism in the story owes to Morrison’s British roots. The Brits aren’t always the most progressive, but they have had a pretty cavalier attitude towards men in dresses for a pretty long time. Although it’s worth noting that Eddie Izzard (who was starting to make a name for himself by the time this comic came out,) was a very progressive step because he wasn’t on stage in a dress as a female character. He was there as himself, and that’s a pretty vital distinction (especially for those who are some degree of gender fluid or transgender who never got to see someone just existing as that before.)

    90s was a weird time as far as rebellion goes. There were a few years of rebellion against the EXTREMELY corporate decade that came before, but it was quickly co-opted by the same corporations and sold back to us as officially licensed “rebel” brand merchandise. The fact that you could actively market something as being “alternative” kind of says it all. Music, fashion, movies, all claiming to be rebellious because rebellion was selling. What a strange decade to look back on.

    Oh, and Kids is a terrible movie notable only for launching a couple of careers and some interesting production stories. It’s an after school special trying to be edgy, do NOT bother. Finally, how did the phrase “a shade of Paul” get used a few times and nobody made a “Fifty Shades of Paul” joke?

  3. You guys were extra raunchy today, which was fun. This comic sounds mental, but it’s Morrison, who bends over backwards to mind-screw his readers, so it makes perfect sense.

    This may have been of the best Romance Comics Theatres yet. I felt like I’d stumbled upon a lost Power Records romance comic combo. Great job! Loved the accents!

    Chris

  4. I didn’t have a bump before commenting, so no bag of cocaine from me this time.

    Somehow, I’d argue that my romantic life in the ’90s was more pathetic than in the ’80s, as my grade school game withered under the heat of that decade into damaged clueless limp dick outcast in The Flannel Age. My girlfriend recently posited that if she could turn back time (if she could find a way) that she wouldn’t change anything to deviate from the path she’s on now. I replied upon her query that I couldn’t help but to change everything, because I’m not the person I was then and couldn’t possibly suffer the same shit shows knowing what I know now. In fact, relieving the ’90s Kirk Cameron style with some sort of Days of Future Past mind swap is a recurring pastime fantasy of mine. Everything would be better for everyone you guys, if only because we’d have an entirely different U.S. present today. If only…

    Don’t get me started on the entire last season of Game of Thrones, much less that stupid finale. I’ve frequently compared the post-books period to The Walking Dead, which I finally completely bailed on last year, so it’s a good thing I only have to suffer through one more GoT damned season.

    As a dater of the odd counterculture type, they’re a different flavor of hang-ups from garden variety white girls, and just as I’m too weirdly nonconformist for one, I’m too straight and narrow for the other. Good thing I ended up with a foreigner who looks at the whole spectrum of cracker culture as jaundiced, and just liked the aqua shade my liberalism cast in that sea of piss yellow.

    I agree that this was among the most engaging Romance Comics Theatres, and that no one should bother with Kids (and if you must, make sure to have a wire brush in the house for cleansing afterward.)

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