The Lonely Hearts Romance Comics Podcast Ep.8: Gothic Romance

We're back! After a short break, the boys tackle Gothic romance as a genre, and specifically, DC Comics' Sinister House of Secret Love #3, "The Bride of the Falcon", by Frank Robbins, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia. Told with the help of Romance Comics Theatre!

Listen to Episode 8 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.8 Supplemental

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14 responses to “The Lonely Hearts Romance Comics Podcast Ep.8: Gothic Romance

  1. Wonderful episode fellas! Alex Toth did some amazing work for the DC romance line, underlining how he generally had no time for superheroes. Great to see one of his stories given such a thorough examination.

    The brief line of Atlas-Seaboard comics did a romance magazine called GOTHIC ROMANCES (imaginative, huh?) that was such a sales bomb that it is now almost impossible to find–apparently it features work by Neal Adams, Ernie Colon, and Howard Chaykin, making it sound amazing. If I’m ever lucky to get a hold of a copy I will send you scans so you can discuss it on the show.

    I still think romance comics could make a comeback, maybe this show will help spearhead that effort.

    Au revoir!

    1. I’m putting all my hopes on the Sequential Crush blog, but we do have some modern romance comics coming up on a future show.

  2. Alex Toth was also obsessed with planes, so it doesn’t surprise me that the old beau in this story bought it in a plane race. Just see the classic Batman story “Death Flies the Haunted Sky”.

    Interesting discussion on horror vs. gothic romance. As a big Hammer films fan, I know that term gets thrown around a lot…and apparently incorrectly!

    Great show, as always! You guys are on fire.


    1. Clearly, if we can call something Gothic horror, then Gothic is not an epithet that MEANS horror. Gothic Romance then is something else, though it shares a style with Gothic horror. Gothic fantasy. Gothic western. Gothic comedy? I wonder.

  3. Are you doing a Who’s Who and starting a new ‘volume’ at your new home? Otherwise, what’s with that reference to a first episode?

    Great show as ever, how I love the Romance Theatre. Should you ever have a Brit bit part going… That gal looks an awful lot like Cynthia from the Witching Hour, but I think Toth did draw her a fair bit early on – he may even have been the first.

    Anyway, bedtime … hope my quill doesn’t get ink on my Baby Doll.

    1. I don’t remember the reference exactly, but yes, first at the Network, but 8th for all the boys and girls who have been with us since the start. Thanks for you continued support!

  4. As always, this was an outstanding episode, though it could’ve used a bit more thunder crack SFX. Gothic Romance is a sub-genre I’ve always wanted to love, but frequently find the writing impenetrable to my sensibilities. My favorite gothic novel was The Turn of the Screw, but it was tough to read even though it’s not very long.

    I’ve never been displeased by any Alex Toth art I’ve ever seen, and Giacoia does a great job with the moody atmospheric inks the story needs. The story looks gorgeous, and from your description (and LH Theater), it sounds like a whole lot o’ fun.

    But hands down the best part of the episode was the Raquel Welch sidetrack. Wonderful!

  5. When I type “gothic” into a Google image search, I get Amy Lee forlornly listening to The Crow soundtrack in a cemetery/Victorian house/nature setting under poor lighting conditions. When I add “romance” they add a heroin addict in a top hat who I could refer to as androgynous except the dude’s topless in half the pictures and doesn’t have NSFW boobies. Also: Tim Burton and Edgar Allen Poe. Those seem like kinda narrow parameters for a genre. In my own mind, it’s simply a mix of romance and horror trappings, which typically suggestions some sort of social repression the protagonist is trepidatiously rebelling against through the allure of the forbidden. You can also flip the emphasis and tell an otherwise bitter horror story sweetened by romance. That broadens the scope considerably, from Red Dragon to Jessica Jones to Exit to Eden, and would indicate that gothic romance is alive and if anything thriving today. You guys (excusably given your lack of proximity,) also overlook the subgenre’s subgenre of Southern (U.S.) Gothic, which is actually much closer to its romantic forebears in its predilection for outdated and questionable social mores, crumbling old homes, dark secrets, isolation, etc.

    I was listening to the Romance Theater segment while dusting and otherwise tending house, which seemed appropriate.

    I still haven’t gone back to comment on the earlier episodes because I believe I stopped ahead of one of the series of shows discussing the Superman/Wonder Woman romance, and if I even start talking about that it’ll turn into an Amazon eBook of ranting. Hopefully our long international nightmare is over.

    Correction: that tweet about a “Frankgasm” was Mac writing under the Rolled Spine Podcasts account.

  6. Another great episode, and Gothic Romance is certainly an interesting subgenre to tackle. As horrifically written and ill-informed as it was, I think 50 Shades of Grey does qualify as a gothic romance, it portrays a classically poorly matched and inherently destructive relationship ala Wuthering Heights. And before you ask, no I never read it. However my wife did our of morbid curiosity and she insisted on reading the most painfully and hilariously awful parts to me… which means I had about 3/4 of the book read to me.

    But ultimately gothic romance is very difficult to do outside of what was the modern times when most of the classics of the genre were originally written in (i.e. 1800s.) Which is of course why films like Crimson Peak are made as period pieces, the stories just work better set in that time. Which makes it tough for me because I like the heart and themes and structures of gothic romances… I just often can’t get into the writing style of the times. That makes these kind of updates fun when you come across them.

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