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Romance comics is a comics genre portraying romantic love and its potential problems like jealousy, rivalry, betrayal, and heartache. Romance normally features dramatic stories about the romantic relationships of older teens and young adults.
The beginning of romance comics took place following the Second World War when adult comics readership increased and superheroes were on the decline. Veteran comics creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were inspired by the pulp magazines, radio soap operas, and adult confession magazines to create a new comic for adult readers. After brainstorming, the duo created the seminal romance comic book Young Romance in 1947. It was an immediate success and spawned the creation of dozens of romance titles from major comics publishers by the early 1950s.
By 1954 the Comics Code Authority was created to insure that comics contained wholesome stories for young readers. Publishers who produced romance comics were careful to self-censor their story-lines and artwork to comply with the comics code. Any material that might be inappropriate or controversial was avoided, and “safe” stories which focused on traditional family roles (which included strong male leadership and submissive female stereotypes) were written and produced.
The sexual revolution of the 1960s challenged the concept of marriage and the traditional roles of the family. Readership steadily declined and by the mid-1970s, romance comics were coming to and end.
Romance comics often had backup features related to fashion and dating advice.