First off, what a great name for a comic magazine. I can’t help but thinking to myself, “As opposed to the SECRET HOUSE OF SINISTER LOVE”, which may have been down the block. Anyway, in attempting to cash in on a corner of the growing marketplace for gothic romance stories in the early 1970s, DC really made a go of it. This cover doesn’t really look like anything else they were publishing then. I love the limited palate, and the color-held frame is a nice way to cement the notion of what the series is about in an unobtrusive manner, allowing the central painting to shine. It’s a piece that was often attributed to artist Jeff Jones, but somebody located the original artwork to it, and it’s signed by Jerome Podwil, who was the actual painter. Either way, it’s a terrific use of the kind of minimalism that Alex Toth often advocated for, where just a few lines and shapes evoke a scene and set a mood. It’s about as stripped down as it gets, but it communicated effectively. Nice color choices, too. And the typography is pretty expertly done as well. This series didn’t last all that long, and with covers such as this one, that’s a real shame.
4 thoughts on “Great Covers: SINISTER HOUSE OF SECRET LOVE #2”
I have a vague memory of an editor talking about this series at a convention decades ago. As I recall, he said something to the effect that boys wouldn’t buy it due to the romance aspect, and girls wouldn’t buy it due to the horror aspect, so it tanked from not finding an audience.
That was exactly how writer / editor Nick Cuti described Haunted Love, a similar type of series published roughly around the same time by Charlton Comics.
Interesting to hear about the cover artist. Thanks.
Hardly anyone (except me!) comments on the early use of the ‘graphic novel’ tag.
We know it’s an attempt to hook in the gothic paperback readers…
A somewhat different emphasis from the later usage.
But even so!
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I remember artist Jerome Podwil from his many wonderful genre paperback covers. I never knew he did work in comics, too. One of my favorites was his illustration for the Pocket Books edition of Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man:
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