Stan Drake’s The Heart of Juliet Jones

The first volume of this soap opera romance collects daily comic strips first printed from March 8, 1953, to August 13, 1955.

The Heart of Juliet Jones cover
The Heart of Juliet Jones
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It’s the story of two small-town sisters, sensible brunette Juliet and flirtatious blonde Eve. Their widowed dad, Pops, tries to take care of them, but Juliet often acts more as mother to Eve than sister. In the storylines here, Juliet gets dis-engaged, causes family trouble among the local rich folks when their son falls for her, helps a doctor marry a movie star, guides her father through a business deal with a fast-talker, sends her sister to college, and gets a childcare provider married off. But that’s not all! She also prevents a gold-digging nurse from taking advantage of Pops during an illness and watches Eve navigate her first real job at the local department store, where the boss’ son has his eye on her.

The opening 20-some pages of this book provide a great overview of why the comic was collected, thanks to an introduction by Leonard Starr and a history by Armando Mendez. The appeal is the art of Stan Drake, described as “naturalistic” and focusing on realistic emotion captured through photo reference. (He was an early Polaroid user.) And it is gorgeous, full of movement as characters react to each other, and with the kind of detail you don’t see on the comic page any more. The art style is slick, influenced by magazine and advertising styles of the time. The girls are simply beautiful, and it’s a pleasure to see their emotional struggles. Drake later went on to draw Blondie from 1984 to 1997.

Volume 2 of this series was released earlier this summer, with Volume 3 and a collection of color Sunday strips planned for next year. Drake continued drawing the strip through 1989, and after another artist took over, it was ended in 2000. Given its long run, I was surprised I’d never heard of it before seeing this book, but that made it a fun, fresh read. It’s a welcome addition to the ever-growing shelf of classic comic strip reprints. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)


4 Responses to “Stan Drake’s The Heart of Juliet Jones”

  1. Ed Catto Says:

    Thanks for the review. This has been on the list since Dave Sim has been “teaching” us about Drake & the photo-realism school.
    As a kid, I always thought the girls were pretty, but never read the strip.
    In fact, I thought the sister was Juliet Jones..but she’s the “bad one”, right?
    Anyways, thanks for the review.

  2. Johanna Says:

    The sister is Eve, but she’s only bad in the first story. After that, she’s just teenaged and misguided.

  3. Journalista – the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Oct. 5, 2009: Worth the read Says:

    […] [Review] Stan Drake’s The Heart of Juliet Jones Link: Johanna Draper Carlson […]

  4. Leonard Starr’s Mary Perkins on Stage » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] promotional material. There are six volumes out so far. Classic Comics Press is also reprinting Stan Drake’s The Heart of Juliet Jones, another soap opera strip from the same period. […]

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