Liz Berube, (born January 7, 1943) also known as Elizabeth Safian, was a romance comics artist for DC Comics in the 1970s. She illustrated fashion features, horoscope pages, tables of contents and other various ornamental pieces. She was also a prolific colorist for DC and Archie comics.
Berube was born in Brooklyn, NY and attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens where she started a comic strip for the school newspaper, which has been continued by different students to this day. She then went on to study cartooning at the School of Visual Arts. After leaving SVA, she became a colorist and assistant editor for Archie Comics. In the early 1960s, she met DC editor Jack Adler, who brought her into the publisher.
In the late 1960s, her newspaper strip Karen was carried by Newsday Syndicate in 40 newspapers at its peak. She has called Karen “my alter ego.”
In 1970, she began working on DC’s romance comics line, bringing more modern, stylized art to the genre, which was still being drawn in the realistic style that had become parodied in Pop Art. She worked on such titles as “Date with Debbi”, “Falling in Love”, “Girls’ Love Stories”, “Girls’ Romances”, “Heart Throbs”, “Secret Hearts”, “Young Love”, and “Young Romance”. She was offered the position of editor of the whole line, but as a 24-year-old single mother, she preferred the flexibility of working from home that pencilling and coloring allowed and declined. The line folded a few years later in 1973.
She worked as a colorist for Neal Adams’s Continuity Graphics from 1985 to 1989. Throughout her career she has worked on children’s books, cards, and other commissioned work.
Big Planet Comics Bethesda bought a collection that had a bunch of romance comics from the ‘60s and ‘70s and I had so much fun looking at them. A few are on sale now – more will be on sale soon (these are all DC, by the way). They’re in mostly good shape but definitely not mint condition. But! That means they’re about $3 each!)
These are some image I scanned – mostly non-comics pages because the fashion images are gorgeous. The “Marc - On the Man’s Side!” page was a weird parody advice column were Marc is a sexist jerk to the letter writers. I am pretty sure it’s all fake but also hilarious. (And while I took a few home, several with these pages are still at the store for purchase.)
I credited titles, issue numbers and years for these, but I don’t know the artists other than Liz Berube. It was standard for creators not to be credited during this era. If you know them, I’d love to know too!
Eight Nights of Jewish Women in Comics #6: Elizabeth Safian Berube
I just wanted to remind everyone that this amazing artist exists and share some of her work from DC’s romance comics of the 1970s. Most romance comics of the time were written and drawn by men telling similar stories to the regressive “boyfriend = happiness” stories of the 1950s, in the style that Roy Lichtenstein had been aping and satirizing since 1963.
Berube knew that young girls were far more interested in taking care of themselves; though her fashion and beauty tips may seem frivolous, they’re also quietly transgressive, framed entirely around girls dressing and making themselves up for themselves, with nary a mention of attracting boys. She also included horoscopes, which only incidentally talked about romance, which were also framed around finding somebody already compatible, not about radically changing oneself to get a boyfriend. And one of her few actual comics stories ends with the girl still single after doing what felt right for her herself and refusing to give into her rock star boyfriend’s demands for “kisses”.
Berube was offered the editorship of the whole romance line, but as a single mother she preferred the flexibility of an artist’s schedule and work environment. The line folded a couple of years later, and one can only speculate if her editorial direction would have made a difference. (I like to think it would have.)