Pictured here is I’ll Soon Come Back To You, Sweetheart!, compiled by R.M. Barrows and published in 1944 by Consolidated Book Publishers. This publication is the most recent addition to my collection from Kaleidoscope Books, a bookstore which probably deserves its own post.
Intended for the women of the Women’s Army Corps, I’ll Soon Come Back To You, Sweetheart! is a “Service Woman’s Fun Book” full of captioned cartoons, humor writing, and a few short stories. About half of the publication consists of cartoons with captions such as “She’s going to make her first solo drive uptown past the department store windows.” The civilian men in the comics are portrayed as either predatory, such as the leering sailors (“That’s what I’d call ‘sea legs’!”), or somehow emasculated, such as a man watching with his son from the sidewalk as “Ma” marches in a parade, as well as the intimidated sailor who is told to “have a good time” after being told that his date is “camp’s best pistol shot and teaches Jiu-Jitsu.”
“Dear Harry” is a piece of humor writing expanding upon a ridiculous Macy’s ad about a WAC “nymph” telling Harry to buy more linens at Macy’s instead of competently doing laundry. The column features letters from Harry, who goes from complaining about bending over the stove all day to leaving his wife in the end for Macy’s.
The story “Ridin’ Fool” is about a department store heiress serving in a North African desert. The audience is given detailed outfit descriptions of our protagonist as well as updates on how her hair looks as she sets out nearly alone, travels the desert for days, and establishes diplomatic relations with an enemy group all within six pages.
And lastly, the story “Blind Date” describes an awkward end to a first date, punctuated by the revelation that the woman involved was working with the FBI to crack a spy ring. The illustrations for “Blind Date” were vastly superior to the story.