Legendary artist Matt Baker edged into contributing to the Quality Comics romance line at a pivotal moment in his career. Most of his comic book output had been for publisher St. John Publications 1949-1955, but his assignments for St. John took an abrupt dip in early 1954. It's likely that in the wake of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee hearings that covered the comic book industry, St. John decided to proceed with caution. The publisher appears to have drastically curtailed interior story assignments as the hearings commenced in April 1954, and Matt Baker's last new interior art for St. John comics appeared in June 1954 cover-dated issues. Within five months, Baker seems to have tested the market with other publishers. His work on Dell's Lassie came during this period, as did his initial covers for Quality's Romance line. Baker's covers for Quality are an often overlooked part of his later career, but there's a Brides Romances #7 (Quality, 1954) CGC VG- 3.5 Off-white to white pages featuring a Matt Baker cover up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 at Heritage Auctions.
Baker's cover for Brides Romances #7 is based on the interior story "Too Many Proposals." In the story, a woman named Brenda rejects several marriage proposals because she doesn't love the men in question, but when a man named Bob comes along, she seems to love him but is left unsure of her emotions due to past experiences. When she rejects Bob like the others, he eventually starts dating another woman. Soon, Brenda realizes she does love Bob but fears it's too late. Spoiler alert: Bob and Brenda get back together in the end.
Baker never did more than a handful of covers for Quality. A glance at the GCD data for the Quality Romance line indicates that similar to St. John earlier that year, Quality would begin shifting towards interior reprints with new covers around the time that Baker tested the waters with the company. Quality Comics would sell most of its IP to DC Comics and cease operations by the end of 1956. Baker's covers for Quality are far less known than his work for St. John, and are deserving of more attention. There's a Brides Romances #7 (Quality, 1954) CGC VG- 3.5 Off-white to white pages featuring a Matt Baker cover up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 at Heritage Auctions. If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.
Brides Romances #7 (Quality, 1954) CGC VG- 3.5 Off-white to white pages. Matt Baker cover. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $28. CGC census 8/22: 2 in 3.5, 2 higher.
CGC Grader Notes:
light staining to cover
medium split left bottom of spine
moderate creasing to cover
very small split left top of spine
very small, multiple chip out cover