Lichtenstein based many of his early paintings on imagery he found in comic books. The source for this work is Run for Love! published by DC Comics in 1962, the cover of which the artist significantly altered to arrive at the finished composition. In the original illustration, the drowning girl’s boyfriend appears in the background, clinging to a capsized boat. Lichtenstein cropped the image dramatically, showing the girl alone and encircled by a threatening wave. He changed the caption from “I don’t care if I have a cramp!” to “I don’t care!” and the boyfriend’s name from Mal to Brad. In addition to appropriating comic books’ melodramatic content, Lichtenstein manually simulated the Benday dots used in the mechanical reproduction of images.
Gallery label from 2011.