Friday, 17 April 2015

Misty



If you want to get almost any British girl of a certain age all nostalgic, just say one word to them: Misty.
What early 2000AD was to boys, Misty was to girls ( and boys in the know, obviously ). Even girls who never read comics read this comic, and individual issues go for ludicrous amounts on ebay.
Misty was a mystery anthology weekly, with serials and one-off stories, and like all UK weeklies, had it's own host, the winsome earth spirit / willowy white witch / groovy goth girl title star.
Misty herself never said very much, and was much given to wafting around her Cavern Of Dreams and writing us missives on the intro page, welcoming us to that week's scares.




Although it wasn't as scary as it might've been, with original mastermind Pat Mills' plan to create a 2000AD for girls being downgraded to 'spooky but safe', Misty still had some absolutely great stuff in it, like The Sentinels ( spooky tower block is actually a gateway to a parallel world where the Nazi's won WW2 ), Paint It Black ( schoolgirl possessed by Victorian ghost artist ) and Moonchild ( Mills rips off Carrie, but does it really, really well ). And if any boy had the brass nerve to walk into their local newsagents and buy a girl's comic, they'd find themselves immediately hooked. And yes, I got my ( female ) cousin to buy it.


Also, as was the norm for UK weeklies, the art duties were divided between homegrown talent and spanish artists, giving Misty almost the look, if you squinted, of a Warren mag for teens.


So lots of Misty stuff on the way, but as a teaser, it's worth checking out the lass herself as she appeared in some gorgeous covers and posters. The only name I can find for these is a British artist named Shirley Bellwood, who's now a high class portrait painter. Not sure if Shirley did all these, but whoever's responsible, they're stunning.









19 comments:

  1. I bought my Wife Misty 17.3.79 as a present a few years back as the date fell on her Birthday. We were both staggered and highly amused by the content, truly strange and disconcerting. The sickly colour pages really add to the atmosphere. We have a near set but not the Specials which I'm guessing is where those glossy posters come from? I really like the calendars and Xmas card issues too. Weird thing is; I don't recall ever seeing one in the shops, maybe they were all snatched up pronto :) I do recall seeing one in a newsagent in an episode of Minder though.

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  2. Great post, and nice to hear you're thinking of putting up some of that Misty stuff. From what I've seen of it, The Sentinels in particular seems interesting; apparently the writer, Malcolm Shaw - often uncredited, as a lot of UK comic types were back then - did a few early Dredds, and Pat Mills really rates him as a pivotal figure from that late 70s period.
    Anyway, hope to read more of it here at some point.

    Looks a bit like a Warren mag for teens? Ha - that's a good way to put it.

    -sean

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  3. Yeh, from the specials as you say, HD, and The Sentinels will probably be the first one out of the bag, I reckon.

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  4. I remember reading Pat Mills discussing Misty and he was saying that boys have no interest in mystery; what's behind that door, who's that in the barn at this hour etc but to be fair I couldn't have been the only boy who was utterly fascinated with the contents of Kano's box?

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  5. The Pat Mills interviews I've read, he also talks about the ordeals the girls characters were put through as a bit of the writing formula that didn't transfer so well to boys comics.
    Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain and Running Man were given as examples of stories that didn't click with readers for that reason. Although, as a kid, I thought Running Man was great.
    But then, I was gripped by the secret of Kano's box too (although being well into my teens by then, maybe that doesn't count)

    -sean

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  6. True enough. I doubt that I would have been in the least bit interested if Claw Carver had a secret box or what Bill Savage kept up his back passage. Looking back I was enthralled with every episode of MACH 1 which now is verging on the unreadable.

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  7. The Secret of Bill Savage's Back Passage - you should definitely pitch that to 2000AD!

    -sean

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  8. I'm so intrigued by this! I've never heard of Misty. I wonder how much crossover there was with romance fans? Looking forward to seeing your future posts on this!

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  9. I don't know that we ever really had homegrown romance comics in the UK, Jacque, more what you'd call Girl's Adventure, but trust me, as curator of Sequential Crush, you'll love Misty. Be posting some soon...

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  10. The only girls comic I collect other than Misty is Romeo. Written by Pat Mills and others it's an out and out romance title but probably most if not all art by non Brits. The late 60's early 70's issues are top draw.

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  11. Romeo's a new one on me, dammit, now I've gotta find some issues of that one...

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  12. You'll be floored; Vampi artists abound! You know when you look at a Charlton romance title and one, usually Spanish or Italain artist stands out? They're all in Romeo. Might be exaggerating a tad there but I'm not far off. Every issue I have is entertaining I doubt you'll be disappointed.

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  13. A quick google has left me horrified by the almost complete lack of info on Romeo. I can only find one cover from the late 60's early 70's. About a year ago I missed out on 2 full year bound volumes.

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  14. The couple of issues of Romeo I've seen didn't make much of an impression ... Mind you, anthology titles can be a bit up and down, so maybe they weren't particularly good ones.
    Wasn't it published by DC Thompson? They tended to a more old fashioned approach, so maybe that's why it isn't remembered so much. You know, the same way no one recalls Bullet anywhere near as much as Action.

    -sean

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  15. Yeah apart from the Smasher Bullet is pretty drab. Romeo is more of a teen comic so more interesting to me than say a Bunty or whatever. Not sure what you would compare it to in comparison to your Bullet/Action analogy though. I think I'm right in saying that Romeo was Pat Mills first comic work.

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  16. Yeh, 26pigs has a tiny piece on Romeo and it's very obviously a DC Thompson., who to me were always DC to IPC's Marvel, but they did do Spellbound / Supercats and The Victor I think had King Cobra, so they obviously had their moments, Romeo presumably being one of them..

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  17. King Cobra...?
    That rings a bell... was that drawn by Ron Smith? Wasn't it actually in Hotspur, or am I getting it mixed up with the Hornet...? That's the thing about DC Thompson's stuff, Pete, it just wasn't particularly memorable, even when it was well done.
    Mind you, that Supercats stuff you posted not so long ago was great, so... maybe things were a bit different with their girls comics.

    --sean

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  18. KB over at Out of This World not too long ago posted an issue of the British title Marilyn. May be of interest!

    http://kb-outofthisworld.blogspot.com/2015/02/british-girls-romance-comics-marilyn.html

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  19. Some nice, surprisingly modern looking work there, jacque, thanks. Looks like Ken Houghton in one place, but don't thyink he was working that early.

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