Markley’s Fevered Brain: I’m Sooo Girly

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

As some as you may know, as I have talked about numerous times in the past, there is a rich history of British comics which is largely forgotten by most comics fans, if they even knew it existed in the first place. In recent years, the publisher Rebellion has been slowly buying the rights and content of publishers of years past (such as IPC and Fleetway) and adding them to their already diverse line of titles, led by 2000AD and Judge Dredd. We, the readers, are lucky as Rebellion is taking all of this classic material that has largely been forgotten except for comic historians and true fans of British comics and collecting them into nice trade paperbacks in a variety of page counts and formats.

Charley's War

Charley’s War


Part of the beauty of the history of British comics is the wide diversity they have had over the years. They have long histories of science fiction (Dan Dare), westerns (El Mestizo), war (Charley’s War), girls comics (Misty, Jinty, Fran of the Floods), and lots more. Rebellion publishes this classic material under the imprint called Treasury of British Comics, all of which should be available at any comic shop or through Westfield Comics. This blog I am going to look at just the “girl’s comics”. In England they did comics for specific markets; science fiction, sports, action/adventure for boys, etc. For girls they did the traditional romance comics, but they also did a number of horror comics for girls. These were not the traditional horror as in a serial killer or a monster, but more that some event causes the horror or something within the family causes it. In other words, the horror was far more reality based and plausible. I cannot think of anything similar in American comics, at least not as an ongoing series. (Perhaps some of the Charlton comics where there focused on gothic ghost stories or DCs brief flirtation with gothic horror in the early ‘70s.)

The two best known books from England for this girl focused horror stories are Misty and Jinty. So far there have been five collections of stories from these two comics that ran weekly for a number of years. Misty ran for a 101 issues from 1978-1980. Jinty ran 393 issues from 1974-1981. Each of these titles were anthologies with long running stories that ran issue to issue and eventually would reach its conclusion and a new story would start. Also, there were a wide variety of creators, some of who would be well known to American audiences, such as Pat Mills (creator of Marshall Law and numerous other characters). Needless to say, there are a lot of stories that could be collected by Rebellion, and so far they have just scratched the surface. I read all of these collections and I must say they are really good. The art and story do tend to vary a bit depending on the creators, but all of them are very good stories that truly are page turners. As with almost all British comics, they are serialized in small increments, 3-5 pages per story per issue. This form of storytelling forces the writers and artists to tell very tight stories that move at a lightning pace compared to traditional American comics. I also love how they summarize the story in one or two lines and you are completely up to date before you launch into the next chapter. Now on to the books.

Misty Vol. 1

Misty Vol. 1


There are three volumes reprinting stories from Misty magazine. Misty tended to do stories that were 4-5 pages long, a bit of a change from Jinty. The first volume reprints two stories; Moonchild and The Four Faces of Eve. Moonchild written by Pat Mills and art by John Armstrong is a story of a young teen girl with psychic powers. It is easily to compare this story to Stephen King’s Carrie, as there are similarities, but in the end it is different enough not to be a rip off, and personally I enjoyed this story more. The second story is called The Four Faces of Eve written by Malcolm Shaw and art by Brian Delaney. This story is about a girl named Eve Marshall, who is suffering from amnesia, who has memories and dreams of the death of three other young girls. It is a taught story with a conclusion I did not see coming. As with all of the stories, since each chapter is so short, it makes for a great page turner as you want to see what is next!

Misty Vol. 2

Misty Vol. 2


Misty Volume 2 reprints what by many is considered the best Misty story, called The Sentinels. Once again it is written by Malcolm Shaw and tell the tale of two towers (giant apartment building which are common in England). One tower is filled with people and the other is run down and empty. Teen Jan Richards and her family and up homeless and move into the empty tower for shelter only to find it is a portal to another dimension where the Nazi’s won WW2. The story focuses on the family drama over the science-fiction aspects of the story to great effect. Plus, Mario Capaldi’s art is perfect for this type of story. The second story in this volume is also written by Malcom Shaw and is called End of the Line… with art by John Richardson. The story here revolves around a girl named Ann whose father was killed in an accident in the tubes (subways) but Ann is sure he is still alive and goes off searching for him having and discovers all sorts of horrific surprises. This story is filled with all sort of twists and turns.

Misty Vol. 3

Misty Vol. 3


Misty Vol. 3 (the newest one so far) the first story is Wolf Girl about a girl who is raised by wolfs only later to be discovered by humans and then the trouble arises as she has readjust to the human world. Of course along the way there is a lot of family drama and unexpected twists. The art is by Eduardo Feito and as far as I could find, they do not credit a writer. Also this volume is notable because it includes the color pages from the original comics. British comics, like Manga, will occasionally have a page to three in color and the rest of the story reverting to black and white. The rest of the volume is filled with short stories related to wolves, including a number of werewolf stories. Each of these volumes also reprint the relevant covers of Misty that are pertinent to the stories included.

Jinty Vol. 1

Jinty Vol. 1


Although Jinty ran for far longer than Misty, there is only one collection so far (sort of). In Jinty Vol. 1 there are two stories reprinted. The first story is once again written by Pat Mills and is called The Land of No Tears. This s a story about Cassy Shaw who wakes up to finds herself in a future where perfection is valued above all else, and Cassy who has a defect (one leg is shorter than the other). She is shunned and put with the rejects in her school where she decides to prove her and her fellow “rejects” are just as worthy as the others. This story is a bit on the preachy side as in her own time Cassy uses her disability for sympathy and in the future she uses it as a badge of honor. A good story nevertheless with art by Guy Peters. The second story is called The Human Zoo, which is a traditional sci-fi story where a pair of teen age girl twins are kidnapped by aliens and are taken to a far off planet where they land up in a zoo. These is a very good story where the story constantly shifts in terms of locations and adventures ending in a completely unexpected way. This story is once again written by Malcolm Shaw and drawn is also drawn by Guy Peters.

Fran of the Floods

Fran of the Floods


The final volume is called Fran of the Floods and is also from the pages of Jinty, even though it is not labeled as a Jinty volume. Since I wrote about this book extensively a while back I will not rehash it but I will say writer Alan Davison and artist Phil Gascoine tell an amazing tale of a flooded Britain (due to global warming) long before its time. A very good drama that goes from the South of England to Scotland. As I did before, I recommend this volume as I really enjoyed this story.

Now I know all of these stories were designed for teen girls, but as a middle-aged man I really enjoyed all of these books. They are a fresh and pleasant change from the traditional superhero fare that most comics are. This is another under represented genre that it very good and largely unknown. I would think most of these books would appeal to most of the manga audience and all have very strong female leads, and all of the leads are teen girls. I realize these books will appeal to few of the readers of this blog, but I do encourage you to try them.

Have you read any of the books? What did you think? Did not enjoy them or hate them? I would like to know. I can be reached on Facebook at Wayne Markley or at MFBWAY@AOL.COM. All of these opinions are mine and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their staff. Comments are welcome! As always…

Thank you.

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