Rebellion Reprints: The Misty History of UK Girl Comics
Big news! Misty is coming back!
Yes, friends, Misty is going to be available to you. This unforgotten girl must no longer wallow in the vaults. For what price? I don’t know! I’ve asked and shall keep you updated. But for cheaper than eBay offers original printings (and, stranger, but upon consideration rather sensible DVDs full of digital reproductions), I should hope. Whether it is or whether it isn’t, a nice new shop-stocked shiny, well-cornered volume will no doubt appeal to a wider, more sustainable audience than auction hounds who love the smell of mildew.
Let me tell you about Misty. From 1978 to the early ’80s, Misty was a comic for girls; perhaps girls on the later end of their Bunty readership, or perhaps girls too unimpressed by Bunty’s ballet, school’n’japes aesthetic to bother with it in the first place. Obviously, a lot of girls who read Bunty also read Misty, and girls who didn’t read any other comics, and also everybody else. Because these comics were good. But the fierce and important thing about the strips within belonging to the magazine “Misty” is that Misty is clearly branded as being A Comic For Girls. Misty is about death. Misty is a horror comic.
Look at this cover, for example. Misty often used a more sophisticated cover model, essentially their Elvira, all blue eye shadow and fatal intention. But this fresher face, from either their first or second annual, is one of their most powerful images for my money.
This girl has gone heavy on the mascara, and perhaps you’d assume that her pink cheeks were the result of product rather than circumstance if her expression—from eyebrow to raised hand, to shoulder set, to the way her hair blends with the straggling branches of the tree behind her—didn’t say fear. The colours and clothing communicate a late autumn or winter setting and a halloweeny, smoggy wrongness; it’s cold, the wind is up (note the texture of her hair, the way it looks fine, but messily clumped), and the light’s going. This girl is physically aroused, and I don’t mean sexually. She was in an externally, environmentally miserable circumstance before she saw whatever it is that’s causing her recoil. And now that she has seen whatever it is (whatever’s just … back behind the viewer’s shoulder …) things do not seem likely to get much immediately better.
This is why sex and horror go together so regularly. In fact, fear and tension enhance sensation. Using such deft expression of sensation to express fear is masterful, and allowing the expression of sensation without slipping into erotification, is a necessary service to a) girls and b) humanity.
I designed Misty to be a female 2000 AD with the emphasis on magic and horror, rather than science fiction; it was very successful and is fondly remembered today. The stories chosen for the graphic novel are regarded by Misty readers as the very best with stunning, powerful and scary art. It’s great to see them back in print and I hope they will form the vanguard of a girls’ comic revival that is long, long overdue. —Pat Mills
While the licensing rights are retained by Egmont, the 2016 reprints will be handled by Rebellion (you know them if you think you don’t—”the 2000 AD people”). Rebellion’s press release tips the hat to hardcore Misty fans’ long running campaign to get this comic back in print. I’m not surprised that this title left such an indelible mark on the psyches of the kids who read it back then, or curious, lucky collectors who’ve since discovered the lost legend of Misty.
Now you know that she’s coming, and you know when to welcome her. Light a candle for Misty, and next September, let her in-a your window.