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A Very British Affair: The Best of Classic Romance Comics
Table of Contents
About The Book
Rebellion is proud to present the finest romance comics in British history in one spectacular volume!
Curated by Eisner-nominated historian and artist David Roach, A Very British Affair charts the stratospheric rise of romance comics in postwar Britain with a selection of the greatest romance comics ever printed in the UK. Featuring an eclectic mix of artists from Spain, Italy, and the UK, this collection unearths the sensual art and emotional writing which delighted generations of comics readers.
Featuring over 50 comics stories – many of which have never been reprinted before – this lavish book is a stunning tribute to the often uncredited creators who crafted an industry of love. Roach shines a spotlight on the Spanish and Italian artists who dominated romance, as well as the genre's forgotten female contributors, like Jenny Butterworth, Pat Tourett and Diane Gabbott. Featuring art by comics icons like Shirley Bellwood (Misty), Jordi Badía Romero (Creepy) and Enrique Badía Romero (AXA), Mike Hubbard (Jane), Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd), John M. Burns (Modesty Blaise), Purita Campos (Patty’s World), Jesus Blaco (Steel Claw), Pepe Gonzalez (Vampirella) Jesus Redondo (Kitty Pryde) and Blas Gallego (Black Beth).
About The Illustrators
Shirley began working on comics in the 1950s, with her first work believed to be on C Arthur Pearson’s Glamour Library. She would go on to draw story pages for titles such as Mirabelle, Romeo, Roxy and Valentine. Unusually, her name sometimes appeared on this early work, indicating the esteem in which she was held. From the 1970s onwards she drew for the new wave of girls comics such as Sally, Jinty and – of course – Misty. She created the character of Misty and drew her throughout the comic’s run. Outside of comics, Shirley was a highly respected portrait painter who took commissions from MPs, lords and celebrities. She provided illustrations for a large number of children’s books, as well as several books for the Folio Society. She trained at Leeds College of Art and held major exhibitions with the Royal Portrait Society. Shirley’s portraits contain a real sense of character and she was particularly skilled at painting children and animals, which she pursued further when she moved out of London in later life. Shirley died on 1 February 2016 in hospital in Worcester, aged 84.
Ferdinando Tacconi was an Italian comics artist. In addition to a distinguished career in Italian comics, he drew many strips and covers for the British comics market, beginning in the mid-1950s. In addition to drawing Jeff Morgan, he contributed to Eagle, Buster, Air Ace Picture Library, Battle Picture Library, Thriller Picture Library and War Picture Library. He died in 2006.
Joan Riley contributed to the early wave of romance comics in the 1950s, drawing for Love Story Library and Valentine.
Roberto Gonzalez Casarrubio is a Spanish comics artist. He specialised in romance comics for the British market, contributing art to Valentine, Marilyn, Roxy, Marty, Mirabelle, Boyfriend, School Girls and Star Love. Outside of the UK, his work can be found in Sissi and legendary Belgian comic Spirou. In recent years his art has focused on painting and sculpture.
Pat Tourrett was a British comics artist and freelance illustrator. She drew comics for Mirabelle, Girl and Boyfriend and co-created the model Tiffany Jones with Jenny Butterworth. Tiffany Jones’ adventures ran in the Daily Sketch and Daily Mail from 1964 to 1977, and was adapted into a 1973 film. She died in 2018.
Gerry Haylock was a British comics artist most famous for his work on the Doctor Who comic adaptations for TV Action and TV Comic. In addition to his work on boys comics such as Eagle, he contributed numerous stories for Girl and covers for Schoolgirls’ Picture Library.
Enrico Bagnoli was an Italian comics artist, illustrator and editor with an international career that spanned many genres, from crime horror and action to romance and biographies. His work was published in France, Germany, the US and the UK. He died in 2012.
Antonio Toldo is an Italian comics artist. His work is most commonly associated with the Italian publisher Casa Editrice Universo, for whom he contributed many strips up until the 1980s. In addition to this he also worked on some British comics, including Mirabelle.
Carlos Prunés Álvarez was a Spanish comics artist. Renowned for his war and romance comics, he was a regular contributor to Valentine, drawing over 100 stories. His work was featured across Fleetway’s womens’ and girls’ titles from the late 1950s until the mid-1960s appearing in romance comics Roxy, Marilyn and Serenade. He also contributed to the girls comics Tammy, June and School Friend as well as drawing comics for DC Thomson’s Mandy and Diana. Outside of the UK, he was the first Spanish artist to appear in Warren’s Creepy in 1960. He died in 2017.
Joan Martin May is a British comics artist and illustrator. In addition to her work providing illustrations for various books and magazines, such as Good Housekeeping, she also drew Kidnapped for Mickey Mouse Weekly in 1948, and Made for Each Other for Mirabelle.
Josep Maria Miralles is a Spanish artist who specialised in drawing romance comics for the British market in the 1950s and early 1960s. His work was featured in Valentine, Marilyn and Roxy before he began to focus predominantly on provided painted illustrations for various international publishers in the mid 1960s.
Guido Buzzelli was an Italian comic book artist. He had a highly successful career in French and Italian comics in the 1970s, and his work was published, amongst other publications, in Charlie Hebdo. For the UK comics market he drew Angélique for the Daily Mirror and his art was featured in Valentine. He was awarded the 1973 Yellow Kid Award for best illustrator and the Crayon d’Or in 1979. He died in 1992.
María Barrera is a Catalan artist and one of the prominent female artists of 1950s Spanish girls’ comics. Her work appeared in Sisi, Jana and Pulgarcito in Spain and was also found abroad in comics such as the Dutch girls’ comic Tina. In the UK, her work featured in several Fleetway comics, such as Marilyn, Tammy and Misty.
Mike Hubbard was born in Dublin, Ireland, but moved to London after the First World War. His career began providing internal and cover illustrations for Amalgamated Press’ story papers, before moving to comics work after the Second World War. Most famously he assisted Norman Pett on the Daily Mirror erotic strip Jane before becoming the lead artist in 1948 until the strip’s end in 1959. He also drew adventure comics for Knockout and made significant contributions to Fleetway’s girls titles, drawing Jane Bond: Secret Agent for Tina and Princess Tina, as well as providing strips for Valentine, Princess and Schoolgirls’ Picture Library. He died in 1976.
Ángel Badia Camps was a Spanish comics artist, painter and illustrator most famous for his stunning, definitive covers and stories for Serenade, which he produced between 1962 and 1963. His comic art also appeared in Valentine. In addition to his comics work he painted covers for the Scandinavian releases of James Bond in the 1970s and 1980s. He died in 2019.
Ray Sorigue Segarra was one of many artists who contributed to Valentine in the 1960s.
Víctor De La Fuente was a Spanish comic book artist. Although famous for his work on war, western and fantasy comics, he also contributed to girls’ comics, drawing the serial A New Kind of Lovin’ for Valentine. He died in 2010.
Vincente Roso was a Spanish comic book artist. He is most famous for creating the Spanish comics character Florita, who would become the eponymous heroine of her own girls' comic in 1949. He worked on Florita for six years, leaving in 1956. He also drew comics for the UK women’s market, including work for Marilyn. In later life his work increasingly focused on painting and illustration. He died in 1996.
Jorge “Jordi” Longarón was a Spanish comic book artist. Renowned for his romance comics as well as his war and western comics, his most important contribution to comics was the creation of the US newspaper strip Friday Foster with Jim Lawrence. It was one of the first U.S. newspaper strips to feature an African-American heroine (although it was predated by Jackie Ormes’ Torchy Brown). In the UK his work was associated with romance comics, appearing most famously in Serenade, although he also drew for Valentine, Roxy and Marilyn, however he also painted covers for Commando, Battle and War Picture Library. He died in 2019.
José Pepe Gonzalez was a Spanish illustrator and comic book artist. Particularly adept at romance, his work was featured in many Spanish and British romance comics although his most famous comics work was his extensive and definitive run on Warren’s Vampirella in the US. In the UK, he contributed art to Valentine, Marilyn and Mirabelle. He died in 2009.
Jesús Blasco is considered one of the most significant artists in Spanish comics. He created Cuto for Boliche magazine and produced several science fiction and adventure titles. In the 1960s he joined the British publishing agency Fleetway and worked on Steel Claw, Billy the Kid and Buffalo Bill amongst others. For 2000 AD he provided the art for several episodes of Invasion!
Manfred Sommer was a Spanish comics artist. Most famous for creating the war comic Frank Cappa, he also drew war and romance comics for the UK market. He drew Living Doll for Marilyn, which remains one of the most striking romance stories. He died in 2007.
Juan Solé Puyal is a Spanish comics artist who specialised in drawing romance comics. His work was extensively featured in women’s and girls’ titles. In Spain, he drew romance for Sentimental, Modelo and Sissi and in the UK his work appeared across the girls titles from the 1960s and the 1980s, appearing in almost every major Fleetway girls’ title. His work could be found in Valentine, Mirabelle, Boyfriend, Marty, True Life, Marilyn, Roxy, Love Story, Star Love, Tina, Princess Tina, Sally, June, Pink, Tammy, Spellbound, Misty, Diana, and elsewhere. His most famous girls’ comics serial is probably Sally’s Legion of Super Slave.
Jordi Franch was a Spanish comics artist and a student of Jorge Longarón. He illustrated various British newspaper strips and drew romance comics, contributing art to titles like Valentine. He died in 1980.
José Bielsa is a Spanish comics artist and editor. His career spanned across Europe, contributing to comics like Florita, Spirou and the Albert Uderzo creation Tom et Nelly. In the UK he drew western comics for Amalgamated Press and also contributed art to romance comics such as Valentine.
Esteban Maroto is a Spanish comics artist whose graphic style established him on horror and fantasy US titles like Conan, Creepy, Vampirella, Eeerie, Red Sonja and Dracula.
Félix Mas is a Spanish comics artist and painter. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s his work was in constant demand on British romance comics. His art appeared in Marilyn, Romeo, Valentine, Roxy and Boyfriend. He also contributed art to Warren Publishing’s Creepy and Vampirella in the early 1970s, after which he left comics to pursue painting.
Antonio Bosch Penalva is a Spanish comics artist. For the Spanish market he established himself with a number of boys’ action strips like Silver Roy, which he created. In the 1960s he also drew for British romance comics like Mirabelle.
Trini Tinturé was born in Lleida, Catalonia, in the middle of the Spanish Civil War. In the 1960s, she began to submit samples of fairy tale comics and joined the Bruguera publishing house. In addition to her work for the European market, her art began to be published in England and Scotland, where she drew consistently across the children's and girls' titles for 20 years, in addition to drawing romance comics for women. One of her most famous strips was 'Oh, Tinker!', which ran in June and School Friend. In addition to this, she also drew several iconic serials for Jinty, including A Spell of Trouble, Creepy Crawley, and The Slave of Form 2B. In 2019 the Barcelona International Comic Fair awarded her the Honorary Prize of the Women Comic Artists Guild.
Luis Garcia Mozos is a Spanish comic Book artistaand painter. Famous for his work for Warren Publishing in the 1970s, particularly Vampirella, he also contributed extensively to British romance comics. His art appeared in True Life Picture Library, Love Story, Romeo, Boyfriend, Picture Library and Love Story Picture Library. In particular, his work featured heavily in Mirabelle, Valentine, Jackie and Romeo.
Domingo Alvarez is a Spanish comics artist, painter and editor. His comics art ranged from horror and war to romance. His romance art could be found in British titles Mirabelle, Valentine, Marilyn and Roxy.
Jesus Redondo worked on several strips for 2000 AD including Tharg’s Future Shocks, Nemesis the Warlock, M.A.C.H. 1 and Return to Armageddon. In the 1990’s he worked on Motormouth and Killpower for Marvel UK and Kitty Pryde for Marvel US.
José Ortiz Moya’s sixty plus year career began after he won a contest which ran in the Spanish magazine Chicos. In the 1950s he worked on many digest strips for Editorial Maga, including Capitan Don Nadie, Pantera Negra and Jungla. Agency work saw him produce several strips for foreign publishers, particularly in Britain where he illustrated Caroline Barker, Barrister at Law for the Daily Express, Smokeman and UFO Agent for Eagle magazine and the Phantom Viking in Lion. In the seventies and eighties Ortiz worked on several British popular strips including The Tower King and House of Daemon for the new Eagle, Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd for 2000 AD and The Thirteenth Floor for Scream!, which he co-created with John Wagner and Alan Grant. Whilst doing all of this work on UK kid’s comics, in the US Ortiz was also working on and is arguably best known for illustrating several stories for Warren’s horror titles, including Eerie and Vampirella.
Josep Maria Beá is a Spanish comic artist, painter, editor and publisher. In addition to his extensive work for US publisher Warren on Vampirella, he also drew romance comics in the UK in the 1960s. His work can be found in titles like Mirabelle, Valentine, Romeo and Jackie. His contribution to comics art was recognised with the Grand Prix at the 2003 Barcelona Comic Book Fair.
Purificación Campos Sánchez was a Spanish comics artist, illustrator and painter. One of most successful Spanish comics artists of the twentieth century, she created the legendary comics soap opera Patty’s World with writer Phillip Douglas. Running initially in Princess Tina, it survived the cancellation of multiple comics to run rom 1971 to 1988 and was translated into Spanish, Dutch, German and Greek. She received several high profile awards in recognition to her significant contribution to comics art, including the Medal of Merit of Fine arts in 2009 and the Barcelona Comic Book Fair’s Grand Prix in 2013. She died in 2019.
Luis Martinez Roca is a Spanish comcis artist. Famous for his science fiction and erotic comics, he also drew Scarth for The Sun. His contributions to British romance comics includes work for Mirabelle and Valentine.
Carlos Ezquerra was the co-creator of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rat Pack, Major Eazy and many other fan-favourite characters, he designed the classic original Dredd costume as well as visually conceptualising Mega-City One. In addition to these credits he also illustrated A.B.C. Warriors, Judge Anderson, Tharg the Mighty, and Cursed Earth Koburn amongst many other stories. Outside of the ‘Galaxy’s Greatest Comic’, Ezquerra illustrated the first Third World War episodes in Crisis magazine, and became a regular collaborator with Garth Ennis, working on Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, Bloody Mary, Just a Pilgrim, Condors, The Magnificent Kevin and two special Preacher episodes. He died in 2018 but his profound influence on the world of comic art cannot be overstated.
Enrique Romero Badía is a Spanish comics artist famous for his work on Modesty Blaise and Axa. He also contributed to British romance comics like Valentine, and, along with his brother Jordi, was one of the artists on Supercats, the science fiction girls comic which ran in DC Thomson’s Spellbound. He also drew Judge Anderson and Durham Red for 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine.
John Burns’ painted art has graced several 2000 AD series, notably Judge Dredd and Nikolai Dante, as well in as his own co-creation, The Bendatti Vendetta. He has also contributed to Black Light, Doctor Sin, The Scarlet Apocrypha, Vector 13 and Witchworld. Outside the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, he has pencilled Eclipse’s ESPers and the James Bond miniseries, A Silent Armageddon.
Diane Gabbot was a British artist and costume jewellery designer. As a young woman in the 1950s, she was painted by her then fiancé, later husband Raymond F. Gabbott as one of the portraits of women used to promote Rowntree’s Aero chocolate bar. An accomplished comics artist, she drew for a range of ages and genres, with her work appearing in Twinkle (‘Sally Sweet of Sunshine Street’), Tammy (‘The Black and White World of Shirley Grey’), Bunty (‘Tina the Tester’), Jinty and Mates . She died in 2002.
Jordi Badía Romero, also known as Jobaro, Jorge or Jorge B. Gálvez, was a Spanish comic artist. He began his career in the 1950s, illustrating Spanish adventure and romance stories, often working with his brother, Enrique Badía Romero.
Mari Carmen Vila Migueloa, known as Marika, is a Spanish artist and illustrator. In the 1970s she began to draw romance comics for the international market, including the UK. However, she continued to create comics for Spain, including Los Atentados Contra Franco and Una Recuperación de la Historia del Maquis.
Ramon Torrents is a Spanish comics artist. He contributed significantly to British romance comics in the 1960s, with his art appearing in various comics including Mirabelle, Valentine, Love Story Library and Boyfriend. In the 1970s he worked for Warren Publishing, with his art appearing in Vampirella, Eerie and Creepy.
Spanish artist Blas Gallego learnt his trade working for the movie advertisement industry in the 1950s. In the 1970s he worked on several popular UK magazines including Woman's Realm, Woman's Weekly and Men Only. The majority of his comic work took place in the 1980s where he worked on European titles like Zona 84 and Totem on the strips Astraxy and Dolly. He illustrated over 1500 Ben and Kate newspaper strip which ran in the Daily Star. he also illustrated several Savage Sword of Conan covers for Marvel Comics.
- Publisher: Rebellion (March 21, 2023)
- Length: 224 pages
- ISBN13: 9781786187710
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Raves and Reviews
Praise for David Roach's Eisner Award Nominated Masters of British Comic Art:
"The definitive educational title to bring readers through the journey of comic strips from the perspective of British history... a whole new world of information and staggeringly beautiful art." - Comic Beat
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