2000AD Unearths Romance Comics From 40s & 50s in A Very British Affair

2000AD publishers Rebellion are diving into their IPC archives to deliver something very different. A collection of what they describe as Britain's long-forgotten romance comics in a 224-page hardcover for January 2023, curated by Eisner Award-nominated historian and artist David Roach. And mirroring the titles of recent BBC and Netflix hits, calling itself A Very British Affair. Many of these stories have never been since their initial publication. It will be the first book to chart the rise of romance comics in postwar Britain.

A Very British Love Affair
2000AD Unearths Romance Comics From 40s & 50s in A Very British Affair

Featuring an eclectic mix of more than fifty stories, this lavish collection unearths the sensual art and emotional writing which delighted generations of comics readers of titles such as Mirabelle, Valentine, Marilyn, and Serenade.

As well as paying tribute to the often uncredited creators who crafted an industry of love, this fascinating collection will also shine a spotlight on the genre's forgotten female creators, such as Jenny Butterworth, Pat Tourett and Diane Gabbott.

With a cover featuring Ángel Badia Camps' iconic cover for Serenade, it features 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 Ian Gibson (The Ballad of Halo Jones), this is the ultimate celebration of love, loss and lust in postwar Britain.

A Very British Affair follows Rebellion's best-selling Masters of British Comic Art, also curated by Roach, which was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Book in 2021.

David Roach said: 'Despite selling millions of copies over two decades and dominating newsstands, the mid-twentieth century boom in romance comics has been largely forgotten. The first book of its kind to be published, A Very British Affair will shine a light on this sadly neglected genre and its gifted creators.

'As well as charting the evolution of this fascinating genre through the decades, it will showcase art from a number of great British talents including Shirley Bellwood, Mike Hubbard and Gerry Haylock, as well as work from some of the greatest artists from around the world. It has been a privilege to give these forgotten comics a little much-needed love.'

Editor Olivia Hicks said: 'It's been a real privilege to work with someone as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as David on this much needed collection. Despite their incredible popularity, stunning art and the depth of storytelling, British romance comics have become a footnote in comics history.

'This timely book is going to set the record straight and finally give these amazing comics and their creators their moment in the sun. Brilliant, beautiful, heartfelt and occasionally downright bizarre, this is the essential selection of British romance comics!'

David Roach posted to Facebook, "Since the Lockdown back in 2020, I've been working on five books simultaneously; The Brian Bolland Apex Edition, two Apex Editions of Mick McMahon's artwork, my own artbook and this- A Very British Affair. It's long been a dream of mine to put together a collection of the best romance strips and I'm thrilled to have been given the chance to do it by Rebellion. The book is going to be in the same large format as my Masters of British Comic Art and here are just some of the artists featured in it- deep breath- Badia Camps ( Also our cover artist), Blasco, Ezquerra, Burns, Haylock, Campos, Gonzalez, Hubbard, Gibson, Mas, Tourret, Tacconi, Garcia, Torrents, Maroto, Romero ( Both!), Bellwood, Bielsa, Buzzelli, Miralles, Longaron, Sommer, Redondo, Trini, Penalva ( All 30 pages of the Getaway girls!) and many more. We'll also be having a limited signed slipcase with new art by me ( I think!) so start saving now. The book will be out in January and if it appears that I'm trying to bankrupt you all, I can only apologise…but you'll thank me for it later."

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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