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One for the comics history and romance enthusiasts! On January 31, 2023 Rebellion & 2000AD will release A Very British Affair: The Best of Classic Romance Comics, a 224-page hardcover shedding light on the UK’s plethora of comics in the romance genre. It will retail for $55 (£40).

Artist and comics historian David Roach, who authored 2020’s must-have – and Eisner-nominated – tome Masters of British Comic Art will curate this collection that will give readers a glimpse into that long-ago time when British newsstands were full to the brim with comics magazines.

Very British Affair

In the press release, Rebellion says:

“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), Jesús Blasco (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.”

David Roach added,

“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.”

The book’s editor Olivia Hicks,

“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.”

The UK comics industry used to be a thriving one, with homegrown and overseas talent producing gorgeous work for eager young eyes every week. While science fiction, war and adventure comics like Eagle, Commando and 2000AD might be more familiar titles to contemporary readers, the UK also had a huge number of comics for girls and young women which contained tales of romance and adventure. A spotlight on the British romance genre is probably long overdue and should be a visual feast.

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