With over one hundred years of comics and associated titles now part of what could be collected and published by Rebellion as part of their Treasury of British Comics imprint, you can imagine there have been plenty of suggestions from fans of both their boys and girls comics – and a recent one was “The Cat Girl“, who appeared in the 1970s comic Sally, drawn by Italian artist Giorgio Giorgetti, who lived in Margate.
Several years before Billy Farmer became “The Leopard of Lime Street” in the pages of Buster – a strip already being collected – a young Cathy Carter gained similar super powers when she discovered a black cat suit that had been sent to her father by an African Witch Doctor.
Appearing in Sally from the title’s very first issue, cover dated 14th June 1969, and continuing after the title merged with Tammy, the character quickly proved popular with readers.
Cat Girl also featured in the The Vigilant: Legacy last year – as part of the original Vigilant team.
Artwork was provided throughout by Giorgio Giorgetti (1920-1982) who was, as his name suggests, Italian, but moved to London in 1950, later setting up a studio in Margate. During his long career he worked on a diverse range of titles including Eagle, June, June and School Friend, Mirabelle, Tammy, Valiant and others.
His credits (he often slipped his name into panels of strips he worked on) include “The Ghostly Galleon” in Shiver and Shake; “The House of Dolman” for Valiant (a strip perhaps more associated with Eric Bradbury); several “Gypsy Rose” tales for Jinty; “Mam’selle X” and “Jacey” for June and School Friend; “Tennis Star Toni” for June (published in 1961); “Rat-Trap” for COR!!; “Belinda Bookworm”, “Sister in the Shadows” “Star Struck Sister” and “Witch Hazel” for Tammy (the latter reprinted in Katy, and in the Spanish comic Pecosa (Freckles), from MC Ediciones; and “Jump, Jump, Julia” for Tammy and Jinty (one of his later strips). Giorgetti also illustrated books for Collins Books.
Comics archivist and collector Phil Rushton recently noted Sally was quite a groundbreaking comic, which introduced several female super heroes, but its life was unfortunately cut short in 1971, following a long and damaging strike.
Since we first featured an item on Giorgio and “The Cat Girl” back in 2017, Rebellion are now owners of both the Leopard of Lime Street and Cat Girl – and Phil suggested over on the Facebook Girls Comics – UK Group that it would be interesting to see them teaming up at some point in the future.
After her appearance in The Vigilant – Legacy, it’s entirely possible, and Rebellion editor Keith Richardson has hinted she’ll be back again this year.
All the more reason, perhaps, for Rebellion to follow up their Leopard of Lime Street reprint volumes with one devoted to Cat Girl?
One thing that might count in Cat Girl’s favour is that the strip not only proved a hit in the UK, but was also reprinted, in colour, in Holland in Tina magazine – known there as Katja Kruif – Het Katmeisje – and in Spain, in collections from Editorial Bruguera, as Caty – La Chica Gato.
Something I’m sure Rebellion’s overseas licensing team may well be keen to mention at The International Comics Festival in Angoulême this weekend…
Of course, while we would all like to see Rebellion re-publish their back catalogue – not least, Rebellion themselves – modern publishing has some constraints on a large number of titles being collected soon, dependent on numerous factors.
For example, how do you present a collection of what is, for many, an obscure British girls comic strip when there are many girls comic strips that are, perhaps, better known or remembered, as evidenced by sites such as the Jinty Resource?
Perhaps a “The Cat Girl” collection might be the province of Rebellion’s recent partnerships with publishers such as The Book Palace and Hibernia, who have both produced high quality, short run reprints of classic comic material that has limited commercial appeal, but which can be offered at a price that makes such projects profitable, if not record-breaking.
(One thought I had on this front is that lesser-known strips could form part of a series of limited edition “part work” volumes, which as a whole would be quite collectable and help boost sales of every strip chosen, rather than break a run).
Or perhaps you instead take the route Rebellion chose with its fabulous Misty Presents The Jordi Badia Romero Collection, highlighting the art and artist of a number of Giorgio’s many strips in a similar style – perhaps utilising some continuation of the Masters of British Comic Art title chosen for David Roach’s eagerly-anticipated history of British comics?
However “Cathy – The Cat Girl” might reappear, I think the strip’s longevity and art quality makes for a strong Case for Comic Collection – but which strips would you like to see reprinted?
• Misty Volume One: “Moonchild” and The Four Faces of Eve” | Misty Volume Two: “The Sentinels” and “End of The Line” | Misty Volume 3: Wolf Girl & Other Stories | Misty Presents The Jordi Badia Romero Collection | Bella at the Bar | Jinty Volume 1: The Human Zoo & The Land of No Tears | Jinty: Fran from the Floods
• Buy Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics by Julia Round (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)
Today fans still remember and love the British girls’ comic Misty for its bold visuals and narrative complexities. Yet its unique history has drawn little critical attention. Bridging this scholarly gap, Julia Round presents a comprehensive cultural history and detailed discussion of the comic, preserving both the inception and development of this important publication as well as its stories.
With thanks to Phil Rushton and the Girls Comics-UK Facebook Group and Riccardo Giorgetti