Creating Comics: Celebrating the life and work of Misty and Tammy artist Jaume Rumeu Perera

Out this week is Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection, a brand-new showcase from the Treasury of British Comics, bringing some of Jaume Rumeu Perera’s stunning work, created for British comics, back into print after more than forty years. Here in the UK, Jaume is perhaps best known for his work on the weekly girls’ comics Tammy and Misty, but his career also encompassed SF, adventure, and more.

With much-appreciated information supplied by his daughter, artist Iris Rumeu Morer, we’re delighted to present this spotlight on his career…

Artist Jaime Rumeu Perera. Photo via Iris Rumeu Morer
Artist Jaime Rumeu Perera. Photo via Iris Rumeu Morer

Jaume Rumeu Perera was born on 14th January 1930 in Barcelona, the son of Jaume Romeu Serret, a Banesto bank official, and Vicenta Perera Victoria, a housewife.

(The reason for the different surname to his parents is purely down to an administrative error. When one of his grandparents registered his birth, they made a mistake and put his last name with “U” instead of the “O” of Romeu!)

“He soon discovered his great vocation,” his daughter, Iris, an artist herself, notes, “drawing, comics, having a blank paper in front of him and letting the imagination and pencil fly.”

As a child, Rumeu lived in Barcelona, on Provenza Street, and suffered in the Civil War of 1936, telling Iris that the family went hungry during the conflict. His father was in the army for a while, but when he lost a finger from a gunshot, he was sent home.

“An artist from an early age, he was also a swimmer, and worked as an accountant at the Banesto bank with his father,” Iris says, “but he left his job at around 18 or 19 to dedicate himself completely to drawing.

“His father did not think it very good reason to leave a good job, so he told him that if he earned more than in the bank he could dedicate himself to it. He was soon earning three times more than he earned at the bank, and never stopped.”

Rumeu did his military service in Barcelona, and studied fine arts at the city’s Escuela superior de bellas artes de San Jorge (the San Jorge School of Fine Arts), in 1954, later doing a painting technique course at the Massana School, Barcelona in 1971/72.

"Johnny, el Temerario" - art by Jaime Rumeu Perera,  for Ibero Americanas (1948)
“Johnny, el Temerario” – art by Jaime Rumeu Perera, for Ibero Americanas (1948) | Via Lambiek

His comics career began in Spain in 1948, with the series “Johnny, el Temerario”(“Johnny the Daredevil”), for Publicaciones Ibero Americanas. He continued with science fiction with “Átomo kid o El mundo futuro” (“Atom Kid”) for another publisher, Toray, witten by M. Bañolas, but most of his work was to be published abroad, gained through the highly-regarded agency, Creaciones editoriales.

He was one of several artists working with writer Víctor Mora, with whom he was friends, until 1952, signing his work as “Romeo” during the Franco dictatorship.
With Mora, he co-created the space adventure series “Capitán Espacio” (“Captain Space”), which was published in Spain in the colour supplement of La Prensa, and the daily SF newspaper strip “El planeta del horror” (“The Planet of Horror”), that Creaciones editoriales wanted to sell abroad.

El planeta del horror - art by Jaume Rumeu
“El planeta del horror” – art by Jaume Rumeu | Via Tebesfera

He also drew strips for a number of Spanish comics at this time, including the adventure title, Bisonte Gráfico, drawing the early adventures of “Colección Dan“, as well as providing cartoons and illustrations for Pulgarcito “Thumbelina”) magazine.

Together with his friend, Jordi Macabich, who was co-founder of the Bardon art agency with Barry Coker, he went on a motorcycle trip to France, Brussels and London, in 1956, in search of more work.

 In France, his work appeared in SF titles such as Météor and Sputnik, published by Artima in the 1950s.

He married his first wife, María Dolores Mateu, in 1956 in Brussels, the couple raising a son, Héctor Rumeu Mateu, who sadly died at the age of 14, a victim of acute leukaemia, in 1972.

During the latter half of the 1950s, Rumeu continued drawing comics, largely for the Toray label, mainly science fiction and espionage, although he also worked on romance titles such as Rosas Blancas (“White Roses”). From the 1960s onwards, he began a career almost exclusively linked to the foreign market, in many cases working on stories with romantic themes.

His earliest strips for the British market include the strips “Susette” in Cherie, published by DC Thomson, in 1960, and “Juliette” in Romeo, also published by DC Thomson.

While still signing his work “Romeo,” toward the end of the 1960s he changed pseudonyms, to “Homero” (after Homer), which he used for works he developed with the Belgian agency A.L.I., which would lead to work on British titles such as Tammy and, later, Misty.

The vast majority of his romance strips, both those made through Creaciones Editorials and those made with A.L.I., which were published in British girls titles like Tammy or Misty, were not published in Spain. But his adventure and war strips for the British market were, republished in publications from Toray.

The opening page of the first episode of "Cult of the Cat" from Misty Issue One. Art by Homero Romeu, real name Jaime Rumeu. The strip has been attributed to Bill Harrington, who wrote most of Misty's historical style tales.
The opening page of the first episode of “Cult of the Cat” from Misty Issue One. Art by Romeu. The strip has been attributed to Bill Harrington, who wrote most of Misty’s historical style tales.

Rumeu continued to work for the Spanish, British, and Swedish markets in the 1980s, Julia Round noting in her book, Gothic for Girls, that he drew seven of the Misty serials – “Day of the Dragon,” “The Cult of the Cat,” “Black Widow,” “The Nine Lives of Nicola,” “Nightmare Academy,” “The Ghost of Golightly Towers,” and “The Haunting of Hazel Brown”, and five single stories.

“With the boom of adult comics in Spain, he returned to publish work here,” notes Iris of his career during the 1970s. “In particular, on ‘Las Trillizas’ (“The Triplets”, 1977), which he created in 1968, which was also published in other countries.”

Las Trillizas, created by Jaume Rumeu
Las Trillizas, created by Jaume Rumeu

It didn’t escape the attention of Spanish publishers that, despite being created much earlier, Rumeu’s “Trillizas’” bore a striking resemblance in format to the hit TV series, Charlie’s Angels, and Editora Valenciana (which changed its name to Ediprint in 1974 and Edival in 1975) agreed to publish the series as Los Angeles de Charlie, launching their title in 1977.

Unfortunately, an attempt to see the series republished, initiated by Iris, has been unsuccessful, but perhaps renewed interest in his work will spark more interest.

The proposed cover for a "Las Trillizas" collection. Art by  Jaume Rumeu
The proposed cover for a “Las Trillizas” collection. Art by Jaume Rumeu

Rumeu also developed another strip for the Spanish market, Simplísima, scripted by Julio Amat Bertrán, a story loaded with ideological references published by the short-lived publisher, Bufafurats, in 1980.

During the 1980s, Rumeu always used his real surname to sign his works and continued working, through Creaciones editoriales for DC Thomson, drawing a number of sports-inspired strips, particularly football stories.

Simplísima No. 1

Between 1983 and 1985 he also worked for the Swedish market, for Semic, drawing comics at young girls published in the magazine Min Hast (“My Horse”). By the end of that decade, he continued working in this genre, but for the long-running Dutch magazine, Tina.

Sadly, by the end of the 1980s, work for traditional comics was drying up. “Like all the authors linked to Creaciones editoriales, my father had to retire from drawing to look for work as an accountant,” Iris notes, “although the desire to make comics got the better of him and he tried again to publish comics, which is reflected in his account books: he drew for the Dutch market through the Dalger Press agency, for example – football stories, horse stories, and strips starring Barbie.

“The last date that appears in his accounting entries was 25th April 1991, where he notes that he sold several of his ‘Las Trillizas’ to Dalger, which were to be published in Holland.

“In 1992, he retired to live in L’Estartit, Girona, where he set up a studio, a town on the Costa Brava, the place where he had always gone in his youth to dive and had met my mother, Maria Rosa Morer Guitart. He set up his studio, but no longer drew. He married my mother, a dressmaker, in November 1993.”

Jaume Rumeu passed away from a heart attack on Sunday 30th November 2003 at his home, survived by his wife, his daughter Iris and her brother, Pol Rumeu, his work remembered and loved by many to this day.

“I have many good memories of my father,” Iris tells us, “but I cannot choose a single memory, because I have many!

“Perhaps the best was when we had our beautiful house in Estartit. My parents bought the land and my father designed it to his liking. We really enjoyed it. He loved working in the garden. And I remember that Christmas was very beautiful, with the whole family and the fireplace lit.

“Unfortunately, they had to sell it because of my father lost his job, and we went to live in Barcelona, but I have good memories of our time there, too. On Sundays, we would go out for walks throughout the city. At Christmas, we went to see the pretty street lights.

“The four of us would also go to the movies together,” Iris also recalls. “In summer we returned to the Costa Brava on vacation. I had a very beautiful childhood thanks to my parents.

“My favourite work of my father, is a very large drawing that I have at home and I think it is unpublished, of a caravan, made in 1958. I love that drawing! And also ‘Las Trillizas’, and “Susette”.

“When I found out that Rebellion were going to publish a book of my father’s work, I was very excited,” she reveals. “I am very happy that the memory of his work is still alive. And very grateful to Rebellion for publishing it!”

An accomplished artist in her own right, was her father a continuing influence on her own work?

“Yes, my father is my inspiration,” she says. “For moving forward and fighting for dreams. For believing in himself and in his essence. For getting up from each blow that life gave him. For enjoying it and living a full life, for having the enormous privilege of working in what he liked the most.”

Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection is available now from all good book and comic shops | ISBN 978-1781089378 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The Jaume Rumeu Collection

Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection - Final Cover

The Jaume Rumeu Collection includes four terrifying tales from the pages of the legendary Misty, the late 1970s supernatural horror comic book marketed for girls, with one story, “Spider Woman”, completed by Mario Capaldi.

Also known as Homero, Jaume Rumeu Perera brought his flare for the intoxicatingly to British comics, with macabre stories full of black widows, femme fatales, mad scientists and giant spiders. One of the unsung masters of British horror comics, this collection celebrates his timeless talent and is a must have for fans of great comic book art.

To further celebrate, this collection contains five short essays by celebrated academics Julia Round, Ian Horton, Geraint D’Arcy, John Miers and Dona Pursall. The short essays are an accessible introduction to Misty, Jaume Rumeu’s technique, and the wider field of Comics Studies, and are an excellent starting point for those wanting to know more about British girls’ comics, as well as starting to think critically about the comics medium.

The collection also showcases one of the most iconic villains in British girls’ comics: the lethal Mrs. Webb, in “Spider Woman”, a raging femme fatale, with killer style and a bone to pick with the British Establishment.

The opening page of "The Spider Woman", originally published in Tammy & Misty 19th January - 22nd March 1980. Written by Bill Harrington, with art by Jaume Rumeu
"The Spider Woman", originally published in Tammy & Misty in 1980. Written by Bill Harrington, with art by Jaume Rumeu
"The Spider Woman", originally published in Tammy & Misty in 1980. Written by Bill Harrington, with art by Jaume Rumeu
"The Spider Woman", originally published in Tammy & Misty in 1980. Written by Bill Harrington, with art by Jaume Rumeu
The opening episode of “The Spider Woman”, originally published in Tammy & Misty 19th January – 22nd March 1980. Written by Bill Harrington, with art by Jaume Rumeu

Determined to take over the country with her army of giant arachnids, only two schoolgirls stand between her and global domination! Full of stunning artwork, terrifying twists, beautiful – but deadly – women, and, of course – giant spiders, this is an essential comic for any horror connoisseur.

(This enjoyable story was actually completed by Mario Capaldi, his contribution noted by collection readers, but it would have been a bit odd not to publish the adventure in its entirety).

The Jaume Rumeu Collection continues the Treasury of British Comics’ mission to bring hidden and forgotten gems from the world’s biggest archive of English-language comic books back into print, all remastered and presented for a whole new audience. It follows the publication in 2019 of Misty Presents: The Jordi Badia Romero Collection, a collection of stories by Catalan artist Jordi Badía Romero – also known as Jorge – who worked on Pink, Misty and Creepy, before moving onto Tarzan in the 1980s.

Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection is available now from all good book and comic shops | ISBN 978-1781089378 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Iris Rumeu is online at rumeuart.wordpress.com (Spanish web site) | Facebook

Las Trillizas – Official Site

Facebook: Las Trillizas El cómic de Rumeu

Jaume Rumeu Perera Web Links

Tebesfera: Jaume Rumeu Perera (in Spanish)

Lambiek: Jaume Rumeu Perera

BD Gest: Jaume Rumeu Perera (in French)

Wikipedia Spain: Jaume Rumeu Perera (in Spanish)

This story was updated on 14th November 2021 to note Mario Capaldi’s contribution to “Spider Woman”). Thanks to Helen Fay for drawing our attention to it

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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