Britain’s romance comics to be revisited in new book from David Roach

Romance comics sold in their millions in Britain, then disappeared – but the forgotten history of Britain’s romance comics is to be revealed in a stunning new collection from Rebellion, by artist and archivist David Roach.

A Very British Affair will bring together some of the greatest British romance comics ever printed in one spectacular volume – many of them never reprinted before!

A Very British Affair by David Roach

Scheduled for publication in January 2023 and curated by Eisner-nominated historian and artist David Roach, this sumptuous 224-page hardcover will be the first book to chart the stratospheric rise of romance comics in postwar Britain.

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.

Featuring an iconic cover by Ángel Badia Camps, originally commissioned 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.

“Despite selling millions of copies over two decades and dominating newsstands, the mid-twentieth century boom in romance comics has been largely forgotten,” notes David Roach. “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.”

“It’s been a real privilege to work with someone as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as David on this much needed collection,” added 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. Brilliant, beautiful, heartfelt and occasionally downright bizarre, this is the essential selection of British romance comics!”

A Very British Affair: The Best of Classic Romance Comics
• Curator: David Roach
• IBSN: 9781786187710
• Publication date: 31st January 2023
• Price: £40 / $55
• Pages: 224
• Size: 313 × 237 mm

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