Comics archivist and artist David Roach has been teasing elements of his fantastic-looking new book, A Very British Affair, now available to preorder as a gorgeous slipcase edition direct from Rebellion.
The book, out next February, charts the stratospheric rise of romance comics in postwar Britain with a selection of the greatest romance comics ever printed in the UK.
Featuring an eclectic mix of artists from Spain, Italy, and the UK, this collection unearths the sensual art and emotional writing which delighted generations of comics readers.
“I know what you’re thinking,” David commented recently, “why do I need a book of Romance strips?
“Well – just look at the line up of artists!”
The book features over 50 comics stories – many of which have never been reprinted before – this lavish book is a stunning tribute to the often uncredited creators who crafted an industry of love.
David shines a spotlight on the Spanish and Italian artists who dominated romance, as well as the genre’s forgotten female contributors, like Jenny Butterworth, Pat Tourett and Diane Gabbott. Featuring 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 Blas Gallego (Black Beth).
Out in February from Rebellion, anyone buying the slipcase edition will get a signed bookplate of a new illustration David has drawn specially for it.
“Honestly folks, I was in heaven dreaming up this 1970s era love triangle,” he enthuses. “I think I was born too late, I should have been drawing for Valentine or Mirabelle!
“I’ve just finished signing the plates (there were hundreds!) and I genuinely can’t wait to see the book come to fruition,” the artist enthuses. “The Art Droids have spent ages tidying and tweaking my scans so the strips look better than the day they were printed, and there are loads of original pages in there too. You know you want it…”
David Roach joined the Art Droids at 2000AD in late 1986 after studying Fine Art and Philosophy at art college, going on to draw “Nemesis the Warlock” and “Judge Anderson” for five years. In the 1990s he was one of many artists enticed over to America where he drew Star Wars and Aliens for Dark Horse, Star Trek for Wildstorm, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs for Topps and numerous strips for DC, including a lengthy association with Batman which he both drew and inked.
Much of the late 1990s was spent drawing Dungeons and Dragons illustrations for Wizards of the Coast, but he returned to British comics in 1999 with work for Panini’s Doctor Who Magazine, and is the company’s Principal Graphic Novel cover artist.
The new millennium also saw a return to 2000AD, where he drew “Judge Dredd”, “Synnamon” and, in 2016, returned to “Judge Anderson” in Prog 2000.
Away from comics, Roach has created artwork for records, advertising, storyboards and countless commissions. He also lectures in art and enjoys an alternate existence as a fine artist working with life-models to create large scale drawings of the nude.
In a parallel career, Roach has also written extensively about art, comics and pop culture and has contributed to various titles including Escape, Comic Book Artist and Illustrators magazine. He has written or co-written numerous art books including the Warren Companion (with Jon B Cooke for TwoMorrows, 2001, now a rarity), The Fleetway Companion (with Steve Holland for the Book Palace, 2007) The Art of War (Carlton, 2008), Life Style Illustrations of the ’50s and ’60s (two volumes for Fiell books compiled by Rian Hughes, 2010, 2013) and several books for Dynamite including the Art of Vampirella (2013), The Art of José González (2015) and Masters of Spanish Comic Art (2017).
He lives in Cardiff with two daughters and far too many comics.
• A Very British Affair is available for pre-purchase and scheduled for release on Wednesday 22nd February 2023
EDITION: HARDBACK, 224 Pages
ISBN (Slipcase Edition): 139-781786188342 | Standard Version: 978-1786187710
• If you want to support your local comic shop, the standard edition of A Very British Affair is listed in the latest Diamond Previews Catalogue, or order it online here | Diamond Code NOV221775 | ISBN 978-1786187710 | AmazonUK Affiliate Link
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.