Rebellion will release their The Best of Jane Bond collection in April, a fast-moving thriller of a strip first which ran in Tina and Princess Tina between 1967 and 1970. Beautifully drawn by Mike Hubbard, the artist of iconic Daily Mirror strip “Jane”, the strip is set in the Swingin’ Sixties, and there’s only one spy standing between crime and world domination – and her name is Jane Bond!
Jane Bond, Secret Agent, is the finest spy on Worldpol’s roster. Armed with her wits, her fists, and an array of futuristic tech, she is our last line of defense against a international criminal underworld. From fighting a school of super villainesses, to foiling plans to melt to Artic ice caps, to escaping the clutches of a giant mechanical lobster, there’s no shortage of dangerous missions Jane must undertake for Queen and Country!
The release, as part of the 2000AD publisher’s Treasury of British Comics imprint, follows an appeal to trace original art last year.
When comic archivist, artist and author David A. Roach conducted an inventory of IPC’s archives back in 2005, he discovered that most of the original art to Tina and Princess Tina had survived – including episodes 60 to 158 of Jane Bond. A few years later, many earlier pages emerged from the archives of Leonard Matthews, the Managing Director of Fleetway back in the 1960s, including the whole of the first story, all of which were hungrily snapped up by collectors, David included). This collection utilises all that original art.
(Unfortunately some “Jane Bond” art was, sadly, destroyed along with much of IPCs original comic artwork in 1984. Other comic art was destroyed much later, at the direction of Fleetway Editions management).
This collection of campy espionage adventure from 1960s girls’ comics Tina and its successor, Princess Tina (the name change the result of a title merger with Princess) features pages lovingly restored to their full glory. It’s lavishly illustrated throughout by Mike Hubbard (2nd April 1902 – 25th June 1976), an artist who started out in the 1930s as a British pulp illustrator, on detective titles like Union Jack.
After World War Two, between 1945 and 1959, he drew the newspaper strip “Jane” for the Daily Mirror; followed by and enormous number of strips for Fleetway’s girls comics – “always with an emphasis on pretty girls,” Hubbard fan David A. Roach, who has been heavily involved in the collection’s creation, has previously noted. “I love his work.”
Hubbard’s credits also include “Allan Quartermain”, forRanger and the science fantasy story “Pals” for The Bumper Story Book for Boys.
As David notes himself in his introduction to the collection, Tina was launched by editor John Sanders in 1967 as “a radical new approach to publishing, not only in terms of content, but in its unique publishing model as a truly international comic. Tina was published in the UK, in a high-quality format with interior colour and painted covers, but, uniquely, it was also simultaneously printed across Europe in identical, translated versions in partnership with local publishers from France, Holland and Italy to Greece and Turkey.”
(A similar boys title, Vulcan, was attempted using the same approach in the mid 1970s, but only with a German publishing partner, the German edition proving a longer lasting success than the UK edition. Marvel UK also published a girls comic, BEA, in partnership with a Dutch publisher in the 1980s on similar publishing lines, but that ran for only a few issues).
The Best of Jane Bond collection, which includes an afterword by Clare Napier, follows hot on the heels of the release of A Very British Affair: The Best of Classic Romance Comics by David A. Roach, now available from book and comic shops.
Curated by the Eisner-nominated historian and artist, A Very British Affair 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.
Featuring over 50 comics stories – many of which have never been reprinted before – this superb book is a stunning tribute to the often uncredited creators who crafted an industry of love. Roach 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 Bardia Romero (Axa), Mike Hubbard (Jane), Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd), John M. Burns (James Bond), Trini Tinture (A Spell of Trouble) Jesus Redondo (Kitty Pryde, Nemesis the Warlock) and Ian Gibson (The Ballad of Halo Jones), this is the ultimate celebration of love, loss and lust in postwar Britain.
• The Best of Jane Bond featuring art by Mike Hubbard is on sale from all good book and comic shops from 13th April 2023 | Paperback, 96 pages | ISBN: 978-1786188021 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | Buy it via Bookshop.org (Affiliate Link) | Buy it direct from the Treasury of British Comics
• Available in digital from: Treasury of British Comics webshop & apps for iPad, Android and Windows 10
• “Jane Bond” art on the Illustration Art Gallery
• “Jane Bond” art on ComicArtFans
• A Very British Affair: The Best of Classic Romance Comics by David Roach, Shirley Bellwood, et al. is in book and comic shops now | Read our news story | Hardcover | 224 Pages | ISBN: 978-1786187710 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | Buy it via Bookshop.org (Affiliate Link) | Buy it direct from the Treasury of British Comics
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