We’re sorry to report the passing of Misty and Tammy comic artist and illustrator Maria Barrera Castell (Gesalí), who died recently, aged 85, on 2nd May 2022.
Maria produced wonderful work for British comics like Mirabelle, Jinty, Tammy and Misty, as well as many Spanish titles.
“I interviewed her back in 2017 via her son,” recalls comics archivist and author Julia Round, “and she was a lovely lady, who didn’t believe that anyone liked or remembered her drawings! “An amazing talent.” She notes in her book, Gothic for Girls, that Castell was a detailed artist, who often used character features such as hair to distinguish and emote, and her fine line work, well suited to comics.
Born in Barcelona in 1937, the only child in her family, María Barrera i Castells career as an artist began aged just 13, the comic creator directory site Lambiek noting she was part of the group of female comic artists that drew romantic comic series for 1950s Spanish girls’ comics. (We don’t know if this was a formal or informal group of creators, and any additional information would be welcomed).
Her art appeared in publications like Jana, Lily, Pulgarcito and Sissi, her credits for Jana including characters like “Celia”, “Pituca” and “Anita”.
She also worked as a book illustrator, for Spanish publishers such as Editorial Bruguera. This included work on several books in the collections Historias (Genoveva de Bravante, “Genevieve of Brabant”, Alicia en el País de las Maravillas, “Alice in Wonderland”, Sissi emperatriz, “Sissi – The Young Empress”, and Aquellas Mujercitas, “Little Women”); and Joyas Literarias Juveniles (Hombrecitos, 1975), and Las Mil Y Una Noches, “One Thousand and One Nights“, published by Zeta Bolsillo.
Most of her best known work was for the international market, through the Creaciones Editoriales agency during the 1980s and 90s, for British girls comics in particular for the long-running title, Mirabelle, as well as Jinty, Tammy (on strips such as “Slave of the Clock”) and Misty, one of the few female artists to work on the title, drawing strips such as the serial, “The Body Snatchers”, and “Cry Baby”, “Danse Macabre”, “Roots” (Pat Mills noting the story was toned down by editorial); and Dutch titles such as Tina and Anita. Some of her works was reprinted in Spain (in As de Corazones and Jana) and Germany (in Vanessa).
Both Julia Round and the Spanish comics site Tebeosfera notes Maria was married to artist Guillermo Gesalí, working with him on some strips, her husband providing pencils, Maria finishing the work using a thin bamboo reed pen and ink.
Our symathies to her family and friends, including son David Gesalí, at this time.
María Barrera i Castells / Maria Barrera Castell (Gesalí), born 1937, died 2nd May 2022
Maria Barrera: British Comic Credits
Jinty and Lindy, cover dated 19th February 1977 – “Hide and Seek with a Ghost!”
Jinty, cover dated 23rd April 1977 – “The Gemini Girl”
Issue 1 – Cover and “Nightmare” story
Issue 10 – “The Love and the Laughter” (reprinted in Best of Misty)
Issue 35 – “The Bitter Tale of Sweet Lucy”
Issue 42 – “Voices in the Wind”
Issue 47 – “Who’s a Pretty Boy, Then?” (reprinted in Best of Misty)
Issue 52 – “Danse Macabre” (reprinted in Best of Misty)
Issue 57 – “Lead Kindly Light”
Issue 59 – “Two Left Feet”
Issue 61 – “The White Bird”
Issue 64 – “At the End of the Rainbow”
Issue 68 – “Cry Baby!” (reprinted in Best of Misty)
Issue 73 – “The Nightwatchman”
Issue 77 – “The Monster of the Lavender Lagoon”
Issue 84 – “Nightmare, Nightmare, Nightmare”
Issue 92 – Cover
Issue 92 – 101 (issues covers dated 10th November 1979 – 12th January 1980 – “The Body Snatchers” (reprinted in Best of Misty)
Issue 97 – Cover
• Tammy & Jinty, cover dated 28th November 1981 – 13th February 1982 – “The Shadow of Sherry Brown” (Writer Unknown)
• Tammy, cover dated 17th July 1982 – 30th October 1982 (skipped an episode in Tammy, cover dated 25th September 1982) – “Slave of the Clock” – Ongoing Story written by Jay Over
• Tammy, starting with issue cover dated 3rd September 1983 – 29th October 1983 – “Lonely Ballerina” (Ongoing Story)
• Tammy, Ongoing story concluding in issue cover dated 31st March 1984 – “Dear Diary – I Hate You!”
• Tammy issue information welcome – “The Message of a Flower”