How to be a Girl : Vintage Comics

Vintage comics for girls - Misty, 1988 annual

Fig. 1 – Misty Annual 1988!

Being the art nerd that I am, I kind of love comics. But not Superman, Batman or anything in which everyone wears spandex and beats up a bunch of other people who also really, really like spandex. Nor the Beano or the Dandy. I don’t even particularly enjoy any manga series (I know. Sorry.)

I think that traditional girls’ comics are unappreciated; they don’t quite enjoy the cult status that their more ‘boysy’ counterparts get, despite having art & stories every bit as amazing. Even Stan Lee worked as a writer for American romance comics in the 60s and 70s. Girls’ comics offer a fascinating insight into attitudes of their time, and the stories are endlessly entertaining in both good and … not so good ways. Besides, I wrote my dissertation on them, which was totally a good idea you guys.

That said, please observe Fig. 1 (above), my copy of the supernatural genre comic ‘Misty‘ Annual 1988 looking fetching on a purple velvet blanket, because of course.  I’m not claiming this as a work of genius, but it is entertaining in its daftness, and plays into many of the major tropes of the genre (tragic orphan heroine, evil mistress, dashing stranger, fateful accidents, history repeating…) Sadly the title page is missing, but I thought I’d share a few of my favourite moments from the story.

To bring you up to speed: Emilie is a Tragic Victorian Orphan who has landed herself in a job as a maid at North-Cliffe Manor. But she keeps noticing a shadowy figure watching her from the shadows. And the the kids of the house are spoilt rotten…
Misty Comic Annual 1988

Yeah, Master Arnold is kind of a dick.


Apparently former street urchin Emilie is a bird identification expert. OK then. Luckily this mysterious yet dashing chap with well-coiffed hair and tight trousers is on hand to help her out!

Misty Comic Annual 1988 page 3

Watching young girls at night from a secret hiding place with your animal companion is totally not weird, just in case you thought it might be.

Misty Comic Annual Illustrations 4

Of course, it’s an otter, Emilie. Duh.

What will happen next to our nice-but-dim heroine? Is her creepy/handsome fella just possibly a sensitive aristocrat in disguise? What adventures will befall Raki the Otter?

Do any of you enjoy girls’ comics? What are your personal faves? Interested in reading more?

If you’re interested in American romance comics you should check out Sequential Crush.

– Rachel xx


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