Further reprints from Rebellion: “Bella” and two Jinty stories

You will perhaps have already seen the latest exciting information on the internet: Rebellion Publishing is bringing out two volumes of girls comics reprints from Tammy and from Jinty respectively.

bella

Bella at the Bar” is billed, appropriately, as “A modern day Cinderella story”. At 96 pages it is the right length to include the first two “Bella” stories but the blurb is fairly general and gives little away to the aficionado as to exactly what the contents are. It seems unlikely that it includes Bella’s later struggles to reach the Moscow Olympics or travels to mysterious Arab countries where she tutors princesses – or at least not yet, as this is billed as Book One. May there be many more!

Rebellion have chosen a strong pair of stories from Jinty to launch what is again billed as Volume One of (hopefully) a series: “The Human Zoo” and “Land of No Tears”. No cover is shown on the initial announcement on the Simon & Schuster website, but there are plenty of great images that could be used, of course. As with the Misty volumes, they have made sure to link the two stories in some clear way – this time rather than choosing the same author, they have gone for the same artist. Guy Peeters is an under-recognized girls’ comics artist and I am glad to see him get more attention.

Jinty cover 19 August 1978

Where possible, I am keen to link to the original publisher’s site. I see that the Bella book is listed as being one of the “Treasury of British Comics” line, but it is not yet mentioned on the specific website for that imprint. I found it on the Simon & Schuster website: I think that Rebellion have a distribution deal with them, which is presumably why it is listed there. I’m not quite sure why the Jinty volume is listed as being one of Rebellion’s Graphic Novels (a list that on searching seems to include “Charley’s War” and “Marney the Fox”, but also some less all-ages titles such as “Bleach”). It would be nice to see all the announced titles listed clearly on the Treasury of British Comics site, which is a good dedicated shopfront that is easy to navigate and use.

Finally, a word of warning to other sites announcing these two new titles  and future ones in the series – be careful to attribute the creators and the stories correctly. “Bella” is correctly credited as being by Jenny McDade as writer and John Armstrong as artist, but in future Bella stories it will be harder to be sure of the writer. During Tammy’s era of printing credits, Primrose Cumming is known to have been the writer of the time – hopefully the publishers will check with erstwhile editor Wilf Prigmore in case there was any other writer in between those two times, but certainly Jenny McDade did not write all the Bella stories over the ten years that it ran.

“The Human Zoo and Land of No Tears” is billed as being by Pat Mills as writer and Guy Peeters as artist. The sharp-eyed reader of this blog will spot straight away that “The Human Zoo” is known not to have been written by Mills – although the writer is not definitively established it is thought likely to have been one of Malcolm Shaw’s. That uncertainty presumably makes it harder for the publishers to be clear about the authorship: in the circumstances they can’t just say straight out that it is by Malcolm Shaw I suppose. However, that lack of clarity will muddy the waters for others and I fear it will lead to a perpetuation of the unexamined notion that Pat Mills wrote the vast majority of girls comics – something which he does not himself claim, but which others not infrequently do on his behalf.

7 thoughts on “Further reprints from Rebellion: “Bella” and two Jinty stories

  1. Credited Bella writers are Primrose Cumming and Malcolm Shaw. The Bella story attributed to Shaw was his only credited Tammy story during the credits run. It could well have been the last story for girls’ comics he wrote before he died. I came across a reference somewhere that John Wagner wrote a Bella story, but I don’t know which one.

  2. If Pat Mills did not write The Human Zoo, hopefully there will still be time to correct this in the edition before it goes to press.

    1. I had already told Rebellion that Pat had specifically said he did not write The Human Zoo – I sent a link to the interview we published. I think it is probably a bit hard for them to make it clear and unambiguous – if we knew it was by Malcolm Shaw, they could say so, but as it is they only have one writer name to print on the press release. Perhaps the cover will say ‘unknown writer’ or similar?

      1. If they bring out further Jinty reprints, I wonder what will be used? Worlds Apart is a definite must. Merry at Misery House may be too long. Almost Human, Alice in a Strange Land, Fran’ll Fix It, The Slave of Form 2B, Fran of the Floods, When Statues Walk, Waves of Fear, Battle of the Wills and Combing Her Golden Hair are high up on the list of possibilities too.

  3. Other memorable stories that are worth reprinting are Curtain Of Silence, Concrete Surfer and Children Of Edenford. Actually, there are almost too many to remember at the moment. Very excited this is happening at all!

  4. Curtain of Silence might be a bit dated because of the Iron Curtain politics, which came down with Perestroika and the Berlin Wall. The other two still hold up well, though.

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