Cover Image: Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection

Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection

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Member Reviews

Until recently, Misty was little more than an interesting footnote in the history of British comics. It was a relatively short-lived publication at the tail end of the 1970s and the start of the 80s that was a horror comic for girls. Somewhat niche you might say but the quality of many of the stories was such that I seem to remember it being as popular among boys as it was girls. And the Jaume Rumeu Collection assembles some of the title’s most fondly remembered tales.
Jaume Rumeu Perera was a Spanish artist with a memorable style that was highly reminiscent of American comic art of the 1960s and he worked on an incredibly diverse range of titles throughout the 60s and 70s, mostly romance comics. But his inky, you might say even scratchy side was perfect for the sinister and macabre edge that Misty often employed.
The bulk of this volume is taken up by one of the most celebrated stories, The Black Widow, which focuses on two teenage girls who fall under the hypnotic spell of Mrs Webb, a femme fatale who can control spiders and who is hell bent on revenge against an Establishment that she blames for the death of her scientist husband. If this sounds rather hokey, then you’d be right and it’s pitched somewhere between The Abominable Dr Phibes, Doctor Who and Quatermass-lite. But for all that, it’s still pretty engaging forty years later. Mrs Webb is a surprisingly complex and even sympathetic villain for comic books of the times and the often high camp of the horror storyline is nicely balanced with Misty’s trademark focus on the more traditionally teenage concerns of the two protagonists and the whole story is highly evocative of British life and culture in the 1970s. 
The sequel to the first serial is perhaps a little less compelling, dealing with the discovery of Mrs Webb’s hideout on an island off the coast of Australia. It’s perhaps the setting that makes it less evocative, lacking the British folk horror trappings of the first story. The collection is then rounded out with a couple of one-shot horror tales drawn by Rumeu.
There is something of an adjustment to be made in reading comics from this period and fans of, say, modern Marvel or other graphic novels might find the episode and sometimes slightly repetitive nature of the short weekly instalments rather off-putting. But it’s a fascinating insight into the history of British comics of the time.
But almost worth the price of the volume alone are the essays at the back of the collection that give a lot of fascinating detail and pretty astute analysis of the stories. I’d love it if we saw more of this in future compilations of this kind by Rebellion, particularly for a few of the 2000AD-related volumes.
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I didn't realize when I selected this to review that it's an antique, and I was not impressed with it. If you like old film noire type stories, or cheesy fifties horror movies, then this might resonate, but to me it was out of date, overly melodramatic, lackluster, and asinine in parts. Aimed at a female audience, it was originally published in 1978, in a comic book named Misty, which was short-lived, but quite ground-breaking for its time. I would have been more impressed if instead of recycling the old stories, they had written new ones that had the same focus.

The story I read, which I DNF'd about 50% through, consisted of a woman with the uninventive name of Black Widow - and she wasn't even black. Her real name is, of course, Webb, so it was like watching an episode of that corny sixties Batman TV show - but the story is set in Britain. The idea is that she's taken this title because her husband died in a "military scientific" experiment, and she's out for revenge against those people who were responsible, by concocting lame and labyrinthine schemes. Her widowhood explains the 'widow' part of the title, but there's no explanation at all for the 'black' portion of it.

She's apparently obsessed with spiders and has a bunch of them that are venomous (not poisonous as the text has it) and deadly. They aren't black widow spiders, so again this makes nonsense of the title. To do her bidding, she recruits two students from a local school (why? Who knows?!). One of these two she hypnotizes, the other she does not. The hypnotized one does whatever she's bidden to do when the phrase 'you creep' is included in the instructions - even if accidentally. Yeah, the language is that antiquated.

Black Widow is supposed to have the ability to determine where each of her little spiders is at any time so it makes no sense when for two issues, she spends an awfully large portion of her time bemoaning the fact that 'one of our spiders is missing'! It was amusing to me because it was so ridiculous - about as amusing, in fact, as having a guy named Roach writing an introduction to a comic book about spiders!

The comic is billed as "The Jaume Rumeu Collection" but he's the artist. The guy who gets top billing, Bill Harrington, is the writer. Normally I'd rail at this because the artist has by far the greater portion of the work to do. In this 'collection' though, the artwork was poor to middling, and consisted entirely of black and white line drawings, so I didn't have any problem with Rumeu taking second place in the billing, but in that case, why was it not called the Bill Harrington collection? None of this made any sense to me.

But for the reasons listed, I cannot commend this as a worthy read. It was disappointing and unintentionally amusing in parts, and the art wasn't really worth the trouble.
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This one was just ok for me, I do admit I don’t read comics or graphic novels very much, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but I found myself wanting more, the story was predictable, with not a lot of action. The artwork was ok, but showing it’s age.

This reminded me of the old Phantom comics from when I was a kid, which I never got into.

I think this would be good for people what used to enjoy these when they first came out.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.*
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The Jaume Rumeu Collection includes four terrifying tales from the pages of the legendary Misty, the late ’70s supernatural horror comic book marketed for girls, which will bring us back to the past. Even though I wasn’t born yet when these came out, the Misty comics somehow found their way to my ever-wandering curiosity growing up in the ’90s. For those of you who are not very familiar, Misty was a weekly British comic magazine for girls published by Fleetway in the late 1970s.

The whole thing is very nostalgic as the artwork is way different than what we have now—comics, mangas, and the entire digital world integrated into it. The dated feel of the ‘graphics’ adds enjoyment to these stories. I wasn’t expecting it to be more academic, with fascinating insights into what goes on behind these works. It is a short read with only 128 pages, which really isn’t much of a chore.

This book would be a fantastic read for any fan of Jaume Rumeu and would be a great addition to your horror comics collections.
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Having read many of the Misty comics as a child, I found this collection to be very nostalgic. The stories themselves are pretty dark and I definitely wouldn't recommend them to anyone who is afraid of spiders... That said, my favourites in this collection were actually the short comics included at the end. I loved that they managed to pack in a lot into such a short space.

Overall, a great collection for long time Misty fans after a stroll down memory lane or fans of horror graphic novels looking for something new to explore.
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This compendium of the most noted works for the Misty comic, by the artist of whom I'd never heard, begins with a lengthy saga of two schoolgirls trapped into being minions for the Black Widow, avenging her husband's death by wearing a skintight gown with an arachnid at her crotch and having gazillions of lethal spiders at her bidding.  Hence the minions, I guess...  Either way it's quite remarkable hokum, with the art only really let down by the girls swapping unmoveable control necklaces between episodes.  A similar-length sequel follows, with the same woman, similar dress (the spider is immense and on her cape, for variety) and a schoolgirl with her grandparents under immediate threat from all the evil-doing.  The archive nature of the book really shows in the multiple different levels of sharpness in the reproduction.

As riveting a mad spider woman is, with her deadly machinations, it's a little pity the book is only left the space for some modern essays about our artist and two small one-shots, one notable almost for treading on the cobwebs of the first two stories, and the other featuring both a deal with the devil, in the form of some leprechaun-types, and mention of "Top of the Pops", which cannot be that common an overlap.  The rubbish ending is certainly uncommon.  The academic essays at the end both show how you can delve into the semiotics and craft of a B-movie-influenced piece like the main story, and how you can be lucky if a symposium or wing-ding of writers provides enough material for a hefty chunk of end-matter – nobody would have commissioned these pieces just for this book, and the fact they were all on a shelf somewhere seems fortuitous.  Personally I found it a bit fortunate of the artist he's held in such high regard, as I didn't exactly find a hidden Toppi.  But his trashy looks at arachnophobia provided for some passable fun.  Three and a half stars, perhaps.
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Received this as a free e-copy from NetGalley for an honest opinion.

Creepy and unsettling in its own way. Love how it was in black and white which helped with the creepy factor of the story.   Love that there was a few stories in this graphic novel.
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I picked this up thinking it was a graphic novel, but it was, instead a book *about* a graphic novel collection.  It has loads of information about the collection, so it'll be a great resource for people who are a fan of Jaume Rumeu.
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OMG I loved this blast from the past, I adored Misty back in the 80s and still have my vintage Misty albums. Todays  children will never understand the joy of terror from comics like this and tv  shows like dramarama and hammer house of horror, 
The book goes into some detail of the history of Misty and it’s editors and illustrators, and with this book the focus is on Jaume Rumeu  who has illustrated 4 instalments of The Black Widow story with the evil Mrs Webb who is out for revenge for the death of her husband by using poisonous spiders.  It was really interesting getting a little insight into the minds of the writers and how the drawings relate to the story. 
And I really hope there will be more books to come.
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Black widows, femme fatales, mad scientists, and giant spiders abound in this nightmarish volume of classic Misty tales. This collection celebrates one of the most iconic villains in British girls' comics: the lethal Mrs. Webb, a raging femme fatale with killer style and a bone to pick with the British Establishment. Determined to take over the country with her army of giant arachnids, only two schoolgirls stand between her and global domination!

Spiders. Lots of spiders...a British comic for girls...full of spiders! I'm not a big fan of spiders...nope, not at all.
The comics, while wonderfully illustrated, do have that vintage feel of the late 70's style of horror magazines and comics. Being from the U.S., I'm not familiar with Misty and probably would have not read it if I had come across it because...spiders.

Creepy and unsettling in its own way, even with the dated feel. The artwork definitely helped in that feeling. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something different or who likes the older comics versus the new modern, sexualized characters of today.

Thanks to @netgalley and Rebellion/Titan for the opportunity to read Misty in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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I loved Misty as a child when it was in the Tammy comic and treasured my secondhand copies of the 1979 and 1980 annual so I was thrilled to see this collection. The magic and creepiness has not faded with the passing of time and it was great to indulge my inner child for an hour or so. 

This collection focuses on The Black Widow, a captivating story about a widow with control of revengeful spiders. Not one for arachnophobes. The illustrations are fantastic and show what made this gothic comic special, It also includes the short stories Dressed to Kill and Spend, spend, spend. As an adult the in depth essays on the comic and the stories were fascinating. I can't recommend it often enough.
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The lead story here is The Black Widow, the sort of thing it's hard to imagine turning up anywhere bar spooky girls' comic Misty* or UK children's TV of the same weird seventies era. And on the latter, the special effects would probably have let it down horribly. The widow of the title is Mrs Webb (DO YOU SEE?), who has control over spiders, can hypnotise people, and wants revenge on the authorities for the death of her husband (because unlike Marvel's Black Widow, having been married is in fact a key detail of her backstory, so the name has at least that extra level of sense. She is still white, mind). So the first step in her plan is...putting two schoolgirls in her power! One of whom is well-behaved, the other naughty, but now the naughty one can make the nice one be bad too! In practical terms, this makes zero sense, feeling a lot more like a particularly involved BDSM dynamic, especially once she renames the girls Tara'n'Tula (even Dickens would wince) and implants a post-hypnotic trigger phrase in the good one. The security of the nation is at risk, the previously studious lass can't remember why she's been missing school, and these strands of the story are treated with absolutely the same gravity. Nor is Mrs Webb the only character here whose plans seem opaque, though the bit of her scheme which involves putting a spider on a baby, and hoping the nanny won't get rid of it before the baby is cuddled by its father, is especially baffling. Even so, when the authorities are coming out with lines like "Get this whole area searched! And bring me every spider you find!", you do start to wonder whether it's a satire of 1970s Britain as a land full to the brim with complete bloody idiots.

And yet somehow, despite the sheer nonsensicality of it all, there's a dream logic which carries it along, helped by art that can sell the most outlandish bits as exactly the sort of things which might have been lurking behind any 1970s suburban street. Though I still don't know whether it's deliberate that one of the unfortunate leads is called Freda Lawrence, a name which, with the addition of one silent letter, is that of DH's wife, whose determined dissing of her husband on a tape we were once played at school has always entertained me far more than any of his work. 

The sequel, The Spider Woman, didn't hold my attention so well. Part of this is that somehow, Mrs Webb's scheme is even more 2. ??? 3. Vengeance than it was first time out. For starters, she's relocated to an island off Australia, and isn't threatening Australia with deadly spiders a bit like threatening Britain with drizzle? More of a problem, though, is that the art feels coarser, especially when it comes to Mrs Webb herself (whose hair was always a bold look, but who here is no longer rendered with the vague notes of realism, and the detailed textures, that sold it, or her, in the earlier story). Also, the replacement kid lead, with only grandparents to play off rather than an opposite lead, feels much flatter than Sadie and Freda, and the deserted setting doesn't counterpoint the creepiness like seventies Britain did.

The collection is rounded out with a couple of one-shots - and as so often, horror proves easier to pull off in short stories - plus, more unusually, some critical essays. The writers of the strips are apparently unknown, despite the cover being happy to make a guess. We're told that the material supports two candidates; the credited Harrington is one, but the other is Malcolm Shaw, with his feminism and communism being referenced in support. This on the grounds that Mrs Webb is "competent, capable and a trained scientist" (even though, as discussed above, her plans are entirely asinine), and that the spiders' collective action is shown as superior to divided, bickering humanity (even though a) they're horrible spiders and b) they lose). All in all, if it was Shaw's work, we can conclude that he was much better at psychosexual fever dreams than propaganda. You can see why they went with Harrington in the end. The other contributions, though, come up with some fruitful insights, especially when approaching from an art critical background which inevitably throws up very different ideas to my own background on the literary side.

*Or as my other half brilliantly misremembered the name, Mimsy.

(Netgalley ARC)
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Welcome back to the weird and wonderful “Bunty-meets-Quatermass” world of Misty! 
Misty was a late-‘70s horror comic for girls, which I’m sure filled a niche back then but I can’t vouch for it, being more of a Beano boy. In this latest anthology collection, the art of Jaume Rumeu is highlighted in two long tales and a couple of short stories, which are similar to Tharg’s Future Shocks from 2000AD. 
The longer stories are a retro treat as they feature the villainous and bonkers Mrs. Webb, AKA The Black Widow, who in the first story plans to take over Britain with hybrid spiders as revenge for her husband’s death in a botched scientific experiment. And only schoolgirls Sadie and Freda can stop her! 
The second story features another girl, Paula Moore, who is holidaying with her grandparents in Australia when the dreaded Mrs. Webb reappears, once again up to no good. The story ultimately develops into full-on body-horror. The volume is rounded off with a selection of essays analysing Misty and the genre of girls’ comics in general. 
The artwork throughout appears basic on the surface but is actually quite memorable and striking. The stories are simplistic and of their time, but are well-paced and exciting, with a fair amount of social comment thrown in, and present positive depictions of female characters. If you read Misty at the time or are a collector of ‘70s comics, this latest collection is highly recommended.
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well, that was an experience. I still find it a little weird that IPC thought that Misty was  what teenage girls in the 1980's wanted to read i, and that the legendary Pat Mills was the man to put it together so when I requested it, I was a little uncertain what exactly I was going to end up reading.
Overall, its a very enjoyable and creepy experience. The stories are very gothic in style and Jaume Rumeu's artwork suits them to a T- His artwork does put you in mind of a number of similar Spanish and European artists, and it's really nice to see that there is very little sexualisation of the teenage characters - they look like teenage girls should do so no short skirts and exposed cleavages involved. My only issue really is that some of the faces looked a bit flat and unfinished to me, and in places reminded me (strangely enough) of the faces of Mad Magazine's Dave Berg which was a little disconcerting!
Overall, I enjoyed reading this and recommend the curious comic reader to give it a go. Thanks to netgalley and Rebellion/Titan for the opportunity to read
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