‘A Very British Affair’: Paying Tribute To The Forgotten Romance Comics Of British Comics History

by Richard Bruton

David Roachs A Very British Affair, publishing in January 2023, will shine a much-needed light on British romance comics.

Cover by Ángel Badia Camps

In post-war Britain and particularly in the ’60s and ’70s, one genre of comics outsold all others here in Britain. It was full of sumptuous artwork and creative storytelling, delighting millions of mostly female readers. The genre was romance and it was all-conquering for so many years, selling millions of copies per year. And then it pretty much disappeared in just a few years.

Now, The Treasury of British Comics and David Roach brings us A Very British Affair, bringing together some of the greatest British romance comics ever printed in one spectacular volume – many of them never reprinted before.

Scheduled for publication in January 2023 and curated by Eisner-nominated historian and artist David Roach, A Very British Affair will cover the incredible range of British romance comics with more than 50 stories featuring the fabulous art and emotive writing that characterised the strips and delighted generations of comics readers of titles such as Mirabelle, Valentine, Marilyn, and Serenade.

As well as paying tribute to the often uncredited creators who crafted an industry of love, this fascinating collection will also shine a spotlight on the genre’s forgotten female creators, such as Jenny Butterworth, Pat Tourett and Diane Gabbott.

With a cover featuring Ángel Badia Camps’ iconic cover for Serenade, it features art by comics icons like Shirley Bellwood (Misty), Jordi Badía Romero (Creepy)and Enrique Badía Romero (AXA), Mike Hubbard (Jane), Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd), John M. Burns (Modesty Blaise), Purita Campos (Patty’s World), Jesus Blaco (Steel Claw), Pepe Gonzalez (Vampirella)  Jesus Redondo (Kitty Pryde) and Ian Gibson (The Ballad of Halo Jones), this is the ultimate celebration of love, loss and lust in postwar Britain.

“Despite selling millions of copies over two decades and dominating newsstands, the mid-twentieth century boom in romance comics has been largely forgotten. The first book of its kind to be published, A Very British Affair will shine a light on this sadly neglected genre and its gifted creators.

As well as charting the evolution of this fascinating genre through the decades, it will showcase art from a number of great British talents including Shirley Bellwood, Mike Hubbard and Gerry Haylock, as well as work from some of the greatest artists from around the world. It has been a privilege to give these forgotten comics a little much-needed love.
David Roach

It’s been a real privilege to work with someone as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as David on this much-needed collection. Despite their incredible popularity, stunning art and the depth of storytelling, British romance comics have become a footnote in comics history. This timely book is going to set the record straight and finally give these amazing comics and their creators their moment in the sun. Brilliant, beautiful, heartfelt and occasionally downright bizarre, this is the essential selection of British romance comics!”Olivia Hicks

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