Misty, Spellbound and the Lost Gothic of British Girls’ Comics

11 Pages Posted: 18 May 2017 Last revised: 4 Oct 2017

Date Written: May 2017

Abstract

This article is a case study of the 1970s British girls’ comics Spellbound (DC Thomson, 1976–1977) and Misty (IPC, 1978–1980). These mystery anthology comics followed the more famous American horror comics from publishers like EC Comics - but were aimed at pre-teen girls. The article situates these comics with respect to Gothic critical theory and within the wider landscape of British girls’ comics. Firstly, it closely considers and compares the structure and content of their stories with respect to theories of the terror and horror Gothic. It discovers that both comics offer similar fare, with a subversive streak that undercuts established horror archetypes. The article then looks closely at both titles’ aesthetics and their use of the page to draw comparisons. It uses comics theory and Gothic cinematic theory to demonstrate that the appearance of Misty is more strongly Gothic than the aesthetic of Spellbound. Finally, it considers a selection of stories from both comics and analyses their common themes using Gothic critical theory. It argues that both comics rework Gothic themes into new forms that are relevant to their pre-teen and teenage readers. It concludes by summarising the study’s findings and suggesting that these comics offer a “Gothic for Girls” that is part cautionary tale and part bildungsroman. This article is published as part of a collection on Gothic and horror.

Suggested Citation

Round, Julia, Misty, Spellbound and the Lost Gothic of British Girls’ Comics (May 2017). Palgrave Communications, Vol. 3, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2970282 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.37

Julia Round (Contact Author)

Bournemouth University ( email )

Fern Barrow
Poole BH12 5BB, Dorset BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

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