This new collection from The Treasury of British Comics brings together some of Romero’s of work for Misty, the 1980s supernatural-themed comic for girls.
From Mrs Barlow’s Lodger to Darkness At Noon, from The Forest Of Fear to Screaming Point, his work for Misty showcases his extraordinary ability and in credible depth of talent.
But who was this lost master? Richard Bruton explores the work and legacy of one of the finest artists of his time…
As IPC’s very first horror comic aimed at the girls market, the launch of Misty in 1978 was something of a departure from their usual fare of classic girls titles and children’s’ humour titles such as Buster, Shiver & Shake, Cor!!, Whizzer and Chips.
Of course, by the time of Misty’s publication, IPC had already diversified with 2000 AD, but the creation of a girls supernatural comic was a giant leap into something very different.
Part of the idea behind the Treasury was to bring the works of those vaguely remembered or criminally underrated comic artists back into print. And with The Art of Jordi Badia Romero, the imprint is doing just that with a lavish hardcover book of his beautiful work from Misty.
Inside, you’ll be treated to some of the finest artwork you’ll see in comics at the time from an artist of incredible skill. Jordi Romero sadly short life produced incredible examples of romantic comic art and fabulously dark horrors. But it’s his work on the gothic and the supernatural for Misty that marks perhaps his finest art, full of gorgeous gothic glamour. Whether it was the fog-shrouded streets of Victorian London, teenage jealousy that gets out of hand when unusual magics become involved, or the strange tale of a young girl in Pompeii dreaming of the future and discovering the horrors awaiting the doomed city, Jordi’s beautiful imagery captured it all and it’s all collected here.
Jordi was born in Barcelona in 1958 and, by the age of 15, entered comics as assistant to his older brother Enrique, already a fixture in Spanish comics. Their work appeared in many Spanish romance and adventure comics, often under the name ‘Hrno Badia’ (a short version of hermanos or brothers). As Jordi’s confidence grew and his talents recognised, his work appeared across more and more of the burgeoning British romance and girls’ comics market that included Jackie, Love Story, Roxy, Marty, Valentine and many more.
To give you an idea of his skills and the esteem his artwork was held in at the time, in David Roach’s foreword to this new collection he recounts how a young Jim Baikie visited the offices of Valentine for an art gig and was told that the best thing he could do was look at Jordi’s work, simply the finest example of romance comics of the time. He was that good.
After the romance comics of the ’60s, he moved to other genres, including work on Dr Who (1973 Holiday Special), Modesty Blaise, Axa, and, as Jorge B. Galvev, he had work in Creepy in the 1970s and Tarzan comics in the ’80s. But it was his art on The Super Cats for D.C. Thomson’s Spellbound, a girls’ supernatural and fantasy title of the mid ’70s, pre-dating the creation of Misty, that paved the way for his very best work.
And when you look at the artwork in The Art of Jordi Badia Romero, you can see all that glamour of romance comics provided a distinctly gothic twist, perfect for Misty. Whether it’s in the 18 short strips or the longer serial of Screaming Point, everything has a truly beautiful line, Jordi’s figure work always perfect, capturing both glamour and horror in equal measure.
His female characters all have the classical look of the tragic, gothic heroine, the sort of imagery you immediately think of from the novels of the Brontës, but also from classic horrors, whether it’s the imagery of the novel Dracula or the subsequent Hammer Horror films. Every one has that slightly windswept look; unbelievably pretty, so many flowing dresses, so much incredible hair, all captured with Jordi’s fine line work and sumptuous brush work. The artwork full of opulence and fine detail, a delicate balancing act of the romantic and the spooky, never veering into nastiness, never horrific, just a perfect spooky gothic beauty all the way through.
Sadly, the Misty work you see in the Art of Jordi Badia Romero was some of his last, as Jordi died at the age of 46 in 1984. But with this collection of some of his finest work we have a chance to admire the beauty and brilliance of his artwork.
Bringing this sort of lost works from criminally underrated artists is exactly what the Treasury of British Comics was created for. And with The Art of Jordi Badia Romero, it’s an absolute pleasure to bring back this gorgeous work of a lost master of supernatural comics back to find an audience today.