Category Archives: Treasury of British Comics

Jinty: A Spell of Trouble

Instead of a Misty Halloween offering this year, the Treasury of British Comics have dived into Jinty’s archive, to reprint 2 stories – A Spell of Trouble and Creepy Crawley, the latter getting the cover name. This also gives the opportunity to highlight the wonderful work of Trini Tinturé, with a special hardback cover with original art by Tinturé also offered on the Treasury of British Comics shop website.

Although both stories are about even in length, each taking up half the book, it is strangely only A Spell of Trouble that is highlighted both on the cover and the description on the back, whereas Creepy Crawley gets just a one sentence mention at the bottom of the description. Both stories start with a popular and accomplished girl at school, but after that they diverge completely. In the comedic A Spell of Trouble, Carrie Black has used her witchy powers to stay top of the class, then a distant cousin, Angela White, comes to live with the Blacks and Carrie’s easy life turns into a mess! Angela is full of good intentions but is also clumsy and has no interest in becoming a witch. This becomes a bigger problem when their Witch’s Coven say if she doesn’t become a witch then they will take the Blacks’ powers away. While Carrie and her family have never had to work hard to earn anything, and they do some questionable things to try and get rid of Angela, they are not evil witches, and we can sympathise with their frustrations when Angela keeps messing things up. It’s a very fun story, a highlight for me is the hijinks caused by  a bodyswitching plan, throughout the story there’s lots of laughs to be have, and Tinturé does great job displaying the witciness and comedic elements, so it’s easy to see why this is the  highlighted story for the collection.

In Creepy Crawley, Jean Crawley becomes jealous of new girl Mandy who outdoes her at everything. When she gets an old scarab brooch from a shop closing down, she finds she can use to get rid of her rival. The brooch has a particular power over insects, but when Carrie wants to stop her vendetta, the brooch can’t be gotten rid of and its influence turns her more cruel. Only a timid girl Sheila begins to suspect the truth in time and tries to stop her.  A step further than other evil influence stories, the scarab has a bigger agenda in hand – a complete insect takeover of the world. Again the art and some of the more complex story beats puts this story above other similar stories.

The book itself is only 80 pages, there is no additional features just the two stories back to back. It would have been a nice opportunity to talk more about  Trini Tinturé (like some of the artists in the Misty collection have got), but she gets a short paragraph in the back. While Rebellion do always try to deliver high quality books, it is clear sometimes they are hampered by not always having the original artwork. This means some pages aren’t as clean and crisp as they should be. For the most part this doesn’t take from the story, but there is particular page from Creepy Crawley, that it is more noticeable than others. These are minor complaints though as the book is still of good quality and the stories and art are of a high standard, an excellent read.

It is also reasonably priced, The Treasury of British Comics website offers a few different options for purchase, starting at only £9.99 for digital edition, the paperback is £14.99 and the special edition hard back is £24.99

There is also currently a sale on until December so a perfect opportunity to pick up some older releases if you haven’t already, you could pick up other Jinty books like Concrete Surfer for just £4.99 or Fran of the Floods for £7.79 or just look through their growing collection to see what catches your interest.


The Best of Cat Girl

The Treasury of British Comics from Rebellion continue to release a wide variety of books, which are always a treat to receive. This latest addition is a book of stories from the Cat Girl series that first appeared in the Sally comic. We are given a lot here, with four adventures from that comic, a story from the Sally 1971 Annual and the newest Cat Girl story that appeared in the Tammy & Jinty 2020 special, as well as an article on artist Giorgio Giorgetti.

While Cat Girl first appeared in 1969 in Sally until its end in 1971 and then only appeared for a short time in Tammy when Sally comic merged with it, the character obviously made a lasting impression. More recent revivals saw a version of the character in The Vigilant: Legacy comic and as mentioned, the Tammy & Jinty special where her daughter takes up the mantle.  John Freeman over two years ago made a case for a collection on his website here: and it seems Rebellion publishers have taken note and released a collection.

Characters dressing as cats to fight crime were common in these comics, Diana had The Laughing Cats – twins who dressed as cats and used their agile ballet skills to help them investigate crime  and Bunty had Catch the Cat! – where a girl, Marie, dons a cat costume in order to secretly fight against the Nazis with the French Resistance. Certainly there is an appeal to these costumed crime fighters and an agile cat seems a perfect choice to represent them. Unlike the aforementioned series, in Cat Girl –  Cathy Carter doesn’t have a natural agility or gymnastic abilities, all her powers come directly from the suit, and we see instances when she has it off  and she can’t even manage a handstand! The mysterious suit doesn’t get much of an explanation, she finds it in the attic a present sent from Africa by an associate of her private detective father and we never delve further into it in this collection. After she tries it on she finds she acts more cat-like, with enhanced senses, agility and quickness. She uses it to help her absent-minded father on his cases in secret. While Cathy is trying to help catch criminals (often been led by the nefarious Eagle) and there are tricky situations she find herself in, it is also light-hearted in tone, with humourous expressions done by Giorgetti. The stories are fast paced and fun, episodes generally ending on cliffhanger to keep you turning the pages!

The stories covered in this collection showcase Cathy’s first appearance where she discovers the suit and helps her father foil a robbery orchestrated by the Eagle. The next story the Eagle is back and this time he has his sights on a train. After that  Cathy infiltrates a theatre to try and recover stolen jewels, next sees her completely change locations as she helps take down a blackmailing gang in South America. Lastly  an adventure at the circus as she tries to find out who has a vendetta against one of the trapeze artists. While these are all the classic adventures of Cathy the book’s opening story is actually  Cat Girl Returns from the Tammy & Jinty special, where we see a grown up Cathy now a police officer and her daughter Claire discovering the cat suits powers when she uses it for a costume part and helps foil a kidnapping. It’s a fun continuation for the story.


Other than the story an appeal of this collection will be the art of Georgio Giorgetti, which is gorgeous to look at. It is very expressive and he captures all Cathy’s acrobatics and cat-like tendencies perfectly.  Included in the back of this collection is article about the artist, this first appeared in the Tammy & Jinty special but it is fitting to add it here too. While I did get the paperback version (which has a cover done by Elkys Nova, who also drew the new story following Cathy’s daughter Claire), the Treasury of British Comics shop does have a lovely hardback addition with Giorgetti’s design. With a growing catalogue of books it will be difficult to afford all the wonderful collections that are available, but this one was a definite must for me and I have not been disappointed.

Monster Fun – Halloween Spooktacular Special [2021]

I’m a little late for reviewing this comic, but even though it is promoted as a “Halloween Spooktacular”  it really can be enjoyed at anytime of year. After the ambitious variety of specials released by Rebellion last year, we only get a couple this year. This is the first Monster Fun special released (for the new generation) but it is really a follow up to the previously released Cor!! Buster specials under a “new” name.  Nearly half the stories here, the new incarnations have appeared in the other specials, most with the same creative teams too, such as Gums, Sweeney Toddler and Creature Teacher to name a few. The Monster Fun name is more fitting for Halloween, and also I think more appealing for a new audience for an ongoing comic. Cor!! Buster is a bit more clunkier if you aren’t aware of the history of comics, and wouldn’t mean a lot to young readers, whereas a book advertising as fun with monsters I can see it enticing the readers. The exciting thing is this is becoming a regular comic beginning in April 2022, it will be coming out every 2 months. Way back in 2017 when the first Misty & Scream! Special came out, I speculated that if things went well we may see the return of regular issues, although it is not Misty & Scream it is heartening to see a new British comic ongoing. Monster Fun will be joining The Phoenix and Beano as another choice for young readers.

As for the contents themself, this is all strong stuff and jam packed with stories (20 in total), mostly shorter humour strips but we also get a longer more drama tale with The Leopard From Lime Street (by Simon Furman and Laurent Lefauvre). The return of teen Billy Farmer as the leopard was one of my favourites here, it quickly gives a run down of how Billy got his powers, introduces his family and friends, then sets a new plot with the villain Totem. It was nice that they kept the classic  title banner as well. Fans of Tom Paterson will be delighted to see he is not only responsible for the cover but 3 stories inside as well, Sweeny Toddler, Gah! The Gobblin’ Goblin and Grimly Feendish, my personal favourite being the latter as Grimly’s plan to sneak monsters into Funstation 5 console boxes to give to people doesn’t go quite as planned. Hell’s Angel (by Chris Garbutt) is also a fun strip where cute little demon Helly causes her dad trouble by being to nice in Hell. Frankie Stein (by Cavan Scott and John Lucas), introduces the book as the editor and also gets the first strip of the book where he is entered into a Monster of the Year competition at the Evil Scientist Convention. Part of the fun of that story is spotting all the background characters at the convention, including Missy (Doctor Who), Willy Wonka, Dr Evil, The Spider and  The Monarch and Dr Girlfriend (The Venture Brothers).


That’s only a small selection of the stories on offer, in the comic, there’s plenty of other good reads in here. It is aimed at an 8-13 age range, and there is young humour (plenty of puns) as well as modern references (mobiles and social media are very present), but certainly older readers can enjoy it too. I hope that the ongoing will gather support and be successful as it is high quality and nice to see more ongoing comics available for young readers. The subscription to the new comic (or if you want to buy just the Halloween comic to check it out) is available here:

Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 5: The John Steel Files/ Sexton Blake/ Misty Winter Special

First off I want to praise the Rebellion customer service. I recently moved house and when these comics didn’t appear even though I had updated my address, I contacted them. They got back to me quickly and very generously sent me new copies. I have bought many books through there website and the service they provide is equal to quality of the books they produce.

To the books themselves, first we have Thriller Picture Library – The John Steel Files which reprints two John Steel Case-books that appeared in the 1960s, both stories drawn by Luis Bermejo, the writer is unknown. This is the first special to not feature new stories, with such a back catalogue, I think as long as we are also getting specials with new content, having some of these reprint specials is probably more cost efficient than having all reprints collected in hardbacks/tpbs. This is bigger than what the normal picture library format would be and seems a thick book, but with mostly 2 panels per page it isn’t dense. The stories have also been coloured by Pippa Bowland, while I don’t have the original B&W to compare to, the colouring compliments the story, using more muted colours that doesn’t distract from the art. The cover is very stylish by VV Glass and quite different from the story they draw in Misty Special (discussed further on).

The two stories are Bullets in the Sun (reprinted from Thriller Picture Library #371) and Play it Cool (reprinted from Thriller Picture Library #379). This is another book that I can appreciate on objective level but didn’t engage me as much as other specials. In the first story John Steel, private detective, comes to aid of an old WWII comrade, Paul Wallace, when his son is kidnapped. Wallace is about to testify about an international conspiracy and it is up to Steel to find out who is behind the kidnapping and blackmail. In Play it Cool Steel again is looking for someones son, this time a university student who has gone missing in France. But how does the missing son, tie in with some random murders and blackmail? I liked this story better, perhaps because there was a bit more mystery to it.

The next special also features a private detective in The Return of Sexton Blake and this classic character intrigued me much more than John Steel did. This special is interesting as it focuses on the history of character as well as stories themselves. We get such articles as the publishing history of Sexton Blake, the people who drew the character, the redesign for the book collections and how Sexton Blake and Victor Drago are the same character.  In 1979, Victor Drago appeared in Tornado and was written as a Sexton Blake story, but a last minute rights issue, meant a change in the character’s name. In this special, the first 7-part Drago story is reprinted now with the Blake name restored. The story Terror of Troll Island! (by Bill Henry and Mike Dorey) is a classic detective story akin to Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie, where Blake and his assistant Tinker investigate a series of murders at an eccentric writer’s isolated home.

A new story The Death & Life of Sexton Blake, (by George Mann and Jimmy Broxton) sees Blake pitted against one of his foes The Chessman, who seemingly defeats Blake. The final complete story we get is another reprint this time a text story Lady Molly’s First Case, (by E. Sempill) which sees Blake team up with Lady Molly to catch a jewel thief.  In this story Lady Molly very much takes the lead, a very impressive story and despite it first been printed in 1908, it reads as if it could have been written today. There is one more text story The Case of the Seventh Key, (by W.W. Sayer) but this is more of a teaser as we only get the first two chapters and get the conclusion of the story, readers will have to get the Sexton Blake Library Book 3: Allies. It is an effective bit of marketing. I must say this is the special I was most pleasantly surprised with as I had little knowledge going in and no big expectations. With interesting stories and it’s historical context explained this special was engaging and for a character that has bee around since 1893 he still stands the test of time.

Finally we have the Misty Winter Special, in it two stories Infection and Home for Christmas. Like the Tammy & Jinty special limiting the stories has the benefit of really developing these spooky tales. Home for Christmas (Writer: Lizzie Boyle, Artist: David Roach) is the shorter story at 12 pages. Martha is babysitting 2 kids on Christmas Eve, when their parents can’t make it back due to fallen tree, she has to stay the night and then strange things began to happen. I felt the pacing could have been better in places of this story, and that some of the characters actions seemed odd. Like going outside in the rain at night with the kids you are babysitting, if this was meant to be ghosts already having influence its not clear, but seems to be more contrivance to get the plot to the next point. During their excursion outside to try and get a phone signal, the phone drops down a well, then later Martha gets photos sent to her from inside the well. Here’s where the story gets better as what follows is some very creepy stuff and Roach’s art is perfect throughout, particularly the faceless ghost children are haunting.

Infection (by V.V. Glass and Anna Savory) is the stronger of the 2 stories but also has the advantage of more pages and a slow build up. Charlotte is a new scholarship girl at a prestigious boarding school, she feels she doesn’t fit in and narrates her thoughts through her journal, that all students have to keep as a class assignment. At first the other girls make fun of her because she doesn’t know the rules of the school, but then the girls rules get more bizarre and Char thinks they are just trying to mess with her. But the girls are getting more agitated and Char realizes there’s more going on and she tries to figure out what is causing it. She puts forward many theories and all the time the fearful threat hangs over the school. There are many graphic descriptions of things we don’t see, leaving a lot to our own imagination but this is effectively done. It is very atmospheric and in true Misty style ends on an ominous note.

And here we are at the end of 2020, while a few in this year’s special bundles weren’t to my taste, it was money worth spent, as well as a solid return of favourites (Misty, Tammy &Jinty, Cor!Buster) I also found comics that I may not have bought individually but would have been missing out on (Smash! The Return of Sexton Blake). As always I continue to look forward to what Rebellion will bring next year.


Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 4: Battle / Misty & Scream

The next two specials I’m looking at are Battle of Britain Special and Misty & Scream. Firstly the Battle special is a sizeable book at 100 pages, and it is packed with great art and stories, that I appreciate on an objective level. On a more personal preference there are other specials that I would have preferred to get the 100 page treatment. While I can enjoy the occasional war story, my interests aren’t in having a whole book of them, if I hadn’t purchased the specials bundle, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. This is still an impressive book with 10 new stories and 3 reprints.  The Highlights for me were: Face of the Enemy, Destroyer, Rat Pack. I also welcomed some light relief with The Young Cockney Commandos with art by Tom Paterson and on the opposite side I can appreciate the message of War Child, (although taking the whole book as a whole it does lead to some mixed messaging), Of the reprints Double Hero is nice addition to highlight some Ian Kennedy work which is always welcome.

Face of the Enemy (Writer: Alan Grant, Art: Davide Fabbri, Colours: Domenico Neziti) is my favourite as an old man visits a school, to tell the class  his experience as a young boy seeing planes fighting overhead during the Battle of Britain. When a German plane is shot down he runs to it despite having heard what “monsters” the Germans were, what he finds is a dying German man wishing for his family. It has nice art, with some impressive fighting scenes and I do like a story that shows there are humans on both sides of war. Destroyer (Writer; Rob Williams, Art: PJ Holden)  a story narrated by a young seaman, Joe Owen, about his time on the ship that had earned the name “jinxtown”, but despitethe nickname the ship would still have an important role to play in the war.  Rat Pack – The Tough Way (Writer: Garth Ennis, Art: Keith Burns) has a touch of humour, as the team make fun of the General they just rescued, the mission is recounted at a complaints hearing.

Misty & Scream is definitely more to my interest and that we are getting extra Misty content this year is a definite bonus. There are 6 stories here, it gets off to a strong start with Thief of Senses (Writer: Maura McHugh, Art: Robin Henley),  set in Victorian London where a family fear something that stalks in the night. It’s a very creepy story, and use of dark colours sets up a good atmosphere. I also enjoyed The Aegis (Writer: Kristyna Baczynski, Art: Mary Safro) a more modern story focused on rivalry within a school play. The title of the play Medusa: The Musical, foretelling the characters’ fates. Safro’s art reminds me of Darwyn Cooke, with it’s simple cartoon like style, and works great with this story. Bumps in the Night (Writer: Olivia Hicks, Art: John Lucas) is a creepy clown story, not my favourite in the book, but  sure to give anyone with a clown phobia some nightmares!

The second half of the book are all returning stories, if there is supposed to be a distinctive split  in the layout, these would be deemed the Scream! stories and as Misty takes first place in the title this year it would make sense for her stories to come first. We have the return of Black Beth (Writer: Alec Worley, Art: DaNi) , which is my favourite art in the book, just gorgeous work by DaNi. Then there is Return of Black Max (Writer: Kek-W, Art: Simon Coleby) probably bottom of my list (guess someone has to be), not too bad a story but felt I probably should have reread the previous installment first.  Which can be problem with continuing stories in these specials being so far apart. Although I somehow didn’t have that issue with the aforementioned Black Beth or with The Dracula File (Writer: Cavan Scott, Art: Vincenzo Riccardi) which felt it stood more on it’s own without knowing the background. It is a satisfying conclusion to the original 1970s story, and much better than the first revival (in the 2017 special). Even with the story concluded I would say there is still room to go back and fill in the gaps, if they so wished but left as is, it does its job of showing final fates of Dracula and  Stakis.

If it’s similar to this content I look forward to more Misty stories later this year!


Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 3: Tammy & Jinty

As this site is about girls comics clearly Tammy & Jinty special is one I’ve been eagerly awaiting. I was pleased with last year’s issue and this year takes a different approach but is still a joy to read.

This  year there are just 2 new complete stories and  1 reprint of the first episode of Ping-Pong Paula (compared to last year’s 9 short stories). This approach certainly has the advantage of giving the stories more time to breathe, although I was little disappointed not to see some returns from last year like Justice of Justine or Bella of the Bar. Personal preference would maybe have split the difference and have 3-4 new stories, so could still have longer stories but bit more variety. Still the stories here are a great read and I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more retro strips occasionally too. Starting off we have Boarding School (by Rachael Smith and Yishan Li) where a girl, Tabatha and her brother, Richard are the only students at a mysterious boarding school with 4 governesses. While they all fawn over Richard, Tabatha is pretty much ignored, because of this while exploring she meets a girl from outside the school and after talking with her, Tabatha begins to question the motives of the governesses and what are they hiding. I won’t give too much away, but this was an intriguing mystery story, with strong sibling bond and a good villain.

In Cat Girl Returns (by Ramzee and Elkys Nova) we meet the original Cat Girl, Cathy, all grown up and still tracking down bad guys though now as police officer, not as a costumed hero. Meanwhile her daughter Claire is trying to find a costume for a party and comes across her mother’s old cat girl outfit. While at the party Claire begins to notice some strange things, like she now has enhanced senses, and when a social media star gets taken by some criminal she is on hand to help. I like that we get to see Cathy work her case and how it connects to Claire’s heroics. While I’ve liked Rebellions update on characters, it was very fun to see continuation of the Cat Girl story rather than a straightforward reboot. DCT digital Spellbound reprint (which unfortunately was only available for short period before being pulled) had a similar idea where after reprint of  I Don’t want to Be a Witch” there was a short story focusing on Celia’s daughter. It is nice to see these legacy characters as we get a new updated character but also get to see what the older character grew up to become. It probably wouldn’t work for every story but it fits Cat Girl just right.

The other story we get is the first episode of Ping-Pong Paula,this comes after an interview with Alison Fitt (nee Christie) and is fitting example of her work. I wonder if the story is set for a reprint, which would be another reason to print the first episode here to entice readers in, I would be happy to see a volume of this. The other feature we get is a piece on Giorgio Giorgetti, I had not realised he’d died young, so it was nice to read his son’s memories of his fathers work.

An excellent addition to Rebellion’s specials collection and I must also mention a gorgeous cover by Marguerite Sauvage.

Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 2: Roy of the Rovers/ 2000AD Sci-Fi Special

On to the next set of Rebellion specials that I have received.

Originally set to coincide with the European Championships,  Roy of the Rovers Summer Special  made a few changes to better reflect the times we are living in.  The character of Roy Race has a long history, but even this new version has been around for a while. So unlike some of the other specials it has a well-established young fan-base and plenty of books  already available. So this will appeal to those fans and for those just taking a dip-in it may encourage them to check out the other books. For me I am familiar with Roy of the Rovers but I’ve only read Rocky (Roy’s sister) story from last year’s Tammy & Jinty. Here this comic though clearly in production before Covid-19 crisis it does reference the pandemic in the first story Roy and his friend talk briefly about how quiet the summer was with the lockdown, while I appreciate the effort it does then just make everyone standing so close together after that a bit glaring! More successful is the Rocky text story (By Tom Palmer) where she deals with being confined to home, clashing with her brother, worries over her future, not being able to complete her GCSE’s and fear for her father’s vulnerable position due to his pre-existing condition. All well handled and I really enjoyed this story.

To go back briefly to the first story, after they get over mentioning the pandemic, it goes onto the team’s new chair person setting up a tournament with teams around Europe, and Roy also wondering why one of his teammates is MIA. It is a solid story, you can tell there is a lot of history with these characters but it mostly does well enough as a stand alone story. Another story Old School brings back some old characters for a veteran super league, it is probably the story that will appeal to older nostalgic fans the most (Rob Williams writes both stories, with Elkys Nova art in first story and David Sque art in the second). Rounding off the special is some Ken Reid football humour strips, and features of Q&A’s with creators and original Roy Race’s England career explained. Football isn’t something that I rush to see, but I can see how this character’s world has been so successful and it is a well put together special, with stories that can appreciated even not being a football fan.

While not part of the Treasury Line, the next special included is the 2000AD Sci-Fi special this celebrates 20 years since Rebellion took over the rights to 2000AD. I haven’t followed 2000AD regularly for some years but it is nice to catch up with these characters. This is the biggest special at 100 pages and is a mix of reprints (Terror Tales, Sinister Dexter, Nikolai Dante, Dreams of Deadworld, Judge Dredd – Leaving Rowdy) and new stories (Judge Dredd- The Immigrant, Kingdom, Storm Warning, The Red Seas). While these are standalone stories, some work best if you are familiar with the characters. Most of my favourites were the reprints, clearly these were good picks to highlight the best of 2000AD. In Nikolai Dante (Script: Robbie Morrison, art: Simon Fraser) the title character, has a fever dream and finds he has lost his Weapons Crest, it is a lot more effective for me as I already like the character from previous stories that I have read. Terror Tales – Scene of the Crime (Script: Al Ewing, art: Simon Fraser) is a great one-off story in which two detective investigate a murder where strange symbols were left on the wall, one detective discovers the symbols have appeared in other murders dating back to a least the 1950s. Dreams of Deadworld (script Kek-W, art: Dave Kendall) is a very dark and creepy tale of the dark judge, Fear. Of the newer stories the highlight was Judge Dredd – The Immigrant as Dredd interviews Zombo, it was very amusing. I also appreciated the interview with CEO Jason Kingsley, which again shows the enthusiasm behind these comics and gives some insight into how Rebellion has come to dominate the British comic scene.

Another 2000AD related comic that was not part of the Specials bundle but I think is worth a mention here is Judge Dredd Megazine #421 which I picked up separately. I won’t go into all the stories here, just the reason I picked this up was to get the last part of The Vigilant saga (three Simon’s worked on this! script: Simon Furman, art: Simon Coleby, letters: Simon Bowland, colours: Len O’Grady) . This was an ambitious project, having a new super-team comprised  of modern versions of old characters like Leopard from Lime Street, Thunderbolt, Doctor Sin and others. While I’ve enjoyed the story I think having the story so spaced out and having too many characters and  lots of busy action made it suffer (particularly in the first full issue).  I feel they were actually hitting their stride more and the conclusion is satisfying enough. Also effective is Doctor Sin, giving a brief rundown of team while pondering the motives of one of them being a traitor, as it quickly lets those unfamiliar know who these people are. It was an interesting project I feel they would have done better with a smaller team at first and then introduce more characters, but I will enjoy re-reading the saga and catching things I may not ave noticed first time around. More relevant to the treasury line is the megazine comes with Vigilant Origins book which has appearances of characters as the first appeared, we get stories about the original Doctor Sin, the origin of Leopard from Lime Street, Death Wish, Steel Commando  and we also see stories of the villains; Von Hoffman’s Invasion and Dr Mesmer’s Revenge. This was enjoyable glance at what made this characters popular when they first appeared (and I’m sure will encourage people to checkout the reprinted volumes available).

Next  special released will be Tammy & Jinty, which surprising no-one I’m sure is the one I’m most excited for.

Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 1: Action 2020/ Cor!! Buster / Smash!

Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics line has a whole line of specials this year, along with new titles like Action and Smash are returning favourites from previous years; Misty & Scream, Cor!!Buster and Tammy & Jinty. They are certainly getting more ambitious, though I do wonder if they are throwing a lot out just to see what will stick, so it will be interesting to see what specials return next year.

When they announced the 12 specials they would be releasing throughout the year, starting in March, there was definite must haves for me, but others that I may not have bothered with, if not for the special bundle subscription offer. I have so far received nearly half of the titles, which are a bit of a mixed bag (I’ll get into that more later!) but I am glad that I got subscription, as it has introduced me to new interesting characters and has certainly kept me entertained. Also the service by Rebellion is great, every month since March my new special has arrived right on time in my letterbox, which has been a real treat. If you are buying online I would recommend for any of their books to buy directly from their website.

The first special I received was Action 2020 which came with a smaller facsimile of the famously banned issue of Action from 23 October 1976. So this wasn’t the strongest starts for me personally. It’s not the type of stories that appeal to me, even the 1970s issue, while I can see its merits, it wouldn’t be something I want to read more of (except perhaps The Probationer a story  with a protagonist wrongly accused of crime, who is looking after his disabled mother and also has to deal with being blackmailed, which wouldn’t be out of place in a girls’ comic!). In the new Action 2020, there are 5 stories; Kids Rule O.K.,  Hellman, Hook Jaw and Dredger (which all appear in the older issue too) and a new story Hell Machine. As I only have vague knowledge of some of these characters, I came into it with no nostalgia influence (nostalgia being double edged sword sometimes with these titles). So while I’ve seen criticisms elsewhere, my favourite story here was Hookjaw. The whole lead up is to have vicious shark Hookjaw face off against polar bear Shako (though we do not see how that battle ends), comics are a visual medium but the visual and words compliment each other, so it is hard to tell a story with no dialogue. That is why I am impressed with this silent 7 page strip which capture everything we need to know with thrilling art by Dan Lish. Hell Machine (Script & Art: Henry Flint, Art: Jake lynch, Letters: Simon Boland) is the other story that worked best for me, at 15 pages it’s the longest story and therefore has the advantage of doing more world building. While this type of dystopian future story is not groundbreaking, it does follow the tropes well taking fears from present and taking it to the extreme (e.g. the system being rigged so poor people can never escape debt). So while not my favourite special it still had a few stories I enjoyed.

The next special was quite the opposite of the previous Cor!!Buster returning from last year, is a jam packed humour comic with 15 strips. I enjoyed last years special and overall this one is stronger still. There are 9 stories that get a 2nd round including Ivor Lott and Tony Broke and Faceache which both have improved since last year. Some highlights for me this year,  “new” strips Buster and Delbert (script: John Freeman,art:  Lew Stringer & letters: Leila Jess) which felt like a classic Buster story and was jam packed with character cameos. Then Birdman and Chicken (script: Keith Richardson,  art: Edward Whatley, letters: Ward West)  doing a perfect Batman parody with arch nemesis The Giggler, that had me chuckling aloud. Daisy Jones Locket (script: Olivia Hicks, art: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb,  Letters: Amber Cee) , maybe isn’t the strongest story in the issue, but I just loved the art. Ivor Lott & Tony Broke with Milly O’Naire & Penny Less,  are still favourite characters of mine and like I mentioned this strip improved on last years, so I enjoyed Ivor and Milly’s attempt to bring Jurassic Park to the mansion and of course it going wrong!  While these were my highlights, I really enjoyed every one of these strips and l look forward to it presumably returning next year.


Next was the Smash! special like Action I had little knowledge of any of these characters, but this was far more appealing to me. This British superhero comic was a lot of fun, I noted its printing size and style was in line with American style comics, which I again commend Rebellion for not making a one size fits all when putting together these specials, just shows the extra thought that goes into producing them. Like Cor! Buster I found something to enjoy in every one of these strips and a definite plus was before each story was a one page background summary of the hero. Here we get 7 stories The Spider, Thunderbolt the Avenger, Johnny Future, The Steel Claw, Mytak the Mighty, Cursitor Doom Jason Hyde and The House of Dolmann. If I had to pick a favourite it would be The House of Dolmann (story: Simon Furman, art: Chris Weston, letters: Jim Campbell), in the story we see a now aged Dolmann, he is enlisted to help catch a doll thief with the help of his mechanical puppets. He uses ventriloquism to give the varied puppets personalities, though the strip brings up some questions when Dolmann is knocked unconscious and his puppets still talk! The Steel Claw (story: Charlie Higson, art: Charlie Adlard, letters: Simon Bowland) is a bizarre concept where secret agent Crandell, can turn invisible except for his prosthetic steel claw, the strip has a lot of fun with the villains overuse of acronyms for their organisations!  Thunderbolt the Avenger (story: Helen O’Hara, art: Valentina Pinti, colours: Jim Boswell, Letters: Ozvaldo Sanchez), this incarnation Mary Lansden I was familiar with from The Vigilant,  so I quite liked seeing her origin her and how she got the powerful wristwatch from her predecessor. The Spider (story: Rob Williams, art: John McCrea, letters: Simon Bowland) I also found interesting as he has played both hero and super villain, the mystery in this strip is where has he been since helping British Intelligence lock away supervillains.

So a quarter way through and overall a positive start to these specials.