The Hidden History of British Girls’ Horror Comics: Magic, Mystery, Monsters… and Mothers?

British girls’ comics dominated children’s entertainment in the last century but have been all but forgotten today. When remembered, they are often characterised as all about horses, ballet and boarding schools. But nothing could be further from the truth! – these comics were not for the fainthearted, and told tales of Nazi soldiers, cursed choirs, deals with the devil, schoolgirl sacrifice, parallel worlds, monsters, possession, criminals and more..

This talk looks closely at two supernatural British girls’ comics: Spellbound (DC Thomson, 1976-77) and Misty (IPC/Fleetway, 1978-80). It reveals the background to the launch of both titles and explores the relationship between them, looking closely at their key characters, most shocking stories, and most dramatic artwork. In honour of Mothering Sunday, it also shows how these comics challenged male authority, particularly through their treatment of parents and depiction of motherhood.


Julia Round’s research examines the intersections of Gothic, comics and children’s literature. Her books include Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels (2014), Comics and Graphic Novels (2022), and the award-winning Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics (2019). She has published over forty book chapters and articles on aspects of comics and Gothic and is an Associate Professor in English and Comics Studies at Bournemouth University, UK.

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