A History of Girls’ Comics
Reviewed by Will Morgan 26-Jan-13
Despite copious nostalgia-tweaking illustrations, the vague and sloppy research disappoints.
Speaking as an enthusiast about comics – which you all already knew – and in my other identity as a retailer of British comics, I have been waiting a long time for a definitive book on the much-neglected field of girls’ comics, which I have discovered over the last decade to be a treasure-trove of both inspired silliness and unheralded high-quality work.
Sadly, I’m still waiting. When I heard about this book, I really looked forward to it. Having finished it, I confess myself disappointed.
On the plus side, it’s an attractive-looking tome, copiously illustrated, with lots of full-colour and black & white illustrations to set the nostalgia glands a’tingling.
But once you get into the text, there’s sadly much less to this than meets the eye.
The overviews are skimpy, frequently missing out major parts of the series’ appeal or historical importance. No mention of The Avengers in Diana? Talking about Mandy without mentioning either of its long-running mainstays Valda or Angel? Lady Penelope barely mentioned in passing, without an entry of her own? It’s not a history, except in the most general narrative sense. It’s not a scholarly book at all, but a collection of sloppily researched, often exasperatingly formless reminiscences, which makes its being touted as a ‘history’ doubly galling.
Plus, given that there’s so little information or publicly-available research on this subject, a disturbingly large proportion of the 240 pages is devoted to modern, non-comic, girls’ magazines, and to partworks, which by no definition are comics, and should be in another book entirely.
Fully one-third of the text is given over to such completely irrelevant material, and a further fifth is repetitive, with the segment on characters often reiterating, with only minor rephrasing, portions of the earlier segment on series.
There are some informative snippets and useful insights, but overall, I was very let down.
So, the definitive history of girls’ comics – or any history of girls’ comics worthy of the name – remains to be written.
Looks like I’m going to have to do it myself…Tags: British Comics, girls comics