Julia Round (MA, PhD) is a Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, UK. She is one of the editors of the academic journal Studies in Comics (Intellect Books) and of Encapsulations: Critical Comics Studies (University of Nebraska Press): a new series of short monographs. Julia also co-organises the annual International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference, now in its tenth year (Manchester Metropolitan University, 24-28 June 2019).

 

Julia's research looks at Gothic, comics, and children's literature, and she has published widely in these areas and spoken at numerous international conferences. In 2015 she received the Inge Award for Comics Scholarship for her work on The Walking Dead. Her books include the monographs Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics (University Press of Mississippi, 2019), Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels: A Critical Approach (McFarland, 2014), and the co-edited collection Real Lives Celebrity Stories (Bloomsbury, 2014).

 

Over the past few years Julia has been experimenting with practice-based research. She published her first short comic, 'Doll Parts' (with art by Catriona Laird), in the anthology Wilma: Whatever Happened to Girls' Comics? (Inkpot, 2017), and a second story, 'The Haunting of Julia Round' (with art by Letty Wilson), in the anthology Retro (Inkpot, 2018). A third story, 'Borrowed Time' (with art by Morgan Brinksman) will appear in the 2000AD fanzine Sector 13 in late 2019. 

 

 Julia's current work explores Gothic in children's comics, and includes the open access article 'Misty, Spellbound and the Lost Gothic of British Girls' Comics' (Palgrave Communications 3, 2017). Her new book, Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics (University Press of Mississippi, 2019) has just been published (FREE EXTRACT BELOW!).  She has also been Co-Investigator on two AHRC-funded projects exploring how digital technologies are transforming young people's reading.

GOTHIC FOR GIRLS: MISTY AND BRITISH COMICS

Today fans still remember and love the British girls' comic Misty for its bold visuals and narrative complexities. Yet its unique history has drawn little critical attention. Bridging this scholarly gap, Julia Round presents a comprehensive cultural history and detailed discussion of the comic, preserving both the inception and development of this important publication as well as its stories. 

 

Misty ran for 101 issues as a stand-alone publication between 1978 and 1980 and then four more years as part of Tammy. It was a hugely successful anthology comic containing one-shot and serialized stories of supernatural horror and fantasy aimed at girls and young women and featuring work by writers and artists who dominated British comics such as Pat Mills, Malcolm Shaw, and John Armstrong, as well as celebrated European artists. To this day, Misty remains notable for its daring and sophisticated stories, strong female characters, innovative page layouts, and big visuals. 

 

In the first book on this topic, Round closely analyzes Misty's content, including its creation and production, its cultural and historical context, key influences, and the comic itself. Largely based on Round's own archival research, the study also draws on interviews with many of the key creators involved in this comic, including Pat Mills, Wilf Prigmore, and its art editorial team Jack Cunningham and Ted Andrews, who have never previously spoken about their work. Richly illustrated with previously unpublished photos, scripts, and letters, this book uses Misty as a lens to explore the use of Gothic themes and symbols in girls' comics and other media. It surveys existing work on childhood and Gothic and offers a working definition of Gothic for Girls, a subgenre which challenges and instructs readers in a number of ways.

 

GOTHIC IN COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels explores the connections between comics and Gothic from four different angles: historical, formal, cultural and textual. It identifies structures, styles and themes drawn from literary gothic traditions and discusses their presence in British and American comics today, with particular attention to the DC Vertigo imprint.

Part One offers an historical approach to British and American comics and Gothic, summarizing the development of both their creative content and critical models, and discussing censorship, allusion and self-awareness. Part Two brings together some of the gothic narrative strategies of comics and reinterprets critical approaches to the comics medium, arguing for an holistic model based around the symbols of the crypt, the spectre and the archive. Part Three then combines cultural and textual analysis, discussing the communities that have built up around comics and gothic artifacts and concluding with case studies of two of the most famous gothic archetypes in comics: the vampire and the zombie.

 

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© 2014 by JULIA ROUND.

IMAGE © THOM FERRIER. USED WITH KIND PERMISSION.

Gothic for Girls - cover mock

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