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Gail Simone, Aly Fell, and Letty Wilson talk 'Misty' horror comic anthology
Rebellion

Comic Books

Gail Simone, Aly Fell, and Letty Wilson talk ‘Misty’ horror comic anthology

The ‘Misty’ anthology drops on July 17.

Misty, the “classic horror series for young women,” returns on July 17 for new spooky tales, including contributions from megastar writer Gail Simone. The all-new 48-page anthology special, which apparently features Misty in stories for the very first time, aims to scare up the spooky season extra early. And Simone is joined by a murders’ row of writers and artists, including Carola Borelli, Aly Fell, and Marianna Ignazzi, alongside a fourth story written and drawn by rising star Letty Wilson.

If you weren’t aware, Misty is the creation of legendary writer and editor Pat Mills. The original series ran for over 100 issues, with Misty hosting each issue and acting as a guiding voice for her young readers. And Misty is the genuine artifact as his character even predates some of the most iconic horror hosts in entertainment.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Ahead of Misty‘s release, I spoke to Simone, Wilson, and Fell about the character, the story, her larger relevance, and much more. Plus, read a few pages yourself and enjoy the Tula Lotay-penned cover while you’re at it!

'Misty' horror comic anthology

Courtesy of Rebellion.

AIPT: David Brooke here from AIPT, thank you for taking the time! To start, Gail, what went into prepping to write Misty, were you a fan of the original stories starting in 1978?

Gail Simone: Thank you, David, and I appreciate what AIPT does. I’m a fan!

I’m afraid Misty didn’t really make its way to my little corner of the Oregon wilderness. As a kid, I was absolutely fascinated any time I stumbled across a comic created anywhere outside the U.S. It was like buried treasure and I really cherished them.

But I didn’t see Misty until much later, long after I’d fallen for Judge Dredd and Slaine and Charley’s War and all that great stuff. Those Brit writers are my heroes to this day, Pat Mills, can’t beat him.

But when I found out that there had been successful weekly comics like Misty, I was hooked, I just devoured as many of them as I could. So it’s a bit of a dream come true, working on a revival of something so precious.

AIPT: Why do you think bringing back Misty now, in 2024, is the right time?

GS: Well, for one thing, whenever I go to a library or bookstore, I hear over and over again that women and girls make up just a huge, huge portion of the readership. There are entire genres of fiction that just aren’t represented much in comics, in the states. Other countries, yes, not so much here.

The beautiful thing about Misty is, it was a book at least partially aimed at a female audience, but the brothers and boyfriends and husbands loved it, too. Beautiful women in spooky stories, that’s something everyone can enjoy.

It’s a joy to be part of, one of the happiest things I’ve done in comics.

Letty Wilson: I think there’s been an appetite for Misty for a long time — you can see it in the response so far to the news of the book, and it’s been so great to see so many people excited for it! but I also think we’re seeing a fantastic flowering of horror comic in recent years, with nuanced and diverse uses of the medium to do amazing and terrifying things – look at recent work by Emily Carroll, Erika Price and Azam Raharjo for just a tiny snapshot of the sheer variety of ways that comics can be spooky.

Bringing Misty back now seems a great opportunity to mix that classic British horror comic style with new influences and stories.

Aly Fell: There’s a spookiness in the air, a soft chill that forces you to look over your shoulder… Misty did something original, a female centric weekly that generally avoided many of the stereotypes of girls comics of the era. When they were there, then were often twisted in some way. Today is right for Misty because the stereotypes are still being challenged, as they should be, and conventionality doesn’t cut it the same way it used to. Horror, like science fiction can be a great vehicle to slip alternative ideas under the radar.

'Misty' horror comic anthology

Courtesy of Rebellion.

AIPT: I understand you’re writing three stories Gail, could you give us a sense of the flavor of each?

GS: Oh, yeah. One of the fun things is, Misty didn’t have much of a continuity originally, that was part of the mystery of it all. We’ve added elements that reveal hints, and that was probably the funnest part. The more of the stories you read, the more you can piece together who Misty really is.

The second most fun thing is, our stories can take place anywhere, at any time.

We have a modern sort of urban legend story with gorgeous, stylish art by Carola Borelli, called “Eleven Lonely Deaths.”

A grim tale about a grimy little dump called “The Pub At The End Of The Road,” with, I swear, some of the most beautiful comics art ever by Aly Fell.

And finally, a story about a lonely, morbid hospital with a secret, “Happy Birthday, Mrs Parker,” with fantastic art by Marianna Ignazzi.

And, of course, there’s an additional tale by the brilliant Letty Wilson. I am so proud to be in this book!

AIPT: Aly, as mentioned you’re writing a story written by Gail – could you tell us a little about what we can expect?

AF: No spoilers! Well, it’s set in the early seventies, a few years before the original Misty started, so hopefully captures that Amicus/Hammer/Tigon feel. Our heroine, Willow, is a put-upon, timid character, controlled by her horrible father who manipulates and denigrates her. But she has a skill, one she’s just discovering…

'Misty' horror comic anthology

Courtesy of Rebellion.

AIPT: Is there something that struck you particularly as far as Gail’s approach and your execution of the story?

AF: After I started drawing I realised that Willow had some parallels with Cinderella. Whether this was Gail’s intent or not, I bore it in mind as I drew it, even if I didn’t exploit it as a theme.

I’ll be honest, Gail was a delight to draw for! Interpreting her storytelling was totally open, but also very specific – if that makes sense. It was like each panel was a room full of furniture but I could position it wherever I wished.

AIPT: Aly, when creating the story, were you trying to evoke something specific?

AF: I wanted to do Gail’s wonderful story justice, but was also after a seventies vibe without copying comic styles of the era. My art has a bit of a retro feel, so I suppose that wasn’t too hard. However, I frequently find that stories that try to evoke a period go for the obvious, because that’s what art and fashion present. In my view most people looked pretty ordinary and weren’t dressed in Biba or Mary Quant!

Also, cars! When I was a kid the first car I remember my dad having was an old Ford Anglia so I put a van version in the story – people drove older cars, not the latest model.

AIPT: Letty, you’re writing and drawing your story. Could you tell us a little about what we can expect?

LW: I was really influenced by a lot of the more personal and unsettling stories in classic Misty, so you can expect something that speaks to the kind of worries that keep you awake at night when you’re a kid – what if the thing you see in the mirror isn’t you? What if while you aren’t looking, your neighbours just vanish? What if you vanished, and nobody noticed?

'Misty' horror comic anthology

 Courtesy of Rebellion.

AIPT: Letty, something I’ve noticed with your storytelling is the use of environments, particularly outdoor scenes. Is that something that’s important to you when crafting a tale?

LW: Here is a secret: I don’t really like drawing interior backgrounds! I love trees and nature though, so even in a story like this, which does rely on a spooky house as much of the setting, I try and give myself a rest of some trees and nature to draw. That said, I think in horror especially, setting and environment play a huge part, and trying to get across the feeling of a place is a big part of what brings a story to life.

I’m fascinated by empty places, where all you have to figure out what happened is the things left behind by people no longer present, and that was a big part of how I put this story together.

AIPT: If your story was a song, what would it be and why?

LW: “When I Grow Up” by Fever Ray.

AIPT: Since Misty was a guiding voice for her young readers, how would she fair in a fight with Elvira, Crypt Keeper, or the Creepshow Creep?

GS: Elvira, they’d be besties. They’d go to the movies and make fun. Crypt Keeper, they’d talk about favorite mausoleums.

But she’d probably kick the Creepshow guy’s ass, just on principle.

AF: I think they’d all come to a mutual understanding, followed by Misty and Elvira taking each other’s hands and dancing off into the night to live in a commune in South Wales!

LW: I think Misty and Elvira would team up and be completely unstoppable. I think they’d be pals, and we’d all be doomed.

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