On this day, 1 September 1979: Misty
On this day, 1 September 1979 … There are few tropes as predictable as the obsessive collector with a sinister secret. I’m struggling to think of a collector in any sort of popular fiction who isn’t more than he or she (usually he, to be honest) seems at first, and whose intent is not in some way nefarious. As a collector myself – from as early as I can remember, I have loved setting myself the challenge to complete the set of whatever comic, range of toys or album of stickers I was into the time, although I rarely had enough pocket money to do so – it’s rather disheartening.
When I see the glint in Old Collie’s eye on the front of this Misty, all I can imagine is that he reckons the girl – Shirley – has got a rare copy of the Misty Holiday Special, or the final, undistributed issue of pre-ban Action hidden behind her back. Upon reading the deliciously creepy Old Collie’s Collection inside, it becomes clear that he actually has Shirley trapped inside one of the Victorian snow globes that she tried to half-inch from him. Serves her right, obviously! Woe betide anyone who tries to nick one of my copies of Jet featuring Paddy McGinty’s Goat.
Befitting its terrifying cover, this is a strong issue of Misty featuring another creepy standalone story, Hands Of Nefri, which has a not dissimilar structure. Jodie Martin steals from her dying grandfather the gold-encrusted hands of Nefri, queen of Ancient Egypt, whose mummified remains then demand a macabre exchange. A hideous screaming doll is the mysterious Present from Singapore, but it turns out to have greater value than its recipient June could have ever imagined. In the ongoing serials, The Ghost of Golightly Towers reveals the secrets of the past; black stallion Satan and his rider Sandy Morton, who sold her soul to the devil to save her father’s health, are hounded across the moors in Winner Loses All!; and Lucy Bayley must drink from The Loving Cup in order to become the reincarnation of Lucrezia Borgia.
Every single issue of Misty is a pleasure to read – a wonderful blast of 70s gothic horror, written and drawn by some of the most stylish creators of their day – and if you fancy a go at the comic-collecting game, it’s an excellent one to try to track down. There are 101 issues in total, not including those elusive holiday specials and annuals, and they can sometimes go for high prices on eBay, depending on the condition of each copy. I expect there will be a surge of interest when Rebellion launch their collected edition next week (a review of which will appear on this blog soon), which could increase competition for back issues but may also lead to more people searching their attics for original copies to sell.