In recent years Rebellion has done a fantastic job of celebrating the rich history of the UK’s comic past with its Treasury of British Comics line. We’ve seen Misty, Adam Eterno and The Trigon Empire back in print but Tammy and Jinty Remixed is different. Instead of reprinting favourite strips from the past, this is all-new material from a stellar collection of today’s finest creators. It’s a great idea but does it work?
Tammy and Jinty were originally two separate titles predominantly aimed at girls. As the book’s editorial tells us “Tammy and Jinty were two comics that were published in the 1970s and 1980s back when your mothers and grandmothers were young”, something that made me feel very old as I read it. It’s probably fair to say that I’m not the target audience that Rebellion is aiming for but there’s such a variety of different stories here that there’s something for most tastes. We get aliens, football, ballet dancers and talking cats amongst others. Old favourites like Bella at the Bar and The Cat Girl return and Roy of the Rovers sister, Rocky, makes a surprise appearance too.
There’s a great selection of writers involved in this project including small press/indie favourites like Rachael Smith (Wired Up Wrong/Quarantine Comix), Kate AShwin (Widdershins), Rachael Ball (Wolf, The Inflatable Woman), Rob Williams (Low Life, Dredd) and Andy Clift (Captain Cosmic). There’s plenty of new characters to appeal to a new generation of readers and an interesting mix of longer, more developed strips as well as shorter ones that seemed designed to introduce these new characters.
The art from the likes of Sarah Millman (NPC Tea), Yishan Yi (Frenemies) and PJ Holden (Rogue Trooper, John Woo) fits the mood of the stories perfectly and the mix of styles (scratchy black and white with the occasional burst of red for The Enigma Variations, manga-esque for Duckface, even Jack Kirby in Clift’s Affirmative Action) keeps this collection fresh. If you’re a regular reader of 2000AD or The ’77 or if you enjoyed this year’s Comic Scene Annual then there’s lots here for you to enjoy.
If there is a criticism it’s that sometimes Remixed isn’t quite sure who its reader is. Although I really think that the majority of the stories would resonate with contemporary audiences, especially female ones who might have read, for example, Raina Telgemeier’s Guts and Smile, would they be interested in reading the classic black and white strips from the original Tammy and Jinty that are also reprinted here (an episode of Bella at the Bar, the story Sally was a Cat and two episodes of The Cat Girl)? Even the name “remixed” sounds like it’s trying a bit too hard to appeal to a younger audience.
Minor gripes aside, Rebellion should be applauded for trying resuscitate a genre of comics long thought to be in a critical, if not terminal, condition with both Tammy and Jinty Remixed and the regular original Misty specials that they’ve been publishing for the past three years now. Rocky of the Rovers sums it up perfectly when she says at the end of her strip “Get in girls, let’s have another!” It would be a real shame if we didn’t.