When I was a kid, I read comics. All sorts of comics. Anything I could lay my hands on. The Stan and Jack Fantastic Four reprinted by Marvel UK, kids comedy comics like The Beano, Buster or Whizzer And Chips, action adventure comics like Tiger and Commando, and girls comics like Mandy, Jackie or Bunty. I wasn’t that discerning, I just loved the form.
And a common strip in the latter of those was the female teenage sports story. Involving the likes of hockey, netball or another sport associated in schools with girls. There would be tournaments, there would be romance, there would be thriller intrigue, espionage, murder, a boy called Brad. But in it all some kind of recognition for sporting prowess.
Then those comics went away (although IPC are doing their best right now to revive them digitally).
But it was Mara, issue one out today, by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire and I was right back in the zone. And by giving it a sci-fi future with new tech, new possibilities and a new social structure to reinvent the girls’ sports comic, they’ve also manages to merge Bunty with another favourite, 2000AD. Before that comic, the likes of Pat Mills, John Wagner and Alan Grant wrote girls comics. They’d have probably loved this meeting of the two. Even the use of typed lettering at certain spots through the comic is reminiscent of these sorts of strips.
But this is a strip that extends current media obsessions, corporate sponsorship and the modern sprots drive to perform whatever the circumstances to the limit. I’ll be back for issue two. But I’d also pick up a new copy of Jinty if there was one going…
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.