A dark-haired woman in low cut dress stands with crows around her neck on Misty 2024 cover
(Rebellion Publishing)

Gail Simone Is Doing Her Best To ‘Make It Kill Again’ by Resurrecting a Classic Horror Host

Is 2024 the year of Gail Simone? Even considering the GLAAD and Eisner Award-winning comic book writer’s illustrious career, 2024 already has Simone shattering more industry-related glass ceilings.

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In March, Marvel Comics revealed that she’s set to take over as the new Uncanny X-Men scribe in August, making her the first female solo writer of the X-Men’s flagship title “in its 61-year history.” Shortly after that news, Simone announced that she’s helming Rebellion Publishing’s resurrection of horror host Misty in an all-new one-off 48-page anthology, Misty 2024, arriving on July 17.

According to Rebellion’s official press release, “First published in 1978, Misty was the brainchild of legendary writer and editor Pat Mills. It offered thrills and chills for a generation of young women in the UK and featured stories from creators including Shirley Bellwood, Jesus Redondo, Jordi Badía Romero, and Mills himself. Running for over 100 issues in total, each issue was hosted by Misty herself, who acted as a guiding voice for her young readers – and in this new anthology, we’ll be telling stories featuring Misty herself for the first time!”

With artwork by Carola Borelli, Aly Fell, and Marianna Ignazzi, the Misty 2024 anthology includes three brand-new stories by Simone: “Eleven Lonely Deaths,” in which a true-crime podcaster visits a decades-old crime scene and stumbles on a woman who knows more than humanly possible about the 11 strangulations he’s investigating; “The Pub at the End of the Road,” in which the overworked daughter of an unscrupulous pub landlord must use those extraordinary gifts; and “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker,” about “a small English town where nothing’s been quite the same since the murders of 11 women some years ago.”

Wrapped in Eisner-winner Tula Lotay’s fantastically seductive Misty portrait, reminiscent of Bellwood’s atmospheric original cover artwork, Misty 2024 also includes a fourth and final tale, too terrifying to divulge to the press, “The Cracked Glass,” written and drawn by Owl People’s Letty Wilson.

Before Misty 2024 arrives at your local comic shop on July 17, The Mary Sue caught up with Simone to discuss what readers can expect from Misty’s long-awaited return, the horror classics that inspired the hostess’s resurrection, and more! Read on.

Rebecca Kaplan (TMS): What first made you love horror? What was the first horror story you can remember falling in love with?

Gail Simone: I was a boonies kid, lived on a very remote farm, access to good scary stuff was mostly limited to books. I think Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery blew my tiny mind first, but then it was just a short walk to Stephen King town and I became obsessed. 

I had a cousin who loved scary stuff, too. We’d go over to her house and watch the late night scary movies on the weekend. I remember we were NOT PREPARED for Night of the Living Dead and Halloween!

TMS: Misty has a long history, first publishing in the 1970s and running for over a hundred issues. What interested you in the idea of resurrecting it in 2024?

Simone: This has been one of the great pleasures of my career. Being American, I didn’t really know the full extent of comics that were really popular with a female audience in the U.K. There were a bunch of weekly comics, and of them all, Misty seemed to appeal not just to women and girls, but guys dug it, too.

It was a horror anthology book, with a lot of gothic undertones, but modern in fashion and tone, with the additional twist that a lot of the horror elements were paranormal rather than “spooky.”

Way ahead of its time, but I love it as a time capsule … great spooky stories with that incredible sense of ’70s U.K. mod fashion, I’m in. 

Bringing back a legendary comic and character is just a thrill, couldn’t love it more. 

TMS: Misty herself is an enigmatic figure. Despite being the “host” for over a hundred issues of the original run of stories, she’s never really been a featured part of the stories before. What made you decide to bring her in as an accomplice this time round?

Simone: Well, if you read the originals, it’s true that Misty is mostly a horror host with not much backstory, but I couldn’t help but feel there was something there. So, as you read more stories, you get more of the picture, and it feels very classic Stephen King to me … secrets on top of secrets and a lot of beautiful women with strange and terrifying skills!

TMS: What can you tell us about your three stories inside this new horror anthology? 

Simone: They take place at different times in Misty’s unusual life, but they all tend to focus on murder and revenge so far. The grubby and the glamorous. A dead holiday camp, the grubbiest pub in the world, and a hospital where the patients keep dying unexpectedly. 

It’s like a Twilight Zone but with great hairstyles.

TMS: You’re being joined by artists Carola Borelli, Aly Fell, and Marianna Ignazzi for your stories, alongside writer/artist Letty Wilson, who is working on the fourth tale in this collection. What did they each bring to their particular tale, and how have you enjoyed working with them?

Simone: This has been the best part. These artists are INCREDIBLE. Carola has an almost animated style that contrasts perfectly with the horror in that story. Aly is simply one of the finest artists I’ve ever worked with, ever. People are going to be shouting his name from the rooftops. And Marianna has a gorgeous style that I just can’t get enough of.

Rebellion went ALL out for this. 

TMS: Misty was well-known as a horror comic made for young women, but read just as much by their brothers. What do you think is the key to telling a strong horror story?

Simone: For me it’s the same for almost any genre; horror, comedy, action, suspense, even erotica. The answer is surprise. Knowing what’s coming, being comfortable in a genre, that has its place. But the stuff that shakes your core, that makes you howl laughing, that makes you jump out of your seat, that’s always the stuff you did not see coming.

I love it.

It’s not surprising to me that girls AND guys liked it; the book had all these beautiful protagonists and handsome men and then just the most GHASTLY bad guys. It’s a chills-down-the-spine comic that doesn’t rely on endless, dull gore to tell a story.

I love that this book existed and that people miss it so much. We’re doing our best to make it KILL AGAIN.

And seriously, can you honestly not say that sitting down with your favorite beverage, alone in your bedroom with just your reading lamp on, and reading some good spooky gothic tales sounds wildly appealing?

I hope people like it. It’s a genre that we miss, I think!

Misty 2024 Page 1
(Rebellion Publishing)
Misty 2024 Page 2
(Rebellion Publishing)
Misty 2024 Page 3
(Rebellion Publishing)
Misty 2024 Page 4
(Rebellion Publishing)

The all-new one-off anthology Misty 2024 (48-pages) arrives at your local comic shop on July 17, 2024.”Lock the doors twice, make sure you’ve drawn the curtains, and BY ALL THAT’S HOLY, don’t forget to pick up a copy!” Rebellion Publishing

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Image of Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan (she/he) is a comics critic and entertainment writer, who's dipping her toes into new types of reporting at The Mary Sue and is stoked. In 2023, he was part of the PanelxPanel comics criticism team honored with an Eisner Award. You can find some more of his writing at Prism Comics, StarTrek.com, Comics Beat, Geek Girl Authority, and in Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority, which she co-authored with her wife, Avery Kaplan. Rebecca and her wife live in the California mountains with a herd of cats.