She left Haverstock Comprehensive at 16 for a publishing career, starting as Marvel Comics UK’s office junior.
She spent eight years under the guidance of Marvel’s Financial Controller turned Managing Director, Robert Sutherland, rising from accounts clerk to MD’s secretary to Syndication Manager. Sutherland was to play a pivotal role, becoming a lifelong friend and mentor until his death in 2018.
Tate decided to switch direction to editorial/design, also training as paste-up artist and letterer. For two years she was taught how to put comics and annuals together by hand, on titles which included The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Spider-Man and Care Bears.
Tate is perhaps best known to some as Sonic The Comic’s longest serving editor, guiding the title for five years (two as assistant), and she later launched the official CiTV comic for the ITV network.
A champion of both green and gender issues, Tate persuaded publishers Egmont (formerly Fleetway Publications) to print STC on eco material. In 1997 it became the first comic in the UK to be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper.
After questioning copyright holders Sega over what she saw as their bland female hedgehog character, Amy, Tate radically transformed her from a shrinking violet in a minor role to a savvy heroine with her own on-going series (scripted by Beano and Viz veteran, Lew Stringer).
Twenty-five years since its 1993 launch, the much-loved STC had such an impact that a loyal fanbase still exists, with many former readers inspired to create their own unofficial online version. STC lead artist, Richard Elson, dedicated his 2000AD Graphic Novel Kingdom to Tate in 2017.
Tate has represented Malaysian artist Tan Eng Haut, as well as Mick (Judge Dredd/Slaine) McMahon, whom she regularly commissioned on STC, and later represented on his return to 2000AD.
She has edited, consulted, art directed, PA’d, researched, lettered and scripted for companies including BBC Worldwide (Bob the Builder, Disney’s Explorer, Noddy, Fimbles, Toybox), Marvel Comics US (Epic), Redan Publishing, Random House/Jonathan Cape and the Creamfields Music Festival.
She also created and wrote a comedy script for Tundra’s Glory-Glory football comic (art by the late, legendary Steve Dillon), about an obsessive Scottish football supporter and his long-suffering wife.
Tate is featured in a BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour documentary about females in the UK comics industry, along with musician and former comics reader, Joan Armatrading.
Profile image on this page by Harry Papadopoulos