Stories in this issue:
- Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
- Alley Cat
- Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
- Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
- Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gasoine) – first episode
- Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
- Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist ‘Merry’)
- Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)
This is an exciting issue! In “Almost Human“, alien Xenia gets hit by lightning and discovers that far from harming her, it enables her to touch earth creatures without killing them – or at least she thinks it hasn’t harmed her… In “Village of Fame“, we start to see how much further Mr Grand and hypnotist Marvo are prepared to go for a televisual spectacle – when the villains stoop to mind-control things are only going to escalate! Detective story “Mike and Terry” is more down to earth, with a redeeming touch of silliness to compensate for it just being a bit more ordinary than the other stories.
Cover story “Waves of Of Fear” has some similarities to “Tears of a Clown” in being a fairly realistic story about an ‘issue’, drawn by Phil Gascoine. Clare Harvey feels like she is becoming a coward, and is shunned by her schoolmates accordingly when she runs away from the dangerous situation a friend gets into, leaving the friend to drown. However, as the story unfolds it turns out that Clare has developed claustrophobia – simply, she has an illness and it is framed as such. When you consider that even now our society is not good at recognizing mental illness as an illness, it was pretty advanced for the time.
“Combing Her Golden Hair” has Tamsin’s gran being stern as ever, but Tamsin (bolstered by the whisperings of the silver comb) is preparing to defy her and go swimming. The story has an out-there premise, but it is handled deftly and actually feels rather tense and sad. Likewise, the last story in the issue, “Pandora’s Box”, is normally not sad but as Pandora becomes less selfish and more soft-hearted the mood changes.
I said that “Miss Make-Believe” was drawn by the unknown ‘Merry’ artist, didn’t I? Look at the page below and see for yourself – the bottom left panel, in particular, has got hairstyles and hands that are very typical of this artist.