Tammy & June 22 June 1974

Tammy & June 1974 Cover artist – John Richardson

  • Bella at the Bar (artist John Armstrong, writer Jenny McDade) – first episode
  • Secret of the Supermarket – The Strangest Stories Ever Told (artist Douglas Perry) – first appearance in Tammy
  • Sadie in the Sticks (artist Juliana Buch) – first episode
  • Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • It’s Great Here! – Competition
  • Bessie Bunter – first appearance
  • Summer Madness! Competition
  • Swimmer Slave of Mrs Squall (artist Douglas Perry, writer Gerry Finley-Day?) – first episode
  • Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray, writer Terence Magee)
  • No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – new story
  • Eva’s Evil Eye (artists Charles Morgan and John Richardson, writer John Wagner) – first episode

As we have a June theme running at present, I thought I may as well discuss the issue where June merges with Tammy. The title hails it as “a great get together” and I certainly agree. In this merger, everything starts either new or anew. This makes a nice change from the usual annoyance of mergers starting with stories from both comics that are still unfinished, so new readers are irritated to start reading stories half-way through.

What comes over from June – Bessie Bunter and the Storyteller – will last for many years in Tammy. In fact, Bessie and the Storyteller are going through their second merger; they originally came from School Friend, which merged with June. Many of the Strange Stories that appear in Tammy would later make their way into Jinty with Gypsy Rose replacing the Storyteller. Some of them even turned up in June annuals during the 1980s – talk about reciprocation. Their appearance in Tammy also gave her more regulars in addition to Molly Mills and Wee Sue.

Molly Mills starts off with a great story that hooks you in immediately (well, it did me). Molly takes pity on Ada Fellows, a girl who seems to be bullied by her ex-employer and brings her to Stanton Hall for a job. Pickering the resident bully butler thinks Ada should be got rid of. And for once he has the right idea. Molly soon discovers Ada is big trouble – especially for her.

Sadly, Lucky’s Living Doll proved less durable. Although she had lasted for years in June, she did not make it to the merger. Maybe the editor decided her time was done or there was no room for her because Tammy was to retain Wee Sue and Uncle Meanie from the Sandie merger? If so, Wee Sue proved the most durable and would go through the most diverse range of artists before ending in 1982.

It would be nice to know which of the new serials were originally meant for June or Tammy; they could have appeared in either of them.

In “Eva’s Evil Eye”, Eva Lee pretends to have the evil eye to stop girls from bullying her because she is a gypsy. But what will the consequences be – especially if someone sees through Eva? “Sadie in the Sticks” belongs in the time-honoured tradition of an amnesiac girl being exploited by unscrupulous people who take advantage of her loss of memory. Sadie Wade’s only joy as she slaves in the Scraggs’ household and chippie is a talent for making matchstick models. Pretty odd considering she has a fear of fire. The start of the mystery that has to be unravelled if Sadie is to regain her memory and be free of the Scraggs. In “Swimmer Slave of Mrs Squall”, Sue Briggs is a difficult pupil at school who seems no good at anything or even try. Then, when she trespasses at the reclusive Mrs Squall’s house, her talent for swimming is discovered and Mrs Squall offers to train her as a champion. But the title warns us that her motives and methods are not all that noble.

And the best for last. The Tammy & June merger issue is a milestone in Tammy history for another reason – it marks the debut of Bella Barlow. She starts off as a serial here, “Bella at the Bar”. Like Sadie, Bella is a Cinderella story (minus the mystery). Her aunt and uncle make her do all the work, both at home and at their window-cleaning business. The only thing that makes her life worth living is gymnastics. Her talent is spotted, but her mean uncle won’t agree to training unless there’s money in it. Bella is determined to find a way, but of course there will be even more obstacles. However, this would not be just another Cinderella story. Popular demand would bring Bella back again and again until she held a joint record with Molly Mills for Tammy’s longest-running character – ten years. It is appropriate that Bella is the first serial we see as soon as we open the issue. Bella is also indicative of how topical gymnastics had become at the time with Olympic champions like Olga Korbut. Up until then there had been only one gymnastics story in Tammy – the 1972 story “Amanda Must Not Be Expelled”. But the popularity of Bella – not to mention the fluid, anatomical artwork of John Armstrong – would make gymnastics a regular feature in Tammy.

That’s it for my June contributions to this blog. My next entry will be back on topic with Jinty.

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8 thoughts on “Tammy & June 22 June 1974

  1. I think it was a wise decision they made, to start this merger with only new serials. Perhaps the editor thought they owed it to the loyal readers of June, a comic which had been around since 1961. When Tammy merged with short lived Sally, Sandie and Misty, these comics didn’t bring any unfinished serials with them, but the readers of those comics must not have been very pleased when they got their first issue of Tammy and…, with the nth instalment of so many Tammy serials.
    I think Princess brought the most unfinished serials with her, when she merged with Tammy in 1984: three.
    My theory is, that all Tammy’s serials were supposed to end before the merger with Girl. Like all comics, they have to work weeks in advance. So even though Tammy didn’t come back after the strike in 1984, something of Tammy should have been visable in Girl, more than just the logo on the cover, if they hadn’t decided to end all serials in the final issues of Tammy.

    1. Jinty brought one unfinished story to Tammy, two from Lindy to Jinty and one from Penny to Jinty.

    2. Yes, considering that Girl was a photo comic and had limited space for picture stories, I agree that Tammy would have cleared out her serials as much as possible by the time of the merger if it had gone ahead. She would probably have done this by doubling up episodes and rushing the endings (as they did with Jinty’s “Worlds Apart”). The strongest contenders to head into the merger were Pam, Bella and Button Box, probably with Sadie-in-Waiting as the regular cartoon. How long they would have lasted is anyone’s guess as Girl was predominantly a photo comic. Perhaps just Sadie would have continued, as a regular cartoon.

      We can’t find any evidence that anything from Tammy other than the logo made it to Girl. We even made enquiries on the ComicsUK forum with someone who had a Girl collection. It’s a shame, because somebody’s comment raised hopes that the last episode of Cora Can’t Lose made it to Girl after all and we would finally learn how it ended.

      1. Several weeks ago there was a huge collection of Girl on Ebay. I made an early bid, but unfortunately I was not at home when the auction ended, so I was outbid towards the end of the auction. Otherwise we might have known more by now.
        I recent years several books and specials have been published with content from girls’ comics (June, Misty, Jackie). It would be nice if someone would decide to publish one with the complete run of the serials from Tammy that were not finished in what turned out to be the final issue. Question is: do these stories still exist? If they do, I suppose Egmont owns them. It would be interesting to find out. If these stories still exist, it could become one of these crowdfunding projects, to publish a final Tammy “annual” with the unfinished stories.

      2. Yes, I’ve had that happen to me recently – outbid at the last minute because I was elsewhere. So I missed out on filling some gaps in my Jinty collection.

        In the John Armstrong interview (Misty Halloween Special 2), there was an Editorial note to say the unpublished artwork at the time of Tammy’s disappearance is unlikely to still exist because Egmont has destroyed much of the art if it has not been returned to creators. John Armstrong says that in his case it just disappeared. It is a shame because I would love to see “Cora Can’t Lose” reprinted in its entirety in a reprint volume so we can finally see how it ended.

  2. More information is available about Tammy writers than Jinty writers (especially during the time where Tammy ran credits!). Terry Magee, Pat Mills and Alison Christie wrote for both Tammy and Jinty. It would be nice to know if Maureen Spurgeon, John Wagner, Gerry Finley-Day and Jenny McDade did too. Maureen Spurgeon later wrote Nanny Young. I have wondered if that story was originally intended for Jinty – or is that because it was drawn by Phil Gascoine?

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