Following the interview of John Wagner which ran on this blog a few days ago, I thought I would dig out my few issues of Sandie (only four, acquired somewhat at random). Because I have so few issues, and none of them are significant ones such as the first or last ones published, it didn’t seem worth reviewing them individually. Here therefore is something of an overview of this short-lived title – limited in scope by having so few originals to draw on directly, but I have tried to also bring together other relevant comments on this site and elsewhere, to give a wider context.
Let’s start with the contents of the four issues I do have:
Sandie 17 March 1973: Angela Angel-Face (artist Rodrigo Comos), Connie Courageous (unknown artist ‘Merry’), The Captives of Terror Island (artist Juan Escandell Torres, writer Terence Magee), Supergirl Sally (artist A. E. Allen), Isla and the Ice Maiden, Anna and the Circus, Brenda’s Brownies (artist and writer Mike Brown), Dawn at Dead-End Street (artist Bill Baker), Pop portrait: Paul Newman, Lindy and the last Lilliputians, The Nine Lives of Nat the Cat (artist José Casanovas), Quiz Kid Queenie (artist Luis Bermejo)
Sandie 28 July 1973: Slaves of the Eye (artist Joan Boix), Cinderella Superstar (artist ?Joan Boix), Wyn and the Witch (artist A. E. Allen), Connie Courageous (unknown artist ‘Merry’) – last episode, Sink or Swim, Sara! (artist Eduardo Feito), The Captives of Terror Island (artist Juan Escandell Torres, writer Terence Magee) – last episode, Dancing to Danger (artist Tom Kerr), Bridie at the Fair (artist Leslie Otway), All Against Alice, Sisters in Sorrow (artist Roy Newby)
Sandie 11 August 1973: The House of Toys (artist Douglas Perry), Noelle’s Ark (unknown artist ‘Merry’) – first episode, Wyn and the Witch (artist A. E. Allen), The Golden Shark (artist Santiago Hernandez), Cherry in Chains (artist Joan Boix), Slaves of the Eye (artist Joan Boix), Dancing to Danger, Bridie at the Fair (artist Leslie Otway), All Against Alice , Cinderella Superstar (artist ?Joan Boix)
Sandie 29 September 1973: Angela Angel-Face (artist Rodrigo Comos), The House of Toys (artist Douglas Perry), Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray, writer John Wagner), Noelle’s Ark (unknown artist ‘Merry’), Cherry in Chains (artist Joan Boix), The Golden Shark (artist Santiago Hernandez), Dancing to Danger – last episode, Bridie at the Fair (artist Leslie Otway), Sister to a Star, Cinderella Superstar (artist ?Joan Boix)
There’s lots of good stuff in these issues, though I did find the covers rather old-fashioned, with mostly very blocky designs. Some of the inside content is rather old-fashioned too, and/or show possible signs of being reprinted from elsewhere. “The Golden Shark” is hand-lettered, and “Dancing to Danger” and “Bridie At The Fair” are lettered using a different font or technique to the other strips. The latter two are also only two pages long per episode, and have a painted aspect to the title element – I take these to have been reprinted from much earlier titles where there may have been an option to use more sophisticated colour printing.
Some of my interest in this title is in how it might have influenced, or been influenced by, work that is more directly related to Jinty. For instance, “Isla and the Ice Maiden” has an orphaned girl learning how to ice skate as she is taught by a mysterious woman: both the basic plot set-up and the visual design of the mystery woman is quite reminiscent of the Jinty story “Spirit of the Lake”. Likewise, “Lindy and the Last Lilliputians” has some wee travellers from Lilliput travel to stay with Lindy, a descendant of Lemuel Gulliver – who they claim must look after them. It sounds like the story has quite a lot of differences from Jinty‘s “A Girl Called Gulliver”, but there are certainly some big overlaps too.
In terms of the artists included, there is a fair amount of overlap with the slightly later titles I am more familiar with – with representation from José Casanovas, Rodrigo Comos, Douglas Perry, Santiago Hernandez, and the unknown artist who drew “Merry at Misery House” and so many other stories. Obviously there are many artists unknown to me, also: the very striking Joan Boix, who drew “The Slaves of the Eye”, is very well represented inside these pages. There are a couple of stories where it’s hard to decide if the art is by Joan Boix’s, or by Cándido Ruiz Pueyo’s. These are “Cinderella Superstar” and “All Against Alice”. I would be inclined to think these both contained Boix’s art if not for the fact that this would imply that there might be as many as four stories by the same artist in one issue! I suppose this is not impossible but still. On balance, I think that “Cinderella Superstar” is likely to be Boix’s work (though it is not signed in any of the issues I have, unlike “Cherry in Chains” and “Slaves of the Eye”). “All Against Alice” is not close enough for me to assign to Boix – it looks more like Pueyo’s work, though again not really definitively enough for me to say so for sure.
On the post with the interview with John Wagner, I asked for people’s impressions of the title compared to others from that era. Mistyfan commented to say that “Sandie had more regulars than Tammy, particularly “Wee Sue”. She also had a lot of circus themed stories such as “Sister to a Star”, “Cherry in Chains” and “Slave of the Trapeze”. Far more than either Tammy or Jinty. She followed the in vein of Tammy in having Cinderella and slave stories.” I haven’t got enough issues to have much representation of regular strips – there’s the start of “Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie”; “Nat the Cat” was so long-running as to perhaps count; and I do have two separate Angela Angel-Face stories in this short sample.
The circus theme is absolutely inescapable even in just these few issues, though! “Anna and the Circus” is in the March issue above, and the August and September issues include “Cherry in Chains” and “Sister to a Star”. There are very few circus-themed stories in Jinty, and not many in Tammy either, so this feels like a real unique selling point for this title. Of course there are also plenty of cinderella stories, ballet stories, and the like – a lot of what’s in the pages wouldn’t look out of place in Jinty or Tammy (and indeed some was reprinted in annuals and summer specials).
Mistyfan also previously posted on this site about the launch of Sandie and about issue 7 of the title – representing the earlier issues of the title. But after the title came to an end it still continued to make something of an impact as stories had a life after death. Quite a few of the stories were translated into the Dutch market: for instance “Sandra Must Dance”, “The Return of Rena”, “Lorna’s Lonely Days”, “Anna’s Forbidden Friend”, and “Peggy in the Middle”. Of course “Wee Sue” and “Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie” had an ongoing life in the pages of other comics titles thereafter, as did others (more briefly). “Angela Angel-Face” was reprinted in Jinty but generally reckoned to be a very weak offering in that title, and “School of No Escape” was reprinted in the Misty 1980 annual.
So Sandie feels a little old-fashioned to me, and a little quirky with its love of circus stories (quite why so many of them were used, I’m not sure – they make for a good story backdrop but aren’t quite as flexible a story theme as the sports or SF themes that Jinty readers liked, or of course the spooky tales of Misty). It has quite a bit of overlap of stories or of artists with the titles I am more familiar with, and some cracking content – I’d like to read more of the exciting “Noelle’s Ark” which I give below (and which again has some overlap with a classic Jinty story – “Fran of the Floods”). At this point it feels to me a bit like a fore-runner of the more fully-developed, stronger Jinty/Tammy/Misty stable – but at the same time, I know readers who have only found this title recently and have become real converts. I will seek out more…
22 thoughts on “Sandie: 12 February 1972 – 20 October 1973”
“Sister to a Star” was reprinted in Katy. “School of No Escape” and “The Pony from the Moorland Mist” were reprinted in the 1979 Misty annual, not the 1980 annual. And don’t forget the “Angela Angel-Face” story was reprinted in both Jinty and Tammy (though we very much wish it hadn’t been).
Was it that same Angela Angel-Face story that was reprinted in Tammy? Blimey, scraping the barrel.
Yes, it was reprinted in Tammy some years after the Jinty reprint. It was the first time I saw that story and I was not impressed.
I really liked “Cherry in Chains” for starring a girl who’s an escape artist and runs Houdini-style acts.
Cool idea. Nicely drawn, too – Boix was good. Apparently he went on to do horror stories.
He also kept on doing stories for Tina in the Netherlands in the 90’s and 00’s.
He’s got a blog here, which he keeps up to date by the looks of it.
His Comiclopedia entry indicates he was pretty young when he was drawing for Sandie – still in his twenties:
Not many circus stories in Tammy or Jinty while Sandie had lots of them. Circus stories in Tammy I remember are Circus of the Damned, The Fairground of Fear, Olympia Jones, and The Secret of Angel Smith. Bella had a couple of circus stories in her strip too. There was also Tina on a Tightrope. Though not a real circus story it did feature tightrope walking.
‘Anna and the circus’ is a reprint from June.
In Sandie, ‘Wee Sue’ was not a regular. She only appeared in one serial in the first 15 issues of Sandie.
A case of a serial that became a regular played for humour and getting out of scrapes. I am a bit puzzled as to how Sue became that way. Did she return as a sequel, or was she suddenly included in the lineup when the merger came?
Perhaps the original ‘Wee Sue’ had been popular. As Sandie didn’t have a lot of regulars (I think only ‘Jeannie and her uncle Meanie’, ‘Brenda’s brownies’ (which didn’t last until the final issue, if I’m correct) and the not very strong ‘Angela angel face’), they used the name of a character from a popular story that could make a good regular for the merger.
If they did, they made a brilliant decision. Wee Sue became a long-standing regular in Tammy and was one of my favourites. Uncle Meanie was not so enduring and I personally didn’t like him much (I wish they’d dumped him and used Lucky’s Living Doll when June came over). I’m glad they didn’t bring Angela Angel Face into the merger. The reprint of the same Angel Face story in Jinty and then Tammy we could have done without.
Yes, choosing the same weak story twice was a bit much. Presumably there may have been better AAF stories that they could have chosen – or something else entirely, of course! And yes, Wee Sue was a strong character who was worth using as a regular.
I have already written a post on how “No-One Cheers for Norah” shares similarities with “Tricia’s Tragedy” and “Toni on Trial”.
Hi, Terence Magee, author of Captives of Terror Island here. Readers might be interested to know that the idea/plot was given to me by John Wagner, which I did appreciate. What a mad story it was! An English girls´hockey team captured by an insane South American military dictator. Fantastic idea really, only John could have thought of it. I tried to make each episode strong and nasty, which seemed to work as the story ran for many months. Pity I´ve only ever seen a few episodes, would make another good complete book. Lovely artwork, Spanish artist I think, don´t know his or her name.
I know the artist’s name is Escandell. I think the first name is Ramon, but I’m not sure.
I thought the full name was Juan Escandell Torres.
I have been collecting Sandie comics, to try to find the ending of a story I vaguely recalled reading when I was young. I am looking forward to reading Captives of Terror Island… do you know who wrote the House of Toys for Sandie, 1973, by any chance. I would also love to know the author of Cora Can’t Lose (Tammy 1984) if anyone knows…
Sorry, we’ve no idea who wrote Cora Can’t Lose. Tammy had stopped printing credits months before. Perhaps there will be a reprint of Cora in a Tammy reprint volume crediting the writer and artist, and of course, bringing us the lost ending (whether rediscovered or reconstituted). We can only hope.