Monthly Archives: January 2018

Further reprints from Rebellion: “Bella” and two Jinty stories

You will perhaps have already seen the latest exciting information on the internet: Rebellion Publishing is bringing out two volumes of girls comics reprints from Tammy and from Jinty respectively.

bella

Bella at the Bar” is billed, appropriately, as “A modern day Cinderella story”. At 96 pages it is the right length to include the first two “Bella” stories but the blurb is fairly general and gives little away to the aficionado as to exactly what the contents are. It seems unlikely that it includes Bella’s later struggles to reach the Moscow Olympics or travels to mysterious Arab countries where she tutors princesses – or at least not yet, as this is billed as Book One. May there be many more!

Rebellion have chosen a strong pair of stories from Jinty to launch what is again billed as Volume One of (hopefully) a series: “The Human Zoo” and “Land of No Tears”. No cover is shown on the initial announcement on the Simon & Schuster website, but there are plenty of great images that could be used, of course. As with the Misty volumes, they have made sure to link the two stories in some clear way – this time rather than choosing the same author, they have gone for the same artist. Guy Peeters is an under-recognized girls’ comics artist and I am glad to see him get more attention.

Jinty cover 19 August 1978

Where possible, I am keen to link to the original publisher’s site. I see that the Bella book is listed as being one of the “Treasury of British Comics” line, but it is not yet mentioned on the specific website for that imprint. I found it on the Simon & Schuster website: I think that Rebellion have a distribution deal with them, which is presumably why it is listed there. I’m not quite sure why the Jinty volume is listed as being one of Rebellion’s Graphic Novels (a list that on searching seems to include “Charley’s War” and “Marney the Fox”, but also some less all-ages titles such as “Bleach”). It would be nice to see all the announced titles listed clearly on the Treasury of British Comics site, which is a good dedicated shopfront that is easy to navigate and use.

Finally, a word of warning to other sites announcing these two new titles  and future ones in the series – be careful to attribute the creators and the stories correctly. “Bella” is correctly credited as being by Jenny McDade as writer and John Armstrong as artist, but in future Bella stories it will be harder to be sure of the writer. During Tammy’s era of printing credits, Primrose Cumming is known to have been the writer of the time – hopefully the publishers will check with erstwhile editor Wilf Prigmore in case there was any other writer in between those two times, but certainly Jenny McDade did not write all the Bella stories over the ten years that it ran.

“The Human Zoo and Land of No Tears” is billed as being by Pat Mills as writer and Guy Peeters as artist. The sharp-eyed reader of this blog will spot straight away that “The Human Zoo” is known not to have been written by Mills – although the writer is not definitively established it is thought likely to have been one of Malcolm Shaw’s. That uncertainty presumably makes it harder for the publishers to be clear about the authorship: in the circumstances they can’t just say straight out that it is by Malcolm Shaw I suppose. However, that lack of clarity will muddy the waters for others and I fear it will lead to a perpetuation of the unexamined notion that Pat Mills wrote the vast majority of girls comics – something which he does not himself claim, but which others not infrequently do on his behalf.

Advertisements

Tammy 31 March 1984

Tammy 31 March 1984

  • Dear Diary – I Hate You! (artist Maria Barrera) – final episode
  • Cassie’s Coach (artist Tony Coleman, writer Alison Christie)
  • Pearls of Wisdom (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – complete story
  • The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins) – final episode
  • Angela Angel-Face (artist Rodrigo Comos) – final episode
  • On Your Feet! (feature)
  • The Flying Horse (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – pony tale
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Pretty Trimmings (feature)

 

In the previous entry we profiled how the final issue of Princess prepared for the merger with Tammy on 7 April 1984. Now we profile how the Tammy issue for that week did the same.

The page advertising the merger is similar to Princess, except there are no characters or information telling us what to expect in the merger issue, apart from Rusty the Fox. Later in the issue we are informed “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” will be here next week. It replaces “Angela Angel-Face”, which is a repeat of the same Angela Angel-Face reprint that appeared in Jinty in late 1980. Angela is finished off with a two-part spread.

Tammy great news

“Dear Diary – I Hate You!” is another story that has been cleared out quickly to make room for the merger. For the past few weeks it had been running on six-page spreads before the usual three for the final episode. In the story, Tammy takes one of her rare forays into the blackmail story. It is the type of blackmail serial where the protagonist is forced to be ‘nice’ to an odious, unpopular girl, which makes her unpopular with her classmates and her life a nightmare. This scenario appeared frequently at DCT, with stories like Judy’s “Be Nice to Nancy!” However, it was far less common at IPC for some reason, and this is one of the few examples I have seen of it at IPC. In this case the blackmailer is expelled without the blackmail itself coming out. That is a bit odd for this type of story, but it has to be this way because of the tricky situation that caused the blackmail.

Pam’s current story has been a two-part filler. It had the potential to be spun out for several more episodes, but instead was told in two episodes. A new girl is being made a prisoner by her parents in her own home. They go as far as to escort her to school and back and even try to have the headmaster Mr Gold keep her away from her classmates at break times. Hurrah for Mr Gold for telling them he has no right to do that. It turns out they were reacting too harshly and rigidly to a violation of trust and their daughter getting into serious trouble and bad company. They themselves eventually realise they went about it the wrong way, and there is a happy ending with help from Pam of Pond Hill.

Sadie-in-Waiting from Princess takes over as the Joe Collins cartoon next week, so this week is the final episode of “The Crayzees” (below). No goodbyes from them; it’s a regular episode.

Crayzees 31 March 1984.jpeg

This week’s Button Box story is a story about rights for left-handed people. Alison thinks she can’t sew because she is left handed. So the button story Bev spins is one about a left-handed 1920s girl who was brilliant at sewing, but her sewing suffered at school because her sewing teacher kept forcing her to sew right handed. The teacher was silenced in the end. Alison emerges not only with a whole new confidence for sewing but also reminded as to how lucky she is not to be living in the bad old days when schools forced left-handed kids to use their right hands.

“Cassie’s Coach” is the only Tammy serial that carries on into the merger. The reason Tom has gone missing is that he has gone to sweep chimneys, and Cassie and her sister are worried sick. Of course Tom’s employer, Mr Scrimmet, is a cruel (and ugly) one, and won’t tell them where he is. So it’s a search to find Tom as soon as possible. When they do track Tom down they have to come up with a cunning plan to rescue him, because Scrimmet is not letting him go.

Not surprisingly, there are complete stories, which act as fillers. Both of them are period stories drawn by Hugo D’Adderio. One, set in the 15th century, is of a nobleman, Lord Belmont, being held to ransom in France while his brother Ambrose uses the ransom money (wrung out of the unfortunate peasants) to usurp Lord Belmont’s estate and keep himself in luxury. Ambrose even goes as far as to make Lord Belmont’s mother and daughter Meg servants in their own home. Once Meg finds out what Ambrose is really doing with the ransom money she devises a “desperate gamble” to get rid of him, which does come across as rather contrived and unbelievable, though of course it works.

The other D’Adderio story is a pony tale set in 1820, where Lucille Beringer works in her Uncle Marius’ hippodrome. Things go smoothly until Marius starts forcing Lucille and her horse Sultan into a stunt that is increasingly dangerous for the horses. Eventually Lucille decides to make a run for it with Sultan, but Marius is in hot pursuit and ready to horsewhip them into an even more dangerous stunt. This spurs them into the final effort they need to escape. Their panel on the cover is of the work they find in a more savoury horse show afterwards.

 

Princess II, #28 – final issue – 31 March 1984

Princess 28 cover

  • The Secret Swimmer (artist Phil Gascoine) – final episode
  • The Haunted Station (artist Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)) – final episode
  • The Dream House (artist Mike White) – final episode
  • Day and Knight (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Horse from the Sea… (artist Rodrigo Comos) – final episode
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rusty, Remember Me (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)

This is the very last issue of Princess. She came to an end after 28 issues and a disturbing change of format from Girl II style to Tammy style with #19, and an equally disturbing fallback on reprints of older material.

Princess great news 1

The Princess stories that do not carry on into the merger are “The Secret Swimmer”, “The Dream House” (Tammy reprint), “Horse from the Sea” (Jinty reprint) and “The Haunted Station”. The last two are given six page spreads to help finish them off.

The ending of “The Secret Swimmer” is a good one that avoids clichés, and is worthy of Jinty. Liza wonders if there is any point in winning the race because all the girls are against her as they wrongly blame her for Nikki’s accident. But when Nikki herself starts cheering for Liza, the girls turn around and start cheering as well. It gives Liza all the encouragement she needs to really compete – yet she still does not win. She is narrowly beaten, but she’s still a winner because she has friends again.

In “The Haunted Station” the Grices think pushing Helen off the cliff means her inheritance is now in their pocket. They don’t realise a tree root has broken her fall, and Wendy and Linda pull her up. Helen goes on to get help from an old housekeeper, Mrs Burke, but Linda and Wendy are whisked back to their own time before they find out how things turned out. Then, at the next stop on the school trip they are surprised to meet Helen Mills, now an old lady who runs a Tudor Tea Gardens attraction. Yes, everything worked out happily for Helen and justice was done. The elderly Helen is very surprised at how Wendy and Linda look so much like her two helpers.

The two schemers in “Horse from the Sea” come to an even stickier end than the Grices – they get drowned during a flood, and the rightful heir is free from their power.

“The Dream House” turns out to be the result of Miss Royd’s quest for immortality that she had begun centuries before, and she uses the minds of small children to wield her power. Jane manages to turn that power against Miss Royd and re-imprison her in her secret room in the dollhouse. But all it needs to turn Miss Royd loose again is for another small child to find that secret room in the dollhouse…

The stories that continue with the merger are “Day and Knight”, “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” and “Sadie in Waiting”. Sharon Day’s father has married Carrie Knight’s mother despite Sharon’s pleas that Carrie is a bully who makes her life a misery, and has even stolen her beloved guitar. Now the bullying is double the misery because Carrie is now living with Sharon and making her life hell at home as well as school, and Dad just won’t listen when Sharon tries to tell him. Carrie and her gang have trashed Sharon’s belongings and now Carrie’s planning a very nasty surprise for Sharon – a piece of meat in her vegetarian school lunch!

In “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” (Jinty reprint) Stefa tries to get herself expelled in order to get away from Ruth, but Ruth keeps foiling her. Meanwhile, and Stefa and her parents make the move into the council house. Stefa’s stoniness gets her on the wrong foot with the kids in the neighbourhood, who react by throwing stones at the statue Stefa models her stony heart on.

Hiding Rusty the fox from the nasty caretaker Mr Jenkins while his leg is in plaster is proving problematic. Jenkins is already suspicious and now he wants to search the flat – which is precisely where the kids have hidden Rusty.

Princess Bee says Sadie will have to go, and Sadie can’t understand what she did to get sacked when Grovel deserves it more. It turns out to be a misunderstanding – Princess Bee has chosen Sadie to be the one to go the annual servants’ conference. Poor Grovel’s in tears at not being the one, but we all know Princess Bee made the right decision.

Princess II, #27, 24 March 1984

Princess 27 cover

  • Flight from the Romanys (artist Maria Dembilio) – final episode
  • Day and Knight (artist Juliana Buch)
  • The Haunted Station (artist Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?))
  • The Dream House (artist Mike White)
  • The Secret Swimmer (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Horse from the Sea… (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rusty, Remember Me (artist Eduardo Feito)

This is the second to last issue of Princess II before the merge into Tammy, so it’s an issue where things are beginning to wind down. Finishing this issue is “Flight from the Romanys”, where Lydia, a wealthy lord’s daughter, has been kidnapped by gypsies. She has escaped, but it’s a long way home, and she very nearly gets recaptured as well.

“The Haunted Station”, “The Dream House”, “Horse from the Sea” and “The Secret Swimmer” are on their penultimate episodes.

Liza, “The Secret Swimmer”, has been secretly training for a swimming trophy after she is wrongly blamed of putting her friend Nikki out of it. Her secret is exposed, but she has become so good she is chosen to represent the school at the event. But everyone is so against her because of the wrongful accusation that they are going to cheer for the rival schools. So is there any point in even winning? This story was drawn by Phil Gascoine, and I was surprised to learn it was an original Gascoine and not a repeat from Jinty.

“The Haunted Station” is not so much haunted but a time travel device. Linda Brent and Wendy Smith are finding a converted railway station transporting them to the 1930s (and back again).  Their 1980s clothes are arousing disapproval in the 1930s and making them stick out like sore thumbs: “Girls wearing trousers. It’s disgraceful!” But their real concern is Helen Mills, who is a target for murder because her guardians, the Grices, are after her inheritance. The Grices are getting close to succeeding now; in the final panel Mr Grice pushes Helen over the edge of a quarry.

Evil guardians are also out to steal an inheritance in “Horse from the Sea”, and now they’ve caught our heroine as she tries to phone for help. As with “The Haunted Station” supernatural help is at hand, which comes in the form of a magic horse from the sea.

“The Dream House” (reprinted from Tammy) is more like “The Nightmare House”. Jane Dale is convinced a dollhouse is evil and taking family members away to inhabit it as dolls, and that she is next in line. The weird thing is, the two small children of the family are willing to help it. In this episode Jane discovers that housekeeper Miss Royd is behind it all. In fact, Miss Royd says she came with the dollhouse and lived in it for centuries, and Jane is going to do the same!

“Day and Knight” and “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” are the Princess stories that will carry on in the merger. Stefa’s repeat is now up to the point where she wants to leave her new school because of Joy’s look-alike. She storms into her father’s workplace demanding he remove her from the school, which gets him sacked. He has to take a lower paid job, which means the family has to move to a cheaper council house. But none of this moves Stefa’s stony heart. After efforts to dodge school fail, she plots to get herself expelled as her parents won’t let her change schools.

In “Day and Knight”, Sharon Day’s father now marries Carrie Knight’s mother despite Sharon’s protests that Carrie is a bully who is making her life a misery. He just won’t listen (Gran is the only one who believes Sharon), and that is clearly going to come back to bite him and his new marriage. Meanwhile, the wedding is a day of tears for Sharon that she has to choke down for the sake of Dad’s big day. Even if everything does get sorted out in the end (as we expect), Sharon’s forced smiles will be evident in the wedding photos for years to come and be a painful reminder of what used to be.

“Rusty, Remember Me” is the fox story (every girls’ comic has to have one at some point). Donna Jones has to hide an injured fox because she lives in a flat where pets are against the rules and the caretaker is a nasty piece of work. This week they take the fox to the vet, only to hear that the vet’s advice is put him to sleep.

Sadie in Waiting is the other Princess feature that will carry on in the merger, supplanting the Tammy Joe Collins cartoon, “The Crazyees”. This week they screw down the furniture because of a visit from Lady Edna, who’s the proverbial bull in a china shop because she’s so huge. They are annoyed to find it unnecessary when Lady Edna proves she has slimmed down – but they find they have spoken too soon when her huge friends arrive. And by that time they have removed the screws.

Princess II, #19, 28 January 1984

Princess 19 cover

  • The Saddest Dog in Town (artist Eduardo Feito) – first episode
  • Laura in the Lyon’s Den! (artist Bob Harvey) – first episode
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie) – first episode
  • School of Dark Secrets (Carlos Cruz)
  • The Runaway Clown (artist José Canovas?) – first episode
  • Rowena of the Doves (artist Peter Wilkes) – first episode
  • Are You a Scaredy Cat ? Quiz
  • Horse from the Sea (artist Rodrigo Comos) – first episode
  • Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Princess Pet Book (artist Mario Capaldi) – feature
    Sheena and the Treetoppers (artist Rodrigo Comos)

 

This is where Princess switches to the Tammy format (same newsprint, style and page count) and starts printing reprints from Tammy and Jinty. A new comic using reprints is not a good sign. It is an indication of an ailing comic and cutting costs, or perhaps even that the decision had already been made to merge Princess with Tammy.

The reprints are “Stefa’s Heart of Stone”, “Horse from the Sea” (Jinty) and “Rowena of the Doves” (Tammy). Later another reprint, “The Dream House” from Tammy, joins the lineup. Stefa was one of Jinty’s most popular stories. There was a huge demand to repeat her story in “Pam’s Poll“. Despite this, it was a repeat that did not eventuate in either the remainder of Jinty’s run or her merge into Tammy, but it finally did so in Princess and would continue in the Tammy merger.

However, there are also totally new stories. In “The Saddest Dog in Town” the Dentons take in Sammy, a dog who hitched a ride into town, but there is a real mystery as to why Sammy is so sad. It appears to be linked to his searching for something (or someone?) and disappointed to find it.

In “Laura in the Lyon’s Den!”, Aunt Leroy decides it’s time to get someone to sort out her spoiled and mischievous niece, Laura. That’s definitely a good idea, but is the approach – give Laura a holiday job in the family restaurant under the strict supervision of Mrs Lyon – going to work out? Mrs Lyon herself is not happy about such a burden, and Laura’s a real handful. Still, Laura could meet her match in Mrs Lyon as she definitely has what it takes to deal with a rotten brat.

In “The Runaway Clown” Cindy runs away from a children’s home where she always puts her foot in it. She is drawn to the circus, where she goes to the rescue of a tightrope walker in trouble although she’s never walked a tightrope before.

The Treetoppers’ treehouse is in danger. The site is going to be demolished to make way for a stadium. The Treetoppers decide they’re going to put up a fight. Meanwhile, Judy tries to get her father to take her away from the “School of Dark Secrets”, but Miss Grimkin is onto Judy and manages to pull the wool over Dad’s eyes.

Princess Bee goes away; Grovel takes advantage to open the place to guided tours, and passes himself off as a lord. He is in danger of being caught out when Princess Bee returns unexpectedly. Sadie graciously covers up for him – while still teaching him a lesson.

Princess II, #18, 21 January 1984

Princess cover 18

  • Sheena and the Treetoppers (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • The Ghostly Ballerina (photo story) – final episode
  • Fairy Tale (artist Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)) – final episode
  • School of Dark Secrets (artist Carlos Cruz)
  • Sadie-in-Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Lena Lends a Hand… (artist John Johnston) – complete story

Issue 18 was the last Princess II to use the Girl II format and newsprint that the series had used since #1. From #19, Princess II switched to the same format, newsprint and page count as Tammy. She dropped the photo stories and the colour pages and became an exclusively picture story comic like Tammy. In so doing, she broke away from being the sister comic to Girl II and became more like the sister comic to Tammy, though she did not say so. She hailed the new look as “great news”, but it was clearly anything but. In fact, it was a sign that she was in trouble and cutting costs. This is particularly telling in her reprinting old serials from Tammy and Jinty. Years later these reprints had the benefit of enabling some of the original artwork from IPC girls’ comics to survive, of which very little has. But at the time, a new comic falling back on reprints from older titles was a very, very bad sign.

Princess great news

As Princess II drops the photo stories this issue, naturally this is the last episode of “The Ghostly Ballerina”. Clare finds a way to lay the troublesome ghost of Arabella Hood and free herself from Arabella’s power: create a ballet about Arabella’s life to give her the fame that her premature death deprived her of.

Also ending this issue is “Fairy Tale”, our tale of mixed-up fairy tales. It gets even crazier with a genie who grants two wishes instead of three, and he is so deaf he often mishears your wishes – to the cost of the evil Morgana when she calls upon him for wishes. The greedy Angie does not emerge from the adventure much improved once the girls return home, though she does get a comeuppance for it.

“Lena Lends a Hand…”, the complete story, is clearly a filler story to mark time until the whole new lineup begins in the new look Princess next issue. Lena tries to follow the Brownie motto and lend a hand one Saturday, but her efforts always keep going wrong – until she unwittingly lends a hand to catch a thief.

Judy Marshall is beginning to unravel the mystery of “The School of Dark Secrets”. The school staff are in some sort of secret occult, and they say their thirteenth sister has arrived, which completes the coven. They are referring to a portrait, and when Judy gets a look at it, she finds it is of a girl who looks just like her!

Grovel is taking delight in spooking everyone with the ventriloquism he has learned from a book. But it isn’t long before Sadie learns to fight fire with fire.

A club called the Treetoppers has formed around Sheena’s treehouse. But someone is spying on them. Is it the snobby Beverley Sneed, who’s already suspicious, or someone else? Sheena soon finds that somebody has definitely been around the treehouse, and they’ve stolen her bike too.

Princess II, #16, 7 January 1984

Princess cover 16

  • The Ghostly Ballerina (photo story)
  • Suzy and Snowdrop (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Fairy Tale (artist Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?))
  • School of Dark Secrets (artist Carlos Cruz) – first episode
  • Best of Friends… (photo story)
  • Sheena and the Treetoppers (artist Rodrigo Comos?)
  • Sadie-in-Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Princess Diana Pinup

The cover story is Princess’ one and only ballet story, “The Ghostly Ballerina”. Clare is in the power of a ghost ballerina named Arabella Hood whose power can make her dance brilliantly, but also makes her life a nightmare, and Arabella can harm others around Clare as well. The advantage of doing it as a photo story is that we get correct and graceful ballet; after all, they would have to use real ballerinas for the models. This is something that does not always happen with hand drawn ballet stories (depending on the style and research of the artist). The disadvantage is that the ghost does not look very convincing, especially as the photo story is in colour, which shows flesh colour more. More white makeup on the model or shooting the serial in black and white might have helped.

In “Suzy and Snowdrop”, poor Jane makes a complete fool of herself at a gymkhana when her demanding Aunt Alice forces her to enter it although she’s scared stiff of horses. Then Suzy realises Aunt Alice seems to have a thing about mounting horses herself, and she finds the answer to that mystery when she opens a silver box. But then, it looks like Aunt Alice has driven Jane too far because Suzy discovers she’s run away.

There is some controversy about the artist who draws “Fairy Tale” (below). The work is signed Julio Bosch, but the same or similar style has been ascribed to Martin Puigagut. I don’t know whether it is the same artist using a pseudonym or two different artists with a similar style. Both things have happened in girls’ comics. Some clarity could be useful here. In the story, Jane and her selfish, greedy cousin Angie find themselves in a fairy tale world where all the fairy tales are getting mixed up. They meet the frog prince who needs the kiss of a princess to change him back, and the only ones available are Sleeping Beauty and Morgana, the evil villainess of the story. Then it’s a dash of Snow White when the magic mirror says the awful Angie (of all people!) is the fairest in the land, not Morgana. So Morgana tells her guards to find Angie and “off with her head!” Hmm, do we have a sneaking hope that Morgana will succeed there?

Fairy tale

In “School of Dark Secrets”, Judy Marshall does not like the creepy-looking Miss Grimkin, headmistress of Tadbury Boarding School, who seems unusually interested in her. It should be very suspicious when Judy is given a free space at Miss Grimkin’s school, which has never happened to anyone before. And things sure get creepy when Judy hears chanting in the night. Nobody else does, because it looks suspiciously like they are being drugged from drinking the hot chocolate they receive.

In “Sheena and the Treetoppers”, Sheena Hunter and her siblings are thrilled about the treehouse they have found. They discover the treehouse was very dear to Edwina, a girl who had to leave it behind to get married. Then Sheena starts getting dreams of Edwina urging her to save the treehouse. Is the treehouse haunted or something? I cannot quite identify the artist. I’m leaning toward Rodrigo Comos, but I am not sure.

Sheena

“Best of Friends…” is the old three’s a crowd routine. Katie Thomas and Lizzie Burton have been best friends until Linda comes along and Katie feels she is being shut out of things. Or is it her jealousy and emotional reactions that are tearing the friendship apart? That’s the question this week.

Sadie runs after a piece of litter that Grovel dropped. By the time she catches it and drops it in the bin, she has left a messy trail of chaos behind her. The same gag has also been used in “Snoopa”.

Princess II, #12, 10 December 1983

Princess 12 cover

  • Cinders on Ice (artist unknown)
  • Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit (photo story) – final episode
  • Atchoo! (artist Bob Harvey) – final episode
  • True Friends for Tansy
  • Alice Spring is Missing! (photo story)
  • Suzy and Snowdrop (artist Peter Wilkes) – first episode
  • Sadie-in-Waiting (artist Joe Collins)

“Cinders on Ice” is the cover story this week. I can’t identify the artist. If anyone can from the cover above, it would be most appreciated. Ella is progressing so well at secret skating that she is going to take part in an ice panto. It’s “Cinderella on Ice”, and guess who’s got the role of Cinderella? Then disaster strikes when Mum unwittingly throws out Ella’s skates, and the dustman has just arrived.

“Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit”, the last remaining story from the first Princess lineup, comes to an end. They finally get the magic right and free Mr Evans from the spell that had turned him into a rabbit. After that the other loose ends get tied up for a completely happy ending – except when Mr Evans is served salad for hospital food, just when he thought he’d finally got away from lettuce. Its replacement next week is a ballet story, and it’s about time Princess had one too.

Princess starts a horse story this week, and it’s about time she had one of those too. Suzy Crandall returns from school camp to an unpleasant surprise – her favourite horse Snowdrop has been sold. When Suzy tracks Snowdrop down she finds he is being forced upon a terrified girl who is being forced to ride by her demanding aunt.

In the final episode of “Atchoo!”, Jenny has resorted to disguising herself as Hannah Hyde for the sake of her classmates after losing the power to actually change into Hannah. This leads to valuable and surprising lessons in self-confidence for Jenny, and she also gains friends and respect after they discover the disguise and assume Hannah was Jenny in disguise all along. Well, it’s not too far from the truth when you think about it.

In “True Friends for Tansy”, even Dad is getting sick of the deception he is putting Tansy through, but he is still not ready to let Tansy tell her friends whose daughter she is. Now those friends want to attend one of his concerts, which they end up doing by trying to sneak in – but security guards catch them.

Carrie and Alice finally manage to escape from the train – only to find the kidnappers right behind them!

Sadie and Cook have to be extra-nice to Grovel – nurse’s orders after he has too many accidents, which come from being the resident comic villain. But their uncharacteristic kindness takes Grovel so much by surprise that he faints, so the nurse has to *groan* tend to him yet again.

Princess II, #11, 3 December 1983

Princess 11 cover

  • Atchoo! (artist Bob Harvey)
  • Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit (photo story)
  • Farthings’ Flight (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – final episode
  • True Friends for Tansy (artist unknown)
  • Alice Spring is Missing! (photo story)
  • Cinders on Ice (artist unknown)
  • Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Princess Diana Pinup

In our cover story, Jenny discovers the power of the formula has worn off. She can no longer change into Hannah Hyde when she sneezes, and there is no more of that formula. But the school needs Hannah Hyde at the netball match, so Jenny hits on a crazy, desperate idea – disguise herself as Hannah Hyde! She has the looks all right, but can she bring off the same confidence and prowess? We find out in the final episode next week.

Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit finally has the spell book to change him back into a man, but reversing the rabbit spell proves more complicated than anticipated. Something goes wrong and he grows to giant rabbit proportions!

Allgold’s exploitation of Grandfather comes to an end. Allgold reckons he’s wrung all he can out of the deteriorating old man who’s losing his power, so he’s only too happy to let Lizzie’s kindly rich lady buy Grandfather out. Allgold has no idea the power is about to pass to another – guess who?

The Murder on the Orient Express – sorry, kidnapping on the train to Scotland – continues in “Alice Spring is Missing”. The people in Alice’s compartment are still holding her prisoner, and she can’t convince anyone of what’s going on except one girl named Carrie, who actually sees what’s going on. The trouble is, Carrie can’t convince anyone else either and soon she’s being held prisoner too.

Princess Bee wants Sadie and Grovel to learn judo, and Grovel gets the flip. However, the judo instructor meets her match in Cook, who clonks her with a chop – a meat chop, that is.

Tansy grows fed up with living the lie and wants to come clean with her friends that her father’s a famous pop star, but Dad won’t allow it. So Tansy is still stuck with the deception she hates, which is causing more complications. And how much longer can she keep it up anyway?

Cinders on Ice manages to skate for help for the injured lady, Miss Thorburn. This has the unexpected but welcome reward of Miss Thorburn giving her free admission to the new skating rink – she’s the new owner – and proper coaching in skating. The trouble is, the two nasty girls Cinders is trying to keep the secret from are about to try out the rink.

Princess II, #10, 26 November 1983

Princess 10 cover

  • Farthings’ Flight (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit (photo story)
  • Atchoo! (artist Bob Harvey)
  • True Friends for Tansy (artist unknown)
  • Alice Spring is Missing! (photo story)
  • Cinders on Ice (artist unknown)
  • Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Princess Diana pinup

I do not have Princess #9 (maybe one of these days), so I continue with #10.

Allgold finally succeeds in getting the Farthings into his power and milking Grandfather’s ability to talk to animals for all its worth. It’s taking its toll on Grandfather; he’s in such a state of collapse and giving up that he isn’t even trying to escape, though Lizzie sees a chance to do so. Then a trip to the soup kitchen gives Lizzie hope for an ally who could rescue them.

Mr Evans’ health is also taking a dangerous downturn. He was badly injured from a trap and now he’s developed a heart condition that he can only get treatment for if he is changed back into a man; as a rabbit the only treatment for him is euthanasia. Now they need the book of spells more than ever, so they are advertising for it, but where the *$!^%*!# is it? Jenny gets her answer when Dad gives it to her for a birthday present. So it was right under their noses the whole time. It would be!

Jenny’s power, which depends on sneezing, really makes things complicated for her this week, including getting into trouble in a supermarket. It’s either sneezing at the wrong moment or waiting ages for one. And that’s the problem Jenny is left with by the end of the episode. She is stuck outside the house as Hannah Hyde and has to wait for a sneeze to turn her back into Jenny. By the time that happens, Dad will probably have Scotland Yard out looking for her and ready to read out the riot act.

Concealing that her father’s a pop star is still causing problems for Tansy. Among them are friends who think she is open and honest with them, which makes her feel ashamed.

“Cinders on Ice” returns to the Cinderella story, which had been prevalent in IPC titles during the 1970s but had faded by the 1980s. In this case it is not relatives or stepparents who make a Cinderella out of our heroine but a nasty employer and her two daughters. Ella’s reaction to their cruelty is secretly teaching herself to skate and calling herself “Cinderella on Ice”. She has only just got the hang of skating when her first big test comes – skating to get help for a woman who has been in a car crash.

Alice Spring suspects the people she is travelling with on the train are up to no good. Yes, it’s a kidnapping plot, and they don’t do anything much to do it except blackmail Alice into going with them. No chloroform, gag or bonds in sight. She tries to slip a message for help, but the recipient does not believe it. First hope dashed.

Sadie in Waiting wonders why Grovel is not feeling the cold when the heating is busted, which is something he is normally the first to grumble about. The answer is soon revealed, and it backfires on him in the end, of course.