The Proto-Bella Barlow?

A Leap Up for Lindy 1A Leap Up for Lindy 2A Leap Up for Lindy 3A Leap Up for Lindy 4A Leap up for Lindy ad

Once you have read through the images, you will see that this story bears a striking resemblance to Bella Barlow, right down to our ill-used heroine practising gymnastics on makeshift apparatus in the backyard. Mr Barr is even a dead ringer for Jed Barlow. At least the Barrs are nowhere near as abusive towards Lindy as the Barlows are towards Bella. All the same, we are so pleased to see how they are, um, persuaded to support Lindy’s gymnastics in the end.

A Leap Up for Lindy appeared in Girls’ Crystal 1976, yet a panel from it was used two years before in the merger issue of Tammy and June to advertise next week’s episode of Bella at the Bar (above). So A Leap Up for Lindy could actually be part of the history of Bella Barlow and could even be described as a proto-Bella.

But just what is Lindy’s place in Bella’s history? Is it a complete story, or is it the first episode of a serial that never was? If it was meant to be a serial, did it get nixed for some reason and what was produced got recycled in the Girls’ Crystal? Was it a serial that was discarded in favour of Bella Barlow? Or was it an unused story from much earlier and elements of it were recycled into Bella Barlow?

Whatever the story was, Lindy looks like a most intriguing part of Bella history that has been sadly overlooked. It is a great pleasure to rescue this proto-Bella from obscurity and hopefully give her more speculation and discussion in Bella history.

8 thoughts on “The Proto-Bella Barlow?

  1. Now I’m going to check my Girl’s Crystal 1976 annual when I get in! Thanks for bringing this to our attention Briony!

  2. Some artists do a really good job of varying the faces, body shapes, hairstyles and so on of all their characters, while some have very distinct ‘types’ that they repeat. John Armstrong is one of the latter (I’m not meaning it as a criticism) – as you say Mr Barr is a dead ringer for Jed Barlow! Lindy doesn’t look at all like Bella (and I don’t think Bella looks like any other of JA’s characters) but she does look very much like other characters he draws – she is quite similar visually to the main character in Moonchild for instance.

    1. John Armstrong modelled Bella on his own niece, but this was not the case with Lindy. I did note that Mrs Barr did not look like Gert Barlow and Lindy has an even bigger helper than Bella. She even goes as far as to disguise herself to help Lindy!

    2. It’s funny how the villains have the surname of Barr and Bella was originally called Bella at the Bar. Not Bella on the Beam although the beam was Bella’s favourite apparatus.

    3. JA also liked to recycle what I call the June Roberts type (named after the antagonist in the 1979 Bella story) – tough, mean girl with short black hair, leather jacket and boots. Similar models appear in Misty’s Moonchild story and a few JA Misty complete stories.

  3. Nice find. It does seem to have potential to be more, but like you say it may be possible that the idea was developed into Bella instead.

    1. If that was the case, I wonder why they didn’t use Lindy as a serial and instead rework her as Bella? Maybe they thought the Barrs weren’t nasty enough? Certainly they are no match for the Barlows. Or they didn’t like how the Barrs were brought to heel so early in the story with a secret helper? The secret helper does come way too early in the story if it was meant to be a serial.

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