The cover is the first thing the potential reader sees when they see the comic book on the shelf. The cover is what catches their eye, draws them in, arouses their interest, and induces them to buy it. Throughout the run of a comic, the cover will change dramatically in accordance with changes in public tastes, artists, levels of sophistication, and even the type of paper. Therefore compiling the history of the cover of a particular comic can tell you a lot about how things have changed in comics over the decades.
In this entry we are going to look at the history of the covers Tammy produced throughout her 13-year run and how they changed to make her a drawing card to the readers.
We begin with the very first issue, 6 February 1971. The girl on the cover is Tammy herself, showing off the bracelet and ring that come with the first issue. It is a very bright, happy cover, which belies the dark content that features in so many of the stories within, especially “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm'”. The floral-patterned logo is the one that will stay the same for nine years, though there were some exceptions to its regular layout. It most often appeared in red, but other colours were used on occasion. The floral pattern is unusual when girls’ comics used solid lettering. Perhaps the flowers were intended to be a further contrast to the dark content the early Tammy was known for.
First Tammy cover: original
Successive covers until Sandie merged with Tammy on 27 October 1973 were pretty cover girl covers, showing happy girls engaged in various activities such as leisure and sport. Again they continued to belie the grim content (slave stories, Cinderella stories, bullying stories) that continued to feature with stories like “The Four Friends at Spartan School”. A number of the covers had a flat, stiff, one-dimensional look to the artwork, which was probably fine at the time but looks a bit uninspired now.
On occasion though, an issue had a full cover that was inspired by a serial inside Tammy, such as Beattie Beats ’em All on Tammy’s first Christmas issue. It did not take long for the Sally logo to be added to the Tammy cover. Tammy was barely two months old before Sally, a longer-running comic, merged into her. It was most unusual for an older comic to be merged into a barely new one, and says something about the sales figures for both comics: Tammy was already a hit while it is presumed that Sally had lost readership due to a long-standing strike.
6 thoughts on “A History of Tammy Covers”
Nice rundown on the history, Tammy certainly had a lot of eye-catching covers.
There was another curious in-joke on the cover of the issue of 4 August 1979, where John Richardson seems to be making a rather backhanded acknowledgment to a distinguished colleague.
(Not sure if this link will work)
Also, I noticed one typo: On 7 February 1976 Tammy celebrated her fifth birthday.
The link works. I wonder if the ice-cream man is based on Capaldi himself. The typo is fixed now, thanks.
Quite possibly. I don’t know if Capaldi had a little moustache like this – can’t find any photos of him. The joke seems to refer to the Capaldi family ice cream business in Middlesbrough, that Mario apparently helped out with in his younger days.
Now you have found a photo of Mario Capaldi at http://vandacapaldi.moonfruit.com we can see the guy on the cover does bear a resemblance to him. There is no moustache in the photo, but he could have grown one after it was taken. Thank you for the link.