We have all noticed certain things in girls’ serials. Things about plot, character and setting that always seem to crop up and we comment on them a lot. Then again, there are other things about plot, character and setting that always crop up as well, but we hardly even notice them. At least, not until someone else points them out. To give you the idea of what we mean, we present:
25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics
1: The protagonist is always an only child, except when the plot requires her to have siblings.
2: The protagonist endures even the worst abuse imaginable rather than upset dear old mummy and daddy by telling them what’s going on.
3: Problem parents always make the wrong assumptions about their daughter until the end of the story.
4: If the daughter speaks out against it, it’s not until the climax.
5: Parents sense they have a problem with their daughter – but don’t do anything about it except shout the house down.
6: And then they discover they handled it all wrong – but not before it’s led to something totally preventable.
7: The protagonist doesn’t write to a problem page for help although there are plenty of them in girls’ comics.
8: The order and favourite story coupons they always tell you to fill out ruin the comic for future collectors because they leave holes in it.
9: (Except when the plot allows it), child welfare’s never around when you really need ’em…
10: …but alway stick their noses in when you least want ’em.
11: No boys in girls’ adventures, though men are allowed…
12: …except very young boys, mostly kid brothers.
13: A lot of exonerations are contrived because we simply must have happy endings.
14: Advanced aliens never developed the know-how that could have saved them – but less advanced humans have.
15: Serials about girls sent to reform / special school are either sent unjustly or only need a little toning down…
16: …never because they’re utter toerags who really deserve it!
17: The weather’s always fine, except when the plot demands otherwise.
18: Historical accuracy is not a strong point in girls’ comics.
19: Protagonists / antagonists don’t do their homework before they embark on an evil campaign – which would have told them it was a complete waste of time.
20: No boys in sight, no matter what world you land in.
21: Ye Editor does not pick up all the goofs – but we do.
22: We groan at how so many villains get off too lightly at the end of the story!
23: In serials about difficult mother-daughter relationships, there’s never a father who could intervene.
24: In serials about a shrinking parent, it’s always the mother.
25: Protagonists don’t realise the obvious until it’s pointed out to them.
3 thoughts on “25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics”
I couldn’t agree more about number 22, and Miss Bramble is a classic example. As if the sadistic torture of her pupils wasn’t enough, she’s also an accessory to attempted murder, but despite the “over, for ever” dramatics at the end, her only punishment is to lose her job!
I wonder how far the original readers approved of this kind of thing. it was quite normal in girls’ comic stories for the villains to get off lightly (unless they had to be polished off to get to the happy ending, like the villain in Debbie PSL #143 “Jane at St A’s”, who made the mistake of marrying the heroine’s mother), but I don’t remember seeing many complaints about this in the letters pages. Then Misty came along and went to the other extreme, with hapless protagonists condemned to terrible lifelong punishments for eating too many sweets, or swatting a bee. Some readers were quick to defend this type of story when anyone complained, but maybe they liked these endings as an extreme dose of the suffering usually inflicted on heroines rather than as punishments for bad behaviour.
Perhaps it’s rather ghoulish to complain about this at all, but having been raised on boys’ stories where villains were more likely to die shrieking in burning buildings, or be eaten alive by giant rats, I’ve been used to a little more moral rigour is dealing with the bad guys.
Yes, Miss Bramble did more than enough to get a prison sentence, but all that happens is that she loses her school. We expect she will be barred from teaching, but even that may not be enough to stop her. The woman is such a sadistic fanatic that she might start elsewhere, somehow.
Misty was one comic where we did see actual delinquent girls sent to institutions get punishment, though not from the institutions they were sent to. One firebug girl dies in her own fire and is thrown into hell. Another gets turned into a tree while a more wholesome clone takes her place.