25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics

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.

Pam of Pond Hill 1
Image credit: “Pam of Pond Hill”, Tammy 1984

 

2: The protagonist endures even the worst abuse imaginable rather than upset dear old mummy and daddy by telling them what’s going on.

Witch
Image credit: “Witch!”, Bunty 1991.

 

3: Problem parents always make the wrong assumptions about their daughter until the end of the story.

Hard Times for Helen
Image credit: “Hard Times for Helen”, Judy 1984-85

 

4: If the daughter speaks out against it, it’s not until the climax.

Hard Times for Helen 1
Image credit: “Hard Times for Helen”, Judy 1984-85.

 

5: Parents sense they have a problem with their daughter – but don’t do anything about it except shout the house down.

Waves of Fear 1
Image credit: “Waves of Fear”, Jinty 1979.

 

6: And then they discover they handled it all wrong – but not before it’s led to something totally preventable.

 

Waves of Fear 2
Image credit: “Waves of Fear”, Jinty 1979.

 

7: The protagonist doesn’t write to a problem page for help, though there are plenty of them in girls’ comics.

Write to Kim
Image credit: Problem page, Girl (second series), 1981.

 

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.

Favourite story coupon
Favourite story coupon, Tammy 1981.

 

 

9: (Except when the plot allows it), child welfare’s never around when you really need ’em…

Bella at the Bar 1
Image credit: “Bella at the Bar”, Tammy 1974.

 

 

10: …but alway stick their noses in when you least want ’em.

Bella at the Bar 2
Image credit: “Bella at the Bar”, Tammy 1974.

 

11: No boys in girls’ adventures, though men are allowed…

The Human Zoo 3
Image credit: “The Human Zoo”, Jinty 1978-79.

 

12: …except very young boys, mostly kid brothers.

Somewhere over the Rainbow
Image credit: “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, Jinty 1978-79.

 

13: A lot of exonerations are contrived because we simply must have happy endings.

B&W World of Shirley Grey
Image credit: “The Black and White World of Shirley Grey”, Tammy 1981

 

14: Advanced aliens never developed the know-how that could have saved them – but less advanced humans have.

Human Zoo 2
Image credit: “The Human Zoo”, Jinty, 1978-79.

 

15: Serials about girls sent to reform / special school are either sent unjustly or only need a little toning down…

Merry at Misery House
Image credit: “Merry at Misery House”, Jinty 1974-75.

 

16: …never because they’re utter toerags who really deserve it!

Be Nice to Nancy
Image credit: “Be Nice to Nancy!”, Judy 1989-1990

 

17: The weather’s always fine, except when the plot demands otherwise.

Human Zoo 1
Image credit: “The Human Zoo”, Jinty 1978-79.

 

18: Historical accuracy is not a strong point in girls’ comics.

Sit It Out, Sheri
Image credit: “Sit It Out, Sheri”, Tammy 1976.

 

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.

Witch 2
Image credit: “Witch!”, Bunty 1991.

 

20: No boys in sight, no matter what world you land in.

Worlds Apart 1
Image credit: “Worlds Apart”, Jinty, 1981.

 

21: Ye Editor does not pick up all the goofs – but we do.

The Sentinels
“The Sentinels”, Misty 1978.

 

22: We groan at how so many villains get off too lightly at the end of the story!

Spartan School
Image credit: “The Four Friends at Spartan School”, Tammy 1971-1972.

 

23: In serials about difficult mother-daughter relationships, there’s never a father who could intervene.

No Haven for Hayley
Image credit: “No Haven for Hayley”, Tammy 1981.

 

24: In serials about a shrinking parent, it’s always the mother.

mum-1024x356
Image credit: “Mary’s Mini Mum”, M&J, 1991.

 

25: Protagonists don’t realise the obvious until it’s pointed out to them.

Make Believe Mandy
Image credit: “Make-Believe Mandy”, Jinty 1974.

 

 

3 thoughts on “25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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