All posts by mistyfan

Tammy 3 September 1983

 

  • Namby Pamby (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • Porridge Pulls His Weight (artist Bert Hill, writer Linda Stephenson) – Pony Tale
  • Lonely Ballerina (artist Maria Barrera, writer Jay Over) – first episode
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, (sub)writer Linda Stephenson)
  • The Moon Maiden (artist Hugo D’Adderio, writer Roy Preston) – complete story
  • Room for Rosie (artist Santiago Hernandez, writer Alison Christie)
  • Make Your Mind Up, Maggie (artist Juliana Buch) 
  • Warmer Outlook (Mari L’Anson) – feature

What could be so spooky or terrifying about a ship in a bottle? A lot if you’re in a Roy Preston story and you’ve been cursed for deliberately wrecking a ship at the expense of lives so you can claim insurance. The story, “The Moon Maiden”, appears below. Roy Preston is credited as writing a number of complete spooky stories, often with comeuppances, for Tammy during her credits period. This lends credence to Preston having written some of the other creepy complete stories we’ve seen in the past: Misty completes, Strange Stories, Monster Tales and Gypsy Rose. 

(Click thru)

A new ballet story, “Lonely Ballerina”, reunites the creative team from another Tammy ballet story, “Slave of the Clock“. Tanya Lane is sent to Mary Devine’s ballet school for more advanced coaching, but upon arrival she finds things aren’t exactly how they look in the brochure. The school is a mess, the pupils laze about, there are no lessons, and the teacher looks as much a prima ballerina as a rice pudding. Looks like a cheat, but Tanya is determined to wring ballet lessons out of it if it kills her.

“Make Your Mind Up, Maggie” is on its penultimate episode. Madame has found out Maggie’s secret and expelled her for disobeying orders. Ironically, it’s all because of Maggie’s friend Nadia, who got her expelled in the mistaken belief that ballet was preventing Maggie from pursuing her true vocation, riding. It was the other way around, Nadia you great nana! Now Maggie’s hopping mad at her. Still, there can be no doubt everything will be sorted out next week because it will be the conclusion. It’s a bit strange, reading the penultimate and final episodes as single episodes when they appeared as a double episode in the original run because of an imminent merger.

“Namby Pamby” started in the same issue as Maggie but still has ways to go before it reaches its penultimate episode. No wonder, with the amounts of growth Pamela Beeton has to catch up on because of her ridiculously over-protective upbringing, which has left her with the maturity of a toddler. This week Pam is learning to ride a bike, something her mother never allowed her to do: “they’re too dangerous” she said. Pam is off for a bike ride with her friends but has to do it behind her mollycoddling mother’s back. Next week’s episode will tell if she gets away with it and takes another stride with independence and growth.

This week’s pony tale is drawn by Bert Hill, an artist seen more often at DCT. As the story appeared during Tammy’s credits run, this is Hill’s only credited story. The story is about the bad old days of children being exploited and abused in mines in the 19th century, and in this case, how speaking out – and striking back – improves things. 

The Button Box tale has a moral on accepting things have their time and times change, and you must change with them. In Linton, the new cinema overtakes the hurdy gurdy man in popularity. For one day he and his daughter Dolly triumph over the cinema with a lotto (now bingo) game, but it can only be a one-off. The father realises the hurdy gurdy has had its day and takes a job to make ends meet, but Dolly appears to find it harder to accept. Years later, Dolly has the satisfaction of seeing the old cinema turned into a bingo hall.

Bella’s gymnastics club is at a competition, but the coaches keep quarrelling, which is affecting the team and their chances of winning. Bella takes a bold move to ensure they win: add some extra-difficult moves to her beam routine. At least the coaches finally agree on something – they are appalled at the risks Bella is taking. 

Pauline has to do some fast work to save Rosie from being smashed up and then being stolen. Plus another failed bid to find her a home. 

 

 

Tammy 16 July 1983

tammy-cover-17-july-1983

  • Namby Pamby (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Horsepower! (artist Julian Vivas, writer Chris Harris) – A Pony Tale
  • Backhand Play (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Portrait of Doreen Gray (artist Tony Coleman, writer Charles Herring)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)
  • The Lady of Ranoch Water (artist Hugo D’Adderio, writer Roy Preston) – complete story
  • Make Your Mind Up, Maggie (artist Juliana Buch)

This Tammy issue contains one of my favourite complete stories, “The Lady of Ranoch Water” (a remarkably flattering name for a witch who’s a hideous old hag!). “The Lady of Ranoch Water” appears below. It was written by Roy Preston, and the Tammy credits of the period show Preston specialised in creepy complete stories, often with comeuppances. This begs the question: what spooky complete stories (Misty completes, Strange/Gypsy Rose Stories, Monster Tales) did Roy Preston write for IPC in the past?

The other complete story, “Horsepower!”, has a horse competing with progress when Pa gets ideas about getting a tractor to replace him, much to the horror of his daughter Maisie. The tractor seems to be more efficient, but in the end the weather and climate of the locality prove the horse more practical and keep horses in business there for a long time. Relief for Maisie!

Pam of Pond Hill is on summer break, which gives scope for more serials to run. No doubt one will be replaced by Pam when she returns in the autumn, as promised by the Editor.

The extremely overprotective upbringing Pamela Beeton has received since birth (her mother could give Mum in “Mummy’s Boy” from Buster a run for her money) has rendered her little more than a three-year-old in emotional and psychological development. Consequently, she acts like a baby at school, which has earned her the nickname “Namby Pamby”, and her seriously stunted growth puts her even more on a back foot than other serials where protagonists struggle with overprotective parents. At least she is trying and has found a friend, but her overprotective mother is beginning to interfere.

In “Backhand Play”, Arthur Knightly is the King of Backhanders and his motto is “Never miss a trick”. He doesn’t cross the line to anything illegal, but his backhanders are causing a lot of problems for his niece Terri, who only wants to play tennis. Terri has discovered her backhander uncle has been applying them to her tennis club to give her favourable treatment and even compel a tennis player to throw a match in her favour. She refuses to return to the club in protest and the coaches sell their cars to deal with Arthur and get her back.

The “Portrait of Doreen Gray” (yes, and the story itself makes reference to a certain Oscar Wilde story) is making shy Doreen Gray more confident, but there were hints from the beginning there was something sinister about it. Sure enough, Doreen’s confidence is threatening to turn into arrogance that could make her unpopular, and we suspect the portrait. This week, Doreen’s arch-enemy Jane Quarles begins to suspect what’s going on and starts investigating. She strikes gold – but then gets scared by a rat. Will she be scared off for good?

Oh, no! It looks like Bella is heading for another round of losing her nerve, and it’s all because of her Uncle Jed. He ropes Bella into a dangerous window-cleaning job and only Bella’s gymnastics save her from a horrible accident. But then Bella discovers the incident has affected her psychologically and she can’t perform gymnastics properly.

This week “The Button Box” brings us a romantic story about a boy and girl finding love on the beach and shells are at the centre of it all. Aww…

“Make Your Mind Up, Maggie” has been reprinted from 1974 by popular demand (the original run ended on a double episode to make way for the Tammy & June merger). Maggie is obliged to give up horse riding because it’s bad for her ballet. But this week Maggie discovers the alternative is her beloved horse Robbie being sold to the Brimstowes, who mistreat their horses (and nobody seems to call the SPCA about it). Now Maggie is in an awkward double life of doing both ballet and riding while keeping it secret from her ballet teacher. To make things even more difficult, Maggie is finding that ballet is just as bad for her riding as riding is for her ballet.

lady-of-ranoch-water-1

lady-of-ranoch-water-2

lady-of-ranoch-water-3

Tammy 24 September 1977

Tammy cover 24 September 1977

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • Rowena of the Doves (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll)
  • Selena Sitting Pretty (artist Diane Gabbot(t))
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Babe at St. Woods (artist John Johnston)
  • Eye of the Beholder (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – Strange Story
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)
  • Wee Sue (artist Mike White)
  • Daughter of the Regiment (artist Mario Capaldi) – final episode

On the cover, big sis gets one over little sis for once, who not only has to do the work but also looks narked at not being the first to read the weekly Tammy.

This week’s Tammy features one of my favourite Strange Stories, “Eye of the Beholder”, plus it has ever-popular Hugo D’Adderio artwork. The story appears below. An unsavoury Babylonian empress cares only about her garden. Like the selfish giant, she won’t share it with anyone, and woe betide anyone who so much as sniffs the flowers. But it looks like the empress may have imposed this extreme meanness on the wrong person…

Bella has set up a gym club on a collective farm. Some people are finding it hard to accept this, and at the end of the episode we get a hint that someone may have resorted to sabotage, which has put a girl’s life in danger.

Speed is the new motto at Cliff House School, and Bessie is taking it deeply to heart because it’s fun. Speed is no problem for Bessie where sneaking/eating food is concerned. But putting an aristocratic visitor on roller skates to speed things up? Unless there’s a speedy turnaround, this could mean a speedy punishment for Bessie.

Rowena reaches the last of her brothers for help in aiding her father, but all she gets is another refusal: “none of us are entirely ready, yet”. Then her brother’s companion reacts so badly against this – “you have shamed us!” – that he breaks his oath of fealty to his master. Wow, looks like help at last, at least from someone. Will it prod the brother into action as well?

“Daughter of the Regiment” concludes. Tessa Mason has been battling to prove her father was innocent of the charge that got him executed at the Charge of the Light Brigade. And what does she find? Her father wasn’t executed or charged with anything, and isn’t even dead! It was all a ruse so he could go undercover to foil a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria, and Tessa’s investigation unwittingly put it in danger. Well, they should have known that no true daughter would ever accept her father was guilty and wouldn’t rest until she had discovered the truth. They should have said he was killed in action or something.

Of late, there has been dispute as to whether Tammy artist Diane Gabbot should be spelt Gabbott. Gabbott was the original spelling and we’re not sure if “Gabbot” is a misspelling that crept in or a simplified spelling Diane adopted.

Anyway, Diane’s latest Tammy story is “Selena Sitting Pretty”, and the theme is one you see more often at DCT: a girl pretends to be disabled to take advantage. Selena Smith pretends to be wheelchair-bound because she is having difficulty handling the competition at her new school. This week she hides Lorraine’s running shoes, which forces her to run in bare feet. It blows up in Selena’s face when Lorraine wins anyway and then makes a present of the shoes to Selena, not realising she’s on the verge of discovering Selena’s secret.

A stuffy Latin teacher has problems with Babe of St Woods, who always has gangsters on the brain. When she asks for prep on one of the Caesars, Babe does hers on “Little Caesar”, the 1920s gangster. Then Babe comes to the rescue when she discovers the teacher’s prescription has been written out in the wrong dosage. Teach has failed to notice this although the prescription is in Latin. Really, teach!

Miss Bigger takes the class to the seaside on the annual school trip but makes it as stuffy as the Latin teacher while another class are permitted to have all the fun of the beach. What’s more, Sue has to find a way to get one of the girls to a beauty contest and back without Miss Bigger noticing; the girl needs the prize money for her parents’ anniversary present. In the end Sue’s class have as much fun on the beach, and the girl wins third place and enough money for a present.

Melanie Newton still has to keep her sports club comprised of local toughs a secret from her snobby father, but things are looking up for it. That is, until Dad asks her to go against the gang because he wants the gang’s sports site for development. Looks like Melanie has to rebel against her father again, something she’s been doing ever since the beginning of the story because she hates how her working-class father is now a snobby, selfish rich businessman.

Eye of the Beholder 1

Eye of the Beholder 2

Eye of the Beholder 3

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 3

We’ve had two instalments of “25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics”. You know, the ones that start with:

“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.”

Well, here we are again, with:

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 3

 

1: We get plenty of serials with spooky moggies…

Cat
Image credit: “Cat!”, M&J, 1991.

 

2: … but not many with spooky doggies.

Whistle and I'll Come..
Image credit: “Whistle and I’ll Come…” Misty 1978-79.

 

3: Antagonists who trick protagonists into signing contracts don’t make sure they are legally valid.

The Stables Slave

Image credit: “The Stables Slave”, Tammy 1972-73.

 

4: When you count on something, there’s always something you didn’t count on…

Bad Luck Barbara
Image credit: “Bad Luck Barbara”, Mandy 1985.

 

5: We all laud the one true friend who stands by the unfortunate protagonist through thick and thin…

Move Over, Maria
Image credit: “Move Over, Maria”, Bunty 1994.

 

6: … yet we all wonder why the hell the true friend sticks by the protagonist when she’s a pain in the butt and nobody else likes her!

Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl!
Image credit: “Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl!”, Jinty 1976.

 

7: The main villain suddenly reforms if they cross an even bigger villain.

Sadie in the Sticks
Image credit: “Sadie in the Sticks”, Tammy & June 1974.

 

8: Parents with a problem child seem to think a schoolgirl and change of scene will be the instant magic cure.

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

 

9: We don’t get many girls’ serials where the main antagonist is a boy.

 

bullied
Image credit: “Bullied!”, M&J 1996.

10: So often is a magic object more trouble than it’s worth, even if it does have its uses.

Topsy Turvey
Image credit: “Topsy Turvey”, Mandy 1985.

 

11: Aliens with advanced science often have poor scientific methods.

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

 

12: About 99% of the time, protagonists/antagonists out for revenge find out they were mistaken.

Down with St Desmonds
Image credit: “Down with St Desmond’s!”, Bunty 1977-78.

 

13: The plot always sets you up to beware of girls who look so sweet and angelic you could use them for artificial sweeteners.

Angela Angel-Face
Image credit: “Angela Angel-Face”, Jinty 1980.

 

14: The problem in a dystopian world of the future is nothing the 20th century can’t fix.

Trixie of 2087
Image credit: “Trixie of 2087”, Debbie PSL #107, 1987.

 

15: Nobody but the protagonist seems to act if an animal is being mistreated until the final episode.

Olympia Jones
Image credit: “Olympia Jones”, Tammy 1976-1977.

 

16: An award, prize or big win always turns out to be a jinx – unless it’s won at the end of the story.

The £100,000 headache
Image credit: “The £100,000 Headache”, Debbie PSL #33, 1980.

 

17: They never let you get away with deception, even if your reasons for it are sympathetic/noble.

Ashamed-of-Her-Mum-5
Image credit: “Ashamed of Her Mum”, Debbie PSL #100, 1986.

 

18: There are plenty of girls’ serials with bully teachers…

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

 

19: … but not many with bullied teachers.

Patsy on the Warpath
Image credit: “Patsy on the Warpath”, June 1969.

 

20: So often everyone seems to conveniently lose all memory of something weird happening except the protagonist and all trace of it disappears at the end of the story – even when there is no reason for it.

Who is Astra?
Image credit: “Who is Astra?”, Mandy PSL #62 (and #211), 1983.

 

21: Loads of girls’ serials are set in World War II…

 

Catch-the-Cat-5a
Image credit: “Catch the Cat!”, Bunty 1976.

 

22: … but few set in World War I.

For the Love of Lucy
Image credit: “For the Love of Lucy”, Diana 1978.

 

23: Beware of sweet-talking ladies who offer to take poor homeless orphans under their wing.

Slaves of the Teasets
Image credit: “Slaves of the Teasets”, Bunty PSL #292 (and #438), 1987.

 

24: Somebody does not listen to warnings when they should have…

Minnie-7
Image credit: “Minnie the Meanie”, Judy 1982.

 

25: … with predictable results to shape the rest of the story.

Minnie-5
Image credit: “Minnie the Meanie”, Judy 1982.

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 2

In our previous blog entry we listed 25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics. You know, the one that went:

“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.”

But it doesn’t end at 25. Oh no, you wouldn’t expect that, would you? No, of course not! Now we present:

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 2

 

1: Parents fail to stand up for themselves at the worst moments… and with the worst consequences.

Down with St Desmonds 1
Image credit: “Down with St Desmond’s!”, Bunty 1977-78.

2: The lengths overprotective parents go to to protect their offspring are so ridiculous they’re laughable – yet the consequences are not.

Namby Pamby
Image credit: “Namby Pamby”, Tammy 1983.

 

3: If all else fails, bring in a deus ex machina to redeem the mess the protagonist is in.

Down with St Desmonds 2
Image credit: “Down with St Desmond’s”, Bunty 1977-78.

 

4: Protagonists making claims of harassment often turn out to be faking the whole thing…

Pam of Pond Hill 3
Image credit: “Pam of Pond Hill”, Tammy & Princess 1984.

 

5: … yet real harassment/ bullying often seems to go unnoticed by those in authority.

Tears of a Clown 1
Image credit: “Tears of a Clown”, Jinty 1980.

 

6: We are surprised if the school tries to sort out a bullying situation before the end of the story…

They Call Me a Coward
Image credit: “They Call Me a Coward!”, June 1971.

 

7: … but we aren’t at all surprised if they sort it out at the end of the story.

Pam of Pond Hill 2
Image credit: “Pam of Pond Hill”, Tammy 1983.

 

8: Schemers plotting to get rid of someone keep failing to do so, no matter how much they discredit them (except when they are required to temporarily succeed before being found out).

That Bad Bettina
Image credit: “That Bad Bettina!”, Mandy 1985.

 

9: Parents never listen to warnings that something weird’s about to strike the family.

The Sentinels 1
Image credit: “The Sentinels”, Misty 1978.

 

10: Guess who cops the worst of it.

The Sentinels 2
Image credit: “The Sentinels” Misty 1978.

 

11: We get lots of serials about World War II and fighting the Nazis – but it’s rare to see Hitler in any size, shape or form.

Worlds Apart 3
Image credit: “Worlds Apart”, Jinty 1981.

 

12: Bodging could have some pretty funny results.

Sharon's Shadow
Image credit: “Sharon’s Shadow”, Tammy annual 1983.

 

 

13: For some reason we always know when parents have picked the wrong person to put in charge of their daughter while they are away… which seems to happen quite a lot.

Tina's Telly Mum 1
Image credit: “Tina’s Telly Mum”, Tammy & Misty 1980.

 

14: Witches with pointy hats and broomsticks often seem to be played sympathetically or for humour…

Worlds Apart 4
Image credit: “Worlds Apart”, Jinty 1981.

 

15: … while witches who look like crones or beautiful but sinister women  are played for the chills.

painting6
Image credit: “The Painting”, Bunty 1989-90.

 

16: Ordinary antagonists aren’t killed off much.

Katie on Thin Ice 1
Image credit: “Katie on Thin Ice”, Tammy 1977.

17: Supernatural/ SF ones are.

electra-of-the-evil-eye-4
Image credit: “Electra of the Evil Eye”, Bunty 1980.

 

18: We are very surprised if a parent problem is resolved by the daughter making her parent/parents simply see sense.

Ill-Never-Forgive-You-4
Image credit: “I’ll Never Forgive You!”, Bunty 1989.

19: We are not surprised when the parent/parents see sense after the daughter runs off… or gets run over.

B&W World of Shirley Grey 2
Image credit: “The Black and White World of Shirley Grey”, Tammy 1981.

 

20: The only time the protagonist gets acquitted at trial is when her pal arrives at the very last minute with the evidence that will clear her.

Olympia Jones 1
Image credit: “Olympia Jones”, Tammy 1976-1977.

 

21: In regular strips, brothers are a pain in the ass.

Tansy of Jubilee Street
Image credit: “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, Tammy & Jinty, 1982.

 

22: It’s unusual to have a serial starring a plump/ plain protagonist outside of an “ugly duckling” serial…

willa-will-dance-3
Image credit: “Willa Will Dance”, Debbie 1974

 

23: … or a humour strip where the protagonist doesn’t give a s*** about the way she is!

Bessie Bunter
Image credit: “Bessie Bunter”, June.

24: People just say the protagonist is not right in the head when she tries to convince them of something…

End of the Line
Image credit: “End of the Line”, Misty 1978.

 

25: … but when she really is not right in the head they don’t realise it.

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Knight and Day (1978)

Sample Images

Knight and Day 1aKnight and Day 1bKnight and Day 1c

Published: Jinty 20 May 1978 – 26 August 1978. Not to be confused with “Day and Knight” (1984), Princess/Tammy

Episodes: 15

Artist: Unknown

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: None known

Plot

Pat Day’s mother abandoned her four years earlier and never bothered with her since. Pat is now happily fostered with the Hargreaves, has a foster-brother named Terry, and she has just qualified for the school county swimming team.

Then Pat’s mother, now remarried as Mrs Knight, successfully applies to get her back. Pat protests that she doesn’t want to go back to her or leave the Hargreaves. Mrs Hargreaves can’t believe social welfare is allowing it after how the mother treated Pat before, but it’s no use. The Hargreaves have no rights, not even visitation rights. Pat has to go back to her mother. Terry gives her a parting gift: his precious Chinese coin, which he has turned into a pendant for her.

But Pat soon finds out her mother only wanted her so she, her new husband and stepsister Janet could get a council flat. Neither parent cares about Pat, and Janet bullies her and makes her life a misery. Ironically, it is soon obvious that the parents aren’t particularly good to Janet either.

Later, Pat finds out Janet is the school bully and hated by the whole school. Moreover, Janet is the unbeaten school swimming champion. She thinks she’s the greatest. And she does not like the threat Pat poses to her there. She also intercepts and destroys a letter the Hargreaves send to Pat. All Pat has now are swimming and the coin pendant.

School is of little help because once the girls realise Pat is the school bully’s stepsister, they want nothing to do with her. Moreover, Janet cunningly poisons them against Pat by pretending to act nice to her at their expense. One girl, Laura, sees through this trick, but can’t convince the others.

However, the girls cheer when Pat beats Janet at swimming (finally) and gets a place on the swimming squad. Soon Pat is impressing the swimming teacher with her diving and swimming capabilities. But Janet is furious over her humiliation and is playing dirty tricks to get revenge. Her first is getting Pat lumbered with a paper round, on pretext of the family needing extra money. As planned, this cuts into Pat’s time for her swimming coaching.

The only drawback to this plan is that Janet has to do the round as well. Meanwhile, the man hiring Pat lets his daughter Cheryl accompany Pat on the first round. Cheryl is afraid of water and can’t swim, and Pat offers to teach her. She and Cheryl become friends, much to Janet’s chagrin. At school, Laura guesses the real reason why Pat got lumbered with the paper round. She still believes Pat is not like Janet, but again nobody is listening to her.

Cheryl’s dad hears about the coaching problem and offers to pay Pat to teach Cheryl to swim. So Pat can now get her coaching and Janet gets lumbered with the paper round. And Dad says she has to do it or feel the back of his hand. Ha, ha!

A package arrives for Pat from the Hargreaves, with money and a lovely swimsuit, but Janet steals it and shows it off in front of Pat at Cheryl’s swimming lesson. When Pat sees Janet in the swimsuit she finds it odd, because her foster parents were going to buy her a costume like that. Janet takes advantage to taunt her that not hearing from them (because she intercepts the mail) shows how much they care for her. This really hurts Pat, and Janet loves it. She pulls other nasty tricks, such as shaking Pat off the diving board and trying to poison Pat’s mind against the Hargreaves. Cheryl is more suspicious about the origins of the swimsuit and tries to convince Pat that Janet is just being spiteful and bullying, but Pat is still fooled by Janet’s phony kindness to her.

At home, Mum gives Pat a letter; it came with the parcel and Janet overlooked it. Once Pat reads it she realises what Janet did. Pat confronts Janet, says she now sees Janet for what she is, and takes her swimsuit back.

The parents slap both of them for fighting. Both Pat and Janet cry over it. Janet’s trying not to, but Pat can hear it, and she now realises why Janet is the way she is. But she’s had enough and is also scared she will end up like Janet because of those parents. So she runs back to the Hargreaves. However, the police are there when she arrives and take her back to the Knights.

To the police, Mum puts on a good show of loving mother who was worried sick over Pat running off. But once they’re gone, Mum hits Pat for running off, and spills her guts over how she really feels about Pat. She never loved Pat or her father, never wanted Pat at all, and only got her back so they could get the council flat. Otherwise, she would have been quite happy never to see Pat again. But now they’re stuck with each other, she says, and there’s no escape. There is little doubt that lumbering herself with the daughter she never cared for, just to qualify for the flat, is turning Mum’s unfeeling towards Pat into downright hate.

After this frightening scene with her mother, Pat starts cracking up. It begins with outright rebellion. When Janet tries to steal Pat’s swimsuit again, she cuts it up rather than let her take it. She smashes crockery, threatens to wreck the flat, and defies her mother when she tries to force her to eat. This looks like the beginning of a hunger strike because Pat refuses to eat all day. Then she turns to depression, thinking the whole light has gone out of her life and there is no escape from her miserable home life. She is snappy to the other girls at school. Again, Laura correctly guesses what’s wrong. At the school gala Pat refuses to dive and just bombs off the diving board. Worst of all, she shoplifts a bracelet from a store, not realising security caught her on the store camera.

Suddenly, Pat is struck by guilt and wants to return the bracelet, but not eating all day is catching up and she feels faint. A policeman sees this and takes her home, where her parents give her a terrible beating for breaking the crockery. However, Cheryl discovers this when she comes to the door to enquire after Pat. She realises Pat’s parents are mistreating her.

Even Janet is shocked at the state Pat is in after the beating, and it’s the start of a whole new relationship between them. The parents force Pat to stay home until the injuries heal as they don’t want the teachers to see them and ask questions. They force Janet to stay home as well, to make sure Pat does not go to school. Janet protests that this means missing the swimming competition, but Dad clouts her: “If you don’t want to end up like her, you’ll do what you’re told!”

Seeing Janet’s new-found sympathy, Pat agrees to stay at home – but then remembers the bracelet. She slips out to return it, disguising her bruises as best she can with a scarf and dark glasses, but her attempt to return the bracelet goes wrong. What’s more, security recognises her from before and alerts the staff and police.

They don’t believe Pat was trying to return the bracelet. But then the police remove her glasses and scarf and see she is a battered child. The police realise she needs serious help and offer to do so. However, Pat is overcome by shame and runs off.

Meanwhile, at school, Janet is beginning to redeem herself. She threatens to menace a girl but stops when she sees how terrified the girl is, just like Pat, and makes a kind offer of help with swimming instead. This surprises everyone and Laura realises the change in Janet. Janet further redeems herself when she leaves the swimming to go home and check on Pat.

By now, Pat hasn’t eaten for two whole days. At the canal, lack of food, the beating and running from the police take their toll and she collapses. She falls into the canal, hasn’t the strength to swim, and she’s got cramp and blacking out. Someone needs to rescue her or she’ll drown.

Cheryl has been following Pat about the beating, and now she’s the only one to help. The trouble is, she can’t swim and is scared of water. Nonetheless, she bravely goes in to save Pat but soon realises it’s beyond her. Janet sees how foolhardy Cheryl is and tells her to get out fast. Janet rescues Pat herself.

In hospital, Pat goes into a coma for three months. Despite this, she has horrible nightmares about her ordeal and her mother separating her from the loving Hargreaves forever. But when she wakes up from the coma, she finds everything has been sorted out. The store did not press charges over the bracelet. Janet and Cheryl helped the police inquiries about the battering. The parents were prosecuted and given suspended sentences. Pat returns to the custody of the Hargreaves, who are adopting her now. Pat’s swimming coach is arranging special coaching for her in her own town, and now Pat couldn’t be happier.

As for Janet, she’s now the heroine for saving Pat and her redemption is complete at school. She has taken over giving Cheryl swimming lessons. Cheryl’s brave attempt at rescue had clearly been the first crucial step she had to take to overcome her problem with water. Mind you, Janet still thinks she’s the greatest! Pat and Janet are reconciled and all is forgiven. There’s still rivalry between them at the swimming gala, but it’s friendly. Janet is staying on with her parents, who weren’t quite so bad to her, and is hopeful they will treat her better because social welfare is watching.

Thoughts

“Knight and Day” is cast in the mould of the Cinderella theme, a common formula in girls’ comics, but goes against it in several ways. In so doing, it depicts a far more realistic and grimmer picture of the horrors of domestic child abuse. First, the heroines in the Cinderella serials are usually resilient and refuse to broken by the cruelties they are subjected to. They come up with ways to fight back, usually with a little secret or talent of some sort. But not in the case of Pat. From the outset, her only response is to cry a lot. She still clings to her swimming and pendant for comfort and hope, but on the whole she is far less resilient than most Cinderella-type protagonists such as Bella Barlow. There can be little doubt it stems from her being damaged by her mother’s initial neglect, and the damage is exacerbated by her being forcibly removed from the home where she was loved and happy.

Second, when Pat finally fights back, it is first by standing up to Janet and then running off, then lashing out and hunger strike, and even a mutinous act of shoplifting. But then depression sets in. Pat loses all fight and hope, and self-inflicted food deprivation is not helping. Her will is just about broken. This is quite surprising as it’s not normally how Cinderella heroines in girls’ serials react. Sure, they can get depressed and demoralised, but they usually bounce back somehow. On the other hand, it is pretty close to how things would be in real life with an abused child, which makes the story very realistic indeed.

Third, Pat may be the worst-off daughter, but it’s a surprise to see the parents don’t spoil Janet or treat her as the favourite at Pat’s expense, which is usually the case in similar serials e.g. “Make-Believe Mandy”, also from Jinty. In fact, they’re not fit parents for Janet either. For example, Janet comes home soaked to the skin from the paper round, but they don’t care and haven’t even left any breakfast for her: “We’re not your bloomin’ servants. Make your own.” And the only thing for that is a slice of stale bread. They also clout Janet as much as they do Pat, although they don’t go as far as to beat Janet all over.

Finally, the parents use both girls for their own advantage, not just the ill-used heroine. They use Pat to get the council flat. None of the money either girl earns from the paper round or the swimming coaching goes to them, as it should. Instead, the parents pocket it all. The pretext is that the parents are hard up. There may be some truth in this, but it is still blatant exploitation. The girls should at least have some of it.

We get some secondary characters who are more perceptive of what is wrong. Laura correctly guesses at every turn what is going on. Unfortunately she can’t be of further help because all the other girls overrule her and even threaten her with Coventry if she speaks to Pat. So she gets little development as serious help for Pat and takes no part in the resolution of the story. That part belongs to Cheryl, whose attempts to help Pat help her to overcome her own problem: her water phobia. Cheryl also witnessed the beating, which would be of immense help to Pat.

Social welfare and the police are, as usual, depicted as totally useless and until the near the resolution of the story. Up until then they are totally fooled by Mrs Knight’s phony acts of concerned mother and don’t listen to Pat’s protests.

We wish the parents could have been given a proper jail sentence instead of a suspended one, but presumably it was because they could take care of Janet. As it is, they would have lost their council flat because they no longer qualify, and now have the stigma of abusive parents.

We agree with Pat that it’s no wonder Janet is such a bully with those parents of hers. Although she does not show it, it is clear she is also miserable with her home life. Her response to it is toughen up in order to survive, not cry miserably all the time like Pat: “[Crying] won’t do any good. You’ve just got to learn to survive…keep your nose clean,” is her advice to Pat after the beating. But for all this acting tough, it is obvious that Janet is full of hurt from her parents’ treatment, and she’s taking it out on the girls at school with behaving hard and tough and bullying. So, although Janet is mean, spiteful and bullying, she is a more sympathetic character than is usually the case for wicked stepsisters in Cinderella-type serials. It’s not just Pat we want rescued from the situation; it’s Janet too. If something is not done about her unfit parents and dysfunctional home life, she will spiral down a very dark path indeed, as Pat begins to once her ill-treatment gets too much. Not to mention have no chance of redemption from her spiteful bully behaviour.

It would take a horrible shock for Janet to realise that bullying’s not the way, and she gets it when she sees the horrific beating Pat gets from her parents. Though they had frequently slapped both girls, they had never gone that far before. Janet would be terrified by this; after all, suppose they do the same to her? They even threaten her with it. This is the turning point for Janet, and it’s realistic because it’s credible.

As is often the case with bullies and dysfunctional children, the parents are Janet’s bad behaviour. Both of them are selfish, unfeeling, abusive people. They clearly deserve each other but are not at all fit to be parents. Even after Janet grows hopeful her relationship with her parents will improve, we seriously doubt they will show her any genuine love because they’re just not the loving type. We rather wish the Hargreaves could take Janet too.

Ironically, if Janet had been on the right side of things instead of a bully, she would have been the resilient Cinderella heroine we expect in a girls’ serial. In fact, she would have been a much stronger one than usual as she is not given to tears and has learned the hard knocks of being tough in order to survive. We would have cheered the story for having a heroine like this all the way.

Note: The unknown artist of this story has not been linked to any other serial or title at IPC, and this was his/her only story for Jinty. It is presumed the artist was a guest artist from DCT. If anyone has any information about the artist or other serials he/she drew, it would be much appreciated.

 

Somewhere over the Rainbow (1978-79)

Sample Images

Somewhere Over the Rainbow 1aSomewhere Over the Rainbow 1bSomewhere Over the Rainbow 1c

Published: 20 May 1978 – 10 February 1979

Episodes: 36

Artist: Phil Townsend

Writer: Alison Christie

Translations/reprints: Spanish translation as “Más allá del Arcoiris”, publication unknown

Plot 

Just as the end of World War II is in sight, Mrs Peters and her daughter Dorothy (Dorrie for short, 13 years of age) and son Max (seven) receive the dreaded envelope that means Dad has been killed in action. This somewhat dampens their V-Day celebrations shortly after.

Some time later, the Peters family attend a Wizard of Oz production. During the performance Mum tells Dorrie that she and Max will find happiness over the rainbow. Afterwards, the programme blows away and Mum gets run over and killed while trying to retrieve it. Now the Peters children are orphans. Dorrie takes Mum’s final words to her deeply to heart and from then on, The Wizard of Oz inspires them all the way to seek out rainbow’s end. But where the heck do they even begin to look for the rainbow?

It certainly isn’t at social welfare, which is now in charge of the children. None of the foster homes for the children work out for one reason or other. In fact, one foster mother, Mrs Soper, is more like the Wicked Witch of the West. Things get worse when social welfare puts them in separate homes because mixed sexes aren’t allowed. At least Dorrie can visit Max, who is taking this rainbow’s end thing a bit literally.

Then Dorrie and Max find out about a home in Scotland that really is called “Rainbow’s End” when it advertises for a housekeeper in the newspaper. They decide that’s where they must seek the end of the rainbow. So they run away from social welfare and make the arduous trek all the way from London to Scotland (no, not singing “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”). This means plenty of adventures, misadventures, dangers, injuries and illnesses, hunger, bouts of horrible weather, helpful people, not-so-helpful people, and hitching lifts on assorted vehicles, beginning with sneaking aboard a lorry to get out of London. Sustaining them along the way and helping out in a lot of scrapes is their natural talent for song-and-dance routines, especially – you guessed it – The Wizard of Oz. All the while they are fugitives from social welfare and keeping one step ahead of them. World War II, still fresh and raw, casts its own shadow over the whole enterprise.

The Wizard of Oz itself always seems to pop up in one form or another. In one occasion, the children defend a scarecrow from being burned. In another, the children make their escape from a suspicious billeting officer who is reminiscent of Miss Gulch. And now and then they hear snatches of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” when Dorrie isn’t singing it.

Not all of the twists and turns of their odyssey will described here because of the story’s length. However, some highlights and key points will be discussed.

On one occasion Max is forced to confront his wartime prejudices against Germans. It starts when they take shelter in an old army camp in an empty village, but are surprised by a man with a German accent. He’s a German soldier, and it’s soon obvious he is a fugitive in hiding too. He is not happy to find Dorrie and Max have taken over his bed, but kindly offers them breakfast in the morning. Max is too consumed by his hatred of Germans to have anything to do with him or his food, while Dorrie is less prejudiced and more receptive to his kindness. However, Max is so full of hate he rushes off to turn the German in. The German realises Max is running into danger – an unexploded mine – and risks his own life to save him. This has Max realise that “[not] all Gerries are bad…rotten!” and Germans are human beings too. From then on they’re friends. His name is Hans, a shot-down airman who was rescued by a British girl and they fell in love. However, she died before they could marry after the war, leaving him still a fugitive. Dorrie and Max persuade Hans to stop hiding, using their motto of “happiness over the rainbow”, and give himself up. They have high hopes Hans will be all right and get a fresh start in Germany.

Before long, Christmas is coming (issue-wise, a bit premature as this is three months before Jinty’s Christmas issue), but how to celebrate it while they’re on the run? Max buys Christmas decorations, but he forgot they have nowhere to hang them. Oh, dear. Dorrie does some busking with “Somewhere over the Rainbow” to raise cash for something for Christmas, which not only raises money for presents and Christmas treats but also lands her the lead in another Wizard of Oz production for Boxing Day. Performing it while keeping their fugitive status secret from the producer Mr Harris is not easy, but the show must go on. And it does, with “Shy Dorrie Makes Her Debut” in the newspaper because she can’t talk to the press.

Meanwhile, Max takes a plunge in freezing water because he unwisely tried out the ice. Dorrie hates leaving him alone while he’s still affected, but she has the show to do and the show must go on. But when she returns, the winter cold and plunge in freezing water have caused Max to develop pneumonia, which turns critical. Mr Harris helps him to hospital. Dorrie croons “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to him, which helps him to recover.

Unfortunately, Mr Harris is a social worker and it is his duty to return the children to the London home. However, at the station the children get away from him and stow away aboard a train going north. They get discovered and the conductor is set to turn them over, but he changes his mind when the children keep the passengers entertained when snow blocks the train. He lets them off at a station instead.

But the snow is thick, the cold is biting, Max is still weak from pneumonia, the children are starving and Dorrie has lost her ration books. Hunger makes Dorrie collapse, but they are picked up by a kindly man, Joe McDonald, who was in the same regiment as Dad. He owes Dad a favour, and taking in the children is his way of doing it. He also gets a mate from London to give them a lift further north. But the truck goes over a broken bridge and the children pull the driver to safety, but getting help means they get caught again. The police say sorry, but it’s their duty to turn them over to social welfare. But instead of London they take them to a children’s home, converted from an old army barracks, in Scotland.

Well, at least the children are in Scotland, but the home is definitely not the end of the rainbow – more like the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. The kids are tough and bullying, and the matron is an ex-army officer who runs the place like a sergeant major of the worst kind and the heart of the witch herself. She treats children like soldiers, not children, with merciless army-style discipline. For example, she forces Max to do 20 laps around the ground with an army pack, ignoring Dorrie’s protests that he has been weakened by pneumonia, and poor Max collapses.

When Dorrie rises up in rebellion against their treatment, Matron locks her and Max in detention while taking the children on a long march. This turns out to be a blessing, because while the others are out, waters from thawing snow flood the establishment, which helps Dorrie and Max escape on an old air bed. The home looks well and truly washed out and half-submerged, a nice surprise for bully Matron when she returns. With any luck it will be the end of that establishment. Later, the children learn from a newspaper that the authorities think they drowned when the home got flooded, so the police and social welfare are off their backs now. They can carry on unmolested.

They journey further into Scotland, but fresh trouble is never far off. It happens when Dorrie sprains her ankle. No further trekking until it’s better, and they have to camp out in an old German plane. Max is reluctant to do so because it is German but relents when Dorrie reminds him of their encounter with Hans and not all Germans are bad.

It’s up to Max to get the food while Dorrie is recovering, but again his actions are not well thought out. For example, his idea of disguising himself from nosey coppers is to buy a scary Halloween mask! Worse, he puts the food right where dripping rainwater ruins it.

Then it looks like Max takes a hit from a man shooting rabbits. Fortunately, it turns out Max just took a fall and a bump on the head and the man is another helper. But he advises them to move on fast because the authorities take a hard line on squatters.

So the children have to move on although neither of them are fit for the road because of their injuries. Fortunately they meet a friendly ex-soldier who helps them get a lift to Glasgow where his grandmother can put them up. The children note that Glasgow has had its own share of bombing (watch this space). But things go wrong when they get there and the children are on their own again. Then they finally see a rainbow and hope rises again.

They get a lead that the home they are looking for is near Iverness, which means even more trekking north. They get more help from friendly people, and even a palm reading from a gypsy, who is surprised to see both children have a rainbow in their palms. If that weren’t omen enough, they find an old chair labelled “Rainbow’s End Home”.

Five miles on, they finally make it to Rainbow’s End Home. There they show Matron the ad for the housekeeping job that prompted their journey. However, they are dismayed to find Rainbow’s End is an old folks’ home, not the children’s home they were expecting. It looks like it was all for nothing and skies aren’t blue for them at all. But it leads to their being adopted by a lovely couple who lost their own children in the Glasgow bombing and are look-alikes for their own parents. So they find happiness at Rainbow’s End after all.

Thoughts

Comixminx and I have balked at doing this one for a long time because of its supreme length. At 36 episodes, it is the second-longest running serial in Jinty’s history, which makes it a challenge to summarise. However, an entry on this story was way overdue, and as we are in lockdown with plenty of time at home, what the heck.

Rainbow belongs to a long line of Alison Christie/Phil Townsend pairings for emotional stories to warm your heart or bring tears to your eyes. It also shares many roots with other Jinty stories, notably “Song of the Fir Tree” and “For Peter’s Sake!”, both of which are lengthy stories where the protagonists set out on quests with fugitive elements attached. Like Rainbow, Fir Tree is set in the aftermath of WW2 where a brother and sister (Solveig and Per Amundsen) are also fugitives, from a Nazi out to kill them. In addition to outwitting his numerous attempts to kill them, they have to contend with other dangers and obstacles, just like the Peters children. They have a more clearly defined goal than the Peters children: make it home to Norway. As in Rainbow, we have an elder sister who is the pillar of strength and a younger brother who is less strong. In both stories, the children are not only sustained by a title; the title of the song is the title of the story as well. It could be that Alison Christie wrote Fir Tree too. We have no confirmation of this, but it would not be surprising.

The journey in “For Peter’s Sake!”, also written by Alison Christie, is the reversal of Rainbow: Corrie Lomax is making her journey with Old Peg the pram all the way from Scotland to London while the Peters children are doing the exact opposite. She is on a mission of mercy for her baby brother with Old Peg, but it turns into a fugitive story with the police and then social welfare on her tail. As with the Peters children, she has to make an escape from a horrible children’s home en route. She also gets weakened by pneumonia, just as Max does. Like the Peters and Amundsen children, Corrie meets more helpful people than not. In fact, we could almost swear that a number of these people have guessed these children are runaways but are turning a blind eye to it.

The endings of the two stories share similarities in that the children make it to the end of their journey, only to find everything seems to end in a big let-down because the initial outcome did not meet their expectations (Rainbow’s End being a home for olds, not children, and Old Peg not curing Peter). However, the twist is that it does bring about what they wanted in the end, just not in the way they expected.

The story takes time out to comment on the hardship and knock-on effects of WW2, even though peace has come. Food rationing continues, food shortages e.g. a sign saying “Sorry no spam”, and the war posters saying things like “Plan your meals to avoid waste” and “Careless talk costs lives” remain in place. Buying sweets on rations is a real treat. Make-do-and-mend is still the rule e.g. Mum making best dresses out of old curtains. Mum feels the change in women’s lot once peace comes; during the war she worked in a munititions factory, but afterwards, she struggles to find a job because preference is given to returned servicemen and women. Eventually she finds a part-time cleaning job at a theatre, where the fateful Wizard of Oz evening unfolds. Bombed-out planes and buildings are still visible on the landscape. So are old air-raid shelters, one with “We won the war” scrawled on it. We also see the mental effects it has had on some people. For example, they meet a kind lady who unfortunately has a screw loose; she thinks Dorrie and Max are her own evacuee children and a scarecrow in her husband’s old army uniform really is him. Post-wartime rebuilding is also evident; for example, we see a “Prefabs Homes for the Homeless” to help meet the housing shortages. And the Hans storyline is a clear message about confronting the demons of WW2 and not letting old hatreds consume you.

Max is the weaker of the journeying pair because he is younger and less mature, but he does not have a weak constitution like his counterpart in Fir Tree. Until his bout with pneumonia he remains a healthy kid. And he does have his bright moments, particularly when he wants to cheer Dorrie up. Some of them are more thought out than others, such as buying flowers in honour of Dad. But as he is a very young, spirited boy, more often he makes ill-judged decisions, one of which leads to him developing pneumonia. He is also more prone to being emotional and losing his temper, for example, when he meets Hans.

Jinty produced a number of journey/quest/fugitive stories, such as “The Darkening Journey” and the aforementioned “Song of the Fir Tree” and “For Peter’s Sake!”. They all ran for a while, a testament to how popular they were. But “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is by far the longest. It was so long that it holds the record for second-longest serial in Jinty’s history. This shows how popular it was, and there are so many elements to make it popular: the backdrop of WW2; the fugitive elements; the Wizard of Oz theme, which has always been popular; the adventures and dangers; and above all, the emotional elements to tug your heart and make you really feel for these children.

Another thing to make this story popular is that nobody knows what to expect at the journey’s end, not even the children. All they know and believe is, they will find happiness. Okay, happiness, but in what way? What form will it take? This is a suspenseful mystery element, and we are holding our breath to see just how it all turns out at rainbow’s end. This sets it apart from the other journey stories Jinty has run. In those case, everyone expects the outcome that the protagonist expects. But not in this case. Neither we nor the children know just what to expect at the end of the story, which keeps us in suspense all the way. Also keeping us in suspense is the nagging doubt as to whether the children’s home they expect really is their key to happiness; after all, the other children’s homes they encountered in were bad experiences, so would they be all that happy with another? We are so glad it ended in a happy adoption with new parents instead.

Tammy 6 August 1977

Tammy 6 August 1977

Artist: John Richardson

  • Bella (artist John Armstong) – final episode
  • Maisie of Mo Town (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll)
  • Keeping Pets – Edie’s Hobbyhorse
  • Time Trap! (artist Tony Higham)
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the New Boy (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • I Wish I Was Someone Else… – Strange Story (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Wee Sue (artist Mike White)
  • Daughter of the Regiment (artist Mario Capaldi)

All this big news about quarantine and self-imposed isolation in the wake of the latest pandemic had me thinking of this Tammy cover. The Cover Girls are in quarantine, and big sister, as usual, gets the short end.

It’s the final episode of Bella’s story, but another Bella story starts next week. Bella is stranded in Canada after her journey to the Montreal Olympics without a passport. She makes a friend in Indian girl Oona Tall Tree and helps a mountaineer whose leg got crushed by a falling tree. They’re all snowed in while he recovers, so Bella will entertain them with stories of her adventures.

“Maisie of Mo Town” is mistaken for a mystery jungle girl from Africa, Bibi, in the press. Kidnappers make the same mistake and lure Maisie away, thinking she’s Bibi. Maisie plays along, pretending to be a dim-witted African girl who speaks only pidgin English and knows little of the 20th century while secretly trying to work out a plan against them. In the meantime, she is having a lot of fun with her pretence and giving them aggravation. Already they’re wondering why they bothered with the kidnapping. We can see this story will be filled with laughs. But it won’t be played for laughs. All the while there will be the serious side of the kidnapping and the mystery of why the kidnappers are after Bibi.

Melanie Newton is rejected by the snooty girls of her new school, who get her banned from their athletics club. Melanie decides to form a team with the ragged Canal Mob, but they think she’s a toff. In this episode she finds ways to test out how good they would be at athletics and seems to getting through to them. They want to have a private chat with her, but is it genuine or a setup?

It is the penultimate episode of “Time Trap!”. A past life regression experiment with Leonie has gone wrong. It’s left her trapped in a hypnotic state where she is reliving a past life as Wat Tyler’s sister on the run from the king when the Peasants’ Revolt failed. Leonie’s sister Jenny is trying to find ways to help her, but it looks like she’s given the wrong advice again – it’s caused Leonie to become stuck in the marsh. What’s more, the way ahead is blocked by the king’s soldiers.

Miss Stackpole has taken the girls to the beach, but the wind is causing problems. However, that’s nothing compared to the problems Miss Stackpole has in bumping into Bessie all the time. Miss Stackpole doesn’t know which is worse – Bessie or the wind. Still, everything blows over and it’s a happy ending.

Pickering wants to get rid of new boy Arthur Sparrow because he thinks Arthur’s being groomed to take his place. Arthur takes the hint and leaves to join the army. Molly informs the recruitment office that he’s underage, but she overlooked one thing: this would land Arthur in trouble for lying about his age. Now Arthur could be up before a magistrate on a charge of false pretences. Oops!

In the Strange Story, Catherine Bridie is your poor little rich girl. Her wealthy uncle is so strict he stifles her freedom and won’t allow her friends. She wishes she could be like village girl Connie, the girl she finds a friend in. Weird events ensue, and Catherine takes Connie’s place and finds friends and happiness.

Wee Sue’s mother wants a tumble dryer and insists Dad spend his bonus on one. Dad is not thrilled at the idea, and his hunt for a tumble dryer gets him into all kinds of trouble as well. And after all that, Mum’s not even using the tumble dryer.

Tessa Mason, the “Daughter of the Regiment”, is determined to clear her father, who was executed for cowardice during the Charge of the Light Brigade. A mysterious Mr Cregan is trying to stop her, and this week he lures her into a trap. She escapes with the help of her mudlark friends, but Cregan now has plans to “spirit her away”.

Tammy 18 March 1978

Tammy cover 18 March 1978

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll)
  • Maisie – Fashion Crazy (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Goldie Alone (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)
  • Mask for Melissa (artist Angeles Felices)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills on the Run (artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • The Magic Lamp – the Strange Story
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Gail at Windyridge (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Pretty Things with Poly Craft (feature)

I have brought out this Tammy in honour of St Patrick’s Day. Girls’ comics didn’t seem to bother with St Patrick’s Day much, but this issue is an exception. It’s a delightful, enchanting cover of leprechauns and fairies entertaining the Cover Girls.

Inside, Bella is on hiatus, but we’re sure some story will finish soon in order to make room for her. Meantime, several of the stories that are currently running are Tammy classics. One is “Melanie’s Mob”, Tammy’s answer to “Concrete Surfer”. Melanie Newton has formed a skateboarding club to persuade the council to provide a skateboarding rink. This week they win a special prize for their display on skateboarding safety and are encouraged to compete in serious contests. But now the only skateboarding area in town has been bulldozed.

Tammy is definitely having a jag on disguises, double lives, concealing pasts, going on the run, and assumed names. No less than seven stories have it this week in some form or other. Yes, seven.

First is “Goldie Alone”. Goldie was a mega-popular Tammy story that was still remembered years later; for example, Goldie made a cameo in the Wee Sue birthday celebrations of Tammy’s 10th issue. Goldie Gibbs is living with a foster family, the Stringers, while her mother is in hospital. The Stringers are out to stop Goldie beating their daughter Emma at an ice-skating event. Goldie is resorting to secret skating at the rink, which starts stories about a “phantom skater” haunting the rink at night. The Stringers guess the truth and go to welfare with all sorts of lies about Goldie being an out-of-control girl. Although welfare have second thoughts about Mrs Stringer’s story once they probe further, it has the police on Goldie’s tail and catching her red-handed as she tries to break into the ice rink.

Second is part two of another Tammy classic, “Mask for Melissa”. Melissa Mappin has facial scars from an accident and is so affected by it that she can’t bear to look in a mirror, and it looks like her acting hopes are dashed. This week she finds the solution: steal a beautiful mask from a shop, move to a new location, and resume acting under the assumed name of Gaye Traynor. However, we know deception and disguise are going to cause complications for Melissa. Right now though, Melissa has a more immediate problem: she can’t find a place to stay and has to resort to a hotel job to get a roof over her head.

Third is “Maisie – Fashion Crazy”. This is a sequel to an earlier Tammy story, “Maisie of Mo Town”. Maisie and Mary Malone don disguises of their own to go after shifty Marcus Adams, who’s gone off to Paris instead instead of looking after Mum’s business while she’s away. But their disguises are not exactly subtle: they look like chess boards in those checkered suits they’re wearing and one Frenchwoman is shocked already!

Fourth is “Gail at Windyridge”. Gail Peters and her father are using assumed names at the stable where he works because he was wrongly disgraced for horse-doping. But now a newspaper clip threatens to reveal their past. Added to that, more dirty work with horses is afoot: someone is trying to sabotage the Flier, the champion horse of the stables.

Fifth is Molly Mills, who is still “On the Run” after Pickering framed her for theft. Molly has made her way back to Stanton Hall, which has a new owner, and trying to hide her past. This week Molly has to resort to splashing her face with car engine oil to save herself from being recognised. This gets her lot of disapproving stares but fortunately her employer sees the funny side. Interestingly, a coloured girl has been added to the Molly cast, a black servant girl named Lucy.

Sixth is Wee Sue. Sue helps an old lady who can’t get in but finds out later she unwittingly helped a house-breaker who was disguised as the old lady. She’s got to undo the damage somehow, but the crook has shed the disguise and they don’t know what he looks like without it. But Sue realises he made one oversight, and it gets him nabbed – he forgot to remove the earrings from the old lady disguise.

Seventh is Bessie Bunter, who really is on a roll this week with a sheet of lino that keeps rolling everyone up. She foils thieves who are passing themselves off as tradesmen by dressing up in a bear suit to frighten them and then hitting them with the lino roll. Pity the thieves don’t get rolled up in it, which would have been as good as handcuffs and even more funny.

This week’s Strange Story could have reinforced the St Patrick’s Day theme on the cover with a story about leprechauns, fairies or Irish myth. Instead it’s a magic lamp story. Actually, it’s a paper lamp, made out of newspaper. But can it still work like Aladdin’s lamp and get Beryl’s brother Jimmy the cure he needs?