Category Archives: 1971

June and School Friend 15 May 1971

June cover 15 May 1971

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Angela Replies… (problem page)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Pick of the Post (letters page)
  • Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin, writer Ron Clark)
  • Pony Trek Penny – text story (artist Jim Baikie, writer Linda Blake)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Showdate Shirley Reports on Arthur Lowe (of Dad’s Army)
  • Sindy and Her Friends in: Operation Ugly Duckling (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene: Her Diary and Club News
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Champions (Karen Muir) – first episode
  • Animal World
  • The Curse of Witch Wood – Strange Story
  • Dotty Doogood (cartoon)
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)

In this issue “The Champions” begin, a feature that profiles a sports champion each week. Starting off the series is Karen Muir, a South African swimming star who retired at 18. At the time, Muir was distinguished for being the youngest world breaker holder at the age of 12.

This week’s Strange Story is about a ship’s head that has a curse on it. It turns out this is because the tree used to make the ship’s head was taken from Witch Wood without planting an acorn to replace it. If there is no acorn to replace a cut-down tree in that wood, the witches curse anything made from the tree’s wood. Sounds like very ecological witches.

Tinker tries to help a boy whose lion costume lacks roar – but it works too well. Tinker manages to put it right, and the boy has no memory of what happened, thank goodness. But she now has to face her Fairy House-Mother over the matter, so don’t you go giggling at me as well, she says to readers.

We didn’t know Jinty was brilliant at tennis as well as gymnastics, but it turns out she is. She is helping out Louise, who has her heart set on Wimbledon. But it looks like an arm injury could put an end to that.

Bessie is trying to hide a dog at Cliff House for the sake of its owner, who can’t afford to keep it. But the dog’s a huge bumbling menace whose appetite rivals Bessie’s own. Eventually the school pitches in so the owner can keep the dog.

The Grays are out on the street after their horrible landlord threw them out (at least they’re well rid of that landlord), and they’re not having much luck finding anything suitable. Worse, their mum is fit to come home now – but there is no home for her to come home to. So they have to find one, and fast!

Sindy has the task of turning the ugly duckling daughter Melinda of the Mayor-elect into a swan, um mayoress, with a makeover. Melinda hasn’t been cooperative until she discovers her cousin Angela is playing dirty tricks to replace her. And lack of confidence is now proving to be a problem too, but everything works out splendidly – except for Angela, of course.

Tina is doing spring-cleaning. But it turns into disaster when a kitten interferes, followed by a dog that Lucky tried to use to dry the washing. Maybe leave it to Lucky next time eh, Tina?

“Orphans Alone” try their luck with a theatrical company, and they handle rubbish-throwing hecklers like troupers. But it turns out that wretched beadle is in the audience, so they’re back on the run.

This week “Call Me Cupid!” tells the story of how her efforts to help Cherry went so badly wrong that she got a row from the folks that just about broke her eardrums, lost her pocket money and has to do washing up every night. But she isn’t giving up on finding the man for Cherry.

In “Wild Girl of the Hills” Naomi has been wrongly accused of theft while the real thieves have tied up Jean on the moor – and a wildcat is threatening her!

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June and School Friend 31 July 1971

They Call Me a Coward 5a

  • They Call Me a Coward!” (artist Leslie Otway)
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Slaves of the Sleeping Ones (artist Juan Solé) – final episode
  • Animal World – feature
  • Angela Barrie: Trim ‘n’ Slim! (feature)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Mystery of the Seal of Babylon – text story (artist Jim Baikie, writer Jean Theydon)
  • Bessie Bunter (writer Ron Clark)
  • Shirley’s Showdate: New Girl in Five C
  • Sindy and Her Friends in: Fight for Francesca! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene: Her Diary and Club Page
  • The Champions: Ann Packer
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Rock of Destiny – Strange Story (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways – feature (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)
  • Dottie Doogood (cartoon)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)

The bullying Cathy suffers at school puts her friend Lynn in danger, yet it still continues. Cathy loses her job because she is too upset over the whole affair to do it right. Her new job is proving too much for her, but she continues because her parents need the money. Everything is just piling up on our heroine!

Tinker tries to help out a sheep that has fallen down a crevice. As usual, she can’t get it right, and the sheep even takes a trip to Fairyland! At least the sheep enjoyed the trip.

It’s the final episode of “Slaves of the Sleeping Ones”. Defeating the Zurons turns out to be a matter of pressing the green button instead of the red one on their spaceship, which sends their spaceship off back into outer space. The Zurons themselves just disintegrate.

Gymnast Jinty has been secretly training Janice Stokes. Janice’s father is so opposed to her doing gymnastics that he locked her in on the day of the “Three Towns” athletic meeting. He even nailed the window shut to stop her climbing out! Jinty manages to get Janice out in time for the event. She also gives Janice’s father a good talking-to about how miserable he has made Janice by making her do things his way. Eventually Dad comes around, especially when he’s pressed to have his photo taken with his triumphant daughter.

Bessie is in a gymkhana this week. It turns out her mount is as big a food lover as she is, so she knows what to do to get him to win at every event – dangle food in front of him. What a pair!

Sindy suspects the prince her friend Francesca is set to marry is a creep, and her inquiries prove her right. The prince is a cad who squanders the family fortune and piles up debts, so it is obvious he’s out to marry Francesca for her money and squander that too. Sindy tries to show the prince up for what he is in front of Francesca, but it looks like the prince has foiled her. Fortunately the blurb for next week says that Sindy is not beaten yet.

In Lucky’s Living Doll, classmates are playing jokes with a trick spider. They get annoyed when Lucky refuses to joke someone with the spider. To keep the peace with them, Lucky pulls the joke on the teacher and cops lines.

“Orphans Alone” have a narrow escape when they get trapped at the foot of a cliff and the tide is coming in. This week’s Strange Story also has a perilous water escape, where Annie Simpson has a strange dream of a girl being kidnapped by pirates. She escapes the pirates by seizing control of the ship’s wheel and wrecking it against the Steeple Rock. The dream has Annie prepared when criminals kidnap her in the same manner, and she pulls the same stunt to escape.

Kidnapping and escaping are also the order of the day in “The Mystery of the Seal of Babylon”. The villainous Krebens has kidnapped Liza in order to force her father to reveal the whereabouts of the Seal of Babylon, a priceless relic. Liza manages an escape that would make Gymnast Jinty proud, but then a strong hand grips her. Has she been recaptured or is it something else?

In “Wild Girl of the Hills”, the mystery of Naomi’s bracelet deepens. Two gypsies know the truth, so our protagonists decide to tail them in the hope of uncovering it.

June and School Friend 23 October 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Fashion flashes – feature (writer Angela Barrie)
  • Ann’s South Sea Adventure (artist Dudley Pout, writer Jason Alan)
  • Emma In The Shade (artist Juan Solé)
  • Bijli in the Dark (text story)
  • Bessie Bunter (writer Ron Clark)
  • Shirley’s Showdate – feature on Ian Carmichael
  • Sindy and her Friends in Boomerang! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Champions: sports feature on Emma ‘Maid Marian’ Gapchenko
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Strange Story: The Island of Mystery (attributed to artist Shirley Bellwood)
  • My Brother’s a Nut!
  • Dottie Doogood (gag strip)
  • Double for Danger (artist Leslie Otway)
  • Star Special “The Darwin Adventure”

For this last issue of June & School Friend of the three that I acquired, I looked through the credits listed on Catawiki to be able to list artists (and even some writers) that I didn’t otherwise know. I am very grateful to that site for its detailed information. I was rather surprised to see Shirley Bellwood credited with the art on the Strange Story (The Island of Mystery, which was reprinted as a Gypsy Rose story in the Jinty Annual for 1980) as it looks much scrappier than Bellwood’s normal lovely art, but I have gone with this attribution rather than doubting it.

[By request, here is the Strange Story – click through for large, more readable pages]

“Gymnast Jinty” has escaped the confines of the school environment and is into thrilling spy-story stuff. Jinty is on a modelling assignment on a tropical island during a coup d’état; she gets embroiled in a rebellion against this wrongdoing. In this episode we see her scattering two thousand leaflets across the capital city – during a parachute drop! But we are promised that next week, she is thrown in jail. An exciting story!

“Oh, Tinker!” this week is a fun story about a magpie who stole an engagement ring from a young woman whose fiancé is very angry about it – the ring is returned in time for it to be clear that it wasn’t from carelessness that it was lost, but due to the thieving magpie. The best bit though is when the young lady in question gives her fiancé the heave-ho for having been such a git about it all.

[By request, here is the Tinker story – click through for large, more readable pages]

We have a single page of what looks art-wise like a rather earlier story: “Ann’s South Sea Adventure”. Ann Pilgrim travels to the South Sea Islands. Lots of action and danger with natives who speak broken English, hmm.

This is a much later episode of “Emma In The Shade” – her and her mother are living in poverty on a barge and just scraping by. Her mother is failing to make a living at painting, until an accident transforms one of her naturalistic paintings into a modernist success. (A well-worn joke that seems to have been used several times as the basis of an episode of one or other comic story.) She also makes a success of singing in a talent contest, once she takes Emma’s advice to not make the songs too ‘highbrow’.

The Sindy story features a fire at the sheep station where she is staying in Australia – and a secret that the daughter of the house is hiding from her father. It is simply that she is a talented violinist, but her father disapproves.

I reproduce here the page of “Nature’s Wonderful Ways”, which was often reprinted in Jinty issues and annuals. There is a signature at the bottom of the page, so we are able to credit it to Helen Haywood.

“Double for Danger” is the dramatic story of the issue. Gail Dawson is asked to become a body double for ballet soloist Karen Grant – a request which seems innocent enough, just embarrassing if she is found out. I suspect it will end up as rather more than it seems, though! I like the way the logo is done in one large vertical panel that runs from top to bottom of the page: it is shaded as if it might have been intended for colour reproduction originally.

I notice some differences between this title and the way things worked a bit later in Jinty‘s day. Primarily it’s rather longer – this issue is 36 pages rather than the 32 I am used to seeing – but looking at Catawiki I see that this figure is down from 44 pages in around 1968. I also see that the lettering in the stories is not done via typewriting as in Jinty et al – it’s hand-lettered throughout, sometimes more neatly than others, so presumably it was not done in house by a central resource. Interesting! Often the lettering was very nicely done too.

June and School Friend 3 July 1971

They Call Me a Coward 1a

  • They Call Me a Coward!” (artist Leslie Otway) – first episode
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Slaves of the Sleeping Ones (artist Juan Solé)
  • Angela Barrie Presents Her Choice for a Pattern for Summer (feature)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Mystery of the Seal of Babylon – text story (artist Jim Baikie, writer Jean Theydon)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Bessie Bunter (writer Ron Clark)
  • The Windmill – text story (artist Jim Baikie, writer 11-year-old Susan Bloomer)
  • Sindy and Her Friends in: The Great Poodle Puzzle! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene: Her Diary and Club Page
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Champions: Sally-Anne Stapleford
  • The Weather Decider – Strange Story
  • Animal World: It’s a Dog’s Life (feature)
  • Dotty Doogood (cartoon)
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)

Comixminx has been putting up entries on the odd June & School Friends she has acquired, so I will do the same.

It is the first episode of “They Call Me a Coward!”, a story that has its own entry on this blog because of the parallels it shares with the Jinty story “Waves of Fear” in which the protagonist is bullied for cowardice after she fails to come to a girl’s rescue. This story will hold the cover spot for the duration of its run.

This week’s Strange Story has a definite “don’t mess with Mother Nature” message. Sara James acquires a strange device called “Jeremiah Bagshaw’s Weather Decider”. You think it will be great to decide the weather you want? Sara thinks so until she tries the decider out. The ruddy dial keeps slipping to the extreme of whatever weather Sara sets it to: “gale” when she sets it to “breezy”, “tropical heat” when she sets it to “sunny”, and “torrential downpour” when she sets it to “rain”. In the end, Sara smashes the decider.

Lucky the Living Doll uses Punch and Judy props to take on a girl who uses the “Punch, punch, first day of the month and no return!” game to bully other girls. It works better than expected – the bully ends up with 500 lines.

“Speed” is Stackers’ order of the day in this week’s Bessie Bunter episode. It’s a motto that Bessie latches onto as an excuse to cause her usual mischief and even take the school governor roller-skating. Fortunately it all works out well when Bessie foils a car thief with her antics.

The Sleeping Ones in “Slaves of the Sleeping Ones” are now revealed to be aliens called Zurons. The Zurons want their slaves to dig something up for them. But Pat, our protagonist, is detected before she can find out what, and now the slaves are out to kill her!

Tinker tries to save a puppy from the doghouse when it chews up a man’s boot. Of course things don’t smoothly with her mixed-up magic, but at least it does help the puppy get away with it. Meanwhile, Sindy & Co are trying to help another dog, which has gone missing. They think they have spotted him at the circus, but it looks like a dead end.

Gymnast Jinty is trying to organise an aqua-show. Nothing has gone right so far, but can everything come together in the final episode this week?

“Orphans Alone” were all set to be adopted by the kindly Mr Maple – but then the workhouse authorities turn up, all ready to drag them back. So the orphans are on the run again. They end up in London with the aid of a barge woman and spot a vacancy. How will it go next week?

Naomi in “Wild Girl of the Hills” is not so lucky. The authorities have put her into an institution and Jean is trying to get her out.

June and School Friend 4 September 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Emma in the Shade (artist Juan Solé)
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Angie’s Angel (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • S.O.S.! – Agony aunt Angela Barrie
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bijli the Curious Mongoose (text story)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (feature)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • More Winning Pictures By Our Readers
  • Sindy and her Friends in “Carefree’s Champion”
  • The Champions – Lillian Board (sports personality feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Strange Story: “Phantoms of the Old Chateau” (artist Phil Townsend)
  • My Brother’s a Nut! – sparkling new family story begins today
  • Adam’s Got What he Wants – feature on Adam Faith
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)

Another one of my slightly-randomly-acquired issues of June and School Friend. As I said in the comments on the last post, we will look to cover more titles beyond Jinty on this blog in the future.

“Emma In The Shade” is a nicely-drawn tale of parental angst. As with the other stories in June & SF, it feels very short at only 2 pages long per episode but other than that it could certainly fit in the pages of Jinty. Emma is the only child of brilliant parents, who expect her to excel likewise. But she doesn’t feel that she has any talents, and her mother in particular is very hard on her as a result. Of course when there is an accident that deprives her of one parent, it is the unsympathetic one that she is left with…

Little fairy Tinker is trying to help a young boy who is having no luck fishing – through a series of happy accidents she ends up dragging the whole jetty he is standing on off to the deep sea, which at least means that he ends up with an impressive catch!

Angie West is in trouble. While trying to find out what happened to a china angel belonging to her old friend, she has got mixed up in something which results in her being accused of robbery. She is cleared by the end of the episode because luckily she sketched a man that she saw in pirate costume in the location of the robbery – and that turned out to be the perpetrator, so all was well.

Gymnast Jinty is faced with a dilemma – the school she works at is due to be merged with another, and she and the games teacher at the other school must compete for their jobs. I’m not that interested in the story resolution but Jim Baikie does such lovely art even in the background details – Jinty invents a game to get the school girls practicing hard, by hitting tennis balls against ‘space monsters’ she has set up dangling from the ceiling of the gym. They are lovely little details. I include it here for others to enjoy.

click thru

The text story is a three-pager, as with the earlier issue I posted about. This is not so much a serial as a series of linked stories about the same protagonists, seemingly the little curious mongoose in particular. There is also a one-page “Nature’s Wonderful Ways” illustrated feature on interesting animals and their play-time habits.

Bessie Bunter is up to her usual tricks, but so is her brother, who is her rival in the quest to obtain a feast from a school hamper! But the two chumps, sorry chums, end up pinching a basket of cacti for the flower show instead, alas for them.

Sindy’s pal Tim dashes into a stable when a fire breaks out, and they discover a tale of drugged and sabotaged horses. Very Dick Francis.

The feature about a sports personality is on Lillian Board, a very fast runner I’d never heard of. She sadly died of cervical cancer at the very early age of 22: the feature just refers to ‘her killer disease’ without going into any further details and I needed to look her up to find out anything more.

Robert MacGillivray delivers his usual fun as Lucky and her living doll try to enjoy the sunshine without too many slapstick sillies.

The Strange Story is drawn by Phil Townsend, meaning we really have a good lot of Jinty stalwarts featured in this issue. It is about a girl in the French Resistance, who is guided to find an important package which has landed in the middle of a maze. Her guides are the ghosts of previous inhabitants who followed the path to escape from revolutionaries long ago.

“My Brother’s A Nut” is rather sloppily drawn I would say. Jilly Carter’s family is all very normal and ordinary, apart from her brother, who often takes it into to try out new ideas. This week he’s trying to get Jilly to form a band with him and some friends, as the drummer – but of course she has never done any drumming before.

The artist on “Orphans Alone” is familiar but I don’t know his/her name [edited to add – Catawiki tells me this is Tom Kerr]. Beth and Tim are orphans who have run away from the workhouse and are struggling to make a living. When Tim buys her a bottle at a fair, they seem to be dogged by bad luck afterwards, but it turns out to be all because of a scam that a nasty trickster is trying to play on the two. I assume there are further episodic tales of these two orphans to come, until eventually they find their last home or long-lost parents or similar.

June and School Friend 10 April 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • It’s Easter Week! (crafts feature by Angela Barrie)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Pony Trek Penny (writer Linda Blake) – prose serial
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)
  • “I Talk To Basil Brush” – Showdate (feature)
  • Sindy and her friends in The Haunted Theatre (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene – her Diary and Club News (feature)
  • Animal World (feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Hobby Time – Rambling (feature)
  • “The Elsa Story” (true story feature)
  • “The Shadow of Success” – Strange Story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Secret of Bell Mountain

Some months ago I bought three copies of June and School Friend, slightly on a whim. They are very readable, and also interesting for the light they shed on how IPC girls comics developed over the years. There are a lot of different comics stories included – 10 in total – but these are shorter than in Jinty or the like, as they are pretty much all only 2 pages long each. That leaves more room for text items, including a three page serialised prose story, which is something that never happened in Jinty and only rarely in Tammy. I will write detailed posts on all three of them, as we do for Jinty issues, but I know fewer of the artists to be able to credit their work.

“Oh, Tinker!” looks rather like a story from a nursery-title: drawn by Trini Tinturé, it features a sweet little fairy who can cast up to 3 spells a day and often gets things mixed up. Of course in the end everything always works out ok.

The “Wild Girl of the Hills” is Naomi, a gypsy girl who lives alone in a cave and is friends with wild creatures. Her only friend is Jean Ross, whose father is the head game-keeper locally; the two girls are drawn together by their love of animals. This is a theme that occurs in other stories; Freixas’ lovely art makes it worth a look.

“Gymnast Jinty” was occasionally seen in as a reprint in an annual; it’s interesting to see this story, which I assume may have lead to the idea behind naming Jinty itself. Jinty Lewis is a popular young gym mistress at Sandbury School; she has to deal with emotional troubles from her pupil Gail.

Bessie Bunter is always a fun strip, if very silly indeed, and of course old-fashioned. Bessie does some shopping and scarfs as many free samples as she can – but what with one thing and another still ends up as the hero of the day when she inadvertently catches a shoplifter.

“Pony Trek Penny” is credited to Linda Blake, who is also credited with a text story printed in the 1975 Jinty annual. I suspect that means either that the story in the annual is a June &SF reprint, or that Mavis Miller kept Ms Blake on the creative books during the initial while that Jinty was getting established. She is not a name that seems to appear in subsequent pages of Jinty though.

“Call Me Cupid!” starts this week – a humorous story about a girl whose older sister breaks up with her fiancé when he fails to turn up to the church in time – he got his dates mixed up! Cue match-making from the younger sister, to stop her older sister from moaning so much.

There is a comic with a difference in the middle of the  issue – ‘by arrangement with the manufacturers of Pedigree Dolls’, it features Sindy and her friends. Here it is, partly so you can enjoy the lovely Phil Townsend art.

click thru

There is a two-page episode of “Lucky’s Living Doll” which lets us enjoy Robert MacGillivray’s art, but then we are very well off for his art in this issue, as the Strange Story also is drawn by him. The Strange Story is 3 pages long – the only comics story in the issue which is as long as that. A girl borrows a tennis racket from an old champion and it seems to encourage her to heights of dedication and ruthlessness, which starts to make her unhappy. And MacGillivray also draws “The Greys Fight Back!” about a family rallying round their father, who is in a wheelchair following an accident and is depressed about it. Normally this sort of role would be fulfilled by a girl protagonist so this is a different twist. It has a humorous angle rather than dealing strongly with negative emotions like anger or despair.

In the letters page we see an example of a reader who is interested in the creators behind the stories: she asks “why don’t you print something about the different artists who draw the stories”. A particular favourite of hers is Trini Tinturé, who is given a name in the reply and described as “a Spanish girl… who lives in Barcelona – and has her record player going to keep her company while she’s working!” We are promised more of Trini in a later issue. I wonder if she was in a feature?

The last story of the issue is “Secret of Bell Mountain”, a thriller which ends with the brave girl protagonist being held up at gun point by the villain of the piece.

“They Call Me a Coward!” (1971)

Sample images

ccoward14aug1ccoward14aug2ccoward14aug3

Published: June and School Friend 3 July – 28 August 1971

Artist: Leslie Otway

Writer: Unknown

Sometimes we discuss non-Jinty serials, provided the entry is discussed within the confines of Jinty context. Such is the case here. Recently I came across this story from June and School Friend, and was immediately struck with the parallels it shares with “Waves of Fear”: a girl is bullied at school after being accused of cowardice in the wake of an accident; her enemies gang up to get her expelled; she is pushed too far and runs off in pouring rain; then comes a turn of events that puts things right. It could well be it was the same writer.

Plot

Cathy Price has a terrible fear of heights (acrophobia). So when Sue Dawson is clinging to a cliff top and in need of rescue, Cathy is too overcome by her phobia to help. Sue falls and is soon having life-or-death surgery. Following this, the girls at school call Cathy a coward and start bullying her. Leading them are Brenda Smith and her crony Marion, who are always causing trouble for somebody one way or other in any case.  Cathy’s best friend Lynn Greenway is shunning her as well – at first.

The bullies’ taunts drive Cathy back to the cliff, where she tries to prove herself by trying to climb the cliff this time. But again her fear overwhelms her. The bullies dangle her over the cliff and then leave her on the grass. When Cathy returns to school the bullies throw her in the shower with the water set to hottest because they think she is sneaking on them. Lynn rescues Cathy and almost picks a fight with the bullies until a teacher intervenes. Following this, Lynn becomes Cathy’s defender against the bullies. Lynn also cops some of the bullying as well. On a school trip Brenda and Marion push into her into the pool at the aquarium, which puts Lynn in danger from a killer whale and she can’t swim. Mr Withers rescues her, and she tells Cathy not to beat herself up for not being able to do something herself, commenting that those two bullies didn’t do any heroics either.

Cathy’s parents do not know what is going on. Cathy does not tell them because she is too ashamed, and also because they become stressed when Dad is suddenly made redundant and money gets tight. Cathy’s paper round helps make ends meet, but she loses the job because she is too upset about the trouble at school to do the job right. So Cathy takes an evening job in a café, but the extra work is soon taking its toll and interfering with homework. She loses sleep and is getting exhausted at school. Mum finds out about Cathy’s evening job and tells her to stop it because it is affecting her schoolwork. Cathy continues regardless because the family needs the money, but gets her wages docked when she accidentally breaks a stack of plates.

At school Brenda picks another fight with Cathy and they are hauled up before the headmistress. Brenda refuses to shake hands as ordered; she calls Cathy a coward and a disgrace to the school. The headmistress, who does not know what happened either, eventually gets the whole story out of Cathy. She handles it compassionately, telling Cathy that you don’t always succeed at being a hero, and how many people would be heroes when it comes to the crunch? The headmistress then has a word with Brenda, but it only makes the situation worse because afterwards Brenda tells Cathy that they are now out to really fix her.

Next day, Cathy finds out what Brenda means: the girls are now trying to get her expelled with a protest demonstration and threats of strike action. Worse, the press have gotten wind of it. The headmistress sends Cathy home while they try to sort it out. Form teacher Mr Withers assures Cathy that everything will be all right in the end.

Cathy is too ashamed to tell her parents or pass over the note from the headmistress. Then, when Cathy hears a newsflash reporting the trouble at school, she is so terrified that she runs away – in pouring rain. Her dog Spot follows and gets injured. The vet is closed, so Cathy takes Spot to the hospital. She discovers Sue has pulled through surgery and is on the mend. She goes in to see Sue and finds Sue wants to be friends with her. However, Cathy knows she will continue to be branded a coward and runs off again.

Then Cathy sees a young girl about to be attacked by a vicious guard dog. Without thinking, she jumps in to save the girl, but takes a bad mauling in the process. Now Cathy is quite the heroine and considered as having redeemed herself. The headmistress says it is safe for Cathy to return and there will be no more trouble. Indeed, all the girls cheer Cathy when she returns, including Brenda. The girl’s father is so grateful for the rescue that he gives Cathy’s father a job.

Thoughts

As stated before, this story shares a number of parallels with Jinty’s “Waves of Fear”. There are differences, of course. First, it is a phobia that stops Cathy from rescuing Sue and consequently being branded a coward, not an outright medical condition as it was in “Waves of Fear”. It is akin to how Marnie’s hydrophobia prevented her from going to the rescue of a drowning child in part one of “Cursed to be a Coward!”. This means Cathy has to redeem herself for her initial failure a whole lot more than Clare does if she is to shake off the “coward” label and the bullying is to stop. Not to mention assuaging the dreadful feelings of shame and guilt she is suffering in the wake of the accident.

Second is the focus of the bullying. It is confined exclusively to the classmates, which seems a bit unbelievable. One would think the story would filter through to other quarters of the town, as it does in “Waves of Fear”. And it is a bit strange that Cathy’s parents remain ignorant of the whole affair, even if Cathy is too ashamed to tell them. One would expect them to hear rumours or gossip of some sort.

The vendettas to get the protagonists expelled is motivated by revenge, but it differs in whose idea it is. In “Waves of Fear” the accident girl’s aggrieved parents demand the expulsion, which the headmistress refuses. Word leaks out and the chief bully takes up the task because of a personal grudge. In Cathy’s case the drive to get her expelled is motivated by pure spite from the ringleaders Brenda and Marion. Sue’s parents don’t compound the trouble at all.

Third is how the school tries to deal with the bullying. In “Waves of Fear” the school staff know about Clare being bullied. But they don’t do a thing about it and show no regard for Clare’s welfare or the bullying getting out of hand. In Cathy’s case the headmistress and teachers show deep concern for Cathy. They are extremely worried about the trouble and  what could happen if it does not blow over, though they could have taken much sterner action against it. The headmistress actually takes a non-judgemental approach with Cathy over the matter that is most impressive. The headmistress in “Waves of Fear” does not sound that wise or kind; in fact we hear it is unlike her to even pay compliments! And Lynn must be praised for her courage and empathy coming over to defending Cathy because she feels the bullying is going too far. Clare never had anyone like that at school to help her against the bullies.

Fourth is the trouble at home that both Clare and Cathy have to contend with on top of the trauma and guilt over the accidents and the bullying they are suffering at school. In Clare’s case it is because her parents have become a pair of ogres and turned against her because they also think she’s a coward. In Cathy’s case the parents don’t even know about the matter. It is the emotional and financial stress over the father’s redundancy and Cathy exhausting herself to help make ends meet that creates the domestic problems on top of her bullying problem. At least Cathy has someone to support her at home – her dog Spot. Clare doesn’t even have a pet to lean on during her troubled time.

Fifth is the ways in which the protagonists confront their fears. They both return to the scene of the accident to try to do so – only to be attacked by the bullies. This particular parallel does suggest the same writer for both stories. However, the ways in which they finally handle their fears is quite different. In Clare’s case she has to fight her fear (claustrophobia, which has intensified into a mental illness) all the way to rescuing her friend from the cave she is trapped in. This is regarded as the first step in recovering from her illness. In the case of Cathy, saving a child from a dangerous dog has nothing to do with her acrophobia. It was a matter of not giving in to fear itself. In fact, Cathy didn’t think about fear – she just jumped in without thinking. There is no indication of Cathy overcoming her fear of heights. The story goes for something less clichéd; Cathy just accepts that she’ll always be scared of some things. After all, she is only human.

There is a nice touch in having Cathy tell the story herself. This gives the story a more personal perspective, for it is told in the protagonist’s own words and gives insights into how the protagonist is thinking and feeling throughout the story. Having a serial being told in the first person is not unknown in girls’ comics though it was not used much. The only two Jinty stories that had the protagonist narrate her own story were “Wenna the Witch” and “Pam of Pond Hill“.

First Tammy Ever Published: 6 February 1971

Tammy 6 February 1971 reprint
First Tammy cover: reprint
Tammy 6 February 1971
First Tammy cover: original
  • The Secret of Trebaran – first episode (artist Giorgio Cambiotti)
  • The Girls of Liberty Lodge – first episode (artist Dudley Pout)
  • Slaves of “War Orphan Farm” – first episode (artist Desmond Walduck, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Dawn and Kerry Double for Trouble – first episode (artist Giorgio Letteri, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • “Our Janie” – Little Mum – first episode (artist Colin Merritt)
  • Betina at Ballet School – first episode
  • My Father – My Enemy! – first episode
  • Courier Carol – first episode (artist Jean Sidobre)
  • Glen (later called Glen – A Lonely Dog on a Quest) – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Tammy Club Page – Feature
  • Castaways on Voodoo Island – first episode (artist Ken Houghton)
  • No Tears for Molly – first episode (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • Cats and Kittens – Feature

Recently we had an entry for the last Tammy ever published. So it is seems appropriate that there should be one for the first Tammy as well.

The cheery blond girl who greets us on the cover (which has far better colouring than its 2009 facsimile reprint) belies the content that is waiting inside. For Pat Mills and Gerry Finley-Day intended that Tammy would revolutionise girls’ comics, which more typically went for stories about ballet, school and ponies. Instead, Tammy would lead a revolution by going for the dark side of comics. She would print stories filled with suffering, misery, cruelty, and pushing the envelope with over-the-top ways to torture the heroines. Parents and teachers hated it, which was a sure sign it was working.

Tammy 4

Tammy’s welcome to her readers stated: “…for the whole gang of us here have tried to make it the kind of picture-story paper we think you want…I just hope we’ve succeeded and that you’ll go on reading and enjoying Tammy every week”.

They must have succeeded – sales of Tammy skyrocketed, and it would blaze the trail for the early Jinty, and Action and Battle.

The first story that readers see when they open the issue is a supernatural story, “The Secret of Trebaran”, which is quite a blend of time travel, evil sorcerer and period story. Trudy Smith thinks her holiday in Cornwall is as dull as ditch water – until she comes across a mysterious medallion that sends her travelling back in time to when the island of Trebaran was a thriving community instead of the ruin it is today, and nobody knows why it ended up that way. Trudy is about to become part of that mystery, of course. But it’s already threatening to get her burned at the stake for witchcraft when Puritans encounter her tape recorder and hear what it can do!

Tammy 1
The Girls of Liberty Lodge

The next story is the first of the stories in the pioneering dark side, “The Girls of Liberty Lodge”. We meet Miss Steele, the bully headmistress of Hardington Hall, whose ideas of discipline are put girls on ‘trial’ in a kangaroo court in front of the whole school. Good grief! Miss Valentine, the only kind teacher in the whole school, is so appalled that she quits to start her own school, Liberty Lodge, which is set up as the antithesis of Hardington Hall. But Miss Steele is not having that, and is determined to bring down Liberty Lodge any way she can.

Story three is the Queen of Cruelty in Tammy’s lineup – “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’”. This story is regarded as perhaps the cruellest strip ever in girls’ comics. Ma Thatcher (named for the future Prime Minister) takes in war orphans, ostensibly to give them a home for the duration of WW2. In reality, she forces them to work in a quarry and contracts them out as slave labour to other farmers.

“Dawn and Kerry” takes a break from the cruelty with two good friends who turn into sleuths when they get caught in a storm and have to take shelter in a creepy hall, Whispering Heights. They meet a girl who seems to be a prisoner of the place, and now they are prisoners themselves!

Tammy 2
Slaves of “War Orphan Farm”

The fourth story, “‘Our Janie – Little Mum!’”, returns to the suffering. Janie Greaves has been mother to the family since Mum died, but now more tragedy is tearing the family apart. Dad has been landed in hospital with serious injuries, social welfare is threatening to split the family up, and now her brother’s being arrested!

The first lineup of a new girls’ comic just wouldn’t be complete without a ballet story, and “Betina at Ballet School” is it. Betina Brooks wins a scholarship to a ballet school. But snobbery is against her – and it’s coming from the teachers. This story would spawn an early Tammy sequel, “Betina and the Haunted Ballet”.

“My Father – My Enemy!” delves into the horrors of Victorian exploitation and child labour with Mr Jeffries, who cares nothing for the suffering of his miners and their families. But his daughter Julie is more compassionate and she goes against her own father to do what she can to help them.

“Courier Carol” is the only story in the Tammy lineup to have any humour. Carol Jones and her uncle run a coach tour with a difference – a vintage coach that picks up a lot of laughs on the way. But they pick up trouble too, in the form of a rival coach business run by the man who had tried to buy them out.

Humour and hijinks are definitely short in the first lineup; there isn’t even a cartoon feature starring a “funny”. If there is one problem with the first Tammy stories, it is that they lean too heavily towards stories filled with suffering, hardship and cruelty. There is little counterbalance in the form of laughs and light relief. The first Jinty, though she would have her share of dark, cruel stories with tortured heroines (especially “Merry at Misery House”), she would include more humour and slapstick in her first lineup than the first Tammy lineup did.

Tammy 3
Courier Carol

And it soon gets back to it with “Glen” (later called “Glen – A Dog on a Lonely Quest”). Glen is an abused dog (yes, more cruelty) who sets out to find the girl who saved him when his abusive owner tried to drown him. And the girl’s name is June – coincidence or what?

The facsimile reprint reproduces only page one of the Tammy Club from the original. The editor knew readers would want one, and Susie is the secretary who presents the details on how to join and what to expect.

The reprint also omits the next story, “Castaways on Voodoo Island”, for some reason. Perhaps it is because this story is considered a weak one. Girls find themselves castaways on an island where they fall foul of a weird witch doctor. At least it makes a change from being tortured and abused by bullies and slave drivers.

Tammy 5
No Tears for Molly

Finally, we come to the story where the heroine would endure no less than 10 years of cruelty, abuse, bullying and suffering in Tammy. These would include being tied up and beaten, locked in a flood dungeon, freezing cold duckings in a lake, and being clamped in the stocks, would you believe? She would end up holding a joint record with Bella Barlow as Tammy’s longest running character. This is, of course, Molly Mills, a 1920s maidservant. She has the bad luck to arrive at the same time as bully butler Pickering, who would become her arch-nemesis at Stanton Hall. Her strip was originally entitled “No Tears for Molly” and the title would stick several years, despite the fact that it is a complete misnomer. Right from the very first episode we see Molly crying. No tears for Molly, huh? And now she’s been sacked too, because of a dirty trick from the other two maids who are destined to give her more trouble in the years to come. As if Pickering wasn’t bad enough!