Tag Archives: Giorgio Giorgetti

Sister in the Shadows [1980]

Sample Images

Sister in the Shadows 1Sister in the Shadows 2Sister in the Shadows 3

Published: Tammy 5 January 1980 to 22 March 1980

Episodes: 12

Artist: Giorgio Giorgetti

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: None known

Plot

Stella Weekes is a girl born with the golden touch. She comes out top at everything she does, she is always a winner, and she has never lost at anything. At her old school Gatecombe Comprehensive, Stella was the star pupil and even the headmistress virtually hero-worships her; there are displays of Stella’s school achievements everywhere. Now Stella is the star of a TV sports series, Goldengirl. Stella’s parents just never stop bragging about her and they “kill the fattened calf” for her whenever she shows up.

This causes huge problems for Stella’s younger sister Wendy when she starts at Gatecombe. Wendy has grown up in the shadow of Stella’s success, and at Gatecombe she becomes overshadowed even more. Everyone, including the school staff and Wendy’s parents, expect Wendy to be another Stella and keep comparing her with Stella. On Wendy’s first day alone, she is constantly embarrassed and humiliated because the school staff make a huge fuss over her, push her to the front at everything, and give her all the plum roles and expect her to be just as brilliant at doing them as Stella. The headmistress even compares Wendy’s appearance with Stella’s – and it’s not a favourable comparison either. They only see Wendy as “Stella’s sister” instead an individual, and they expect her to be just like Stella. At home, Wendy’s parents, who are just too full of pride about Stella, are just as bad at expecting Wendy to be just like Stella. At least they do it in a somewhat more light-hearted manner. But they are too consumed with pride over Stella to even take in interest in what Wendy tries to do or lend her any support. For the parents, Wendy always takes second place to Stella. Nobody will respect Wendy for herself.

But Wendy does not have a golden touch like Stella. She suffers from poor self-esteem because she is being constantly expected to follow in Stella’s footsteps when she considers herself the opposite of Stella. Worse, it does not take long for the other girls to pick up on how Wendy pales in comparison to her sister. They understandably resent how the big fuss over Wendy is not giving them a chance, while not understanding that Wendy does not like it any more than they do.

As a result, Wendy becomes a target of bullying, with the girls constantly teasing her because she isn’t living up to Stella’s reputation while all adults around her keep expecting her to do so. Wendy’s worst enemies are Angela and Honey, who also like to play dirty tricks on Wendy whenever she tries to prove herself, so as to make her the laughingstock again. Furthermore, they have the whole class send Wendy to Coventry and they call her “weak sister Wendy”. Even their families get in on the act; Angela’s brother Adam helps them play a trick on Wendy to get her into trouble with the headmistress. There seems to be no limit to their bullying; at one point they cause Wendy to take a fall during a bar exercise and land on top of the gym teacher, and then they have the nerve to blame Wendy when the teacher has an attack. Fortunately for Wendy, the doctor sorts them out. At least there is one person who is sticking up for Wendy, but nobody else is there to talk to the parents or help sort out the bullies.

Following a misunderstanding, Angela and Honey think Wendy tricked them out of their chance to meet their heartthrob Gregg Vanderley, who is Stella’s co-star. After this, their spite grows even worse. They try to frame Wendy for stealing exam papers. When this fails, they trick Wendy into an old tower and intend her to have a nasty accident. Wendy breaks her wrist because of this. The doctor has her stay off school until further notice.

But even while laid up in bed with a broken wrist, poor Wendy gets no respite from being constantly compared to her sister. Instead of offering sympathy, Wendy’s mother scolds her for missing out on the end-of-term school exams because of her injury while Stella always came out top in them. All the same, it is just as well the bullies’ trick had Wendy miss the exams, because the constant comparison with Stella and the bullying had inevitably impeded her progress during the term. From the sound of things, the parents have been getting reports that Wendy is not doing well at school.

While in bed, Wendy ponders over another thing she has noticed: Stella has not contacted her family of late, not even when she was in the neighbourhood recently with Vanderley. Also, the TV network is running repeats of Goldengirl instead of the new season, which Wendy finds suspicious. So Wendy takes advantage of her remaining time off school to go to London and do some investigating.

Wendy’s suspicions are confirmed when she discovers Stella has lost the Goldengirl job and been evicted from her exclusive flat because she could no longer afford the rent. At the TV studio Wendy learns Stella lost the job because she became a victim of her own success: viewers got bored of her and lost sympathy with her because she kept winning all the time. It looks like Stella’s replacement is having similar confidence problems to Wendy, which explains why the new season has not screened.

Stella disappeared instead of going home, because she was too afraid and ashamed of what the parents will say because they’re so full of themselves about her. Also, Stella has not experienced disaster before, so Wendy realises she must be taking it extremely badly. Furthermore, Stella is completely broke; Wendy later learns Stella frittered away her salary on the high life instead of investing it, except for a trust fund.

At Vanderley’s suggestion, Wendy investigates a derelict house that other out-of-work actors are using to squat in. When Wendy sees the house, she cannot believe her sister would even set foot in such a smelly, run-down, graffiti-smeared place that is falling to pieces. But Wendy soon finds that this is indeed where Stella is shacking up now. Moreover, Stella, who once earned a top salary as Goldengirl, is now working at a grotty café for an obviously very low pay. Wendy finds Stella working there, and she looks absolutely miserable.

Despite the depths she has sunk to, Stella cannot bear the thought of going home and facing her parents, or what people are going to say behind her back. But it is here that Wendy finds a whole new confidence when she persuades Stella to do so. She gets very bold and assertive in not taking “no” for an answer and insisting on taking Stella home. And screw what people are going to say; Wendy loudly describes what she has been through at school to illustrate that if she can put up with that sort of treatment, Stella can too. Stella listens, and begs Wendy to go on helping her. Wendy does more in that regard when their prideful parents start whining about what the neighbours will say when they hear what happened. Wendy retorts, “Bother the neighbours!” She describes the situation she found Stella in and says, “Would you rather I’d left Stella where she was, Mum?” The parents are humbled at this and offer comfort to Stella. Once Stella recovers, she becomes determined to work her way out of her bad patch.

Then Stella expresses concern about the bullying Wendy is experiencing at school and how it is bound to get worse once the bullies hear about her losing the Goldengirl job. Wendy, emboldened by her new assertiveness, says she has the confidence to deal with them now.

Sure enough, Angela and Honey get a real surprise when Wendy returns to school. When they try to bully Wendy over Stella’s dismissal, she comes right back at their teasing. She also threatens to go to self-defence classes if there is any more of their bullying (a bluff). To reinforce her point, Wendy pulls an arm lock on Angela that Stella had taught her, who in turn had learned it from Angela’s idol Vanderley. Wendy tells the girls she is going to try out for the school choir (she hopes that will help her become respected in her own right) and she jolly well hopes she will have more fun next term than she has had so far. Angela and Honey are humiliated, especially when the other girls begin to laugh at Angela’s humbling.

Thoughts

This is a Tammy story I have come to appreciate more upon revisiting it. It’s not that I disliked the story initially; it’s just that I was more taken with other stories in Tammy at the time.

Girls’ comics have frequently run stories where a girl suffers because she is compared unfairly and unfavourably with a more successful sibling, or, in some cases, a parent. This one is a bit different than most. The more common formula is for the protagonist to constantly strive to prove herself and win some respect, which she eventually does with some talent she discovers or an act of heroism (e.g. “Make the Headlines, Hannah!”, also from Tammy). Of course things don’t go smoothly and she frequently comes up against an enemy who is always trying to sabotage her.

This serial has that theme, but runs it to a slightly lesser extent than most. And the ending breaks the formula completely. The heroine does not prove herself at long last with some talent/heroic act, winning respect and everything ends happily. Instead, Wendy gains confidence by learning to stand up for herself. This starts with standing up to the sister who has always overshadowed her, and using everything she has short of physical force to stop hiding in that miserable run-down hovel, come home, get back on her feet again, face up to those parents of theirs, and deal with what people are going to say about her. Wendy’s new assertion continues with the parents when they start to whine about what others will say, and it gives her a whole new confidence in standing up to the bullies. And instead of school changing overnight for the protagonist, which is the more common ending, the story ends on the hope that school will improve for Wendy, but whether it does so remains to be seen. This is a more realistic ending that avoids the clichéd “new improved school ending”, which makes a very nice change.

It is easy to understand why Tammy went with this ending when we examine Wendy’s home life. Having Wendy prove herself somehow just would not have been enough, because the parents were just too consumed with pride over Stella to even notice what Wendy does. They need to have that pride of theirs deflated before they start taking Wendy more seriously. And they get it when they find out about Stella’s job loss and Wendy tells them off for thinking about what people will say about Stella’s downfall instead of thinking about Stella and what she is going through. We sense that they will become better parents to Wendy after this.

Stella, too, needed a lesson, and she gets it from the story’s resolution. There is no evidence in the story that Stella’s success turned her into an insufferable big head, which has happened in other stories e.g. “Last Chance for Laura” from Bunty. It is possible that Stella had become a big head, but there is no evidence of it. But even if Stella was not big headed, it sounds like she was in serious need of a fall if she was squandering her salary on high living instead of using it wisely. Further, she had never developed the emotional and psychological tools to deal with failure because she had not encountered failure until she loses the Goldengirl job. Wendy’s whole new assertiveness not only saves her from the miserable squatting but also helps her find the courage and inner strengths to rise above her bad patch. In so doing, we sense Stella will emerge an even bigger success than ever because she gained strength, new coping skills and lessons from that bad time.

Stella had also neglected Wendy because she was always too busy. So Wendy rescuing Stella and helping her to get through her trouble would definitely get Stella finally paying more attention to Wendy. Stella in turn becomes the one to help Wendy stand up to the bullies, by teaching her self-defence techniques, and being a more thoughtful sister towards her.

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Jinty and Penny 18 October 1980

Jinty 11 October 1980

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Snoopa (artist Joe Collins)
  • Behind the Screen: It’s a Knockout (feature)
  • The House of Hate and Happiness (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas)
  • Winning Ways #29: The Forehand Volley (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

This week we’ve got a very nice go-kart cover from Mario Capaldi. Jinty sure didn’t hesitate from showing girls in sports and activities that are considered venturesome and daring, which is a nice touch of feminism.

Pam of Pond Hill and nine other classmates are gearing up for the school trip to France. But Diana’s younger sister Alison is so jealous that she’s throwing tantrums and pulling dirty tricks to stop them getting there. It looks like she might actually succeed when she locks one of the chaperones in a storeroom and throws the key down the drain. What a horrible kid, but it’s the parents’ fault for spoiling her and being overprotective of her instead of disciplinary.

Shona risks life and limb to rescue her dog Scuffer when he gets bowled over a cliff and lands on a ledge. Next, she and Scuffer sail off on a makeshift raft to hopefully get rescued and see if her parents did survive, which she does not know one way or other.

Kathy the clown is on the run after the relentless bullying drove her away. If only she could see the effects it’s having on her tormentors. It has shocked them all into guilt and shame, and they’ve turned against Sandra, the ringleader of all it all. Sandra, once she’s had a taste of being the class outcast herself, is also remorseful and her redeeming qualities are coming out after being nothing but spiteful.

Meanwhile, Kathy has made a friend, a mutt she has named Mutt. Then Sandra spots them from the train and will set out in search of them next week. But how will that work out? After all, Sandra cruelly tricked Kathy once before with a false show of friendship and remorse.

“Child of the Rain” tries to run away too, in order to get to a place in Britain where rain is forecast. Luckily for her, the drought breaks at home and she’s got rain again.

Tansy tries out a conjuring book. Unfortunately she ends up doing a disappearing trick (not one from the book) after one of her tricks backfires, and she doesn’t have a trick to make her wrathful father disappear.

In “Sue’s Daily Dozen”, real magic creates a house cleaner that makes every speck of dirt fall off in one big black curtain that goes right down the walls and disappear. Now that can be called a disappearing trick!

The Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story, drawn by Giorgio Giorgetti. Ruth Newton moves into a new house, but there seems to be some sort of weird time travel thing going on when she finds a boy who keeps crying because his parents are always squabbling over painting: Dad wants to pursue art while Mum nags at him that it won’t pay the bills, so go out and get a real job. It turns out the boy is none other than the real estate agent who sold them the house, but now he’s a grown man!

Gaye needs help with improving her gymnastics because of an upcoming school display. Sir Roger helps out, but he thinks that what Gaye really needs is confidence. It looks like he’s right there, but then things go a bit wrong…

Jinty and Penny 2 August 1980

Jinty 2 August 1980

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine) – first episode
  • The Last Leap (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Behind the Screen – Dr Who
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways #20: Headstand (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

This week’s issue is one for Doctor Who fans because it has a feature on the show and Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.

The cover informs us that “a great new story starts today”. That story is “Tears of a Clown”, which, like “Waves of Fear”, is a hard-hitting Phil Gascoine story about the evils of bullying and people in authority handling it badly. Here neither the parents nor the school are picking up that the protagonist, Kathy Clowne, is being bullied, much less step in to help. Instead, they all write her off as a no-hoper who’s no good at anything, not realising that the bullying is responsible for her poor school performance. It sounds all too familiar.

The shoplifting storyline in “Pam of Pond Hill” wraps up this week. It turns out the reason Hazel Bayley resorted to shoplifting was to use the stolen items to make the friends she didn’t have. That sounds all too familiar as well. Poor, foolish girl, who realised too late that it was not the way. She makes friends at Pond Hill in the end once they understand and sympathise, but her foolishness landed her in juvenile court and now she has a criminal record.

Minna finally sorts out her problem with bully Sharon, but now there is a new problem: her secret is in danger when a photographer takes a photograph of her at the swimming club.

Clare makes a new friend in Angie, who helps hide her and Cromwell. But Angie’s Dad has guessed what’s going on and is shadowing her.

This week’s Gypsy Rose is a Strange Story reprint that brings some Giorgio Giorgetti artwork to Jinty. The story is about a window where anyone who approaches it always seems to fall out of it. The doctor says it’s vertigo from the chequered pattern from the path below. However, there is another theory – and more evidence – about an aggrieved spirit of a mistreated servant girl who also fell out of that window. The story has been uploaded into the Gypsy Rose section in the panel gallery.

Tansy is surprised to find everyone in Jubilee Street is turning nice. Ah, so it’s a contest to find the kindest neighbour in the district. Yes, it sounded too good to be true – and so is the contest, which turns out to be as phony as the niceness in Jubilee Street.

Making Angela a witch becomes even more pressing when the Blacks receive a letter to make her one by next Halloween or have their powers removed. Carrie thinks she’s got it in the bag this time when Angela accepts a bet that if she can’t make a friend by the end of the day she’ll agree to be a witch. We shall see…

Sir Roger has sprained his haunting muscles and now he can’t vanish. We have to wait until next week to see if he recovers.

Pre-Misty merger: Tammy 12 January 1980

tammy-cover-12-january-1980

Cover artist – John Richardson

Contents

  • Sister in the Shadows (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Cindy of Swan Lake (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Daughter of the Desert (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Important News for All Readers! (merger announcement)
  • The New Girl – Strange Story
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (Joe Collins)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Promotion – last episode (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Make the Headlines, Hannah! (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Everything in the Garden – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Edie’s Hobbyhorse – Tie ‘n’ Dye

tammy-and-misty-ad

This is the Tammy that came out the same week as the final issue of Misty. So what did the issue have to say about the Tammy & Misty merger and how did it prepare for it?

The first hint of it comes on the cover, with the Devil in a sandwich sign announcing “there’s exciting news in Tammy – on sale now!” I’ve always been struck at how that Devil character bears a striking resemblance to Pickering, the bully butler in Molly Mills. Is Tammy having a bit of an in-joke here?

As far as room goes, there is not much space to make room for a reasonable proportion of Misty stories. All the serials are still running and one, “Sister in the Shadows”, is only on its second episode. The announcement about the merger informs Tammy readers that not only will all their regular favourites be there but there will also be a new Bella story starting. In other words, Tammy isn’t reducing any of her own features to make room for more features from Misty, such as “Beasts”, “Nightmare!” and (we suspect) “Monster Tales”. There must have been great disappointment among former Misty readers that the proportion of Misty was miniscule compared to the Tammy one. I myself hoped that once the current Tammy stories finished more Misty stories would take their place, but I was disappointed there. Why couldn’t Tammy have done some double episodes of Hannah, the serial closest to finishing, so she would be finished off by the time of the merger and there would be more space for Misty stories in the merger issue?

In discussion of the stories, in part two of “Sister in the Shadows” Wendy continues to have what must rank as one of the worst first days at school in history. On top of the king-sized collywobbles she came with, she is encountering constant embarrassment and humiliation as teachers keep comparing her to her sister Stella, who was once the star pupil at the school, and Wendy can’t live up to their expectations. It’s not endearing her to her fellow classmates either and the stage is clearly set for some bullying.

“Daughter of the Desert” features a school that is strangely reverting to a desert pattern after an Arabian princess comes to the school. In an exciting but very odd episode, the two protagonists find themselves in a quicksand trap, which is supposed to be part of the strange desert pattern. Then the quicksand mysteriously disappears into a hard concrete road when the girls return with their headmistress to investigate.

Cindy decides to throw away her ballet career for the sake of her swans, who are being poisoned by chemical pollution. Despite the pollution the swans find the strength to persuade Cindy to continue, much to the chagrin of Cindy’s jealous rival Zoe. Now Zoe is now back to scheming against Cindy to become the star dancer of their village.

Molly Mills gets promoted but deliberately sets out to lose it once she decides she was happier with the status quo as a servant. Miss Bigger buys a sedan chair for charity – but trust her to lumber Wee Sue and her friend with the job of carrying it to her place! Then thieves steal the chair, and it’s up to Wee Sue’s big brain to sort them out. The promise of a hamper lures Bessie out for ice-skating practice, but of course there have to be hijinks.

Hannah’s latest attempt to hit the headlines fails again because her prop got vandalised. At first she suspects her sisters, who have been sabotaging her every effort so far, but now she isn’t so sure. Sounds like a mystery to tie up, and will it have any bearing on Hannah’s campaign to prove herself?

There is a double-up of Strange Stories this week. The first is about a new girl named Stella who is perfect at everything. But Tracey Roberts thinks there is something odd about it all, and about the star on the bracelet Stella always wears. Then, when the star falls off Stella’s bracelet she falls mysteriously ill and Tracey gets strange visions from her parents urging her to find the star. The second is a parable about how beauty can be found even in the most unexpected places. Once Chris Dale learns this lesson she agrees to have the eye surgery she had refused before.

Incidentally, the blurb announcing the new Bella story says she will have a crack at the Moscow Olympics (which of course will be a “struggle”). Older Bella readers would know that she had never succeeded in competing at the Olympics. Her 1976 Montreal bid only got her as far as performing in the opening ceremony. Will Bella succeed in competing at the Olympics this time?

Sally 21 June 1969

Sally 21 June 1961

  • Farm Boss Fanny (artist unknown)
  • The Cat Girl (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Little Lulu – cartoon strip
  • Legion of Super-Slaves (artist unknown)
  • The Castle Kids and the Very Important Cow (artist unknown)
  • The Girl from Tomorrow (artist unknown)
  • Des and Dink – cartoon strip
  • Tiny Tania in Space (artist Rodrigo Comos?)
  • Daddy Come Home (artist unknown)
  • Maisie’s Magic Eye (artist unknown, but later drawn by Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Justice of Justine (artist unknown, but later drawn by Mike Noble)
  • Thunk – cartoon strip
  • Four on the Road (artist unknown)

Sally began on 14 June 1969. She started off with a strong emphasis on adventure, fantasy, SF and super-heroine stories. Later some of these elements gave way to more traditional stories on orphans and ballet. Memorable strips included “Maisie’s Magic Eye” and “Cat Girl”, both of which would be absorbed into Tammy. Sally merged with Tammy on 2 April 1971, making her the first of six titles that would be absorbed by Tammy during her 13-year run.

The merger was unusual in that Sally was older than Tammy, which had barely been out two months before swallowing Sally. Tammy hadn’t even finished all the stories from her first issue yet! This is a complete reversal of the usual pattern in which the older comic absorbs the newer one, very often a fledgling that has not proven profitable enough to last. It is thought that Sally had taken a bad hit in her sales due to a long absence from a 10-week strike, whereas the new Tammy was booming. Ironically, Sally is now enjoying a whole new status as a collector’s item and her issues command high prices.

I do not have the first issue of Sally, so I present the second (nice budgies, anyway!) to represent some Sally context in Jinty’s family tree at IPC.

Sally has two stories where kids go up against grasping schemers, and the antics have comical overtones. The first is “Farm Boss Fanny”, where Fanny locks horns with Gerald Garlick, who is out to buy her farm. The other is “The Castle Kids and the Very Important Cow”. Susan Porter and friends – which include a cow they rescued – help Mr and Mrs Lemington from being unfairly evicted from the castle by barricading it. But what’s so important about the cow? Ask the two men who are out to get their hands on it.

SF strips are both serious and comic. On the humour side is “Thunk”, a dog-like alien who has made friends with Penny Jones. “The Girl from Tomorrow” is more serious: a 23rd century girl has landed in 1969 after messing about with her uncle’s time machine, and is now on the run with a reformed pickpocket. Another is “Tiny Tania in Space”, who has permitted herself to be miniaturised and taken to an alien planet in order to escape an abusive guardian – only to find the alien is putting her on show at a science conference! But others howl in protest and one is out to rescue Tania. We are told that Tania will return to normal proportions next week, so should the title really have included the “tiny” bit if Tania was only to be miniaturised for three episodes? Finally, there is “Legion of Super-Slaves”. Sounds like some sort of super-hero thing gone wrong? Something is definitely wrong with the mind of “The Grand Termite” if he kidnaps girls to be used in a slave colony called “The Ants”, and they are only allowed to join if they survive his deadly tests!

The super-heroine theme is high as well. The most memorable is “The Cat Girl”, where Cathy gains cat-like super-powers after donning a magic cat suit and sets out to help her PI father, who is currently running up against his arch-enemy, The Eagle. Cat Girl would be one of two Sally strips to go into the merger. The other super-heroine, “The Justice of Justine”, proved less durable and was eventually dropped. Justine is given magic items that turn her into a super-heroine, including a magic mirror that tells her where she is needed each week.

The other Sally story to go into Tammy was “Maisie’s Magic Eye”. Maisie Macrae has acquired a magic brooch fashioned from a piece of meteorite. At this stage the brooch has hypnotic powers; whenever it glows, it makes people do whatever Maisie tells them. Trouble is, the brooch doesn’t glow all the time and its power tends to cut out at the worst possible moment. Later the brooch would have powers to make anything Maisie says come true, such as transforming two difficult teachers into Romeo and Juliet. Trouble is, it can also do the same with things Maisie says in the heat of the moment, such as calling her friend Lorna an ignoramus.

There are two non-super heroine stories as well. “Daddy Come Home” is a World War II story where evacuees find themselves put into a cruel home with Mrs Grimble, who mistreats her dog as well and the children set out to save it. The other is “Four on the Road”, where two Italian children are told to take two dogs to a rich American in Naples. It sounds like a pretty odd assignment. But there must be a reason for it, which will no doubt be revealed in due course. This story, by the way, was reprinted in Jinty annual 1975.

And of course there are cartoon strips. Thunk has already been mentioned. The other two were “Des and Dink” and “Little Lulu”. Lulu made it to Tammy, and would make an appearance in an annual.

 

Tammy’s 10th Birthday Issue

Tammy 7 February 1981

Cover artist: Robert MacGillivray

Characters/serials on the cover: Sandy Rawlings; Molly Mills; Belinda Bookworm; Wee Sue; Bella Barlow; undetermined; Push-along, Patti; Bessie Bunter; Miss Bigger

  •  Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • The Black and White World of Shirley Grey – first episode (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • Push-along, Patti (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Help Yourself to a Holiday – competition
  • Molly Mills and the Echoes from the Past – new story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Tune-In (feature)
  • Belinda Bookworm (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Imaginary Abbie – Strange Story from the Mists (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Rita My Robot Friend (artist Tony Coleman)

While it is out of the garage, I am going to discuss the issue where Tammy celebrated her 10th birthday (sadly, this is something Jinty never reached). Tammy certainly pulls out the stops to celebrate: her commemorative cover; Edie and Miss T redecorating their rooms with 10 years’ worth of Tammy; Miss Bigger taking Wee Sue and her friends on a special tour to the Tammy office; and Molly reflecting on her 10 years at Stanton Hall (once Pickering points out she had been there that long). And of course it wouldn’t be complete without celebratory competitions.

When revisiting past Tammy characters, we see that the focus is on ones who are currently running (Belinda Bookworm), have appeared in comparatively recent years (Thursday’s Child, Cindy of Swan Lake), or whose memory still lingers on (Olympia Jones, Babe of St Wood’s). The only really early Tammy character to reappear is Cat Girl. There are no Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’, Aunt Aggie, School for Snobs, Beattie or any of the characters from the first years.

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However, the Molly story does reflect back on the early days and hints at how different the tone of Tammy was back then. Molly not only remembers the time she arrived at Stanton Hall but also how much more cruel Pickering was back in the early days.  Indeed, the Molly strip has become tamer now in comparison to what it was in Tammy’s early years. It has clearly been toned down. Pickering is still a bully who picks on Molly, but the stocks, beatings, dungeons and cold duckings in the lake are now a thing of Tammy’s past, thank goodness. Even the catty Betty and Kitty, who played a dirty trick that nearly got Molly sacked on her first day, have lost their cattiness and are more friendly with Molly.

(click thru)

Tammy herself has been toned down as well. When she was first launched, she revelled in stories filled with darkness, cruelty, torture and suffering. But readers loved it and her sales rocketed. Stories with the Cinderella theme or slave theme (girls used as slaves in one form or another) abounded, and a number of them, such as “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’” and “The Four Friends at Spartan School” really pushed the envelope with the tortures their heroines went through. But by the late 1970s these had all faded. All that remained of them was Bella Barlow, who is still badly treated by Jed and Gert Barlow, although she has just rescued them from hard times.

But Tammy had not gone all light and soppy. Her current stories, “Belinda Bookworm”, “Push-along, Patti” and “Rita My Robot Friend” all feature heroines who are being bullied/ostracised at school and trying to rise above it. Tammy’s new story, “The Black and White World of Shirley Grey”, will also feature some extremely vicious and horrifying bullying in the weeks ahead.

It has been just over a year since Misty merged with Tammy. The Misty logo is smaller now and there have been fewer spooky stories than when Misty joined. But the Strange Stories from the Mist continue, as do Edie and Miss T and the Misty horoscope.

Edie and Miss T 1

Tammy and Misty 19 January 1980

Tammy and Misty cover 19 January 1980

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Bella – new story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Daughter of the Desert (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Sister in the Shadows (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Spider Woman – first episode (artist Jaume Rumeu aka Homero Romeu)
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Put Yourself in the Picture! – Quiz (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Friend Pepi – Strange Story from the Mists (artist José Ariza?)
  • Make the Headlines, Hannah! (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Cindy of Swan Lake (artist Ana Rodriguez)

Sometimes we deviate from the main topic to bring attention to topics that are related to Jinty. So this entry goes off-topic to discuss the issue where Misty merged with Tammy.

The merger still resonates years later – mostly because a number of Misty readers were not happy with it and wanted the original back. The short-lived Best of Misty Monthly that appeared some years after the merger was a response to the demand for the return of Misty. A “Best of” monthly was something neither Tammy nor Jinty ever had, though Girl (series 2) did get one as well. Even today, there are efforts to bring Misty back in one form or other.

At the time, the merger itself must have been something of a disappointment for a number of Misty readers because there was not much Misty in it (it was for me, and I was a Tammy reader). Things did not improve much once Tammy’s current serials finished, which would have made more room for overt Misty material. “The Loneliest Girl in the World”, “The Sea Witches”, (possibly) “A Girl Called Midnight”, “Danger Dog” and “The Shadow of Sherry Brown” look like they may have come from Misty. Some of them, such as “The Loneliest Girl in the World”, were undoubtedly Misty. But in other cases it can be hard to say if the spooky story was Misty or Tammy; after all, Tammy ran spooky stories too. Later on, Misty’s text stories returned; they must have taken the advice of one reader who suggested it. Mini-serial spooky stories, such as “The House Mouse”, also appeared occasionally, just as they did in the original Misty.

Edie and Miss T

Misty arguably made her mark more in the Strange Stories, which became “Strange Stories from the Mist”, with Misty herself being rotated with the Storyteller. Miss T and Edie merged into one cartoon, which is a simple matter, because Joe Collins drew them both. They are a bit of an odd couple (ordinary girl and witch), which perhaps made the cartoon even better. Once Snoopa joined in the Jinty merger, they became “The Crayzees”.

Misty also brought a darker tone into Tammy, which was still felt even during the Tammy and Jinty merger, when “Monster Tales” started. There was no way either Tammy or Jinty would run anything like that – it had to be Misty. Perhaps “Monster Tales” was originally conceived for Misty, but there was no room until Bessie, Wee Sue and Molly Mills were amalgamated into one feature “Old Friends”, which they shared in rotation.

Some letters from Tammy readers indicate that the incorporation of Misty must have been a shock to them. Several commented that they found her spooky theme not only unsettling but unrealistic as well. Indeed, “Spider Woman” (a sequel to “The Black Widow” from Misty) must have given them all nightmares full of spiders. Spider Woman is an insane scientist who could well have been the first villain in Tammy to be out for world domination. Even more frightening, the story plays on the common fear of spiders to heights that Tammy readers had never seen before. We see spiders capable of eating people alive and leaving only the bones, giant spiders, poisonous spiders, and even a serum that can turn a human being into a spider!

Spider Woman 1

 

Spider Woman 2

The merger issue also has a very interesting quiz that shows that Tammy and Misty made serious efforts to accustom readers to the tone of the two different comics. Here readers are not only invited to imagine themselves in the places of the heroines in the story, but are also informed about the stories that will replace the currently running “Cindy of Swan Lake”, “Sister in the Shadows”, “Daughter of the Desert” and “Make the Headlines, Hannah!” This is the only case where I have seen upcoming stories being revealed in this way. Normally we are not informed about any new stories until the week before they start. The quiz also informs us that Bessie Bunter has been demoted from a regular weekly strip to a character “who you’ll meet from time to time”.

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In later weeks, Tammy and Misty ran another feature to get readers further acquainted with Tammy regulars (two of whom, Bessie and Molly, were not even appearing at the time). This was “Misty’s House of Mystery”, a game where Tammy regulars Sue, Bella, Bessie and Molly are caught in Misty’s House of Mystery, which is full of horrors such as blood showers and man-eating plants! The game is reproduced below. Imagine Jinty regulars going through a thing like that….

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And in this issue, Bella starts her bid for the Moscow Olympics by entering the world qualifier in Texas, with the help of her coach and her wealthy guardians, the Courtney-Pikes. Sounds like Bella’s hopes for the Olympics are better than in her 1976 Montreal Olympics story, where she had to make her way alone without even a passport, but only got as far as participating in the opening ceremony. But unexpected expenses that cause money shortages, unhelpful Texan coaches, and the sudden withdrawal of the Courtney-Pikes without explanation are already leaving her up the proverbial creek without a paddle before the event even begins.

Anne Digby – Interview

We are fortunate in being able to publish an interview with Anne Digby, children’s author Anne Digbyand writer of girls comics stories. The title she is particularly associated with is Tammy, of course, which saw publication of various text stories written by her, as well as comics adaptations of her already-published children’s books, also done by her. Below she gives some previously-unseen information on her past time in this comics world, which we are very grateful to have.

 

1 I was interested to see your interview with www.booksmonthly.co.uk this month as I know you rarely give interviews.  I would love to know more about your experiences of writing for comics and how you first started, and how this led on to writing children’s books.

Hello, Jenni. Well, like a lot of people, I’d always wanted to write books. The seed was sown in primary school  when I had a poem published  in a children’s magazine and the prize was a handsome hardback entitled, I think, “Sheila’s Glorious Holiday”. I thought how exciting it might be to write a whole book one day and see that in print, too.

At sixteen I became an editorial trainee at Fleetway House and then later become a freelance writer. My first published work of any substance was a full-length book entitled “Ella’s Big Sacrifice” (Schoolgirls Own Library, 1960). In those days the girls’ comics still carried text serials and stories alongside the picture-strips and the best of these were republished in book form under the Schoolgirls Own Library imprint, together with some new works. S.O.L. published two titles a month and, to keep them affordable, they were printed on poor paper and in tiny print. So my first book was hardly the handsome hardback I’d once dreamed about – but at least it was a start.

2  At what stage did you start writing stories in picture-strip format? When did you stop?

It’s difficult to date this exactly. My freelance career in the 1960s was quite varied, including straightforward journalism, which involved a certain amount of travel, and at one stage a staff job with Oxfam. But I always kept my hand in at writing stories for children and the market for picture-stories was becoming much larger than for straightforward text. I adapted to this quite happily – in fact back in my schooldays I’d written and drawn a picture-strip for an unofficial magazine we produced. (This was once confiscated, an episode that was to become the inspiration for one of the plot threads in First Term at Trebizon!) So, once I became a stay-at-home Mum, I dropped the journalism and just concentrated on children’s fiction – in either format – which could be written from the comfort of home.

And when, by the 1970s, the market for girls’ weekly comics with a strong fiction base was shrinking in favour of text-based mass-market paperbacks, it was a natural progression to move on to children’s books.

3 Your trajectory as a writer has involved the movement back and forth between prose fiction and picture-strip fiction. Can you tell us a little about  what differences you see between the two kinds of story-telling media – the things that work better or less well in each, the adaptations that you perhaps had to make when moving between one and the other?

What a fascinating question. Do you know, I think I found remarkably little difference. I think this might be because – once I’ve hit on the basic idea – I’ve always first visualised stories in a filmic way, certain key scenes/ images which appeal to me, around which I create the rest of the plot.

Another point is that writers and artists never worked in a collaborative way at Fleetway or Odhams Press – at  least, not to the best of my knowledge or in my own experience. When starting a script I had no idea who would be drawing the pictures.  I always had faith in an editor to marry the script with the right artist – and some of them were brilliant. One had a blank sheet of paper on which one drew up a grid, sketching in each scene for an instalment (like events in a book chapter), then one went on to describe each scene, frame by frame, for the artist’s guidance – together with the accompanying dialogue, to indicate the size/number of speech balloons required for each frame.  As these descriptions were not for publication, they would be less formal than if they’d been written for a prose work, but that was the only real difference.

For instance, I remember I was once invited to adapt two of my books into picture-strip serials for Tammy. I discovered that both of these scripts – for “A Horse Called September” (which I’d already published as a text serial) and for “First Term at Trebizon” –  in fact just about wrote themselves!

4 I’m sure every writer has their favourite creations.  As you look back on your time of writing for Tammy and other similar titles – are there any particular stories that you are still really pleased to have written, or maybe some you’d prefer to expunge from your memory?

Well, I’m sure there may be some of the latter, but if so they are safely expunged already.

First Term Front Cover
Illustration by Lucy Truman

Going even further back, I suspect that “Ella’s Big Sacrifice” might be one of them. As far as picture strips go, my favourites include “The Dance Dream”, “Olympia Jones” and “Tennis Star Tina” – (Trebizon readers might guess that  I’ve always loved that particular sport). All three stories were reprinted at least once, so hopefully the readers liked them too.

Once again, many thanks to Anne for providing the above interview. Her popular (or indeed, classic) Trebizon series is being reissued by Egmont on the 28 January.

Misty fan added scans from “The Dance Dream”, Girl annual 1982 reprint.

dance dream
Dance Dream
dance dream 2
Dance Dream
dance dream 3
Dance Dream

Edited to add: thanks to poster Peace355 on the Comics UK Forum, here are two pages from “Tennis Star Toni” in June (issue dated 10/06/1961; art by Giorgio Giorgetti).

Tennis Star Tina 1

Tennis Star Tina 2

Here also are the pages from the first episode of “First Term at Trebizon”, with associated factfile, from Tammy 19 November 1983. It ended in Tammy 4 February 1984. Thanks to Peace for this, too.

First Term at Trebizon pg 1

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Edited to add: the following stories written by Anne Digby and printed in Girl have been catalogued by Phoenix on the UK Comics Forum. Many thanks to him for this extra information!

  • 21 Newlands Park (May 20 1961 – Feb. 10 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in The Spring Term Mystery (Feb. 17 1962 – Mar. 17 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in Island Adventure” (Mar. 24 1962 – Jun. 2 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in The New Girl (Jun. 9 1962 – Sep. 1 1962)
  • The Missing Masterpiece (Sep. 8 1962 – Nov. 17 1962)
  • The Emergency [complete] (Nov. 24 1962)
  • Jill And Gino (Dec. 1 1962 – Feb. 2 1963)
  • Lindy Goes Pop! (Feb. 9 1963 – Jun. 1 1963)
  • A Present For Haven (Jun. 8 1963 – Sep. 7 1963)

Jinty Annual 1985

Jinty annual 1985 2

  • Cold Comfort (feature)
  • The Lady of the Manor (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Sky at Night (feature)
  • Two Janes in History (feature)
  • The Donkey Hero (feature)
  • Freckles (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • The True Story of Lady Hester Stanhope (feature)
  • Make a Motif (feature)
  • Mini Ha-Ha! (cartoon)
  • 100 Dogs and a Girl
  • Just Your Luck (feature)
  • A Carol for Christmas (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Take a Tip (feature)
  • Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle (cartoon)
  • Curious Curses (feature)
  • The House on Sinister Hill (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Six Steps to Popularity (feature)
  • Hair Today… (feature)
  • Hints for Happy Campers (feature)
  • Party Food…All through the Year! (feature)
  • The Jinty Nature Trail (feature)
  • Scruff’s Dog Show (poem)
  • Holiday of Adventure
  • Candy and Mandy (cartoon) (artist Fergusson Dewar)
  • A Cat Called Shivers (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Stencil It! (feature)
  • Friends and Neighbours (artist Ken Houghton)

This was the second-to-last Jinty annual, and it is also the first to really show the decline in her annuals. The previous annual had been the last to feature Jinty material; this one begins a fallback on reprints that are not even Jinty. They look like they have been taken from older material, probably June, Girls Crystal or whatever. The artwork from Jim Baikie and Ken Houghton looks like it came from their early days as it looks less developed and sophisticated than their regular Jinty artwork. The Diane Gabbot artwork in “Freckles” also looks like it is some of her earlier artwork. Even the cartoons have been taken from elsewhere, and there is no Snoopa or Alley Cat to be seen. The annual is Jinty in name only.

Why such a decline when Jinty’s sister titles Misty and Tammy still featured and reprinted their own material in their own annuals? Was it due to legal reasons, economics, or other editorial decisions?

Tammy & Jinty 28 November 1981

Image

  • Jump, Jump, Julia (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • The Shadow of Sherry Brown – first episode (artist Maria Barrera)
  • Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Pam of Pond Hill – from Jinty (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Goodbye, Jo… (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Sheena, So Shy (artist Tony Coleman)
  • The Bow Street Runner – continues from Jinty (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Lara the Loner (artist Juliana Buch, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)

This was the issue where Jinty merged with Tammy. Strangely, the merger changed the Jinty logo – something Jinty had never done in all her seven years. And it was very unusual to change the logo of a merging comic. What could be the reason for doing it here? Had there been plans to change the Jinty logo during her own run that they decided to put into practice here? Or did they feel the previous style would not stand out so well in a smaller size? The more solid lettering, narrowing of the letter spaces, and the overlap of the letters in the new style does point to the latter.

Correction: It has been brought to my attention that Jinty did change to the new logo in October, about seven issues before the merger.  This figures, because I do regard these last seven issues of Jinty as a “countdown” to the merger because of the abrupt change in the lineup of stories to short filler stories and hints that “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” was building up to a conclusion. The rushed conclusion of “Worlds Apart” and sudden return of “Pam of Pond Hill” point to this as well.

Jinty brought with her “Pam of Pond Hill” (with an entirely new story that had no proper introductions to the characters – Tammy readers were left to pick things up), the continuation of “The Bow Street Runner”, and the amalgamation of Snoopa into the Edie & Miss T strip to become “Crayzees”. They move into a new house to celebrate, but Edie dislikes Snoopa from the start and is chagrined when Miss T’s cat falls in love with him. Phil Townsend made his transition to Tammy with “The Bow Street Runner” and became a regular contributor. Trini Tinturé made no contributions to Tammy, except for one complete story, “When the Wild Geese Call…”. Later, Tammy & Jinty readers would see a repeat of Jinty‘s “The Human Zoo”, possibly due to Pam’s Poll in 1980. The merger would also run “Little Sisters”, which was possibly originally written for Jinty because it appeared in a Jinty annual. Tansy of Jubilee Street would return in “Old Friends”, a slot she shared with Bessie Bunter, Molly and Wee Sue until the merger gave way to the new look Tammy on 17 July 1982. Gypsy Rose would return in the spooky storyteller slot that she shared with The Storyteller. The merger also carried on Jinty‘s ribbon-cutting logo that she had used to open new stories. And of course no merger is no complete without a competition to celebrate (though some readers may not have), and the first prize is a 7-day trip to the US.

In regard to Tammy, she had dropped the Misty logo shortly before the merger. But one suspects that the Misty influence continued, as the merger ran “Monster Tales”, which told stories of monsters that included a man-eating plant, a gargoyle, a (helpful) fire monster, a doll that reflected the evil nature of its owner, and a man turned into a monstrous dog as a punishment for his cruelty to dogs. Such a thing could only come from Misty; perhaps this was originally written for Misty and appeared in the Tammy & Jinty merger because the space had opened for it.

The merger also saw changes in the art teams. Phil Townsend was now a regular and Maria Barrera’s artwork appeared more frequently, starting with “The Shadow of Sherry Brown”. But other Tammy art veterans were on their way out. Giorgio Giorgetti, an artist who had been with Tammy from her early days, made his Tammy swansong with “Jump, Jump, Julia”. Douglas Perry, who had been on the Tammy team since year one, would become sporadic, with Molly Mills in “Old Friends” and some complete stories, before disappearing from Tammy later in 1982. Presumably this was when Perry moved to DCT. Diane Gabbot, who had been a regular Tammy artist since 1976, drew her last Tammy serial, “Rosie at the Royalty”, just before the merger. She would return only to draw the spot illustrations for “Into the Fourth at Trebizon” adaptation in 1983.