Tag Archives: It’s a Dog’s Life

Tammy 9 April 1983

Tammy 9 April 1983

Cover artist: Trini Tinturé

  • The Secret of Angel Smith (artist Juliana Buch, writer Jay Over)
  • It’s a Dog’s Life (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, (sub)writer Ian Mennell)
  • Spring into Summer! (artist Joe Collins, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Tom Newland)
  • Princess and the Bear (artist Hugo D’Adderio, writer Chris Harris)
  • Pair Up for ‘Champions All’! – gymnastics freebie
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • ET Estate (artist Guy Peeters, writer Jake Adams)
  • Take-Away Fashion for Spring – feature


Tammy’s spring issue for 1983 immediately follows her Easter issue. It merits inclusion in our spread of Tammy Easter issues because of its colourful cheery cover, which is a very Easter-like cover with those cute little chicks and field full of daisies. It looks like one of the chicks is about to find out that bees are not for eating, though! Tammy also has a spring quiz. When she ran credits, we learnt it was Maureen Spurgeon who wrote the quizzes. She might have written Jinty’s quizzes too.

“It’s a Dog’s Life” and “E.T. Estate” are on their penultimate episodes. When Rowan runs away from the bullying with Riley, she finds the refuge she was aiming for is no longer available, and there’s nowhere else to go. Of course it is not long before the police catch up. It looks like back to the bullying for Riley and Rowan – or maybe not, as the final episode is next week. Meanwhile, other policemen are called in to investigate the goings-on at ET Estate, but the aliens quickly get rid of them with their hypnotic powers. Jenny and Dora are still tied up. Can nothing stop the aliens’ pod from reaching maturity? If it does, it will spell doom for all life on Earth, including the human race.

Abby, getting nowhere with her father over what she knows about “The Secret of Angel Smith” because he’s been led to believe it’s jealousy, decides to play Angel at her own game and act ruthless to get what she wants. Her plan is to force Dad to watch her on the trapeze and let her into the act – but then the trapeze snaps and Abby looks badly injured from the fall! Could Dad’s fears about losing Abby the way he lost his wife (from a trapeze fall) be prophetic after all?

This week’s Button Box tale is a sad, cautionary tale about seeking revenge without getting your facts straight first. So many revenge-seekers in girls’ comics have found out they had persecuted innocent people because they had misjudged them (or had been misled about them). And the girl in the tale (Ann Freeman) suffers for her error far more than they do. She has spent a whole year in shame, tears and guilt, and too ashamed to even write to the girl – her best friend – whom she had hurt so badly in her mistaken revenge. But it doesn’t sound like she has owned up or apologised to her friend, which is the first true step in the healing.

Bella discovers her Uncle Jed’s trick over the gym he had her believe he was renting for her when the gym owner finds her and kicks her out. (Oh, come on, Bella, you really should know have known better!) Sure enough, it was another of Jed’s schemes to make money out of Bella. Now there is a new mystery over the woman who owns the gym – she wears a mask. Bella is drawn back to her, and discovers the mysterious masked lady is a brilliant gymnast.

Nanny is still having problems over Barbara, who is jealous over her new baby brother because it seems that he’s stealing all attention from her. At least Nanny now fully understands the problem.

This week’s complete story is a cautionary tale about showing consideration to both animals and people. The officers of the Second Hussars do not heed Princess Elena’s advice to treat their soldiers considerately, as she does with the mascot bear that they mistreat. The soldiers mutiny in protest of their treatment, and when they take Elena prisoner, the bear repays her kindness by helping her escape.

In the new Pond Hill story, Goofy enters a film competition that requires a short documentary about your school. A film about Pond Hill? Now that sounds even more dramatic and problematic than a soap opera! Yep, it sure is. Goofy finds that even the stern Mr Gold goes gaga when he is in front of the camera!

Tammy 2 April 1983

Tammy 2 April 1983

Cover artist: Santiago Hernandez

  • The Secret of Angel Smith (artist Juliana Buch, writer Jay Over)
  • It’s a Dog’s Life (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)
  • Strawberry Delight! Competition
  • Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Tom Newland)
  • The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Thief by Night (artist Eduardo Feito) – complete story
  • Easter Bonnets – feature
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • ET Estate (artist Guy Peeters, writer Jake Adams)

The cover of this Tammy Easter issue has always had me craving for a yummy Easter egg.

But anyway, Wee Sue, Bessie Bunter and even the Storyteller have been dropped by this stage, so how does the issue commemorate Easter? There is a feature on how to make an Easter bonnet, Easter jokes, and Easter hijinks with the Crayzees. Miss T tries a spell to enlarge Easter eggs and thinks she’s succeeded, but finds that what she has really done is shrink herself and Edie so the Easter eggs just look big to them. And when she tries to reverse a spell, she ends up turning herself and Edie into giants, so now the eggs look like mini eggs to them.

You’d think there would be an Easter tale somewhere in “The Button Box”. Instead, it’s shades of “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” with the tale of “ ‘Tough Nut’ Tara”. New girl Tara is a hard case who snubs all offers of friendship. But when it’s her birthday she gives in. She admits to Bev that, like Stefa, she reacted badly to grief and tried to harden her heart so she would not be hurt that way again, but now she realises her mistake. Thank goodness tough nut Tara was not as hard to crack as Stefa!

The complete story slot could have been used for an Easter story. Instead, it’s a reprint of a Strange Story. By this time Tammy was running reprints of Strange Stories, but the Storyteller has been replaced with text boxes.

In the serials, Abby Fox can’t help but be jealous of Angel Smith, the girl who wants to enter the family’s trapeze act while Abby is excluded because Dad does not want to lose her the way he lost her mother. Now Abby suspects “The Secret of Angel Smith”, whatever that is, and Stalky the clown could help her there. But Stalky has oddly clammed up and Abby thinks it’s because the circus boss has been at him over it.

In “It’s a Dog’s Life”, Rowan Small is bullied in the children’s home, and the bullying she gets shares some parallels with the ill-treatment Riley the dog gets next door. Both Riley and Rowan have been making progress in striking back at their abusers, but this week the bullies bring in reinforcements, which trebles the bullying for both of them. Rowan decides it’s time to run away – with Riley in tow, of course.

Bella is so badly out of training that she has to go through the basic tests to get back into gymnastics. It’s a bit of a come-down for an ex-champion like her, but at least she gets through. But Bella should have known better than to believe her devious Uncle Jed would have genuinely been hiring the private gym he found for her. And in the final panel it looks like she is about to find out the hard way…

Nanny Young is in charge of a baby this time, and there are suspicious signs that his older sister Barbara is jealous of him. Nanny tries to reach out to Barbara while looking for the solution, but so far it’s evasive.

The current Pam of Pond Hill story concludes this week. Fortune-seekers have been out to steal Goofy’s inheritance from his great-aunt, which they believe is hidden in the doll’s house that was bequeathed to him. They tear the doll’s house to pieces to find it and leave in haste when they turn up empty. It turns out they didn’t look hard enough.

In “ET Estate”, the alien invaders finally catch up with Jenny and Dora. They hold them prisoner while explaining the next stage of their plan – which will make all life (humans included) on Earth extinct, just to keep them fed!


Jinty Holiday Special 1979

Jinty holiday special

  • Cover: Jim Baikie
  • The Girl on the Pier (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • It’s a Dog’s Life – text story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Cuckoo Cookery (feature)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Captain’s Bride – text story (artist Terry Aspin)
  • It’s Your Day to be Special! (feature)
  • The Spoof of St. Elma’s (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Alley Cat
  • Masquerade (artist Shirley Bellwood)
  • Fishing for Compliments! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • A New Hobby for Every Mood! (feature)
  • My Lady’s Fan (text story)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Colourama (feature)
  • Grey Owl and the Beaver (text story)
  • The Ghost of Charlotte – Gypsy Rose story

I have the misfortune to be missing a few pages in this special, so I do not have the ending to “The Spoof of St. Elma’s” or the title of the text ballet story that follows. If anyone can help, I would be most grateful!

Update: I now have the missing information, which I will supply later.

The special starts off with a Cinderella story “The Girl on the Pier”. The McLorys and their niece Belinda move into a seaside town where they start a guest house. But it’s Belinda who is lumbered with all the work and no pay. A bit of fun would make it better, but  there’s no fun either – except for her friend Noreen who promises fun on the pier when it opens. And when it does, Belinda has the time of her life and Noreen says she can stay forever. Back at the guest house, the uncle and aunt are puzzled by their niece’s disappearance, as the only pier around is one that burned down years ago. They begin to think they will never see their unpaid slave again….

With “The Spoof of St. Elma’s”, Jinty takes a rare foray into the theme of the sadistic school where the headmistress believes in the harshest discipline that makes for torture. But there is a twist that turns the theme upside-down. The “cold and unfeeling” Miss Reed, who takes great pride in making  St Elma’s “the harshest and strictest school in the country” (grim teachers and appointing the hardest girls as prefects are among her methods) retires and is replaced by Miss Steele. Miss Steele was chosen by Miss Reed herself for carrying on the Reed tradition, so the pupils brace themselves for more of the same. But Miss Steele seems to be poking fun at the whole thing when she humiliates the grim teachers by having them do PE in front of the pupils and then tell them to sing nursery rhymes, mimic an air raid to teach pupils about World War 2, and other bizarre things she directs over the newly-installed loudspeakers that are soon turning the harsh discipline of Miss Reed on its head. The odd thing is, nobody ever sees Miss Steele – they just hear her voice over the loudspeakers. Sadly, I am missing the story beyond page 30, so I have no idea what Miss Steele was playing at. If anyone can help, please advise me! I sure would like to know what happened!

In another school story, “Fishing for Compliments”, the headmistress growls at Chrissie for lousy schoolwork and hopes the new maths teacher can do something with her. When the new teacher, Miss Mayhew, moves into Chrissie’s house, Chrissie hopes to take advantage of Miss Mayhew’s love of fishing to divert Miss Mayhew from her grades. But things rebound on Chrissie during a fishing trip and she ends up with extra maths after all. But in the end, everything’s happy and everyone’s laughing over their misadventures.

Regular Jinty features are Bizzie Bet and the Easies and Gypsy Rose – which looks like another recycled Strange story that substitutes Gypsy Rose for the Storyteller. The story is about a brutal aristocrat who takes on a new wife, Charlotte. His brutality ends up killing her, but her ghost takes revenge when he tries to get rid of his former in-laws. He ends up perishing and becoming a ghost himself while they inherit his estate! A most satisfying tale of revenge and retribution on domestic violence.

No Fran, although she had her sequel in 1979. Maybe she showed up in other specials – she certainly made it to an annual or two. But Alley Cat and Rinty ‘n’ Jinty are there to give us the expected dose of laughs!

Update: Helsbels of www.comicsuk.co.uk has supplied me with the missing information. The text story is called Masquerade, and the entry has been amended accordingly. And Miss Steele turned out to be a computer, the only thing Miss Reed thought was capable of carrying on her hard, unfeeling discipline. Too bad for Miss Reed that Miss Steele malfunctioned, hence the goings-on that turned Miss Reed’s regime on its head. And now the computer has blown altogether. Miss Reed says she will soon get Miss Steele up and running the Reed way, but she does not get the chance. The governors are not impressed and neither are the teachers of Miss Reed’s ilk, who resign. They are replaced by school staff and a headmistress who take the opposite approach to Miss Reed, and the school becomes a happier place. So Miss Reed ended up destroying her own regime instead of perpetuating it!

Thank you, Helsbels!