In the 1974 issue in our Tammy August month round, three of the four serials (Bella, Sadie and Eva) that began in the Tammy and June merger issue are now on their penultimate episodes, and the fourth (“Swimmer Slave of Mrs. Squall”) finishes. That means readers will soon have a huge lineup of new stories to look forward to. It’s always great to see a big lineup of stories begin in one issue.
On the cover, one of the Cover Girls is outbouncing kangaroos with her pogo stick. But the cover’s let down a bit by how cardboard the kangaroos look, as if a kid drew them. Surely John Richardson can draw far better kangas than that?
Ghost stories in the Strange Stories are by no means unusual, but the ghost certainly is – a ghost lorry. It starts haunting Gail Hawkins when she holidays in a village where heavy traffic has been diverted after a fatal lorry accident. But why is it haunting Gail, and why is a voice telling her to get the hell out?
You would think teachers would have no problem with pupils stopping at a cafe for a coffee on the way home from school, would you? Not when the teacher’s Miss Bigger, who makes a big fuss over such a trivial thing – Sue and Co stopping for some coffee before starting homework, and turns it into yet another weekly round of Miss Bigger trouble for Sue to sort out.
Molly’s caught up in one of the complex mysteries she’s ever tackled, and the more she probes it, the more questions it raises than answers: a wounded war pilot whose face is bandaged, and he won’t speak or give his name; a community that clams up about him; a strange couple have taken over his old home, Poppy Farm, and try to hold him prisoner, as they have done with his wife Emily for years; a boy says Poppy Farm is cursed; and now nothing’s left of the pilot but his uniform and bandages. Gets weirder by the minute, doesn’t it?
Jeannie and Aunt Martha do something that is long overdue – walk out on Uncle Meanie because of his skinflint ways. Unwisely, they say Uncle Meanie will foot their hotel bills, so he’s on their tail like a shot with more scheming to get them back. He does get them back, but in the end is forced to give in the demands that sent them packing in the first place: fork out the money to replace the dilapidated furnishings he been too mean to replace.
Bessie Bunter and her class offer to help out the youth orchestra when their van breaks down by bringing the instruments to the hall. But things get horny when Miss “Stackers” Stackpole has them take a shortcut through a field, which for some reason has no “Beware of the Bull” sign on the gate. Someone should have a word with the farmer about that! Bessie, after a bit of trouble with Stackers earlier in the story, gets a happy ending by saving the day.
For the 1974 instalment of our Tammy June month round, we profile Tammy 29 June 1974, two weeks into the Tammy & June merger. Appropriately enough, June was the month June merged with Tammy in 1974, and it was one of the most beneficial mergers Tammy went through. She gained a more varied mix of serials, regulars, and now the weekly complete story.
The stage was now set for the regulars Tammy was to have for the next six years: Bella Barlow, Wee Sue, Bessie Bunter, the Storyteller, Molly Mills and the Cover Girls. After a steady, long-standing build towards regular strips in her lineup, Tammy finally had a strong core of regulars to keep her going. It took a few mergers to do it, though. Bessie Bunter and the Storyteller came over from June and Uncle Meanie and Wee Sue from Sandie. Wee Sue proved to have the strongest staying power of the two Sandie strips. Bella Barlow was not yet a regular in Tammy. At this stage she was a serial strip, but she became so popular that she turned into one of Tammy’s longest-running regular strips.
The Storyteller was now providing readers with a regular weekly dose of the supernatural story. In so doing he enabled Tammy to explore all sorts of settings, from Roman times to the future, and more fantasy and science fiction. His other benefit was bringing “complete stories” to Tammy on a regular basis. Before then, complete stories had only appeared sporadically in Tammy.
The drawback to having more regular strips was less room for serials. Nevertheless, the dark, cruelty-laden Cinderella serials and slave story serials of Tammy’s earlier years were still appearing. In the first weeks of the merger they took the form of “Swimmer Slave of Mrs. Squall”, “Sadie in the Sticks” and Bella herself. Bella proved so popular that she ensured the Cinderella story would be a mainstay of Tammy forever. “Eva’s Evil Eye” seemed to indicate the bullying serial was appearing a bit more in Tammy, and the new Molly Mills story was taking a novel approach in doing the “schemer” story, a formula seen more often in the DCT titles.
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
For the 1973 instalment of our Tammy June month round, we look at an issue that starts some new stories. They both have supernatural themes, one malicious and the other beneficial. In the former, an evil witch doctor bewitches a cat to get revenge on the policeman who imprisoned him. But his curse is not striking at the policeman directly – it’s striking at his daughter Katy miles away in England, with the cat doing the old “evil influence” gig on her. One has to wonder why the silly old witch doctor doesn’t use his powers to break out of prison instead – he’s got the superstitious prison guards scared enough of him for that, surely. But no, he’s just going to sit in prison and let the cat do its thing. In the latter, Sheena Barrett is a brilliant swimmer, but her fear of diving is a handicap. Then she meets Marina, a sea spirit who gives her the confidence to dive.
There is also a third supernatural story, “The Girl in the Window”, where Dale befriends a shop dummy that can come to life. This is making for a lot of interesting moments, some awkward, some surprising, and some hilarious. Hilarity is also running high in a “School for Snobs” sequel and “Simple Simona”.
Ballet stories have been the staple in Tammy from the first issue and cropped up frequently in her earlier years. This time it’s “The Lonely Dancer”, about a promising ballerina who is trying to find her missing mother.
As we now have a higher proportion of humour and the supernatural in Tammy, plus the ballet staple, there is less room for the dark tales laden with cruelty, misery and tortured heroines that the early Tammy was noted for. They are still going, but they are now balanced with more lightweight fare, which makes for a more varied mix in the comic. One, “Trina Drop-Out”, finishes this week, and the other is “Dara into Danger”, where a whole ski team is kidnapped and taken to the Antarctic. All except our protagonist Dara have been brainwashed by the mysterious Madame Jensen, but for what exactly hasn’t been established yet. And of course we still have Molly Mills to carry on the Tammy streak of cruelly used heroines.
Meanwhile, “The Stranger in My Shoes” features a heroine who is being tortured another way – her identity is forcibly switched with a delinquent and she is sent to borstal in the delinquent’s place. Is the story going to go with her suffering miseries at the borstal à la “Merry at Misery House” or go another route as she battles to prove her identity?
Aside from Molly Mills, Tammy was still not into “regular” strips to serve as her core. However, the return of “School for Snobs” and, pretty soon, “Aunt Aggie”, showed that semi-regulars were developing.
School for Snobs (artist J. Badesa, writers Pat Mills/John Wagner) – final episode
The Uxdale Urchins (artist Eduardo Feito) – first episode
The Saint of the Snows
Lulu – cartoon
The Champion from Nowhere (artist Tom Hurst)
The Witch of Widcombe Wold (artist Jesus Redondo, creator Terence Magee)
Jill’s Only Joy (artist John Armstrong)
Tina on a Tightrope (artist Roy Newby)
Take Over Biddie
A Special Tammy Portrait – Peter Osgood
5 Radios To Be Won! – Competition
The Dragon of St George’s (artist Douglas Perry)
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
Here Comes Trouble (artist Luis Bermejo)
Now we come to part 2 of our Tammy June month round robin with a June issue from 1972. It’s been over a year since Tammy started, and we can see how Tammy has developed. When she first started, there was nothing in the way of humour to balance things. Her focus was on darkness, cruelty and ill-used heroines. She ramped it up to the max, which sometimes went over the top. We’ve still got the cruelty and ill-used heroines, especially Molly Mills, but Tammy is now injecting more comedy and lightweight stories into the mix, so there is a better balance of stories than before.
Tammy now has a cartoon strip (Lulu), something she didn’t have when she began. However, the most notable example of Tammy’s increasing use of humour is “School for Snobs”, a special school devoted to curing girls of snobbery in hilarious come-uppance ways (but it must be said that it did go overboard at times!). The first School for Snobs story ends this week. It’s not the “snob of the week” format that it would have in its sequels; it was a story arc about reforming two snobbish sisters. One reforms pretty quickly and learns a lot from the school, but the other is a tough nut to crack. It’s not until the final episode this week that she finally decides to make an effort to change.
A mix of drama and humour is used in “The Dragon of St George’s”, about an army sports mistress who runs athletics military style at a boarding school. She’s nicknamed “The Dragon”, and under normal circumstances in girls’ comics she would be a tyrant teacher hated by all the girls. Instead, Tammy turns it around by making the Dragon the heroine of the piece. And why is this? The Dragon is helping the girls to keep the sports they love so much in the face of the mean headmistress and the head girl who don’t approve of athletics and want the school to be exclusively academic. The story was so popular it scored an appearance in a Tammy annual.
The 1971 Tammy focused more on unredeemable villains, such as Ma Thatcher of “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’” and Miss Bramble of “The Four Friends at Spartan School“, but now we are getting some humorous villains. One is Ma Sload of “The Champion of Nowhere”, who is taking advantage of an amnesic girl and her talent for tennis. Although Ma Sload is a serious villain, there is a dash of humour to her too, which makes her oddly endearing. We are also getting villains played more for humour than cruelty. One is the “Witch of Widecombe Wold”, who is always making trouble for her descendant, Lynn Halifax, when she moves to Widecombe Wold, but each week the witch ends up with things backfiring on her and looking stupid. Still, we must remember she is still a villain who has to be got rid of.
“Here Comes Trouble” is another indication of how Tammy is developing. As well as her usual ill-used heroines, she is working on having some really ballsy protagonists who don’t take things lying down.
“Take Over Biddie” is also another example in how Tammy is exploring different types of character portrayal and telling things from a character’s point of view. The story is told from the point of view from Biddie’s cousin Grace. Biddie has had an unhappy home life because of her snobbish mother. Grace has felt sorry for Biddie, but now she’s beginning to suspect Biddie is pushing her out. However, we suspect Grace will still be going through moments where she does not know what to think of Biddie.
Tammy had a high preponderance of period stories in her early years. Her current period stories are “The Saint of the Snows” and “Tina on a Tightrope”. Curiously, her period stories had dwindled by the 1980s.
“Jill’s Only Joy” is the only story I have seen where John Armstrong drew a ballet story. And when you look at the artwork, you have to wonder why he didn’t draw more ballet stories. Jill Carter is striving to be a ballerina, not only in the face of cruel step-parents but also because she wears glasses. And this week she also has to contend with a ballet teacher who is really picking on her.
In 1971, Eduardo Feito began his long-running streak in drawing horse stories for Tammy with “Halves in a Horse”. This week he starts on “The Uxdale Urchins”. Girls save coal mine ponies from being put down and start a riding club with them, “The Uxdale Urchins”, but they soon find they have to contend with the snobs from another riding club.
Published: Tammy & June 22 June 1974 to 7 September 1974
Artist: Charles Morgan 22 June to 3 August 1974; John Richardson 10 August to 7 September 1974
Writer: John Wagner
Translations/reprints: None known
Eva Lee and her grandmother go into Clariford Camp at Wetham, a gypsy resettlement scheme run by Councillor Hawkins, where anti-Romany prejudice is rife in the community. At her new school, Eva is bullied because she is a gypsy, led by school bully Trudy Morris. The form teacher Miss Loftus is just as bullying and constantly humiliates Eva with derogatory comments about gypsies. Eva’s only friend is Mary Miller, a girl with a bad leg.
To stop the bullying, Eva pretends to have the evil eye through a series of tricks, staged accidents, and strokes of luck. This soon has the school bullies running scared and backing off. However, Trudy is less fooled and not giving up bullying Eva that easily. She is determined to show Eva up as a fraud. Later, Eva tries the evil eye stunt on Miss Loftus to stop her bullying. The headmistress, although nicer to Eva, is not fooled about the evil eye, and warns Eva to desist. However, Trudy is still trying to have the girls gang up on her again, so Eva returns to the evil eye trick to be left in peace.
Eva soon finds it’s not just the school bullies she has to scare off with her “evil eye”. Councillor Hawkins strips all gypsies in Clariford Camp of their vardo, something he uses to cheat them and make a profit. When his workmen try to remove gran’s horses, Eva cares them off with her evil eye pretence. Later, she pulls the same stunt on Hawkins himself (pretending to turn his workmen into mice) when he tries to take the caravan and force Eva and Gran to live in a hut.
Then Eva discovers her deception is snowballing and leading to unforeseen consequences. Mary, who has also been fooled, wants Eva to use her powers to cure her crippled leg. Trudy tries to get her parents to remove Eva from the school, and when the headmistress refuses, they organise a rally, which leads to a march on the streets all the way up to the town hall. Councillor Hawkins holds a meeting at the school. It’s very heated and angry, with only the headmistress in favour of Eva, but things turn to terror when Eva shows up.
The stage where where Hawkins, Trudy’s parents and the school staff are sitting suddenly collapses. Only the headmistress is spared. The hall empties in panic. Even Eva is taken by surprise. The headmistress says she had been trying to get the education committee to strengthen those stage supports about umpteen times, but now Eva herself is wondering if she’s got powers, and Mary is now 100% convinced Eva does. Following this incident, Eva is suspended from school and Hawkins and the housing committee decide to evict Eva and her gran.
Eva and Mary head to Clariford, where Hawkins is indeed trying to evict gran. However, the other gypsies decide they’ve had enough of Hawkins and the way he’s treated them. They turn on him and his cronies. Enraged, Hawkins yells for the police to throw them in jail, and it looks like he’s out to evict them all now. Mary urges Eva to use her power. When Eva wishes for someone to come to the rescue, who should show up but a cavalry of medieval knights! They drive off Hawkins with their lances.
It turns out the knights are from an upcoming pageant. They attacked Hawkins because they ran amok. The people running the pageant have heard about Eva and offer her the part of the Witch of Wetham, which will culminate in a mock burning at the stake. Eva accepts.
Eva is still suspended from school, all the girls exept Trudy believe in her evil eye and are scared stiff of her, Trudy’s hell-bent on exposing her as a fraud and renew the bullying, but the headmistress wants to help her. She pulls some strings – school governor Sir Percival Lumsley – to get Eva back in school, but there is to be no more of that evil eye stuff. Eva, who had initially hated her school and the gypsy resettlement idea, now finds she wants to settle at the school and get a proper education, something she could not get because of her wandering life.
Unfortunately, Eva soon finds that stopping what she has started is easier said than done; The momentum’s too strong now. Mary’s now convinced Eva’s powers really have cured her of her bad leg. Even when Eva tries to tell her she doesn’t really have powers, Mary refuses to listen. Trudy is still a threat. Hawkins is going to close down the very gypsy camp he established and evict the gypsies, and this time he’s brought in real enforcements – the police. The townspeople turn up in force as well to watch the fun.
Then the knights turn up again. One lifts his visor and there is no face underneath. All of a sudden everyone’s screaming that Eva’s evil eye has summoned ghost knights, and they run away in panic. Of course there’s a simple explanation – the suit’s too big for its wearer, the dwarfish Sir Percival. The gypsies are saved and Sir Percival is confident there will be no more trouble from Hawkins. Unfortunately, Sir Percival has reckoned without Hawkins working out the truth about the ghost knights. Now he’s hell-bent on stopping that pageant, and finds an old Puritan law forbidding such activities, which can still stop it going foward.
At school, Trudy is equally hell-bent on destroying Eva. She and her gang torture Mary in the washroom with water soakings to force her to give up Eva. Eva, seeing the water mains are being worked on, takes advantage to make it look her evil eye has foiled the water soaking and then give Trudy one instead.
Trudy decides on a change of tactics – pretend to be friendly to Eva while working out a way to crush her. Eva falls for the phony friendliness, despite Trudy having just made one big threat against her and Eva knows her threats are not idle. Eva thinks it must be her evil eye. Trudy learns about Eva’s role in the pageant, and decides to show her up as a fraud at the stake scene by adding something extra to the stake – real fire. Her reasoning: if Eva really has the evil eye she should be able to put the fire out.
Hawkins comes up with the old law he’s found to ban the pageant. However, Trudy surrepticiously destroys it with a magnifying glass; she now has her own reasons for the pageant to continue. Everyone else, including Eva herself, thinks it was her powers at work there. Now Eva really believes she has the evil eye.
At the pageant, Trudy covertly sets fire to the faggots at the stake. However, the fire rages out of control, nearly burning Eva alive and then spreading dangerously towards everyone else. Eva manages to free herself and then she and her gran start a bucket chain to put out the fire. Eva is now a heroine and confesses about the evil eye fraud to Hawkins himself. Realising how he drove Eva to it, Hawkins apologises. Gran and Eva are now free to stay, the townspeople will be friends with them, and Eva can get the good education she wants. Sir Percival emerges with Trudy, whom he caught in the act of starting the fire. This being a medieval pageant, Trudy is punished medieval style – clamped in the stocks and given a good pelting.
Deception, even when it starts with the best intentions (or for reasons that are misguided or desperate), is never condoned in girls’ comics. When deception is used for such purposes, the story uses it as a vehicle for how lies can spiral out of control, leading to unforeseen consequences, and the protagonist finds herself caught in a deeper and deeper quagmire of lies and complications she finds increasingly difficult to extracate herself from gracefully.
In Eva’s case, the deception has extra-dangerous consequences. It comes ominously close to what Eva would have experienced in earlier centuries like the white witch she plays in the pageant. Or in a village where witch supersitions still persist and village idiots persecute a girl they believe to be a witch. We have seen this in serials such as “Witch!” from Bunty, “Bad Luck Barbara” from Mandy, and “Mark of the Witch!” from Jinty. The people of Wetham come so close to it, stopping just short of calling Eva a witch and going after her with torches, stones and pitchforks. They storm the streets with signs saying “Rid Us of the Evil Eye”, “Throw Out the Gipsy” and “Protect Our Children”. Protect their children from what? Do they seriously believe Eva has powers to turn their children into toads and such? It would seem so. Trudy’s parents actually fall for her claims that Eva has the evil eye and will turn her into a toad instead of telling her not to speak such nonsense.
Under normal circumstances these people would be told they’re being hysterical, superstitious idiots and ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Instead, there are only two voices of scepticism and sanity about the whole thing. The first is the headmistress, the only member of school staff to support Eva: “I wish [Eva’d] stop this idea that she can work magic. I’m worried that it could lead her to real danger.” The headmistress turned out to be more right than she thought, when Trudy’s stunt almost gets Eva burned alive. Ironically, the second is Trudy, the school bully herself. She doesn’t fall for it one bit and is constantly trying to convince her idiotic cronies that Eva’s a fake so she can bully Eva again, something even she doesn’t dare do openly while everyone else believes in Eva’s evil eye.
Similar to the aforementioned witch persecution serials, even Eva starts believing she has powers. So many things seem to happen that give the impression that it does. Coincidence, autosuggestion, manifestation, law of attraction, maybe even a genuine supernatural power from somewhere, call it what you will, it all adds to the momentum and the increasing snowballing. It can’t just stopped be stopped in an instant, though Eva realises it’s getting out of hand and does try to stop it.
The Wetham people do draw the trouble upon themselves, especially Councillor Hawkins, and it’s their attitude that drives Eva into scaring them with her evil eye pretence. It’s not just the school bullies. We see it everywhere, such as the remarks in the local community and the openly derogatory remarks Miss Loftus makes in class. Kindly ones such as Mary Miller, the headmistress and Sir Percival are exceptions – until the end of course, when Eva wins everyone over by saving their lives and become a heroine.
The only reason the gypsies are there to begin with is Hawkins’ gypsy resettlement camp. Presumably it’s for assimilation purposes, but profit comes into it as well, as we can see in how he forcibly sells the gypsies’ property for his own ends. He treats the gypsies badly, cheats them, and then, when he decides the settlement camp is no longer a good idea, he tries to close down the very camp he established and forcibly evict the gypsies. It is to his credit that he turns around after Eva saves his life and apologises for his conduct. That is more than can be said for Trudy, who feebly says the fire was only meant as a joke, to liven up the pageant.
Ironically, despite itself, Hawkins’ resettlement scheme eventually has a positive effect on Eva and the gypsies. At the beginning of the story Eva hates the resettlement scheme and her new school and wants things to stay the way they are. But eventually she finds she wants to settle, get a good education, and cover the deficiencies in her education due to her nomad life. And in episode 2, where Mary says, “I hope you’ll be happy here, Eva”, somehow we already know that’s exactly how it’s going to turn out.
Two-Faced Teesha (artist José Casanovas) – first episode
School for Snobs (artist J. Badesa) – first episode of sequel
A New Leaf for Nancy (artist John Armstrong) – first episode
Back-Stab Ballerina (artist Miguel Quesada) – first episode
Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi) – first appearance
Win a Winter Wardrobe (competition)
The Girls of Grimley’s Grammer (artist Leo Baxendale) – first episode
Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray, writer John Wagner) – first appearance
Granny’s Town (artist Douglas Perry, writer Pat Mills) – first episode
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – new story
This is the issue where Sandie merged with Tammy. The Sandie merger is one of the most pivotal in Tammy’s history. It is also one of the most far-reaching as it resonated for many years in Tammy.
First of all, it is the first appearance of The Cover Girl covers drawn by John Richardson. The Cover Girls would be a mainstay on Tammy’s cover right up until 11 October 1980, the same month they started way back in 1973.
Second, it is the first appearance of Wee Sue – and her arch-enemy Miss Bigger – in Tammy, and she would remain a popular Tammy regular until 1981. Wee Sue came over from Sandie, but Sandie readers must have been surprised at the way she appeared in Tammy. Her original Sandie story, drawn by Vicente Torregrosa Manrique, was a serial. Sue was a scholarship girl at exclusive Backhurst Academy, which had emphasis on sport, and she was trying to save it from closure. She also came up against other problems, such as prejudice over being a scholarship girl.
But here Sue is given a complete overhaul, from her location to her very appearance. Sue moves to the industrial town of Milltown, where she attends a comprehensive school. On her first day she meets new teacher Miss Bigger, who’s a bully teacher. And on the first day it is established how Wee Sue became the biggest bane of Miss Bigger, which would be the mainstay for the rest of Sue’s run in Tammy. Sue changes from a serial to a weekly regular played for light relief. Sue was always known for big brainstorms, and in this format she would use them to come up with ways to get out of various scrapes, foiling the meanness of Miss Bigger, or sorting out someone’s problem. Sue also acquires freckles and a spiky bob. Later the freckles disappear and her bob softens into the wavy one she retains for the rest of her run.
Everything in the merger starts new or fresh. No half-finished or nearly finished serials here, which have often been the case with girls’ mergers and annoyed many readers. It’s a delight to have everything start on episode one.
Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie have come over from Sandie as well, and they lasted in Tammy for two years. Like Sue, Uncle Meanie has been given some changes. He shifts from his castle in Scotland to a suburban house in England and is now married to Aunt Martha. We have to wonder why the heck she married him in the first place as she is constantly infuriated by his extreme penny-pinching. However, we are told why Uncle Meanie moved from Scotland although he misses it – his meanness made him so unpopular there. As if the same thing is not going to happen in his new neighbourhood and he’ll have a bad reputation in town. He’s as mean and scheming as ever and Jeannie constantly has to outwit him. Uncle Meanie still has his original nose from Sandie and has not yet acquired the big bulbous nose he would have later on. The same nose would later be given to Miss Bigger when MacGillivray drew her.
We have a new regular cartoon, “The Girls of Grimley’s Grammer” (shouldn’t that be “Grammar”?). Artist looks like Leo Baxendale, who drew “The Kids of Stalag 41” from Jet/Buster. The premise must have been borrowed from Stalag 41 as well: the girls of Grimley’s Grammer give their headmistress a terrible time, just as the Kids of Stalag 41 give their Kommandant “Schtinky” a terrible time. But from the looks of the first episode, the girls will not always come out on top each week as the Kids of Stalag 41 do. Now that’ll make the cartoon even more interesting!
Molly Mills continues from Tammy. Molly starts a spooky story in honour of Halloween, which the staff are gearing up for with carved pumpkins and a witch guy for Bonfire Night. Lord Stanton has unwisely developed a craze about psychics and invited a group over for seances. After they do so, unnerving stuff starts to happen, and a tarot reading predicts sadness and danger coming to the hall, with dark forces targeting bully butler Pickering in particular. It soon has the old misery running scared, though he would never admit it.
School for Snobs also returns from Tammy. Like Wee Sue, it shifts from serial format to regular “story of the week” format with loads of laughs for the readers. School for Snobs is a reform school designed to knock snobbery out of girls, and in the new format it shifts to a “snob of the week” where a new snob arrives each week to be cured by the end of the episode. Each snob and her form of snob are different each time, illustrating that snobbery comes in all shapes and sizes. First in for the treatment in the sequel is Lucille Hornsby-Grant, who attempts to have the school closed down. However, the inspector is so impressed he wants to send his own snobby daughter there to sort her out. After this, Lucille is beaten.
Maybe School for Snobs should be the place to send “Two-Faced Teesha”. Teesha Tate is a spiteful rich girl who has been removed from a string of schools for her nasty conduct. Instead, she and her father move to a new house, which Dad hopes will help to sort her out. Teesha does not like the down-to-earth people who reside there. However, she is looking forward to playing tricks on the daughter, Gail.
In “A New Leaf for Nancy”, Nancy Kay and her parents have to move to a rundown house, which they’re not happy about, because Dad has lost his job. School gets off to a bad start too. But things start looking up after Nancy hears a tree in her garden is said to have strange powers, and when a leaf gets caught in her hair, she gives a tough teacher a flash of brilliance that surprises even herself.
The new Douglas Perry story, “Granny’s Town”, might as well have been called “Revenge of the Grannies”. Jen Young is off to Crone-on-Sea for a holiday, where she comes across indications that the old ladies of the town have formed some sort of secret society that conducts vigilantism against those who insult or displease them. First to get the treatment are a bully businessman and a rude train conductor, who get tied to lamp posts with knitting wool during a night attack. The attackers leave a message embroidered on a cushion: “Get out of Granny’s Town!”
The lineup wouldn’t be complete without a ballet story, and there is no exception here. June Day and Rita Radley have been such close friends they are called “The Inseperables”, but starting ballet school changes that. Rita soon becomes June’s worst enemy and “Back-Stab Ballerina” because everyone says June is better than her.
No merger is complete without a competition. In this one, you are in to win a winter wardrobe if you can spot the differences between two story panels.
Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray, writer John Wagner)
Noelle’s Ark (artist “B. Jackson”)
Cherry in Chains (artist Joan Boix)
Sandie’s Pop Special – Geordie
The Golden Shark (artist Santiago Hernandez)
Dancing with Danger – last episode (artist Tom Kerr)
Bridie at the Fair (artist Leslie Otway)
Sister to a Star (artist Joan Boix?)
Cinderella Superstar (artist Joan Boix?)
The issue begins with part two of the first print of the “Angela Angel-Face” story that will be reprinted in Jinty 1980 and Tammy 1984. It is generally agreed among Jinty readers that the less said about that one the better, so we move on to other things in the issue.
Sandie sure had a big thing for circus stories. There are not one but two of them running, plus one with a fairground theme. The first, “Cherry in Chains”, stars a heroine who’s an escape artist, which is a real delight to have. There are not many Houdinis in girls’ comics who can get themselves out of being tied up. There are many scenes I can recall in girls’ comics where they sure could have done with that. But Cherry’s unknown enemy is making her escapes even more dangerous and escape-proof than normal because he or she is using them to kill her. Who could be doing it? Everyone’s a suspect because everyone thinks Cherry’s father is a traitor. But there really can only be one person – the one who framed him.
In the other circus story, Mary Suza in “Sister to a Star” is a trapeze artist. She has defied her overstrict guardian in running away to the circus. In this episode she loses her nerve, gets it back, but the ageing trapeze star, Sue Suza, will have not have Mary in her act. No, she is not bloody well getting too old, she says! Meanwhile, the fortune teller sees tragedy in the cards, which will no doubt have bearing on the final episode next issue.
The fairground story, “Bridie at the Fair”, looks like it was reprinted from an earlier title, maybe School Friend. Amnesiac girl Bridie Donovan joins a travelling fair to find her true identity. Now Bridie has finally discovered her old nursemaid, Mrs Kerry – only to find the poor old woman was being taken advantage of by a nasty fortune teller. No wonder when it’s revealed that a nasty relative is out to steal Bridie’s estate, and then Bridie’s enemies, led by the fortune teller, close in to stop her claiming it!
“Dancing with Danger” also has the impression it was reprinted from an earlier title. Pat White is a ballerina who is in fact an undercover secret agent in occupied France. It’s the final episode and Pat has now earned a medal in addition to her bouquets, but that has to be kept secret until after the war. Right now, it’s more undercover work while dancing with those pointe shoes.
Sandie also had two ballet stories running at the same time. In the second ballet story, Ellie Villiers wants to be a ballerina, but her Aunt Stella and cousins do everything they can to stop her. It’s not just a matter of treating her like Cinderella. It’s also something to do with a locked room, which Ellie has found is full of tutus and other ballet paraphernalia, and they once belonged to a ballerina named Sylvia Coral. What’s more, Aunt Stella says weird things that sound like she thinks she’s being haunted by Sylvia’s ghost or something. Sylvia’s diary holds the answer, but Aunt Stella is trying to stop anyone from reading it.
“The Golden Shark” looks like another reprint from elsewhere as its lettering is not the same as Sandie’s. Perhaps it originally appeared in June. Like “Barracuda Bay” (a June reprint in Jinty), it’s an underwater sea adventure, and it’s got underwater exploration, pirates, a treasure hunt in a sunken galleon, and a giant octopus.
“The House of Toys” is “and then there were none” story. Jill Small and nine girl gymnasts have somehow found themselves on a mysterious island when they were headed for another, and the only house on it has nothing but strange toys. Now the girls are disappearing one by one. Even the food is disappearing into thin air, and we don’t mean eating. Is it because these toys have strange powers or is someone pulling a fast one on them? In this episode the girls discover there are definitely two people on the island, but now another girl vanishes!
Uncle Meanie is running for Parliament, would you believe? His campaign is to stop needless spending and save, save, save. In other words, he would issue tight-fisted McScrimp-style black budgets given half the chance. As nobody in their right mind would vote for him, he is turning to dirty tricks to sabotage the other candidates. And then his ideas begin to grow in popularity once he learns to appeal to the miser in people. Can Jeannie find a way to stop him?
Like “Fran of the Floods“, “Noelle’s Ark” was ahead of its time in anticipating rising sea levels and worldwide flooding. This week Noelle encounters a mystery boat that carries a deadly fungus. She manages to get rid of the fungus, but it’s had a weird effect on her – she’s turning so nasty she’s on the verge of pushing her friends overboard!
In “Slaves of the Sorcerer” Beth Williams finally gets the police onto Caspar. But when they arrive at the fairground there’s no sign of him. The lead they have been given is in fact another trap for Beth set by Caspar, and he’s waiting to pounce.
Boys are admitted to Wee Sue’s school. They get quite a shock when the titch they tease turns out to be brilliant at footy. Then Sue finds one of the football boys stuck on a ledge and climbs up to the rescue.
“Odd Mann Out” is now leading a demonstration against the tyrannical way things are run at her school. But why the hell is the headmistress smiling about it instead of looking worried?
Trudy loses Silver – to the rag-and-bone man. And everyone knows how cruel he is to animals. Can Trudy get him back?
In “Friends and Neighbours” Ann Friend and her family have moved into a new house. The neighours haven’t been friendly but now Anne believes they are worse than she thought – they are trying to scare her family out of the house with a ruse that it’s haunted. They deny it angrily and mean to prove it by sitting up with them.
The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
The Thirteenth Floor (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
Tales from the Grave: R.I.P. Willard Giovanna – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Ian Rimmer)
Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
The Library of Death: A Break in the Country (artist Tony Coleman, writer Malcolm Shaw)
A Ghastly Tale! – The Nightmare (artist J. Cooper)
Terror of the Cats (artist John Richardson, writer Simon Furman)
Our entries on “Scream!” resume in celebration of Halloween, with the most famous vampire in history leading off the cover.
No attempts at Ghastly’s face are published in this issue, but there is a new victim in the London Dungeon.
In “The Dracula File” our Rumanian vampire is really going to town in this episode (below), and raising some laughs from readers as well as lots of screams. He’s got people running from the cinema, he’s crashed a fancy dress party in search of more victims, and now he’s picked up a very nice, unsuspecting lady.
Dracula File 1
Dracula File 2
Dracula File 3
Dracula File 4
Uncle Terry has been introduced to television (below) and is turning into a television addict in one of my favourite moments from “Monster”. Unfortunately he’s also turned into a double killer with the second body Kenny’s had to bury in the garden, and Kenny knows it’s only a matter of time before someone finds out.
Then a narrow squeak with a social worker is having Kenny thinking of going on the run with Uncle Terry. Er, Uncle Terry go on the run, Kenny, when he’s only just stepped out of the attic he’s been locked in all his life, knows nothing of the outside world, and can barely function mentally? Besides, a fugitive who looks like a dead ringer for the Hunchback of Notre Dame would be spotted a mile off! Are you serious, Kenny? Oh heck, something tells us you really are…
The punishment for the criminals on “The Thirteenth Floor” is a graveyard for thieves, and their rotting corpses are rising up and striking them with terror. This has them mistakenly shooting each other to death. The police assume it was the criminals just falling out over the loot.
The Leper writes a bit of himself into his new “Tales from the Grave” story. He watches as his fellow gravedigger Finley gets a request from a gentleman in surprisingly dated clothing to dig up a badly neglected grave belonging to one Willard Giovanna. Finley agrees once the gentleman flashes him a good sum of money, but then gets second thoughts when he realises that the gentleman is also named Willard Giovanna and is digging up his own grave! How can this be? Well, the Leper did say he hoped the people he buried would stay buried, but the story he’s telling hints this is not always the case…
In the Library of Death a meteor show strikes Britain. Or so it seems. Two days later Tony Crabtree is on his way to stay with his aunt and is surprised to see everyone is wearing a bandage or plaster cast on their legs, arms, heads, and even all over. He discovers too late that these are just to conceal the insect invaders who arrived with the “meteor shower”….
In this week’s Ghastly tale, Ghastly talks about the fear of falling. The psychiatrist listening to his client talking about his fear of falling is not sympathetic, though it turns out the client has a very good reason to fear it.
Dr Kruhl captures Woodward and reveals the secret behind “Terror of the Cats” that gives him the power to control all felines. It is an enormous brain(?!) that he calls “the living brain of the cats”.
The Dracula File – first episode (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
Monster – first episode (artist Heinzl, later Jesus Redondo, writer Alan Moore)
The Thirteenth Floor – first episode (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
Tales from the Grave: “The Undertaker” – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Tom Tully, later John Wagner)
A Ghastly Tale! (complete story)
Fiends and Neighbours – humour cartoon reprinted from Cor!! (artist Graham Allen)
Library of Death: At Death’s Door… – complete story (artist Cam Kennedy, writer Barrie Tomlinson)
Terror of the Cats – first episode (artist Gonzales, later John Richardson, writer John Agee)
Our Halloween theme continues with Scream! This was a short-lived publication, lasting only 15 issues before it disappeared during the same strike that brought down Tammy (though opinions from former IPC staff differ as to just what killed it off). Nevertheless, Scream achieved a cult status that has made its issues collectors’ items, spawned fanzines and websites, and now it is enjoying a revival with the Misty & Scream Halloween specials and volume reprints of its strips.
The gift that came with the first issue of Scream was a set of Dracula fangs, approved by the famous vampire himself, who leads off with his very own strip inside, “The Dracula File”. A Rumanian defector has escaped to the West. However, his Eastern bloc pursuers have realised that he is a vampire and decide the West can have him: “He is their problem now!” The poor RAF pilots flying the defector into Britain don’t realise the horror they are about to unleash…
Hang on, how come this Rumanian defector who’s a vampire looks like Dracula? Since when was Dracula a defector from the Iron Curtain? Either some vampire’s stolen the patent on Dracula or…the KGB’s got things a bit wrong here and it’s not the defector who’s the vampire – it’s King of Vampires himself! Put the bite on the defector and taken his place eh, Drac?
Before the strips begin, however, the host of the comic, Ghastly McNasty, sets things up with the letters page and the special features it offers. There is “The Dracula Spectacular”, where Ghastly has fun turning someone into something hideous. To make it even more fun for readers, he wants them to provide the victims (teachers, family members, themselves, etc) and the reason why. Ghastly also invites readers to nominate someone for appearing in “The London Dungeon” for the week and the reason for this punishment, and the comeuppances would be drawn accordingly. Who would you like to see in the London Dungeon for the week? How about the Tammy editor for leaving us dangling on the final episode of “Cora Can’t Lose”? Or how about Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin?
Of course a new comic would not be complete without a competition, and this is one that really tests deductive, artistic and maybe even clairvoyant skills. The challenge is to draw Ghastly McNasty’s face absolutely right. This is no easy task as the face is hidden in complete darkness under his hood with only lights shining where his eyes are. Clues include him being extremely ugly, too much tree root in the beauty treatment he tried that backfired, and other clues that would be dropped as the competition progressed. An actual likeness of Ghastly had been drawn and was being kept secure. The best but still-failed attempts would be printed, comments were made about any clues the pictures had hit upon, and the winner would get £5. The one to hit the absolute mark would win £50. The top prize was still unclaimed when Scream abruptly disappeared.
“Monster” is one of the Scream stories that would continue and finish in Eagle. It is the “something monstrous hidden in the attic” story. It’s so secret that Kenneth Corman’s abusive father gives him yet another walloping for even saying he heard something up there in the locked attic room. The father goes up to the attic to get rid of it, only to get horribly murdered, with deep claw marks on his body. Kenneth opts for secretly burying his father in the garden instead of calling in the police, and now he’s heading for the attic himself to deal with whatever is up there.
“The Thirteenth Floor” was another Scream strip to continue in Eagle, and now it has its own reprint volume and return appearances in the Scream & Misty Halloween special. Max is the computerised superintendent of council-run Maxwell Towers. Max takes his duty of looking after his tenants very seriously. In fact, it’s so seriously that anyone who threatens the safety and well-being of Max’s tenants is sent on a trip to his secret Thirteenth Floor through the lift, where Max wreaks a computerised, holographic punishment upon them that he deems the most fit for their crime. The first transgressor to pay a trip to the Thirteenth Floor is a merciless debt collector. On the Thirteenth Floor he meets the Grim Reaper, who says, “Welcome…to your death.” Erk! Is Max really going to go as far as murder? We find out next week.
The Leper (so named because of his medical condition, appearance and lack of social acceptance) is a 19thcentury gravedigger and host of “Tales from the Grave”. Not surprisingly, these tales are associated with death, the Victorian fascination with it (murders, executions, body snatching, Goth etc) and the stories behind the graves in the cemetery. The Leper’s first story is “The Undertaker”, about a Burke and Hare-type undertaker named Joshua Sleeth: “If you wanted someone buried, ole Sleeth was the man to do it, no questions asked […] Sleeth was an evil beggar all right. If yer needed a helpin’ hand into the next world, so to speak, he was always ready to give it…”. Sleeth’s reputation has reached the ears of Emily Carlisle, who wants a helping hand in getting her Uncle Henry into the next world so she can inherit.
The final serial is “The Terror of the Cats”. All the cats in the neighbourhood are going crazy and attacking people for no apparent reason. Reporter Allen Woodward is on the story and also that of Dr Kruhl (nicknamed “Cruel” because of his reputation), the Director of the Government Research Institute. It’s soon obvious to the readers that the two stories are linked somehow, though Woodward hasn’t clicked yet.
As with Misty, Scream has complete stories, though less prolific. One format is uncredited one-page one-shot stories, some of which end with a dash of humour. The other format is the “Library of Death” (yes, more death tales), which has more pages. The first tale is about a boy who gets strange, frightening visitations in his bedroom after his parents deny him his request to go into the Ghost House at the fair.
For the resident funny cartoon, Scream is reprinting Fiends and Neighbours from Cor!! An ordinary couple are looking forward to meeting their new neighbours – only to get the shock of their lives when they find the newcomers are a regular Addams family.
Two-Faced Teesha (artist José Casanovas) – final episode
School for Snobs (artist J Badesa, artist John Wagner)
Ballerina in Blue Jeans (artist Escandell)
Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi)
Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Little Lady Jane
The Chain Gang Champions (writer Gerry Finley-Day?)
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
Granny’s Town (artist Douglas Perry, writer Pat Mills)
Here we go with an entry on the latest addition to my collection. I wonder if the grey paint or whatever it is that got spattered on the cover actually adds some character to it.
Tammy is quite a few weeks into her merger with Sandie. Although the Cover Girls were touted as Tammy and June (from the June merger) by the 1980s, their origins can be traced to the Sandie merger in 1973.
Two-Faced Teesha, one of the stories that started with the merger, ends this week. Two-Faced Teesha finds her dad does not believe her when she says she is trying to turn over a new leaf, so she has one final round of spite before the girl she targeted in particular helps her to convince him.
Miss Bigger gets an ally in her bullying of Wee Sue – new girl Sophie Scandel-Monger. The name says it all, as do Sophie’s repulsive, weasel-like looks. But Sophie’s scheme against Wee Sue backfires so much that she gets a huge ticking off from Miss Bigger. That’s the end of that evil alliance, thank goodness.
Uncle Angus stoops to whole new heights (or should that be lows?) in scrounging to save money. This time it’s at the cinema, much to the embarrassment of Jeannie and her aunt. And when Uncle Angus sets up his own cinema where he passes off his home movies as a blockbuster movie, Aunt Martha is so embarrassed she takes to her bed. However, once the audience catches on to what a cheap cheat Uncle Angus’ cinema is, they pelt him with his own vegetables from his garden.
School for Snobs is a special school designed to cure girls of snobbery. The headmistress is Hermione Snoot, who wears a nightie and slippers with a mortar board, is seldom seen without a cigarette, and talks Cockney. This week Hermione’s in charge of curing a practical joker. I’m not quite sure what that has to do with snobbery, but turning the tables on the girl with practical jokes until she’s cured is right up Hermione’s street. After all, she pretty much does that with every snob every week.
“The Chain Gang Champions” are kidnapped athletes. The Duchess subjects them to training methods that are as bizarre as they are sadistic. This week it’s finish gruelling cross-country training runs in record time – with ever-shortening time periods with each run – or the Duchess will feed her old enemy, the Minister for Sport, to a hungry bear!
As if Pickering weren’t bad enough, Molly has a new enemy plotting her downfall. It is guest Cynthia Swingleton, who is after her fiancée’s money. Molly’s rumbled Cynthia’s game, so now she’s is trying to frame Molly for stealing!
“Ballerina in Blue Jeans” impresses her ballet school with her dancing. Unfortunately her streetwise ways, like turning up at ballet school in a leather jacket and impersonating a motorbike rider as a demonstration of mime, have the teachers just about fainting. It’s not endearing her to the pupils either, and she has one spiteful enemy already. Well, whoever heard of a pupil in a ballet school serial who didn’t have one?
“Granny’s Town” appears to be a take on ageism, but a very sinister one. “Her Ladyship” has become Mayoress of a retirement spot, Crone-on-Sea. She is introducing new measures that look suspiciously like they are striking at the young people of the town and putting old people on top. This week she has the police throwing young people in the nick for no crime other than they are not carrying one of Her Ladyship’s flags, unlike the elderly people. “It’s the orders of the new mayoress!” Gee, whatever happened to human rights in this town?