Tag Archives: Ken Houghton

Tammy’s 5th Birthday Issue 7 February 1976

tammy-cover-7-february-1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Sarah in the Shadows – first episode (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Return of the Silver Mare – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Lights Out for Lucinda – last episode (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Aviator – first episode (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • A Monumental Detective – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
  • A Lead Through Twilight – first episode (artist Douglas Perry)

It is now 46 years since Tammy was first launched, on 6 February 1971. The first Tammy and Tammy’s 10th birthday issue have already been covered on this blog, so we will commemorate the anniversary with Tammy’s 5th birthday issue.

The Cover Girls are the first to honour the occasion, in their usual humorous style. Let’s hope they managed to sort out that little glitch with the birthday cake. Or maybe the Tammy team saw the funny side, just as the readers did.

As soon as we open the cover we see the first of Tammy’s “birthday gifts” to us, which is the first episode of “Sarah in the Shadows”. Tammy is celebrating her 5th with five new stories, two of which start this week, two next week, and the fifth the week after that. In Victorian times Sarah is thrown out into the street after her unfortunate uncle is thrown into debtor’s prison. All she has to survive on is her gift for paper cutouts and shadow play. The other birthday gift story, “A Lead Through Twilight”, is the last story in the issue (talk about bookends!). Carol Trent is losing her sight but won’t speak up about it or seek treatment because she is terrified her sourpuss uncle will send her away. But can she seriously expect to get away with hiding the fact that she’s going blind? And if the uncle finds out, will he do what Carol fears? Carol befriends a dog, Twilight, who could be her guide dog, but there is a definite mystery about him.

The birthday gift stories starting in the next issue are “The Fairground of Fear” (Diane Gabbot’s first serial for Tammy) and “Sit It Out, Sheri” (which will give John Armstrong a change from Bella). To make way for them, “Lights Out for Lucinda” is being finished off with a double episode. Lucinda has discovered the reason for the bizarre town of Blackmarket where everyone is being drugged into thinking it is still World War II and being forced to live that way. This peculiar ruse is all so the commander can provide a cheap workforce that are being paid 1940s rates instead of modern ones – to none other than Lucinda’s father! Fortunately for Lucinda it turns out he was a dupe and then a victim of blackmail before he finally manages to help put things right.

The last “birthday gift” story, starting 21 February, is a Hugh Thornton-Jones story, “Claire’s Airs and Graces”. Claire pretends to come from a posh background because of the snobby girls at her new school. This was the only Thornton-Jones serial in Tammy; his artwork was otherwise confined to Wee Sue episodes and Strange Stories.

It looks like the Storyteller is celebrating too because he is presenting two Strange Stories this week. Molly apparently is celebrating with a new story, but the title really should say “aviatrix”, not “aviator”. Although Bessie’s caption says “Bessie celebrates our birthday in her own special way”, her story has no bearing whatsoever on the celebrations or even on birthdays. She’s trying to help catch bank robbers but has forgotten the licence plate number of their vehicle. The police are trying to jog her memory but of course she is more interested in eating. Wee Sue’s story also has nothing to do with the celebrations. It’s all hijinks when Miss Bigger gets herself locked in a ball-and-chain because she disregarded a “do not touch” sign: “I’m a teacher. It doesn’t apply to teachers.” Silly woman!

Of course there is a competition to mark the occasion too, but this won’t be until next week.

Jinty & Penny 13 December 1980

Cover 13 December 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Stories in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Her Guardian Angel (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir) – last episode
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: The Goodies (feature)
  • Angela Angel-Face (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas)
  • Winning Ways 37: Netball – Marking and intercepting (writer Benita Brown)
  • Life’s a Ball for Nadine (artist Mario Capaldi)

This issue sees episode 2 of Jinty‘s last Christmas story, “Her Guardian Angel”: as Mistyfan pointed out in the post about the previous issue, by the following Christmas this title had merged with Tammy. And Pam is still struggling hard to make a cheerful Christmas party for the local orphans, despite many arguments between her friends and her supporters. But by the end of this week’s three pager, it looks very much like it may all be off…

Girl The World Forgot” comes to a dramatic end this week as some reenactors dressed as Vikings from the mainland come to the island. They rescue Shona and explain to her local ghost Alice Drunnon has been haunting the castaway girl. Shona is reunited with her parents – on Christmas eve, of all days. What an emotional present for all concerned!

“Sue’s Daily Dozen” sounds like it is nearing its end – we even see an appearance by Granny Hayden, as a vision helping Sue to defeat some crooks. Just about the last thing for her to do seems to be to help George the blacksmith have a truly blessed wedding – blessed by the spirit of Granny H herself, mind you!

Nadine is still combining disco dancing with netball, much to the displeasure of stiff-necked captain Betty. This time the other netball players need to rescue Nadine on the dance floor, by getting a huge strobe lightbulb from one end of the crowded dance floor to the other – in record time – using their netball skills, natch.

Jinty and Penny 6 September 1980

cover-19800906

Stories in this issue:

(Cover artist: Mario Capaldi)

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and Veronica Weir) – first episode
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Swim For Life: A Jinty and Penny Special Story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Unscheduled Stop – Gypsy Rose story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Mork ‘n’ Mindy: Behind The Screen (Feature)
  • A Spell Of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend) – first episode

Many thanks to Derek Marsden for the copy of this issue, which he kindly sent on to me.

Pam is on a roll – her ‘witch ball’ brings her luck or so she thinks, and indeed it seems to be the case. By returning it to its rightful owner, her school benefits from help to go on a school trip to France (which leads us on to a whole other set of stories).

“Girl The World Forgot” starts this issue. Initially it looks like an adventure story with a castaway plot, but later on it turns spooky. It is beautifully drawn by Veronica Weir, and through a comment on this blog we found out that it was also written by her too – one of only a very few cases where we know the artist and writer were the same person.

Kathy Clowne is bullied by Sandra Simkins, as so often in her time at school. This time Sandra paints Kathy’s face in greasepaint to make her up in clownface. Not realizing that this has happened, Kathy snaps when a teacher comments ‘What have you done to your face?’ and of course a punishment now looms – even though really it is all Sandra’s fault.

“The Swim For Life” is referred to as a ‘special story’ – it’s a complete two-page story that is presumably reprinted from an earlier title, but unusually it doesn’t fit into the mold of a Strange Story which was normally changed into a Gypsy Rose one. This one is a straightforward adventure story with a brave dog saving the brother and sister who went out in a speedboat and got into difficulties. There are no supernatural elements though, unlike in the Gypsy Rose story “The Unscheduled Stop” – which is likewise by John Armstrong. In this latter story, Jenny Shaw’s parents are arguing non-stop, until an unscheduled train stop shows her the reason in their earlier history for their bitterness, and a way to fix their future.

The letters page this week includes a letter from Sophie Jackson, a science fiction fan, who loved “Land of No Tears” and asked for more SF like that story and “The Human Zoo”. She also specifically said how much she liked the artist who drew both stories and also others such as “Black Sheep of the Bartons” and “Pandora’s Box”, and wanted more by that artist. Perhaps this was part of the reason why the Jinty editors commissioned “Worlds Apart”, also drawn by Guy Peeters?

(I also take this opportunity to comment on the fact that the form that you were supposed to send in with your letters, saying which your favourite stories were, has an issue number printed on it which is otherwise not shown elsewhere. This issue is number 320.)

Finally, it’s also the first episode of spooky-mysterious tennis story, “Child of the Rain”. Drawn by Phil Townsend, this story is flavoured with elements of the South American rainforest, which lends it particular interest in my eyes as I was living in South America at precisely this time. Despite this attraction, I have to admit it’s not the strongest story ever. Jemma West is a keen tennis player and hates the rain because it stops her playing – that is, until an accident in the rain forest, after which she starts to love the rain and to find it gives her extra strength and energy. It shares some similarities with “Spirit of the Lake” (mystery / supernatural elements, and sporting details) which we think is likely to have been written by Benita Brown – I wonder therefore if this story also might have been penned by the same writer.

Jinty and Penny 18 April 1981

Cover 14 April 1981

Stories in this issue:
(Cover artist: Mario Capaldi)

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Diving Belle (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Best Foot Forward – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Whispers In The Wind: Gypsy Rose story (artist Antonio Borrell)
  • Just The Job: Television Make-up Artists (feature)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • What Do You Make of It? (personality quiz)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (Ken Houghton)
  • Fancy Free (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

This week’s issue has a free gift: two packets of ‘Sarah Kay’ stickers. It means that my copy of Jinty & Penny has a fairly big tear in the front cover where it was attached, but luckily the scan doesn’t show it all that badly.

Pam is upset: her friend Steve has been working together with her to make a magazine by and for their year at school, but it has been vandalised by mysterious person or persons unknown. Pam is worried that it might have been Goofy: it turns out not to have been, but her nemesis Jill Cook has been spreading rumours and Goof is in turn upset with Pam.

Belle McBane is “Diving Belle” – a story that to me feels a little old-fashioned and shoehorned in. Belle is being instructed in diving by a mysterious gypsy woman, who urges her not to lose time in getting better and better at diving. But why?

Text story “Best Foot Forward” is an ‘ugly duckling’ type ballet story – the main character has a jealous rival who tries to nobble her so that she has no chance of success in the audition for a dance school. Of course, talent wins out in the end.

“Whispers in the Wind” is a Gypsy Rose story that looks to have been reprinted from an earlier title – I don’t know the artist. Wendy Price stays in a haunted hotel room and helps to clear the reputation of a ghostly maid, who has proved that she is not a thief after all.

The feature on make-up artists is quite interesting and informative – it is part of a series on jobs that readers might be interested in doing when they are grown-up.

Personality quizzes were a staple of my childhood and early secondary school. This one has the quite nice twist that as you answer questions about what you would do in certain circumstances, you fill in a section of the picture with the specified colour. If you answer more pink answers then you will end up with a flower coloured in, or similarly a brown wren or a blue fish.

“Fancy Free!” is a Philip Townsend strip, about a troubled and angry girl who has few friends apart from wild birds, and a fellow bird enthusiast.

The last few pages include a reprint of an early episode of “Angela’s Angels“, one of the stories published seven years previously in the first issues of Jinty when it was a new title. With a reprinted serial, a reprinted Gypsy Rose story, a two-page letters section, and a text story this issue of Jinty feels to me slightly thin – perhaps a sign of the approaching merger with Tammy in November of the same year. There are only 20 pages of comics included, though to be fair the features are pretty good and the text story is quite readable.

Jinty & Penny 10 May 1980

jinty-penny-10-may-1980-cover

Stories in this issue

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Snoopa (artist Joe Collins)
  • Tearaway Trisha (artist Andrew Wilson)
  • Rinty ‘n Jinty
  • Seulah the Seal (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Lost in Time!  – final part (Game)
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Val Robinson – sports feature
  • Winning Ways 12 – Keeping Goal (writer Benita Brown)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

It’s part three of a pull-out game, “Lost in Time!” Players have to make their way around the ages, including the future where the TV prints out the 5000th issue of Jinty & Penny. Sadly, Jinty never got to that issue number (and shouldn’t Jinty have dropped Penny years ago?).

The banjo is a real bone of contention in “Pam of Pond Hill”. It caused a feud between Goofy’s mother and grandfather that has not healed, despite the passage of years. Now it threatens to erupt again as Goofy discovers his own talent for the banjo – and then his lost grandfather.

“Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” takes a hand in helping a plump teacher stick to her sponsored slim when she doesn’t stick to it herself. He says it’s all in a good cause – but we do notice that the gluttonous ghost seems to be taking opportunities to grab the teacher’s food for himself…

Trisha’s first show to raise money for Fran’s operation is a great success. Finally, something’s gone right for Trisha. Oh dear, perhaps we spoke too soon – Fran’s throwing it all in Trisha’s face because she thinks the operation won’t work. And next week’s blurb says it’s going to get worse, because Fran is running away!

Things look up for Seulah when he finds a friend in the form of a kindly tramp. But then things look down again when the seal is cornered by a bunch of sealers out to club him for his fur.

In “The Venetian Looking Glass”, Lucy saves the stables from burning down – but then realises the ghost of Lucy Craven made her set fire to them in the first place. It’s all part of the ghost’s revenge, and next week’s blurb says we are going to find out what her revenge is about.

Dad’s got a ticket for a pop concert, but Simon and Tansy have to decide who gets it. Yikes, this can only mean one thing with a brother like Simon – dirty tricks to get the ticket!

Minnow’s taken a bad fright after a strange panic attack in the pool. The teacher has to put extra coaching into restoring her confidence, which succeeds. And in “Blind Faith”, Clare is making headway in training her blind horse to show jump while keeping him hidden from the authorities. But her mind gets full of doubts as to whether she’s doing the right thing.

Jinty and Penny 17 January 1981

Jinty 17 January 1981

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • The Ghost Dancer (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Gift for Gaynor – Gypsy Rose story
  • Behind the Screen – Record Breakers
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost – artist Hugh Thornton-Jones
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
  • Jinty’s Magic! – Feature
  • No Medals for Marie (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Alison Christie)
  • Winning Ways 41: Netball – A Two-Footed Landing (writer Benita Brown
  • Life’s a Ball for Nadine (artist Mario Capaldi)

Three weeks into 1981, but winter chill is still in the air in Jinty – see the dog’s breath on the cover? The chill continues in “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost”, with Sir Roger trying ice skating, but a spoilsport is out to destroy the fun by smashing the ice to pieces.

In “Land of No Tears” there is chill of a different sort – Perfecta’s idea of disciplining Cassy is to force her to take a shower that is 10 degrees below zero! We learn that this is what Perfecta does with herself every morning, for twice the length of time.

We all encounter a scheming cousin/foster sister/stepsister story now and then, and it’s happening in Pam of Pond Hill. Pam’s cousin Veronica is making all sorts of bragging claims about her abilities, and Pam is beginning to doubt they are true. But Veronica has turned everyone against Pam, and even her best friend Tracey doubts her. However, the blurb for next week hints that Pam will expose her cousin.

Ferne has sworn never to dance again to punish her father, whom she blames for her mother’s death. But we know she won’t be able to keep that up. Sure enough, Ferne gives in and starts dancing secretly. But that is already leading to repercussions when fellow ballet student Jolie spots her dancing from a distance without realising who she is. And Jolie is a big blabbermouth! The plot is really going to thicken now.

The lengths Marie is forced to go to because of her jealous godmother’s mandate that she wins no medals – this week it’s turning to vandalism to avoid winning a medal! What next?

This week’s Gypsy Rose story prompted a intriguing letter from a reader later on: the reader’s name is Gaynor, she is thirteen, and loves gymnastics – same as the girl in the story! Gaynor must have treasured this issue forever to show her family. Gypsy Rose looks like she has been drawn by the same artist, so this must be a completely new story, one of the few Gypsy Rose stories of 1981 that is not a recycled Strange Story.

Tansy is put in charge of minding a neighbour’s budgie this week. Sounds simple? Oh, no, we know it will get complicated.

In “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, the goalkeeper gets some unusual training to get her back into form. She, Nadine and the others are catching rubbish thrown by her unruly rock ‘n’ roll brothers who don’t like the acts in a talent show that aren’t rock ‘n’ roll – especially the disco act, of course.

 

Jinty and Penny 29 November 1980

Jinty 29 November 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Angela Angel-Face – first episode (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • The Demon Eye – Gypsy Rose story (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost – artist Hugh Thornton-Jones
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas)
  • Winning Ways 35: Netball – Dodging (writer Benita Brown)
  • Life’s a Ball for Nadine (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Care for Your Countryside – feature

In this issue, Pam wraps up one of her most classic tales, her school trip to France. It has climaxed in a most unexpected manner – the French teacher being mistakenly arrested for kidnapping! What a story to get around the school when they get home! Fortunately the misunderstanding is sorted out and everyone is back home. But while the kids are all agog for an even bigger adventure next time, the teachers seem to be nervous wrecks from the French trip for some reason…

“Angela Angel-Face”, a reprint from Sandie, starts in this issue. It is not regarded as one of Jinty’s better moments.

In “Girl the World Forgot”, we get a hint that Shona will be home in time for Christmas, because her mother has bought her Christmas presents although she thinks Shona will never get them (or won’t she?). Meanwhile, Shona’s struggle for survival gets worse and worse as winter sets in, food is getting scarce, and Shona feels unwell, with no medical facility available.

Sue seems to be more comfortable with the Daily Dozen now that nobody has burned her at the stake or anything for wearing Gran Hayden’s witch gear and mixing her potions in public. But then Sue begins to doubt the Daily Dozen again when one of her clients collapses.

In “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, it’s fancy footwork time as Nadine attempts to attend both a disco competition and a school netball game in Birmingham.

Sir Roger is not cock-a-hoop when he tries out the hula hoop, but it does help him to hoop two criminals. And in this week’s Gypsy Rose story, a girl’s superstition about cats bringing bad luck is annoying her friend, but saves lives when it leads to a premonition of impending disaster.

 

First Misty Ever Published – 4 February 1978

Misty cover

  • Cover – (artist Maria Barrera)
  • Message from Misty – (artist Shirley Bellwood)
  • The Cult of the Cat – first episode (artist H. Romeu)
  • The Sentinels – first episode (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Malcolm Shaw)
  • Paint It Black – first episode (artist Brian Delany, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Moodstone – complete story – (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Roots (“Nightmare!” story) – (artist Maria Barrera, writer Pat Mills)
  • Moonchild – first episode (artist John Armstrong, writer Pat Mills)
  • Miss T – (artist Joe Collins)
  • Red Knee – White Terror! (“Beasts” story) – (artist John Richardson, writer Pat Mills)

In previous posts we have covered the first Jinty and last Jinty, and the first Tammy and last Tammy. Now we cover the third of the trio – the first Misty and the last Misty. We begin with the first Misty.

Pat Mills conceived Misty as the girls’ answer to 2000AD. Like Tammy, it would be intended to be revolutionary and go against the grain of ballet, pony and school stories. But Misty would do it with spooky stories and horror that were meant to frighten readers, yet fascinate them at the same time. Misty followed hard on the heels of the demise of Spellbound, a kindred comic in DCT that was a similar brave experiment, but had only lasted 69 issues.

Roots ending
Shock panel from “Roots”, Misty #1.

Although Misty was meant to kick ass with her spooky stories, there were still instances of editorial interference in some of the storytelling to tone things down and “not to scare the readers too much”. Two instances occurred in the first issue alone. In “Roots”, if Pat Mills have had his way, the story would have ended on the panel above. But the editor included another panel to dilute the shock, which Mills deletes from the reproduction of “Roots” in his discussion of Misty. In “Red Knee – White Terror!”, also written by Mills, the climactic attack of the spider on the girl in the bath is similarly amended to become a practical joke from her brother (below). But she still isn’t safe from the alert about a poisonous spider that has crept into the country in an import of bananas, some of which she bought earlier…

Red Knee White Terror
Climax to “Red Knee – White Terror!” from Misty #1.

Misty would go for several complete stories in each issue, some labelled “Nightmare!” and others “Beasts” (featuring an animal of some sort, ranging from spiders to dogs) to break up the comic a bit. They often featured unpleasant girls who came to a sticky end of some sort. The first of these is “Moodstone”, about a bad-tempered girl. “Moodstone” also showed readers that from the first, Misty would feature some full-colour pages in each issue, which is something neither Tammy nor Jinty ever did.

Moodstone
First full colour page from Misty #1.

I remember the cover of the first issue being advertised on television. I had never seen that before – or since – and for this reason that cover has stuck in my mind. As Misty goes, the cover is unusual because it was drawn specifically for cover purposes. It does not feature Misty (not even as a small head beside the logo) and has no bearing on the contents inside. Future covers would go for showing Misty herself or a full-blown cover version of a panel inside the comic. We do not meet Misty herself until we come to the inside page, where she delivers her first message to her readers.

The first story starts Misty off in style with the rendering of the Egyptian Temple. Sumptuous is the word for it. The moment you see that page, you just want to read “The Cult of the Cat”. This is the only story in Misty to spawn a sequel (not counting the sequel to “The Black Widow” that appeared in the merger later). It also inspires the free gift that will come in the next issue – a cat ring just like the one the protagonist in this story wakes up to find on her finger all of a sudden.

Cult of the Cat
Opening to “The Cult of the Cat”.

The splash panel that introduces us to “The Sentinels” (a pair of apartment blocks, one normal and one avoided because of strange disappearances) is no less impressive. Mr Richards defies both the reputation of the Sentinel – “it’s just superstitious nonsense, all that talk about the Sentinels” and warnings from his daughter and other relatives – and takes his family to squat there because they are homeless. Now why do we get the feeling that whatever’s going on with the Sentinel, it’s Mr Richards who is going to cop the worst of it?

The Sentinels
Meet “The Sentinels”!

The writers of Misty would draw heavily from popular books and movies. They start off with the Carrie-inspired serial, “Moonchild”, which proved hugely popular with readers. Rosemary Black is beaten and abused by her mother, who calls her “evil” and “wicked” for no apparent reason. But the mother is very eccentric in any case; she isn’t a religious fanatic like her counterpart in Carrie, but she does not allow electricity in her house, and wears a cloak when she goes out that makes her look like a witch, as does that frightening look on her face. At school, Rosemary is bullied by Norma Sykes, but unlike Carrie, Rosemary does have a friend as well. Then, when Rosemary discovers a strange moon mark on her forehead, things begin to happen that may have some bearing on her mother’s bizarre attitude and teach Norma a lesson to boot…

Miss T
The first appearance of Miss T. From Misty #1.

In “Paint It Black”, Maggie has never been good for anything much, much less being good at art. But then she finds a box of paints in a derelict house and suddenly finds herself able to paint a picture of a mysterious girl. The picture frightens Maggie for some reason – and the girl has a pretty frightened expression on her face, too. Now what can be the reason for that?

Although Misty was a horror comic, she did not leave out the humour, mainly in the form of a Joe Collins cartoon character, Miss T. Miss T would attract huge controversy on the letters page, with readers divided over whether she was a ridiculous feature in a horror comic that should be removed, or if she was needed to help balance the comic. One reader even proposed a Miss T fan club “S.O.W” (Save Our Witch) to help keep her in the comic. We have no information on what became of S.O.W., but Miss T would not only remain but would also carry over into the merge with Tammy, where she became a companion to Edie. During the Tammy & Jinty merger they would join forces with Snoopa to become “The Crayzees”.

First Tammy Ever Published: 6 February 1971

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

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

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

Tammy 4

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

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

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

Tammy 1
The Girls of Liberty Lodge

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

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

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

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Slaves of “War Orphan Farm”

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

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

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

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

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

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Courier Carol

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

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

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

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No Tears for Molly

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

 

 

 

Jinty & Penny 24 January 1981

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Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • The Ghost Dancer (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Race against Time – Gypsy Rose story
  • Behind the Screen – Minder
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
  • No Medals for Marie (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Alison Christie)
  • Winning Ways 42 – Netball (writer Benita Brown)
  • Life’s a Ball for Nadine (artist Mario Capaldi)

The red, green and yellow colourings on the cover make it a standout. The winter sport on the cover blends in with the winter months when the issue came out.

It is the final episode of Pam’s current story, where she sets out to prove her cousin Veronica is a big fraud. And she sure needs proof, because even her best friend Tracy doubts her.

Ferne’s secret dancing in the ruins sets off funny rumours in the ballet school. And it can only get worse with Ferne secretly roaming around the school while deciding to carry on with her deception to punish her father.

Sir Roger’s mother descends on Stoney Hall. She is a dragon who haunted Sir Roger while he was alive and is now haunting him in death. But she has nothing on Gaye.

Tansy tries out for the school choir – just to get out of French lessons – but everyone is running a mile when they hear her sing.

Things are really stepping up in “Land of No Tears” when Cassy hears about the Golden Girl Award and decides that winning it is the only way to get better treatment for the Gammas, who are subject to indignities such as eating only scraps from the Alpha girls’ plates. And now she’s discovered a way into the Alpha girls’ gym for secret training.

Marie saves a boy’s life, but has to refuse the medal for bravery because of her jealous godmother, who says “No Medals for Marie” or no inheritance of her hall that Marie’s sick brother badly needs to live in.

It’s netball vs basketball in a stuffy boys’ school in “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”. But it’s disco that wins the day (while the coaches aren’t looking).

And the Gypsy Rose tale is another recycled Strange Story, about an odd case of time travel during a marathon drive that sets a guilty conscience at rest.