Tag Archives: Mario Capaldi

Tammy 20 August 1983

Cover artist: John Armstrong

Namby Pamby (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Ian Mennell)

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)

Welcome, Stranger! (artist Douglas Perry, writer Chris Harris) – Pony Tale

Room for Rosie (artist Santiago Hernandez, writer Alison Christie)

Holiday Miss Title! (writer Maureen Spurgeon) – Quiz 

Fate – or Fortune? (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – complete story

The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)

Backhand Play (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Ian Mennell)

Make Your Mind Up, Maggie (artist Juliana Buch)

Pretty Tidy (Chris Lloyd) – feature 

We had this issue before, but the post disappeared for some reason. So here it is again for 1983 issue in our Tammy August month round. 

Inside is one of the most historic moments in the saga of Bella Barlow – the moment when her arch-antagonists, Jed and Gert Barlow, make their final bow and disappear from her strip for good. We never thought we’d see the day. This was an astonishing move for Tammy to take, and we have to wonder what was behind it. Did ye Editor get tired of them or something? Anyway, good riddance to them. Our only regret is that although they had their karmic low points (including prison), they were never really punished for their treatment of Bella. 

In our other stories, Pam’s ridiculously overprotective mother does it again in “Namby Pamby”. The moment she hears Pam’s in a swimming match, she races to the pool, barrelling through the crowd and screaming hysterics, just because she thinks her precious little baby’s catching a chill. Oh, for crying out loud! Pauline Wheeler thinks she’s found “Room for Rosie” pretty quickly, but the new home falls through, so back to square one. No doubt this will be the first in a long string of failed homes before Rosie finds the One. “Backhand Play” is now on its penultimate episode, and it sets the stage for the final one: showdown between the tennis club and their backhand-playing tennis officer, Terry Knightly’s uncle, who’s now making an utter mockery of tennis. And the complications over juggling between riding and ballet get even worse for Maggie in “Make Your Mind Up, Maggie”.

Tammy’s complete stories are now the Button Box series, a Pony Tale series, and a self-contained complete story, a number of which had a supernatural theme. Some of them were reprints of Strange Stories, others were totally new and credited, giving us insight as to who might have written the spooky completes of the past.

Tammy 28 August 1982

Cover artist: John Armstrong

A Horse Called September (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Anne Digby (Pat Davidson))

Saving Grace (artist Juliana Buch, writer Ian Mennell)

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Malcolm Shaw)

A Gran for the Gregorys (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)

Cross on Court (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Gerry Finley-Day) – first episode

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Camping Sights (Mari L’Anson)

Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – final episode

Slave of the Clock (artist Maria Barrera, writer Jay Over)

Treasures from the Seashore (Chris Lloyd) – feature

For 1982 in our Tammy August month round, we profile the final issue in that month. It’s the seventh issue since the new look Tammy was launched. The credits, a little uneven in the relaunch issue, now seem to have been ironed out more. As with a new comic, the relaunch is a little experimental, with some stories and features quickly canned and replacements tried, while other stories prove to be popular and played for all they’re worth. 

A new Mario Capaldi story, “Cross on Court”, replaces his previous one, “Come Back Bindi”. Bindi was Jenny McDade’s swansong; it only lasted six episodes when it could have been played for longer. Was it meant to be short, or did it get cut short for some reason? “A Gran for the Gregorys”, a story I liked, lasted eight episodes (ending next issue), but I felt it could have had more episodes and ended too soon. Nanny Young’s story ends this week, presumably to make way for something else, but she returns later.

“Saving Grace” and “Slave of the Clock” are definite hits, and the latter is remembered as a classic. The current Bella story had me hooked when it appeared; Bella loses her memory, and the unscrupulous Barlows are taking advantage of course. Interestingly, it was written by Malcolm Shaw, whereas all the other credited Bella stories were written by Primrose Cumming. “A Horse Called September”, an adaptation of the book by the same name, started later than the relaunch. It is guaranteed to be a smash with Anne Digby as the writer and the gorgeous equestrian artwork of Eduardo Feito. The Pam of Pond Hill story has a story arc that will keep it going for quite a while, and with a secret saboteur as the antagonist, it will definitely keep readers riveted. 

Tammy & Misty 16 August 1980

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella (artist John Armstrong) – final episode

Running Rosie Lee (artist José Casanovas)

Cut-Glass Crystal (artist Tony Coleman)

Golly! It’s Pressie Time! – Competition 

The Loneliest Girl in the World (artist Jaume Rumeu)

Wee Sue (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

Molly Mills and the Green-fingered Runaway (artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – first episode

Edie and Miss T – (artist Joe Collins)

The House Mouse (artist Mario Capaldi) – Strange Story from the Mists (Part 2 of 2)

Plain as Pearl (artist Juliana Buch)

Now we come to 1980 in the Tammy August month round. In this issue, Tammy has some Golly giveaways to celebrate Golly’s 50th. How times have changed for Golly in increasingly PC times since then.

Bella concludes her bid to reach the Moscow Olympics. A shipwreck brings it all to a head, putting her in hospital with a busted ankle, so no Moscow. That’s the second time poor Bella has missed out on the Olympics, and unlike her Montreal story she didn’t even get there this time. Maybe a rebooted Bella will finally get to compete at the Olympics. At least the rescuers brought her back to Britain for treatment, so she’s home and no longer stranded in the US. We’re promised a new story next week while Bella is recuperating. 

In Molly’s new story, it’s time for Lord Stanton’s summer fete. We are introduced to Charlie’s sister Cathy, who has run away from a harsh orphanage, and the police are hunting for her. Molly and Charlie are very surprised when she turns up at the fete, helping Lord Stanton’s gardener. Oh boy, this is going make for one very interesting fete! 

Since Misty joined, several Strange Stories from the Mists have appeared in two or three parts. The current two-parter, “The House Mouse”, has to be the most frightening of them all and is guaranteed to stick with you for years to come (it does me!). The House Mouse is far from a cute, cuddly mouse – it is an evil, possessed monster that drives off prospective buyers of its fanatical master’s house with “accidents”, outright attacks and even murder, as he has vowed the house will never leave his family.

There are a lot of “court” jokes and puns in this week’s Wee Sue story when Miss Bigger ropes Sue into helping her with tennis practice. This ends up “courting” trouble. Ultimately, they find themselves more successful at cricket. 

In a later issue ye Editor informs us “Plain as Pearl” is a very popular story, and there is a lot in it to make it so. Pearl Kent has taken a job as a model to raise money for her sick mother’s holiday. Trouble is, she has to do it in secret because she senses Clare, the daughter of the foster family she is staying with, will be jealous. The secrecy is leading to problems of course, like Pearl not having a guardian’s consent for the job.

“Running Rosie Lee” turns into the bionic woman once she’s had a cup of tea, to the consternation of the snobs at her new boarding school. But this week it is established that the tea must be stirred, or failing that, shaken to get things going.

Karen Chalmers, “The Loneliest Girl in the World”, doesn’t know where she’s coming or going with the weird things that are happening to her, except now confirming that her parents are indeed robot imposters. But all this does is get her committed to a psychiatric hospital. The robot parents say she must never discover the truth, even if she has to stay at the hospital all her life. Now what can the truth be, and is it connected with her nightmares about her house burning down and nobody left except her?

Cut-Glass Crystal is finding out – the hard way – why her mother refused to come to Dad’s hometown of Pitedge after his business collapsed. Pitedge is worlds away from the upbringing she has had, adapting to life in Pitedge is hard for her, the house they live in doesn’t even have proper commodities, she doesn’t fit in, and now she doesn’t even know her own father anymore. Instead of being sympathetic and trying to help – or even grateful Crystal chose to come with him when Mum didn’t – he’s become very harsh with her. Can things possibly sort themselves out, or did Crystal’s mother have the right idea? 

Tammy 4 August 1979

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella (artist John Armstrong)

The Stand-in (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)

Proud as Punch (artist Tony Coleman)

The Happiest Days (artist Mario Capaldi)

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Molly Mills and the Charleston Contest (artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – first episode

Pictures from the Past (artist Audrey Fawley) – Strange Story

Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)

The Wolf at Our Door (artist Bob Harvey)

Edie’s Hobbyhorse: Why Not Make a Shell Collage – feature 

For 1979 in our Tammy August month round, there is a particular reason for profiling this August issue. At times, Tammy made in-jokes about the Tammy team, and the cover makes reference to comic book artist Mario Capaldi coming from a family of ice-cream vendors. Is the ice-cream man on the cover Mario Capaldi? Maybe someone can enlighten us. At any rate, there is a resemblance to Mario the ice-cream man, drawn by Capaldi himself, in a “Life’s a Ball for Nadine” episode. The episode appeared Jinty 27 December 1980.

The cover also brings a seaside flavour to the issue. This ties in with the craft feature on the back cover (making a shell collage) and the Wee Sue story. Miss Bigger informs the class that “an important coastal company have appointed me as their chairman!” Translation: she’s taken an extra job as a deckchair attendant. Too bad for her Wee Sue was taking a holiday at the same beach. Hijinks ensue, of course, but things end happily for them both. Two serials, “Proud as Punch” and “The Stand-in”, also tie in with the seaside/holiday theme. Perhaps they were published for the very purpose.

We mentioned Mario Capaldi a moment ago, and his current Tammy serial is “The Happiest Days”. It’s an evil influence story, except it’s played for laughs instead of scares, which makes it different. A frightful portrait of a school founder casts such a pall over a school it’s the most miserable school in Britain. The school is due to close because of falling numbers, but how to recruit more pupils with that portrait around?

Molly Mills’ new story is actually the second Molly story titled “The Charleston Contest”. The first appeared in the Thewenetti era. In the first, Molly enters a Charleston Contest to win money for her family (with Betty and Kitty playing dirty tricks, but there’s a last minute surprise save from Pickering). This time, Molly’s doing the Charleston Contest for the crippled Miss Claire.

Bessie’s also being a performer this week, in honour of Stackers’ birthday. Her conjuring act is a real performance, with some things not going quite right, but in the end she pulls one out of her hat. Of course her best trick is making food disappear. 

The Bob Harvey story, “A Wolf at Our Door”, now hits its climax. Jenny discovers who is trying to help her with the wolf pack – the aristocratic Rowena Rufley – and why. It’s because of an ancient prophecy. And now it looks like the prophecy is coming true. 

This week’s Strange Story (below) has a modern photographer meet a Victorian one. The artwork is by the ever-popular Audrey Fawley.

Bella is being fostered by the rich Courtney-Pikes, and it’s nice to see her being spoiled and loved for a change. But when they try to turn her into a lady…well, Eliza Doolittle had nothing on Bella, especially as she can’t resist any opportunity to break into gymnastics!

Tammy 12 August 1978

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella (artist John Armstrong)

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Vision of Vanity Fayre (artist Mario Capaldi) – final episode

Maggie’s Menagerie (artist Tony Coleman)

Double – or Nothing! (artist Diana Gabbot(t))

The Juicy Mackerel (artist Peter Wilkes) – Strange Story

Wee Sue (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

A Bus in the Family (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)

Heraldry – Edie’s Hobbyhorse

Now we come to 1978 in our August Tammy month round, with one of my favourite Tammy covers. 

“Your future’s assured” says the cover, but not for Bella in introducing gymnastics to Port Tago, Australia. The way things are going, she must have wondered if she should have stayed home. And now, just when things finally seem to be looking up, an enemy strikes. They tried to sabotage Bella’s public demonstration, and now they’ve sent her a death threat, telling her to get out of Port Tago, or else! 

Currently, there is no Molly Mills (she returns in the following issue), which was a definite change after her artist changed from Tony Thewenetti to Douglas Perry. In the Thewenetti run, Molly appeared without pause from the first issue of Tammy to the end of Thewenetti’s run on 20 August 1977. But when Perry took over on 31 December 1977, Molly took more breaks until the end of her run in 1981 (barring her spot appearances in the “Old Friends” strip in 1982). This would have given some relief to the readers who did not like her so much and allowed more room for serials. 

In the Strange Story, you wouldn’t think a fish could help a man escape? It does when he gets pressganged and his twin sister comes to the rescue after sensing his danger through the twin link. 

Tony Coleman is drawing his second story for Tammy. Maggie Crown is living on her gran’s barge while her parents are away. Animal-loving Maggie is accumulating a secret hoard of stray animals on the barge – what a thing to hide on a barge! As gran is no animal lover, the fur will really fly if she finds out, and that can only be a matter of time.

“Vision of Vanity Fayre” concludes, and a TV production crew are free to carry on with the shoot of the life of a famous authoress without interference from the monstrous conduct of the authoress, which was threatening to destroy it. It turns out she was an imposter (surprise, surprise!) who was holding the real authoress a virtual prisoner while profiteering from her fame. And talking of TV, it leads to trouble for Bessie this week, who ends up under punishment again.

As nobody will partner with Kate Winter because of her terrible temper, she has roped Pam Doggett into a doubles team with her. This week they go into action, but Pam’s insufficient training and constant arguing with Kate are having predictable results. At least someone sees Pam does have potential as a tennis player, but with the way things are going, would Pam be better off in the singles?

Rosie Banks’ father is taking her class on a continental tour in the bus he’s just bought. Things aren’t going smoothly, sometimes in hilarious ways, sometimes in more serious ones. This week it’s really serious, as the brakes suddenly fail, and at the worst possible location – the Pyrenees. Adding to the seriousness is the mystery of why the previous owner, Dodger Wilkins, is so determined to get it back and sent his flunky after it. Is there more to the bus than meets the eye? At least Rose is alerted to his shadowing this week.

Sue enters a sponsored cycle race, but there is a cheat pulling dirty tricks on her. Sue decides to pull her own trick on the cheat, who ends up taking a well-deserved dunking. 

Tammy 20 August 1977

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella (artist John Armstrong)

Sharon’s Shadow (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – Strange Story serial – first episode

Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll)

Molly Mills – the final episode (artist Tony Thewenetti)

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Maisie of Mo Town (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)

Shadow of the Fire God (artist Manuel Benet) – Strange Story

Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)

Wee Sue (artist Mike White)

Daughter of the Regiment (artist Mario Capaldi)

Now we come to 1977 in our August Tammy month round. And there’s another reason to bring out this August issue – it is the issue with the final episode (below) of Molly Mills. Yes, the great Molly Mills debate has finally come to a head. On the letters page (below), ye Editor makes an open call for letters – with monetary incentives of course – on whether or not to bring her back. But really, this would have been a whole lot more fair and representative of readers’ wants if the final episode had ended with a definitive conclusion (Molly sailing off to India with the others). Indeed, if this really was to be Molly’s final bow, they should have done that. Instead, it’s a tantalising cliffhanger (Pickering’s infamous frame-up of Molly at the docks, which makes her a fugitive, on the run from the law). This would surely have skewed the response from readers in favour of Molly’s return, to see how she sorts out her predicament. Indeed, ye Editor later informs us that the response was overwhelmingly in favour of Molly’s return, and return she did, on 31 December 1977. Would the response have been the same if Molly had been given a proper send-off? Incidentally, seeing as Molly returned with a different artist (Douglas Perry), I suspect the clincher for this sudden end of Molly was not the Molly Mills debate – it was Tony Thewenetti no longer able to continue with Molly for some reason. 

Meanwhile, Bella is at a Russian gymnastics school on a scholarship, and it’s good to see she’s getting a lot out of it this time (last time she was at a Russian gymnastics school, she was wrongly expelled before she’d hardly begun). Of course the school not without problems, and boy, does her strict Russian coach have a face to remember! John Armstrong must have had a great time drawing inspiration from gargoyles or something. This week, Bella loses her memory after an accident in the gym and strays from the school. 

Tammy takes us into the world of politics with the new Strange Story serial, “Sharon’s Shadow”. Joe Brown, outraged by the rundown housing conditions in Leechester, which led to the death of his grandfather, is running for MP so he can turn things around. But his chances of election could come under threat when his sister Sharon challenges a witch’s curse at her grave and then has a strange accident there. Never, ever, challenge the supernatural, Sharon. Meanwhile, in the regular Strange Story, the horrors of human sacrifice in pre-Christian days threaten to resurface with an erupting volcano, and superstition and hysteria get the better of people.

In “Maisie in Mo Town”, it’s been a barrel of laughs (though maybe a bit un-PC today) with Maisie pretending to increasingly exasperated kidnappers that she’s a dumb wild girl from Africa who doesn’t know the first thing about civilisation and can only speak pidgin English. But now things take a very serious turn as the kidnappers make plans to smuggle her out of the country. To this end, they lock her in the attic, ready for someone to collect at midnight!

“Daughter of the Regiment” Tessa Mason has recruited a gang of mudlarks to help clear her father, who was shot for cowardice at the Charge of the Light Brigade. But one, Dick, has been bribed to help lead her into a trap! And Melanie has recruited her own gang, “Melanie’s Mob”, to train as athletes. Dad would have a fit if he knew they were the Canal Mob, and now someone has reported something to the police about it.

At a regatta, Stackers is finding a mermaid costume problematic, and it leads to hijinks. In the final panel, Bessie doesn’t think much of mermaid costumes either, as she can’t raid the grub in the one she’s forced to wear.  

Nobody in class believes Miss Bigger when she shoots a big line about how her big WAAF days in World War II helped to win the Battle of Britain. So nobody’s surprised when she comes unstuck at a Battle of Britain exhibition at a flying club: “Bigger? We had a waitress of that name in the mess. Butter-fingers Bigger we used to call her…she was always dropping the crockery.” Miss Bigger’s looking very red, and then she’s green, as she can’t take a flight in a WWII plane without feeling airsick. The real heroics belong to Sue, who scares off robbers at the club with a phoney WWII bomb.

Tammy 7 August 1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella (artist John Armstrong)

Towne in the Country (artist John Armstrong)

The Good Old Days (artist Bill Baker) – Strange Story

Tag Along Tania (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Molly Mills and the General Strike (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)

Drawn to Destiny (artist Tony Higham) – Strange Story serial

Odds on Patsy (artist Eduardo Feito)

We come to 1976 in our Tammy August month round, and the cover confirms what we always suspected – teachers took sneak reads of the comics (Tammy, Jinty, whatever) they confiscated, and they enjoyed them as much as the girls themselves. We have to wonder how many closet Molly, Bella or Jinx from St. Jonah’s fans were created that way. The sight of the teacher reading her Tammy must be worse than the lines for the poor Cover Girl. 

Parents also enjoyed reading their daughters’ copies of Tammy, as one letter to Tammy this week shows: “I have been reading Tammy for nearly five years now…I think it’s the best comic around and so does my mother who always insists on reading it…” 

The Olympics were huge in Tammy in 1976 because of Montreal, and the Bella story for that year used the theme. Bella is determined to reach Montreal although she can’t compete and has no passport. It got left behind when she fled from her cruel aunt and uncle, and her flight is leading to all sorts of misadventures in Continental Europe, with Montreal seeming to get further and further away each time. Right now, she’s stranded in France with a stage troupe who are taking advantage of her. Added to that, there are jealous girls in the troupe playing nasty tricks on her. Yes, it never rains but pours with our Bella. Later on in 1976, Tammy continued the theme of the Olympics with the classic “Olympia Jones”.

By popular demand, 1976 had a stab at publishing some Strange Story serials. The current one is “Drawn to Destiny”, where jealousy between twin sisters over artwork is leading to ever-frightening results. And this week’s Strange Story (below) may have you think twice about comparing the present to “the good old days”.

In “Towne in the Country”, Val discovers what necessity can drive you to do. She is scared at the thought of administering an injection or touching animals, and then she has to do both when her father’s life is endangered and it’s up to her to save his life. Yep, Tammy’s clearly out to toughen up this one all right.

Tania “Tag Along” Foster is trying to stand up to the girls she hangs out with and stop being their dogsbody, but they aren’t giving up their power over her that easily. They’re pulling dirty tricks to keep her as their doormat. It always backfires on them in the end, leaving Tania with the last laugh, but she still has a fight on her hands to win respect.

Tennis trouble for Stackers when she pushes Bessie onto the tennis court this week – she soon finds having Bessie try tennis is courting trouble of the Bessie blundering kind. At least everything ends happily when it’s refreshment time.

Sue is trying to help a pupil lose weight, which turns into a very weighty problem when Miss Bigger makes a bet with the Head over whether or not the girl can lose weight. So the hijinks ensue when Miss Bigger turns to dirty tricks to keep the weight on and Sue steps into foil them. 

Eduardo Feito is the artist who really brought horse stories to life in Tammy. He has a number of strong Tammy horse stories under his belt already, such as “Halves in a Horse”, “The Uxdale Urchins” and “Rona Rides Again”. His current horse story is “Odds on Patsy”, about a racehorse and a girl who wants to be a top jockey. Now that’s a nice change from stories about show jumping and gymkhanas.

Politics is an unusual topic in a girls’ comic, but here it is in Molly’s story, “The General Strike”. Lord Stanton dispatches Molly and Pickering to keep the buses running during a workers’ strike (something IPC knew a lot about), which is being conducted in sympathy for a miners’ strike against a wage cut. Readers must have enjoyed Molly and Pickering’s change of uniforms and jobs: Molly as the bus conductor and Pickering as the (hee, hee!) bus driver. Unfortunately, Lord Stanton’s move to keep the buses running during the strike is understandably pissing off the strikers and they’ve turned on him. Now Lord Stanton’s gone missing, and his car’s come a cropper in the quarry! Could it be connected with the strike?

Tammy and June 2 August 1975

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella at the Bar (second Bella story) (artist John Armstrong, writer Jenny McDade) – final episode

Waifs of the Wigmaker (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Bill Harrington)

Ella’s Ballet Boat (artist Jim Eldridge)

Aunt Aggie (artist J. Badesa, writer Pat Mills, creator Gerry Finley-Day)

Carol in Camelot St. (artist Douglas Perry)

Typewriters for Writer Types! – competition 

The Truth about the Treasure (artist John Armstrong) – Strange Story

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)

No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

Now we come to 1975 in our Tammy August month round. 

Inside, Bella’s second story comes to an end, and readers finally see how she clears her name after being framed and publicly disgraced by the jealous Natalia Orlov. This Bella story drew lots of letters from readers, including ones trying to guess how Bella would win out against Natalia. As it turned out, they were not bad guesses. But none of them anticipated Bella damaging her back (while saving Natalia, and Natalia confessing in return) and becoming wheelchair-bound as the cost of clearing her name. And so the scene – Bella’s road to recovery – is set for her third story, which readers are informed will be starting soon. So now Bella is on her way to becoming a recurring regular in Tammy instead of a serial. Meanwhile, readers will get a new tennis story, “Backhand Billie”.

Aunt Aggie (the TV star with the sweet persona on screen, the scheming one in real life) is also doing another sequel. In this week’s episode, how much does it take to get Aunt Aggie jealous? It’s Helen getting a bit of fan mail of her own. Just a few letters for Helen, and Aunt Aggie brings out her big guns. But, as usual, Helen finds a way to make it all rebound on awful Aunt Aggie. 

In “Waifs of the Wigmaker”, there’s no more slaving in the wig factory for Moira, says Ma Parting. She’s training Moira up for something bigger, and Moira is to take on another identity for it. Sounds ominous. On the plus side, while dodging the authorities, Ma Parting was forced take Moira through a secret tunnel to the factory. Moira’s got the escape route from the wig factory at last, and Ma Parting showed it to her herself! 

This week’s Strange Story is a treasure hunt story, which leaves the hunters with a moral: there is more than one kind of treasure. In “Ella’s Ballet Boat”, the floating ballet company is dogged by more sinister treasure hunters, in search of a treasure chart hidden on their boat. 

Carol Clancy finds King Arthur is being taken a bit far at her new school in Camelot Street. Her school carries on the Round Table and the Camelot tradition, complete with quests and defending the weak and poor against fairytale threats of dragons, ogres, robber barons and such. You couldn’t possibly find things like that in the modern world? Well, they are up against “dragons” this week – a motorcycle gang by that name. But there’s a more pressing threat from Mordred. No, not the witch – the deputy head who wants the head’s position, which would bring down the Round Table. 

In the Tammy regulars: Bessie takes advantage of bob-a-job week, but it all blows up in her face. She also meets a boy scout who’s just like her. Miss Bigger’s cousin is giving a lecture about his game hunting in Africa. Sue badly wants to see it, but Miss Bigger won’t let her. When Sue wins in the end, “even that hyena [on photo slide] don’t look so wild as Miss B.” Molly is the only one standing by a new tenant farmer, Mark Travers; everyone else has turned against him because of claims he’s a fraud. Even his wife has doubts. And now Pickering swings by with an invitation that sounds like a plan to catch him out altogether.

Tammy and June 31 August 1974

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella at the Bar (artist John Armstrong, writer Jenny McDade)

Swimmer Slave of Mrs. Squall (artist Douglas Perry, writer Gerry Finley-Day?) – final episode

Sadie in the Sticks (artist Juliana Buch)

Wheels of Fate (artist John Armstrong) – Strange Story

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray)

Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi)

Cat Stevens – feature

No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

Eva’s Evil Eye (artist John Richardson, writer John Wagner) 

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. 

Tammy 26 August 1972

Belinda Black-Sheep (artist Mario Capaldi) – first episode

Miss High-an’-Mighty (artist Julio Bosch?)

The Lame Ballerina (artist P. Montero, writer Gerry Finley-Day?)

Lulu (cartoon)

The Uxdale Urchins (artist Eduardo Feito)

Swim for Your Life, Sari (artist Juan Garcia Quiros, writer Gerry Finley-Day?)

Skivers’ School (artist J. Badesa)

Dog Paddle Doris (artist Carlos Prunes, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

The Greek Girl (artist John Armstrong, writer Bill Harrington?) – first episode

Here Comes Trouble (artist Luis Bermejo)

Lonely Romy (artists Luis Bermejo and Miguel Quesada (inks))

No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

A Special Tammy Portrait – Don McLean

We come to 1972 in our Tammy August month round, and in this issue, two new stories start: “Belinda Black-Sheep” and “The Greek Girl”. Mario Capaldi, who went on to become one of the longest-standing stalwarts on the Tammy team, starts his first story for Tammy, “Belinda Black-Sheep”. Belinda McRea and her father become outcasts in their fishing village after Dad commits a seeming act of cowardice that led the deaths of his fellow fishermen in a storm. But did he really? Or did he lose his mind in some way and was not responsible for his actions? Or did something else happen? He seems to recall saving them, but he’s become so addled we don’t even know what to think, much know where to start working out what happened. 

In the second new story, “The Greek Girl”, Rose Banks has no confidence in herself, and it shows in her appearance (scruffy) and schoolwork (“appalling”). She wishes upon the statue of Penelope, the Greek goddess of confidence, to become more confident. (Incidentally, there really is a Greek goddess of confidence, but her name is Flaunta, and she is the second cousin of Aphrodite.) Soon after, a girl and a cat who are dead ringers for the goddess and her cat come into Rose’s life. Oops, is it the old “be careful what you wish for” again? Incidentally, this was one of the John Armstrong Tammy stories chosen for reprint in the Misty annuals, and a number of them were written by Bill Harrington.

Miss High-an’-Mighty, a spoiled, arrogant Victorian girl named Ursula Thorndike, has to be the hardest nut of all to crack in redemption stories. Bill Fletcher, a convict made good, is taking her on a tour to see how the other half live in the hopes it will change her. Ursula’s had to agree, as it is the only way to save her family from bankruptcy, but so far none of it is making any impression or improvement on her. 

Molly’s in a really complicated fix. She’s taken in an amnesic girl named Lorna, and then a Lady Lancton claims Lorna stole jewellery from her. Lorna is indeed scared shitless of Lady Lancton, but is it for that reason? Molly’s attempt to get Lorna’s side of things is soon putting her in danger.

In “Lonely Romy”, another Cinderella story, Romy hits the road after her spiteful stepsister frames her for stealing a watch. The truth is discovered later, but by this time Romy’s found a new venue for her paintings.

In “Here Comes Trouble”, the trouble for Mitzi Trouble comes from spiteful Katy Dennison. First Katy dopes her horse, and now she’s started a grass fire that’s raged out of control, just to get Mitzi into trouble, but it’s put lives in danger.

Girls’ comics often had some bizarre premises, and “Dog Paddle Doris” is one. Doris Farrell is making her name as…the best dog paddle swimmer around. Although it’s the only stroke she can do, she’s joined a swimming club and is competing in races, against girls who are doing freestyle. She even wins a freestyle event, but she was doing dog paddle, not freestyle. Aren’t there any grounds for disqualification here? 

“Swim for Your Life, Sari” is another swimming story, about a long-distance relay swimming race for Sari Marsh and her team. But Sari soon finds there is more danger than just the risks of the race – something sinister is afoot, and it looks suspiciously like the relay race is a setup for it.

Jill Hudson discovers Louisa “The Lame Ballerina” isn’t that lame, but thinks there’s a medical problem and wants to be friends. The truth is, Louisa is faking lameness to avoid the ballet she’s being pushed into, and now she sees a glorious opportunity to take advantage of Jill.

“Skivers’ School” looks like it’s riding on the success of “School for Snobs”. But instead of teaching snobs a lesson, the special school teaches ill-mannered girls to behave. Flo and Ethel Binns have been sent to it to learn how to be ladies. The hijinks have their skivvying backfiring on them and being foiled by the headmistress Miss Meake. We’re always left wondering as to whether Miss Meake does this without realising it or not, which is probably a running gag.

The Uxdale Urchins win the semi-finals despite problems along the way, but now there’s a real hurdle – the finals are in London, and they can’t afford a horse box.