Molly Mills and the Promotion (first episode) – artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon
Wee Sue – artist Robert MacGillivray
Make Headlines, Hannah! – artist Tony Coleman
Turn of the Year (Strange Story) – artist Peter Wilkes
Tuck-In with Tammy – feature
For New Year we bring you Tammy’s New Year issue from 1980. This is the last New Year issue to use the Cover Girls. If they had known they would be dropped in October that year, we don’t think it would have been a very Happy New Year for them. It was a common in-joke for a Cover Girls cover to show someone holding a Tammy with the same cover or a tie-in cover. In this case, old year 1979 looks like he’s got the Tammy with the cover showing new year 1980 on it.
As it turned out, new year 1980 was a big one for Tammy. Just two weeks after this issue came out, Misty merged with Tammy, and the effect resonated for several years.
The issue is chock-a-block with New Year-themed stories from the regulars. Wee Sue, Bessie Bunter, Edie, and the Storyteller with a double helping of Strange Stories are all in on the act. So is Molly, with her new story, “The Promotion”. Sadly, it’s not a good start for the New Year for her. Ironically, it’s because of something that should be very happy for her – she is chosen for the staff promotion. But the other servants don’t look happy about it, and neither is Molly. She isn’t one of the gang anymore because of the promotion.
New Year was a popular time for girls’ comics to start new stories, and two stories start in this issue. The first is Molly’s new story. The other is “Sister in the Shadows”. Wendy Weekes is off to a new start, at her new school, but it’s already off to a bad start because everyone expects her to live up to the success of her older sister Stella. As if this weren’t bad enough, it’s also making Wendy unpopular with the other girls and a prime target for bullying.
In the old stories, things are finally looking up for Hannah Hilton, who is trying to become a success after nothing but failure, in the form of her nasty sisters who keep trying to sabotage her. Hannah is about to revive an old attraction at the fair. The mayor, who had been requesting it for years, is all agog, and so are the reporters. Seems nothing can go wrong this time – but then there’s a policeman at the door. Is it Hannah’s sisters again or something far more serious?
In “Cindy of Swan Lake”, Cindy Grey goes on tour. It should be a great experience, but, as usual, she’s lumbered with the company of her jealous rival Zoe Martin, who is also out to sabotage her. Zoe’s sabotage takes the form of head games, playing on Cindy being worried sick about her beloved swan who is being poisoned by pollution.
And in “Daughter of the Desert”, the mysterious Arab figure who seems connected to a strange series of desert-related incidents at a boarding school, leads our heroines into a trap – of quicksand!
Becky Never Saw the Ball – artist John Armstrong, writer Joe Collins
Wee Sue – artist John Richardson
Nell Nobody – artist Miguel Quesada
A Dog’s Best Friend (Strange Story) – artist Jim Eldrige
Dirty Trix – artist unknown
Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (final episode) – artist Robert MacGillivray
Secret Ballet of the Steppes – artist Douglas Perry, writer Gerry Finley-Day?
No Tears for Molly – artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon
Town Without Telly – artist José Casanovas
It’s Guy Fawkes season, so we bring out the first Tammy Cover Girls cover with a Fifth of November theme. Oh dear, looks like a mishap struck the younger Cover Girl this time; usually it’s the older one. Hopefully they will come up with a brainwave to cover those ruined fireworks.
Bessie does not appear this week. Wee Sue could be out celebrating Bonfire Night, but she’s out playing soccer and rugby instead. This keeps striking trouble with Miss Bigger, who is looking for a missing consignment of school blazers.
It’s the final episode of Uncle Meanie – for now, anyway. At long last, he finishes off a world cruise that he’s constantly bedevilled with his penny-pinching tricks. The poor captain of that cruise ship will never be the same again. Home sweet home, all bracing for the return of Uncle Meanie to Tammy later on.
Many readers kept writing in demanding why the heck Molly doesn’t strike back at that bully butler Pickering. They must have cheered when her double, come to Stanton Hall in her place, finally does the job this week. Pickering is left utterly floored – literally.
This week’s Strange Story is drawn by what looks like a very early Jim Eldridge. So could it be an early Strange Story reprinted from June? Enough time has passed for such reprints to start appearing in Tammy. The story is about the ability of dogs to sense things people can’t.
Dirty Trix senses her cheating at athletics has finally been detected, and eavesdropping on the club coach Miss Wood confirms her fears. “I ain’t finished yet, not by a long chalk!” is her response. Don’t be so sure about that, Trix – the blurb for next week says the evidence against you is going to stack up.
Nell Nobody shows she’s a real trouper by proving this week that when disaster strikes, she can think on her feet and come up with ways to deal with the situation. She figures a way around her horrible uncle smashing the legs of her puppet by incorporating the puppet’s disability into a new act. She also creates a companion puppet (Lola) for him despite the gruelling demands of the hot dog stand she’s forced to slog at to pay for her spoiled cousin’s acting fees. Now an important-looking lady has lined up for the show Nell’s secretly using the hot dog stand for. Is Nell about to get her big break?
“Secret Ballet of the Steppes” is reaching its climax. Judith manages to get back to the palace, braving wolves, suspicious-looking men who try to drug her, and snowstorms to do so, to avert the upcoming attack against the revolutionaries. Then she discovers there’s more to it than that when she overhears the villainous Berova planning something sneaky.
Joy and Recepta’s plan to cure Boxless town of TV addiction is to bore viewers stiff with long-winded broadcasts featuring Lady Boxless. So far the results look good – Lady Boxless already has someone throwing a loafer at the screen.
Elspeth was forcibly separated from Becky after being wrongly accused of driving her too hard at tennis. Becky ran away in search of Elspeth and now she’s at a tennis match promoting ice cream in the hopes of finding her. Sure enough, Elspeth, who runs an ice cream truck, is now arriving at the same event. Will they reunite?
Nell Nobody (first episode) – artist Miguel Quesada
Wee Sue – artist John Richardson
Unscheduled Stop (Strange Story) – artist John Armstrong
Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie – artist Robert MacGillivray
No Tears for Molly – artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon
Town Without Telly – artist José Casanovas
Autumn covers are also good to profile in Halloween month, and I just dug this one out from 1974.
The issue begins another Cinderella story, “Nell Nobody”. Nell must have been popular, as her run (18 episodes) was even longer than the first Bella Barlow story (12 episodes). Nell Ewart is badly treated by her aunt and uncle (confusingly, they are actually her step-parents), who only have eyes for her spoiled stepsister/cousin Rosie. They yank Nell out of school to slog at a hot dog stand to pay for Rosie’s acting fees, which dashes her hopes of pursuing drama and stagecraft at school when she’s just discovered her talent for it. At least she still has her puppet Willoughby, and we know things will somehow start from there. And could Nell’s uncle have unwittingly helped her by establishing the hot dog stand across from the TV studio and theatre?
Imagine putting Coppelia together in three days! That’s the task facing our slave dancers of the Steppes from the slave-driving Berova. Incredibly, they pull it off, but Judith collapses from the strain. Princess Petra allows them to take a sleigh ride over the Steppes for a break, but Judith smells something fishy about their drivers.
Recepta, once a TV addict herself, is now trying to stop her father from turning the town of Boxless into a town full of TV addicts. It’s a battle of wills between them now, with Dad going as far as to bind and gag Recepta and force her to watch television.
Miss Bigger feels confident she’s put Sue in her place this time after lumbering her with the awful task of pumping the organ for choir practice. Little does she know Sue’s had one of her brainwaves to get out of it.
Bessie Bunter is off like a shot when Miss Stackpole says there’ll be refreshments at St. Prim’s School – without stopping to hear there’ll be a hockey match there first. And to her chagrin, she’s lumbered as goalie. She tries to wriggle out of it and to the grub, but it backfires so badly on her that she gets tangled in the goal net and unable to get to the refreshments before the others finish them. Poor Bessie.
In the Strange Story, “Unscheduled Stop”, Jenny Shaw is reaching breaking point because her parents are always arguing. Then the train they’re on makes an unscheduled stop – back in time – which shows Jenny the younger versions of her parents and what started the trouble between them.
The Stanton Hall staff, egged on by the militant Miss Byrdy, have gone on strike to get rid of Pickering. But it’s gone too far and Miss Byrdy is arrested. The strike collapses without her, but Lord Stanton sees the point of it after catching Pickering taking a horrible revenge on the staff, and orders him to apologise. No dismissal for him though, or any real improvement in how he treats the staff. At least the staff get raises out of it, and Miss Byrdy is soon released, all charges dropped.
Uncle Meanie’s round-the-trip cruise lands the family in California and at the doorstep of another McScrimp relative, Tex McScrimp. And from the looks of the signs and barbed wire fences he has put up, he is every bit as mean, unwelcoming, and eccentric about it as Uncle Angus. The miser gene definitely runs right through the McScrimp family; Jeannie’s generation is the only one known to have skipped it.
Becky Bates is making a comeback as a tennis player after losing her sight. But keeping her blindness a secret is causing problems. This time it’s having another accident and collapsing because of it, and her coach/Aunt Elspeth is accused of driving her too hard.
Tammy & Jinty merger in “Old Friends”, 26 December 1981 to 10 July 1982
Artists: (Sandie) Vicente Torregrosa Manrique. (Tammy) Mario Capaldi, John Richardson, Robert MacGillivray, Richard Neillands, Mike White, Hugh Thornton-Jones, John Johnston, Jim Eldridge
Writers (known): Terry Magee, Maureen Spurgeon, Iain MacDonald; Gerry Finley-Day also involved
We are now going to take a look at Sue Strong, better known as Wee Sue, and her development from her debut in Sandie to her final years in Tammy.
Wee Sue was one of the first stories to appear in Sandie. Sandie was launched on 12 February 1972 and ran until 20 May 1972, and was drawn by Vicente Torregrosa Manrique. Tammy readers would have been surprised to see how Wee Sue looked back then, as it was radically different to the Tammy version. It was a serial, not a regular weekly feature, and it was played for drama, not light relief. There was no “story of the week” format where Sue’s famous big brains would come up with ways to get out of various scrapes, being the bane of the bullying Miss Bigger, or sorting out someone’s problem. In fact, there is no Milltown, no Milltown Comprehensive, and no Miss Bigger. The logo was different too.
Instead, Sue is a scholarship girl at exclusive Backhurst Academy, which has emphasis on sport. But it is facing closure, so Sue is trying to come up with a way to save it. Sue has other problems too, such as facing prejudice because she is a scholarship girl. Sue’s appearance is also different from the one Tammy readers are more familiar with. She is still a midget, but she has freckles and a more rigid bob style than the tousled one she would acquire in her later stories.
Still, the elements Sue became known for in Tammy were there from the beginning. She is always proving you should not estimate her because she is small. Indeed, her size often comes in handy. She has that reputation for brilliant ideas, particularly when she had to pull something out of her hat to save the day. Sometimes she moves in mysterious ways to do so, but she always knows what she is doing. She is always willing to help others, even more unsavoury types. She even sacrifices herself for them, often at the price of taking a dent in her popularity. She is not afraid to stand up to bullies and sort out nasty types. She is always kind, brave, thoughtful and generous.
The first Wee Sue story ended in Sandie on 20 May 1972. More than a year later Sandie merged with Tammy on 27 October 1973. Wee Sue and “Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie” were the only Sandie stories to cross over into the merger. Considering that the first Wee Sue story had ended in Sandie over a year before with no known sequels, the choice of reviving her for the merger is a surprising one. Were there plans for a Wee Sue sequel in Sandie that didn’t get off the ground but made their way into the merger? Or did the editor trawl through the issues of Sandie until he found something he thought had potential for the merger besides Uncle Meanie?
On the Jinty site Iain MacDonald has commented “…The other character I wrote and helped create was Wee Sue. Gerry Finlay Day suggested the character. I wrote most of the early ones.” It is not clear if MacDonald is referring to the original Sue from Sandie or the reboot in Tammy, but the reference to Finley-Day does suggest the latter.
Whatever was behind bringing Sue into the merger, it was an inspired choice. Sue became one of the most popular and enduring characters in Tammy. But for this, a sweeping overhaul of Wee Sue was undertaken. Former Sandie readers must have been taken aback to see it.
In her debut episode in Tammy (below), Sue began to take on the form familiar to Tammy readers. She is now a regular strip with self-contained episodes (in later years she occasionally had two-parters and even mini-story arcs). She now has the logo familiar to Tammy readers, and she would retain it for the rest of her run. She has moved to Milltown, a poor industrial town. Instead of the posh academy she attends Milltown Comprehensive. There is more emphasis on her living in poverty, such as her patched uniform. The poverty angle disappears later in the strip, though her parents clearly remain working-class people. Sue still has her freckles from her original story, but her bob has a spiky look. The bob would later take on a softer style and the freckles disappeared.
It is also the episode where Miss Bigger makes her first appearance. She, along with Miss Tuft the games mistress, are new to the comprehensive, and they make it clear they are both bully teachers. This is definitely the Tammy influence (dark stories laden with misery and cruelty) on Sue. Both of these teachers hate Sue from the moment they meet her. In the first episodes there is a harder edge to their nastiness. For example, in one episode Miss Tuft is determined to get Sue into trouble for theft although she knows Sue is innocent. The teachers also bully an autistic girl, who gets diagnosed thanks to Sue (very advanced for 1973!). Miss Tuft soon disappeared, leaving Miss Bigger to carry on as the arch-nemesis of Wee Sue. Well, there is room for only one arch-nemesis in a regular strip after all.
Despite the harder edge, there are elements of humour. For example, in Sue’s first Tammy episode, she gets the better of Miss Bigger with the help of an onion johnny. As time passed, the cruelty, though still present in the form of Miss Bigger, would be reduced as the comedy took more of a front seat. Wee Sue evolved into a lightweight strip as she became more cheeky, wise-cracking, even mischievous, and often getting into slapstick scrapes.
Miss Bigger remained as mean and pompous as she had been in her first episode, but she soon took on a more comic presence as well. As she did so, her features evolved from the rather flat, slim look in her first episode to becoming more wryly grotesque and tartar-looking. Mario Capaldi, Miss Bigger’s first artist, eventually gave her the distinctive jagged choppers that would gnash furiously whenever she shouted – which was often. Her nose changed too, becoming more distinctive, in a comical way. Under Robert MacGillivray it became an overgrown bulbous nose, similar to the one he eventually gave Uncle Meanie when he came over to Tammy.
One reason why Miss Bigger’s appearance became more caricaturised was that Wee Sue passed into the hands of several artists who were strong on slapstick, caricature and humour. John Richardson, who took over from Mario Capaldi, was the first to take Wee Sue into this area, and his run on Sue was a long one. In fact, he took over in the same episode of Sue as Capaldi, on 14 September 1974, giving the readers the best of both worlds (or a lot of confusion, with the same episode switching from one artist to another). When Richardson took over, Sue took on a sharper, more clever look.
Over time other artists continued the humour, though some brought it off better than others. Other artists to draw Wee Sue were John Johnston, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Richard Neillands, Jim Eldridge, Mike White and Robert MacGillivray.
Despite the grotesque comic looks she acquires, Miss Bigger is so vain beyond imagining that she actually believes she is beautiful. Her vanity extends to her abilities as well; she believes she is capable of any feat that borders on superhuman, including being a better ballerina than Margot Fonteyn or winning World War II single-handed. In one episode we see this vanity runs in the Bigger family: Miss Bigger shows Sue her illustrious family album of Bigger women, who all look like her and come up with grand schemes that make no sense and don’t look at all successful (below). We frequently see Sue take advantage of Miss Bigger’s vanity, either to get what she wants out of her or to fix Miss Bigger’s sneaky schemes or mountains of homework.
There is also confusion about Miss Bigger’s first name. It was first established as Lillian, but later in the run it was Amelia.
From the first episode Miss Bigger gives the impression she is not a very good teacher; the onion johnny, for example, makes it clear that Sue’s French is better than hers. In another episode, Miss Bigger gives a German lesson, but her accent is terrible. Some episodes on Miss Bigger’s own days at school imply she has a dark past there: bullying and lousy school reports.
Unfortunately Miss Bigger is also notorious for giving out such great big piles of homework that we suspect she does it to deliberately torture her class. She is also known for making the girls’ lives a misery if she’s in a filthy mood. For example, in a Valentine-themed episode she lumbers the girls with extra homework when they’re set to go to a Valentines Day party because she’s upset she didn’t get a Valentine. Frequently Sue has to come up with schemes to keep Miss Bigger in a good mood or placate her when she’s in a bad one, or the class suffers.
In the earliest episodes Miss Bigger wore a formal outfit. But later in the Capaldi run she acquired the more casual outfit that would stay with her for the rest of the strip: skirt and sweater (later a cardigan or jacket) and black blouse. This outfit became her trademark. In fact, in one episode Miss Bigger’s trademark outfit inadvertently starts a new fashion in Milltown called “the old frump look” after a rack full of her outfits (all the same outfit!) gets mixed up with a clothes rack bound for a fashion show.
Because Sue was the bane of Miss Bigger she was sometimes branded a troublemaker by school authorities. But what Sue was really known for was her big ideas to save the day. She could always be counted on to come up with a brainwave to fix any situation, such as helping her classmates and parents, coming to the rescue of people in trouble, foiling tricksters, bullies, criminals, and Miss Bigger’s mean schemes, raising school funds, and sometimes helping Miss Bigger.
However, sometimes Sue really was naughty. In one episode, she takes a satchel to school that is so full of sweets it’s a wonder she doesn’t give herself diabetes, and she eats them in class. The sweets land her in so many sticky situations (including her toffee bar ripping Miss Bigger’s skirt and exposing her undies!) that she is right off sugar by the end of the day. It was in episodes like these that Miss Bigger was allowed to triumph against Wee Sue, so the bully teacher did win on occasion. But for the most part, Sue is a nice girl.
Miss Bigger frequently steals the credit for Sue’s big ideas whenever she sees the way to take advantage of it. This is something she gets away with a lot, but at least there is always a consolation for Sue, such as money, and in one instance, a trip to Spain.
Wee Sue remained a popular regular in Tammy, even having a special story to commemorate Tammy’s 10th birthday (below). Miss Bigger, for once having an inspired idea, takes the class on a tour at King’s Reach Tower for a behind-the-scenes look at Tammy. Sue falls asleep over the Tammys in the copy room, where she dreams of past and present Tammy characters. They all come together for a big birthday party, including Miss Bigger.
Then Jinty merged with Tammy on 28 November 1981. This was the beginning of the end for Sue. After a few weeks of not appearing in the merger, she reappeared as part of an “Old Friends” feature, which she shared in rotation with Bessie Bunter, Molly Mills and Tansy of Jubilee Street (the last of which being a surprise revival, having officially ended in the last issue of Jinty). In fact, Sue was the old friend to lead off the feature on 26 December 1981. Except for her first Old Friends episode, the Wee Sue appearances were entirely new material, as were the appearances of Tansy and Molly. This made them more refreshing to see. Only Bessie was on repeats. But it was clear that all four were on their very last legs. Sure enough, Old Friends disappeared with a revamped Tammy launched 17 July 1982, so Wee Sue was buried in the same grave as Tansy, Bessie and Molly. However, Sue continued to make appearances in the Tammy annual to the very end, though it was with repeats.
Sue lasted in Tammy for a proud nine years, including her Old Friends appearances. But if you include the Sandie year, Sue ran for 10 years, which means she holds a joint record with Bella for longevity and one year behind Molly at 11 years.
Two new stories begin this issue: “Curtains for Cathy” and “Nightmare at Grimm Fen”.
In the former, Cathy Harley wants to make her own way on the stage, not because she’s the daughter of a famous actor. She’s even willing to do it the hard way and take all the hard knocks she’s been warned about. So she takes an assistant stage manager job under an assumed name at a rundown theatre, and she even agrees not to be paid for it. But no sooner has Cathy gone when Dad receives a threatening phone call saying he won’t see Cathy again and the curtains are coming down for her! We don’t think Cathy counted on that as part of the hard knocks she was willing to risk – but can she take it anyway when whoever it is starts their game?
In the latter, Mark and Patty Stephens make a brass rubbing of an evil medieval knight, Robert Le Mal. Then there are warning signs they shouldn’t have done that and they return to the place to reverse the damage. But as they do so, the weather grows stormy and there’s a horrible flapping sound.
It’s unusual for Robert MacGillivray to draw a historical story, but he does so with this week’s Strange Story. The story appears below for those who like MacGillivray artwork.
The snobs are cooking up trouble for Babe – literally – this week. It must be said that the gangster know-how she pulls to foil their scheme really does stretch credibility.
There’s a hunt for a loose tiger in “Towne in the Country”, and there’s a hunter after it with safari ideas. Val spots it first and, realising it’s hurt, decides to risk herself to treat it.
Miss Claire is trying to hide a baby seal with Molly’s help, but of course it’s a load of trouble for them both. Now there are further complications. The first is Pickering, who mistakes the seal for a monster and has all the staff hunting it. The second is another man finding the seal – and Molly doesn’t like the look of him!
Sue plans a party. Unfortunately Mum accidentally scratches the new LP she was going to use for it, and the stores are sold out because it’s so hot. Then a stroke of luck and Sue’s habit of doodling bring her to the pop star himself, who agrees to perform live at her party after she does him a favour.
Bessie Bunter pulls a crooked raffle to raise more food for herself, but of course she gets caught out. Her punishment is a notebook to be filled with lines. She never seems to get expelled for those naughty schemes of hers.
In this week’s episode of “Olympia Jones” it’s the long-awaited (and dreaded) return of her archenemies, the Rotts. We get the satisfaction of seeing that sacking Olympia for Linda Rott’s animal cruelty to escape prosecution from animal welfare has rebounded on them: “Takings down again…Sometimes I regret sacking Olympia Jones. She certainly knew how to train the animals.” They overlooked that Olympia was too valuable as animal trainer for Linda’s horse act, and her absence has caused the circus to suffer.
Then the Rotts discover the circus horse they mistreated has now become a show-jumping Olympic prospect under Olympia – which makes him worth a fortune. Now new cruelty is underway as the Rotts plot how to get their hands on that money.
Molly Mills on the Run (artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
The Magic Lamp – the Strange Story
Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Gail at Windyridge (artist Mario Capaldi)
Pretty Things with Poly Craft (feature)
I have brought out this Tammy in honour of St Patrick’s Day. Girls’ comics didn’t seem to bother with St Patrick’s Day much, but this issue is an exception. It’s a delightful, enchanting cover of leprechauns and fairies entertaining the Cover Girls.
Inside, Bella is on hiatus, but we’re sure some story will finish soon in order to make room for her. Meantime, several of the stories that are currently running are Tammy classics. One is “Melanie’s Mob”, Tammy’s answer to “Concrete Surfer”. Melanie Newton has formed a skateboarding club to persuade the council to provide a skateboarding rink. This week they win a special prize for their display on skateboarding safety and are encouraged to compete in serious contests. But now the only skateboarding area in town has been bulldozed.
Tammy is definitely having a jag on disguises, double lives, concealing pasts, going on the run, and assumed names. No less than seven stories have it this week in some form or other. Yes, seven.
First is “Goldie Alone”. Goldie was a mega-popular Tammy story that was still remembered years later; for example, Goldie made a cameo in the Wee Sue birthday celebrations of Tammy’s 10th issue. Goldie Gibbs is living with a foster family, the Stringers, while her mother is in hospital. The Stringers are out to stop Goldie beating their daughter Emma at an ice-skating event. Goldie is resorting to secret skating at the rink, which starts stories about a “phantom skater” haunting the rink at night. The Stringers guess the truth and go to welfare with all sorts of lies about Goldie being an out-of-control girl. Although welfare have second thoughts about Mrs Stringer’s story once they probe further, it has the police on Goldie’s tail and catching her red-handed as she tries to break into the ice rink.
Second is part two of another Tammy classic, “Mask for Melissa”. Melissa Mappin has facial scars from an accident and is so affected by it that she can’t bear to look in a mirror, and it looks like her acting hopes are dashed. This week she finds the solution: steal a beautiful mask from a shop, move to a new location, and resume acting under the assumed name of Gaye Traynor. However, we know deception and disguise are going to cause complications for Melissa. Right now though, Melissa has a more immediate problem: she can’t find a place to stay and has to resort to a hotel job to get a roof over her head.
Third is “Maisie – Fashion Crazy”. This is a sequel to an earlier Tammy story, “Maisie of Mo Town”. Maisie and Mary Malone don disguises of their own to go after shifty Marcus Adams, who’s gone off to Paris instead instead of looking after Mum’s business while she’s away. But their disguises are not exactly subtle: they look like chess boards in those checkered suits they’re wearing and one Frenchwoman is shocked already!
Fourth is “Gail at Windyridge”. Gail Peters and her father are using assumed names at the stable where he works because he was wrongly disgraced for horse-doping. But now a newspaper clip threatens to reveal their past. Added to that, more dirty work with horses is afoot: someone is trying to sabotage the Flier, the champion horse of the stables.
Fifth is Molly Mills, who is still “On the Run” after Pickering framed her for theft. Molly has made her way back to Stanton Hall, which has a new owner, and trying to hide her past. This week Molly has to resort to splashing her face with car engine oil to save herself from being recognised. This gets her lot of disapproving stares but fortunately her employer sees the funny side. Interestingly, a coloured girl has been added to the Molly cast, a black servant girl named Lucy.
Sixth is Wee Sue. Sue helps an old lady who can’t get in but finds out later she unwittingly helped a house-breaker who was disguised as the old lady. She’s got to undo the damage somehow, but the crook has shed the disguise and they don’t know what he looks like without it. But Sue realises he made one oversight, and it gets him nabbed – he forgot to remove the earrings from the old lady disguise.
Seventh is Bessie Bunter, who really is on a roll this week with a sheet of lino that keeps rolling everyone up. She foils thieves who are passing themselves off as tradesmen by dressing up in a bear suit to frighten them and then hitting them with the lino roll. Pity the thieves don’t get rolled up in it, which would have been as good as handcuffs and even more funny.
This week’s Strange Story could have reinforced the St Patrick’s Day theme on the cover with a story about leprechauns, fairies or Irish myth. Instead it’s a magic lamp story. Actually, it’s a paper lamp, made out of newspaper. But can it still work like Aladdin’s lamp and get Beryl’s brother Jimmy the cure he needs?
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.
Sour Grapes for Sophie (artist Tony Coleman) – first episode
Too Close an Encounter (artist Jose Canovas) – Strange Story from the Mists
Valentine’s Day is nigh, and to commemorate I have brought out the Tammy Valentine issue from 1980. This is the last Tammy Valentine issue to have the Cover Girls honour the event. Later in 1980 they were dropped in favour of story covers.
This is not the first time Tammy used the joke of big sister feeling narked that little sis got more Valentines than her. The same gag was used on the Cover Girls’ first Tammy Valentine cover in 1974. Talk about bookends.
Also in the issue is a feature that cites old customs for finding a Valentine before presenting a “Misty-ic Messenger board”, where you can ask Valentine questions to an oracle board. Definitely influence of Misty here on this one.
This week’s episode of Wee Sue could have been used for the Valentine theme, but instead she’s going shopping for new clothes. Sounds simple, but Sue is embarrassed to have to use the toddlers department because of her size, and that’s just the start of the hijinks.
The Strange Story from the Mists, “Too Close an Encounter”, looks like it was originally written, perhaps drawn, for Misty. The story length (four pages) and artist (from the Misty team) point to this. Jackie’s grandfather claims to be in contact with aliens and they’re going to land in the garden, but nobody believes him except his granddaughter Jackie. Everyone else laughs and Mum thinks grandfather is going senile. But will grandfather have the last laugh on them?
Two stories begin this week: “Sour Grapes for Sophie” and “A Girl Called Midnight“. Oddly enough, both feature newcomers who act awkwardly towards everyone around them. In Midnight’s case it’s because nobody wants to foster her for long; her “black midnight moods” see to that. Now what can these moods be, and how will her latest foster family, the Brights, react to them? In “Sour Grapes for Sophie”, Sophie Drew starts a new school, but is rude to both classmates and teachers alike, and turns them against her. At the end of the episode Sophie has a sudden burst of repentance and explains to classmate Jackie that she does want to make friends, but only has six months. Now what can Sophie mean by that, and what’s it got to do with sour grapes? And even if she is sorry, can she undo the damage she has done on her first day?
Bella qualifies for the Moscow Olympics despite all the obstacles she has encountered in the competition. But now she finds out why her wealthy guardians didn’t show up to cheer her on: they’ve gone bankrupt. This has left her high and dry and stranded in a foreign country, with no way to return home or press on to Moscow. At least she has plenty of experience with being stranded in foreign countries, and she has something that could lead her to her next move: a note from a well-wisher.
Bullies Angela and Honey stoop to a whole new low in “Sister in the Shadows“, and it’s alarming. They’ve not only got the whole class sending poor Wendy to Coventry but get a family member help to play tricks on her too. What B.S. they fed to big brother to pose as a reporter and help trick Wendy into breaking a new school rule we don’t know. But it’s having us really dread what those two horrors have in store next for Wendy.
Spider Woman has dragged Paula off to her lair, where she brags about her latest plan to conquer the world with her specially bred spiders. Then she just lets Paula go, saying she will require Paula’s services later. Now what can she mean by that? It’s not like she is using mind control on Paula, as she did on the two girls she captured in her first story. Added to that, something is creeping up behind in the bushes behind Paula and her family. Meanwhile, the Navy find the boat Mrs Webb infested with her man-eating spiders and begin to realise Mrs Webb is up to her tricks again.
Bijli: The Rescue (By Denise Wackrill) – text story
Sindy’s Scene: Her Diary and Club Page
Showdate Shirley tells The Wonderful Beatrix Potter Story
Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Wicked Lady Melissa – the Strange Story (artist Shirley Bellwood)
My Brother’s a Nut!
Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr?)
Star Special – feature
Leading off the 2020 entries on the Jinty Resource Site is another entry on older girls’ titles. This time it is June and School Friend. This issue dates from when June was going through a merger with School Friend, which brought the Storyteller and Bessie Bunter to June and later to Tammy.
Many of the Gypsy Rose stories in Jinty were repackaged Strange Stories from June and Tammy, substituting Gypsy Rose for the Storyteller. This issue contains the original print of a Strange Story that was repackaged as a Gypsy Rose story in Jinty 4 November 1978: “Wicked Lady Melissa”. As the title suggests, Lady Melissa was known for her wickedness and some even said she was possessed by the Devil. Anthea Gordon is cast as Lady Melissa in a pageant but can’t really get into the part. Then Anthea is given Lady Melissa’s whip and…what was that people said about being possessed by the Devil? The original print appears below for the interest of Jinty readers, not to mention the beautiful Shirley Bellwood art.
Owing to time constraints, potted summaries of the stories have been eschewed in favour of art samples from the stories. This is also to give more insight into what some of our Jinty artists got up to in June before they moved over to Jinty. One is Jim Baikie, who is illustrating Gymnast Jinty. I can never go past this one without wondering if Gymnast Jinty was where Jinty the comic got her name from. Phil Townsend’s artwork appears as the illustrator of Sindy (based on the doll). Other artists here did not appear in Jinty, but featured elsewhere, such as Tammy.
The Twin She Couldn’t Trust! (artist Phil Gascoine)
My Family, My Foes! (artist Carlos Freixas)
The Shepherd Boy (text story)
Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Dark Destiny (artist A.E. Allen)
The Sea Urchins (artist Audrey Fawley, writer Linda Blake) – text story
Poochy – cartoon
Sylvie on a String (artist Tony Higham)
Tell Us about It! (letters page)
Swim to Safety! (artist Phil Townsend)
Tilly’s Magic Tranny (artist Jim Baikie)
Are You a Sparkler? (quiz)
A Christmas Miracle (artist Jim Baikie) – complete story
School for Sports (artist Dudley Wynne)
He’s Grown Up! (Neil Reid)
Christmas is coming, so we continue our tour of older titles with the June Christmas issue from 1973. This was the last Christmas issue June ever published. On 22 June 1974 she merged into Tammy. Several of the June artists would also join the Jinty team as regulars when it started in May 1974: Jim Baikie, Phil Gascoine and Phil Townsend. Carlos Freixas, Audrey Fawley and Robert MacGillivray, who were also regulars on the June team, would also feature on the Jinty team, but not as regulars. These artists were Jinty’s biggest legacy from June. Jinty would also inherit a number of reprints from June as well, such as Strange Stories repackaged as Gypsy Rose stories and Barracuda Bay.
June, who would go through a merger in six months’ time, is still going through her current merger with Pixie. Mini Ha-Ha, a cartoon about a Red Indian girl, is one that really carried over from Pixie, but would not join the Tammy & June merger. Bessie Bunter, who came from the School Friend merger, would continue in the merger with Tammy. So would The Strangest Stories Ever Told, though currently it is not running in June.
Although the Storyteller is not running, the Christmas issue does have a spooky Christmas story by Jim Baikie. It is reproduced here for the benefit of Jim Baikie fans. Also reproduced here is the Bessie Bunter Christmas story, about a giant Christmas pudding. So giant you could fit people into it. And what’s this with goblins? It’s Christmas, not Halloween.
Also celebrating Christmas are Lucky’s Living Doll, two text stories and a quiz: Are You a Sparkler? The artist illustrating the quiz is the same artist who illustrated a number of Jinty’s quizzes.
Rather than give the usual potted summaries of the picture stories in the issue, I have chosen to feature panels from them. This is to give an indication what our Jinty artists got up to in June before they joined the Jinty team five months later, a month before June folded.