Tag Archives: Sadie in the Sticks

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 & June 29 June 1974

Cover artist: John Richardson

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

Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi)

Sadie in the Sticks (artist Juliana Buch)

The Haunted Headline (artist Juan Escandell Torres) – Strange Story

It’s Great Here – Competition

Bessie Bunter

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

Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray)

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

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

For the 1974 instalment of our Tammy June month round, we profile Tammy 29 June 1974, two weeks into the Tammy & June merger. Appropriately enough, June was the month June merged with Tammy in 1974, and it was one of the most beneficial mergers Tammy went through. She gained a more varied mix of serials, regulars, and now the weekly complete story.

The stage was now set for the regulars Tammy was to have for the next six years: Bella Barlow, Wee Sue, Bessie Bunter, the Storyteller, Molly Mills and the Cover Girls. After a steady, long-standing build towards regular strips in her lineup, Tammy finally had a strong core of regulars to keep her going. It took a few mergers to do it, though. Bessie Bunter and the Storyteller came over from June and Uncle Meanie and Wee Sue from Sandie. Wee Sue proved to have the strongest staying power of the two Sandie strips. Bella Barlow was not yet a regular in Tammy. At this stage she was a serial strip, but she became so popular that she turned into one of Tammy’s longest-running regular strips. 

The Storyteller was now providing readers with a regular weekly dose of the supernatural story. In so doing he enabled Tammy to explore all sorts of settings, from Roman times to the future, and more fantasy and science fiction. His other benefit was bringing “complete stories” to Tammy on a regular basis. Before then, complete stories had only appeared sporadically in Tammy.

The drawback to having more regular strips was less room for serials. Nevertheless, the dark, cruelty-laden Cinderella serials and slave story serials of Tammy’s earlier years were still appearing. In the first weeks of the merger they took the form of “Swimmer Slave of Mrs. Squall”, “Sadie in the Sticks” and Bella herself. Bella proved so popular that she ensured the Cinderella story would be a mainstay of Tammy forever. “Eva’s Evil Eye” seemed to indicate the bullying serial was appearing a bit more in Tammy, and the new Molly Mills story was taking a novel approach in doing the “schemer” story, a formula seen more often in the DCT titles. 

Tammy & June 22 June 1974

Tammy & June 1974 Cover artist – John Richardson

  • Bella at the Bar (artist John Armstrong, writer Jenny McDade) – first episode
  • Secret of the Supermarket – The Strangest Stories Ever Told (artist Douglas Perry) – first appearance in Tammy
  • Sadie in the Sticks (artist Juliana Buch) – first episode
  • Wee Sue (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • It’s Great Here! – Competition
  • Bessie Bunter – first appearance
  • Summer Madness! Competition
  • Swimmer Slave of Mrs Squall (artist Douglas Perry, writer Gerry Finley-Day?) – first episode
  • Jeannie and Her Uncle Meanie (artist Robert MacGillivray, writer Terence Magee)
  • No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – new story
  • Eva’s Evil Eye (artists Charles Morgan and John Richardson, writer John Wagner) – first episode

As we have a June theme running at present, I thought I may as well discuss the issue where June merges with Tammy. The title hails it as “a great get together” and I certainly agree. In this merger, everything starts either new or anew. This makes a nice change from the usual annoyance of a merger starting with stories from both comics that are still unfinished, which left new readers irritated to start reading stories half-way through.

What comes over from June – Bessie Bunter and the Storyteller – will last for many years in Tammy. In fact, Bessie and the Storyteller are going through their second merger; they originally came from School Friend, which merged with June. Many of the Strange Stories that appear in Tammy would later make their way into Jinty with Gypsy Rose replacing the Storyteller. Some of them even turned up in June annuals during the 1980s – talk about reciprocation. Their appearance in Tammy also gave her more regulars in addition to Molly Mills and Wee Sue.

Molly Mills starts off with a great story that hooks you in immediately (well, it did me). Molly takes pity on Ada Fellows, a girl who seems to be bullied by her ex-employer and brings her to Stanton Hall for a job. Pickering the resident bully butler thinks Ada should be got rid of. And for once he has the right idea. Molly soon discovers Ada is big trouble – especially for her.

Sadly, Lucky’s Living Doll proved less durable. Although she had lasted for years in June, she did not make it to the merger. Maybe the editor decided her time was done or there was no room for her because Tammy was to retain Wee Sue and Uncle Meanie from the Sandie merger? If so, Wee Sue proved the most durable and would go through the most diverse range of artists before ending in 1982.

It would be nice to know which of the new serials were originally meant for June or Tammy; they could have appeared in either of them.

In “Eva’s Evil Eye”, Eva Lee pretends to have the evil eye to stop girls from bullying her because she is a gypsy. But what will the consequences be – especially if someone sees through Eva? “Sadie in the Sticks” belongs in the time-honoured tradition of an amnesiac girl being exploited by unscrupulous people who take advantage of her loss of memory. Sadie Wade’s only joy as she slaves in the Scraggs’ household and chippie is a talent for making matchstick models. Pretty odd considering she has a fear of fire. The start of the mystery that has to be unravelled if Sadie is to regain her memory and be free of the Scraggs. In “Swimmer Slave of Mrs Squall”, Sue Briggs is a difficult pupil at school who seems no good at anything or even try. Then, when she trespasses at the reclusive Mrs Squall’s house, her talent for swimming is discovered and Mrs Squall offers to train her as a champion. But the title warns us that her motives and methods are not all that noble.

And the best for last. The Tammy & June merger issue is a milestone in Tammy history for another reason – it marks the debut of Bella Barlow. She starts off as a serial here, “Bella at the Bar”. Like Sadie, Bella is a Cinderella story (minus the mystery). Her aunt and uncle make her do all the work, both at home and at their window-cleaning business. The only thing that makes her life worth living is gymnastics. Her talent is spotted, but her mean uncle won’t agree to training unless there’s money in it. Bella is determined to find a way, but of course there will be even more obstacles. However, this would not be just another Cinderella story. Popular demand would bring Bella back again and again until she held a joint record with Molly Mills for Tammy’s longest-running character – ten years. It is appropriate that Bella is the first serial we see as soon as we open the issue. Bella is also indicative of how topical gymnastics had become at the time with Olympic champions like Olga Korbut. Up until then there had been only one gymnastics story in Tammy – the 1972 story “Amanda Must Not Be Expelled”. But the popularity of Bella – not to mention the fluid, anatomical artwork of John Armstrong – would make gymnastics a regular feature in Tammy.

That’s it for my June contributions to this blog. My next entry will be back on topic with Jinty.