Tag Archives: Strange Story

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 & Jinty 5 June 1982

Cover artist: John Armstrong

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming ) – new story

The Devil’s Mark (artist Phil Townsend) – Monster Tales

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

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson) – Old Friends

Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine)

The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters, writer Malcolm Shaw)

Make Waves! (Mari L’Anson) – feature

Wheels of Death (artist Ken Houghton) – Strange Story

Di and the Dolphins (artist Eduardo Feito)

We come to 1982 in our Tammy June month round, and the Tammy & Jinty merger era. The following month, everything in the merger was swept away for everything to start new and anew in the new look Tammy on 17 July 1982. So the weeks leading up to it was clearing the decks, with double episodes of serials, some material cut from “The Human Zoo”, and new stories shorter in length, such as new Bella story starting here. The Jinty logo has shrunk, another sign the Jinty merger was on its way out.

Bella’s new story is the last Bella story to have the cover spot in the splash panel cover era. The story begins with Bella having nowhere to go but Uncle Jed and Aunt Gert, which usually means slaving for them until she finds a way to break free and pursue her gymnastics. She is astonished to find them coming over all nice to her, but they have a long track record of phoney niceness to her when it suits them, and this is no exception. 

The merger regulars (Monster Tales, Old Friends and the Strange Stories) carry on as usual. Nanny Young, a new regular that started with the merger, and Pam of Pond Hill, which came over from the merger, will continue with the new look Tammy. Bessie, Molly, Tansy and Wee Sue are in rotation as the “Old Friends” regular, but they look tired and clearly on their very last legs.

As there are so many regulars with the merger, there is not much room for serials. One reader even wrote in during the merger asking for more serials and no more “Old Friends”. She got her wish with the new look Tammy, with “Old Friends” dropped and the number of regulars reduced, which allowed for more serials. Right now, we have “Di and the Dolphins” and a welcome reprint of “The Human Zoo” from Jinty. 

The current Pond Hill story puts more focus on Pam’s boyfriend Goofy than usual. Goofy, a bit on the bumbling side, wants to prove he can be good at something. His choice is making and entering a soapbox racer in a derby. He is adamant Pam is to stay out of it and not help in any way, saying she’s too interfering. Trouble is, he’s making things too difficult for her not to interfere! It’s soon evident he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s bitten off more than he can chew, and he badly needs the help he so adamantly refuses.

Tammy 11 June 1977 – Jubilee Issue

Cover artist: Audrey Fowley

Bella (artist John Armstrong)

Babe at St. Woods (José Casanovas)

What’s Wrong with Rhona? (artist Eduardo Feito)

25 Years Ago This Week – Jubilee feature

Wee Sue (artist Richard Neillands)

Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin)

Molly Mills and the Comic Capers (artist John Johnston, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – final episode

The Caliph’s Jewels (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – Strange Story

Witch Hazel (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)

Time Trap! (artist Tony Higham) – first episode

For the 1977 issue in our Tammy June round, it just has to be the Jubilee issue, seeing as the Queen’s Jubilee is topical this year. For the commemorations, Tammy takes a flashback look at the Coronation, and Wee Sue and Bessie both plan Jubilee pageants but run into obstacles that threaten to derail everything. It takes a bit of quick-thinking, determination and strokes of luck before things work out happily. The Bessie Bunter episode looks like it was a reprint, with a bit of new text bodged in to give it the Jubilee context.

The Crown Jewels cover also adds the theme of jewels to the issue, which carries on in the Strange Story, “The Caliph’s Jewels”, in which the Storyteller retells the Dutch folktale of The Lady of Stavoren, a cautionary tale about treating food with respect. So it’s not about jewels, then? The arrogant Lady of Stavoren discovers too late that food becomes as precious as jewels when you face starvation. There are over 27 versions of the tale. The Tammy version appears below. It is illustrated by Hugo D’Adderio, whose artwork is always popular.

The new story this week, “Time Trap!”, is a gem too. Tammy takes on the subject of reincarnation and hypnotic regression, which is a novel thing for her to do. Another gem, now on its penultimate episode, is “Witch Hazel”, which looks like it was inspired by Catweazle. A 16th century apprentice witch comes to the 20th century to learn witchcraft, but she doesn’t understand that witchcraft is not exactly on the curriculum of 20th century schools, nor can she grasp how the 20th century works. Another jewel in Tammy’s crown is the hugely popular “Babe of St. Woods”, starring a gangster’s daughter who uses all her gangster know-how to get herself and her friends out of all sorts of scrapes at boarding school. And “What’s Wrong with Rhona?” is a sparkler. Rhona has been acting very strangely ever since she picked up a strange doll. Things hit their nadir this week when her odd behaviour makes her steal a calculator, and now the police are on her doorstep! Help, is she on her way to juvenile court? 

The Bella story takes a surprise turn this week. Bella is giving us her origin, as told to her American Indian friend Oona Tall Tree. She tells Oona (and us) how she started on gymnastics before her orphaning (which doesn’t quite fit her first story on how she discovered gymnastics while window-cleaning for Jed and Gert) and how she lost her parents. It’s a surprise to see the flashback shows Bella did not have her trademark pigtails or overalls back then.

The latest Molly story, the “Comic Capers”, is Molly’s funniest story ever. It takes the unusual twist of parodying itself through a satire of Stanton Hall and its staff, which Pickering submits to a magazine, and it is drawn by a comical artist (John Johnston), who has been doing a number of Wee Sues of late. Sadly, it ends this week, and Molly will be back to business as usual with her usual artist next week. 

There has also been a notable change in the artwork of Wee Sue. It used to be an artist doing a long stint (Mario Capaldi, John Richardson), but now there is a trend towards more variety of art work in her strip; artwork from John Johnston and Richard Neillands is now appearing. This trend in a variety of Wee Sue artwork would continue, with Hugh Thornton-Jones, Mike White, Jim Eldridge and Robert MacGillivray added to the mix. 

Tammy 12 June 1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

Bella at the Bar (artist John Armstrong)

Secret of the Skulls (artist Mario Capaldi)

The First Mystery (artist John Armstrong) – origin of the Storyteller

Odds on Patsy (artist Eduardo Feito)

Bessie Bunter

Molly Mills and the Lucky Visitor – complete Molly story (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)

The Sungod’s Golden Curse (artist Douglas Perry)

Lord of the Dance (artist Miguel Quesada)

We now come to Tammy’s June month in 1976. The Olympics were a strong feature in Tammy that year because of Montreal. That year, Tammy ran her Olympics classic, “Olympia Jones”.

Meanwhile, the Olympics logo has been added to the Bella logo. Bella, of course, is trying to reach Montreal. Jed and Gert have just returned to Bella after a much-deserved stint in prison (though not for the cruel way they’ve always treated her). They’ve now been released for good behaviour and say they’ve reformed and will help Bella all the way to Montreal. So far they’re treating Bella well, but they have a track record of phoney niceness to Bella when they believe it’s to their advantage (like getting out of prison, maybe?).

Molly has now switched from the title “No Tears for Molly” to individually titled storylines, most often “Molly Mills and the [name of the story].” Molly takes the unusual step of having a complete story this week. 

By popular demand, this week the Storyteller tells his origin story and how he became to be the Storyteller. The story appears below, and we also see the one and only appearance of his daughter. It seems a shame Tammy did not also take advantage of this popular demand to reprint the Storyteller’s very first story, “The Haunted Bank”, way back in his debut in June (the comic, not the month) on 30 January 1965, to show us how he started. Enough time had passed to allow for the reprint. 

In 1976, there was a definite ebb in the slave story/Cinderella story theme that had featured so much in the earlier Tammy. Other genres were gaining more currency. Animal stories were strong in the 1976 Tammy, such as “A Lead through Twilight”, “Towne in the Country”, the current “Odds on Patsy”, and the smash-hit Olympics-themed serial, “Olympia Jones”. The scary and the supernatural were strong that year too, and this issue has two alone: “The Sungod’s Golden Curse” (but is the curse real or a fraud?) and the macabre “Secret of the Skulls”.

The ballet story “Lord of the Dance” is the last Tammy serial drawn by Miguel Quesada, a Tammy stalwart since her early days. 

Tammy & June 21 June 1975

Cover artist: John Armstrong

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

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

Red Letter Rosie

Ella’s Ballet Boat (artist Jim Eldridge) – first episode

Aunt Aggie (artist J. Badesa, creator Pat Mills) – return

Bessie Bunter

Lure of the Lamp (artist Christine Ellingham) – Strange Story

You Need Hands – Competition

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)

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

It’s been a year since June merged with Tammy. How has the merger impacted on Tammy in that time? The June logo is still on the cover, but instead of the Cover Girls we have Bella on the cover this week. Bella, who first appeared with the merger, has clearly become so powerful that she sometimes pushes the Cover Girls off the cover. The John Armstrong artwork on the cover must have been a big attraction as well. 

The second Bella story (by popular demand) is going far longer than the first, not only because of the popularity but also because of the story arc (Bella clearing her name after being publicly disgraced by a jealous rival) requires a whole lot more development and episodes to resolve. It is also much darker than her first story (which was pretty dark as it was), as poor Bella has to battle her way through her wrongful disgrace as well as obstacles set forth by her cruel guardians, nasty tricksters and other enemies in order to keep up her gymnastics. Despite them all, she has done well enough to represent Britain in a championship, but the stigma just keeps catching up again and again.

Also returning from Tammy’s earlier years, by popular demand, is Aunt Aggie. Like “The Honourable S.J.” from Judy, she’s a nasty piece of work and a very crafty schemer who can put on a phoney face of kindness that fools everyone (in Aunt Aggie’s case, as a warm-hearted TV celebrity). Only the long-suffering protagonist who has to cope with her knows the truth. But unlike the Honourable S.J., Aunt Aggie is a full adult, and she is also played for humour, with a hilarious weekly comeuppance as our protagonist foils her nasty schemes. It’s a very deft combination of nastiness and comedy.

Uncle Meanie, who carried over from the Sandie merger, is now gone. Wee Sue, the other addition from Sandie, is now being drawn by John Richardson. The June additions, the Storyteller and Bessie Bunter, have established their staying power. Molly is still going as well, along with the misery-laden Cinderella and slave stories that made Tammy a hit when she was first published. 

The current Cinderella story, “Red Letter Rosie”, is now on its penultimate episode. A new slave story, “Waifs of the Wigmaker”, starts this week. It’s slavery in a Victorian wig factory, and the cruelty is a whole lot more than just exploited workers. The girls are deliberately degraded with measures such as being chained up as they work and newcomers having their hair cropped on arrival and forced to make their first wig with it. The villain of it all, Ma Parting, is an noteworthy one for being totally blind. But her blindness makes her an even more dangerous villain and hard to escape from, because her other senses are so acute they’re virtually superhuman. 

Tammy was never without a ballet story for long. The new one, “Ella’s Ballet Boat”, makes a nice change in having a ballet troupe instead Tammy’s more usual ballet formula in having an individual ballerina as the protagonist. It also gives us more variety of characters and character development.