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?