If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls comics

Discuss all the girls comics that have appeared over the years. Excellent titles like Bunty, Misty, Spellbound, Tammy and June, amongst many others, can all be remembered here.

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philcom55
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by philcom55 »

Pat's comments are really interesting - especially in the way he differentiates between Bunty and other DC Thomson girls' titles such as Diana and Judy. While I'm not too familiar with Judy I'd certainly noticed a marked difference between Diana and Bunty which made me wonder if they belonged to different editorial fiefdoms in the way that comics such as Beano, Dandy, and Sparky did. In particular I've found that Diana stories tend to have outstanding artwork which is more often than not let down by weak and repetitive storytelling when you actually sit down and read them (for example 'Pandora's Box', 'Starr of Wonderland', 'The Girls from NOODLES' and - as Phoenix has rightly pointed out - 'Runaways with the Secret Box'). By contrast the vast majority of Bunty scripts have an emotional charge that drives the narrative forward like an express train. Unfortunately my Bunty collection is filled with huge gaps (especially in the 1960s and 1970s), but going by the odd issues I do have I'm inclined to agree with both Pat and Phoenix that there must be lots of worthy contenders that we haven't even considered yet.

Though I haven't managed to track down 'Netta Knowall' or 'School of XXXX' yet a quick trawl through some mid-1980s issues this morning did turn up a number of serials that were so addictive I couldn't resist reading them from beginning to end. One such that seemed to meet the criterion of being 'ahead of its time' was a fascinating ballet story called 'Lady in the Looking Glass', beautifully drawn by Cuyas.

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Does anyone else remember this? While the ending is inevitably fudged so that the heroine ends up thin, happy and successful I can't help feeling that the story presents a valuable insight into the modern obsession with body image and dieting - and I say that as somebody with personal experience of anorexia!

- Phil Rushton

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

@Philcom: that certainly is an intriguing one! I do like Cuyas' art.

By the way, I have been noticing differences between IPC and DCT titles, and between DCT titles and IPC titles themselves. I'm thinking of another thread on the issue.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 30 Nov 2013, 05:27, edited 1 time in total.

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

Back to those two other Jinty stories I was going to bring you. This was one of Jinty's most enduring and emotional SF stories.

Title: Almost Human
Publication: 7/7/79-24/11/79
Artist: Unknown (Wendy at War artist)
Writer: Unknown

Plot: Xenia is an alien. Her parents, who are rulers of their planet, take her on a visit to planet Earth on pretext on giving her a birthday present. However, Xenia soon discovers that her parents are leaving her behind on Earth to start a new home there because their own is dying from lack of water. They chose Earth because Xenia can physically pass as a human, although she has powers and intellect beyond theirs.

But Xenia discovers a serious stumbling block to assimilation – her touch (derived from her life force) is deadly to any form of life on Earth! She can’t touch any Earth creature without killing it. Clearly, this was something her parents overlooked when they chose Earth for her.

This problem soon causes a host of misunderstandings for Xenia. People think she is rude, stuck up, uncaring, won’t help, etc – all because she can’t touch them without killing them. She makes a friend, Maggie, who brings her to her home in Millborough. But when Maggie’s mother offers her hand for a handshake, Xenia runs out – she can’t touch the woman without killing her. Soon the touch problem has her on the run from the police as well, who are astonished to find themselves breaking the speed limit, but she is still streets ahead of them. She bunks in with another runaway who doesn’t want to be put in a home. But when he falls through the floorboards, she has to summon help rather than touch him – and he ends up angry with her for getting the police, which means a home for him after all.

She ends up in the countryside and finds an injured woman, Mrs Brewis. After the district nurse sorts out Mrs Brewis, Xenia starts being companion for the lady, and also finds discreet ways not to touch people when doing things, such as shopping or helping a drowning boy. Such feats also utilise her other powers, such as super-calculation and super-strength. Xenia’s mother contacts her from time to time, but not for long as the distance weakens the transmission. Xenia cannot bring herself to tell her mother about the touch problem, so she just says she is doing fine.

But the nurse starts getting suspicious of Xenia, thinking there is something wrong about her. When she takes a photo of Xenia, she discovers Xenia does not appear in the photograph, which confirms the nurse’s suspicions. Xenia is back on the run again – with everyone seeing how fast she can run – and friendless once more.

Xenia is soon finding herself forced to kill when a she has to use her touch to kill some rats that are attacking gypsy children. She befriends the gypsy children, but her secret comes out when she kills a snake. The children offer to keep her secret, but she runs off again.

Aside from the touch problem, Xenia is enjoying life on Earth. She finds Earth food far tastier than the provisions she has brought from home. And she cannot get over how much water there is – her own planet is drying up. Her people are more advanced than Earth, but Earth is not facing the ecological catastrophe of her dying planet.

Then lightning intervenes. When Xenia gets hit by a lightning bolt, she loses her deadly touch and her hands get burnt. They are bandaged in hospital. But the authorities are beginning to put the pieces all the way from Millborough together. And Xenia is still using her super strength and speed for running off or saving lives, which is attracting more attention.

Xenia’s alien physique enables her hands to heal quickly, and there is no more deadly touch. Meanwhile, Xenia befriends Stella Morton, the daughter of a famous astronomer. Stella starts teaching Xenia to swim – a real luxury for Xenia, who comes from a planet where water is precious. Mr Morton also allows Xenia to take a look at the stars from his telescope. Xenia wants to use the telescope to see her own planet, but when Morton refuses to shift the position, Xenia sneaks in during the night and does it herself. But Stella, who has been getting suspicious of Xenia, catches her in the act – and then realises what Xenia could really be. Xenia runs off at super speed. And thanks to Xenia, Morton has discovered a whole new planet!

Xenia scores a job at a market garden with Mr and Mrs Potts. Meanwhile, Xenia’s mother is trying to contact Xenia, saying they have news for her. But the transmission beam is failing. And soon Xenia is finding her strength failing as well. Her medikit reveals that the lightning that took away her deadly touch is also depleting her life force. She can cure herself with the medikit – but if she does, her touch will be deadly again. Xenia has to make a decision. When Mr Potts is injured, she decides to hold off on her cure until he recovers and conserve her strength as best she can. She finds sleep is very useful for this.

But one night the Pottses are watching television. The programme is all about Morton and the new planet he has discovered thanks to Xenia. And Xenia’s name is broadcast. Off screen, Morton says that the planet is not only habited, but there is something important happening there. Xenia must be informed, and he hopes the programme will prompt her to come forward. That night, Xenia’s mother tries to contact Xenia about something important, but Xenia is too fast asleep to respond. However, Mrs Potts sees the transmission and contacts Morton.

The Mortons catch up with Xenia, with reassurances that they will keep her secret as they are used to top secret work. Xenia is relieved at no longer carrying the burden of her secret alone. Morton tells Xenia that he has been observing her planet and tells her that something important is going to happen. They return to Morton’s observatory, where Xenia sees her planet (its name is now revealed as Zephros) and three moons (Arcton, Skartos and Tetra). Something odd is happening – Tetra is spinning faster than it should be. Then it just explodes.

But it turns out the Zephrons blew up Tetra on purpose, in order to change the orbit of Zephros so it will be further away from the sun. The resultant climate change saves Zephros, and it will soon be lush and fertile again. Xenia’s mother says they will be coming for her soon. Xenia now uses her medikit to restore her strength. She warns the Mortons about her deadly touch, which has now returned. The Mortons say farewell, and are awed at the spaceship that is arriving to pick Xenia up. Xenia is happily reunited with her parents and they head off back to their reviving planet. Xenia decides not to tell them about the touch problem just yet.


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Last edited by Tammyfan on 20 Apr 2014, 23:56, edited 4 times in total.

DavidKW
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by DavidKW »

These discussions, lists & mentions sure gives incentives fro us collectors to look & research further in our existing collections & to look out other items when collecting.

I read with interest Pat Mills' views and I must say:

That there is nothing wrong with frothy/fun strips. I don't know there seems to always be some snobbery about anything that's frothy like it's un cool & people must only like stuff that's hitting an issue.

Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with the sort of things that are hard hitting which the likes of Mandy & Tammy did best - but like with TV & pop music tastes it's each to their own, and I like the experience of comic reading to be a positive one too that'll put a spring in the step.

As regards his remarks on class - I think I've seen Bunty have its fair share of stories featuring non-working classes alongside as well.

And the likes of June were not entirely middle-class as it had its fair share of gritty working class stories too; it's justy that the likes of June were best described as "variety" comcis featuring all sorts of strips to appeal for different tastes.

Examples of June's working class stuff: text story Dock Yard Dixie in its first annual set in tough dockland area; a lot of John Armstrong's work too from the serial Cherry & The Children (which inc. stories such as Cherry taking a supermarket job whilst under-age just to keep family together; Proesting aggrsssively against the demolition of a working class sweetshop) and Patsy On The War Path (reprinted in a Tammy annual later, as it's the sort of story Tammy would do).

I don't know why I always think June never gets the recognition it deserves for lots of reasons; cue another thread subject methinks.

As for remarks on Princess Tina failing/being short lived; Princess ran from 1960, merged with failed Tina title in 1967, which I think bolstered sales of Princess, before being eventually being run down to a Jackie type mag, such were the changing tastes & structures of comics.

I think Suger Jones would've got more recognition had it along with Patty's World not got lost in a sea of pop stars in Pink.

As for Sally: a strike in 1970 at IPC effectively killed it.

DavidKW
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by DavidKW »

Put another way: I don't like soaps or depressing TV stuff. I know soem awareness of issues is good, but I don't like coming hoem and ralaxing & watching depressing stuff on TV.

I'd rather watch an old DVD of Coronation Street in the 1960s/70s when it had humour. There's enough heavy drama in my everyday life already!

DavidKW
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by DavidKW »

As for Vanessa From Venus -was most amusing & well drawn & could've been developed more& miles better than the dire Oh Tinker which replaced it.

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

@David W: yes, what is wrong with frothy fun strips?

A strike killed Tammy too, and did not even give her serials a chance to finish. If she had continued, she would have merged with Girl. I suspect that would have been one of the worst mergers in the history of girls' comics as Tammy was a picture comic and Girl a photo comic.

I have read elsewhere that when Bunty started, she broke the mould of middle class characters that were more typical of traditional titles by featuring working class characters. For example, one of the Four Marys is the daughter of a green grocer. But one of the other Marys was an earl's daughter who had no problems mixing with lower classes. A message for all classes, I reckon.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 01 Dec 2013, 11:03, edited 1 time in total.

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

Okay, last one from my Jinty collection.

Title: Children of Edenford
Publication: 24/2/79-2/6/79
Artist: Phil Townsend
Writer: Unknown

Plot: Patti Anderson‘s father has received a transfer to Edenford. Patti is not happy about the move, even though Edenford has been voted best-kept village while her current place is polluted. When they arrive in Edenford they find even the children help to trim hedges, wash the memorials, and offer them welcoming gifts of food. The parents are impressed, but Patti finds it disquieting, the way the kids all seem to be goody-goodies who always wear the same expression: glazed eyes and happy smiles. And another thing – why are they dressed in white?

Things get even creepier when Patti goes for a walk. She encounters a frightened girl, Ramona, who warns her to get away from the village. She then runs off when she hears some girls coming. More girls dressed in white approach, asking for the runaway girl. Patti says she has not seen her. As they turn away, there are weird, glazed expressions on their faces. They catch Ramona. She screams they are not normal, but they say she is the one who is not normal because she is not behaving like everyone in the village. Patti has seen enough to convince her that things are not right in Edenford. But her parents don’t listen.

Patti’s parents take her to inspect her new school. She is surprised to find its architecture looks Roman. So does the headmistress, who is wearing a toga-style outfit and Roman headdress. Her name is Purity Goodfellow and there are slogans everywhere that say this school puts emphasis on purity and perfection. The teachers assure the parents that Edenford “is an island of sanity in a mad, mad world”. There is no vandalism, petty crime or disrespect in Edenford. The parents think Goodfellow's school will do their boisterous daughter a world of good. Goodfellow assures them that they have never had a failure – all their pupils become model children. The parents are pleased, but Patti is even more disturbed. Then Ramona arrives at Patti’s door with her new white uniform. She now has the weird, happy glazed look of the other girls and acts as though the earlier incident never happened. She tells Patti that Edenford is now the most perfect place to live.

First day of school, and all the pupils have the weird, glazed, happy look. They are all given the name of a virtue that they must strive for; Patti’s is Humility. Pupils embrace all their lessons, do not make jokes, will perform the same action over and over to get it perfect, and they are punished for the slightest imperfection such as wearing a hat crooked. Later, Patti discovers that they keep their rooms at home scrupulously clean, do not listen to pop records because it does not enrich the soul or challenge the intellect, and do not watch television because Goodfellow says it is mindless pap.

Then something even odder happens when a pupil, Caroline, starts sneezing. She is taken away to the infirmary. Patti learns that this happens every time a pupil sneezes or has a cold. Patti recalls that Ramona had a cold at their first encounter. And Patti herself suffers from hay fever.

Dinnertime is a surprise. It is served in a grand dining hall and the pupils are served gourmet food - which they must not eat until Goodfellow gives the blessing. The only friend Patti has made is Jilly (Tolerance). Jilly is fairly new as well. She is disturbed by what she sees, and she feels she is becoming one of them.

Patti and her friend Jilly (Tolerance) sneak into the infirmary to check up on Carol. They find Carol in a drugged, hypnotic-like state. Goodfellow comes in and says to them: “You will be one of us soon! Very soon!” Patti snaps back at her about her turning girls into mindless goody-goodies. They then leave the infirmary. Patti thinks the place is a nuthouse and tries to change schools. But she discovers that if she does, her dad will lose his job – her attending Goodfellow’s school was one of the conditions of his employment. Patti tries to fight in other ways, such as making pupils’ white uniforms all dirty and splashing pupils in swimming lessons.

Jilly succumbs and becomes another glazed eyed happy zombie. Then Patti herself begins to succumb, but when pollen brings on her hay fever, she snaps out of it. She almost gets caught sneezing and has to pretend to act like the others. In an effort to cure Jilly, she turns the hose on her, hoping it will bring on a cold. Instead, Jilly returns to normal and joins secret forces with Patti. They turn on the school sprinkler system, hoping it will do the same to everyone else. It works, and the girls go into rebellion, smashing property at the school and the village.

Goodfellow calls an emergency parents-teachers association meeting, where some parents begin to turn on her for turning their children into zombies. She replies that they begged her to do it, and she has turned Edenford into a perfect paradise for them. Patti is listening and realises the parents are involved in what is happening. Then she finds the girls are immobilised like statues. Patti and Jilly have to pretend they are the same. Goodfellow, assuring the parents that everything will be all right, has them bring the children to the dining hall where one of her banquets is waiting. She tells them to feed the children and they will return to normal.

It is then Patti realises the truth – Goodfellow is putting a drug in the food, and shedding tears counteracts the effect. She and Jilly manage to keep their right minds with the aid of an onion. Next stop is the food stores, where Jilly and Patti find what they suspect, but a combination lock prevents them from breaking into it. Goodfellow also comes in, saying that everything and everybody will be perfect. She does not know Jilly and Patti have overheard her.

Patti and Jilly soon find all their parents have been turned into the same zombies and helping to clear up the mess. Patti is worried that Goodfellow may have the same plan for the whole country and use her drug to taint water supplies. Meanwhile, they have to keep eating the food Goodfellow drops off at their house and then rush off to make themselves cry with onions. But Patti’s parents notice this and report it to Goodfellow. Goodfellow realises that Patti has rumbled.

Meanwhile, Patti realises what the combination is: perfection (what else?). She opens the cupboard and starts smashing the bottles that are filled with the drug. But Goodfellow catches her and takes her to the infirmary. She orders the girls to prepare a sumptuous meal for Patti, which is filled with her drug. Patti is strapped down and force fed with the drugged food. Jilly is watching and starts crying. Goodfellow notices and realises Jilly is not under her control. Jilly flees and hails down a police car. Too late, she realises the police are drugged as well. Meanwhile, a high pollen count has brought on Patti’s hay fever and it is counteracting the drug. Patti continues to protest at what Goodfellow is doing. Realising that Patti cannot be altered, Goodfellow orders her to prepare for the Temple of Purity, where the fire of righteousness will burn out her imperfections.

At the Temple of Purity, Patti is dressed in a black sheep costume to symbolise her being "the dark shadow that threatens the whiteness of purity". She discovers that Goodfellow intends to spread her idea of perfection to the whole world (so Patti was on the right track with those earlier suspicions). The walls are lined with statues of the pupils. Goodfellow says the pupils are her apostles who will spread her drug throughout the world when they leave her school. There is a statue of Patti too; it is unfinished and now Goodfellow smashes it. Patti is brought to the flame of purity where there is one final statue – a colossal statue of Goodfellow herself. Patti realises that Goodfellow wants to be worshipped like a goddess.

Goodfellow prepares to sacrifice Patti to the fire. But Patti fights back and accidentally knocks Goodfellow into the fire instead. Patti offers to save her, but Goodfellow would rather die in the fire than accept Patti’s hand of rescue – “I shall not take succour from the hands of darkness!” A fire starts, and Patti is locked in. However, Goodfellow’s statue falls and smashes the door open. The fire spreads through the school. The smoke sends everybody’s eyes watering, which frees them from the drug. The drug itself, and the school, are destroyed in the fire. Patti is confident that in a few days Edenford will be just like any other village.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 01 Dec 2013, 11:57, edited 9 times in total.


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philcom55
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by philcom55 »

Gosh! - Miss Goodfellow looks utterly demented in that final panel. The scary thing is that she's the spitting image of my old Geography teacher Aggie P******! :shock: Thank goodness there were some comic-strip headmistresses that showed the profession in a better light, like St. Elmo's admirable Dr. Gull.

- Which brings me back to Pat Mills' fascinating thoughts on the subject of social class, and stories that are too 'light and fluffy'.
...On a quick look-over, there seems to be - IMHO - too many "middle class" stories from the middle class comics which didn't sell as well as the "working class" stories in comics like Tammy and Bunty. Often the middle class comics crashed: Princess Tina, Sally and probably Diana. By middle class I guess I mean, "nice" stories, light and frothy, and pure adventure, as opposed to hard, gritty, realistic and emotional.
To be fair to Pat he's the first to admit that he can be a bit prejudiced when it comes to certain types of comic story: for example, he created Marshal Law specifically to express his loathing of super heroes, in spite of the fact that they have come to represent the single most popular genre of the last twenty years or so. By contrast, his broad dislike of 'middle class comics' appears to be based on an objective appraisal of the sort of material being published by Fleeway/IPC when he began working for them in the late 1960s. The problem, as he saw it, was that all the editors there were stuck in a time loop which made them think that what had been good enough for readers in the 1950s would automatically be good enough for their children - despite the evidence of plummeting circulations which proved they couldn't be more out of touch!

Of course, Pat's role in the 1970s revolution that briefly reversed the downward trend with titles like Tammy, Action, Misty, Battle and 2000AD is well known. In many ways he and his like-minded collaborators proved to be the right people in the right place, and the popular approval of the readers - the only people who really mattered - was a triumphant vindication of his judgement in the face of the old guard.

Nevertheless, I think it's worth pointing out that there was a time when titles such as School Friend, Eagle, Lion, Tiger and Princess - with all their middle class values - had been enormously successful, achieving circulations that later publishers would die for. I'm not trying to say that Pat is wrong - rather that any attempt to compile a list of all-time classics needs to take the changing tastes of the public into account.

To that end I thought it'd be interesting to look at the early days of 'The Four Marys' (a strip that Pat himself refers to as an "old school classic"), as reproduced in Lucky Charm no.27:

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The fascinating thing about this series is the way in which it is seen primarily through the eyes of scholarship girl Mary Simpson rather than her three, more affluent, namesakes. There's no doubt that when The Four Marys appeared in DC Thomson's brand-new Bunty way back in 1958 it was pitched at a readership slightly further down the social scale than the target audience of Girl or School Friend - yet it's noticeable that even the lead character is the daughter of a shopkeeper, and therefore decidedly middle class herself (albeit 'lower middle class' rather than 'upper middle class').

...In fact she could almost have been based on a young Margaret Thatcher! :shock:

While I agree that the first draft of the Top 100 still needs a lot of work I think it'd be a shame if it ended up being limited to the perspective of any one generation: if we went down that road then we might just as well agree to concentrate on Tammy and Misty and forget about all the rest. To my mind variety should remain an important ingredient - even to the extent that originality of concept should count for more than the actual execution in some cases. That way the finished list will not only serve as a model of excellence, but also as a representative cross-section of the whole range of British girls' comics.

The same would apply to any future list of the 100 greatest serials in British boys' comics.

- Phil Rushton
Last edited by philcom55 on 01 Dec 2013, 19:19, edited 2 times in total.

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philcom55
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by philcom55 »

...Further to the above I've finished going through my very incomplete collection of Bunty and I'm afraid I still haven't been able to track down 'Netta Knowall' or 'School of xxxxx'. Has anyone else had better luck? I must admit that I'd never heard of Pat Davidson's comic work before: given her fame as a children's author I'm astonished that DC Thomson wouldn't agree to give her written credit - something that would have almost certainly enhanced the reputation of their own titles while attracting more readers to them. Then again I guess the same thing applied to JT Edson's work for their boys' comics. As with the artists I suppose they were just too afraid of boosting somebody's popularity only to see them get poached by the opposition. Incidentally, doesn't 'A Horse Called September' count as an adaptation - or did the June version predate the novel?

Come to think of it, given Pat's comments I'll have to see if I can find any episodes of 'Little Miss Nothing' as well.

Looking through those back-issues wasn't a waste of time however. One series in particular that caught my attention as a worthy contender for inclusion in the Top 100 was 'Cotton Jenny' - another strip drawn by the amazing Cuyas which deftly turns the traditional 'Jill Crusoe - Girl Friday' relationship on its head. In addition it bears comparison with Mills' own 'Charley's War' in its gritty portrayal of the American Civil War (albeit on a much smaller canvas, and with a necessarily pat ending in which everybody lives 'happily ever after').

Bearing in mind the issues raised earlier about the treatment of race in girls' comics (particularly with respect to the Jinty strip 'Life's A Ball For Nadine') I think it might be worth spinning this off into it's own thread when I get the chance, but in the meantime here are a couple of sample pages:

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- Phil Rushton

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

@Philcom: I do have some episodes of Little Miss Nothing. And thank you for showing us these other stories. It's nice to see another serial that features a black girl.

I understand that Pat Davidson aka Anne Digby left because they wouldn't give her credit. Ironically, Tammy did start printing credits in mid 1982. If she'd been around on the Tammy team at that point, she would have received credit!

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

philcom55 wrote:Gosh! - Miss Goodfellow looks utterly demented in that final panel. The scary thing is that she's the spitting image of my old Geography teacher Aggie P******! :shock: Thank goodness there were some comic-strip headmistresses that showed the profession in a better light, like St. Elmo's admirable Dr. Gull.
- Phil Rushton
Yes, I wonder if Miss Goodfellow was inspired by a real-life teacher that somebody on the Jinty team had? It wouldn't have been surprising as real bully teachers must have provided a lot of inspiration for serials, not to mention purging a few bad memories from school days.

By the way, was Aggie P as crazy as she looked?

Tammyfan
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by Tammyfan »

Title: No Haven for Hayley
Tammy: 21 March – 23 May 1981
Artist: Mario Capaldi
Writer: Unknown

This serial was one of my favourites from Tammy’ More than 30 years later, it still sticks in my mind. I'm not quite sure how strong it is for the list, but let's see what you think.

Plot: Mrs Moore’s home is known as “the Haven” because she works so tirelessly for charity. Unfortunately Mrs Moore is exhibiting symptoms of a workaholic. She is so busy and over-zealous with charity projects, and cramming her life with even more good works that she is neglecting her own daughter, Hayley. Mum constantly lets Hayley down. She takes Hayley for granted and makes her a dumping ground for tasks she has agreed to take on but has no time for because her schedule is too crowded. Worst of all, Mum never stops to listen to Hayley or help Hayley with any problems. In one episode, for example, Hayley runs home in a terrible fright after some rough boys attack her. But when she tries to tell Mum, she won't listen. She says that writing up her minutes is far more important than any rough games Hayley is playing. Their communications have broken down, and Hayley finds that she just simply cannot get through to her mother. (Ironically, one of Mum’s campaigns is for “latch-key” children.)

The situation gets worse when Mum decides to foster "problem children" - on top of all her other work. Typically, Mum goes ahead without consulting or even telling Hayley beforehand; she takes it for granted that Hayley will lend support. And Hayley is lumbered with nearly all the work because Mum does not seem to be giving up any of her charity activities to make real time for the fostering or help out with it. The fostering itself proves to be a nightmare for Hayley. First she is saddled with a pair of horrors who take over her room, mess up her things and constantly play tricks on her - but she is not allowed to even raise her voice to them.

Then the real problem child, Fenella Briars, arrives. Fenella turns out to be a scheming cheat who takes advantage of people and pushes out anyone who stands in her way – such as Hayley. Eventually Fenella leaves the Haven, claiming Hayley is making her feel unwelcome. Actually, a nurse at the hospital, Sister Harris, has seen through Fenella when she tried to steal from patients. Sister Harris offers to put Mum wise about Fenella. But Mum is not put wise about Fenella. This is partly due to Hayley’s communication problems with her mother, but also because of Fenella realising the game was up and clearing out of the Haven. So Fenella’s tricks give Mum the impression that Hayley deliberately ruined her fostering plans, and she loses faith in her.

This mistaken belief has devastating consequences when Hayley organises a door-to-door collection for her school. Mum, as usual, is too busy to listen or help. But worse, Mum has never told Hayley that she had been running three door-to-door collections along the streets that Hayley is targeting because she has lost faith in her. The result? People are angry about yet another door-to-door collection so soon, which results in embarrassment, failure, and Hayley getting the blame.

When Hayley confronts her mother over the door-to-door collections, Mum explodes over her fostering disappointment and shouts at Hayley. This is the last straw for Hayley. She blunders out of the house in tears and gets hit by a car. During a semi-conscious state Hayley tells her problems to Sister Harris, who has a serious talk with Mum. (Presumably she also puts Mum wise about Fenella at long last, though the serial does not record this or Mum's reaction.)

Mum tells Hayley that she has used “a whole host of good deeds” to fill the gap left in her life following the death of Hayley's father. But she now realises she filled her life with too many good deeds and left no room for Hayley. Hayley agrees to forgive Mum and they are reconciled.

Six months later, everything has improved for all concerned. Mum and Hayley now co-operate as a team on charity projects, with Mum finally listening to Hayley and even asking her for suggestions. “The Haven” is at last living up its name for Hayley.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 11 Aug 2016, 11:19, edited 2 times in total.

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philcom55
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Re: If we had a list of the 100 greatest serials in girls co

Post by philcom55 »

I can't help noticing that Mrs. Moore seems to have more than a little in common with Enid Blyton who, in spite of being tirelessly devoted to her many millions of adoring readers, was remembered by her daughter Imogen as an unnaturally cold and distant mother with little or no time for her own children.

- Phil Rushton

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