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

Post by Tammyfan »

peace355 wrote: Also Moira Kent, Taming of Teresa and Kathy Come Home were all nominated though they didn't make the list.
Those three could go into honourable mention. Moira Kent is second only to Lorna Drake in most popular Bunty ballerina ever.

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

Post by Tammyfan »

This is the list of possibles so far for Honourable Mention. They are based on stories we have discussed lately or ones that did not quite make it to the top 100. They can be approved, deleted or advanced to the top 100.

Question: are Come Home Kathleen and Kathy Come Home the same serial with altered titles?

1. A Leap in Time (Misty)
2. Almost Human (Jinty)
3. Captain Kate (June)
4. Children of Edenford (Jinty)
5. Cloris and Claire (June)
6. Combing Her Golden Hair (Jinty)
7. Come Home Kathleen (Bunty)
8. Cotton Jenny (Bunty)
9. Kathy Come Home (Bunty)
10. Lady in the Looking-Glass (Bunty)
11. Lona the Wonder Girl (Bunty)
12. Mary Jo (Princess – first series)
13. Moira Kent (Bunty)
14. Mouse (Tammy)
15. My School Chum Mum (Bunty)
16. Skeleton Corner (Judy/M&J)
17. Slave to the Dolls (Tracy)
18. The Sorrows of Supergirl (Tracy)
19. The Taming of Teresa (Bunty)
20. Time after Time [1999] (Bunty)

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

Post by helsbels »

Tammyfan wrote:Question: are Come Home Kathleen and Kathy Come Home the same serial with altered titles?
Yes, the title was changed for the Lucky Charm comic.

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

Post by helsbels »

Phoenix wrote:In case anybody is interested, I've been looking through approximately 250 issues of Debbie that I acquired just before the weekend, roughly fifty from 30th Century Comics, the rest in a Compal Auction lot, and I have noticed that the mystery story emerging from the coded message(s) sewn into some golden fabric, that I mentioned on 17 November in a synopsis of Jane - Model Miss, was repeated as Victoria Jones And The Golden Dresses in Debbie 271 (Apr. 22 1978) - 279 (Jun. 17 1978).
Debbie comic contained a lot of the elements of Diana comic, including retelling of old stories! Debbie comic began in 1973 and once Diana folded in 1974, Debbie started getting more of the old Diana stories (Up-To-Date Kate, Mary Brown's Schooldays, etc). There's also the connection with Spellbound and The Fabulous Four/Supercats and the similarities between The Man In Black storyteller and Damian Darke.

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

Post by Tammyfan »

@Helsbels. Thank you. I have amended the honourable mentions list accordingly:

1. A Leap in Time (Misty)
2. Almost Human (Jinty)
3. Captain Kate (June)
4. Children of Edenford (Jinty)
5. Cloris and Claire (June)
6. Combing Her Golden Hair (Jinty)
7. Come Home Kathleen (Bunty)
8. Cotton Jenny (Bunty)
9. Lady in the Looking-Glass (Bunty)
10. Lona the Wonder Girl (Bunty)
11. Mary Jo (Princess – first series)
12. Moira Kent (Bunty)
13. Mouse (Tammy)
14. My School Chum Mum (Bunty)
15. Skeleton Corner (Judy/M&J)
16. Slave to the Dolls (Tracy)
17. The Forbidden Garden (Jinty)
18. The Sorrows of Supergirl (Tracy)
19. The Taming of Teresa (Bunty)
20. Time after Time [1999] (Bunty)



I'm beginning to wonder if The Black Widow from Misty should be considered for honourable mention. It was the only other Misty story (The first was Cult of the Cat) to spawn a sequel, Spider-Woman, which appeared in the Tammy & Misty merger.

Okay, I'll have a look at putting a synopsis together when I get a chance. Right now I have other stuff to do before I go away in two weeks.

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

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Tammyfan wrote:@Phoenix: have you found any interesting serials in Debbie that might be worth considering for the 100 or honourable mentions?
Yes, I have, Tammyfan, but as I said in November, I'm not revisiting the lists until the New Year. One thing that puzzles me though, which hopefully you could clear up for me, is why does the @ sign always seem to appear in your replies when you name the people you are replying to, e.g. @philcom, @Phoenix?
helsbels wrote:Debbie comic contained a lot of the elements of Diana comic, including retelling of old stories! Debbie comic began in 1973 and once Diana folded in 1974, Debbie started getting more of the old Diana stories (Up-To-Date Kate, Mary Brown's Schooldays, etc). There's also the connection with Spellbound and The Fabulous Four/Supercats and the similarities between The Man In Black storyteller and Damian Darke.
Thank you for making that point, Helen. I have known about these connections for many years, but there may well be quite a number of members who weren't aware of them. However, knowing which stories made the transition depends on our having the stories in the first place, and as you are well aware, this is an ongoing quest. Last week's acquisitions merely moved me forward a couple of notches with the links, but their main value was introducing me to rather a lot of serials that I hadn't come across before, as well as flagging up some more obvious repeats.

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

Post by Tammyfan »

@ Phoenix: @ is when I'm doing a reply to someone but not using the quote function. Something I picked up from another forum.

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

Post by Phoenix »

Tammyfan wrote:@ is when I'm doing a reply to someone but not using the quote function.
Thank you for that explanation, Tammyfan. Our system is slightly slower, but neater and more professional in appearance, in my opinion, and particularly useful because members can see at a glance what the replies relate to.
Tammyfan wrote:Something I picked up from another forum.
I've always been wary of picking things up in unusual places. :)

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

Post by Phoenix »

Despite not knowing exactly what I was bidding for, my late Compal bid for the 170 or so issues of Debbie has turned out to be inspired. I have checked them all, and fed them into the collection, and there were no clashes with any of the ones I had just bought from 30th Century Comics, so the upshot is I now only need 82 issues for the full run. Within that 82 there is one run of six, and one run of five needed, and they are not in the same year as each other. The rest that I need are basically individual issues, and consequently not all that important for my purposes. I'm delighted by such good luck.

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

Post by Tammyfan »

I said I would put up a synopsis of The Black Widow from Misty, for people to judge how strong it is for honourable mention. Here it is:

The Black Widow

Publication:
Misty 17/6/1978 - 16/9/1978
Sequel: Spider-Woman, Tammy & Misty, 19/1/80 - 22/3/80
Writer:
Unknown
Artist: Jaume Romeu

Plot:
In “her silken lair, hidden from the eyes of the world” is Mrs Webb, who is to become known to the world as The Black Widow. She calls out to her spiders, “Tonight is the time…the time of the spiders!”

Not far away is Corey End School, where we meet our two protagonists. The first is Sadie Lincoln, who wants to be a scientist. But Sadie has phobia about creepy crawlies, especially (you guessed it) spiders. The science teacher, Miss Dexter, tells Sadie she must overcome this if she is to handle biological specimens and make her way as a scientist. The second is Freda Lawrence, a rather unlikeable girl who thinks Sadie is always sucking up to teachers.

Sadie prefers astronomy as a science, and is spending the night with her telescope. She is surprised to find a type of meteor approach, which bursts into fragments. She goes out to investigate and finds a capsule containing a spider. She takes it to Miss Dexter, who cannot identify the species, but puts it in an aquarium for study. They are astonished to find it has doubled in size 24 hours later. And it continues to grow. They don’t realise they have captured the spider that should be at the centre of Webb’s new web. Webb goes in search of the spider and says there will be “no mercy for anyone keeping him!”

Webb turns up at the school, suspecting it is the place to start looking. Telling everyone she is on a mission to save spiders from the cruelty of man, she promises a £5 reward for anyone who brings a spider to her. Figuring she will get more than that if she brings Webb the super-growing spider, Freda steals it from the science lab. Sadie catches Freda and suspects what she is doing. She tags along with Freda to Webb’s house in the hope of grabbing it back.

They are both surprised to find the house is derelict. Inside, they are caught in a mechanical web manned by a giant mechanical spider. But this is actually the mechanism that brings them to Webb’s lair. Webb scares them into handing over the spider.

Webb explains that she and her husband were biological chemists. Mr Webb was forced to participate in a military biological experiment that killed him when it went wrong. Now she is out for revenge on Britain with the aid of her specially engineered spiders – and with Sadie and Freda, who are going to be her instruments. Freda is happy to do it for money. This disgusts Sadie, who also expresses her fear of spiders. At this, Webb hypnotises Sadie into liking spiders. She then gives Freda a hypnotic prompt “you creep!” This will have Sadie doing whatever Freda commands when she says it. She also imprisons the girls in slave pendants that give them electric shocks whenever they try to remove them. The pendants label Freda as Tara and Sadie as Tula. Finally, Webb gives Freda a bag of spiders for their first test. She then sends them out, with Sadie having no recollection of what happened.

What Webb does not realise is that Freda is not loyal to her because the hypnotism of Sadie gave her a shock. Freda is only playing along with Webb because she does not want to be hypnotised.

Using the “you creep!” prompt, Freda has Sadie unleash the spiders at school, which causes a panic. Afterwards, Webb says the spiders have been installed with transmitters, so she can track them on her electronic map. Meanwhile, as Sadie has no memory of what happens when the hypnotic power wears off, that she cannot explain her action to her headmistress – or her absenteeism the next day. This is, of course, because of their next target – one Major-General Oliver Bullivant. Webb blames Bullivant for her husband’s death. This may be in fact be true because Bullivant is such a pompous, overbearing, unlikeable git who forces his unfortunate batman to do jobs that are not supposed to be part of a batman’s job. The girls plant Webb’s spider on Bullivant’s dog. When the spider bites Bullivant, he falls into a paralysis that leaves him incapable of speaking and doctors baffled. However, the investigation, led by Inspector Bird, is soon drawing the right conclusions. Bird is now searching for the spider and the two girls.

Freda wants to call it quits, but when she tries to tell Webb, Webb demands to know the fate of the Bullivant spider. She realises the spider is still with Sadie and uses the pendant to summon her – only to find that Sadie has let the spider go. Later, the spider turns up in the papers that a despatch rider is taking to Bullivant’s. The spider bites and paralyses the dispatch rider, causing him to have a crash. Bird realises what happened and is now searching the scene of the accident for the spider. Then Carfax of SI9 turns up and tells Bird that someone stole a batch of spiders that the Ministry had been testing in the stratosphere. The purpose had been to create super-spiders, but the results are unknown because of the theft. Carfax has a pretty good idea who the thief is (guess who?), but is having trouble locating her. This may also explain the "meteor" that Sadie observed earlier.

Meanwhile, the next target is Professor Lawton, who devised the experiment that killed the husband. This time the girls are to plant the spider on Lawton’s baby. But as they leave, they are attacked by rough girls. Freda tells the leader, “Go an’ jump in the lake, you creep!”

Oops – Freda unwittingly used the hypnotic prompt, which has Sadie jumping in the lake and losing the spider. When Webb finds out the spider’s fate, she is hysterical and furious as she regards her spiders as her children. She decides to go out and do the job herself. However, Mrs Lawton intercepts the spider and crushes it, which means another upset for Webb. Also, Lawton compares notes with Bird and they see the connection.

When Webb returns to her base, she has yet another upset – Freda had used the hypnotic prompt to have Sadie smash her tank of beloved spiders. Webb uses her spider powers to turn the spiders on them. Freda feigns that they have learned their lesson and Webb calls the spiders off. Sadie now understands what is going on and she quietly teams up with Freda. But Sadie is hypnotised again to deliver a spider to the Prime Minister. Webb plans to use this attack to blackmail Britain into capitulating to her. However, Freda uses the “you creep!” command to bring Sadie back to Webb’s lair to do a more thorough job of smashing the place.

The police arrive. The girls try to explain, and the police are forced to take them seriously when they find millions of spiders crawling all over their car! Soon, the girls are explaining everything to Bird himself.

Meanwhile, there has been a series of blocked drains in London. Investigation reveals an enormous web and spider in the drains. It is the spider Sadie captured earlier. It was engineered to be a super-growing spider. It has now grown to giant proportions, feeding on sewer rats – and is still growing! What’s more, it is moving on from rats to people as prey and causing panic in the underground railway station. The giant spider and its web emerge in Trafalgar Square, which causes even more panic and makes the news. Webb sees the broadcast and gloats, “The day of the spiders is here at last!”

Back at her lair, Webb has less to gloat about when she discovers what the girls have done. But when the authorities arrive, there is no sign of Webb. Then they hear her over a loudspeaker, where she finally delivers her ultimatum: if they want the spider (now moving on from Trafalgar Square and travelling across the country via the power lines), they must do what she says. The first of her demands is to bring the girls to a rendezvous point, where the spider is waiting to devour them.

The authorities bring the girls, and Webb orders them to climb up to the spider. But the authorities have prepared a trap. The national grid is down, but the power station is waiting for their signal to turn on the power. Ironically, it is accidentally turned on when an employee is scared by a spider. As planned, the giant spider gets fried. Webb falls to the ground, though not to her death. At the same time, the slave pendants fall off Freda and Sadie. Webb is being taken to hospital, but mysteriously disappears from the ambulance. A spider falls to the ground unnoticed. It leaves a question mark as to whether the world is really free from the menace of the Black Widow.

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Last edited by Tammyfan on 30 May 2018, 02:42, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Tammyfan »

I am leaving on holiday tomorrow, so I am recapping the list of possibilities for honourable mention - or even advancement to the top 100.

1. A Leap in Time (Misty)
2. Almost Human (Jinty)
3. Captain Kate (June)
4. Children of Edenford (Jinty)
5. Cloris and Claire (June)
6. Combing Her Golden Hair (Jinty)
7. Come Home Kathleen (Bunty)
8. Cotton Jenny (Bunty)
9. Lady in the Looking-Glass (Bunty)
10. Lona the Wonder Girl (Bunty)
11. Mary Jo (Princess – first series)
12. Moira Kent (Bunty)
13. Mouse (Tammy)
14. My School Chum Mum (Bunty)
15. Skeleton Corner (Judy/M&J)
16. Slave to the Dolls (Tracy)
17. The Black Widow (Misty)
18. The Forbidden Garden (Jinty)
19. The Sorrows of Supergirl (Tracy)
20. The Taming of Teresa (Bunty)
21. Time after Time [1999] (Bunty)

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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 »

Have a good holiday Tammyfan! :)

Though I've never been particularly fond of ballet stories the fact that the long-running adventures of Sandra Wilson in Judy have already been nominated for the Top 100 (as well as being judged worthy to star in two Lucky Charm compilations) made me think that it'd be worth shining a spotlight on a representative run of this series. And as I happen to own a copy of Lucky Charm no.2 I decided to concentrate on the three early story arcs that were sliced and diced to fit into its 64 page format. Here's Ian Kennedy's eye-catching cover for that collected edition:

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For some reason DC Thomson chose not to begin with the initial serial 'Sandra and the Secret Ballet', in which the heroine was kidnapped and forced to join a mysterious ballet troupe, instead of which she is introduced as the star pupil of an entirely legitimate dancing school based in a castle on a remote Scottish island (at least one assumes it's Scottish: as was often the case the precise location is rarely specified, and there are some indications that it might even be situated off the coast of Cornwall instead).

'Sandra and the Castle Ballet' starts of with the sensational news that Madame Sierra, the school's inspirational teacher, has been forced to sell her castle to a brash holiday camp magnate called Charlie Pickford on the understanding that a section of the premises will be reserved for her use. When he's led to believe that the girls have encouraged his invalid daughter Marion to indulge in life-threatening exertions, however, he angrily goes back on his word and orders Madame Sierra to leave forthwith. Fortunately Marion comes to the school's aid by demonstrating to her father that she has long since recovered from her supposed illness - doing so through the medium of a specially written ballet!

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As can be seen in the above episode, scanned from its original printing in Judy no 56, Sandra's regular artist was the great Paddy Brennan - famous for the many adventure stories he drew for titles such as Topper and Beezer (not to mention some outstanding double-page spreads in a succession of Dandy Annuals). The odd thing is that, while most of the art is typical of Brennan's beautifully controlled brushwork, Sandra's own likeness seems to be drawn in a very different style (particularly her rather untidy hairstyle) - leading me to suspect that a second artist might have been drafted in for that purpose. Whatever the truth is it's clear that Paddy was greatly prized by Judy's editor - so much so, in fact, that he was allowed to draw himself into the very next story of the Castle Ballet.

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The fictional 'Paddy Brennan' of this tale is the father of a young girl called Betsy who desperately yearns to follow in the footsteps of her mother - a champion swimmer who'd drowned years before in a tragic accident. Haunted by the fate of his wife Mr. Brennan had forbidden his daughter to learn how to swim, an injunction that Sandra helps her to defy by providing clandestine swimming lessons. As in the previous story, the father's initial anger upon discovering his deception eventually turns to gratitude when Betsy rescues him from a boating accident.

In spite of the excellent artwork these two storylines strike me as being somewhat repetitive, and not quite up to the level I'd expect for one of the '100 greatest serials' of all time. Fortunately, the third story contained in this collection takes off on a wholly different tack as an ailing Madame Sierra is temporarily replaced by a classic 'bully teacher' determined to ensure that none of her pupils will ever become a ballerina. Thus begins the long saga of 'Sandra and the Runaway Ballet' - perhaps the best-remembered of all Sandra's adventures:

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(To be Concluded...)

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

Post by Phoenix »

I think Sandra deserves her place in the Top 100 on the same basis as The Four Marys. Not necessarily because of any one outstanding serial, but because the sheer volume of stories about her turn her into a kind of iconic figure. According to my records, and I really don't have time this year to check the actual issues of Judy I'm afraid, there are nine more serials, plus of course several repeats. Sandra And The Frightened Teacher, Sandra And The Hoodoo Ballet and Sandra And The Dancing Doll all appear in 1962, Sandra And The Sultan's Ballet (reprinted in Lucky Charm 19) appears in 1964, Sandra And The Seven Sisters, Sandra And The Girl Nobody Knows, and Sandra And The Baffling Ballet all appear in 1969, Sandra And The Backstreet Ballerina in 1972, and Sandra And The Sinister Ballet in 1973 bring my notes to a close. I would put money on there being others in issues that I have bought but not yet catalogued, and in issues I haven't even found so far.

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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 »

...For anyone who's interested, here's the conclusion to my brief overview of Sandra Wilson.

Faced with the unrelentingly negative regime adopted by the chain-smoking Miss Lester the girls quickly make good on their plan, escaping from the castle under cover of darkness and boarding the night train to London. As one might expect when any group of schoolchildren go suddenly missing this quickly results in a national hue and cry, with plain clothes policemen watching out for them as soon as they arrive in the capital, forcing the runaways to split up like wartime prisoners of war being hunted by the Gestapo.

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As soon as they acquire lodgings in a seedy boarding house we enter into the fertile territory of hopeful young dancers seeking employment in the big city - a scenario made famous in countless shows like Fame and A Chorus Line. Unfortunately their subsequent trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs are constantly aggravated by the devious machinations of Sarah Lester who secretly follows them to London intent on sabotaging their careers.

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Miss Lester proves herself to be a true villain, motivated by little more than petty jealousy of her supposed friend Madame Sierra. However, the fact that the girls experience no more trouble from the police or social services highlights a lack of consistency that, in my opinion, tends to undermine the scripting of all Sandra's adventures. After all, if they are old enough to fend for themselves then they had nothing to fear from the police in the first place, while Miss Lester needs only to inform the authorities of their location if they are legally underage!

The story of the Runaway Ballet ultimately runs its course with the return of Madame Sierra herself when she finally becomes aware of Miss Lester's villainous nature:

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As Phoenix states Sandra continued to star in a succession of serials during the 1960s and 1970s which saw her graduating from the Castle School and finding fame and fortune throughout the world as a dancer of growing repute. In addition to the stories mentioned above, one series which reflects Sandra's new globe-spanning canvas particularly well is 1963's 'Sandra and the Stranded Ballet' in which the young heroine suddenly finds herself dancing in an arctic wilderness while en route from New York to Russia:

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As I have said, there are certain weaknesses in the scripting that make me think twice about including Sandra in the Top 100, but on the whole I'm inclined to agree with Phoenix that her longevity - combined with some wonderful artwork from Paddy Brennan - are enough to swing the balance in her favour.

- Phil Rushton

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

Post by Tammyfan »

Well, we've had a month's break and a chance to revisit our collections. Does anyone have any fresh thoughts on the list?

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