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.

Moderators: AndyB, colcool007

Tammyfan
Posts: 1895
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

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

Post by Tammyfan »

One possibility is 'The Double Life of Sad Sarah' (Mandy) which we have discussed elsewhere. I like the way it turns the cliched Cinderella theme in girls' comics on its head, as well as being a self-parody on girls' comics.

Kid Robson
Posts: 331
Joined: 31 Jul 2013, 01:03

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

Post by Kid Robson »

Never having read 'girls comics' (unless Lois Lane and Wonder Woman qualify), I'd be interested to know if the contents had some distinguishable 'girly' factor to them, or were merely stories that - with a change in gender and setting (boy protagonist in public school, for example) - would have worked equally as well in boys comics. (As in comics for boys, not belonging to, hence my lack of apostrophe.)

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5346
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

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

Post by Phoenix »

matrix wrote:
Phoenix wrote: Serials that run for a year will, by their very nature, be poorer than much shorter ones because they will be too discursive, be seriously lacking in direction and sustained tension, and will almost certainly, at various points, include digressions that give every impression of being forced to carry on through several story lines that were never envisaged in the first place before staggering eventually to a blessed conclusion.

Phoenix, your standards are dropping with those subjective statements, unless of course you have read every serial over one year old?
I certainly haven't read every serial that ran for more than a year. I'm assuming that's what you meant by one year old. In fact, I haven't read very many, but the point I was trying to make related to the difference between a tightly-plotted serial and an episodic one. I wasn't commenting on your suggested titles specifically because, as I haven't read any of them, I am not qualified to judge. However, based on what I have read, my gut feeling is that any serial that lasts for fifty-two weeks or more will be episodic in nature, where quite a number of the episodes could be omitted without their absence materially affecting the outcome of the story. To put it another way, new twists and turns can be added to the original story board to keep the serial going for as long as the editor sees fit. Obviously, your titles are not episodic in the same way as Bessie Bunter or Bobby Dazzler, which are not dissimilar to the individual weekly episodes of characters in comics like Film Fun, Radio Fun, TV Fun, Knockout, The Beano etc., none of which would qualify for inclusion in any list of Greatest Serials, but if you still feel that I should acknowledge as a Great Serial any of your suggested titles from Girl, or anybody else's suggestions such as The Happy Days for that matter, I think you would need to prove it. Perhaps it's a good thing that I'm not the arbiter! :)
matrix wrote:
Phoenix wrote: Your remaining two criteria don't appear to have a great deal of substance to them.

I believe they are important if you read some of the blogs regarding people that read these comics as children you will get a much better idea of what made the stories popular, not just left to some of our biased views.
I think it's important to distinguish between popularity and quality. As I said, or implied, in an earlier post, if we are to agree on a list of 100 Great Serials, we must not be sidetracked by a whole host of members' or bloggers' Favourite Serials without submitting those serials to some sort of test of greatness.

User avatar
philcom55
Posts: 5170
Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56

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

Post by philcom55 »

...Maybe it'd be better to amend the title to '100 Greatest Strips' rather than specifying serials?


Thinking about it I can't help feeling that this would make an excellent subject for a book, with one or two pages devoted to each strip. One of the really nice things about it is the way the format flags up series we might never have heard of before: for example I'm now intrigued enough to seek out some episodes of 'Time after Time' for myself.

As Tammyfan started this thread I think it's fair that she should have the final say, though I do think it's a shame to exclude all adaptations as many of these featured the best artwork ever seen in girls' comics; moreover it would effectively rule out the entire contents of some major titles like Lady Penelope. Personally, I'd also like to include some female characters from comics that weren't specifically aimed at girls - like Beryl the Peril, Minnie the Minx, and even Halo Jones - though I accept that might be stretching things a bit.

How about real-life biographies? Most of those were pretty negligible, but it'd be a shame not to include strips like the 'Joan of Arc' centrespread from Diana, or one of Gerry Haylock's back-page features from Girl. To my mind it'd be good if variety could play a part in the selection, so that the final list gave a snapshot of the many different kinds of serial featured in British girls comics rather than concentrating on a single type of story at the exclusion of all others (eg at least one romance, one biography, one humour strip, one adaptation, etc.).

To that end, here are some more provisional nominations (along with the comics they appeared in):

A Leap in Time (Misty)
Jill Crusoe (School Friend)
Lady Penelope (Lady Penelope)
Uncle Lionel (Princess)
Mary Jo (Princess)
Alona (Princess)
Westward the Wagons (Tina)
Moira, Slave girl of Rome (Tina...or Princess Tina?)
Alice in Spaceland (Princess)
The Land of Nowhere (Bunty)
Black Velvet (Poppet)
Daughter of Lorna Doone (Princess)
A Song fror Andrella (Mirabelle)
Toots (Bunty)

- Phil Rushton

Kid Robson
Posts: 331
Joined: 31 Jul 2013, 01:03

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

Post by Kid Robson »

Going by some previous comments throughout this thread, it seems that it's not just politicians who have opinions on things of which they have no real experience. However, I think it's fairly obvious that 'greatest' in the topic's title is intrinsically subjective, depending on a consensus of opinion on which strips are regarded to be the most popular or memorable - which doesn't necessarily always take 'quality' into consideration. For example, Coronation Street is regarded by many as one of Britain's 'greatest' soaps, but that doesn't actually prove that it's any good.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5346
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

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

Post by Phoenix »

Tammyfan wrote:So how about we start with:

1: Iconic serials (The Happy Days, Patty's World, The Four Marys).
2: Stories that are well-remembered (Winner Loses All!, Luv Lisa)
3: Mould-breakers and ground-breakers (Slaves of War Orphan Farm, Cuckoo in the Nest)
4: Underrated gems - but the nominator must give good grounds for why that story should be included.
5: Stories known to be the most popular ever in a title (Olympia Jones, Angel, The Sad Star (Mandy said it was her most popular-ever text story when she ran it as a picture-story)
6: Collective serials (eg the Valda serials are collectively listed as 'Valda')

What do you think?
You are fixated on categories, Tammyfan, and because of that, you are missing the point, and getting things a*se about tip. The only point at issue is whether a serial is a Great Serial, and therefore worthy of inclusion in a list of 100 Great Serials. Only after we have the agreed list can there be any point in categorising them. So, given that we are dealing with individual serials, you can't have your Collective Serials. In fact, I had already made the point that some Valda serials are better than others, which this suggestion completely ignores, so you would be admitting several Valda serials to the list of 100 Great Serials that would not be there on merit. On the same basis, I don't see how you can have your Iconic Serials either. What you could do, given that The Four Marys is broken down over the years into lots of individual serials, is to pick one of them for inclusion. I don't know enough about The Happy Days, but from what little I do know, it looks episodic in nature, but, as with The Four Marys, if there is a specific story with a beginning and an end that you think merits inclusion based on agreed criteria of greatness, then by all means suggest it. All your categories 2 to 5, while irrelevant in themselves, would clearly provide any number of serials for consideration. Just assess all your serials individually.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5346
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

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

Post by Phoenix »

Tammyfan wrote:One possibility is 'The Double Life of Sad Sarah' (Mandy) which we have discussed elsewhere. I like the way it turns the cliched Cinderella theme in girls' comics on its head, as well as being a self-parody on girls' comics.
Quite. That is exactly the approach to a serial that will clarify its qualities.

User avatar
philcom55
Posts: 5170
Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56

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

Post by philcom55 »

philcom55 wrote:Thinking about it I can't help feeling that this would make an excellent subject for a book
...In fact, thinking about it a bit more, it occurs to me that DC Thomson might be missing a trick as I'm sure that a book which listed 100 of their own best girls' strips (culled from Bunty, judy, Mandy, Diana, Spellbound, etc.) would appeal to a lot of grown-up women who remember specific series from their childhood. The fact that there's yet another 'Best of Jackie' book out this year shows that the market exists (and, to my mind, the 'list' format would be much stronger than the rather nondescript 'Best of Bunty' books they tried out a couple of years ago).

- Phil R.

User avatar
peace355
Posts: 337
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:32
Location: Uk
Contact:

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

Post by peace355 »

Phoenix wrote:
Tammyfan wrote:So how about we start with:

1: Iconic serials (The Happy Days, Patty's World, The Four Marys).
2: Stories that are well-remembered (Winner Loses All!, Luv Lisa)
3: Mould-breakers and ground-breakers (Slaves of War Orphan Farm, Cuckoo in the Nest)
4: Underrated gems - but the nominator must give good grounds for why that story should be included.
5: Stories known to be the most popular ever in a title (Olympia Jones, Angel, The Sad Star (Mandy said it was her most popular-ever text story when she ran it as a picture-story)
6: Collective serials (eg the Valda serials are collectively listed as 'Valda')

What do you think?
You are fixated on categories, Tammyfan, and because of that, you are missing the point, and getting things a*se about tip. The only point at issue is whether a serial is a Great Serial, and therefore worthy of inclusion in a list of 100 Great Serials. Only after we have the agreed list can there be any point in categorising them. So, given that we are dealing with individual serials, you can't have your Collective Serials. In fact, I had already made the point that some Valda serials are better than others, which this suggestion completely ignores, so you would be admitting several Valda serials to the list of 100 Great Serials that would not be there on merit. On the same basis, I don't see how you can have your Iconic Serials either. What you could do, given that The Four Marys is broken down over the years into lots of individual serials, is to pick one of them for inclusion. I don't know enough about The Happy Days, but from what little I do know, it looks episodic in nature, but, as with The Four Marys, if there is a specific story with a beginning and an end that you think merits inclusion based on agreed criteria of greatness, then by all means suggest it. All your categories 2 to 5, while irrelevant in themselves, would clearly provide any number of serials for consideration. Just assess all your serials individually.
I have no problem with trying to set some broad categories, as some one else pointed out how subjective tastes can be. For example I am not a big fan of ballerina stories but I know a lot of people liked Lorna Drake and it was popular enough that it had a long run in Bunty and a lot of people remember it. So I have no problem with that making the list. I get your point that in long running stories some story arcs were better than others but looking at something like The Four Marys that ran for 43 years (and yes I know some stories were repeated) that could take up half the list if you went story by story.

Obviously for the final list there can be more debate of what is deserving or what is actually the best, but I think the categories are a good starting point to what could qualify for a suggestion.

User avatar
peace355
Posts: 337
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:32
Location: Uk
Contact:

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

Post by peace355 »

So we can keep track of what has already been suggested, here's a list (I think I got every one)

A Leap in Time (Misty)
A Song fror Andrella (Mirabelle)
Alice in Spaceland (Princess)
Alona (Princess)
Angel (Mandy)
Anna, Junior Miss/ Girl with the Golden Smile (Judy)
Be Nice to Nancy (Judy)
Bella (Tammy)
Belle (School Friend)
Belle and Mamie (Girl)
Belle of the Ballet (Girl)
Bessie Bunter (School Friend/June/Tammy)
Black Velvet (Poppet)
Bobby Dazzler (Judy)
Calling nurse Abbott! (Girl)
Catch the Cat (Bunty)
Chairman Cherry (Princess Tina)
Cherry & The Children (Girls Crystal/Schoolfriend/June)
Cinderella Jones (Judy)
Climbing Rose (Judy)
Come Home Kathleen (Bunty)
Cuckoo in the Nest (Tammy)
Daughter of Lorna Doone (Princess)
Diana's Diary (June)
Down with St Desmonds! (Bunty)
Dracula's Daughter (Jinty)
Force of Evil (Suzy)
Fran of the Floods (Jinty)
Fran’ll Fix It! (Jinty)
Hannah in the House of Dolls (Bunty)
Hetty In The House Of Secrets (Spellbound)
I Hate Janey! (Judy)
Jane Bond (Princess Tina)
Jane, Model Miss (Diana)
Jeanie & Her Uncle Meanie (Sandie/Tammy)
Jill Crusoe (School Friend)
Junior Nanny (Judy)
Kathy Of Marvin Grange (June)
Kitty Hawke (Girl – first series)
Lady Penelope (Lady Penelope)
Land of No Tears (Jinty)
Life's a Ball for Nadine (Jinty)
Lorna Drake (Bunty)
Lucky’s Living Doll (June)
Luv Lisa (Bunty)
Maisie's Magic Eye (Sally)
Mary Jo (Princess)
Mini Mum (Bunty)
Moira, Slave girl of Rome (Tina...or Princess Tina?)
Molly Mills (Tammy)
Moonchild (Misty)
My Schoolfriend Sara/My Friend Sara (Schoolfriend/June)
No Haven for Hayley (Tammy)
Nothing Ever Goes Right! (Judy)
Olympia Jones (Tammy)
Pam of Pond Hill (Jinty/Tammy)
Patty’s World (Princess Tina/Pink/Mates/Girl – second series)
Penny’s Place (M&J/Bunty)
Sandra of the Secret Ballet (Judy)
School's Out! (Bunty)
Skinflint School (Judy)
Slaves of War Orphan Farm (Tammy)
Starr of Wonderland (Diana)
Sue Spiker (Emma)
Susan of St Bride's (Girl)
Tansy of Jubilee Street (Penny)
The Balloon Of Doom (Bunty)
The Button Box (Tammy)
The Cat Girl (Sally)
The Chair That Rocked St. Claire's(Judy)
The Comp (Nikki/Bunty)
The Dancing Life of Moira Kent (Bunty)
The Double Life of Sad Sarah (Mandy)
The Face Of Romany Fortune (Spellbound)
The Flights of Flopear (Bunty)
The Four Faces of Eve (Misty)
The Four Marys (Bunty)
The Frightening Fours (Judy)
The Girl Who Couldn't Cry (Mandy)
The Girls from NOODLES (Diana)
The Happy Days (Princess Tina)
The Honourable S. J. (Judy)
The Human Zoo (Jinty)
The Jealousy of Jemma (Mandy)
The Land of Nowhere (Bunty)
The Pink Peril (Diana)
The Quest Of Katie Courage (Suzy)
The Sad Spells Of Fay Martin (Mandy)
The Secrets of Charlie Chatterbox (Bunty)
The Seeker (Bunty)
The Sentinels (Misty)
The Silent Three (School Friend)
The Strangest Stories Ever Told (School Friend, June, Tammy)
The Supercats (Spellbound/Debbie)
Time after Time [1999] (Bunty)
Toots (Bunty)
Trixie’s Treasure Chest (Debbie)
Uncle Lionel (Princess)
Valda (Mandy)
Wee Slavey (Judy)
Wee Sue (Sandie/Tammy)
Wendy and Jinx (Girl)
Wendy at War (Debbie)
Westward the Wagons (Tina)
Winner Loses All! (Misty)
Worlds Apart (Jinty)

User avatar
philcom55
Posts: 5170
Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56

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

Post by philcom55 »

Though it'd be hard to agree on adequate criteria (maybe just an internet poll?) it might be interesting to present the final list in a 'countdown' format, ending with the Single Best Girls' Series of All Time. Naturally that'd have to be much further down the line.

In the long run, of course, lists like this can never hope to be definitive. What they really say is "here are 100 cracking examples of a much-loved literary form that deserves to be remembered!"

- Phil R.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5346
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

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

Post by Phoenix »

peace355 wrote:Obviously for the final list there can be more debate of what is deserving or what is actually the best, but I think the categories are a good starting point to what could qualify for a suggestion.
I have absolutely no objection to the redefining of the word Greatest, which we will certainly have to do if we are to include fifty-three years of The Four Marys, and the like, as single entries on the list. However, I would still have a problem with the inclusion of non-serial strips such as Bobby Dazzler, Bessie Bunter, and Toots, (Toots, Phil? Really?), no matter how dearly-loved they are, and to be fair, I quite liked Bobby Dazzler, but they just aren't serials. If they are to be included, we will also have to redefine the word Serials. Still, never mind. Just so long as everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. After all, it isn't my thread, it belongs to every member.

User avatar
philcom55
Posts: 5170
Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56

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

Post by philcom55 »

Phoenix wrote:(Toots, Phil? Really?)
Bill Ritchie is one of the all-time greats Phoenix! :)

(It would, of course, depend on whether we decide to include all strips or just concentrate on serials)

- Phil R.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5346
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

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

Post by Phoenix »

philcom55 wrote:Bill Ritchie is one of the all-time greats Phoenix! :)
We've known each other long enough by now, Phil, for you to be completely aware of my virtually non-existent interest in artwork in comics, sad though that may seem to you. My interest is in the fiction, and where that is concerned, Toots just doesn't cut the mustard.
philcom55 wrote:It would, of course, depend on whether we decide to include all strips or just concentrate on serials
It does, and in several places on this thread I have stated what I believe a serial to be, and as Toots isn't one by my definition, I would exclude it, the obvious qualities and stellar reputation of Bill Ritchie notwithstanding.
philcom55 wrote:...In fact, thinking about it a bit more, it occurs to me that DC Thomson might be missing a trick as I'm sure that a book which listed 100 of their own best girls' strips (culled from Bunty, Judy, Mandy, Diana, Spellbound, etc.) would appeal to a lot of grown-up women who remember specific series from their childhood. The fact that there's yet another 'Best of Jackie' book out this year shows that the market exists (and, to my mind, the 'list' format would be much stronger than the rather nondescript 'Best of Bunty' books they tried out a couple of years ago).
I think it would work too, preferably at one entry to a page, all to include one illustration. Obviously, choosing the entries would be crucial, as would the number of pages allotted to the book. I would opt for just two annual volumes, the first with 150 pages, the second with 100. I'm being pragmatic here because Thomsons are aware of what we might call the second-year syndrome. I've just checked the two 'Best of Bunty' volumes you refer to. The first had 124 pages with the standard glossy cover, the second only had 108 pages but it did have a dustwrapper, so I suspect I am being too optimistic. You could put it to them, though, as a possible project for next year.

Incidentally, with regard to your comment about the ''rather nondescript 'Best Of Bunty' volumes'', I have to say that they were really quite good. It is important to judge a book first on how well it achieves what it set out to achieve. Whether a customer chooses to buy it or not will depend on whether it contains enough of what they wanted to see in it or not. Their decision either way does not make the book a bad, or even a nondescript, book.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1895
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

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

Post by Tammyfan »

philcom55 wrote:
philcom55 wrote:Thinking about it I can't help feeling that this would make an excellent subject for a book
...In fact, thinking about it a bit more, it occurs to me that DC Thomson might be missing a trick as I'm sure that a book which listed 100 of their own best girls' strips (culled from Bunty, judy, Mandy, Diana, Spellbound, etc.) would appeal to a lot of grown-up women who remember specific series from their childhood. The fact that there's yet another 'Best of Jackie' book out this year shows that the market exists (and, to my mind, the 'list' format would be much stronger than the rather nondescript 'Best of Bunty' books they tried out a couple of years ago).

- Phil R.
I wonder what criteria they would use for choosing their 'greatest'? We're having some trouble deciding on ours.

Post Reply