When did The Happy Days End?

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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Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 04 Oct 2018, 16:04

philcom55 wrote:I think you could be right about the picture libraries Goof. Something similar happened with the Spider in Fleetway's Super Library where regular scripter Jerry Siegel wrote the first story but various other people produced all the subsequent ones.
I would guess that comparatively few of the Sue Day PLs were not done by Jenny Butterworth. The standard of most of them is consistent, and I think you can see her hand in the way that the longer format is used to inject stronger emotion into some of the stories, particularly in a more volatile relationship between Sue and the Potters. Also, you can always spot her when she indulges in her favourite pastime - sticking the knife into the pretentions of "modern art".

There’s certainly a lot more consistency in the stories than there is in the artwork, which is pretty chaotic in the early issues - two of them even involve more than one artist!

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 05 Oct 2018, 01:54

I really must get more of Sue's picture library stories; for some reason I've got a lot more of the ones which feature Sally. I know what you mean about Jenny Butterworth's fondness for puncturing the pretentions of Modern Art - or ANY kind of pretentiousness for that matter!

DavidKW
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by DavidKW » 05 Oct 2018, 10:36

I reckon The Happy Days would've suffered the same fate as Lucky's Living Doll when June merged with Tammy; it perhaps would've been seen as too dated and lightweight for Tammy's policy of dramatic and streetwise stories.

But The Happy Days would've been good in Tammy and agree would've given some much needed humour in Tammy.

Who knows perhaps Sue Day would've rescued and reversed June's fortunes had she moved there, so that come 1974 it would've still been strong enough to survive the 3 day week (which made it fortnightly for a bit), though it might've meant Jinty's launch (was heavily advertised in final editions of June) got delayed a bit regarding paper prices & supplies.

Either way, both The Happy Days and Lucky's Living Doll had many more good years left in them to run beyond their endings; plenty more fuel in the tank to adapt and last all the 1970s.

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 05 Oct 2018, 10:55

In some ways I think Patty's World was intended to be a kind of updated successor to the Happy Days - though as Goof says, Princess was clearly aimed at a younger age group when it began. I'm not sure if Sue Day's own age was ever established, but in the very first episode she mentions (possibly with a certain amount of youthful exaggeration) that it will be many years before she is a teenager.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 05 Oct 2018, 21:20

I recall in one of the stories (can’t remember which) Mrs Day saying there was a six year age gap between Sue and Gloria. As Gloria must be 18 at least, this would make Sue about 12, but Andrew Wilson and the other artists make her look more like ten.

I think you’re right, Philcom, that Patty’s World was probably a (very successful) attempt to produce a similar kind of domestic comedy for a readership which was perceived as wanting “older” stories. This seems to have been the direction that all the IPC girls’ comics targeted at this age group followed during the 70’s. I agree with DavidKW and Tammyfan that The Happy Days could have continued in June and Tammy, but it looks if this editorial strategy dictated otherwise.

Pixie looks like an attempt to tailor a comic for the younger half of the target group – say 8-10 years old – which may have been intended partly as a home for material of this kind, but they went too far in trying to make it “younger”. It was too cautious and conservative, relying too much on adaptations of well-known children’s books and Hanna-Barbera type cartoons. After Pixie failed, maybe they thought there was nowhere left for Sue Day to go.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 06 Oct 2018, 11:41

philcom55 wrote:I really must get more of Sue's picture library stories; for some reason I've got a lot more of the ones which feature Sally. I know what you mean about Jenny Butterworth's fondness for puncturing the pretentions of Modern Art - or ANY kind of pretentiousness for that matter!
In case you don't have these two, I can't resist putting up a couple of examples of her harpooning the modern art fiends. From Sue Day - Detective and Sue at Sandybeach.

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 06 Oct 2018, 13:02

Brilliant! And as you say, unmistakably Jenny Butterworth. The clever thing is that by seeing everything through the eyes of a sensible child she avoids any charge of philistinism! :)

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 07 Oct 2018, 02:02

Of course the Modern Art theme was introduced in the very first episode of the Happy Days via Sue's own father, the part-time Picasso! :)
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 07 Oct 2018, 14:52

Incidentally, here's the full episode which appeared in the first issue of Princess in January 1960. In my opinion it's a real masterclass in how to introduce a large cast of characters and begin a storyline in just two pages. Although it might not be as spectacular or hard-hitting as some of the classic boys' stories from British comics I'd personally place the writing on the Happy Days alongside Charley's War in terms of sheer quality. Also it's quite startling to see how different Andrew Wilson's art was in the early days: compared to his later work on the strip it could almost have been drawn by a different person altogether! And yet, even though his later style is much more assured and individualistic, there's a part of me that actually prefers the simplicity of this early art which was drawn on much larger boards and without the benefit of half-tones.
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Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 07 Oct 2018, 15:39

Many thanks Philcom for posting the first episode. I have this only in the Sue Day Annual reprint, where Andrew Wilson’s drawing is obscured by heavy and clumsily applied colour.

I absolutely agree that the Happy Days, both writing and artwork, can bear comparison with the best – it’s certainly as good as anything else I’ve ever seen in comics.

Yes, it’s astonishing how much Wilson’s style changed. Personally, I love the irrepressible energy of his later style, but now that I can see it properly, I’m surprised how individual he is even in this first episode. The panel showing Sue going home from school (second page, right), pensively walking half on, half off the pavement, is very characteristic of later stories; and the full face closeup of Sue in the final panel is the first of a kind which became almost the trademark of the series – and something which the substitute artists never really managed to get right.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 07 Oct 2018, 15:45

philcom55 wrote:Of course the Modern Art theme was introduced in the very first episode of the Happy Days via Sue's own father, the part-time Picasso!
Yes, and Mr Day was capable of the odd bit of Modern Art gobbledegook himself!

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 07 Oct 2018, 18:19

Yes. That panel with Sue returning home from school stood out for me as well, and the rainy sheen on the pavement and street nicely anticipates the kinetic energy of his mature style. But the visual characterisation already seems effortless - not just Sue's changing expressions and that lovely scene with her father, but Edie's casual smugness when she says that she always gets the main parts. With the artistic gobbledygook I like the way in which Jenny Butterworth pokes gentle fun at Mr. Day but still shows him in a positive light regardless. It really is a very humane and life-affirming series.

DavidKW
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by DavidKW » 12 Oct 2018, 13:11

Yeah nice one Philcom!

I too have the Sue Day Annual, so it's nice to see Sue's debut as it orginally was and not overburdened with colour as in the annual.

Wilson's style is much sparser and basic than what it would become, and I do prefer the later style, but these early ones are great to look at too, especially that frame in the rain - as good as an old photograph and the drawing makes you feel you're there too in some way.

I do have about 20+ Picture Libraries featuring Sue Day, and whilst the stories are all great, the non-Wilson artwork is let's say a bit hit and miss (same for in some of the annuals too).

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 12 Oct 2018, 15:30

It's a shame Book Palace never published the third volume of their Fleetway Picture Library Index which would have featured David Roach's credits for the various schoolgirls' and romance libraries. I'd love to be able to identify the artists on those Princess Picture Library stories. Also, does anybody know if all of the Sue Day stories that subsequently appeared in the June & School Friend Library were reprints?

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 12 Oct 2018, 17:59

I have a list of all the Sue Day Princess picture libraries with artist attributions for 36 of the 47 total - although obviously these are only my opinion. I've tried to post it as an attachment here in Excel, Word and PDF form, but the system will accept none of these. Does anybody know how I might be able to post the list?

The June and SF picture library stories are all reprints of the Princess titles, although one or two of them had their names changed.

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