Bunty / Life With Bunty / Bunty – A Girl Like You
While a few girl comics had generalised names like School Friend or Spellbound, the most common thing for the titles was to be named after girls, i.e. Bunty, Judy, Tracy, Emma etc. Bunty isn’t the most popular girls name, you are far more likely to meet a Judy or even a Misty than a Bunty, so I think the name is more likely to bring up memories of the comic than a person. Bunty was represented by a girl of the same name in the comic. For the majority of the Bunty publication she was the first thing you saw on the covers, but even after revamps, she still survived by moving inside the issue.
The first issue of Bunty had two girls featured on the cover a blonde and a curly black haired girl. The emphasis was more on the fact that this was a brand new comic with free gift rather than any cover character.The second issue again emphasised the free gift more than the Bunty character but it was now clear that the blonde girl was the comic’s namesake.
By Issue 3 the cover was dedicated to a Bunty comic strip. It was usually laid out with three small panels and one big panel for the pay off. There was no word balloons instead the story was told in short rhymes. Sometimes competitions or advertised free gifts would take over the front cover but otherwise this format stayed for over 1500 issues, after which the cover had pictures depicting stories inside the comic instead.
Bunty started off as young girl with long blonde hair in plaits, later her image was updated, she seemed to look older and has a new shorter haircut. The other regular characters were her two parents, who would often be exasperated with her. Sometimes friends would pop up but mostly just as when it was convenient to the plot.
When the covers started to portray stories from inside the book. Bunty was moved to the back cover, although sometimes if an advertisement or Design a Fashion was on the back cover the strip was inside. The strip was named Life With Bunty. Her hair was short and curly and now it was a longer strip more of a story and more dialogue with word balloons, no more ryhming captions. It was still wrote as a humour strip.
This only lasted a 100 or so issues, then Bunty got revamped again. With issue 1658, the comic was now being printed on glossy paper and inside a lot more fully coloured strips appeared. The Bunty strip was renamed again; as Bunty-A Girl Like You. I believe a regular artist for this was Andy Tew. Again Bunty got a new hairstyle to depict the change, this is even commented on on the first strip.
Her parents were still there and still recognisable as their earlier counterparts. Two more regulars were added; friends Lisa and Jo and they became a permanent trio. Jo was a black curly haired girl (I wonder if she was a nod to that black curly haired girl that appeared on the first issue!) and Lisa a red head. Often these strips concentrated on Bunty’s crush of the week, or fashion, a lot more teen aimed than earlier strips. Bunty as a humour strip of a teenage girl also seemed to replace the younger Toots model.
Its good to see the comics namesake survived throughout the years and the character of Bunty was a memorable one.