- Judy & Co. – Judy: #1449 (17 Oct. 1987) – #1635 (11 May 1991)
- Artist: Norman Lee (Judy & Co. – regular artist)
- Artist: Sean Phillips (Judy & Co. – #1471)
Judy’s title character went through some changes in the 30 year run of comic. Unlike Bunty and Mandy the title character Judy didn’t have as strong a presence throughout the book’s publication. The first issue from 16/01/1960 had the character as a young girl with platinum blonde hair tied up in a ponytail, she wore blue dungarees and a red shirt with white dots. This outfit was her most regular look. She was also accompanied by 3 cats; a white cat with black patches, a black cat with white paws and a tiger striped cat.
While Bunty and Mandy were on the cover for a long time Judy lasted only until #293 (which is quite respectable number but nowhere near the 1000+ covers the others had). Judy didn’t have any text along with the cover either. When she was removed from the cover, she did appear for a time as small three panel wordless strip called Judy and the Kits, usually with the kits getting into to trouble, This usually appeared at the end of the Letters or the Club Page. She also introduced the club page for a time.
Instead of Judy as the cover girl she was replaced by different picture strips, including “Topsy and the Scientist Secrets” and “Marina and the Monster”. In issue #432 (20 April 1968) popular character Bobby Dazzler first appeared as the comic strip on the cover. Bobby Dazzler had a long run as the cover strip in the 1970s, until being replaced by covers that represented a story inside the comic. As for the Judy character she had disappeared from the book, returning later with a complete makeover in the 1980s.
I believe Judy’s first reappearance on the cover was to celebrate 21 years of the comic with issue #1097. She was very changed, looking older and also she had changed to a brunette with long curly hair. Previous to this Judy had also been joined by the comic Emma, in issue #1029. Emma’s presence was most noticed in the addition of Emma’s Mag in the middle of the comic. During this time other than the 21st birthday issue, the cover continued to represent inside stories.
It wasn’t until another comic joined with Judy that the characters started appearing on the cover again. Tracy joined with Judy in issue #1306 and both the characters of Judy and Tracy started to appear on the cover. Tracy was blonde bobbed hair girl who in her own comic appeared with her pet budgie, Elton. As said previously Judy now appeared to be brown curly haired girl but there is an indication that it was the same Judy as there was a reappearance of her 3 cats looking the same as early issues.
Judy and Tracy had a long run before the Tracy name was dropped from the title and it reverted back to being just called Judy. But the character of Tracy didn’t disappear and for the first time Judy had a comic strip called Judy & Co. to go along with the covers. This started with issue #1449 and the “Co.” part of the title referred to Judy’s 2 friends Tracy and the return of Emma.
The cover still had a one page shot of Judy and her friends with no dialogue, that would set up the strip of Judy&Co. usually on the next page though sometimes on the back. The stories involved Judy getting into misadventures, dealing with school, boys and life.
(Judy & Co. – Art by Norman Lee)
The story lines weren’t anything new they were similar in tone to Life with Bunty, but they were still fun and it was good to see the character of Judy actually get a comic strip!
(Judy & Co. – Art by Sean Phillips)
Of course when Mandy and Judy joined together they made a completely new magazine starting from issue 1. The last of issue of Judy had her moving away and ending up next door to Mandy. So they became best friends, and Emma and Tracy disappeared once again. The new strip concerned the 2 girls but there were other regular friends that popped up like Pauline and Dishy Dave! Later this was turned into a text story as a diary form.
It is interesting that the Judy character had no presence for such a long time and when she did return she was unrecognisable as her earlier counterpart. I did like that Judy & Co. incorporated Tracy and Emma into the strips, often when comics merged the characters were usually swallowed up by the main title so that was a nice nod to them.
- Judy and the Kits – Judy: circa #325 (02 April 1966) – (?)
- Judy & Co. – Judy: #1449 (17 October 1987) – #1635 (11 May 1991)
- M&J – neighbours and friends– M&J: #01 (18 May 1991) – #46 (28 Mar. 1992)
- The Diaries of M&J – M&J: #47 (04 Apr. 1992) – #195 (4 February 1995)
- Judy & Co. (x4) – Judy Annual 1991
- Judy & Co. (x2) – Judy Annual 1992
- M&J – Mandy Annual 1993
- Judy (x3) – Judy Annual 1993
- M&J (x2) – Mandy Annual 1994