Judy & Co.

  • 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.

judy-and-the-kits

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!

judyco

(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.

Appeared

  • 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)

Other Appearances:

  • 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

14 thoughts on “Judy & Co.

  1. I have only picked up a few issues of Judy. Nonetheless there were a few that stuck with me. One is ‘Hard Times for Helen’ which shows how even charity work can cause miseryl. Another is ‘Be Nice to Nancy’ (reprinted in M&J as ‘Be Nice to Nikki’) where Yvonne Baxter is forced to be ‘nice’ to a horror because the horror is the daughter of her father’s boss.

    What other Judy stories generally stick with fans?

    1. Some of my favourite stories were: Bobby Dazzler, Cinderella Jones and another story which was based around a ballet. I do wish they made comics such as these because even at my age…I would still buy them.

  2. I did like a lot of the long running characters such as Bobby Dazzler, Wee Slavey and Cinderella Jones. Other stories that stuck out were ‘The Locked Room’ a girl move in with relatives with a mysterious secret room and ‘Rosie’s Revenge’ set in Victorian period where a girl get a job as a housemaid where her sister died, and sets out to avenge her death.

  3. Oh, I forgot about Rosie’s Revenge. I would like to know the ending, and I think you do too. I have my own idea on ‘whodunnit’ in that story – I’ve been around girls’ comics long enough to know how they work. Housemaid stories are always popular, which would explain the longevity of Wee Slavey.

    The Honourable SJ was evidently popular enough to become recurring, though she does not appeal to me much. It’s interesting though, having a recurring baddie who is neither funny nor gets their comeuppance of the week as in the case of ‘Skinflint School’ or ‘Cinderella Jones’.

    Now I think of it, that was why I liked ‘Betty vs Bumble’ where the housemaid’s neice outwits the workhouse beadle (named Bumble) every week and acquires some extra food for the workhouse inmates into the bargain. Pity I only have two episodes of that story.

    And let’s not forget ‘Skeleton Corner’.

  4. ‘The Locked Room’ was reprinted in M&J. M&J reprinted a lot of old serials from Mandy and Judy. Some of them, such as ‘The Locked Room’ and ‘The Double Life of Dolly Brown’ appeared in Your Mandy/Judy classic section, which was a section I really liked. Others were simply reprinted, sometimes with altered titles, such as ‘Be Nice to Nancy’ (retitled ‘Be Nice to Nikki’) and ‘The Truth about Tricia’ (retitled ‘Eye Spy Trouble’).

  5. I remember buying Judy and Tracey comic with eagerness every Thursday. I was heartbroken when my mother had given a majority of them away, however, some remained. The stories were interesting to read….I wish they still made them.

    1. None of those comics are around today and there is still debate as to why. Only the Dandy and 2000AD remain from former times, but it looks like The Phoenix is doing well. There have been some attempts at a revival in girls’ comics, but nothing yet. Pat Mills is working on it, but it doesn’t look like he has had much success. I still think something will come eventually as I believe in things going in cycles. In the meantime, it’s the nostalgia market.

  6. Does anyone remember a story of a girl who may have been Russian who was a skater, but also she was so poor that the story themed around her being able to make a wonderful meal from virtually nothing in her pantry! I remember this storyline so vividly but it may be two stories merged in my imagination.

      1. Hmm, still nothing that comes to mind, of course there was so many stories and comics! Maybe someone else can help.

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