My Cousin Quacker

  • My Cousin Quacker–  M&J: #1 (18 May 1991) – #11 (27 July 1991)
  • Artist: Wilf Street

Plot

Sally and her friend Jean are on a camping holiday. Also with them is Sally’s older cousin Kate who spends her whole time complaining and getting the girls to run around for her. While out for a walk they stop at an old woman’s cottage which is surrounded by animals. Kate makes fun of the old woman, who informs them that the animals used to be people who annoyed her. Kate continues to make fun, so the woman seems to put a spell on her.

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When the girls get back to camp it starts raining hard.  Kate complains and wants to go home, but that would mean the end of the holiday for Sally and Jean too,  so they go for a takeaway, to keep Kate happy. When they come back Kate is gone and instead there is a duck on her bed with a half eaten note that just says Kate. The girls conclude that Kate has been turned into the duck and that they will have to go back to the old woman to change her back. Miss Knight won’t admit to anything but tells them to come back the next day. When they return they find she has gone to visit her sister. The girls name the duck the more inconspicuous sounding Quacker and and go to track down Miss Knight.

Of course mishaps and adventures happen along the way including Quacker getting sold to a restaurant. Luckily it’s actually a vegetarian restaurant and Quacker is there just to enhance the scenery  The owner Miss Boxer tells the girls if they want the duck back they will have to pay for it, so the end up being waitresses  at the restaurant.  Later they also end up disrupting a carnival procession, where Quacker is quite the hit.

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They finally catch up with Miss Knight, who agrees to change Kate back at a price. There is no immediate affect but Miss Knight tells them it takes a while. So they head home, but soon realise they have been swindled and wonder how to break the news to Kate’s parents.  Suddenly Kate arrives it turns out she had met some friends at camp and gone off with them in their camper van. Of course Quacker had eaten most of the note she had left. The girls are disheartened to learn they’ve been chasing after a real duck and now Sally is stuck with it as a pet.  But as Quacker chases Kate, Sally can see advantages of having her new pet.

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Thoughts

I don’t know who the artist is but they seemed to do a lot of humorous,  light hearted stories including “Haunted Hotel” and “Polly and the Prince”. Which does suits the artist style as the characters do have a cartoon look too them and actually act quite cartoony as well. Even though Quacker is not actually Kate, she would be quite extraordinary for a normal duck. Including one instance where she ends up riding a horse.

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While the girls thinking Kate has been turned into a duck would be ridiculous in most circumstances, in these comics it was not uncommon for girls to be cursed by witches. For example “Dogsbody Debbie” is a story where a magician places a spell on a girl, so every time she complains about being a dogsbody she turns into a dog! Though the girls become more convinced that Quacker is Kate, such as Kate being a good horse rider, there are clues from the first issue that she is not a duck. There is a camper van next to there tent before they go for takeaway, which is gone when they get back. Also when they confront Miss Knight the first time, she seems surprised commenting that she must be more powerful than she thought! Whether you know that the girls have spent their time chasing after a real duck or not it’s still works as a fun story.

5 thoughts on “My Cousin Quacker

  1. Other stories where girls are cursed by witches are not so funny. in Mandy’s “The Sorrows of Laughing Anne” Anne Foster unwittingly laughs at a witch and the witch retaliates with a curse that gives Anne a hideous, uncontrollable cackle. The spell causes so much trouble that Anne’s father decides to send her to special school.

    M&J and Bunty both ran stories called “Double Trouble” where the witch wrongly accuses the heroine of a crime and punishes her with a spell that causes an evil double of the girl to appear. Of course the heroine gets blamed for everything her evil double does.

  2. I like the twist that, far from being a ‘moral’ story with a fanciful, superstitious punishment for the unpleasant Kate, it offers us the more plausible ending that she just irresponsibly left her younger charges alone. And I love the humorous duck! I think there was a duck (or farm?) story in Bunty once, called ‘Quackers’. I always thought stories with animals other than horses were a light-hearted change of pace.

  3. I wonder if My Cousin Quacker was originally written for Mandy but was published for the M&J merger? They must have been using up scripts from both comics for the merger.

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