The Quiet One

  • The Quiet One –  M&J:  #224 (26 Aug. 1995) – #330 (07 Oct. 1995)
  • Artist:  Julian Vivas

Plot

Danni Johnson, enjoys bullying and having people scared of her. One thing she doesn’t like is that the teachers’ know she is a troublemaker, so she misses out on trips because she can’t be trusted. When her family move to a new town, she decides to try out a new tactic. She pretends to be sweet and nice, then starts choosing people to bully in secret. Danni is good at sizing up who to target,  and soon she has 3 girls, Sharon, Marion and Lorna, under her control.

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There is another bully at the school, Carla, but she is considered small time by Dani. Her other new “friends” have had enough of Carla bullying first years and report her. One of the girls brings a tape recorder to school as well so they can catch Carla out if she tries any more bulling. They are surprised to hear Dani is the one threatening Carla, she has decided that she will be her new victim. It is then that the 3 girls admit that they are terrified of Danni. The girls all go to report the bullying to the head. Danni finds things worse than her old school now. The teachers know she is trouble and she has lost power over all the girls

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Thoughts

So continuing on with the theme of bullies, this is a more unusual approach, to have the narrator the bully herself. Danni is devious and shows no regret for the things she did. the quiet one_05Even at the end she isn’t upset that she is left on her own but that she hasn’t power over people. There doesn’t seem to be any particular reason behind her bullying. What little we see of her home life it seems fine, her mother seems pleasant, though we never see her father. Her motive just seems to be down to her own preference of liking to frighten people and being in control.

It is  interesting in seeing her thought process of how she picks out her victims. She picks girl’s she perceives as weak, and  reinforces the idea that if the tell anyone things will be worse for them . Also by keeping it secret this singles the girls out so they don’t know that anyone else is having a similar experience, and have no support. Of course to Danni’s mind keeping it secret also has the advantage of not being under suspicion from teachers or others.

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The ending is quite effective, instead of having her expelled and just move onto a new school, she is left there alone and powerless. The girls that were bullied also wish they’d said something sooner, which reinforces the message of telling someone if you are being bullied.

8 thoughts on “The Quiet One

  1. The artist is Julian Vivas.

    Incidentally, another M&J story ‘Bullied!’ had the victim also ending up wishing she had spoken out instead of not doing so because she was scared of what the bully would do if she “grassed”.

  2. Some bullies in these stories could be really clever. Danni was certainly smart in changing her tactics to pretend to be sweet and shy while bullying girls on the quiet. Maybe one reason they didn’t speak out was because they didn’t think anyone would believe that sweet, shy girl was a bully.

    Nancy from Be Nice to Nancy also showed increasing smarts, but this was in how she could take advantage of Yvonne. She could put on the charm if she wanted to (in one episode she uses it to steal Yvonne’s boyfriend). She probably does it to fool her father and Yvonne’s parents; it isn’t shown, so we can’t be sure. But with her classmates she is openly bullying and made herself the most hated pupil in the school. This is probably because the trouble she likes to cause, such as wrecking things for others, can’t be done on the quiet. Also, she is too vicious to keep up a pretence of sweetness for long. You so much as brush up against her, and she either lashes out at you or plots some nasty revenge against you.

    1. SJ from the Honourable SJ, was another one of those bullies that had majority of school fooled into thinking she was a really nice and generous person. That story was popular enough that she became a regular appearance in Judy.

      Another blackmailer story was Changing Places from Bunty but it is the rich girl getting blackmailed by a poorer girl, as she has information that could destroy her family’s reputation and make things difficult for her brother.

      1. I remember Changing Places. But Judy is the only comic I’ve seen to have a regular nasty, SJ, who doesn’t get a comeuppance of the week or has a touch of comedy.

  3. This looks like an interesting story. It’s a shame the ending panels have “**AUTHOR’S MESSAGE**” in such heavy handed flashing neon lights that you can see them across the street.

    1. Yes, sometimes comics went a bit over the top with their moralising. And what about where you do speak up about bullying, but your folks don’t listen or don’t do anything? This was the case in the aforementioned Be Nice to Nancy, and also in Mandy’s Bad-Luck Barbara.

  4. Another story which is told from the bully’s POV is The Clock and Cluny Jones from Tammy. The philosophy of bully Cluny Jones is that life is tough, so you have to be tough yourself. Huh – most likely that’s just her excuse to bully kids and get whatever she wants from them. But then a grandfather clock transports her to a parallel world where she is on the receiving end: this world is tough, everyone is the bully, and and she is the bully victim.

    This sort of story for changing problem girls is used more for those who are selfish, spoiled, snobby or conceited rather than downright nasty. So it’s a surprise to see it being used on a bully.

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