- Tina’s Temper – Bunty: #1801 (18 July 1992) – #1809 (12 September 1992)
- Artist: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)
Tina Marsh has a quick temper, which her classmates think is great fun to watch. Tina ends up getting suspended because of it, but it turns out she will be moving schools when her father gets a new job. Before she leaves, her former Head encourages her to use this fresh start to get her temper under control. While she takes this in, she only really decides to change when her father has a heart attack, after she was fighting with her sister. She is determined to stay out of trouble for the sake of her father’s health.
Things aren’t made easy for her when some girls play a trick on her on the first day and she is bothered by some noisy neighbours. But she finds that good things happen when she keeps her temper, like she actually makes friends with the young neighbours son, Andy. Although not getting angry doesn’t always work out. When she tries to stay out of trouble, by not getting involved when she sees some girls bullying younger student, she ends up losing her new friend Lynn.
Despite her good intentions she still does ends up losing her temper at times. She starts to keep a diary to keep track of when she loses her temper, in the hopes of encouraging good habits. When the girls at school find the diary they start to play similar tricks as the girls in the previous school, trying to watch Tina blow up for fun. Tina does lose her cool when they lock her in a closet and her little sister ends up walking home from school on her own. The Head overhears, but when Tina explains everything she doesn’t get in trouble. When the girls find out about Mr Marsh’s illness they feel bad about the tricks and they promise not to play any more and tell her that she had actually been doing really well.
I like Tina as a character, while the girls teasing her is a problem, the story’s main driving plot is Tina trying to improve her own character flaw. It is shown that previously she could lose her temper without any pause for thought of how else to approach a situation. She starts to learn that there are better ways to deal with that. For example when the neighbours are being loud, instead of going over and starting a fight, she gets talking to the son, who invites her in to see his band. She realises they aren’t that bad and also they stop rehearsing when his parents come home.
Of course there is a balance for these things, she could have helped the young first years with the bullies more, although she does at least tell them to talk to a teacher. In another situation when she is on a date with Andy, a friend of his, Mel, is obviously making a move on him. Tina doesn’t speak up at first, but that means that later the situation gets worse and by keeping all the issues to herself she ends up blowing up at Mel later and Andy breaks up with her.
With Tina losing her friends, she begins to question what’s the point of even trying. But she reminds herself that she started this for her Dad’s sake. It is interesting to see Tina feels a bit of resentment that her efforts seems to go unnoticed. While she was good for a while she got no praise or encouragement from her family, but the minute something goes wrong they are quick to chastise her. In her parents defence they may have been a bit busy, and dealing with health issues to notice Tina’s efforts. Even if they did notice they may also fall back into bad habits of assuming Tina lost her temper for no reason and feel they have to reprimand her. Tina doesn’t talk about these feelings to her parents so they are hardly mind readers. Again its seems to come downs to learning how to express her feelings better rather than bottling them up or just having outbursts.
I’ve looked at some bully stories recently, and this story also has an element of this. Unlike the other stories, there isn’t maliciousness behind the girls teasing. At the same time while the girls weren’t meaning any harm, it can still be quite damaging for Tina. They are not aware that what was a bit of fun for them has real repercussions at home for Tina, so while they are sorry afterwards, its still not nice to gang up and tease a new girl.
The Heads at both schools seem understanding, but I think the new Head handled the incident better by actually talking to the girls. The old Head encouraged Tina to start a fresh but didn’t really step up and say anything to the other students about their teasing.
I liked the story over all, sometimes it seems plot points are dropped to move onto the next incident. Still the development of Tina is done well. I also like the design of the character, it’s not often you saw main characters with glasses, unless they were meant to be really smart and nerdy. Her expressions are really well drawn too, you can see when she’s her frustration at the situation. I like the little details put into the background too, like the old bikes in the picture below.