- Angel – Mandy : #529 (05 March 1977) – #548 (16 July 1977)
- Art: Dudley Wynne
In Victorian times, a wealthy young girl, Angela Hamilton, discovers has only a year to live. She decides to dedicate her remaining time to helping the poor waifs of London and earns the name Miss Angel. Despite her story being concluded, the character proved to be popular enough to return in sequels. These sequels were framed by girls reading untold stories from Angel’s diary or in the case of some Annual appearances stories told by the children she helped.
In Victorian London, 14 year old Angela Hamilton lives with her wealthy parents. While out with her parents she thinks how unfair it is that she has so much, while there are children on the streets suffering such poverty. When she brings this up with her parents, they tell her not to distress about such things, they want her to be happy and carefree. She plans to use her education and position to help the poor when she is older. But soon after she collapses and the doctor diagnoses her with a rare condition that has no cure, he tells her parents that she only has a year to live. Her parents are devastated by the news but decide they must keep it secret from Angela so they can make her last days happy. Angela overhears them talking and makes her own plans, she pretends not to know anything and then fakes her death, thinking this would be less cruel and drawn out for her parents. Then she will devote what little time she has left to the poor in London.
Her first day in her new life, she gets lost on the way to the market. She meets a young boy Alfie and after helping him against some thugs, Alfie shows her the way and she buys him food. He then takes her to his young sister, Sarah, who has an injured leg. Angela takes her to a hospital where they bandage her leg but refuse to give her a bed. The lodgings where Angela is staying also refuse to let her bring in two dirty urchins with her. Angela, Alfie and Sarah end up under the railway bridge for the night with other children. One of the children asks Alfie who she is, Alfie says her name is Miss Angela but he reckons she should be called Miss Angel. The next day Miss Angel finds better accommodation in a big stables. Starting with the small group of children she soon adds more to her group. A humpback named Annie she rescues and also gives her more confidence by encouraging her musical talent and teaching her to play the violin. Usually each child she rescues has other problems other than a need of food and shelter, such as Harry who is very prideful and doesn’t like to take charity or Mary who is distrustful and seemingly deaf making communication difficult. Miss Angel always comes up with a scheme to help the children. Also Angel helps them in practical ways, teaching them skills they can use to work and earn money after she is gone. As time goes on Angel gets weaker and knows her time is short.
One day Miss Angel and the kids come across the Hamiltons, as Angel hides Julia Hamilton encourages her husband to buy flowers from Alfie as she remembers Angela being an advocate for such children. When Alfie tells them of Miss Angel and her work she tells him to send her to their home to get spare blankets and warm clothes for the Winter. Angel knows the children will need such things but wonders how to get them without revealing she is alive. A child gives her the idea to cover herself in spots so she can cover up and say she has a rash. After this Angel continues her work helping not only those in the stable but others in the street too. One day she helps a drunk man, who turns out to be a doctor who turned his back on medicine after a mistake led the death of a patient. Angel helps him sober up and after convincing him to return to medicine, she has found a helpful ally.
Coming to the end of her time, Angel visits her old home one last time. Concerned Alfie follows her and gets her back to stablehouse after she collapses. When Dr Shaw exams her he understands her condition and breaks the news to Annie and Alfie that she will not live long. Alfie thinks if they had money for medicine she would live longer, so he goes to the house he saw Angel visit. He tells the Hamiltons of Miss Angel and how he thinks she is their daughter. The Hamiltons are surprised but come to the stable house and are reunited with Angela. They stay by her side for 3 days until Angela passes away. Before she goes her parents tell her that along with Dr. Shaw, they are going to continue her good work. After the funeral the Hamiltons give over their house for as a home for Angel’s waifs and erect a statue in memory of Miss Angel.
I can see why this is a popular story the art is beautiful and the story is well told. It doesn’t shy away from the tragedy, of the situation, Angel gets progressively sicker and weaker as time goes on and there is no miracle cure found in the end. While each issue tends to focus on a ‘waif of the week’ that Angel can help, it doesn’t come across as repetitive. One reason is we can see the passage of time, while earlier stories sees her help fight of thugs, later stories see her struggle to carry a basket. Often the person she is helping also ties in with her situation, such as when a previously well off boy, Phillip, who has fallen on hard times comes to the stables, the others give him a hard time. Angel knows she has not much time left and comes up with a scheme to get Phillip accepted as she knows the children will have to rely on each other when she is gone. Another good episode is when she sees her parents, it is hard for her not to go to them, but in the end she knows she is happy with her new family.
Perhaps one problem is the character can be a bit too noble and self sacrificing, in fact a lot of the people she takes in or befriends are a little too good and conscientious. Her parents are equally good people although at least they show some flaw as in the beginning they do not think to concern themselves with lower classes. Angel’s only flaw appears to be her illness, otherwise she is a good, unselfish person who is also shown to be smart, talented and can easily pick up a scrub brush or wash clothes despite never having needed to before. While it may make her character unbelievable to be so good, these saintly qualities of Miss Angel do fit in with the religious undertones of the story. Often characters thank God or ask God to give them strength, one character swears on a bible in front of Angel to prove that she will less reckless with money. Just before Angel dies she hears the laughter of children and a light shines down on her implying an ascension into heaven. Also the statue erected in the honour and her nickname of Miss Angel all point to her heavenly and saintly attributes.
The character proved to be so popular that even her death didn’t stop new stories coming out about her. She returned twice in the Diary of Angel where her diary (that was kept in a museum) would be read by a girl and was full of untold stories that happened in the last year of her life, she also appeared in several annuals. There were many other stories about champions of the poor, Angel was not even the first. The Children’s Champion (Bunty) appeared in 1974 and had a wealthy girl, Hester, leaves her home to help the poor on the London streets. The difference here is she leaves her home because her parents disapprove of her work and actually disown her. Although they do come around in the end. Another Haven of Hope (Bunty again) appeared in 1979, had Hilary turn over her house to the poor after her parents die. Unlike her other wealthy counterparts, while good hearted, she could also a bit too trusting and naive, falling for the schemes of a young boy working for the Beadle. While these stories were popular they don’t seem to have made the impact that Angel did. Maybe readers preferred more tragedy in their stories and coupled with Dudley Wynne’s art, is why Angel became more popular and well remembered.
List of Appearances:
- Angel – Mandy : #529 (05 March 1977) – #548 (16 July 1977)
- Reprinted – Mandy: #923 (22 September 1984) – #942 (02 February 1985)
- Reprinted- Mandy : #1256 (9 February 1991) – #1269 (11 May 1991)
- Reprinted – Lucky Charm #7 (1980)
- Angel Diary– Mandy: #781 (2 January 1982) – #806 (26 June 1982) ?
- Reprinted as The Diary of Angel – Mandy #1080 (26 September 1987) – #1092 (19 December 1987)
- Angel – Mandy: #1197 (23 December 1989)
- The Diary of Angel– M&J: #01 (18 May 1991) – #15 (24 August 1991)
- Angel – Mandy Annual 1979
- Angel – Mandy Annual 1984
- Angel – Mandy Annual 1986
- Angel and the Box of Comforts – Mandy Annual 1988
- Angel – Mandy Annual 1994
- Angel – Bunty Picture Story Library #355
40 thoughts on “Angel”
I’m glad to finally see the entry on Angel. Thank you for bringing it!
If Angel had a weakness, it would be that she gave too
much at times. Her waifs kept pointing out that she kept wrecking herself, driving on although she was taxing herself too much. In one episode, they also pointed out that people were taking advantage of her generosity and she needed to get firmer. Angel didn’t take too much notice of the first, but heeded the second more, and ended up teaching a spendthrift girl to use money wisely.
I remeber reading this as a child and found it a lovely story thinking back their was a little of her in Princess Diana as I thought she was kind and unselfish I’d love to own this comic again and also in the Annuls their was always more stories about her one time she managed to get Annie a part in a grand concert and she so wanted to go but her parents were their so she had to hide but she still heard Annie play and one time I think it was the proud boy he warmed to
Angel after he rescued her as other not so nice street kids attacked and robbed her and that boy helped her and I remeber a heartwarming Christmas story when she helped adults who were poor and it was a Nativaty like story Angel took the heavly pregnant woman and her husband in gave the woman her own bed and slept in a chair and the woman gave birth on Christmas day and also I vaugly remeber Heaster too I think she had dark hair as Angel was blonde and she too was kind and caring that’s another comic I’d love to own again both these comics were published as separate comics by a place called Lucky Charm Who released comics every month my mum orderd them for me and they’d be deliverd to our house innthe morning I’d get them after school and the homework was done also I used to wonder of. the story of Angel was based on a true story immsure their was a lot of Miss Angels out their over 100 years ago but Angela Hamilton was fictional but through the comics we all grew to love her as those poor street kids did
I came across another reprint of Angel in Mandy, which began #923 September 22, 1984.
I loved this story but Angel’s death scene was very sentimental, and as others have commented she was almost too nice for her own good. I can’t believe she was only fourteen – she always seemed much older, and she certainly fitted a lot into that one year!
In the first episode she looked a bit younger than she was in later episodes, where she looked more like a woman than a fourteen year old. I think Mandy should have given her a later age (16 or something) or not mentioned her age at all.
Having Angela as a 14 yr old doesn’t really work, I think. Hester in ‘The Children’s Champion’ was a grown woman, so more believable that she was doing what she did.
Yes, 14 does seem quite young even aging her up to 16 would have been better, but maybe wanted to keep her closer to the readers age.
Yet quite a few stories did have late teen/adult heroines.
I was talking about the story with some friends who work on Victorian literature: they agreed that the story was pretty much straight out of 19C Evangelical ‘improving fiction’ for girls.
Translated into Dutch and published in Debbie Parade Album #14:
Excuse me, that was a typo: reprinted in DPA #15, not #14.
I loved this story so much! I would really like to find it and read it again, I’ve tried eBay but no luck. Does anyone know where I could buy one from? 30th century comics don’t seem to have any of the Lucky Charm series either. Thanks.
I would try sites like eBay and 30th Century every few weeks. Material does turn up, but is quickly snapped up as well.
I did see some Lucky Charms on ebay last week, but they did go fast. Another option could be to get the individual Mandy issues, most of which are on 30th century comics, though that may be a bit more expensive for you.
Maybe one of these days DCT will bring out volume reprints as IPC have done.
I wouldn’t rely on it, Muffin, and why should they anyway? You’ll simply grow old waiting. A more realistic alternative would be to buy the originals when they become available on eBay or 30th Century Comics, as recommended above by Ramon.
Doesn’t worry me actually – I have a copy of the Lucky Charm reprint. It would be nice though, to see this and other DCT stories in reprint volumes.
Well there are 29 other complete (sort of) volumes in the LUCKY CHARM series, matched by the 30 volumes of RED DAGGER, that reprinted serials for boys. However, given that the final issue of BUNTY, the last DCT title to succumb due to falling sales, was published about 20 years ago, the chances of DCT reissuing even just the LUCKY CHARM/ RED DAGGER series must unfortunately be close to non-existent.
Well Rebellion currently seem to be happy with the results of their reprints of IPC comics from 40 years ago, so I wouldn’t say there is no interest in such things. But of course DCT are a different company and probably have different priorities and marketing schemes, so ultimately it’s up to them whether they want to follow in Rebellion’s footsteps. If they decide to do reprints they would have to have a clear marketing strategy for it, because just publishing it isn’t enough these days.
Loved this story as a child and how kind and caring Angela was she was an Angel also I remember young Annie the hunchback girl was very talented and played the violin don’t know where she learned but remember her entering a compilation and she won sadly I think Angel couldn’t make it she was away helping someone else but Annie thought she seen her their and overcame her stage fright Angel rescued Annie who became her little shadow and right hand girl she was being bullied and stones thrown at her and Angel took her in and the pair were close friends she went on to live till she was a very old woman and I think she went on to marry Alfie and they went on to do well for themselfs I’d love to find this comic again one day I will love it so much also think it’s based on a true story so Angel Annie and all the kids were real once
It’s not based on a true story. There were quite a number of Victorian female philanthopists, but none was a dying adolescent. They tended to be adult women.
There was a single issue story of “Angel” in Mandy # 1197 (December 23, 1989).
The “Angel Diary” from 1982 is reprinted as “The Diary of Angel” beginning in Mandy #1093 (December 26,1987) and ending in Mandy #1118 (June 18, 1988). Angel Diary should start in #781 and end in #806 but I don’t have those issues to be sure.
I found an Angel PSL. The surprising thing is, it’s Bunty, not Mandy. It’s Bunty PSL #355.
Angel seems very much rooted in Victorian ‘improving children’s literature’. Indeed, it’s interesting to me that a lot of comics in the 1970s were basically still recycling tropes from 19C sentimental children’s fiction, down to the early deaths for virtuous chararacters.
Debbie Parade Album #15 is actually a translation of ‘The Children’s Champion’, about Hester, from Bunty.
Thanks for noticing that, I’ve updated it now.
If anyone has a scan of ‘Angel’, I’d be v grateful, please. I have a few issues of Mandy with it, but not the full run. I have a scan of ‘The Children’s Champion’ (both English and Durch eds).
“Dutch”, I mean.
I note the Dutch comics seem to have been on better quality paper and used more colour printing.
Are the editions of the story in the Mandy Annuals 1979, 1984 and 1986 the full original story, or are they some of the spin-offs/sequels, please can you let me know?
The Angel annual stories I read were sequels.
Thanks! Does anyone have a scan of the original, please?
Hi Marianne, i’ll PM you a copy.
Thanks! That would be great! I want to compare it with ‘The Children’s Champion’.
Thanks again! I’ve sent you a couple of annuals in return.