- The Double of Julie-Ellen – Mandy: #539 (14 May 1977) – #552 (13 August 1977)
- Art: Tom Hurst
Julie Ellen Twain meets two boys she likes Tim and Des. As she can’t choose between them she comes up with a solution to pretend to be twins and date both of them! She calls herself Julie with Tim and wears her hair in plaits. When she’s with Des she wears her hair loose and has glasses and calls herself Ellen. She keeps a chart to keep track of when she is with each boy, but things are made difficult as Tim and Des are friends, and most plots revolve around her having to do quite quick changes. For example one time both Des and Tim ask her to come cheer for them at the same match. Another time she ends up having enter a dance contest twice at the youth club.
One day while dressed as Julie she is ready to meet Tim, but Des turns up and tells her Tim can’t meet her until later. As Des isn’t meeting “Ellen” that day he suggests that him and Julie go to the fair together. While on the ghost train Julie gets scared and grabs Tim. He starts to flirt with her, saying that he fancies her almost as much as he likes Ellen. Julie storms off insulted and thinking he’s a rotter for trying to cheat on Ellen. She turns into Ellen with plans to teach Des a lesson, but she bumps into Tim instead. She isn’t too happy when Tim cosies up to her as well. Des comes along and a fight nearly starts between the boys. They ask Julie to fetch Ellen so they can sort things out. They also begin to get suspicious that they never see Julie and Ellen together. The boys are getting tired of the girls thinking they are a bunch of flirts stringing them along. Julie Ellen gets covered with mud while trying to hide from the boys. The boys laugh at her and she wonders why she bothers with either of them.
When her cousin, Liz comes to stay, she finds out the situation Julie-Ellen is in, and offers to help her out with the boys. This doesn’t please Julie-Ellen as she feels Liz is too happy to keep one of the boys occupied while Julie-Ellen is with the other. Julie-Ellen gets a chance to get back at Liz by inviting Liz’s boyfriend Pete to visit. Liz does help Julie-Ellen out of some tricky situations, so she thinks she will miss her when she leaves, but on the other hand she doesn’t want to share the boys with anyone else.
But her problems aren’t over when a school friend Rita also finds out what Julie is up to and starts using it to her advantage. Rita asks Julie to lend her things like her new record, perfume and clothes with the threat that she might slip up around the boys if she doesn’t get what she wants. Rita gets Julie-Ellen to lend her shoes for a visit to TV studio where she says she will meet up with a new neighbour Mike who is an actor. Des and Tim also invite the girls to go along, as it turns out the whole youth club are going. The boys turn up and there is no sign of Julie-Ellen, they are getting fed up of the girl always disappearing.
Meanwhile Julie-Ellen has gone through the wrong door and run into Mike. While helping Mike rehearse she doesn’t realise the club are watching on cameras. When she changes from Julie to Ellen the boys rush in to confront her. She runs off with Mike and they get away on the back of his motorbike. She explains the whole story to Mike who thinks it’s quite amusing. Tim and Des meanwhile have found some other girls, Sandra and Beth more appealing. Rita ends up alone, while Mike is happy to stick with Julie.
This story is played for laughs, but I was still surprised that Julie suffered no consequences for her actions. Her double life does lead to some awkward situations but in the end there’s no repercussions, its just happy endings and she even ends up with another guy, while the boys don’t seem to be too put out either. Only the “villain” ends up alone. While Rita blackmailing Julie-Ellen is not right, it’s not like any of the other characters can take the high moral ground. Even Des and Tim, while they are being deceived, Julie-Ellen has a point that from their perspective they have flirted with their girlfriend’s sister! Liz also has no problem in getting cosy with the boys while her own boyfriend isn’t around, she also forgets about his birthday and is only saved by Julie covering for her.
The situation is more ridiculous that the boys don’t find it more suspicious that they never see Julie and Ellen together. They remark how odd it is but never take it any further. Julie-Ellen is not a sympathetic character, in fact it is more satisfying when her double life causes her problems such as having to pay twice for Pete’s birthday present, falling in a lake or ending up covered in mud. When she believes Tim and Des are two timing her with herself, she doesn’t really notice the hypocrisy of her indignation. Which is amusing in it self. While not a good role model, she is not a boring character and the story works on a funny level, the only disappointment is that she gets away with it all in the end.
A similar story drawn by the same artist I think, is The Two in One Taylors, except in that story it is twins pretending to be one girl in order to join a youth club. They each have a romantic interest and the two boys have fights over what is actually one girl. When they get found out they don’t suffer any consequences either but at least they showed some concern over their potential boyfriends.