- The Strange Tale of Sara’s Snap Encounter – Suzy: #179 (8 February 1986) – #181 (22 February 1986)
- Artist: David Matysiak
Sara Greaves usually gets her own way, so when staying at her Gran’s cottage, she doesn’t listen to her, when her gran tells her to stay out of the loft as it’s dusty and full of rubbish. As soon as her gran is preoccupied, Sara goes up to the attic to explore, she finds a stuffed parrot, doll house and a dusty box containing strange old snap cards. Suddenly she finds herself whisked away to the sinister land of the snap cards. She is greeted by the parrot from the attic, who introduces herself as Emily. She tells her she is a spoilt girl and forces her into playing a strange game of snap. The characters from the cards are now real people and Sara must find the matching pair if she is ever to return to her own world. Sara of course thinks this is ridiculous and wonders if it is some elaborate joke on her. She goes to a house to ask for help but is surprised when the person that answers is indeed one of the characters from the card. She then runs into the ‘beggar boy’ another snap character who tricks her into helping him steal, by getting her to distract a man. When the man attracts attention of constable, Sara doesn’t like her chances of her innocence in the crime being believed. So she makes a run for it.
She comes by a snake charmer, when she overhears him talking about “what a pair we make” she thinks she has found the pair she needs, but he was just talking to his snake and Sara startles them allowing snake to slip away. She still need to hide from the constables and ends up in a play when the actors assumes she is the actress they were looking for. The dress her up and put her on stage despite her protests. Of course she doesn’t know the lines, so the actors are not happy when their dramatic play turns into a comedy! Then a fire breaks out, the snake reappears when a fireman mistakes him for a hose and Sara manages to slip away from the madness. She sees Emily and chases after her, when she tries to follow her into a castle she is stopped by a guard. Private Goodbody takes his job seriously, and won’t listen to why she wants to get into the castle, he even raises his rifle to her. Luckily he is stopped by Corporal McGlenn, who is nicer and keeps offering Sara sweets. He tells her he saw a bird fly down by the river. So she goes to try and find her there.
Sara is thoroughly fed up with the place and how no one listens to what she says. Another character, Sailor Sam, turns up and tells her maybe the characters are a bit like her doing their own thing and not taking notice of what people say. Sara admits that she has been awful at times but if she could get back home she could begin to change. Sam agrees to help her find Emily and the row down the river in his boat. Suddenly the weather changes and everything starts freezing over. Sara notices a skater is about to skate into a part of the water that hasn’t frozen over yet. She manages to stop him just in time. Then his twin brother arrives, thanking Sara for saving his life. She has found the matching pair and Emily appears happy that she also thought of someone else’s welfare before her own. She is returned home a changed girl. Her gran find her in the attic and tells her that the cards belonged to her mother’s sister Emily, a sickly child who died when she was young. Sara apologises to her gran for disobeying her, telling her she won’t do it again.
Matysiak drew a number of short 3 episode stories for Suzy, usually with a fantasy or even creepy element, which certainly is suited to his style of art. It is an interesting world, it has a Wonderland vibe with strange, weird characters and little logic. Sara being the only one that is trying to be reasonable. While it is fun, there is a lot going on for such a short story, other Matysiak short stories like The Wrong Day or Brides of the Forest are more effective as their concepts are kept simpler. Here I feel it really could have used more episodes. Firstly to explore more this strange fantasy world. Secondly to show Sara’s selfishness and lesson learned, we are just told about how she is used to getting her own way but we don’t get to see it a lot. Thirdly it could have delved and hinted more on Emily’s past, earlier on, the revelation that Emily was her Gran’s aunt comes suddenly. I feel it was unnecessary, particularly as it hasn’t time to be developed, they could have left things simpler and left it one of those mysterious unexplained things, that someone wanted to teach Sara a lesson.