All posts by lorrsadmin

The Painting [1989]

  • The Painting –  Bunty:  #1663 (25 November 1989) –  #1672 (27 January 1990)
  • Art: Norman Lee

Plot

Life had been tough for the Blakes since Mr Blake lost his job, money was tight and there were lots of arguments. They get a new start though, when Mr Blake inherits a cottage from his aunt. Emma and her younger brother Bobby, settle quite quickly and Emma is sure they will all be happy in their new home. Mr Blake even gets an interview for the local supermarket. While clearing out some things, Emma has a rummage around the attic and comes across a parchment with a warning, surrounded by twigs and leaves. Not knowing its meaning she looks under the sheet behind it and finds a portrait of a lady who bears an uncanny resemblance to herself. A strange voice tells her to take the painting from the attic, and she suggests to her Dad, to do just that. While her Mum is unsure about hanging it as there is something about the eyes she doesn’t like, Emma snaps at her. She soon apologies, not knowing what made her act out. Later the painting  tells her to burn the rowan that was in the attic. She does, but the wind catches the bonfire and nearly sets the thatched roof on fire, luckily Bobby alerts their parents in time to stop it.

When Mrs Blake decides to sell the painting, Emma is haunted by dreams where the girl from the painting tells her “we are one” and to stop her being sent away. Emma tries to turn her parents against each other, as Mr Blake does think they should keep the painting, but Mrs Blake wins out.  But when Emma causes trouble with her Dad’s interview clothes and mum gets blamed, he  decides he’s not going to trouble of contacting dealer about the painting. The painting also causes trouble when Bobby gets a puppy, but it is the dog that is blamed for the trouble and Bobby has to take him back to  where he got him from. Meanwhile at home, Mrs Blake still senses something is wrong with the painting and that nothing has gone right since they found it. Taking it down and covering it up breaks its hold on Emma, though she can’t remember what she did while under it’s influence. Returning the pup to their neighbour, Miss Bonner, she has some interesting revelations, when she hears about the pup barking at the painting. She says the girl in the painting was also named Emma and she will come and talk to their parents about the painting. Later at home, even though being covered weakens it, the painting still has enough hold over Emma to uncover it, so it can command her to to stop Miss Bonner from interfering. She sets a fire at Miss Bonner’s house, making her look absent minded, so Miss Bonner’s nephew uses it as an excuse to send her to a nursing home. Miss Bonner knows the other Emma would be proud but warns Emma to take care.

When Mr Blake runs into an art dealer, Mr Carter, he comes to look at the painting. He confirms what  Miss Bonner said, that the portrait is of a girl named Emma. Present Emma, meanwhile sets the dealer up so it looks like he was going to steal an antique vase. While Mr and Mrs Blake are glad they didn’t sell the painting to a “con-man”, Bobby is suspicious. He does some investigating and manages to get a recording of Emma talking to the painting, but it is destroyed. Still not defeated, Bobby tries to show his parents whats happening in person, but Emma’s too quick for him. Bobby’s next stop is to go to Mr Carter to enquire about a book he mentioned. We get the history of portrait Emma – Emma Lukin was proven to be a detestable witch of terrible power in 1689.  Before she was burned at the stake, an artist painted her portrait and she declared, that one day when she meets her likeness she shall be alive again. Bobby gets photocopies of the story but the Portrait’s powers are getting stronger and  she makes Emma appear in front of Bobby, causing him to swerve on the road into a car. Luckily he is not seriously hurt but Emma makes sure he can’t remember anything.

Emma Lukin is growing more powerful, when Emma Blake  expresses concern for Bobby, she tells her witches don’t cry and gets her to turn cold. Mr Carter hearing about the accident tries to deliver the book to the Blakes but Emma sets it on fire and Mr Blake thinks Carter was trying to fire bomb them! Bobby’s memories aren’t completely gone and after having a dream he goes to Miss Bonner for help. She gives him some rowan to protect him, while his parents go to visit Miss Bonner. Meanwhile Lukin is ready to take over Emma completely and merge with her. Bobby interrupts them and Lukin almost kills him, but Emma saves him. Her tears for her brother destroys the magic of the painting and it dissolves. When the Blakes return, her father is disbelieving at first, then seeing the evidence he cant deny it. They clear Carter’s name, Miss Bonner moves back to her cottage and everyone can have a fresh start again.

Thoughts

Stories involving an object with powers over the protagonist, is a big part of girl’s comics. These objects take many forms, such as toys, statues or often it is a piece jewellery such as in The Power Over Paula or In Paula’s Place but evil influence from a painting is also popular. The paintings usually bear a resemblance to the  protagonist (often because they are an ancestor) and the person may have been accused of witchcraft, Penny and the Portrait is another example of this type of story. This story is interesting in that not only does the Painting have control over Emma, she also wants to physically merge with her taking her over completely. There is some very creepy imagery in the last episode, as Witch Emma reaches out from the painting to join with other Emma. Although for the most part we might think the protagonist will win out like they usually do, any doubts we might have is spoiled a bit by the cover of the issue which tells us how the Painting will be destroyed! Still it is a lovely cover and I did like when the comics depicted stories from inside.

It is good to see the sibling bond between Bobby and Emma, while Emma becomes more lost in the painting’s influence, Bobby is the more proactive, investigator. I like that as the painting gets stronger, Emma also gets more supernatural powers. It is also well done that they save each other in the end, Bobby interrupts the spell and Emma saves him from falling. Love and Emma’s tears undoing the witch’s spell is fitting with the narrative, as it seems in this story to be a successful witch you must close off all your feelings. It’s good to see that more people are suspicious of the painting too, helping Emma, even if its unwittingly at times. Mrs Blake always feels an unease with the painting, and covering it up does make it’s powers wane, Mr Carter goes out of his way to try and warn the Blakes about the Painting (getting arrested in the process!) and Miss Bonner also tries to warn them and gives the rowan to Bobby to protect him. Mr Blake is the biggest disbeliever, which makes it harder for the others to get rid of the panting. An odd thing was that it is heavily implied that Miss Bonner’s nephew wants to move her into a home so he can get the cottage, but in the end, when she is proven to be sane, he has no problem with her moving back in. Perhaps they just wanted happy ending for Miss Bonner and didn’t have time to develop that subplot as it wasn’t important to the main  story.

Not essential for the story but I did note that at this time in Bunty, it seems some stories didn’t have a consistent story logo, so the font style for the title kept changing. It seems like an odd choice, but it may have been Bunty was experimenting with look and style at this time, as it was just after they changed to glossy paper and had more full colour strips. This is one of the stories that got to make use of have of having full colour and the art by Norman Lee is quite vibrant, like I mentioned the painting is very creepy at times and I liked the flashback to the witch’s story. The pacing of the story is also good, as we see Emma lose control more, Bobby’s desperate investigation and potential allies being defeated by the witch.

 

 

 

Meg – the Hunted One

Plot

In the early 17th century, a  young girl called Meg lived alone on Exmoor. She had been brought up by an elderly woman Blind Biddy, But, when she was fourteen, Meg found herself alone after Blind Biddy had been condemned and put to death by Josh Mortiboys, a wealthy landowner, who had sworn that Meg would share the same fate. Meg had been, staying with a lawyer who had befriended her, but, one nighty Mortiboys came looking for her. She ran away over the moor from the protection of Lawyer Miller’s house and of Jack Oakley, a friendly farmer, whom Meg had helped earlier. With her pet raven and her deer, she fled across the rain-swept moorland.

Notes

  • Art: Phil Gascoine (unconfirmed)

Appeared

  • Meg – the Hunted One – Judy: #631 (12 February 1972) – #642 (29 April 1972)

Scrubcat

Plot

Born and raised in the outback of Australia, young Scrubcat Jackson had been the only one to see where nuclear rockets had landed when they had been launched in mistake by a foreign power. Her uncanny knowledge of the country had enabled Scrubcat to lead Major Chisolm, the de-fusing expert, to five of the rockets.

Notes

  • Art: Ron Smith
  • Reworked from a Wizard story of the same name, with the protagonist changed to female.

Appeared

  • Scrubcat – Judy: #631 (12 February 1972) – #650 (24 June 1972)

Peri of the Ponies

Plot

Peri Wills was a girl with a special way  with ponies. She had the chance of attending a first-class pony school and there she learnt a great deal. But through a misunderstanding, she had to leave before taking her instructor’s certificate. Her longing to be with ponies led her to take an unpaid job at a ramshackle riding school kept by Mr and Mrs Hopkins.
Peri started to groom one of the ponies.

Notes

  • Art: Ron Smith

Appeared

  • Peri of the Ponies – Judy: #559 (26 September 1970) – #573 (2 January 1971)

Turkey Trott

Plot

Two hundred years ago, Trudy Trott and her young brother, Tom, helped their grandparents drive a flock of turkeys to the big market in London. They had stayed to help Edith, a young girl who was trying to keep a little pie-shop going after the death of her mother.

Notes

Appeared

  • Turkey Trott – Judy:  #558 (19 September 1070) – #567 (21 November 1970)

Share and Share Alike! [1988]

  • Share and Share Alike! – Mandy PSL: #121 [1988]
  • Reprinted – Mandy PSL: #269
  • Cover Art: Norman Lee
  • Inside Art: Tom Hurst

Plot

Sheila and Sharon Terry are twins that are constantly fighting, much to the exasperation of their parents. While they know their daughters do actually care for each other, they are  also fiercely competitive and jealous. They don’t like to see each other get what they think is favoritism. Whether it’s Dad cleaning Sharon’s bike, or Mom making Sheila her favourite sandwiches for lunch. Each perceives the other as having the jealousy problem and their parents have had enough. They tell them from now on everything will be shared and they will get treated exactly the same. The twins are delighted and finally agree that this is what they always wanted.

They are soon to realise it’s not as great a deal as they initially thought,  when at breakfast the next morning they do get exactly the same thing – but it’s something neither of them like. Mom’s logic being they can at least agree on that. Then on the way to school Sharon gets a puncture, and receives lines for being late. Dad’s not going to help her fix the bike because he’s tired of being accused of favourtism. But Mom makes Sheila help so they can share the burden and they even make her write out lines. This trend continues so when a dog causes Sharon to drop shopping breaking jars, they both have to pay. The girls are aware that their parents think they are clever, but they figure they can out smart them by upping the “share and share alike” mentality. They go for a boat trip and when dad comes looking for them they say they haven’t returned because they were using one oar, rowing in circles! When they do exactly same work at school, resulting in a letter from the headmistress, Mom thinks they should call it off but Dad is not broken so easily. He clears things up with the headmistress, and lets the wins know schoolwork is not to be shared.

Perhaps because they are working together to try and outsmart their parents, it ends up having the desired affect of them actually getting along. But then this is quickly undone when when Sheila waits for Sharon after school, and Sharon thinks she’s already gone home. The reason Sharon was delayed was Miss Brett called her over to tell her they have both been selected to cross country competition and Sharon had asked Sheila to wait for her. (This is a bit odd as they were both selected and Sheila was also right there, why didn’t Miss Brett talk to the both of them?!) Now they both intend to win and are more competitive than ever! Then during training, Sheila takes a risk trying to pass Sharon out and falls into the river. Sharon jumps after them and together they make it to shore but Sheila gets sick after. Luckily it’s not too serious but it does mean she is out of the race. On the day of the race Sharon is uncharacteristically quiet. Sharon has a tough race ahead of her and back home Sheila can picture the race and where Sharon would be. Sharon feels Sheila willing her on and is determined to win for both of them. She succeeds and at home the twins are delighted and they will share the cup. Their parents are optimistic that this is the end of their feud.

Thoughts

Favouritism can be a sensitive issue, whether it’s justified or not. There may be a slight issue here of a parent doing extra for a daughter at times but certainly not to any extreme and it’s clear the parents love both daughters. I am reminded of another picture story library book Unfair to Favourites although in that case there is a clear case of favouritism and the sisters get along fine, the resolution is also through a sport (gymnastics).  In this story what the twins perceive of favourtism is made worse by their jealousy. It is when the “share and share alike” rule is brought in, it shows how petty some of their complaints were. Such as arguing about who took the last of the marmalade or toast when they could both be given cereal they don’t like instead for breakfast.

It is a clever idea by the parents, although it seems Dad is much more willing to see it through no matter what! It is fun to see Sharon and Sheila try to outsmart their parents. It’s a pity their teamwork is in a fragile state that it breaks down after argument and they become competitive over race. Then when Sheila nearly drowns things change, perhaps they take mom’s talking to, to heart or it’s the realisation that they would not want to lose each other, but whatever the reason the twins grow closer. Sharon and Sheila feel connected during the race and Sheila knows Sharon has won even before they get the phone call. It’s hard to tell if the “share and share alike” rule did help overall or if this would have happened anyway when they were both picked for cross country. In any case at the end of the story Mom and Dad decide it’s best not to make a big deal out of dropping the rule, but I’d hope that even if they did bring it up that Sharon and Sheila’s relationship is stronger to survive that now.

No Place Like Home [1991]

  • No Place Like Home –  Bunty:  #1721 (05 January 1991) –  #1731 (16 March 1991)
  • Reprinted: Bunty #2127 (17 October 1998) – #2137 (26 December 1998)
  • Art: Eduardo Feito

Plot

Josie Small had been fostered by the Keegans for most of her life, and Megan Keegan, who was the same age as her, was was her best friend. So she is surprised when the posh Farmers arrive and want to adopt her. It is agreed that for a trial period she will live with them, to see how they get on, but Josie is sure she will be back with the Keegans at the end of it. The Farmers are certainly generous people, they take Josie on a shopping trip and pamper her, at their house she has a big room with whatever she needs. Still even after a week of being with the Farmers, she feels like they are being polite strangers rather than family. This is more apparent on an exam day where Josie misses Mum Keegan’s customary hugs. That day after the exam, she goes home with Megan and forgets to ring Mrs Farmer, who is upset at Mum Keegan for this. When Josie explains to Mrs Farmer that she wanted to use their encyclopedias for history assignment, the Farmers buy her a whole set and make a study for her.

Josie would much prefer the Farmer’s affection than material things, but the Farmers keep buying her things. This causes Megan and Josie have a falling out, because Megan thinks Josie is taking advantage of the Farmers as Josie said she hadn’t intentions of staying with them. In the heat of the moment Josie says she will stay with her new family. She regrets this and after few days she goes around to make up. She gets a surprise when she finds another foster girl there. Megan doesn’t let her know it’s a temporary situation and a spiteful classmate, Susie, stirs up more trouble questioning why the Keegan’s never wanted to adopt her. Back at her new home she overhears a conversation making Josie think the Farmers only want her because its good for Mr Farmer’s career. Feeling unwanted by both families, she decides she needs to just look out for herself.

When she agrees to be adopted, the Farmers throw a party, to celebrate, when they mention inviting Mr Farmer’s boss, for Josie it’s further proof of their priorities. Josie throws a tantrum when Mrs Farmer takes her shopping, to get a more glitzy dress and other things, but of course it doesn’t make her feel better. At the party, Josie does hit it off with the boss’s daughter Melanie, but soon she finds out about her selfish and manipulative ways. After Mum Keegan drops a gift around to wish her luck, Josie starts having doubts about the adoption. When she goes to talk to the Farmers about these doubts, they say that the adoption was able to be put through quicker than normal and they’ll explain how one day. Josie thinks like everything else they used money to speed things up.

She tries pushing boundaries but only seems to do herself more harm instead (too many late nights, lots of chocolate etc). She feels isolated and alone, so is happy when Megan seems to be willing to make amends and invites Josie to her birthday party. Things go well at first, but she does not realise that Mrs Farmer slipped money into the pencil box that she bought Megan as a present. Megan feels insulted, thinking Josie is showing off but doesn’t want to make a scene at the party. Not knowing  what went wrong, Josie is so desperate for a friend she invites Susie over. When that doesn’t work out because  Susie is jealous of what Josie has, she is convinced by Melanie to go to a concert with her. Then Melanie abandons her and Josie feels scared but has no way home. Luckily Megan knows where she has gone and let slip to Mum Keegan. Mr Farmer picks Josie up after a policewoman had found her.

The Keegans and Mrs Farmer are waiting back at the house and Mrs Farmer collapses from the strain of it all. It’s only after this that many revelations come out, Josie snaps at Keegan’s saying they don’t have to stay, because if they cared about her they would have adopted her. Then Mum Keegan reveals she couldn’t adopt her, because she had taken her in for friends until they could return. It turns the Farmers are actually Josie’s biological parents! Not long after Josie was born Mr Small went to jail for fraud, it was too much for Mrs Small who collapsed and didn’t feel well enough to care for Josie. When Mr Small got out of jail, they changed their name to Farmer and went abroad to build a new life for Josie to be proud of. Mr Farmer apologises to Josie for taking much longer than they thought and hopes she will be able to learn to love them. Josie needs time to think and Megan goes to talk to her. With everything out in the open, Megan apologises as she didn’t know how mixed up Josie was feeling, they make up and promise to remain sisters even if they are different homes. With Megan’s support, Josie goes to see her mother. More apologies ensue as Mrs Farmer says they genuinely thought Melanie would be a good friend but from now on they will let her choose her own friends. They all agree to start over and Josie feels lucky to have two families that love her.

Thoughts

This story draws some comparisons to the previous post. Both are family dramas with revelations about biological parents, girls moving to homes with a different socioeconomic backgrounds then they are used to and misunderstandings causing problems and loneliness. Like Margo, Josie has our sympathy and shows that even when she acts out, she is good person at heart. There are several times that she says she will just look out for herself and she doesn’t care about any one else, but she finds its not that easy to change. Such as whenever she gets hope that maybe her parents want her for herself, she is automatically willing to give things another chance, but then that is ruined when she interprets the Farmers actions as just caring about career and money.

When it turns out the Farmers do want her and are actually her biological parents,  that optimism must still be there as despite a slight hesitation she does accept them quite quickly after that. I think the Smalls/Farmers are forgiven a bit too easily, whereas in Misfit Margo, the Taylor’s reasons for giving up Margo and their actions afterwards make them likeable characters, the Farmers are harder to warm up to. Their reasons for giving Josie up at first are reasonable, with Mr Farmer being in prison/penniless and Mrs Farmer having a weak disposition they weren’t able to care for Josie.  What makes less sense is that in going away to build up a good life for Josie they seemed to overshoot what they actually needed. They could have returned earlier with a more modest wealth, or they could have gotten in contact with her sooner and kept in touch with her. Their priorities are wrong, believing money is what their daughter wants/needs instead of affection and boundaries (with Mr Farmer’s crime being fraud it may indicate that wealth/status has always been important to them). Their treatment of the Keegans is not great either, they are wanting Josie to forget about them and Mrs Farmer is not looking for any advice from Mum Keegan, not a great way to treat people who were supposedly friends. It can come across as snobbish,  but also as another weakness of the Farmer’s just wanting to brush away their shame, not having any reminders of the past. I do wonder when they planned to tell Josie the truth about everything! It is good to see they are wanting to change in the end but they have a lot of work to do.

The Keegan’s aren’t all innocent either, they are quite harsh on Josie at times, even if some of it is because of misconception. Megan has the excuse of being young but Mum Keegan should know better. Considering how Mrs Farmer is treating Mum Keegan, you’d think she might be wary of how things are going for Josie, even if she didn’t want to interfere. Also being a foster mother she should have more understanding how disruptive it can be for a child to change homes.  So her blaming Josie for everything seems too hard “From the look of you, you’ve made a real mess of things since the Farmers adopted you”. The ending has things tied up a bit too quickly for my liking but I think Josie and Megan’s reconciliation was done well  and it is nice to see everyone apologise and want to start fresh.

 

Misfit Margo [1979]

  • Misfit Margo –  Mandy: #625 (6 January 1979) – #634 (10 March 1979)
  • Artist: Dudley Wynne

Plot

Thirteen year old, Margo Ashley has everything a girl could ask for, as well as loving parents, a good home and friends. Then her parents are killed in a plane crash and despite their wealth they never prepared for such an event, spending as much as was earned so there is no money left. Then the shocks keep coming as she discovers she was actually adopted. Her biological parents, the Taylors, gave Margo up for private adoption after Mrs Taylor had an accident and Mr Taylor lost his job, they believed they couldn’t look after her. But now they want to give her a home along with their 3 children Linda, 11, Julie, 9 and  Gary, 8. It is a big adjustment for Margo to move into their small estate house and accept this new family. She senses their sincerity and is willing to try, but of course she’s still adapting to the tragedy of losing her parents and because of her nervousness and posh voice she comes off as stand offish to the others. It’s not helped by the Taylors knowing she is used to nicer things try to make her more at home but end up alienating her from the other children. Mrs Taylor is guilty of this in particular, such as wanting to use the good teacup for Margo and making up her bed in the mornings. Margo accidentally puts her foot in it when she mentions not knowing where she can keep all her things as the bedroom is smaller than she’s used to. This upsets Julie as her parents moved out of the bigger bedroom so Margo could have it.

Mr and Mrs Taylor try and get the others to give Margo a chance, so they are more polite but this just makes Margo feel like more of an outcast, they are sitting around like strangers. Linda being closest to her age and also being  hot headed means that her and Margo clash the most. Linda does have loyalty to her family so she does stick up for Margo when her friends make comments, but some misunderstandings lead to Linda being more against her. Firstly Margo wants to keep her “Ashley” name, Linda thinks it’s because Margo thinks Taylor sounds too common, but in fact Margo isn’t ready to let go of her parents name just yet, especially after all the changes. When some other girls make spiteful comments, Margo runs away in tears and bumps into Mr Taylor, she cries for her Dad but when Mr Taylor tries to comfort her, the strain of the day makes Margo yell that he is not her father. Linda who had gone to check on Margo, hears this and all her good intentions are gone again.

Things begin to get better after trip to cinema and going out for fish and chips. Margo takes a few days off school and buys her mother an expensive brooch as a birthday present, as she does feel grateful for her and Mr Taylor. But then Mr Taylor buys his wife a cheaper brooch, that he could afford and not wanting him to feel bad, Margo doesn’t give her gift, making the others think she is mean and ungrateful. Later the Taylors have a birthday party and Margo again feels out of place, so when old friends the Lathems show up she is pleased to see them. When they invite her out for dinner Margo thinks everyone will have better fun without her, though in fact Mrs. Taylor was hoping Margo would choose to stay at the party. Margo doesn’t have a great time at dinner either, because now the Lathems snobbery shows, saying how sorry they are that she has to live in such a small place with commoners. Margo sticks up for her family and she believes that will be the end of her friendship with the Lathems.

Feeling she will never fit in Margo decides to runaway but her parents stop her and after a talk, she feels even closer to them. Mother insists that Linda keep Margo company in school, Margo feels that is unfair for Linda to get lumbered with her so she tries to avoid her. When Linda finds out why she is doing this, they finally have a breakthrough and they grow closer. Bt then when they are both invited on holiday with old friends of Margos, their progress threatens to be undone because of the spiteful Paula. The Hartleys and their daughter are lovely people but their niece Paula who is staying with them is a snob and stirs up trouble for Linda. Linda gets to know how it feels to be a misfit, but that makes her lash out. Paula wrecks Lady Hartley’s flowerbed and puts Linda’s hankerchief near it in order to set it up. Margo finds it first and she doesn’t believe Linda would do such a thing so she hides the evidence and takes the blame. Paula accidentally slips up and after getting a full confession is sent home. Linda and the other Taylors are impressed at Margo’s loyalty to the family and Margo calls the Taylors Mom and Dad for the first time, finally she feels accepted and part of the family.

Thoughts

This is a good family drama story, with plenty of conflict and emotional pull to keep the reader invested.  It’s no surprise that Margo finds it hard to fit in after such upheaval and despite her new parents’ efforts, there are misunderstandings on both sides. While initially Margo has reservations about the people who gave her up, after meeting them and hearing their explanation, she quickly warms to them. Mr and Mrs Taylor are kind and welcoming, but their efforts to make Margo feel at home, (particularly Mrs Taylor) can actually make her stand out more from the others. Such as Mrs Taylor wanting to use the better cups, and at first thinking that fish and chips would be too common after the cinema. While the story centres on how Margo feels out of place in her new family, the biggest conflict is with herself and new sister, Linda. Margo is a nice girl, with no thoughts of grandeur, so she draws sympathy from the reader and while Linda may come across as antagonistic at times, you can certainly see her viewpoint too.

It seems initially Julie could have made a good ally,  as she is the one who thinks Margo would feel more part of family using same cups as everyone else, but mistakes, and a tendency to follow Linda’s lead means their good start is damaged. With Linda being closer in age and hot-tempered it makes more sense to see her and Margo clashing, so we actually don’t get a lot of time with Margo and her other siblings. It’s interesting to see a reversal of the situation, when Linda goes on holiday with Margo. Similarly she is sensitive about being a misfit, but their reactions are different, as Linda automatically gets defensive. It was good to see Linda and Margo were already getting closer, when Paula enters and nearly undoes everything. It could have easily had a villain undermining things all along but I’m glad she was used just as a climax, to further prove Margo would stand by her family. I was also glad it wasn’t just this one event that made Linda change her mind about Margo, that they had already made progress in their relationship. It makes the story flow better that way.

Dudley Wynne, often drew emotional stories, and he captures the family dynamics and Margo’s loneliness well here. There are some very heart-rending scenes such as when Margo breaks down, crying for her Dad, and Mr Taylor comforts her, you can certainly see his hurt when she rebuffs him, but understand that it wasn’t intentional on her part. All the family are very relatable and as a reader you just want them to speak to each other and clear up the misunderstandings, but you are never frustrated with the characters, because you can understand how they’ve got to this point. Paula is a typical devious, snobbish character, which is fine, but as I mentioned I’m glad she was only in the last few episodes. The other snobs, the Lathems, are interesting as when we first meet them they look after Margo after her parents death and seem like nice people, so it’s surprising to see their prejudices when outside of their own environment. It is a well written character focused story.

 

 

 

Peter Kay (Bruno Kleinzeller)

Even when an artist is credited for their work, it doesn’t necessarily mean we know a lot about them. Such is the case for Peter Kay, whose work people may recognise from the 1950s Girl comic. Girl was initially published by Hulton Press as a sister paper to the Eagle, and it was one of the few publications that actually credited those that worked on the stories, which helps us identify what else an artist may have worked on. Peter Kay worked on many of Girl‘s prominent stories including Susan at St Bride’s, Wendy and Jinx, and Lindy Love. He also did cover work for Princess, and Schoolgirls picture libraries, as well as work on Mandy covers.

        

Thanks to a relative of Peter’s getting in contact we now have some background information on the artist, who led quite an interesting life. Born Bruno Kleinzeller circa 1906 in Ostrava, Czechslkovakia, he and his older brother Erich started  their careers as commercial artists. As well as work on magazines and advertisements, Bruno worked on movies posters. One example of these posters is from the 1938 Czech film “Svět kde se žebrá” (The World Where She’s Married). Bruno moved to Prague and then to England, escaping the rise of the Nazi party and before the German annexation of the Sudetenland. His brother Erich and sister-in-law, were not so lucky and unfortunately were arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where they died in the gas chambers. Bruno meanwhile changed his professional name to the more British sounding “Peter Kay” and worked for magazines in London. It was there that he met his future wife, Mary “Tommy” Thom, who was from Aberdeen originally.  Bruno/Peter continued to work on various publications, doing illustrations for The Scotsman, as well as numerous girl comics and the occasional film poster. He often signed his work off as “Kay”.

Bruno and Tommy lived in London during the Blitz and later had a son, David, who tragically died young, during the polio epidemic in the late 1950s. On a more happy note he was able to reconnect with his older sister Steffi in the late 1960s, they had lost track of each other when they had left their home country for different parts of the world. It is Steffi’s granddaughter who was able to provide information and photos of Bruno. Bruno died in the early 1980s after some health problems, Tommy died in the 2000s. Bruno/Peter was a talented illustrator with a large body of work and I am happy to be able to bring some of his work and life into the spotlight.

(Tommy and Bruno – 1944)  

(Susan at St Bride’s – Girl)

(Wendy and Jinx – Girl)