Heartbreak House [1994]

  • Heartbreak House–  Bunty:  #1911 (27 August 1994) – #1918 (15 October 1994)
  • Art: Don Walker

Plot

When Penny Wellman’s father gets a promotion, the family move into Corbie House, a Victorian mansion. The owners were trying to sell for a while so it is cheaper than expected. On the first day exploring a crow flies at Penny from out of the attic. Penny begins to get a creepy feeling about the house. Later while they are unpacking her mother’s ornaments fall down from cabinet, her parents initially blame Penny although she tells them she was not in the room at the time they still seem suspicious. In another room Penny hears some strange noises and is pushed in closet, she has to break herself out but again her parents don’t believe her version of events. Her mother asks if she is unhappy in the house and says she will settle when she makes new friends. Soon after Penny does make a potential friend, Tina, but while visiting Tina gets spooked by breathing noises and laughter that sound like they are coming from the wall. She believes Penny was playing tricks on her.

At school Penny is more fortunate when she makes a friend Emma, who mentions there were strange stories about Corbie house, but then she clams up. Mrs Wellman finds an old portrait of girl Penny’s age that looks similar to her and hangs it in the hallway. It creeps Penny out, and when Emma’s mom is visiting it seems the portrait tells her she is not welcome in house. Of course the adults again think that it is Penny that said these things, but Emma believes her. When mom’s old friend, Anne, a ghost story novelist, comes to stay she thinks she may have another ally, but it turns out Anne doesn’t believe on any of the things she writes about. The ghost continues to get stronger, playing tricks and destroying things and during a costume party the ghost actually appears causing a girl, Abbie, to fall through glass door. Lucky she’s not injured. The ghost appears to just Penny mocking her, she disappears before her mom arrives and Penny knows she will have to figure out how to get rid of ghost herself because no-one else will believe her.

When she meets an old lady, Mrs Scott, she tells her that her grandmother used to work in the house. The Halstow’s had two children a girl Charity, and a boy who died young. Apparently Charity was sweet when she was little but then grew up evil, Mrs Scott says there was some big fire at the house but hasn’t any more details. Penny exploring the attic for answers comes across Charity’s diary, the ghost appears as she she doesn’t want Penny to have it. Penny runs but falls through some rotten floorboards and ends up in hospital. Luckily she is not badly injured and while in hospital she can read the diary in peace. She finds out that Charity’s young brother, Tom, while playing climbed out on the roof and slipped. Charity tried to save him but a blackbird startled causing her let go of Tom’s hand. She was blamed for his death, ans she thought Corbie House hated her and she had plan to get rid of unlucky house. The journal stops there but presumably her plan was to burn it down, Penny later finds out there was fire at house and the family moved to village, but Charity died of fever soon after. Penny contacts the producer of TV series “Injustice” that tells stories of wrongly accused people, in the hopes they can clear Charity’s name and put her spirit to rest. When they agree to come film, Penny explains her research to her parents. While getting some shots on the roof, the cameraman slips but feels someone pulls him back and he regains his balance. Afterwards Penny is no longer is haunted and house once more is happy. Penny has new friends and it seems Charity is now at peace.

Thoughts

In these stories the minute you hang up a creepy old portrait you find in the attic trouble is going to follow! Although the haunting starts before the portrait is hanging Charity does get stronger once it’s up.  Of course typically everything that goes wrong, the parents blame their daughter and don’t trust her when she tries to defend herself. Some very familiar themes in this story!

Before Charity appears it is unclear what is causing the trouble, it is interesting that we find out later that Charity thinks the house is bad luck after her brother died, as  now she is the one making that come true. The motivation for her haunting is a little unclear, is she just trying to make sure no one lives in the house that caused her so much trouble or is there a vicious streak in her? She certainly seems gleeful of the trouble she causes at times and says the house is trying to stop her. Most likely a combination of the two, she does believe the house is bad luck and wants it destroyed, but also with the people of her time blaming her for her brother’s death and calling her evil, she may now believe that they were right and plays the part. She was clearly disturbed by her brother’s death, and it is heavily implied that she tried to burn the house down afterwards. When Penny finds her diary Charity seems distressed and weaker, maybe she is ashamed of her past and thinks she is deserved to be called evil. Saving the cameraman and Penny defending her name appears to relieve the guilt Charity has and let her rest.

 

It’s surprising that Emma, who says she believes Penny and wants to be friends, doesn’t appear again, even if her mother won’t allow her to visit she could be someone to talk to at school. Instead Penny has to do things herself and no one defends her when things go wrong. The ending is wrapped up quickly, Penny decides to start investigation in the penultimate episode and meets Mrs Scott and finds the diary. The next episode (final part) she reads diary, gets film crew to visit and talks to her parents briefly (about Charity’s story not the haunting). It could be paced a bit better if there was an extra episode. Especially her parents after all the trouble happening being on board immediately for film crew coming to their house. Also a few times it seems like things are set up for one direction but then changes or never is developed, like Emma not helping more, or Charity saying the house was trying to stop her. Still a good little ghost story and nice art by Walker.

The Glade of Lost Children

Plot

At the end of the 15th century, during the Wars of the Roses, some of the peasants around Moorford, homeless and starving, leave their children in a forest glade which has a magic reputation. The children are never seen again and it is believed that the forest sprites are taking care of them. Jane Shaw, the young daughter of a farmer, discovers that the children are really being cared for by Lady Marston and her huge servant, Wat, in her castle, while her husband is away fighting. Jane’s own parents have disappeared and her home is burned down, so she joins Lady Marston to help look after the children.

Notes

  • Art: Tony Speer

Appeared

  • The Glade of Lost Children – Judy: #278 (8 May 1965) – #284 (19 June 1965)

Finny

Plot

Mary Martinand her brother, John, make a pet of a stranded dolphin, Finny, and teach him to do tricks. But Finny is taken by Sam Barker, a showman, as the star attraction of his oceanarium. Mary and John go to the show-ground at night to feed Finny and are caught by Bruton Finny’s cruel trainer. Barker blackmails Mary to become Finny’s trainer as Burton has not had success in making him do tricks.

Notes

  • Art: Rodney Sutton

Appeared

  • Finny – Judy: #278 (8 May 1965) – #284 (19 June 1965)

No Medals for Matilda

Plot

The athletic Dares all strive to Win trophies except Matilda, whose sport is rock climbing, which offers no such rewards. Her secret aim is to climb the Inaccessible Face of Clouds Crag and find the marker left by her grand-father, Sheridan Dare, whose dying claim to have made the ascent, has never been believed. Needing a rope partner, she meets Thea Black, staying locally on a climbing holiday. Thea reveals that she, too, wishes to climb the Inaccessible Face and they join forces. Matilda discovers that Thea has an old climbing diary written by Sheridan Dare.

Notes

Appeared

  • No Medals for Matilda – Judy: #273 (3 April 1965) – #284 (19 June 1965)

Mississippi Meg

Plot

Meg Marlowe and her mother are operating the showboat, “Natchez Belle”, becauseMeg’s father is in hospital, after an attack by Silas Cracow and Matt Gruber, who own the rival showboat, “Mendoza”.  These two men hire a professional gambler, Cornell Butler, to set the “Belle” on fire, but instead he starts a small fire on their own boat!

Notes

Appeared

  • Mississippi Meg – Judy: #271 (20 March 1965) – #284 (19 June 1965)

Wings for Wendy

Plot

During the Second World War, Wendy Kenton loses her family in a bombing attack. Wendy, who is very interested in flying, is being looked after by Paula Standish and is living at an airbase. Paula belongs to the air transport auxiliary, a group of girl pilots who deliver new aircraft to the royal air force. Wendy hopes to earn her pilot licence as soon as she is old enough.

Notes

Appeared

  • Wings for Wendy – Judy: (?) – #277 (1 May 1965)

Honeysuckle Rose

Plot

Rose  Gray and her friend, Jane Bateman, are helping Rose’s grandfather to run a railway service on the formerly derelict honeysuckle line between Belford and Lymhurst. An unknown enemy has twice tried to sabotage the venture. After transporting some circus elephants, Rose and the others are told by the police that they are not allowed to carry livestock and so face a court action. The girls try and track down proof that the livestock ban was lifted.

Notes

Appeared

  • Honeysuckle Rose – Judy:  (?) – #274 (10 April 1965)

Zara

Plot

Zara comes as a new girl to Highdene where she shares a study with Shena Stuart and Cindy Brown. The head-mistress tells them that Zara is an Arabian princess hiding from her father’s enemies. Shena thinks there is something uncanny about Zara, but even she doesn’t guess that the new girl has amazing mental powers and can control people’s minds. Nor does Shena know that only she, for some unknown reason, is immune to Zara’s powers.

Notes

Appeared

  • Zara – Judy: #263 (23 January 1965) – #278 (8 May 1965)

The Tunnels of Ternos

Plot

Schoolgirl Susan Blair is a member of an archaeological expedition to the Pacific Island of Ternos, famous for its underground caves and tunnels. Susan uncovers a plot by the powerful priests of the ancient earth god, Te Tuana, to seize control of the island by force. Susan and her friend, Nella Kineto, another member of the expedition, are captured by the priests but they manage to escape.

Notes

Appeared

  • The Tunnels of Ternos – Judy: #263 (23 January 1965) – #270 (13 March 1965)

Hope of the Hundred

Plot

Letty Goodman discovers that someone is blackmailing jockey, Mike Grady, trying to make him lose a race on Hope, the racing colt belonging to the villagers of Heatherfield Hundred. The villagers are using their winnings to modernise their cottages and save them from being condemned. Two property dealers, Lovell and Brewer, want to cheaply buy the land the cottages stand on and they are secretly behind Clancy Wainwright, the girl blackmailing Mike.

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Appeared

  • Hope of the Hundred – Judy: #263 (23 January 1965) – #271 (20 March 1965)