Tag Archives: Andy Tew

Bunty 2009

bunty 2009This is the last Bunty annual, not including any ‘best of Bunty’ books that came out after it.  At a mere 80 pages including covers already it’s at a disadvantage for being 48 pages less than the older annuals. The cover shows a clear change in how they market the book. A cover girl appears but is mostly overwhelmed by flashy banners advertising whats inside and celebrity pictures.  Of course when this annual came out, the weekly issues had stopped for many years, so it may be understandable they are trying different methods to entice readers in with. Inside the annual, there is a table of contents, there are only 8 stories altogether; 4 picture stories, 2 text stories and 2 photo stories, the book is more feature heavy with 22 features. Some of the features  are factual articles, quizzes, posters and puzzle pages. The whole annual is full colour. (For just a list of contents click here)

Picture Stories

The Comp       (Pages: 19-25)

Art: Peter Wilkes

There are a lot of reprints in this annual, but this story I can’t confirm is a reprint,  it has some more up to date (for the time) references, like mention of the  X-Factor tv show, but it may have just updated the dialogue. At Redvale Comp there is going to be a concert for an end of term fund raiser. Laura, Roz,  Hayley and Becca are trying to think of an act for the concert and decide they will perform as  a tribute band – the Spice Girls, as they were when they started. They need a fifth person, they ask Nikki but she says her and Claire are more comfortable handling backstage stuff. Freddy volunteers to be Scary Spice. Stancee, Roz’s stepsister directs the group. They plan to mime and dance, but then the auditions take place and don’t allow any props. They try their best and luckily their routine and explanation means they barely make it, despite the bad singing. On the night of the concert in their costumes they are the hit of the concert, even if Jayne the Payne and Margaret aren’t impressed. The story is fine, nice to see the Comp gang again, although it may seem familiar to me because I think it was quite common for The Comp annual stories to revolve around some sort of concert!

Bunty_2009_comp

Strictly Dancing!      (Pages: 33-38)

Art: Andy Tew

This was first printed in the 1995 annual under a different name – The Perfect Partner. The story has also had a colour update. now in full-colour rather than the orange/black/white it was before. There are some other changes-  like the lettering is different, there are some alterations to the dialogue (mainly to reiterate the title strictly dancing) and the main characters names are changed. Danielle has her name shortened to Danni and Mark  becomes Nat.

The story itself has Nat and Danni as friends and dance partners. It isn’t until someone points out that they would make a great couple that Danni realises her feelings for Nat aren’t platonic. Unfortunately at the same time Nat gets a girlfriend, Zoe. When Zoe comes to watch their dance practices, Danni can’t concentrate and decides to dance solo for a while. Nat misses Danni though and he realizes he also has feelings for her so the resume their partnership and start dating. The colour update is fine, it doesn’t overwhelm the original drawing, so it works well. The forced extra dialogue can be a bit much though “We’re strictly dancing partners”  “It’s strictly dancing to him. Nothing more”.  Still the story holds up well enough and clearly isn’t outdated that it still works 14 years later.

Bunty_2009_strictly

perfectpartners_B95

The Four Marys      (Pages: 45-49)

Art: Barrie Mitchell

The Four Marys story is set at Christmas with the opening splash page of the girls and their class caroling around a Christmas tree. Later at a shop the other Marys tell Cotty that she is going to need to brush up on her French when she wins the Chrismas Card Art Competition, the prize of which is a trip to Disneyland Paris. Cotty modest as ever says others could win including Carol, a kind girl whose parents have fallen on hard times. Cotty notices that  Carol gives a little boy some extra money so he can afford to buy a present and get the bus home. Later at school the paintings for the competition are hanging. Everyone is agreeing Cotty’s is the best, but she no longer wants to win and would rather Carol did. Cotty looks at Carol’s knows how it could be improved. That night she makes some changes to both pictures adding a little extra to Carol’s picture and making hers a little duller. The next day Carol wins the competition.

Bunty_2009_4 marys

It is a nice gesture by Cotty but it does seem to diminish Carol’s abilities a bit.  Because of course no one could actually be better than Cotty! Not only does she have to make her own picture look less good she also has to improve Carol’s picture. Also while Cotty’s painting of the school is nice, it’s not very Christmassy compared to Carols.

Carly’s Cats!        (Pages: 57 – 63)

Art: John Armstrong

Another reprint taken from the 1995 annual. The lettering and the title style have changed, probably to fit in better with the rest of the book. There are some slight changes to the dialogue and little changes like the closing statement in the last panel was initially just a thought rather than spoken out loud. Also the main cat’s name changes from Griselda to Maisie.

The story is about  a girl Carly that works in a cat sanctuary but the cats home lease is up, so they have to try to find homes for each of the cats or the cats will be put down. She finds homes for a few, though she does run into a few problems like a fashion designer, who just wants an exotic cat, Tang, as a background ornament. Carly takes Tang back explaining cats are pets not ornaments, luckily on the way home  Tang escapes and runs into a man’s home who would love a new cat after his old one died. One of the cats Maisie keeps getting into trouble by exploring a neighbour’s property. This turns out to be a lucky thing when a fire starts and Maisie wakes up the owner. In gratitude, she offers the cat sanctuary to set up in her old outbuildings.

Bunty_2009_Carlys cats

This was one of my favourite stories when I read it first time around in the older annual, and it still as good now, this is in large part due to John Armstrong’s great artwork.

Text Stories

The New Girl      (Pages: 40-41)

Writer: Susan Elizabeth Issacs
Illustrations: Susannah Fishbourne

The text stories and their spot art are actually credited in this book! It is strange that sometimes text stories would be credited but they still didn’t like to print who was responsible for picture stories. Anyway this story is about a girl Lexi that moves to a new town. On her first day she makes friends with the next door neighbour Petra and her cousin, Dawn, that lives close by. Petra is going away on holidays, but Lexi is excited to make plans with Dawn. But then Dawn doesn’t call all week. When she sees her in town she ignores her. Then she literally bumps into her spilling drink on her, Dawn calls her an idiot and walks away. Lexi is upset but surprised when Petra returns and she still wants to be friends. It turns out Dawn’s been in hospital with appendicitis and it was actually Dawn’s sister Claire that Lexi ran into.

Suzy Plays a Trick      (Pages: 68-69)

Writer: Tracy Joy Holroyd
Illustrations: Susannah Fishbourne

I wonder is this the same Tracy J Holroyd that wrote Children’s History of Lancashire and Children’s History of Manchester? Suzy and her friend Amy decide to play a trick on the cast of the play their in. There is a ghost story about a twisted grey ghost appearing on the balcony of the old theatre. During rehearsal Suzy plans to dress up as the ghost, and then Amy will point out the ghost to everyone.  The trick starts off as planned, and at first Suzy is impressed at Amy’s acting skills, but then everyone starts panicking so she rushes down, to calm them. She meets the boys on the stairs they tell her they knew it was her playing a trick what everyone was scared of was the appearance of a ghastly twisted grey figure behind her! Nice little scary story and the spot art shows that Suzy is a person of colour, which is nice to see some bit of diversity as all the other protagonists in the annuals are white.

bunty 2009_suzy trick

Photo Stories

Two’s Company…      (Pages: 7-12)

Bunty 2009 twos companySally has some trouble in her school as she is being teased because her mum is temporary head. One girl, Lori, is the leader of all this and gets some boys to ask Sally about an upcoming dance, getting her hopes up and then walking away. Luckily Sally has her friend Jo to support her, so when she sees Lori’s brother, Al, waiting near her house she tells him she knows about jokes and cuts him off before he can say anything. Jo talks to him though and convinces Sally to listen to him, he’s not like his sister and really likes Sally and wants to go to the dance with him. I’m not a fan of photo stories but i will give it some recognition for making a more interesting, eye catching layout than normal.

Choices!      (Pages: 72-77)

This is the better of the two photo stories. Andrea is training to be top athlete, unfortunately it means she hasn’t a lot of time for her friends. She is excited when she is entered into county trials and wants to tell her best friend Jackie. It turns out Jackie has news too some friends have been challenged to an inter school bowling match, they want Andrea to play but she can’t because its the night before the trials. She is upset when Jackie doesn’t understand. During training her coach can tell somethings wrong, and Jackie tells her, she is torn between friends and athletics. The coach listen but tells her that Andrea has to come to her own decision about whats most important. She decides she wants to see how good an athlete she can be. But while athletics is the dream she wants to pursue she is also more conscious of neglecting her friends and realizes she can do more. Her and Jackie make up and Andrea says she’ll come to the bowling game to cheer them on for a little bit.

Bunty_2009_choices

Features

This annual is more feature heavy then previous annuals and there is also more focus on celebrities, but there is still room for quizzes, puzzles and crafts. While some of the articles have photos, the features with illustrations are actually credited.

A to Z of Things We Like!      (Pages: 2-3, 78-79)

Illustrations: Susannah Fishbourne

Inside the covers is a bright list of things that the readers may like such as Friends, Kittens, Reading, X-Mas.

Bunty_2009 AtoZ

Starscope      (Page: 4)

A short horoscope – as a Gemini mine was: A text or email might bring big news. Lucky Month: March, Lucky Number: 7 Star Birthday: Johnyy Depp (9th June)

Posters      (Pages: 6, 18, 39, 70)

A poster for every season of the year. These are photos of animals. Spring – Chickens, Summer- kitten, Autumn – Westie and Winter – Penguin. Each animal also has a funny thought or speech bubble.

10 Funky Facts About…      (Pages: 13, 28, 44, 51, 56)

The more celebrity based feature telling us about; Miley Cyrus, the ‘High School’ Guys (Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel), Ashley Tisdale, Emma Roberts, Dylan and Cole Sprouse

Quizzes:

There are several quizzes throughout the annual, 2 involve answering questions and seeing is full under the mostly a, b, c or d category. Those two quizzes are checking how good a friend you are and what starsign your personality matches up with. There is a also a flowchart quiz to determine what type of holidays do you like

  • How Do You Rate as a Mate?      (Pages: 14-15) [Illustrations: Wayne Thompson]
  • Home or Away?      (Page: 50)
  • Are You Really Like Your Star Sign?  (Pages: 54-55) [Illustrations: Wayne Thompson]Bunty_2009_Mate

 

Puzzles:

There are a variety of puzzles, including Take Five! which has word searches on topics like animals, British places, collectibles.  Other puzzles are crosswords, ladder puzzles and spot the difference.

  • Take Five!      (Pages: 16-17, 52-53)
  • Puzzled!      (Pages: 42-43)
  • Snakes ‘n’ Ladders      (Pages: 66-67)

All About….     (Pages: 26-27, 64-65)

Readers share a part of their life, first up is Alex  who likes reading, baking and helps her dad look after bees. The second is about Amelia, who likes acting, swimming and fortune telling.

We Love Elephants!      (Pages: 29-31)

Three pages dedicated to Elephants, which leads into the next feature…

Create Your Very Own Ele-Friend      (Page: 32)

Some arts and crafts with instructions to make paper mache elephant.

Chill Out!      (Page: 71)

Another factual article about animals, in this case – penguins.

Final Thoughts

The content of this annual is actually fine, there is quite a nice variety, but it does suffer in comparison to other annuals by having less pages. It’s funny that The Best of Bunty Annual that came out last year had a few less pages but seems more substantial (of course has to be noted that the target audience is different for that book). For me at least that is probably because it had more space dedicated to stories, 60 pages compared to the 42 pages in this annual. Another thing that I don’t like in this annual is the lettering, it’s most prominent in comparing it to the older stories that were reprinted. It’s less subtle, bigger and bolder and doesn’t always suit the story.  There is a consistency throughout the annual, which can be nice, I was also happy to see some people credited with their work.

Come Home, Kathleen / Kathy, Come Home!

  • Come Home, Kathleen –  Bunty: #1030 (8 October 1977) – #1052 (11 March 1978)
  • Reprinted: Bunty: #1626 (11 March 1989) – #1648  (12 August 1989)
  • Reprinted as Kathy, Come Home! – Lucky Charm: #9 (1980)
  • Art: Andy Tew

Plot

It’s the 1930s and Kathleen O’Connell lives in Donegal with her parents and six sisters and seven brothers. Life isn’t easy as they don’t have a lot of money but Kathy is happy with her family. Then her mother’s sister Therese arrives over from England with her daughter Emma. They propose to relieve the O’Connell’s burden a bit by adopting a child as a companion for Emma. As Kathleen is the closest in age to Emma, she is chosen.  When they arrive in London it turns out her Aunt  hasn’t been honest with her. The Laceys are actually struggling to keep their usual lifestyle and they expect Kathleen to work as a servant in return for taking her in. Kathy is very homesick but is unable to afford her fare back to Ireland, so she has to think of some way to get home.

come home kathleen_01

The Laceys are crafty, they try to keep Kathy happy so she will continue to work for by pretending they actually  plan to visit Ireland, in the Summer.  Kathy is also a happy when she makes friends with the next door neighbour an elderly Irish woman, Mrs Keneally. She finds her comforting and understanding of her homesickness.  Even with the Lacey’s servants gone and Kathleen doing all the work, Therese finds they still need more money. Their troubles increase when Britain goes to war. The Laceys have another way of exploiting Kathy as she has a gift for reading tea leaves. Kathy doesn’t like charging people and she is upset by the many bad omens.  Letters from home tell Kathy how much her family miss her and would like her to come home. Not wanting to worry her family she  doesn’t let them know how homesick she is and all the work she is expected to do.

Kathy is delighted when Mrs. Keneally decides to go back to Ireland and plans to sneak Kathy on the ship with her. But not long after departing the ship is hit, the old woman killed and the survivors brought back to England. Back with her Aunt and cousin life is getting more dangerous with the bombings in London, Kathy is very nearly killed in an attack. Kathy, Emma and other girls from their school are evacuated to the country. Kathy and Emma end up with a cruel woman Miss Jardine who works them hard, feeds them little and hits them. When Emma sees Kathy take a beating without crying, she begins to appreciate her cousin more and admires her courage. While Kathy wishes to complain about Miss Jardine to the teachers, Miss Jardine has scared Emma into staying quiet. More bad news arrives for Emma when her mother is killed in a bombing.

come home kathleen_02

While snooping around Emma finds something but before she can tell Kathy about what is is, Jardine catches her.  Jardine threatens her so badly that Emma believes she’ll be cursed if she says anything. When a plane bombs near the school, Emma nearly opens up to Kathy but ends up not saying anything.  Kathy investigates herself and is confronted by a big man and is poisoned and left helpless in bed. Miss Lewis comes home with Emma to check on Kathy and Kathy manages to blink S.O.S. to her. When she leaves Emma plucks up the courage to lock Jardine and the man in a room and help Kathy. The Jardines break out but luckily Miss Lewis had understood Kathy’s message and had gone to get the police.

come home kathleen_03

The Jardines had stolen a golden Egyptian sarcophagus from a museum and planned to sell it on. Miss Jardine had told Emma she had the Mummy’s curse upon her for disturbing it. The girls are relocated and even get a reward for the return of the precious item to the museum. When the war ends a few months later Kathy and Emma head to Ireland. Kathy assures Emma that her family will  welcome her into their home.

Thoughts

This is a good hardship story with things continuously getting more difficult for Kathy, (our upbeat protagonist) and obstacles in her attempts to get home. She is mistreated by relatives, she’s nearly killed several times, and has to deal with homesickness and  the war. While she shows courage and never lets events break her spirit, she can be quite naive at times. While early on she figures the Laceys are using her as a servant, whenever they act kind or promise a trip to Ireland, she believes them. Emma goes from spoilt brat – to losing everything and actually becoming close to Kathy. She is a good contrast to Kathy’s positive, hard working character and I like that her redemption isn’t rushed and she doesn’t change completely.

come home kathleen_04

The story is kept interesting with the changing settings, first Kathy just wants to earn her fare home, then the war makes a bad situation for Kathy worse. When her and Emma end up with Jardine as well as dealing with mistreatment, there is also a bit of a mystery about what Emma saw that goes on for a few issues. The story doesn’t feel rushed, but neither does it drag on too long.

One criticism I do have is about how much time has passed. Although this is meant to be set from just before the war to the end, the girls don’t seem to age that much in attitude and physically. I’d maybe believe 2 years has passed but not much more. Other than not ageing, the art is good throughout, Miss Jardine looks appropriately creepy and menacing and the settings from wartime London to the country side are well done.

Tina at Tumble Towers

Plot

Tumble Towers Boarding School is run-down and needs money for repairs if it is to stay open. Tina Dixon, whose parents own the school, discovers that the school can claim money from a special trust if it can win six trophies in one year, and this is what she sets out to do with her classmates. Unknown to Tina, Lucinda Gromley is out to sabotage them because her father wants the school grounds to build a superstore. Sometimes, though, Lucinda’s tricks backfire on her!

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • Tina at Tumble Towers –  Bunty: #2016 (31 August 1996) – #2029 (30 November 1996)

My School Chum Mum

Plot

Before he goes on an Antarctic trip, Rachel Todd’s father invents an anti-ageing cream. But the cream works too well – when Mum tries it, she reverts to looking like a schoolgirl. She is forced to pass herself off as Rachel’s cousin Emily and attend Rachel’s school – and struggles there because school has changed a lot since her day. Things get even more difficult when social welfare start interfering as they think there is no adult in charge.

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • My School Chum Mum –  Bunty:  (?) – #1910 (20 August 1994)

Last Girl in Hamelin

Plot

In the wake of the Pied Piper, Carla is the last girl left in Hamelin because she had been in jail on a false charge when the Pied Piper took the children away in revenge for the mayor refusing to pay him for eradicating the rats. The parents get jealous at Carla being spared while they lost their own children and Carla finds herself persecuted.

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • Last Girl in Hamelin –  Bunty: #892 (15 February 1975) – (?)

Stella at Stage School

Plot

Stella May wins a scholarship to Madam Spencer’s Stage School. But her father does not approve or understand Stella’s acting and thinks it is detrimental to her education, which he drives her too hard at. He keeps threatening to withdraw Stella from the school if she fails her schoolwork.

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • Stella at Stage School –  Bunty: circa #877 (2 November 1974) – (?)

Boyfriend from Blupo

Plot

When Lee sees a shooting star, she wishes for a boyfriend to take her to the disco. She gets her wish in a most unexpected manner – the shooting star is a starship crashing, and the alien, from the planet Blupo, assumes human form to take her to the disco!

boyfriend blupo

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • Boyfriend from Blupo –  Bunty:  #1948 (13 May 1995) – #1955 (1 July 1995)

“I Don’t Like Dogs!”

Plot

Special complete story. Mrs Kemp has terrible cynophobia (fear of dogs) and this fear passes on to her daughter Helen. After Mrs Kemp dies, Dad finds a new girlfriend, Rowena, but when Helen sees she has a golden retriever, Benji, her cynophobia starts causing problems with the new relationship. It gets to the point where Helen tries to deliberately lose Benji in the hope Rowena will leave. But when a mugger attacks Helen and Benji comes to the rescue, everything changes.

i_dont_like_dogs

Notes

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Appeared

  • “I Don’t Like Dogs!”  –  Bunty: #1617 (7 January 1989)