Tag Archives: Claude Berridge

Mary and Her Marvellous Machine

Plot

In the early 19th century, Mary Elliot lives with her widowed father. Mr Elliot  invented a machine he hoped would make them a fortune – one of the very first sewing machines. Mary sets out to sell this “marvel” machine, but meets with many difficulties through fear and ignorance.

marys marvellous machine

Notes

  • Artist: Claude Berridge

Appeared

  • Mary and Her Marvellous Machine –  Mandy:   circa #332 (26 May 1973) – (?)

 

Mandy 1994

Mandy_Ann_1994This is the last Mandy annual to have art on the cover, rather than a photo of a cover girl. It is also the first cover not to depict the Mandy character.  There are 22 picture stores, 2 text stories and 6 features. There are no photo stories, and as usual with Mandy there is one longer picture story split into 3 parts. There is also a symbol beside each story to show what type of story it is; drama, humour, spooky or romance, so there is a nice mix here and the layout is nicely done.

When this was published, Mandy and Judy had already combined in the week issues to become M&J and Judy’s last annual was published the previous year, so it makes sense that some traditional Judy characters continue to show up here; Cinderella Jones, Wee Slavey and Pepper the Pony. Angel as an original Mandy character, is the focus of the long picture story. Along with these regular characters there is also a lot of original stories.  (For just a list of contents click here)

Picture Stories

Rhymes for our Times     (Pages: 4/ 39/ 64/ 97)

Art: Wilf Street

These humorous one page strips update the old rhymes of Little Miss Muffet, The Queen of Hearts, Mary had a little Lamb and Little Bo Peep. In Little Miss Muffet,  Muffet refuses  curds and whey in preference of a strawberry yoghurt, she isn’t scared off when a fake spider appears beside her and excepts the trickster John’s offer of a date.

little_miss_muffet

In the Queen of Hearts, pop star Gloria Hart bakes some tarts but they are rock hard so no one wants to steal them. Only the local paper boy accepts the tarts  to give to his boxer to chew.

Next Mary helps out at a local farm and with a young lamb, Larry, when he follows her to school there isn’t laughing and playing instead she gets 200 lines.

Lastly, Betty “Bo” Peep helps look after her dad’s sheep and is quite taken by the handsome new shepherd. He is too busy to talk to her and a bit of a know it all, so Bo hides the sheep in order to help him find them later!

bo_peep

 

Angel     (Pages: 5-10, 33-38, 113-118)

  • Artist: Dudley Wynne

Angel is a well remembered tragic heroine that appeared in the Mandy and M&J comics. When Angela Hamilton a wealthy young woman discovers she has only a year to live, she leaves home and dedicates her life to helping the poor. After she dies her parents dedicate a home to help the poor children and have a statue built in her memory. Here the  story set up is that 3 older people meet at the statue to pay their respects to Angel, each tell their story of how she helped them.

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Firstly is Peter, who as a young boy grew up with wealth, but after losing his parents he ends up on the streets. His pride makes him refuse Miss Angel’s offer of a home, because it is in a stables, which he believes is only fit for animals. Angel worries about him, then realising it is Christmas time, takes Peter to a church to see a Nativity scene and if a stable was good enough for Jesus, then Peter can accept her offer. This fits in with religious tones of the original story.

m94_angelThe next story is from Annie and actually takes place after Miss Angel’s death. She was given a violin by Angel’s parents which she then used to busk on the streets. She also tried to live up to Angel’s goodness by helping out the family living next door to her. When the money she earns to buy a Christmas feast for the family is stolen, she goes to sell off her violin. A customer hearing her play gives her a job in the orchestra.

The last story is told by the youngest woman, Peter points out that she couldn’t remember Miss Angel, as she has been dead over 40 years.  But she actually owes Angel, her life. She was born under a railway at Christmas and Miss Angel paid for her and her mother’s medical bills. Years later when the family is doing well they recognise the statue.

The art and the inking are great a like the soft pastel colours used. A lot of browns and greys are used, though it does not look dull. Also this helps to make Miss Angel stand out more with her green dress.

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A Shy Romance     (Pages: 11-15)

  • Artist: Giorgio Letteri

One of the many romance stories in this book. Trina is a shy girl and is delighted when a boy she likes Ross asks her out.  She is nervous about the date but seeing a tv programme about  “the shy guide to dating” gives her confidence.  Another girl Sophie, a jealous, tries to interfere with her plans with Ross. Because of this, Trina arrives to the date late and things don’t seem to be going well. Taking the advice of the TV show she leans in, to show her interest only to knock heads with Ross.

m94_shyromanceShe tries to follow the rest of programme’s advice but Ross gets in before her, asking about her hobbies. She realises he also saw the show, meaning that he is shy too and wants to make a good impression.  This is a sweet story with some humour, the artist is good at humorous expressions.

Cinderella Jones     (Pages: 17-22)

  • Artist: Oliver Passingham

Arnold Jones, Cindy’s father has been made redundant and Agnes is making sure he doesn’t laze around the house by putting him hard at work. As a Christmas present, Cindy helps him stand up for himself, when she gets someone to pretend to be from the tourist board, who expects a male in charge. This leads to him ordering Agnes around for a change! The last panel has the characters looking out of panel saying Happy Christmas. In this annual there is actually a few times where characters address the reader directly..

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M&J      (Pages: 23-25/ 59-61)

Mandy and Judy, best friends have some small adventures. In the first story, Mandy is worried when her dog Patch goes missing. It turns out he sneaked into Judy’s family car and had a great trip to the country, while Mandy was searching for him.

In the second story Judy arranges a tennis game with Mandy but can’t find her racquet. She visits various friends that she may have lent it to. They don’t have the racquet, but they do have other things she lent them. Judy arrives at court with various things but without a racquet, but it turns out she had lent racquet to Mandy! Both stories have a lost theme, and it is  nice to see a focus on both characters in the different stories.

The Perfect Pony      (Pages: 27-32)

Julie has an old pony, Pixie, who is not a show jumper or  a very fast horse,  then Julie sees the opportunity to get a better horse in a competition. She wins an Arab horse, Desert Prince, in the competition. Her parents tell her they can’t afford to keep both horses, so she advertises to sell Pixie. In the meantime when Desert Prince arrives, Julie is very excited at the prospect of entering competitions. But soon she notices other differences in the horses, such as Pixie comes to greet her when she arrives at the field and comes to comfort her when she hurts herself. Julie realises that she wants a sweet pony that she has a bond with, more than a fast competitive one and ends up selling Desert Prince instead.

A Fairy Story      (Pages: 43-47)

  • Artist: Claude Berridge

A more fantastical romance story. Carrie and Bill, are dating and unknown to them they are also getting help from Carrie’s good fairy and Bill’s elf whispering in their ears. Carrie can be hotheaded, so her fairy helps calm her down. While Bill is easygoing and his elf encourages him to be more honest, like not agreeing to see a romance film when he doesn’t like them. It seems the advice they are giving is causing arguments between Carrie and Bill which also leads the Fairy and Elf  to argue about each others methods. They are so busy arguing that it takes them a while to notice that Bill and Carrie are getting on great without their help. They wonder who could they help instead and so breaking the fourth wall, they say to could help the girl reading the story!

M94_fairystory

This is a fun story, the similar looks of the fairy/elf with their protagonists seem like they may be part of Carrie and Bill’s conscious, a part of them. Maybe when they find a new person to help their looks will change!

Wee Slavey      (Pages: 49-56)

Trouble for Nellie when the family buy the Little Wizard (an early vaccum cleaner model)! It’s meant to save her time for housework but actually it is so big, bulky and hard to carry that it creates more work for her. Then a diamond clasp goes missing, Nellie has idea to solve 2 problems at once by reversing hoover. So they find the clasp had been accidentally sucked up by the Wizard and the family get rid of the “faulty” machine.

Big ‘n’ Bertha      (Page: 57)

Dad kicks Big out of the house, saying he’ll be fine in the shed with his basket.  But when Dad get locked out of the house one night, and ends up sharing Big’s bed, he agrees the shed is too cold. So Big can stay in the house again.

Love Next Door       (Pages: 65-69)

  • Artist: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Tony and Julie are neighbours and also boyfriend and girlfriend, but they have a falling out. Their younger siblings John and Jane try to get them back together but seem to make things worse. Only after Tony rescues Julie from a ladder do they get back together. A couple of months later they get married. Some neighbours comment that they will miss the romance across the fence, but it seems John and Jane’s friendship is changing to something more. The story is fine, although not very memorable, still the art is very good.

M94_lovenextdoor

Mandy 1981

In this annual there are 12 picture stories, 5 text stories and 6 features.

A common feature for Mandy annuals is to have a long picture story split throughout the book. In this annual there is one story that totals 36 pages and is split into 4 parts. The rest of the comic strips have a range of 3 to 11 pages.

There doesn’t seem to be as much variety as other annuals. The majority of stories are based on regular characters from the weekly comic such as “Stella Starr” and “Hilary of the Happy Bus”.  The features are all quiz based features, each quiz has a theme. For more details read on… (For just a list of contents click here)

Picture Stories

A Wedding for Wilma   (Pages: 4-9)

Fran is looking for a husband for her elder sister. For what purpose… to quote Fran “If only I could find her a husband to take her away from housework sometimes” Yep not so the husband can help her out but so he can take her away from it sometimes. Really, if that is her worry why doesn’t Fran help her out some time?

Considering this is 1981 annual, Fran’s character seems to be oblivious to any feminist movement.  While I don’t think its necessarily a bad thing to have a variety of  characters, and not everyone has to be the sensible strong feminist but I think this seems to be a common theme in this annual.  There seems to be a lack of  characters to contrast the less feminist  Fran.

Fran tries to set Wilma up with her gymnastics instructor Tim because he has the great husband qualities of being “ strong and handsome”. She tries to start their “courtship” off by giving them opportunities to spend time together. I question if  a 13ish old girl  be using the word “courtship” in the 80s.  Meanwhile  Wilma seems quite capable of making a play for Tim without help from Fran (Go Wilma!).

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Unfortunately Tim is fitness freak and his idea of dates is getting her to watch him play football and as she’s so supportive he brings her the teams strips to wash. He also decides to get the girls training for football and a romantic trip on the river turns into skull training for Wilma until she tells him where  to shove it.  Wilma is actually a good role model in a lot of way. She doesn’t hesitate in considering Tim as a potential boyfriend, but at the same time isn’t dependent on him for happiness and knows when to get out the relationship.

 

“That’s Not My Gran”   (Pages: 11-16/33-44/81-90/120-126)

  • Artist: Claude Berridge

This is the 4 part complete new story. Jenny goes to visit her gran’s grave. While she’s there a storm blows up and she is knocked out by a branch and doesn’t see a ball of lightning in the sky. She wakes up and goes home and discovers her gran is alive. Which is kind of a creepy premise. Suddenly Gran is back from the dead, not as some zombie but as a mean lady who likes to kick fluffy cute lambs or poor cats.

   

So this makes Jenny suspicious.  Well that and the fact she is the only one that remembers her gran dying in the first place. Gran’s strange behaviour extends to cheating at a cake competition, deciding she wants a driving licence and nearly runs over a guide dog (she really has it in for animals!) and slamming her other granddaughter’s hand in the car boot.

But nobody else seems to notice Grans obvious evilness. Throughout the four parts the big mystery builds up, not only her strange behaviour but gran seems to be able to make people forget things when she looks in their eyes and she doesn’t show up in photographs. Jenny being suspicious of all this strangeness discovers that her “Gran” is  actually an alien.

She overhears Gran talking over radio about wheter earth is suitable. It is never actually states what they want Earth to be suitable for but presumably it’s the traditional Alien takeover scheme.  As a powerful alien though I don’t know where the thought process was that the best human form to take  was  that of a previously deceased gran! Luckily the alien accidentally disintegrates itself when it is attacked by a blind man. The aliens not getting their final data about earth presume it’s not suitable for a takeover and everyone forgets about fake gran again (except for Jenny). Alien plots like this are quite common, but what is less common is using an elderly person as often children or teens were used in some manner.

 

The Living Lie of Linda   (Pages: 22-32)

Linda is in a wheelchair after an accident. She is making progress learning to walk again when she overhears her father talking to a woman on the phone saying he can’t leave until Linda’s better. Linda jumps to the conclusion he is having an affair and decides the healthiest way to deal with this is to pretend that she still can’t walk so the father will have to stay with the family against his will.

When she’s out swimming another girl gets into trouble and Linda goes to rescue her so the family discover she can use her legs. It turns out the father was talking to his new boss’s wife about a job offer he wasn’t going to take until Linda was recovered.

While the story is fairly average, I do really like the different angles the artist used in this story its nice to see some experimentation.

 

Lucy’s Locket   (Pages: 45-48)

Lucy has a magical locket that brings bad luck to whoever’s photo is in the locket. So you’d think a magical object like that should be kept safe.  Lucy thinks its fine to let her little sister play around with the locket and wear it around. When her sister, Ruth, is conned by some market sellers into exchanging the locket for two cheap lockets, Lucy has to figure a way of getting it back.

Luckily for her she doesn’t have to do much because the con woman puts a photo of herself and her husband in the locket. So after a string of bad luck Lucy is able to get the locket back.

Stars in her Eyes   (Pages: 52-55)

Karen is a girl who thinks horoscopes are a guide for life. When her horoscope for the week says she should take a chance on going someplace different but over-tiredness may ruin the day, she decides she can’t turn down any opportunity. So she agrees to go on a school trip, a youth club trip, help at a jumble sale and go to a disco all on the one day. At each trip she also has a different boy that she agrees to dance with at the disco. She tries not to tire herself out at any of the events, such as skipping the tidy up at the jumble sale, so she will have enough energy at the disco. Of course the three boys have been picking up her slack all day so they end up falling asleep at the disco, so Karen has no-one to dance with anyway!

 

Blind Ben’s White Christmas   (Pages: 57-64)

I am an animal lover so I did feel for the dog in this story. Ben is the family dog on a farm and he is losing his sight. The family of course just let him retire inside the house. Jill’s aunt comes to stay with the family and disrupts everything. She moves furniture around so Ben gets confused and then when Ben is just lying down asleep she blames him when she trips over him. She also insists that he should be put down.  I definitely would have told that aunt where to go!

Ben ends up being moved back outside in the snow. Then the aunt goes wandering off in the snow and slips hurting her leg. She would have probably froze to death only for Ben sniffing her out. The aunt apologises to Ben and the family, so everyone has a happy Christmas. I know the drama and conflict has to come from some place, but I really don’t see why the family would even consider putting Ben down because of the aunt’s suggestion. It’s already established other than not being able to see, Ben isn’t in pain and nobody is happy about aunt coming to stay in the first place so why would they be taking her advice!

 

Judy 1984

In this annual there are 22 picture stories, 2 text stories and 23 features. That’s a lot of entertainment for one book.

While annuals like Mandy often had long picture stories, commonly split in 4 parts throughout the annual, Judy seemed to favour shorter stories and therefore more of them. Comic strips ranged from 2 to 6 pages.

There are a nice variety of stories, some humorous strips, and regular characters such as Wee Slavey and Cora Cupid in new adventures and then there are new complete stories especially for the annual. Stories with twist endings seemed to be a favourite, perhaps because these fitted better with telling a story in a few pages.  For more details on the featured stories read on… (For just a list of contents click here)

Picture Stories

Silver Star    (Pages: 5-9)

This story seems to start out as any other average horse story, an untameable horse and the only person who ever could ride him in a coma after an unnamed tragic accident. But it quickly turns to the more bizarre side when it the next panel states the story really starts a year ago with an alien scouting ship. While the alien, Captain Zoros’, ship is on a collision course to Earth, we see the stable owner’s daughter Megan, being a spoilt brat (though it’s clear she will get her comeuppance as a year later she’s in coma).

That evening a meteorite crashes near the stables of a pregnant horse. The horse’s foal is born and Megan names him Silver Star and claims him as her own. The other stable workers notice something unusual about the horse, after a few months he looks like a 2 year old, and he seems too intelligent.

Finally Zoros fellow aliens track him down and bring Megan and the horse to their ship. They extract Zoros but accidently put Megan’s personality into Silver Star. So the comatose Megan is empty and the spirited horse is actually Megan, though it’s decided that a lifetime of punishment as a horse is a bit much for being a spoilt brat, so the aliens realise their mistake (how they realise it a whole year later isn’t explained!) and come back and fix it, so happy ending for Megan who becomes a nicer person after that.

 

Bobby Dazzler   (Pages: 12-15)

Artist: Matías Alonso

This was a regular strip in Judy, though it isn’t drawn by the regular artist. This strip like all the artist’s work  is lovely looking.  The only flaw I find is that Bobby a bit too pretty and girly then I’m used to.

J84 bobby dazzler

Basically Bobby is the only girl at an all-boys boarding school where her mother works. She usually ends up having to prove that she can do anything the boys can (and she usually does it better!). This story follows a typical set up  where her main antagonists, Mike and Don, sign up for a model plane building competition and laugh at Bobby when she says she’ll enter.  They tell her she should stick to flower arranging (this piece of dialogue will be a set up for the end punchline).

Of course when they realise she’s actually good at making model planes they decide to interfere as they can’t lose to a girl!  So when Bobby volunteers to do the flower display for the hall, the boys decide to lock her into the room so she hasn’t time to finish her model. Of course quick thinking Bobby uses the flowers and some wire to make a unique model plane and ends up winning the competition.

I liked Bobby Dazzler, she could always hold her own with the boys and the boys while sounding a bit chauvinistic were usually aware that Bobby could beat them at most things.

 

The Time Machine    (Pages: 17-21)

Artist: Ken Houghton

Ann lives with her brilliant inventor uncle, who of course has no money, still waiting for the invention that will make them millions. He thinks he finally has it when he makes a time machine. Ann isn’t too convinced. Later she sees a paper headline about a painting that sold for a million pounds by Leonardo.  (Presumably Da Vinci though they never say his second name specifically for some reason, they just leave it at Leonardo, Italian painter from 1498). So when she sees that the painting was part of a pair she decides to try out her uncle’s time machine.

Somehow the vague location of Milan lands her right in his studio. We also get the classic swirling numbers when travelling back in time (this is also where this site’s banner comes from).  So Ann does a deal with Leonardo, through gestures as he’s Italian and doesn’t speak English.

So she takes the painting back  and then goes to contact an art dealer. Straight away the dealer tells her it can’t be the original painting as the paint’s too fresh, he gives her £50 for it anyway for its curiosity value. Of course time as a loop means that she was the cause of the painting being “lost”.

 

Simple Simon   (Pages: 23-25)

Artist: Sean Phillips      Inker: Ken Houghton

As this is only 3 pages long the set-up, conflict and resolution all come pretty quick. Sandra Brown and her horse, Simon,  are accepted into a riding club and she delighted. She has a great time on the outings with the club and seems oblivious that the girls are annoyed that her horse is too slow to keep up with the rest of them.

j84 simple simon

So she is surprised and disappointed a few weeks later when one of the girls, Moira, tells her she has been voted out of the club. She is still loyal to Simon telling him he’s better than any of the faster ponies and then the next day he gets to prove himself when Moira’s horse gets in trouble. Simon helps pull Moira’s horse out of the bog and Moira is so grateful she and the rest of the club vote for Sandra and Simon to join again. Sandra accepts it enthusiastically with no conflict about been kicked out 2 days before.

Schoolgirl Vet  (Pages: 27-31)

This was another regular Judy feature about a girl Kay Burrows who wanted to be a vet and helped her vet brother David a lot of the time. In this story the set-up is that Constable Clark’s dog Rex who is trained to protect him and not accept anything from strangers, gets poisoned.  They don’t know what could have happened but Kay figures out that the stick Clark has being using to play fetch with Rex is Laburnum, a poisonous plant.

So Rex is cured, but a mere poisoning doesn’t make for enough of a thrilling story, so a runaway truck has to be added. Constable Clark performs an impressive and improbable bit of policing.

j84 schoolgirl vet

But wouldn’t you know it after that amazing feat, the brakes have failed so all Clark and Rex can do is steer it clear of the populated area and use their amazing reflexes to jump clear of the truck

Clark is hurt and needs to be gotten clear of the truck before it explodes but Rex won’t let anyone near him. While some guy gets ready to shoot the dog, Kay and David arrive. Kay convinces the police to let her try and get the dog and Rex recognises her and lets her put a lead on him so everyone’s okay.

 

A Year and a Day   (Pages: 33-37)

The year is 1738 and a Squire Jonas and his new wife Althea, are heading home when the coach nearly hits an old woman.  Now the Squire doesn’t seem like a bad guy he had told his driver to go slower and shows concern about the old woman though he does mention that people call her a witch. Woodtrope (the witch) decides to place a curse on him, which seems somewhat unfair after all it was his driver’s fault not his, unless she was more pissed off by being called a witch, in which instance she doesn’t help her case by cursing his first born child.

j84 year and a day

So for those of you who are history buffs you might spot a flaw in her curse, for everyone else prepare for the twist ending.

So the couple have a daughter, Alona, and pretty much forget about the curse until Woodthorpe  turns up to remind them on Alona’s 13th birthday. While Jonas is sceptical about Woodthorpe’s powers, Althea decides she should spend the night of the 2nd with her daughter. Just as midnight approaches Death appears. Looking like the stereotypical Death with a cloak and scythe, and also wings and a horse and lots of smoke. Then the clock strikes midnight and he just disappears. The next day Alona’s tutor comes with the news that Woodthorpe was heard to be carried off screaming in the night and also provides the reason for Death’s disappearance.

j84 year and a day 2

Apparently Death follows the Gregorian calendar too.

 

A Fast Learner   (Pages: 40-44)

  • Art: Rodney Sutton

Marie Reagan is part of a travelling community and is told she will have to go to school by the government. She insists on bringing her parrot to school and of course she runs into some bullies the first day. The bullies leave the parrot out of the cage and she flies away. For someone that was so insistent that she couldn’t be parted from her bird she isn’t too upset about her flying off.  She doesn’t even look for her; she just leaves the cage open at school and goes home to study. Meanwhile the bullies decide to set Marie up by stealing stuff and put it in Marie’s locker.

So the police arrive and Marie is happy to see Polly has returned to the locker room. She is surprised when the police search the lockers and find the stolen stuff in her locker. Luckily there is a witness to the crime, as Polly quotes the bullies.

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The policeman takes the word of the parrot. The bullies get taken to the station to meet their parents and Marie does well on her first test, so everything works out.

 

The Hero   (Pages 49-51)

Two sisters, Susan and Rachel, decide to avoid any more dates with two boys who bored them by talking about cowboys and rock climbing respectively. The perfect distraction comes in the form of a film star who is part of film being shot in their town. A big crowd gathers around and Jason James the film star chooses the girls to go on a boat with him for publicity shots. Of course when things go wrong,  it’s the boys to the rescue with their skills of rock climbing and ah… cowboy related lassoing.

j84 the hero

Of course Jason James makes a complete idiot of himself. The boys are enjoying attention from some girls when Susan and Rachel come over to set them straight, that it’s theirboyfriends the girls are hitting on.  So being fickle girls, they are now fascinated by their boyfriends interests the minute some other girls show and interest in them.

 

Cora Cupid   (Pages: 55-57)

Another regular Judy story about a girl, Cora’s, attempts to play matchmaker. As she is an already established character with Judy fans, other than a small caption box there is no need for a big story set up. This also means that a short 3 page story works better here than the previously mentioned “Simple Simon”. In this story she tries to matchmaker an overzealous first aider with a guy who wants to be a doctor. It doesn’t quite work as she hoped.

Romance and boyfriends became a more common story plot in the 70s/80s/90s then when these comics first started.

Rain   (Pages: 62-63)

Art: Oliver Passingham

Marie Patin and her father a doctor live in a log cabin where there neighbours are a tribe of “Red Indians”.  Anuak, one of the neighbours apparently has interest in becoming a doctor but thinks his elders wouldn’t approve as they are set in their ways. He is disparaging of their plans for a ritual to the rain god to stop the recent flooding. That night Marie awakens to find an old man outside in the rain. She invites him in gives him shelter. The next morning he has gone and so has the rain. Anuak has a quick change of opinion about his elders with these revelations.

Junior Nanny   (Pages: 65-67)

Art: Oliver Passingham

Junior Nanny, Chris Johnson, works in a residential nursery, solving little kids problems.  Donny one of the recent additions is having problems settling in. His father’s dead, his mother’s in hospital and he can’t talk well. Presumably in frustration with the way his life is going so far, he starts tearing the legs off kid’s teddies.  Chris’s boyfriend, Andrew, decides terrifying the kid will help…

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…it doesn’t.

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Apparently honey was a high commodity 1984, was there a shortage in the 80s or something?  I definitely remember having honey at home in the 80s.

So they get the “precious” honey but Donny smashes it. That night one of the kids asks to be read a story about the bear who really likes honey (wonder who that refers to!). Donny gets upset. Chris figures out that Donny’s missing his teddy bear named Honey. So Donny and Honey are reunited and Andrew gets to slip in some suggestive comments to Chris about having his own honey to cuddle.

 

The Girl in the Looking Glass   (Pages: 69-73)

Jane Martin is on holidays with her parents but is very bored. She is interested in the local Chateau, but it is closed to public. She decides to take a closer look anyway, so she hops over the wall and is found by the caretaker’s son

I think she needs to look up definition trespassing, jumping the wall for a closer look at the chateau still constitutes trespassing. So it turns out the Chateau was originally owned by the LaMartins and Jane’s last name being Martin thinks they might be ancestors of hers, and the boy Jean also thinks this is remarkable (because you know Martin being such an unusual name to have!)

Years ago  a curse placed on the Chateau, that if intruders ever stole anything from the chateau and went un-punished, the whole place would be destroyed. It seems like an odd curse, was the old woman who placed the curse a really vigilant law keeper that wanted to ensure thieves did not go unpunished? Or was it that she hoped that the place would not only get robbed but get destroyed in the process? Why the old woman placed the curse in the first place is never explained either.

So while Jean is  checking on one of the burglary alarm he lets Jane into one of the rooms for a few minutes. Jane admires one of the pictures but then as she turns to leave she sees the portrait in the mirror but it reflects her own face. She panics trips over a stool, knocks herself unconcious and sets off an alarm. This turns out to be a lucky thing as burglers had broken in and captured Jean and tried to get him to turn off the alarms. Later her seeing herself in the mirror is explained away.

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You know those old trick mirrors, set a precise angles to old paintings, that every rich person keeps in their house.

The owner are so grateful to Jane that they invite her and her family to stay. Jane looks in the mirror again and sees the portrait is smiling so is not convinced that it’s just a trick of the mirror. There is a bit of ambiguity to whether she’s just over imaginative or whether the Lamartins were actually her ancestors.

 

Big ‘n’ Bertha   (Pages: 74-75)

Judy also had humorous regular features that were more in the style of Beono/Dandy type comic. Bertha is a young girl and Big is her dog and that usually end up being a source of irritation of her father. The father looks a lot like teacher from Bash street kids, I’m not entirely sure if it was the same artist.  Of course artists and writers hardly ever got credited for their work with these comics so it can be hard to track down who drew what.

In this strip Bertha sets up a paddle pool but Dad ties Big up so he won’t splash around and dirty Mum’s washing. When Dad tries to show off his diving skills of course it ends in disaster for him when he trips over Big.

j84 bignbertha

 

Wee Slavey   (Pages: 78-79)

This was a popular feature in Judy. It was about a young Victorian maid, Nellie Perks. While often stories about maids in Victorian times showed a hard life of drudgery, this was a more light-hearted funny strip.  In this short story on her afternoon off she tries to help out a struggling artist, to sell his paintings. He doesn’t have much luck but he paints a portrait of Nellie and signs it for her. Later when Nellie is working she drops the picture in front of some of the family’s guests. In a big coincidence style, it turns out the guests are the parents of the artist.

j84 wee slavey

It is never explained did Ian actually go to Australia and come back or just take the fare money to do his own thing. Either way the parents are so happy to be reunited with him that they help him get famous and he has an exhibition to a crowded galley which includes Nellie’s picture.

 

For All to See  (Pages: 82-85)

Lucy Weston’s estranged rich Uncle is dying. He emigrated from England to Canada in the 40s.  Now that he’s dying, he is feeling bad about disowning his sister after her marriage. So he wants to make it up to his sister and niece Lucy by leaving them an inheritance. He is afraid that his family would contest a legacy so his sends something open for “all to see”. Sure enough after his death, his pompous son, Alan, comes to check what his father sent his aunt and cousin. The document Uncle Charles sent them is deeds to a property in Canada. Alan informs them it’s worthless, it was flooded in 1973 by the government to make a reservoir.  So Alan throws the paper back at them and leaves. They are disappointed, but Lucy refuses to believe it was some joke. While in a newsagents she figures out what the document is all about. She shows the document to the newsagent a keen stamp collector. Turns out the document has a rare stamp attached to it worth nearly 50,000.

The Helpers   (Pages: 88-93)

Artist: Ian Kennedy

A new take on the history of Britain, two aliens Petra and Anya land on Earth during the early Stone Age. Their mission is to help primitive people. They begin to show the people how to make fire, tools, wheels, and apparently teach them English.

j84 the helpers 1

So the people are amazed by this “teknajee” and want the “Gods” to stay with them. Anya and Petra decide its time to leave before they become to dependent on them. So the tribe name the land after them; Petranya.

Then centuries later the Romans come to conquer them. I guess the tribe could have used their alien helpers then!

j84 the helpers 2

So after some kind of chinese whispers like hijinks Petranya become Britannia.  Not exactly the most historical accurate depiction of Britain, but the last panel asks anyway “Just a story. But could it be how Britain and London got their names?”

The Theatre   (Pages: 97-101)

Artist: Russ Nicholson

I just love the artwork in this story particularly the opening panel.  Often I think these stories benefited from not being in colour, the simple green/black/white works beautifully here.

So the set up is Grace has time to kill before getting her train and seeks shelter in a theatre. Often short stories with a twist, used the situation of the protagonist hanging out with ghosts without realising it. This story has the good double bluff, where Grace freaks out as she thinks the theatre people are  ghosts when she sees they are dressed in old fashioned clothes. She runs away but some of the people catch up to her.

j84 the theatre 2

So this is explained away, and Grace ends up staying until the second half, then goes to get her train. She forgets her gloves though, so she runs back to get them, only to find…

j84 the theatre 3

 

Danger, Min at Work!   (Pages: 104-105)

Another humour strip, this involves a girl Min who can never keep a job. Her story-lines had her trying out a variety of jobs, that always end in disaster. Here she gets a job on a farm and typical mayhem ensues. She decides the quickest way to weed turnips is to use a tractor. She ends up losing control of the tractor and crashing into a milk tanker.

 

Betty’s Bloodhound Butler   (Pages: 107-109)

  • Art: Giorgio Letteri

Betty has a dog that is called Butler and is also dressed liked one. He also talks like a butler, but only Betty can understand him (or else she is completely delusional!).  Kind of reminds me of the recent Australian/US TV show Wilfred, only Butler is more dignified than Wilfred and Betty was never suicidal.

Betty is out getting a birthday present for her Neighbour’s little girl, Susie. She buys her a stuffed dog, but Susie the ungrateful brat decides she wants Butler instead. Since she’s told she can’t have Butler she goes into a pet shop to get a puppy. The owner understands as he has a daughter who is similar to Susie. The daughter proves this by demanding to have Susie’s stuffed dog.

Butler’s suggestion to Betty is that the pet shop owner may accept the stuffed dog as payment for the puppy. The owner apparently is all for the bartering system agrees to this.

 

The Black Dog   (Pages: 110-111)

Linda Llyod has a sixth sense and helps her uncle out whom as a member of Society for Psychical Research, investigates ghosts and haunted houses. A new client is upset that her son, Toby, has invented an imaginary dog and more upsetting for her is that she saw it herself go into his room before disappearing. Linda goes to talk to Toby and he is able to summon the dog at will. Linda figures out that Toby is very lonely, so she solves the problem by getting him a puppy. (Puppies, they solve all kids’ problems!).  She also persuades him to let the ghost dog  go back to where he belongs.

 

Photo Finish    (Pages:112-117)

Artist: Claude Berridge

June Simons finds an old instant camera in a local junk shop.But it turns out the camera is cursed; June soon figures out that anything she takes a picture of gets destroyed.  A vase breaks, her dad’s new car crashes etc. Presumably the camera was always doing this so I’ve got to wonder why the previous owner would pass it on to a junk shop.

So, while babysitting the little kid Jimmy goes to take a photo of Jane. She panics and decides to get rid of it but instead of just smashing she decides to run in the rain to throw it over the junk dealer’s wall

j84 photo finish

So that could have ended in a disaster but luckily  the last photo taken was not of Jane but of the mirror, so as it took a photo of itself it had to destroy itself. Which is pretty lucky as if she had just tossed it away presumably there’d be some kind of “jumanji” situation, where the junk dealer would just sell it on to some unsuspecting person again.

 

Reluctant Heroine   (Pages: 120-125)

This is another romance type story. While on holiday with parents Fran meets a boy Keith. She is happy to spend time with him at first but she isn’t too happy when he suggests they go diving.

She confesses that she has been scared of being underwater since a bad experience as a toddler. (Although she has no problem with swimming). Keith offers to help her with her phobia, but she declines. Later they go exploring some caves but they are trapped when the tide starts to come in. Keith decides to climb up to an opening at the top of the cave. He slips and hurts himself. Fran decides to the only way to get help is to swim out the entrance. So she ignores her fears, swims out and gets help to rescue Keith. This is a nice contrast to the earlier story “The Hero”; it means that both sexes have had a chance to save their love interests.

And They Call her Sweet Little Sue!

Plot

Fourteen year old, Sue Mason was the only girl on the Bar M ranch in Wyoming. Her widowed father, Henry Mason, and her two strapping brothers, Sam and Luke, refused to admit she was growing up. They tried to protect her at all times, but in fact she was well able to look after herself AND them.

Notes

Appeared

  • And They Call her Sweet Little Sue! – Mandy: circa #214 (20 February 1971) – (?)

Little Miss Moneybags [1982]

Plot

Orphaned Shirley Richards was living in Cedar Lodge Children’s Home.  She was amazed when Mr Brown, her father’s solicitor, told her that her parents had left her a fortune. Shirley wanted to be fostered, but she decided to keep her wealth a secret until the right foster parents were found for her.

Notes

  • Artist: Claude Berridge

Appeared

  • Little Miss Moneybags  – Mandy: circa #829 (4 December 1982) – (?))

Prisoners of the Sewing Machine

Plot

Susan Boyd worked as a dressmaker for Mrs Leach, who owned a dress stall in the local market and ran a squalid workhouse in a slum house, where several other homeless children worked and lived like slaves. Susan pretended to be on Mrs Leach’s side, so she could try and help the others.

Notes

  • Art: Claude Berridge

Appeared

  • Prisoners of the Sewing Machine – Mandy: #498 (31 July 1976) – #511 (30 October 1976)