Tag Archives: David Matysiak

Bunty for Girls 1990

I was going to do a Christmas post while I had time off from work, unfortunately after Christmas day, I was unwell, but I have recovered now (just in time to go back to work of course!), so better late than never, I have managed to get time to look at an old Bunty annual.

The Bunty annuals up to 1988 all depicted a drawing of the Bunty character on the cover, in 1989 this changed instead to a photo of a girl and the 1990 annual does the same, a trend that would continue until the end of the annuals. What I do notice about this earlier photo covers is they are more minimalist, with just plain background, girl, and title. Later annuals would have more text added to the cover advertising what to expect inside. For regular weekly readers they would know what to look forward to, a lot of familiar characters are present with some fun one-off stories as well. (For just a list of contents go to the next page)


Picture Stories

Sister Susie (Pages: 6-15)

Artist: Matias Alonso

Petra Mayne’s uncle raised a chimp named Susie like a human child. While he was away, Susie comes to stay with Petra’s family. Susie can be quite difficult to manage at times. To try and keep her entertained they go to visit a Stately home with a fun fair (oddly enough they leave Petra’s young twin siblings with a neighbour, which seems unfair that they miss out!). The plan is to stay at the outside grounds, but Susie slips away into the Hall. She causes mischief until  a group of children visiting from children’s home are able to lead her outside. They have more success at the fair as Susie helps a boy down the helter skelter and stays with the children for the rest of the day. She does manage to get up to one more piece of mischief before leaving slipping hall to steal the wax fruit display, which the Mayne’s don’t notice until driving home!

Bonnie and Claude (Pages: 17-24)

Artist: Andy Tew

Ballroom dancers Bonnie and Claude Plank along with young Laura Balmain go to Rio de Janeiro on holiday, before they are to compete in the World Latin American Dance Campionship. Unbeknownst to them a competing pair of dancers, Pedro and Carmen Maneto, have decided in order to win, they must make sure the Planks can not participate.

They follow the Planks around on holiday but their tricks always backfire, until Pedro takes drastic measures and gets bandits to kidnap the trio. The bandits put them to work for them, but it has disastrous consequences, Laura puts too much chilli in the food, the Planks flatten his gold watch and burn his long johns with an iron. Laura then comes up with a plan to escape, Bonnie and Claude distract the bandits with dancing lessons and she throws bullets on fire, making them think they are being attacked. Bonnie, Claude and Laura manage to make it to championship just in time and of course win it. Still not knowing Maneto’s involvement she is confused when the Bandit seem to blame the Manetos for things her and the Planks did!

The Wilde Bunch (Pages: 26-32)

Art: Russ Nicholson

Carol Wilde found kids for the model agency she worked at. The company used real ordinary kids off the street rather than pretty posed professional models. Carol was good at finding the perfect kid, but it could also cause a lot of trouble.

While running late for work, she runs into a boy on roller skates, although he says he will jump over her, she ducks out of way landing in water, he tells her she could have saved herself a soaking if she listened to him. When she finally gets to works she has a note from colleague Miss Potts, but she can barely read the hand-writing, “Mega TV need a boy – skater trained – for a special stunt commercial” . Miss Potts is out looking at potential candidate but rings to say she has had no luck, Carol says she has an idea that she ran into a great skater earlier, she hangs up before hearing Miss Potts protest.

The boy, Lennie, sees Carol coming and thinks she is mad about earlier and runs off. Borrowing some skates Carol goes after him. Lennie gives is skates to is twin brother Teddy and disappears, Carol catches Teddy not knowing he is a twin. Without listening to him trying to explain she rushes him over to studio wondering why he has got so clumsy all of sudden, learning the truth, she thinks she is in big trouble but the TV people are delighted with Teddy. Miss Potts arrives she had been trying to tell Carol earlier the note said ‘scatter-brained’ not ‘skater-trained’, the commercial is for a relaxing hot drink where a kid is to wreck the house. So coincidentally for Carol, everything worked out as it should!

Three stories in and a lot of humour, hijinks and misunderstandings in this annual! There’s a change of pace for the next story.

The Necklace (Pages: 33-44)

Artist: David Matysiak

As in a lot of these annuals (mostly in Diana, Man in Black stories)  a spooky tale by David Matysiak, seems tradition. In this story Sally Regan borrows a special necklace from a friend and promises to return it first thing in the morning. She puts in a secret cubby hole for safe keeping but oversleeps in the morning and forget to bring it. Jean is anxious to get the necklace back, so Sally rushes home to get it after school but doesn’t pay attention when crossing the road getting hit by truck.

Sally makes it home but is feeling strange, there is a truck moving furniture and girls in her bedroom which confuses her. Then she puts her hand through a clock and she realises she is a ghost. Her memories are not fully in tact, she remembers getting hit and she was rushing to do something important but can’t remember what it was. Getting used to her ghost state, she eavesdrops on the new owners conversations to find out her parents moved. She then seeks out her grave and sees her friends including Jean visit. Jean is sorry that she was cross about the necklace the last time she saw Sally. Now knowing what she needs to do Sally goes back to the house, and after a workman discovers her secret cubby  hole she scares him and takes the necklace placing it in Jean’s desk. This is not the end of it though, as Sally discovers so much time has passed that her old class have moved to third year. The boy who now has Jean’s desk finds the necklace and gives it to his girlfriend. Sally manages to sneak it back from her during gym class and slip it into Jean’s blazer pocket. Jean is surprised to find it, and even more surprisingly Sally wakes up in a hospital bed with her parents beside her. She has been unconscious since the accident, she thinks it was all a strange dream she had, until Jean visits wearing her necklace, saying she found it in her blazer pocket!

School’s Out! (Pages: 49-58)

Artist: Terry Aspin

Before The Comp came over from Nikki, Bunty’s equivalent long running soap story, School’s Out, followed the pupils at Wansdale School. In this story Patti asks her friends to come along to the Christmas Eve disco with her, but they all have plans – Dawn is decorating at an Old people’s home, Sandra is going to a fancy dress party, Carol is baking a Christmas cake, Ellie is going with her brother Kevin to get a Christmas tree and Gladys is being Santa at a kid’s party. Their Christmas plans end up being a disaster, after lots of complaints about her decorating Dawn discovers someone else has decorated the party room at the old peoples home, Sandra’s Eddie the Eagle costume cause her trouble as she can’t get in taxi or crowded bus with her skis, Kevin and Dawn tries to cut down a tree but after a misadventure buy one instead, and the kids are not convinced by Gladys Father Christmas voice and rip her beard off. Patti is surprised to see them all turn up at the disco, but they all have a good time in the end.

Life in Bunty (Pages: 59-61)

Not to be confused with Life with Bunty that follows the Bunty character, this strip follows Kirstie a worker in a ficionalised Bunty office, that seems to employ a number of women with a male boss they call “Sir”. In this story Kirstie recall some previous years Christmas mishaps, like Sir trying dance on table at restauraunt and slipping onto holly or when they all had the same idea to give Sir a photo of themselves as a present. This year Kirstie brings the whole office down as she slips on a filofax after decorating the office.

Toots (Page: 64)

Artist: Bill Ritchie

Toots bemoans the youth watching TV instead of doing constructive hobbies like bygone years  such as knitting, painting, playing the piano… that is until she hears the theme tune of “Neighbours” on the TV and so has to pause to watch that first.

Bike Rider (Pages: 65-69)

Artist: Andy Tew

Sandy Clark with her computerised super bike go on the hunt for a pickpocket, after mistaking a man running for the bus as the thief trying to get away, they have better luck at the circus and they find a trained monkey responsible. After the events, the ringmaster is sorry that the Bike Rider has disappeared he wanted to offer him a job as a stunt rider. Sandy overhearing thinks “he” won’t be taking up the offer.

The Four Marys (Pages: 71-80)

Artist: Jim Eldridge

After the four Marys find out that Miss Creef’s been teaching at St Elmos for 25 years, they talk to Miss Mitchell about celebrating the occasion. They decide to write to old pupils to get together for the celebration. Everyone replies except sisters Ruth and Rhoda Dale. As the last address they have for them is close to Raddy’s home, over half-term they decide to pay a visit. They are shocked when Rhoda has so much hate for Creefy, she tells them of her time in school. Her mother was a famous actress that they rarely got to see when she was in London for only one day, they wanted to go visit, but Dr Gull was unable to let them go as there was no teacher free to chaperone the. Rhoda and her sister snuck off to London anyway, surprised to meet Creefy at the train station. Despite the hotel being close by, Creefy just took them back to school, and they never got a chance to see their mother again as she died in an accident a few months later.

The Marys are disappointed that Miss Creef could do something like that, but remind themselves people can make mistakes. On the day of the celebration allthe old pupils tell stories of how Miss Creef helped them. The Marys think everything will be ruined when Ruth and Rhoda show up, but of course the story Rhoda told was not the whole truth. What she did not know was that he mother did not want to be seen with the girls in case having grown up daughters damaged her career. Miss Creef had gone to see her to try and get her to change her mind, Ruth found this out later and only after learning that Rhoda still had resentment for Miss Creef she told her the whole story. So the firm but fair Creefy’s reputatation is restored and everyone is able to happily join in the celebrations.

Haggis (Pages: 93)

Haggis is tired of having to follow orders, but he doesn’t refuse the order to come for dinner.

Life With Bunty (Pages: 94-95)

Artist: Doris Kinnear

Bunty is enjoying skating with her friends. When a boy comes along that she likes, she pretends not to be a good skater so he will offer to help her.

No Time for Terri (Pages: 97-104)

Artist: Douglas Perry

Terri Dempster’s parents run a children’s home, Heartvale House. Sometimes Terri feels her parents don’t have as much time for her as the other children, so she is excited when she sees they have booked a holiday to Paris. She icannot hide her disappointment when they tell her it is a getaway just for her mom and dad and they’ve got a temporary matron in for the week. Terri is so upset so won’t stay at the home and asks to stay with an aunt instead. She ends up quite bored, meanwhile the children aren’t getting along with the new matron and decide totrack down Terri. Terri comes back to the home and helps the matron, with all the little tricks she’s learned from her parents (like putting a sprinkle of cheese on the mash so the children eat it).

Hearing the whole story when they return, her parents are proud of her when they come back. They want to treat her to a weekend away to London just the three of them. Terri is excited but when one of the young girls, Mandy, is upset that Terri will miss her birthday, Terri feels so bad that they end up staying for the party instead. Terri tells her parents she is getting as daft about the place as they are.

Bringing Up the Barkers! (Pages: 106-112)

Artist: Andy Tew

Walter the dalmatian of Janner Hall, despaired at his new owners, the rough and common Barkers who had inherited the Hall. When Princess Idra comes to stay, he thinks she must also be appalled by the Barkers behaviour. When he invites some of his dog friends to look at the Princesses room, he get in trouble as Karl attacks a big teddy bear and the room gets wrecked. Walter is  ashamed but redeems himself when he raises the alarm to kidnappers who are spying on the place. Him and the Barkers stop them and Princess Idra is grateful, she also thinks the Barkers are fun and is enjoying her stay. Walter admits one can’t be highbrow all the time!

Dream Pony (Pages: 113-120)

Artist: Edmond Ripoll

Mandy Mason gets to ride her neighbours cart pony Missy, but dreams of owning her own exciting competitive pony. When her father comes into money her dream comes true when she is able to buy an arab pony, Flame. But she soon finds out he is not as perfect as he seems, he tires her out from straining on the reigns, is traffic shy,  he bolts from her and doesn’t watch out for people when jumping over a drop. Mandy#s friends mention having such a thoughtful pony as Missy who would never do such things has spoiled. Mandy had never seen things that way but begins to realise how lucky she was to have Missy. She gives Flame back and when her old neighbour wants to give up her cart, Mandy is delighted she can buy Missy her perfect pony for herself.

Photo Stories

Ever Had That Shrinking Feeling? (Pages: 81-92)

Helen agrees to take on her friend Rosemary’s newspaper round for a day as a favor. The shopkeeper mentions Rosemary was shakey after returning from her round the previous day. Helen wonders what could have caused trouble, as everything runs smoothly, her nerves start to ease, but when she gets to house 13 suddenly everything starts looking bigger. The house belongs to a witch who has cursed her for insulting her the previous day, not realising she’s a different paper girl. Helen has to escape the wilds of the garden before getting into the house and finally getting attention of the witch. Finding out her mistake the witch un-shrinks Helen but also makes her forget what happened. So the next day when Rosemary asks what happened thinking there is no trouble she says she doesn’t want to give up the money will take back the paper round.

There is some dodgy cut and paste sometimes with making Helen small and interacting with things, but it was a different type of photo story than we usually see so it makes it more memorable.


  • Top Popstrels  (Pages: 16, 48, 70, 121)
    • Posters of popstars: Kylie Minogue,Whitney Houston, Tiffany and Sinitta
  • Pop the Question (Page: 25)
    • A pop music quiz.
  • Alton Towers (Pages: 45-47)
    • A feature on the lesure park
  • “As We Were Saying…!” (Pages: 62-63)
    • Animal photos with joke speech bubbles
  • A Right Royal Crossword (Pages: 96)
    • A crossword based on the royal family.
  • Lets All Go to Sandy City! (Page: 105)
    • Feature on sculptor Kent Trollen sand city built on Seal beach, California.
  • A Photo Story is Born… (Pages: 122-123)
    • An interesting insight into the making of a photo story. The story in question is “Nothing to be Afraid of” appeared in the Bunty 1989 Summer Special.  According to this feature firstly the writer Judy Maslen, passes on the story to sub-editor Jeanette Taylor which then gets passed to photographers Norman and Benita Brown. The photographers gather the cast and after shooting the scenes, the film is developed and passed back to the Bunty office. The type is set, read and corrected and stuck up by balloonist Elaine Bolton.
  • Design a Fashion (Pages: 124-125)
    • Eight fashion designs submitted by readers, redrawn by a Bunty artist.


Final Thoughts

This was the earliest Bunty annual I owned when I was younger (well… technically it belonged to my sister first). I always preferred the Mandy and Judy annuals, but Bunty had its merits too and I have good memories of this. There is a lot of humourous stories in this, I enjoyed The Wilde Bunch, the misunderstandings and Carol’s chase of Lennie is quite dynamic. The soap story School’s Out could be played for drama in the weekly issues at times, but this story instead goes for a humourous Christmas inspired tale. I especially appreciate Sandra’s costume of an eagle with skis to represent Eddie the Eagle. Another favourite of mine is The Necklace the long spooky story, left you wondering how much was a dream and is a story that stuck out in memory with of course David Matysiak’s distinctive art.  The Four Marys is always a classic, and I do have a soft spot for stories that show flashbacks to St Elmos in the past, of course there was a misunderstandings with Miss Creef, us readers could hardly believe she could be so cruel and story shows of course that’s not the case.  It’s the only story that shows us some past events as well, as all the stories are set in contemporary times, no tragic Victorian orphans stories present here.

Surprisingly we get no text stories, although maybe its not a big surprise as Bunty annuals didn’t have a lot of text stories other than the very early years, and none appeared in annuals from 1988 to 1992. We do get one photo story, Ever Had That Shrinking Feeling? is more memorable than other photo stories which usually stuck to general life stories with their restricted format. Another bonus of this book is the behind the scenes of how the photo stories were made, with names of people who worked on the story. Photos taken of photographer taking photos for a photo story, all very layered! There were some other other fun features, I liked the Design a Fashion page where reader’s designs would be drawn by a Bunty artist, and the sand sculptures in the Lets all Go to Sandy City.


Traitor’s War (1991)

Published: Commando #2472 (1991), reprinted Commando #4085 (2008)

Artists: Janek Matysiak (story); Ron Brown (cover)

Writer: Alan Hemus

Many names of the artists in girls’ comics are now very familiar to us, such as John Armstrong, Mario Capaldi, Douglas Perry, Veronica Weir, Maria Dembilio and Norman Lee. But what about their offspring? How many of their children have followed them into the comics industry, and what samples of their work might be around? Here is one sample, which is drawn by Janek Matysiak, the son of popular DCT artist David Matysiak.


In the Savoy Alps, 1943, Andre Huot has lived peacefully as a shepherd after losing his father Henri in the Battle of France. Then his Uncle Humbert, a small-time crook, arrives to rope him into joining “the gang”. No, not gangsters, he says (well, not gangsters of that variety, anyway). He means the Milice, also known as the Militia, the (hated) French anti-Resistance paramilitary organisation with a reputation to rival the Gestapo. It’s all in a good cause, he tells Andre: “we are the law…the noble service that keeps peace in France”. And to show he means business in having Andre join the Milice, Humbert casually shoots Andre’s beloved old dog dead, saying it would have been left to starve: “I did it purely out of kindness”. Of course, he just considered the dog a liability that would have no place in Andre’s Milice career.

Andre is soon picking up Milice training and impresses their lieutenant, Bernard Aubray. But despite the indoctrination from Uncle Humbert and his Milice training, he isn’t developing a genuine belief or loyalty in the Milice because he has no loyalty in serving the Germans as they do. Moreover, he came in from a sheltered, quiet country life. This made him a bit green and naive, and therefore hardly one for committing atrocities. So he soon has doubts about what he is doing, which causes increasing confusion about which side to be on.

It starts when Andre meets the Gestapo man the Milice serves: Doctor Gert Sigmund, known to them as “Herr Doktor”. Herr Doktor is, of course, one very nasty Nazi, and the Milice fear him as much as they respect him. When Andre protests to his uncle about serving Germans, the reply is that the Germans are the bosses now, and serving them is the way to keep you out of trouble.

Andre grows ever more troubled at the brutality of Herr Doktor’s Milice operations. He is dragged into watching acts of torture, roundups, and slaughter of fellow Frenchmen in retaliation for acts of sabotage and being forced to kill some people himself. He is revulsed to see his uncle torture an elderly man (watch this space) for information about a sabotaged train. Uncle Humbert reassures Andre it’s all a necessity to keep the peace, but that doesn’t help Andre’s conscience or clear up his confusion. And Andre is soon finding other reasons not to enjoy life in the Milice. He has noticed how his fellow Frenchmen hate the Milice, and for this reason none of them go outside their HQ alone. He feels an outcast among his own people and a virtual prisoner at Milice HQ. Even so, he doesn’t seem to realise what he is in the eyes of his fellow countrymen – a traitor.

But that changes one spring day in 1944. Andre is part of a raid on a house in Burgundy to bring down four Maquis (French Resistance) members. One Maquis man survives, Diderot (probably an alias or code name, as his name is later revealed as Marcel Blum). He got shot in the leg and finds himself facing Andre. He says, “Militia, eh? A traitor who serves the Boches.” Because of his injury, Diderot is taken to hospital for treatment before being turned over to the Gestapo.

Being called a traitor is the turning point for Andre. Though still a bit confused about which side to take, he decides to rescue Diderot, and takes advantage of his guard duty at the hospital to do so. There are problems in gaining Diderot’s trust, even when Andre allows Diderot the use of his gun. When Andre shoots down pursuing Germans during the getaway (in a car with the licence plate JANEK1), Diderot finally believes him and directs him to a safe house, where they part ways. Diderot rejoins the Resistance and Andre takes off quick, not wanting the Resistance to see his Milice uniform; at least he is now clear he does not want to take the Milice side anymore. After a change of clothes, he is heading home to his shepherd’s hut.

But shortly before he gets there, he sees German soldiers opening fire on a British unit (Birdy (Sergeant), Whacker (Corporal) and Eustace (Private)) who drove up from the Mediterranean. His confusion finally clears up about which side to be on, and he joins in to help the British against the ambush, forming an inseparable foursome with them. And so he joins the unit known as the Kitehawks, an unusual unit consisting of British soldiers and Maquis men. The latter Andre had been trained to regard as terrorist-saboteurs during his time in the Milice, but now he is accepted as one of them. The Kitehawks take their name from their leader, Captain Jim Hawkes. They accept the story Andre gives, but he has kept the Milice part secret. If they find out, it’s the firing squad for him.

Andre becomes part of Dog Section, the S.A.S. section of the Kitehawks, and his knowledge of the region makes him a useful guide in their sabotage missions against the Germans. They make rapid progress in the region, and when D-Day comes, they enter the south of France on Operation Anvil (later Dragoon) to liberate France from the south, making more and more progress in liberating the country. Andre, who had joined the Kitehawks with no rank, is promoted to Private, but then gets wounded and put in military hospital. And the more the Kitehawks penetrate France, the more the risk grows that Andre’s Milice past will catch up one way or other…

And then, while Andre is still recovering in military hospital, it finally happens. How exactly it happened is not explained, but in comes the old man tortured over the sabotaged train incident. He identifies Andre as one of Aubray’s unit, adding that Aubray has now been hanged for his crimes.

Andre is court-martialled and sentenced to death in a drumhead trial that has little regard for his good record in the Kitekawks: “Too many of your kind turned their coats when it became obvious their German friends were losing the war”, ignoring that Andre joined the Kitehawks before D-Day. It’s a French military court, and the French didn’t have much mercy for collaborators when France was liberated from the Nazis. Fortunately, Diderot/Blum happens to be there for another hearing, and gives evidence that Andre went against the Milice and saved him from the Gestapo. The court agrees to reverse the verdict and release Andre.

Andre, still recovering from his injury, is given a month’s sick leave. He heads back to his shepherd’s hut – only to find Uncle Humbert, Herr Doktor and a Gestapo goon named Bloch have taken refuge there as fugitives from justice and planning to flee over the Alps. When the Nazis see him in British uniform, they turn on Humbert. Humbert tries his usual ploy of talking his way out of it, but Herr Doktor orders Bloch to shoot Andre. Humbert tries to intervene, which causes him to take the bullet instead. It also gives Andre the chance to draw his concealed weapon, enabling him to kill both Nazis. He burns down the cabin along with the corpses of the Nazis and buries Uncle Humbert next to the very dog he killed. He then departs, vowing never to return, and hands in Herr Doktor’s ill-gotten gains along the way.


We begin with the Matysiak Jr artwork, as this was the reason for the entry. Matysiak Jr’s website shows that military history and Commando are a huge part of his portfolio. The illustrations of his war scenes on his site at https://janekmatysiak.carbonmade.com are utterly breathtaking and make your mouth water so much you could laminate them and put them on your wall.

A large proportion of Matysiak Jr artwork in Commando are covers, and examples include “The Fighting Sappers” #4691, “Night and Fog” #4464, and “Desert Heroes” #4697. Given how beautiful his digital/painted war scenes are, it’s no wonder he was a popular choice for Commando covers. A site of Commando listings where Matysiak Jr is listed as a creator can be found at https://commandocomics.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Janek_Matysiak. Oddly, “Traitor’s War” is absent from the list. Perhaps it was an oversight, but there are always updates.

Viewing interior Matysiak Jr artwork in Commando gives a different perspective of his style, as it appears in black and white instead of the colour and paintwork of the Commando covers. So the pencils, pens and inkwork can be seen more clearly. They render war, amiability and brutality with refined lines and elegant cross-hatching, which does not make it look heavy or rushed. The artwork really gives the impression that time and care were taken in rendering each line. The style is one that can bring off so many different sides to the story: the sinister Nazis, the gentle demeanour of Andre, more hardened commanders, the loud, brash Uncle Humbert, the battle and sabotage scenes, the time period, and the background scenes in which the various parts of action take place, from the Savoy Alps to the train tracks where enemy trains get blown up.

Now, we move on to the story and the character development. First, the villains.

Herr Doktor is pretty standard Commando fare of being one sinister, cruel and totally irredeemable Nazi. But he gets little development and far less part in the plot than Nazi nasties usually do in Commando. He isn’t playing the role of the main antagonist who drives the story all the way to the final panels, which is what Commando villains usually do. Neither is Aubray. Although the old man calls Aubray “the accursed Aubray”, he remains a minor villain who appears even more briefly than Herr Doktor.

By far the best villain is Uncle Humbert. He gets the most development and substance, is a more rounded villain, and he is far more of a plot driver than the Nazis. After all, if not for Uncle Humbert, none of the action would have taken place. Besides, it is obvious Andre would never have gone to war without a push of some sort. Despite his father being killed in the war and now old enough to fight, he just spends his days as a shepherd. Uncle Humbert, in spite of himself, gave Andre that push.

From the moment Humbert appears, he grabs your attention, and he stands out in all the panels he appears in. One of his greatest strengths as a villain is that he’s smooth talker and has a knack for talking his way out of trouble or, as in the case of Andre, talking someone into something. And it’s easy to understand his motives. Having always been a crook, he went into the Milice because it enabled him to what he would do in the world of crime and gangsters, but without fear of the law, because it’s all within the jackboot law of occupied France. Also, in Humbert’s view (or what he says), it’s all righteous: “we are the law…the noble service that keeps peace in France”. Plus there are a lot of perks in being Milice, such as getting the best of everything from the Germans, including non-rationed food and living in style with flash cars and such.

Humbert has the distinction of being the only villain to redeem himself, with his action to save Andre from the Nazis. It is not clear if he meant to sacrifice himself by taking the bullet or just got in the way of it while trying to intervene, but he is still the only villain in the story to die an honourable death. He has earned a measure of respect from the reader and pity from Andre, who decides he was “foolish and greedy” rather than evil (though the people who suffered under him and Aubray’s unit might have different views!). Andre burying his Uncle next to the dog he killed was even a gesture to keep him company.

The theme of a good man who is initially on the German side but changes sides because of Nazi atrocities has been done elsewhere in Commando, such as “Snowbound“, Commando #5517. But because the villains take a bit of a back seat in the plot, it’s less of a hero vs villain and more the journey of Andre Huot, both in terms of his career in soldiering and his character development.

Andre’s growth starts with him being a simple, sheltered country youth who’s never been so far from his Alpine home before. So he’s not difficult to be led on, and Humbert takes advantage of that. And Andre does go along with Humbert, despite knowing his uncle is a crook and witnessing the shocking fate of his dog. Of course, if Andre had refused his uncle’s offer, he could have used force – he has the gun, after all. Also, arriving in town’s a real culture shock for the country boy. So he’s a bit bewildered, which makes him even easier to indoctrinate.

At first glance, there’s plenty to impress Andre in joining the Milice: the rich, non-rationed food of the best kind, the smart blue uniform that looks so intriguing, the smooth talk, the praise for good work, the weapons training, and the programming that the Milice is “the noble service that keeps peace in France” and the people they hunt are dangerous terrorists who must be crushed to keep that peace. Uncle Humbert would be great at running a cult, and Andre would be easy prey for it.

As Andre is still too easy to be led on, he’s not breaking away so readily as other Germans in Commando stories have against the brutalities of the Nazis. The indoctrination vs his horror at the atrocities and the red flags that being in the Milice is leading him down the wrong path can only cause confusion in his mind. The shock of discovering how the other side sees him – a traitor – must have reminded him that his father fought the Germans, not helped them as his uncle says they should do. At any rate, by now all Andre can really think is that he wishes his uncle had stayed away. Even when he makes the decision to help Diderot escape, he’s still not sure in his mind that he’s doing the right thing. It’s his heart he’s following, which must be the only thing he can follow at this point.

Even after Andre doesn’t want to be part of the Milice anymore and now regards that intriguing blue uniform as “traitor’s clothing”, he’s still got that confusion in his mind. And when he joins the Maquis section in the Kitehawks, he’s still affected by Milice indoctrination (looking on the Maquis as terrorist-saboteurs). This must have taken a little while to overcome, but finding himself much happier and productive in the Maquis than the Milice would have helped considerably. And so would the very core of Andre Huot – a good-natured man of integrity. This remains intact throughout the story and could not be destroyed or corrupted. It prevented Andre from actually succumbing to the wrong side and helped him to turn to the right side before he paid the price for being on the wrong side – and nearly did.

Bunty Annual 2002

Picture Stories

  • The Comp (Pages 5 – 10) [Artist: Peter Wilkes]
  • Creep (Pages 12 – 15) [Artist: Eduardo Feito]
  • Backstreet Hospital (Pages 27 – 35) [Artist: “B Jackson”]
    • Reprinted from Bunty Annual 1992
  • The Four Marys [two parts] (Pages 36 – 39, 105 – 108) [Artist: Jim Eldridge]
  • Is it a Date? (Pages 43 – 46) [Artist: Ana Rodriguez]
    • Reprinted from Judy Annual 1990 “Saturday Date”
  • Flukey and Friends (Pages 54 – 55)
    • Part of the Dolphins and the Deep Sea feature
  • Toots (Pages 66 – 68) [Artist: Bill Ritchie]
  • Penny’s Place (Pages 69 – 73)
  • The Comp (Pages 82 – 87) [Artist: Peter Wilkes]
  • The Painting (Pages 92 – 104) [Artist: David Matysiak]
    • Reprinted from Bunty Annual 1991
  • It’s No Joke! (Pages 110 – 115) [Artist: Julio Bosch]
    • Reprinted from Judy Annual 1993  “New Year Resolution”

Text Story 

  • The Mansion of Strange Shadows –
    • Chapter One – The House Through the Woods (Pages 16 – 17)
    • Chapter Two – Cold Comfort (Pages 41 – 42)
    • Chapter Three – The Ghastly Gallery (Pages 74 – 75)
    • Chapter Four – Out of Time (Pages 89 – 90)
    • Chapter Five – The Vault of Shadows (Pages 118 – 119)

Photo Stories

  • To See or Not to See… (Pages 21 – 24)
  • Fussy Fliss (Pages 47 – 52)
  • All in a Good Cause! (Pages 78 – 81)
  • Mobile Moans (Pages 121 – 125)


  • Game – Let’s Party (Pages 2 – 3)
  • What’s In? (Table of Contents) (Page 4)
  • Seal Poster (Page 11)
  • Fun to Do – Surprise Parcels (Pages 18 – 19)
    • Taken from Anness Books’ Fun With Paper by Marion Elliot
  • It’s In The Stars (Page 20, page 109)
  • Quiz – Earth Lover! (Pages 25 – 26)
  • Hamster Poster (Page 40)
  • Dolphins and the Deep Sea Intro (Page 53)
  • Flukey’s Finny Facts (Pages 56 – 57)
  • Going Wild (Page 58)
  • Dolphin Poster (Page 59)
  • Water Puzzler (Pages 60 – 61)
  • Finny Friends (Page 62)
  • Flow Chart – Starry-Eyed? (Page 63)
  • Puzzles – Four by Four (Pages 64 – 65)
  • Puzzles – Colour In! (Pages 76 – 77)
  • Lion Cub Poster (Page 88)
  • Puzzle – Superstar! (Page 91)
  • Fun to Do – Chocolate Cups (Pages 116 – 117)
    • Taken from Anness Books’ Fun With Cooking by Judy Williams
  • Game – Jungle Fun! (Pages 126 – 127)

* Thanks to April Slocombe for information and pictures

Bunty Summer Special 1988

Picture Stories

  • Life with Bunty (Page 2) [Art: Doris Kinnear]
  • Sister Suzie (Pages: 3-5) [Art: Rodney Sutton]
  • Little Miss Lonely (Pages: 6-7, 9) [Art: Douglas Perry]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 10-11, 13) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Bella of Bonnybanks School (Pages: 14-16) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • The Tell-Tale Toy – a Tale from the Toy Museum (Pages: 26-27, 29) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • School’s Out (Pages: 30-31, 33) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • Toots (Page 35) [Art: Bill Ritchie]

Photo Stories

  • My Cousin Sarah (Pages: 22-23, 25)


  • All Their Own Work (Page 8)
  • Learn Tinkerbell’s Secrets (Page 12)
  • Holiday Horoscope (Page 16)
  • Paula’s Pop Quiz (Page 17)
  • Hunks ‘n’ Heart Throbs (Pop Photos) (Pages: 18-19)
  • Fox Hunting (Page 20)
  • On with the Dance (Page 21)
  • Postman’s Pets! (Page 24)
  • Design-a-Fashion (Page 28)
  • Pick a Letter (Page 32)
  • The Garden Gnome (Poem) (Page 34)
  • George Michael Poster (Page 36)

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Diana Annual 1978

Picture Stories

  • Stand and Deliver (Pages: 2-3, 126-127) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • Samanta – on the Slippery Slopes (Pages: 7-13) [Art: Norman Lee]
  • The Courage of Caroline (Pages: 21-28) [Art:  Martin Puigagut]
  • All for the Love of Lucy  (Pages: 33-37, 40-44) [Art: Michael Strand]
  • You and Your Yuletide (Pages: 38-39)
  • …And Then There Were Three…  (Pages: 52-62)  [Art: Enrique Badia Romero?]
  • Blanche and the Pirate King (Pages: 67-76) [Art: Jordi Franch]
  • Jo and Co. (Pages 83-88) [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall  (Man in Black story) (Pages: 97-103) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • Once Upon a Wish (Pages: 117-124) [Art: Tony Hudson]

Text Stories

  • Christmas Magic (Pages: 14-16)
  • A Home for Sheba (Pages: 29,45,66, 89, 96 & 125) [Writer: Valerie Edwards]
  • Little Red-Riding Hood was Never Like this! Or was she? (Pages: 112-113)


  • Are You on the Beauty Map? (Pages: 17-19)
  • Etiquette Emma (Page: 46-47)
  • Let’s Put Things ‘Write’  (Page: 48, 93)
  • Putting on the Syle (Page: 49-51)
  • Star Spangled Christmas (Pages: 77-80)
  • Are You a Christmas Star? (Pages: 90-91)
  • New Holidays for Old… (Pages: 92-93)
  • The Noel File (Page: 94)
  • Martine and the Ghosts in Her Life! (Pages: 95-96) [By Muriel-Jane Smith]
  • Pretty as a Picture  (Pages:104-108)
  • Redcoat for a Day (Pages: 109-111)

Pop photos/pictures/pin ups

  • David Essex (Page: 6)
  • Wings (Page: 20)
  • Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood (Pages: 30 – 31)
  • David Soul painting (Page: 32)
  • Olivia Newton John (Page: 63)
  • The Dynamic Bionics painting (Pages: 64 – 65)
  • Star-mp Collection (Pages: 114 – 115)
  • Paul Michael Glaser painting (Page: 116)


*Thanks to Helen Fay for information

Diana Annual 1977

Picture Stories

  • The Stupid Cupid Saga (Pages: 2-3, 126-127) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • But Some Things are the Same… (Pages: 7-12) [Art: Norman Lee]
  • Ha-Ha Heartbreaker a story without words (Page: 13)
  • Kelly’s Conquest (Pages: 21-28)
  • One Dress Too Many (Pages: 33-38) [Art: George Martin]
  • Jo and Co. (Pages: 43-48)  [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • A Fabulous Four Story – Vengeance (Pages: 53-62) [Art: Jordi or Enrico Badia Romera?]
  • Story Without Words (Page: 67)
  • Can Time Repair a Broken Heart?  (Pages: 71-77) [Art: Tony Hudson]
  • Sadly the Olives Grow…  (Pages: 81-86) [Art: Shirley Tourret?]
  • Strange Things Happen at Christmas (Pages: 103-110)
  • Candelight – Story Without Words (Page: 116)
  • Mirror of Evil (Man in Black story) (Pages:117-124) [Art: David Matysiak]

Text Stories

  • Honeysuckle (Pages: 14-16)  [Writer: Carol Marsh]
  • On The Bewildering Trail Of Ima Kneavezdroppa (Pages: 29, 42, 87, 96 & 125)
  • May was Meant for Dancing  (Pages; 63-66) [Writer: Valerie Edwards, Spot Art: David Matysiak]
  • The Ice Maiden  (Page: 86) [Writer: Valerie Edwards]
  • On the Wings of a Breeze  (Pages: 114-115) [Writer: Sheila Spencer-Smith,Art: Tony Hudson]


  • You And Your Hols. (Pages: 17 – 19)
  • Feeling Dicey? (Page: 20)
  • A Very Special Christmas… (Pages: 30 – 31)
  • Just Imagine (Page: 32)
  • The Way To The Stars’ Tummies! (Page: 39)
  • Yours Sincerely David (Pages: 40 – 41)
  • Something Special (Page: 49)
  • Holidays With The Stars (Pages: 50 – 51) [by Dick Tatham]
  • Papier Mache (Page: 52)
  • With Lots Of Love (Pages: 68 – 69) [Art: Mari L’Anson]
  • What’s Up, Croc? (Page: 70)
  • Budget Boutique (Pages: 78 – 79) [Art: Mari L’Anson]
  • Come Fly With Me (Page: 80)
  • My Journey To A Star (Pages: 88 – 89)
  • Mud, Glorious Mud! (Pages: 90 – 91)
  • Your Christmas Crossword (Page: 92)
  • K For Kenny (Page: 93) [by Chris Redburn]
  • Is Your Face Red? (Pages: 94 – 95)
  • Who’s For You? (Pages: 97 – 101)
  • Rings ‘N’ Things (Page: 102)
  • Top Gear (Page: 111)
  • Days Of Camelot (Pages: 112 – 113)

Pop photos/pictures/pin ups

  • Slik (Page: 6)
  • Queen (Page: 63)


*Thanks to Helen Fay for information

Diana Annual 1976

Picture Stories

  • Sam and Something Called a Stately Home!  (Pages: 6-11) [Art: Norman Lee]
  • The Love Locket (Pages: 15-22 ) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • Love in Bloom – story without words (Page: 23)
  • Sad September (Pages: 26-32) [Art: Jordi Franch]
  • Jo and Co (Pages: 37-42) [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • Olé! We’re Away or a touch of Marjorcan Magic (Pages: 46)
  • The Manovitch Experiment (Pages: 49-57 ) [Art: Enrique Badia Romera]
  • The Handsome Lad from Old Baghdad (Pages: 67-72)  [Art: George Martin]
  • The Long Lonely Night (Pages: 76-80)
  • The Friday Rocking-Horse (Pages: 82-85) [Art: Shirley Tourret?]
  • Polly Private Eye (Pages: 87-94)  [Art: Jesus Redondo Roman]
  • Skeletons in the Cupboard (Man in Black story) (Pages: 104-110) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • France is Where Her Heart Lies (Pages: 115-121) [Art: Tony Hudson]


Text Stories

  • Twas the Night Before Christmas (Pages: 24-25) [Writer: Valerie Edwards]
  • The Case of the Harassed Heiress (Pages: 34-35,43,66, 111) [Art: Mari L’Anson]
  • Dear Sir (Pages:44-45) [Art: Tony Hudson?]
  • Bea’s Year (Pages: 48,95)
  • I Love you, Bobby Denton (Pages: 61-62)
  • Just Justin & Me (Page:75)
  • Keep Your feet in the Sawdust & a Smile on Your Face (Pages: 122-124) [Writer: Celia Harcourt]


  • Inside Cover Picture (Pages: 2-3, 126-127) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • Herb Beauty  (Pages:12-13) [Art: Mari L’Anson]
  • Special Day Specialities  (Page: 14)
  • Looking for Luck (Page: 36)
  • Like a Movie (poem) (Page 43) [by Lee Delaney]
  • Sorry, Wrong Show (Pages; 47)
  • Know-How a helpful quiz for you (Pages: 58-59)
  • It’s in the Bag (Page: 60)
  • Sit Tight Sit Bright (Page: 63)
  • TV or not TV game (Pages: 64-65)
  • Pony Express(ions) (Pages: 62, 66, 101, 114)
  • A Touch of Class (Pages: 74-75)
  • A Cracker of a Cross-word (Pages: 81)
  • Ve Vill Ask the Questions (Page: 86)
  • Especially for You (Pages: 96-97, 100)
  • You and Your Yuletide (Page: 99)
  • Marlyn’s (Chain)Mailbag (Page: 102-103)
  • Whats Yours? (Pages: 112-113) [Art: Mari L’Anson]
  • To Top it All! (Page: 114)

Pop photos/pictures/pin ups

  • David Essex (Page: 33)
  • Alvin Stardust (Page: 73)
  • Gary Glitter (Page: 98)
  • Bay City Rollers (Page: 125)


*Thanks to Helen Fay for information

Diana Annual 1985

Picture Stories

  • One Day in Camelot…  (Pages: 7-16)
  • Rubies of Revenge  (Pages: 21-32, 114-125)  [Art: Paddy Brennan]
  • Becky and Brock  (Pages: 33-45) [Art: Pat Tourret]
  • Yasmin’s Mission of Mercy (Pages: 53-62)
  • Sam 2000  (Pages: 69-77)  [Norman Lee]
  • How Miss Puddlethorpe 1984 became Miss World 1985 (Pages:81-92) [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • Ghost Train – a man in black story  (Pages:97-107 ) [Art: Davd Matysiak]

Text Stories

  • A Gift of Love (Pages: 46-48) [Writer: V. Edwards]


  • David Essex (Page: 6)
  • At the King’s Court (Page: 17)
  • Cinema Blockbusters – Gone with the Wind  (Pages: 18-19)
  • Hart to Hart poster  (Page: 20)
  • Harrison Ford poster (Page: 49)
  • Cinema Blockbusters – Jaws (Pages: 50-51)
  • Act Your Age! (Pages: 52)
  • Persian (Page: 63)
  • Ribbon Rainbows  (Pages: 64-65)
  • Cinema Blockbusters – Star Wars (Pages: 66-67)
  • It’s Magic the Paul Daniels Story (Pages: 68)
  • Cinema Blockbusters – Grease (Pages: 78-79)
  • Tom Selleck poster (Page: 80)
  • It’s a Funny (Miss)World (Page: 93)
  • Border Collie poster (Page:94)
  • Dance!Dance! Dance! (Page: 95)
  • Put a Face on It  (Page: 96)
  • Bucks Fizz poster (Pages: 108-109)
  • Teddy Bears’ Picnic (Pages;110-111)  [by Jane McFie]
  • Fun Food  (Pages: 112-113)

Diana Annual 1984

Picture Stories

  • Sam’s Dream Holiday  (Pages: 8 -17)  [Art: Norman Lee]
  • All for the Love of Amy  (Pages: 21-30, 115-122) [Art: Rossend Franch?]
  • The Courage of Cass  (Pages: 33-43) [Art: Pat Tourret]
  • In the Clutches of Killar  (Pages: 49-58) [Pencils: Sean Phillips, Inks: Ken Houghton]
  • Doom Warning a man in black story  (Pages: 67-76 ) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • The Incredible Tale of Aurora Shufflebottom – Sleeping Beauty  (Pages: 81-90) [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • The Mystery of Dowerby Manor  (Pages: 97-106) [Art: Ron Tiner]

Text Stories

  • All on a Moonlit Night  (Pages: 18-20) [Art: Tony Hudson]
  • To Paris with Tony (Page: 92-94)


  • Toyah the Star with Rainbows in her Hair (Pages: 6-7) [Writer: M.J.Smith]
  • Mirror Magic! (Pages: 31-32)
  • Way Out Waves (Pages: 44-45)
  • Laughter Lines  (Pages: 46-47)
  • The Name’s the Same!  (Pages: 48)
  • Shaky poster (Pages: 59)
  • Clint Eastwood Superstar  (Pages: 60-61)
  • The Magic Lantern Kids  (Pages: 62-63)  [by Jane Smith]
  • Make Yourself a Merry Christmas!  (Pages: 64-66) [by M.J. Smith]
  • Toto Coelo  poster (Page: 77)
  • Charles Bronson Superstar  (Pages: 78-79)
  • Meet Bella – Blunderwoman (Page: 80)
  • All Change… with Kenny Everett  (Page: 91)
  • Daddy’s Girls  (Page: 95-96)
  • ABC poster  (Page: 107)
  • The Wonderful World of the Great British Sandwich (Pages: 108-110)
  • Star Careers for You (Pages: 111-114)
  • Sheena poster (Page: 123)
  • Jack Nicholson Superstar  (Pages: 124-125)

Diana Annual 1983

Picture Stories

  • Sam in search of Romance  (Pages: 6-15) [Art: Norman Lee]
  • To Kill a Queen (Pages: 20-28, 114-121) [Art: Rossend Franch?]
  • It’s a Cat’s Life!  (Pages: 33-39) [Art: Juan Solé Puyal]
  • Green Grows the Ivy – a man in black story (Pages: 51- 58) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • The Medusa Mission (Pages: 71-80) [Art: Ken Houghton]
  • The Tadcaster Twins  (Pages: 81-91) [Art: Brian Delaney]
  • Man-Trap!  (Pages: 99-106)

Text Stories

  • The Emerald Ring (Page: 18-20) [Writer: Valerie Edwards, Art: David Matysiak]
  • A Handful of Dreams (Pages: 44-46)


  • Taylor- Ed for the Top (Page: 16)
  • Toyah poster (Page:17)
  • Kitty Bitty  (Page: 29)
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Adam and the Ants!  (Pages: 30-31)
  • I’m Forever Blowing…  (Page:32)
  • Rocking in the Isles (Pages: 40-41)
  • Looks Like a Winner  (Page:42-43)
  • Keep Your Cool!  (Page: 47) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • What’s in a Name?  (Page: 48)
  • Goldie Hawn  (Page: 49-50)
  • The Jam poster (Page: 59)
  • Penny-Wise Surprise  (Page: 60-61)
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Buck’s Fizz!  (Pages: 62-63)
  • Eye’s Right! (Page: 64-65 )[By Jane Smith]
  • Madness  poster (Page: 66-67)
  • Wish I Was There! (Page: 68) [By Jane McFie]
  • Christopher Reeve  (Pages:69-70)
  • Have a Happy Holiday  (Page: 92-93)
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Stray Cats!  (Pages: 94-95)
  • Danger – Men (and Women) at Work! (Page: 96)
  • Jane Fonda  (Pages: 97-98)
  • You and Your Hue  (Pages: 107-109)
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Dollar!  (Pages: 110-111)
  • Robert De Niro  (Pages: 112-113)
  • Anne Other Deirdre (Pages: 122-123)  [by M.J. Smith]
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Shakin’ Stevens!  (Pages: 124-125)