Tag Archives: Guy Peeters

Judy 1992

This was the second to last Judy annual published, and is filled with an impressive 25 picture stories/humour strips, 2 text stories, 2 poems and 2 features. The cover is winter themed  whit Judy makinf a snowman. Inside it has the opening splash page of Judy & Co. at Summer Fayre and  the last pages has them at the Winter Fayre in the same composition, I like those bookend type pictures. This book also has a table contents. There are a nice variety of stories; a good lot of humour, spooky, drama and a bit of Christmas magic. Plenty of  regulars make and appearance such as Junior Nanny, The Honourable S.J, Wee Slavey and Bobby Dazzler make an appearance. There are 5 specifically Christmas themed stories, and others that seem to be set around winter. (For just a list of contents go to the next page)

Picture Stories

A Christmas Wish   (Pages: 4-11)

Art: Guy Peeters

Starting things off on a Christmas note, this is the story of Jenny who lives with her invalid mother in small flat, in a poor part of town. Jenny tries to stay positive for her mother’s sake, especially as this may be her late Christmas. She tells her they will have nice Christmas goodies as she goes out shopping, while in reality her savings don’t stretch to much. She picks up a small turkey, bruised apples and a few cheap flowers for her mom. Returning home she trips in the doorway and is helped by a girl. The girl then asks a favour  to help her and her friends deliver toys to children’s hospital. Jenny although anxious to get back to her mom, is happy to help a good cause. Afterwards as she is returning home, the driver who is dressed as Santa, asks her what her Christmas wish is. Jenny says she would like a beautiful view for her Mom on Christmas, as she is confined to the flat.

The next moment Jenny wakes up in hallway, she thinks she must have been knocked out when she fell and it was all a dream. When she picks up her shopping she is surprised by a change, everything she bought seems to be fresher and bigger. When she goes to her Mom Christmas morning and opens the curtains, they see it has been snowing and it makes the usual dull view look beautiful, delighting Jenny and her mom. It’s a nice story with a bit of Christmas magic to get readers into spirit of things.

What is a…Mum?/ Dad? / Brother? /Sister?  (Pages: 10 / 48 / 81 / 113)

These fun little strips consist of one page (7 panels) and start with “a mum is someone who…” and then gives 6 panels of more annoying habits of the family member, before the last panel showing a good quality.

“Don’t Touch My Hair!” (Pages: 14-15)

Liz Croft is delighted when she gets picked to  act for a shampoo commercial, but this fame quickly goes to her head. She becomes more boastful, but a worse trait is she becomes over cautious about minding her hair. Because she doesn’t want it damaged, she makes excuses to miss a swimming competition, backs out of helping at a friends BBQ, she spends some of her moms money on expensive shampoo and attacks a girl who catches her hair in door as a joke. The evening the ad is meant to air, she invites some people to watch but is in for a shock when her part get cut. She is upset about this, and even more upset realising what how foolish she has been, she decides to cut her hair and hopes to make up for her past actions.

It’s a good lesson learned for Liz  (and for the readers) about priorities and not to get swept out by looks or fame. It has also some really nice art.

Wee Slavey (Pages: 17-21)

At the Shelby-Smythe house, William’s nephew, Nigel, is visiting.  Nellie is quite fond of the charming and pleasant man, but William is not impressed with his career aspirations. Nigel is hoping William can help with his acting career, but William refuses. As Nigel leaves, he tells Nellie his only hope is to get in contact with a long absent Aunt Clarissa. Then coincidentally a few days later Clarissa arrives! Nellie hopes to get a message to Nigel but is caught and reprimanded by Lady Amelia. Clarissa hearing this thinks she could do with a servant if they are not happy with Nellie. Of course the Shelby-Smythes can’t be without Nellie, so end up giving her wage increase much to her surprise. Meanwhile Clarissa is talking abut how well Nigel is doing and William thinks maybe they should invest in him after all. Later at Christmas dinner, Nellie accidentally knocks into Clarissa and her wig falls off revealing “Clarissa” to  actually be Nigel! He assures the family he was about to reveal himself anyway, and he just wanted to prove his acting talent. William angry at being made a fool, wants him out of the house. Nellie can’t help but giggle at Nigel in the dress and soon the whole family see the funny side and Christmas is saved!

While this is set at Christmas, it’s not very prominent in the storyline, other than the dinner and the importance of family. There are other more Christmas themed Wee Slavey stories that come to mind first, so it was only on a re-read I realised this was set at Christmas! Wee Slavey can always be relied on to be good fun and Nellie usually comes up on top.

Pepper the Pony (Pages: 22 / 112)

In this long standing humour strip of Lucinda and her pony Pepper, they manage to get the upper hand in the two stories presented here. In the first strip, Lucinda’s cousin Basil arrives showing off his 4 wheel drive car boasting about how much better it is than a horse. But Lucinda outsmarts him by challenging him to race, which she wins as when they come to a wall of course Pepper can jump while Basil is left stuck in the car.

In the second strip another arrogant person, Sheila, looks down on Pepper for not being as groomed as her horse. Lucinda does spruce Pepper up, but Sheila still makes nasty comments. She gets her comeuppance when she jumps into muddy water with her horse and there the ones that look unkempt.

The Badge (Pages: 23-27)

Julie is delighted when Johnny gives her his Fleece Club Badge, as it’s a sign that they are a serious couple. But even so, Julie can’t help but feel insecure, especially When Johnny is talking to friendly and pretty girl Wendy. Her and Johnny have a fight about this, and soon after, when she is out, he collects his badge back from her mom. Then she sees Wendy with a badge and she looks guilty. Julie is terribly upset until Johnny turns up for disco. He had taken badge to make it into a pendant for her. She realises how silly she was, Johnny’s been quiet because of exams and Wendy looked guilty because she is nice person and had heard they quarreled about her. She finds out from Johnny that Wendy is now going out with another Fleece Club member. She feels happy and content now.

There isn’t a lot of romance themed stories in this book, this story while not a favourite is still fine. Julie’s insecurities seem relatable, and I’m glad that Wendy wasn’t some antagonistic girl trying to steal her boyfriend, she is just a genuinely nice person.

Judy & Co. (Pages: 28 / 58)

Art: Norman Lee

Our title character gets two strips on this book. In the first Judy prepares herself, making sure she’s comfortable and won’t be disturbed so she can read her favourite magazine “Judy”. Always a little strange when characters in these books reference the book they are fictional characters in, but it is a regular occurrence! (it’s also acts as advertisement so readers know they should pick up weekly issues).

In the second story, it’s a more straight forward humour set up. Judy tries to sled into boy to get their attention, but they jump out of the way except one…. a snowman.

Cinderella Jones (Pages: 29-32)

Art: Oliver Passingham

At Happyholme they are celebrating Mr Jones 50th birthday and mention how Agnes 50th birthday will be soon after that. Cindy goes to give Agne’s Aunt Flossie cake and she goes to take her photo, but Flossie tells her she already has lots of photos and encourages Cindy to look through them. When Agnes hears Flossie still has a photo of her entry to a beauty contest when she was 18, she gets very snappy, tells Cindy to get on with housework and for the rest of the day she is in a bad mood. Agnes decides it’s time for a clear out and makes a big bonfire, getting Cindy and Mr Jones to do most of the work. Agnes brings out more bags to bur,n but Cindy notices they are Flossie’s photos, she finds the one stepmother doesn’t want her to see and she sees why she wants it burns. Agnes chases her around, she makes promises of more money and help for Cindy. The photo shows that Agnes has been lying about her age shes 55 not 50. Mr Jones wonders whats going on but Cindy says its just her and Stepmothers secret and burns the photo. Agnes praises Cindy and then gets Isobelle and Sarah to get up off sun loungers and help.

Another on of my favourite characters, I like that despite everything Agnes and Cindy do have a good relationship, and Passingham dos great job at the comedic expressions. It is one of those stories where Cindy often breaks the fourth wall, addressing the reader directly, which is fun and gets reader more invested with the character.

My Sister’s Keeper (Pages: 33-37)

Alison Fry lives with her parents writers of child psychology (what an oddly specific job, for something that barely comes into play). She is happy when they decide to foster a girl the same age as her, Glenda. Not much is known about her, she had turned up nearly a year ago with no family. Alison tries to be welcoming, when she enquires about a box she has, Glenda is very possessive of it and asks Alison to never open it. One day Alison finds her in the woods one day talking to someone but she can’t make out who. Glenda says it was her sister, Serena, an air hostess. When she voices her concerns to her parents, they tell her orphans often invent siblings when they are lonely and she just needs time to adjust (presumably their psychology knowledge coming in useful!). Glenda still goes off on her own a lot and talks about her sister to other classmates, making things awkward for Alison.

Glenda tells Alison her, that Serena is taking her to Tunisia for a week and then when Alison can’t go to school because of cold, they are very worried when Glenda doesn’t return. They go to talk to her form teacher who says her sister collected her. Alison gets the idea to look in Glenda’s box for a clue. In it she finds a newspaper clipping dated exactly a year ago with story of air stewardess saving passengers in a flight to Tunisia but herself and sister Glenda were killed. Spooky stories where it turns out the person was a ghost all along was quite popular in annuals, presumably as the reveal was a good way to end the story and fitted well into the short story format.

Candy’s Crowd (Pages: 40-47)

Art: Eduardo Feito

Candy and her friends Ann, Patti and Di are all going on a skiing trip with the school. Ann is upset that her dad may get new job and she will have to leave Fullwood and her friends. Mr Potter, one of the teachers that is meant to be organising the trip is very scatterbrained, so he muddles things up such as what rooms everyone is in and nearly taking Bernice’s mom’s bag. Bernice is a pain and know it all so Candy’s not too upset when she hurts her leg, while showing off. Meanwhile Patti’s getting to know some boys and Ann finds out her father got the job, so girls want to try and make this the best holiday. On the last night they have disco and fancy dress competition. After return home, Patti is going to miss Alan, the boy she met, but she gets over it when she hears about new neighbour. Meanwhile Ann hadn’t heard the whole story about her Dad’s new job, it turns out he isn’t taking job as his current job has given him a promotion, so Candy’s crowd get to stay together.

Candy’s Crowd was Judy’s soap story for a while but not as well known as other similar stories like The Comp or Penny’s Place. Still it is fine story and also notable for Eduardo Feito’s art.

Linda’s Lesson (Pages: 52-57)

In 1890 Linda Robertson starts her first day  as a maid in the Cobden house. Linda’s mother thinks she doesn’t know what hard work is, and that is why she has been sent here, but Linda thinks it’ll be easy. She soon finds that her mother was right, not only is she worked off her feet, the butler Mr Bennet slaps her for impertinence and cook gives her a small grisly piece of meat for dinner. Linda says some odd things and she gets another slap for asking what coal is. She tells another maid Daisy about her mom and that she is going to contact her saying she’s learned her lesson. She goes upstairs and pulls out a computer. It turns out Linda’s from 200 years in the future, she returns and tells her mom she wont ever complain of chores again. Especially as it’s so easy in 21st century as we see her command robot to do all tidying. (Yes she really had little to complain about!)

The Girl with the Golden Smile (Pages: 59-63)

Art: Bert Hill

Anna Marshall  is a trainee at Westerby’s department store, meaning she moves around all the departments in the store. One day in the china and gift department Anna learns about their wedding list service that the store runs, where people can leave a list of gifts they would like and wedding guests can come and pick an item off it. One such customer that is using the wedding list, is a young bride, Bridget. When Bridget’s great grandmother arrives to look at the list, Anna notices she seems troubled. Then Anna notices the problem, all the items are very expensive, and  the old lady is feeling deflated. But Anna comes up with perfect solution, a crystal vase, they come in all sorts of sizes including miniature  and that can fit in the old lady’s budget.

A few weeks later Anna is in the bakery department and delivers a wedding cake to Bridget, there is one problem for Bridget as she’s not happy with the plastic decoration. Again Anna has a helpful suggestion, then the way out she bumps into the great grandmother who has come to see the wedding gifts displayed. She thinks Bridget is ashamed of her small gift, but it turns out it is now in pride in place on top of the cake (thanks to Anna’s suggestion). She is so happy that it will even be in the wedding photos, Anna thinks today the grandmother has the golden smile.

Bridget seems to be a bit thoughtless, from the little we see, I think her wedding preparations might take a toll on the people around her! It is a very sweet story though, because you do feel for the great-grandmother, who is put in an awkward position thinking she can’t afford anything, so it is nice to see how everything works out and she gets a boast of pride at her present being so important.

Big ‘n’ Bertha (Pages: 64)

Anther humour strip, here Dad tricks Big and Bertha into falling into pond as he takes their photo, by asking them to take a step back. But they get their own back by making him back into wet cement when he takes another photo.

The Honourable S.J. (Pages: 65-80)

This is set during S.J and Ann’s time at Millford. It is Christmas and S.J still has all the girls fooled that she is nice person, only Ann knows better. She wants Ann to convince the girls to buy her a porcelain horse for Christmas, but she is too late to persuade them and they buy her a big box of chocolates. S.J. is not going to let it go that easy so she steals the chocolates and then makes sure Ann will get the class to get the right gift to replace them. She also steals £10 from a student’s Christmas card, then lends her £10 saying she can pay back next term, making her look very generous.

Ann is then invited to the Christmas Ball at Moorfield Hall by the Headgirl. She thinks S.J will be mad and stop her, but she says she will be home in the Cheetwell Hall playing Santa for children of  a local orphange. Then Ann hears her scheming on phone with her chauffeur, Wilson, telling him to wait for her at side gate of Moorfield Hall and she will be in her Santa outfit. Ann at first thinks S.J. is out to spoil things for but  then she realises S.J. being more devious than that and is after the jewellery that Lady Moorfield gives out every year. By coincidence at the party, Ann sees S.J. dressed as fairy attack the Moorfield Santa, when she confronts S.J. she locks her in a cloakroom. Luckily there’s another way out, but she isn’t in time to catch S.J.. Ann thinks S.J. has won again, as without any other witnesses, no one will believe her. S.J makes appearance at the Cheetwell party giving gifts to orphans will look good for her in the paper though she really wants to get away and check out her goodies. Ann after returning from the party hears the news of the theft, and she is delighted to find out that this year Lady Moorfield sold her jewellery to help carious charity and each box tells what charity it has gone to. While Ann happily takes in this news, S.J. is discovering this herself as she opens up the boxes, it’s not fair, she thinks!

It’s quite a long story at 16 pages, and anyone that wasn’t familiar with S.J. certainly gets to know what kind of person she is. The actual main plot of the Christmas ball doesn’t get going until later in the story, so we get to see S.J.’s other devious scheming beforehand. It is very satisfying end to see that things don’t work out for S.J and her expression at finding this out is very well conveyed.

Who’s Spoiling Things for Lucy? (Pages: 82-89)

Lucy feels lucky to be at the Lamona ballet school, as she only got her place because she first reserve. One of the other girls Jane makes some nasty comments about her, and doubts her abilities. Luckily she gets friendly with a girl Karen, who sticks up for her. Then things start going wrong for Lucy like her hair-tie and shoe going missing or her music sheet being changed. Lucy and Karen suspect Jane, but she always seems one step ahead even when they try to keep things safe. Things get so bad that Lucy will have to leave the school unless she can prove herself in one last performance. On the day of the performance Karen’s friend Jackie visits her. It seems they both got into the school, but when Jackie’s father got a job in America she had to give up her place, when the job fell through it was too late for Jackie to get back in. Karen is surprised to hear Jackie is no longer upset about this, after reading Karen’s letters she realised all the hard work involved and only wants dancing as a hobby.

Of course it is then revealed that it was Karen playing the tricks on Lucy, but knowing Jackie no longer wants a place, she rushes to get Lucy’s dress from where she hid it, but it is gone. She is confronted by Jane who has figured everything out, she promises not to tell Lucy though. Then Lucy arrives her dance has gone well and she is being kept at school. While Jane won’t say her enemy is, she tells her Karen will explain everything!

With other similar stories it’s not a surprise that the secret enemy is actually the supposed friend. Karen’s motivations are to help another friend but getting someone dismissed from school is a terrible thing and its hard to imagine Lucy being too forgiving! We don’t know what the consequences are as the story ends before that, but Jane making Karen own up herself rather than telling on her is a good start.

The Frog Prince (Pages: 92-95)

Art: Wilf Street

Lady Eleanor is beautiful but vain and cold-hearted. She has many suitors because of her beauty, but she won’t settle for anything less than a prince and others she scares away with her demands. When her father asks her to distribute gold to poor children in the village instead she gives it an old lady (whom she had just insulted) when she says she will marry a prince. She tells her to go to an enchanted pool at midnight on the last day of the year where she will see a frog with a crown. He is an enchanted prince and one kiss from her will complete the spell. She does as she says, but he doesn’t change, he tells her he is already prince of the pool so why would he change instead she changes into a frog to become his princess!

Junior Nanny (Pages: 97-101)

Art: Oliver Passingham

At the residential nursery, all the kids have been irritable and fighting after a bout of heavy colds. Chris Johnson and the other nurses, think a trip to Santa might cheer them up. But then while queuing one of the children, Lucy, says she wishes she had a mummy to bring her to Santa, and that subdues everyone. The next day Chris meets some women from the old folks home and they talk about how nice it would be to have a visit from the children. Chris isn’t sure that the children will bring much joy, with the way they’ve been feeling. Then she comes up with idea and enlists Matron’s help to make an announcement that Santa has sent urgent message.  He needs help from the children as the old folks have asked for a visit as a Christmas gift. Chris tells them to be his little helpers they need to practice being cheery. So on Christmas Eve after a successful visit the children through acting happy become happy and decide they want to adopt the old people as their grandparents. Chris is relieved to see lots of smiles Christmas day.

A nice Christmas story and reminder of how it can be tough for those without families so nice to see everyone come together and have a happy ending.

It Never Rains But it Pours (Pages: 105-111)

Art: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Raye doesn’t like to see her quiet cousin Amy do better than her, so when Amy get a date with Peter, a jealous Raye tries to sabotage it. She convinces Amy to take Peter to the disco on their date, as she knows that’s not his scene.  Then when she comes across a rainmaker pendant at a stall, it seems like an extra way to make the date go wrong. The rainmaker appears to be a genuine article so when Raye lends it to Amy, her and Peter  get soaked on the way to the disco and have miserable time. The next day Amy, is returning pendant to Raye when it starts raining again. Peter happens to be out fishing and tells her to take cover under her umbrella. The get on better this time as they have time to actually talk to each other, then Amy accidentally drops pendant into river. Amy apologies to Raye about pendant but tells her it seemed to have brought  her luck, bringing her and Peter together.

Another nasty character out to spoil things while pretending to be nice, surprisingly the magical element of her scheme isn’t questioned much, but I suppose the main thing is it doesn’t work like she planned.

Bobby Dazzler (Pages: 114-117)

After a talk to the school by Sir Jacob Lang , owner of local woods,  Bobby has her eyes peeled for poachers. Unfortunately her suspicions prove false, as Mike and Don confront bird watchers and friends of  the forest society on her urging. After all those false starts, they reproach Bobby for being so suspicious, so when they happily help some men out carrying their bags, she tries to see it as positive. But then of course it turns out the men were the poachers and disappear quickly leaving Mike and Don to be caught by Sir Jacob. It’s an amusing (if standard) Bobby Dazzler story.

The Power of the Song (Pages: 118-125)

Art: Guy Peeters

While walking through a subway on the way to school, friends, Faye and Kelly, hear a busker singing. For Kelly the lyrics seem empowering “Dream the word and you can say it. Dream the deed and you can do it”  but Faye finds it unsettling. Later at school Kelly is upset when another girl Trish gets the part of Rapunzal in a play. Faye tries to cheer her up by saying its just because she looks the part with her long hair. Kelly says she has a mind to cut it off. Faye assumes she’ll calm down but is shocked when she actually does it, people say things they don’t mean all the time. Kelly tells her it’s because people don’t usually have the nerve but hearing the buskers song has given her the nerve. And she’s not the only one, soon more and more people get in trouble, one girl cuts her cheating boyfriends brakes, people are fighting and the school is getting wrecked. Faye talks to the busker but he says he doesn’t have any powers, and he isn’t putting bad ideas in her friends heads they were already there. Faye uses his song against him, telling him she wants him to go away, which he does. Things return to normal for a while but then she sees in magazine that the busker is to get his own countrywide tv show!

What if we actually always did what we said we’d do, especially in anger, is a scary thought! Faye and others feel guilt for not stopping their friends actions, because they dismiss it as throwaway words and in ordinary circumstances they’d be right. While the busker says the ideas were in the people’s heads already, we don’t see any one do positive things, so it does seem to be only the bad ideas he encourages, and he appears to get some enjoyment out of it. We don’t know where he came from, but the ending means he won’t be gotten rid of so easily!

Text Stories

Wedding Belle   (Pages: 49-51)

Belle Love is a bridesmaid for hire, she gets a job with Carol who has had to move her wedding forward as her and her husband to be are moving abroad due to job opportunity. But moving the wedding to Christmas Eve has brought some problems. Firstly Carol’s Spring dress isn’t ideal for the weather and it’s too late for alterations, luckily Belle comes up with solution to make winter capes made from new velvet curtains her mother has decided she doesn’t want. But then Carol is disappointed so many people can’t make the wedding as she always dreamed of getting married in a full church (Like The Girl with the Golden Smile story seems another Bride that has not thought of other people’s circumstances in the wedding plan). There are two invitations leftover and Carol says Belle can use them though it won’t make a big difference. Carol is surprised on the wedding day that Belle has managed to fill the church for her. She had sent the two invitations to an old folks home and children’s home and is Carol is delighted.

I Hate My Gran!   (Pages: 102-104)

When Gina’s sister Rosie moves out Gina is upset at first as they were very close, then she cheers herself up by thinking she can have Rosie’s bright big bedroom. Her parents soon put stop to that plan, when they tell her they’ve invited Gran to stay. Not only losing out on the room, Gina finds her Gran living with her causes other annoyances, such as not being able to play her records so loud, her gran always asking her to run errands and she not feeling comfortable inviting friends around. Another blow comes when she gets a chance to go to a disco but her parents have no money to give her for a new outfit as the spent so much on Gran’s new room. A little while later Gran calls Gina into her room, she had made her a stunning outfit for the disco that she had copied from magazine. She tells her it is to make up for the room and a thanks for all the errands she runs. Gina suddenly sees things from her Gran’s perspective, it must be awful to give up her independence and leave her home and being so old that running to post office is a big job and she realises she hasn’t been very welcoming. She thanks Gran for the dress and then she stays asking her if she wants to play cards. Thinking about the times her and Rosie played cards, she now thinks Gran could take Rosie’s place as a special friend.

It’s a nice story and we can see why Gina would be frustrated by the changes but glad to see her understand how much more difficult it is for her Gran and that it’s start of building a good relationship between them.

Features

There are just a couple of features in this annual; how to make a Dressing Table Tidy (Page: 16), Part Time / Yummy!  (Pages: 38-39) which have some tips on how to hold party, what games to play, decorations and music and some recipes that you could use for the party.

Then there are two poems Quite Contrary (Pages: 90-91) which is a poem about everything being topsy turvy such as dogs taking their owners on walks and ducks feeding humans and Anticipation (Page: 96)which is about a dog waiting to be taken for a walk.

Final Thoughts

This is another annual that I first read when I was younger (and re-read many a time), so have a certain attachment to it. I’m also a big fan of most of the Judy regular characters so always good to have more stories of them. Some of my favourite stories here are; Cinderella Jones, Cinderella is a story that has been told and reimagined many times but this is one of my favourite versions, the comedic characters (captured brilliantly by Passingham) and family dynamics are always fun. The Girl with the Golden Smile and I Hate My Gran!, I like for similar reasons as the older person gets recognition, the difficulties of growing old acknowledged and happy ending thanks in part for younger women seeing things from their perspective. Maybe I’m getting more sentimental as I grow older, they were both sweet stories I thought. On the other side of things Power of the Song is an unsettling, well done story with decent art by Peeters and a more subdued colouring that’s fitting. Other honourable mentions go to The Honourable S.J. in particular for that last page where S.J. realises her scheme has gone wrong A Christmas Wish which is nice story for the holidays and What is a… which are fun little strips (when I was younger I did compare it to my own family members to see what held true!)

My least favourite is probably It Never Rains but it Pours, not a terrible story but there are more interesting stories in the book and though other stories have similar tropes (i.e. the false friend), this didn’t capture anything extra for me. The Badge was lower down on my list initially too, but has actually grown on me over time. I did enjoy re-reading all the stories here even those I wouldn’t consider my favouites and as always there’s lots of great art to look at as well.

 

Bright Spark

Plot

After a litter had been born to one of the Logan’s sheep dogs, Kay Logan begged to keep the smallest pup which her father wanted to put down. Kay called the dog Spark but as he grew older and showed no inclination to train as a sheepdog, her father decided it was time for him to go. Kay found a home for him with old Peg and was secretly training him to become a dog show jumper.

Notes

  • Art: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • Bright Spark – Suzy: #61 (5 November 1983) – #70 (7 January 1984)

Rosetta and the House of Fear

  • Rosetta and the House of Fear – Mandy: #358 (24 November 1973) – #362 (22 December 1973)
  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Plot

Fourteen year old Rosetta was brought up by gypsies and had found work as a maid at the big house, owned by invalid, Mrs Trevelyan. The house was known as ‘The Towers’ and Rosetta felt drawn to it, but also cautious as she also sensed a mystery surrounding the house and it’s occupants. Joe and Emily Briggs and their daughter Molly, were the only other staff that Mrs Trevelyan had and Rosetta suspected they were trying to swindle the woman after hearing them arguing about money.

Rosetta finding a dress laid out for her tries it on, but is distressed when Mrs Trevelyan is taken ill after seeing her in the dress that had belonged to her dead daughter. When she wants to go apologise to her, Mrs Briggs forbids her. Later when she goes to try and talk to her anyway, she sees Emily Briggs coming out of Mrs Trevelyan’s room and locking the door, she assumes this to keep her out. She wonders what she can do about this, as who would believe the word of a gipsy girl. She decides to go to nursery to think, but then wonders how she knew the room was nursery, and inside the nursery more strange occurrences as she seems to know what a doll is named too.

When Rosetta sees Mrs Briggs, slipping something into Mrs Trevelyan’s food, she decides to slip out and ask her gipsy friends for help. She is too late though as the gipsy camp has moved on and Joe Briggs catches her and brings her back to ‘The Towers’. Despite the Briggs keeping a closer eye on Rosetta, she does manage to switch out the sleeping powder that the Briggs are giving Mrs Trevelyan, with a harmless powder. More luck for Rosetta as she meets Mr Price who is buying old paintings from the house. He tells her how the house used to be a happy place but then Miss Selina, her husband and daughter drowned in an accident. The Briggs came to work for the family soon after, but Mr Trevelyan didn’t like them and then he met with a tragic accident too, killed while riding. After hearing this Rosetta wonders are the Briggs capable of murder and if the only thing stopping them killing Mrs Trevelyan too was in case the house was sold by whoever inherited it.

No longer being drugged Mrs Trevelyan is up and about and Joe Briggs is quick to steer  her away from Rosetta. Later Mrs Trevelyan collapses again and Rosetta finds a syringe nearby. The next day, Rosetta is waiting for the injection to wear off so she can talk with Mrs Trevelyan. Molly is hanging around mocking Rosetta’s gipsy heritage, she mentions that she could be a lady if her family could solve a riddle –  “I lie beneath the sun, yet am always in darkness. Time passes over me, yet I never grow old. Where am I?” Rosetta has heard that riddle before and spends the day pondering it. Still her priority is to talk with Mrs Trevelyan so when she sees an opportunity she goes for it, only to be caught by Joe Briggs and thrown in the cellar. In the celler she finds a chest with album in it. She is drawn to a photo of Selina and her family, feeling like she knows them…

The Briggs don’t keep her locked up in the cellar, they plan to work her hard with no food and lock her in her room at night. Rosetta thinks the only way to escape is to solve the riddle. Looking out of her window at night she figures out that the riddle refers to the sundial. She manages to slip away and finds a hidden compartment in the sundial containing Mrs Trevelyan’s will. Unfortunately this was all part of the Briggs plan, to get her to find the will, so they can change it and now having done what they needed from her they plan to get rid of her for good! Luckily her gipsy family arrives in time to stop them. Magda also shows her the pinafore they found her in which has the Trevelyan family symbol on it. Rosetta is Mrs Trevelyan’s granddaughter and now that the Briggs have been exposed, she and her grandmother can start making ‘The Towers’ a happy place to live again.

Thoughts

Here we have some common story elements; scheming characters trying to get inheritance and a girl finding out she is a long lost relative (such as in ‘The Secret of Hardwick Hall’). Considering the potential for playing with and expanding on these elements, the story seems  unusually short at only 5 episodes. For the most part this does help keep the pace quick and still covers all that we need to know. It’s quickly established that the Briggs are shady characters, and becomes apparent that they are keeping Mrs Trevelyan in a state of illness. Meanwhile Rosetta finding she somehow knows things about the house, coupled with the story of the family drowning, it is obvious that she will turn out to be the grandchild. There is a nice touch with the Briggs needing Rosetta to figure out the riddle (although it doesn’t seem they were aware of her connection to the house). It shows their cunning by getting Molly to mention the riddle, then watching Rosetta to see where she goes.

So while the story keeps things interesting and fast moving, the last episode could have been expanded on more, especially as Rosetta escapes the Briggs through a deus ex machina! The gipsies show up to help, not because Rosetta got message to them or some other set up, just Magda’s crystal ball suddenly telling them they needed to return. Then she explains about finding Rosetta half drowned as a child. We don’t get to see Rosetta react to this news or even the reunion with her grandmother as the last 2 panels just cut to a few days later with Rosetta and Mrs Trevelyan waving the gipsies off. While Rosetta showed concern for the old lady throughout the story, because the Briggs tried to keep them apart, we never see a relationship build between them. The ending could have taken the time to establish the connection and end on a more emotional note.

 

Looking for Lucy \ Distant Cousin

  • Looking for Lucy – Nikki: #10 (27 April 1985) -#19 (29 June 1985)
  • Artist: Guy Peeters
  • Distant Cousin – Bunty: #1919 (22 October 1994) -#1931 (14 January 1995)
  • Artist: Ron Lumsden

Plots

These are two different stories but have so many similarities I decided to look at them together. Both stories revolve around a protagonist going to a boarding school where her cousin is also meant to attend. Both have not seen their cousins in years and when they arrive they find some mysterious cover-up about said cousin. Everyone is hiding something and they can’t get the truth from staff or pupils, so it’s up to the protagonist to investigate, solve the mystery and find their cousin.

Although there is a common plot thread, there are differences in how the stories are told. In Looking for Lucy, Shirley Wright arrives at the school where everyone claims that there is not and never was, a Lucy at the school. Shirley  tries to find evidence of her cousin’s existence in the school, but every time she finds a clue, someone destroys the evidence.  In Distant Cousin, Jenny Clayton, has kind of the opposite problem as everyone claims the her cousin Claire is at the school but she believes the person who claims to be Claire is not her cousin. So she is out to prove “Claire” is not who she says she is and find her real cousin.

looking for lucy-Distant cousin

Firstly Looking for Lucy  – Shirley is surprised that no one has heard of her cousin, Lucy Semple, but surprise turns to concern when she soon suspects a cover up. She starts hunting down evidence of her cousin, such as trying to find her name on the class register. She finds one register is brand new, with no Lucy in it, in the same classroom she finds a table with L.S. carved into it with hockey sticks.  As this is early in her investigation and the girls in her dorm seem friendly, she tries to enlist their help. She tells one of the girls, Janet, about the desk but when she goes to show her the desk, it is gone. She then decides it’s best to talk to an adult and goes to the headmistress, Mrs Bull, but even she denies Lucy’s existence! Knowing that Lucy liked hockey,  she tries to track her down checking old school magazines, only to find the sport pages have been torn out. She does manage to find an old team list with the name L Semple on it. Again Janet pops up and Shirley suspects she is destroying any evidence she finds, but  but when the list goes missing at a time Janet couldn’t have took it, Shirley realizes she can’t trust anyone!

looking for lucy 2

She writes to her parents for advice, she receives a letter  from them but it seems they didn’t get her letter. On a trip to a place the school have visited before, she finds photo with someone she is sure is her cousin. She confronts the girls that were in the photo and they first claim not to remember the other girl, then later say she was an old school girl Jane Smith, a common name that would be hard to track down.  She tries writing again but with her parents are moving around a lot she doesn’t know when they will receive the letter.  At a hockey match she thinks she has a good opportunity as she can ask opposing team about Lucy.  She also believes she may have found an ally in Ruth, who seems sympathetic. But then during half-time when she wants to talk to  the other team, she is tricked and gets locked in a shed. Knowing that Ruth was the only person with opportunity to lock her up, she decides to be even more careful collecting evidence and keeping it secret.

She tries to throw the girls off by saying she’s lost interest and that her parents have told her not to worry. Late during a party game she is hiding, when she overhears some pupils saying they are glad Shirley stopped asking questions, as they hate lying. While trying to see who is talking. she slips and hits head. She recovers and is more determined then ever to find out what happened to Lucy. She finally finds solid evidence, when she gets one of the girl’s old photo album, she finds a photo of her cousin in front of school with her name on the back. She goes to police only to be stopped by teacher with Lucy! Mrs Bull explains, that Lucy has been sick with an infectious disease and had to be kept quarantined.  They didn’t want people to know about Lucy’s illness in case parents pulled their children from the school and they were afraid of financial disaster. As it is a happy school everyone pulls together to keep it secret and since Lucy is fully recovered they hope Shirley can be happy at the school too.

looking for lucy 6

In Distant Cousin Jenny Clayton is excited to get a scholarship to Larchwood, and her mother calls Aunt Mary, who doesn’t seem enthused about Claire looking out for Jenny. They have never had much to do with that side of the family and Jenny has never met her cousin, so she is unsure of what to expect. Still on the day “Claire” greets her and shows her to the dorm. She seems friendly, but when Jenny talks about other family members, she seems to shut down, Jenny thinks its her snobbery. She begins to suspect, there is something strange about her cousin, and that she is keeping secrets.  “Claire” is secretive about the letters she receives and appears to lie to the school to get a weekend away (She goes home for a grandparents golden anniversary, but Jenny knows there are no family anniversaries happening). Jenny tries to settle into school and does make some other friends. One time down town with some of her new friends, Sandra points out Alison’s gang and Jenny is confused as she doesn’t know anyone named Alison but does see Claire. Then later another girl calls “Claire”,  Alison, she then claims that Alison is her middle name and she uses it a lot. Jenny doesn’t buy this story and quizzes Alison about their family, trying to catch her out but she seems to have brushed up on her information as she is able to answer most of her questions.

distant cousin 2

Later the girls are planning Alison’s birthday, this is further proof for Jenny as she knows Claire’s birthday is close to hers. After  this she does some investigating, she finds an old receipt  of Claire’s for shoe repairs. She collects the shoes and tricks Alison into trying them on.  After this Alison owns up that she is not Claire but won’t tell her why the deception. Jenny tries to talk to the head but she is away at a conference, she then tries the art teachers but she dismisses her. She them rings her Aunt Mary who claims that Claire is at Larchwood and only phoned her yesterday. Jenny thinks maybe Claire has been kidnapped, she wonders if Alison and her friends are too scared to speak out,  but then she overhears them saying they’re glad Claire is gone.

During games she sees someone watching from a window of an isolated part of the building. She sneaks up to see her, thinking that she may be Claire, but she is actually a girl named Sophie with measles, and the matron quickly ushers Jenny away. One evening, when the girls are looking at an old photo, they avoid letting Jenny see it but she manages to sneak a look later. One of the girls Pippa catches her,  but  she tells her she understands, she”d like to help, but she promised not to tell. At least Jenny now knows what Claire looks like. She also gets a hint from a head girl, that Claire got into trouble but is interrupted before she can ask further questions.  When Sophie is released from sick bay, Jenny gets to talk to her and she mentions that no-one liked Claire and she remembered the day she left, but then Alison pulls her away. Jenny finds a letter addressed to Alison from Aunt Mary. Watching her later, she sees Alison read the letter and share out the money that was inside, among friends. Jenny tries to ring Aunt Mary again, but instead gets the housekeeper who tells her Claire’s at school and be home shortly. Jenny confronts Alison telling her what she already knows. Alison fills in the gaps, it turns out Aunt Mary bribed her to pretend to be Claire so Jenny wouldn’t find out she was expelled. Everyone is glad everything is out in the open as they like Jenny and glad they can all be friends now.

distant cousin 5

Thoughts

Both stories are really good at building up the mystery and they are quite engaging. Their downfall is the endings. In both stories it felt like they didn’t know how to end it, Looking for Lucy felt particularly rushed at the end as Lucy appears in the last few panels, just as Shirley is about to enter the police station, then there is a very long expository speech bubble. Despite this I think Looking for Lucy is the stronger story over all. Shirley is really dedicated to her investigation and therefore the tension and urgency can transfer to the reader. Whereas in Distant Cousin Jenny can sometimes be a bit halfhearted, she is annoyed when she messes up her chance with a boy as she goes to ask another boy about her cousin, also she only asks one teacher about Claire and then gives up asking any adult. Although the Headmistress was away first time she wanted to talk to her, she doesn’t attempt to talk to her again after she returns, even when she finds out the only teacher she asked about Claire is new to the school!

distant cousin 3

In Looking for Lucy it is clear that everyone in the school is part of the cover up which makes things more difficult for Shirley and again builds on the mystery and distrust, there seems to be no one she can turn to for help. She does well in her own investigations, tracking down any scrap of information she can, even if the others foil her progress. But all the build up leads to not much in the end.  At least all the school have a combined motivation, but it makes little sense. Why not tell Shirley, Lucy had measles or was spending a term away, anything other than destroying all evidence of her existence! The ending might make more sense if Lucy had an accident at school and they didn’t want to ruin their reputation,  that it turns out the school wasn’t at fault. Really the disease, that she picked up abroad during holidays, seems like a flimsy reason to hide everything from Shirley.

looking for lucy 5

Distant Cousin does a nice job in adding new mystery halfways through the story. At first the mystery seems to be that “Claire” is hiding something and sneaking away from school. When she is revealed to be Alison, this changes to Jenny trying to find out what happened to her cousin. This change is slowly developed as we begin to suspect “Claire” is not who she says she is. Unfortunately the characters here have less motivation to lie then in Looking for Lucy. Nobody liked Claire, Alison wasn’t been blackmailed, her family seem to be well off so it’s not like she needs the money. It does seem that Alison’s friends  seem to encourage her to go along with charade and she does share the money with friends, but it really doesn’t seem to be a big enough reason to go along with it. In fact she’s relieved when the truth finally comes out. This might have worked better if Alison was a scholarship girl and needed the money or if Claire was blackmailing her. Whatever about Alison’s side of things, how long did Aunt Mary think the secret was going to last? None of the teacher’s are in on it, just some girl’s in Claire’s old class, realistically unless the whole school was involved like in the other story, something was going to slip out eventually!

distant cousin 6

While the endings leave too many questions as I’ve said the rest of the stories are well done an the art in both is gorgeous. I like Ron Lumsden’s  art, he does nice close ups of characters, filling the panel and capturing different expressions. Guy Peeters some has great details in some panels, such as when Shirley visits a church, and the light shines through a stained glass window or  nice wide shots of school.

Looking for lucy 4

 

Roll-Along Roma

Plot

When her parents were tragically killed in a car crash, young Roma Peters went to live with her mean aunt and uncle. Roma soon learned her relatives had only given her a home in order to get their hands on her inheritance. They were furious to learn they would only get a small monthly sum for Roma’s keep. Roma was a keen ice skater but when she discovered there was no ice rink in her new home town, she turned to roller skating to keep her spirits up.

roll along roma

Notes

  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • Roll-along Roma –  #361 (15  December 1973) – #373 (9  March 1974)
  • Reprinted – Mandy: #739 (14 March 1981) – #751 (6 June 1981)
  • Reprinted – Mandy: #1204 (10 February 1990) – #1216 (5 May 1990)

 

The Tribe at Number Ten

Plot

Carol Rogers’ mother looked after the invalid Mr Rogers and Gran for many years until they passed over. Now Carol is encouraging her mother to build a social life. But then widower Mr Thomson and his five children move into the street. Carol is worried at the way Mum is getting involved in looking after them when she is just building her social life and does not want her mother to get ideas about marrying Mr Thomson.

Tribe

Notes

  • Writer: Alison Christie (Fitt)
  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • The Tribe at Number Ten –  Mandy:  #955 (4 May 1985) – #968 (3 August 1985)

 

Claire Loves Steve – but She Hates Elaine!

Plot

Claire Ramsay finds her new neighbour, Elaine Benson, a bossy sort and hates her. But she fancies Elaine’s brother Steve and is trying to find a way to get him to notice her, including trying to do it through Elaine. This gets Claire into a lot of scrapes, such as dyeing her hair green to impress Steve – only to find he is colour blind, and all she does is get herself into trouble with her parents and headmaster. Matters come to a head when Elaine finds out about Claire fancying her brother and tries to use it blackmail Claire into helping her cheat at a test.

Claire

Notes

  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • Claire Loves Steve – but She Hates Elaine! –  Mandy: (?) – #936 (22 December 1984)

 

Penny and the Portrait

Plot

Penny Fairfax has lived in a children’s home until she goes to live with distant relatives. Penny unearths a portrait of a girl who looks just like her. The portrait is of Miranda Fairfax, an ancestress who was burned as a witch. Now Miranda is exerting an evil power over Penny to wreak revenge on the descendants of the people who burned her.

Portrait

Notes

  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • Penny and the Portrait – Mandy: #557 (17 September 1977) – #568 (3 December 1977)

 

Families at War! [1975]

Plot

The Carters and Simpsons have been bitter enemies since the day they became neighbours. Only the daughters, Polly Carter and Janet Simpson, are friends. The families get more friendly when Polly and Janet are chosen as queens for Carnival Week, but things are not going smoothly.

Families

Notes:

  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • Families at War! –  Mandy:  circa  #419 (25 January 1975) – #426 (15 March 1975)

 

It Must be Luv

Plot

A series of short stories revolving around romance. Each story had its own title.

A Bit Green – Katie Brannon is happy when a recycling project brings her to Simon’s house. She keeps using recycling as an excuse to call over to his house, in the end he comes to visit her and she realises she didn’t have to make excuses to see him.

Brothers  Kim Mark was going round to see Tanya Thomson, the new girl who had just moved to town. When she meets her brother Luke, she likes him  but doesn’t know how he feels about her.

Star Wars – Zoe and Terry both like the same guy, Rob. Although Zoe gets a date with him first, Terry uses his belief star-signs to go out with her instead.

it-must-be-luv9         it-must-be-luv

Notes

  • Art: Guy Peeters

Appeared

  • It Must Be Luv –  Judy: #1626 (09 March 1991)  – #1635 (11 May 1991)