Tag Archives: Maureen Hartley

The Plant


Christine Jenkins mother was looking after an unusual plant for Mrs Walton, an elderly neighbour who had been taken into hospital. But Mrs Walton had told Christine there was something evil about the plant and asked Christine to destroy it, which was proving to be difficult.


  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Art: George Martin


  • The Plant – Judy: #1256 (4 February 1984) – #1269 (5 May 1984)

Cuckoos in the Nest


After the discovery that Fiona Sharp and Jane Langton had been brought up by each other’s parents, following a mix up in the hospital on the day they were born. It was decided that the girls should change places and live with their biological parents. Neither girl was happy with the arrangement.


  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Reprinted and translated into Dutch as “Vreemde eend in de bijt” (“Odd Duck”) – Peggy #4/1983.


  • Cuckoos in the Nest – Tracy: #120 (16 January 1982) – #134 (24 April 1982)
  • Reprinted – Judy: #1503 (29 October 1988) – #1517 (4 February 1988)

Bunty Annual 2001

bunty 2001The 2001 annual, would be the last Bunty book to come out when the weekly comic was still running.  The cover is nice in its simplicity (even though I do prefer the hand drawn covers more) and I like the coloured flowers that brightens up the background. Inside there is a nice variety of stories, features and it is all in colour. There are 12 picture stories  with regular characters, such as The Comp, The Four Marys and Girls Talking appearing.  There is also 2 text stories and 4 photo stories. Due to getting in contact with some creators through this site, I’m actually able to credit a lot of stories in this annual which is a very nice bonus.(For just a list of contents click here)

Picture Stories

The Comp   (Pages: 13-17 & 83-87 )

  • Artist: Peter Wilkes

Roz has a crush on a new sixth former, Greg, who is handsome and drives a flashy car. Amy’s not impressed with him though, he’s moved in near her and has a new girlfriend every week and drives recklessly. That doesn’t put Roz off though and she is happy to accept a date with him. She knows her father won’t approve so she gets her friends to cover for her. They agree at first but soon get annoyed at having to lie to the Cummings, especially when Roz hasn’t even warned them when she’s using them as cover. Roz finally wises up when Greg is speeding and won’t slow down. She demands to be let out of the car. Meanwhile a little bit away Claire is crossing the street and is knocked down by a familiar looking speeding car…


This is where the story splits, to build up some suspense the next part is later in the book. Roz comes across Claire being taken away in the ambulance and Nikki explains what happen. Roz is upset as she suspects Greg may be responsible. She doesn’t want to tell anyone her suspicions in case she is wrong and everyone else assumes Roz was with Greg at the time, so it couldn’t be him. When Roz hears Greg’s car is in the garage for some repairs, she breaks down and tells Laura, Hayley and Becky about her suspicions. With their support, she goes to police station, but it turns out the hit and run driver has turned himself in and it’s not Greg! Although Roz feels a bit bad about jumping to conclusions, she doesn’t regret breaking up with him, he wasn’t nice and she thinks if he continues the way he does one day he will have an accident. It ends with the girls visiting Claire in hospital.

Lonely This Christmas (Pages: 21-25)

  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Artist: Guy Peeters

Tessa Jones is feeling she will have a lonely holiday, as her family have just moved house. Then the old owners cat, Sheba, keeps showing up at the door. Although they return her, she comes back and then Tessa discovers she has had kittens. The families agree to keep Sheba until the kittens are big enough and  not only that Tessa will be allowed to keep two of the kittens. They advertise homes for the other kittens and she meets some girls who invite her to Youth Club party, so it turns out not to be such a lonely Christmas after all. It’s a nice, simple story with some good art.


Girl Zone  – Bunty- a Girl Like You (Pages: 26-27 & 88-89)

  • Artist: Andy Tew

Strangely, this is just called Girl Zone but it is a Bunty strip, I don’t know if this is just an occurrence in this annual or is the strip had also been renamed in the weekly comics. It is the usual fun for a Bunty strip anyway,  in the first story it’s time for a new tree, Bunty convinces her mom to buy a real one, but then she can’t bear to see it cut down so they end up buying another artificial one instead.

In the second story Bunty decides to make her own crackers they are successful but she discovers they are not so fun when you know what all the gifts and jokes are!


The Four Marys (Pages: 31-35)

  • Artist: Jim Eldridge

No Bunty annual would be the same without at least one Four Marys story, in this book there are two stories. In this first story on their way to Elmbury, the four Marys see puppies for sale and they see a man refuse to sell a puppy to a woman who he doesn’t believe will look after it. The woman is not too happy and pays Mabel to buy it instead. Mabel hides the puppy in St Elmos and the Marys find out about it and who she intends to give it to. They raise money to pay Mabel off and give the puppy to deserving girl whose dog had died.

Penny’s Place (Pages: 37-43)

  • Artist: Guy Peeters

An old friend of Penny’s is staying with her during the holidays. Lucy soon starts causing problems with Penny’s other friends. Donna is a little put out by being ignored and this gets worse when her dog, gets blamed for Lucy’s dog taking steak. Lucy continues to isolate Penny’s friends by using Pete and trying to start a fight between Gemma and Sita. Penny begins to realise what a troublemaker she is. After Mrs Jordan says Lucy’s dog can’t stay anymore, Lucy decides to stay with her aunt. Which makes for a happier Christmas for everyone.


Bugsy (Pages: 52-53)

Bugsy takes his niece Bugella to see Santa Bug, but Santa doesn’t arrive. After investigation Bugsy finds Santa Bug’s sleigh is stuck. Using his plane he is able to deliver Santa Bug to the department store.

Girls Talking (Pages: 56 & 79)

Two short strips, consisting of 1 small picture and a a big picture that takes up the full page, I like this layout and they were fun quick jokes. In the first strip Liz emails Lucy with news and it is revealed they are sitting right next to each other. In the second strip Lucy wraps present and then realises the box doesn’t contain the present.


Squeakie (Pages: 57-63)

  • Writer: Maureen Hartley

Alice Scott is delighted to get a Squeakie toy for Christmas (This toy appears to be based on Furby, which was first released in 1998 and even today still a popular toy). Squeakie can repeat back what Alice ays, but then trouble starts, as it begins to say back private thoughts she had too, such as spoiling her gran’s surprise party and insulting her friend’s taste in music. At first Alice thinks that she may have accidentally said those things aloud but when it keeps happening she gets creeped out and decides to get rid of it. She takes it to a shop and gets an exchange after been told that it was a prototype that shouldn’t have been sold. Alice is relieved but is still going to be cautious about her new Squeakie and not teach it to talk. After Alice leaves the room, the last panel shows the new Squeakie is even worse as he declares he will make her last Squeakie look like a pussycat! I’ve seen similar stories, often with ventriloquist dummy, using the furby like toy is a nice update and of course the foreboding creepy ending works well, just when the protagonist thinks she’s solved her problem!


Space Cadet (Pages: 67-74)

  • Artist: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Fiona Miller is annoyed by her younger sister Debbie, who is a sci-fi enthusiast. Debbie is particularly obsessed by a video game Space Cadet. But when Debbie starts acting nice and considerate, Fiona begins to suspect something is wrong. Then she sees Debbie with a green face talking to an alien n the tv screen, she tries to tell her parents but of course they don’t believe her. She figures out that this new “Debbie” has just replaced her sister and the real Debbie must be held someplace. It’s up to Fiona to rescue her sister, so she follows the alien to it’s ship. With the help  of her hockey stick Fiona is able to free her sister and they both escape the ship.


This is my favourite art/colouring in the book. It is very vibrant colours but fits nicely not overpowering the details of the art. There is also some more interesting layout of the panels. The story is fun too, I am always a sucker for sci-fi stories anyway!

Selfish Sarah (Pages: 99-103)

  • Writer: Anne Bulcraig
  • Artist: Eduardo Feito

There’s already been discussion on this story as it first appeared under the name Green Fingers in the Mandy Picture Story Library Scream! The story has been redrawn here by Eduardo Feito (rather than original artist Carlos Freixas) this may be so it would fit better with the annual format more than the smaller sized picture library. There is some slight changes to the dialogue too but this is less noticeable.

The story is about a girl Sarah Peters, who is very selfish and never helps anyone if  it won’t benefit her. When she learns a Green Issue project for school has a cash prize, she becomes interested in a plant that has leaves shaped like hearts and cute animals, as she believes that it will help her win. After the owner spends some time with Sarah, she decides she can’t give her a cutting as she isn’t suitable. Sarah later sneaks over and takes a cutting anyway. Soon after the cutting begins to change shapes, into toads and witches, reflecting the kind of person Sarah is. The plant’s owner knows she took a cutting and warns her to bring it back before it’s too late. But of course Sarah doesn’t listen, and when she goes home she finds the plant has grown rapidly taking over her bedroom and it grabs her, leaving her screaming for help.


I do prefer the original art, but it is interesting to see another interpretation. I like Eduardo Feito’s  art in general and the end panel with the hand like plants reaching for Sarah is very effective. I think the bigger problem is the colouring swallows up some details, like the leave shapes, that would be more clearer in black and white. The story is still a solid, scary story with the bad girl getting fitting punishment, so I can see why it would be chosen for reprint.

The Four Marys (Pages: 107-111)

  • Artist: Jim Eldridge

The second Four Marys story also has a plot revolving around animals. This time Josie another student at St. Elmos tends to pick up animals that need helping. First she is hiding a hedgehog and nursing it back to health after it was hit by a car and  later an owl. With the Marys help they get permission to set up an animal hospital in the basement. Mabel and Veronica aren’t happy of course, as they think the basement would make a great den where they could play loud music. The snobs try to sabotage the project by sending a letter to the school governor that animals were being kept in poor conditions and then messing up the hospital. Luckily the Marys overhear and catch them in the act. They make them clean up the mess they made and the visit by the governor goes well.

I usually find it hard to say much about the Four Marys, as a lot of times the stories are fairly standard for them. Not bad, just a bit repetitive. It is nice to see some more diversity in this story with Josie.


Lost in the Snow (Pages: 115-120)

  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Artist: Peter Wilkes

Jade is disappointed that because of heavy snow, it looks like her grandparents won’t make it for Christmas. Later Jade is disturbed by a dog barking, he seems to want her to follow him. Jade and her father go to investigate and the dog leads them to a car stuck in the snowdrift. They find a family nearby looking for help, but then the dog disappears and they say that they don’t own a dog.  They end up having a good Christmas with their unexpected guests, but Jade still wonders where the dog came from. After inquiring to some neighbours, they say there are many black and white collies around the nearby farms. One boy jokes it could have been Bruce, a local tale of a dog who saved his master from a fire and died years ago but always turns up to help people in trouble. Later Jade sees a dog up on the hill, but when she goes to look he is gone and the are no paw-prints in the snow…

A nice little ghost mystery with some good art. I like the contrast of the bright, warm colours when they are inside and the colder colours out in the snow.

Lost in the Snow

Happiness House (1994)

Happiness House logo

Published: M&J #182 (5 November 1994) – #186 (3 December 1994)

Artist: Norman Lee

Writer: Maureen Hartley


Over the holidays, Laura Willoughby and her family move into Lower End Cottage, where Dad plans to set up a nursery business after losing his job. The cottage is a rundown place, and the villagers soon reveal that it has a reputation for being jinxed. People don’t live there long because they have nothing but bad luck in it. The Willoughbys find themselves avoided by a lot of villagers for this reason.

Happiness House panel 2

Soon the cottage’s reputation for being jinxed becomes manifest – the family have nothing but disaster there, something always goes wrong with everything they do, the cottage seems to hate them at every turn, and they suffer injuries from a lot of accidents. Laura also notices there is something weird about the garden too: no insects buzzing, no birds singing, and no flowers blooming. There is also a dirty pond in the garden (note this).

Then Laura finds an old sign that says the cottage used to be called “Happiness House”. She deduces the problem is that the cottage is unhappy for some reason. As Laura loves the cottage despite everything, she sets out to find out why it is unhappy and if anything can be done to make it happy again.

Enquiries with a more helpful villager, Mrs Broadley, reveal that a little girl named Bessie Sawyer had an accident at the cottage years ago, and there is an old song about it:

Bessie Sawyer, Bessie Sawyer, fell into the muddy water.

Bessie Sawyer’s queen today, now poor Bessie’s gone away.


Laura tracks down Bessie’s grave. Most of the inscription has worn away, but what remains reveals that Bessie died 1 May 1865 at the age of seven (the same age as Laura’s sister Jenny). Laura then borrows a diary kept by the vicar of the period. It reveals that when Bessie was christened in March 1858, her parents were overjoyed because they had despaired of ever having children. At this point the cottage was still called Lower End Cottage, and Laura construes that they changed its name to Happiness House because they were so happy to have a child at long last. Next, Laura revisits the dirty pond, and recalling the “muddy water” bit from the rhyme, deduces that it must be the spot where the accident struck seven years later.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family have become fed up of all the bad luck at the cottage and are preparing to move out. As they pack up, Jenny finds an old doll, which Laura retains in case it has some bearing on the Bessie mystery.

At the library, Laura finds the final clue in a display of photographs of village life in the 19th century. Among them is a photograph of May Day celebrations in 1865, and the May Queen is a little girl who wears the same costume as the doll.

Putting all the pieces together, Laura surmises that Bessie was crowned Queen of the May in 1865, and her mother dressed up the doll in the same May Queen costume. But on the same day, Bessie somehow fell into the pond and drowned. The tragedy shattered the happiness of Happiness House and cast a pall over the place that still lingers.

Happiness House panel 3

Not knowing what else to do to put things right, Laura cleans up the doll and takes it to Bessie’s grave. It does the trick: when Laura returns, birds are singing and flowers are blooming in the garden, and the cottage itself looks happier. Within days the family (who know nothing about Bessie or Laura’s investigation) have noticed they seem happier in the cottage and they are having no more bad luck. They decide to give the cottage another chance, while Laura puts the “Happiness House” sign back up.


Stories on jinxed houses that cause trouble for whoever lives there because there is something wrong with the place that needs to be put right (or the house just gets destroyed) have appeared before. But I have seen the premise used more for complete stories in annuals, such as “House of Secrets” in Jinty annual 1978, than for serials. The serial itself could fit into an annual as it is only five episodes long. The short length works well, and enables the mystery to be unravelled in record time without unnecessary padding added to drag it out and prolong the family’s suffering in the place.

Happiness House panel 4

The story is one of my personal M&J favourites. The story is straightforward and engaging. The tragedy of Bessie is certain to bring a tear to the eye, and we also feel for the family as nothing but disaster strikes them. The discovery of the Happiness House sign shows that the cottage is not downright evil; it is acting more like a human being who is unhappy and takes it out on others by dragging them down to the same level of unhappiness. We do notice that the bad luck does not seem to strike Laura herself. Perhaps the house senses that she is trying to help and is leaving her alone? The artwork of Norman Lee also adds to the story. Lee was a popular artist, and his style works well with the rural setting of the story and hints of the period aspects.

Maureen Hartley – Writing for DCT Girls’ Comics

Maureen Hartley has kindly written a piece about her experiences writing picture stories and working for DCT. A list of stories she wrote can be found on the next page.

Quick Link: Story list 



I first started writing picture script stories in 1968.   I  had several short stories published by then, in women’s magazines  and had always fancied trying my hand at picture scripts,  so when I saw an advertisement in The Observer one Sunday asking for scripts for DCT comics,  I decided to try my luck.   MANDY had been launched the year before and the Mandy 425editors needed more writers to fill both the boys’ and girls’ comics.  There was a specimen script to follow and various helpful tips and I finally,  rather belatedly,  sent off my effort.    A few days later I received a letter from Dundee  –  could I meet the editors in Manchester?   Two of the editors were touring round the country meeting people who had submitted promising scripts  –  they had already planned their schedule,  but when my script had been read in Dundee I had been slotted into their programme.

That was the start.   They talked over my script with me,  pointing out mistakes  (e.g. describing two actions for one picture –  impossible for the artist to depict ),  and then suggested that I try a story.    I was given an outline of the plot, which we discussed in detail,  and told to submit the first instalment when I had finished it.

Sadly I cannot remember the name of that story but it did appear some months later in MANDY.   I learned afterwards from the editors that they had received thousands of scripts in answer to their advertisement.    100 possibles had been picked out,  30 people invited to meet the editors and out of those 12 had actually completed a story.

I worked for DCT from 1968 until 2001.  My last contributions to be published were 6 stories in the 2001 Bunty Annual.Lost in the Snow

(Lost in the Snow – Bunty Annual 2001)

I was working mainly for the editor of MANDY, and I soon learnt what was required.   He was extremely helpful, but could be quite sharp-tongued and demanded very high standards of work.    I learned that in every instalment the heroine must take some form of executive action.  That may seem highly obvious,  but it is easy to be distracted from the heroine by other facets of the plot or more interesting characters.   Also there must be no cliffhangers.   The editors felt strongly that the readers should get value for the money they had paid for the comic and should be given a full self-contained story in each instalment,  interesting enough to make them want to read more  but not blackmailing them with a cliffhanging ending into buying the next issue.

Synopses for new stories,  either from the editors or my own suggestions, were discussed at the regular sessions held with the editors when they travelled round the country to meet the writers.    The opening episode of each story would be worked out and the ending, towards which the story would move in 8 – 16  parts,  would be agreed.  What happened in between was up to me.   I would submit a synopsis for each instalment which would be approved by the editor of the comic it was intended for and then I would write it up.

Little auntie annie

(Little Auntie Annie – Mandy)

The opening frame of each instalment would set the scene,   usually with a caption bringing the reader up to date with the story,  then what was to happen in each frame was described very briefly for the artist,  together with the dialogue which would be added later in the speech bubbles.    I was told to trust the artists  –  they knew what they were doing and  only the briefest of descriptions were necessary.  When the final instalment had been written up and sent off to Dundee,  that was the last I had to do with the story.   The scripts were sent to the appointed artist and months later the story would appear.    The artists were indeed brilliant.     Sadly I never met any of them,  nor indeed any fellow writers,  and there was no chance of discussing the stories with them,  so I had no idea how
timid tinaeach story would turn out,  but with only one exception the artwork greatly enhanced the scripts.    The exception was a story of children in Victorian times working in a mine, drawn in an almost cartoon-like form which seemed quite inappropriate to the theme.   Much of the artwork was sent to Spain,  where figure drawing was considered to be of a much higher standard than in England,  but this could lead to language complications.  In a Wild West story for one of the boys’ comics the editor was surprised to find an extra figure standing in the corner in one of the scenes in a saloon bar.   This turned out to be the one-armed bandit the writer had mentioned in the script. (Above: Timid Tina – Art by Julio Bosch)

I soon learnt not to send off a synopsis to the editor if I felt in the slightest way uneasy about it.   Was there a flaw in the sequence of events?    Some part that did not hang together?   Or was it based on coincidence  (the worst possible crime in plotting)?    On several occasions I had my work packed up ready to send off  but  then ripped off the Sellotape and started again on the synopsis,  knowing that it would be returned with some telling comment if I did not tighten up the plot.

There have been a number of suggestions put forward by academics researching in the field of girls’ comics about the motives of the producers of the comics.   Feminists accuse them of attempting to reinforce the idea that girls see achieving  marriage and children as being the ultimate aim in life.   It is suggested that there may have been ‘emotional reorganisation’ and ‘attempts to reconstruct British girlhood’ as an aim of the stories.   However, in my experience there was no interest whatsoever among the editors in exerting this kind of influence over the readers.    There was no hidden agenda and I never felt under any pressure of any kind to push a particular message.     The editors’ primary  interest was to sell as many comics as  possible and that was done by giving the readers the kind of stories  they wanted.     Perhaps the main message of the DCT stories was simply that good should finally triumph over evil and should be seen to do so.

wedding of the week

(Wedding of the Week – Mandy)

The only possible market for a freelance writer of picture scripts at that time was D.C.Thomson.   IPC,  which also published girls’ comics,  only used staff writers for picture stories.   I soon realised that what was said about DCT  was,  sadly,  true  –  that their writers needed DCT more than DCT needed the writers.   Writers seemed to be at the bottom of the pile.    Payment to artists was three times more than that paid to writers.   With every payment slip came a form on which one signed away one’s copyright to the work,  so that the stories could be syndicated abroad under the DCT name with no further payment to the writer.   When the DCT comics ceased publication and I began to sell work through an agent to TINA,  a Dutch teenage girls’ magazine,  I was paid more than three times as much as I had received for similar stories published in Dundee.

All the work I did for DCT was for the girls’ comics.   It was an accepted fact among the staff there that women weren’t capable of writing stories for the boys’ comics.    Men could write for girls  –  the creator of ‘The Comp’ was a headmaster  –  but not vice versa.   Not that that I would have wanted to write about football or war,  which were the main topics for the boys.

The only story I didn’t enjoy writing was ‘Nothing Ever Goes Right’ for JUDY.    The editor offered me this story line to write up and it was clear when we first discussed the idea that he was fixed on an unhappy ending.   He relished the idea of the last frame,  showing people gathered round a nameless grave who would be remembering the girl who helped them all in some way and changed their lives for ever,  while regretting they never knew her name or where she had come from.   It was a tale of unremitting tragedy and sorrow for the poor heroine,  and I felt guilty as I worked out the next heart-wrenching episode that I couldn’t tell her,  as I did with all the other heroines-in-trouble,  to hold out  –  all would be well in the end.    Fortunately unhappy endings were very rare in the girls’ stories.

nothing ever goes right_06

(Nothing Ever Goes Right! – Judy)

I loved writing the fantasy stories,  in which you could make anything happen  –   I can well understand why JK Rowling kept going with the Harry Potter books!  –   and of course the many tales of lonely girls searching for  –  and finding  –  the family they longed for.    The shy girls,  the feisty ones who stood up for their friends and faced down the snobs and bullies,  the hardworking ones,   the girls who followed their dreams –  all became part of my life as I wrote about them.    And I often thought – “These girls are much nicer and braver than I am.” !

sad spells of fay martin

(The Sad Spells of Fay Martin – Mandy)

When I first started writing picture script stories the target readership was judged to be girls 11 – 12 years old.   Over the years the readers became younger and younger – by 1999 their average age had gone down to about 8 years.   The comics were no longer sustainable in their original form;  through the 1990s titles had been withdrawn or had merged with another comic until only BUNTY remained.   I believe in her final years I was one of only four writers of girls’ stories left in the country and in 1999 I was told the end had come for the last DCT girls’ comic and I completed my last story for DCT,  a Four Marys story called “The Mystery Virus”.

I moved on to writing for several years for TINA,  a Dutch girls’ comic still offering picture script stories.    This was done at a distance through an agent with no contact of any kind with the editors.    The stories were similar,  aimed perhaps at pre-teenage readers  ( they printed a large number of DCT stories with Dutch dialogue ) but it took me some time to work out that in these stories there were no villains  –  no evil rivals or sneaks of the Third year to make the heroine’s life a misery.   Also it was important not to show  mothers working in the kitchen  –  Dutch women did not want to be portrayed as spending their lives doing housework.

In the 1990s the look of the comics  changed,  with glossy colour pages and photo stories replacing the artwork and cheap newsprint of the original comics.   Other features such as whats newpop music and  fashion, were introduced following the model of JACKIE and other magazines aimed at teenagers.    And the stories became far less interesting to write.    Gone were the feisty heroines fighting to right a wrong,  or  searching against the odds for lost family members, or coping bravely with some terrible affliction.   No more fantasy stories  –  they could not be portrayed in photo stories   Now it was all about boys and shopping and sleepovers with mates,  with the moral message so important in the older stories that you should be good and kind submerged in the need to be popular and to have friends.   And as most of the current comics are product-based or centred on TV and film characters,  there are no opportunites for free-lance writers.   The world has moved on,  and the decline of BUNTY, JUDY, MANDY and their companions was sadly inevitable.    But the magic of the comics will still be there for those loyal readers who remember them with affection.


We’ll be a Happy Family


The parents of Heather and Carly Clayton have been missing for a year after a jungle air crash but have now returned. Heather is overjoyed but Carly starts causing trouble. She had enjoyed a luxurious life with the Warringtons, the foster-family the girls stayed with, but it made her spoiled and snobby, and she wants to keep in touch with them. The parents resent this and this leads to arguments. But when Heather tries to tell the Warringtons about Carly’s conduct they refuse to listen.



  • Writer: Maureen Hartley


  • We’ll be a Happy Family –  Mandy: #1127 (20 August 1988) – #1138 (5 November 1988)


April Fool


April Matthews is being blackmailed into taking second fiddle to Shirley Kingsley and being her slave so Shirley can be the star of the school. The blackmail is that Shirley’s father is threatening to withdraw his loan that the Matthews family need for the treatment to save the sight of April’s sister Tina. The blackmail has April being labelled “April Fool”.

In the end April discovers Shirley tricked her into it all and Tina got her sight cured elsewhere. Shirley gets caught out and has no choice but to confess to the headmistress.



  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Artist: Don Walker


  • April Fool –  Mandy:  #959 (1 June 1985) – #975 (21 September 1985)


Judy’s Joker


Judy Foster, an English orphan, goes to live with her relatives in the American state of Wyoming. The local people scoff at Judy because of her English ways, and even more so when she buys an odd-looking horse called Joker. Judy is sure that she and Joker can make her uncle’s farm prosperous. Judy and Joker make a great team in turning the tables on Jackson, who is giving trouble because he wants no competition.Joker


  • Writer: Maureen Hartley


  • Judy’s Joker –  Mandy: #636 (24 March 1979) – #646 (02 June 1979)


The Outcasts of Underwood School


Twins Debbie and Carol Lowe sit a scholarship exam to Underwood Boarding School, but then they wish they hadn’t once they find out how snobby the Underwood girls are. However, they do pass the scholarship exam and have to attend Underwood, as its first day pupils. But the snobby pupils do not make them welcome, and Virginia Fishenden is their worst enemy.

Eventually Virginia pulls a trick on the twins that backfires and she nearly burns the school down. Virginia is shocked into confessing and her ashamed mother withdraws her from the school. The twins are then accepted by the other girls.



  • Artist: Hugh Thornton-Jones
  • Writer: Maureen Hartley


  • The Outcasts of Underwood School –  Mandy: #300 (14 Oct 1972) – #316 (3 Feb 1973)
  • Reprinted – Mandy: #625 (6 January 1979) – #641 (28 April 1979)


A Ticket for Timmy


Carol Burns and her family are going to emigrate to Canada in a few months. Carol is trying to raise the £100 to pay the fare for Timmy, her beloved sheepdog.



  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Artist: Len Potts


  • A Ticket for Timmy  – Mandy: #114 (22  March 1969) – #128 (28  June 1969)
  • Reprinted – Mandy: #520 (01 January 1977) – #533 (2 April 1977)
  • Reprinted – Mandy: #1026 (2 October 1986) –  #1040 (20 December 1986)