Tag Archives: Oliver Passingham

Nightmares [1993]

  • Nightmares – Judy PSL: #360 [1993]
  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Plot

Sally Laing is in charge of driving a group of girls from the Kentwood Youth club to Summer Camp. Bad weather forces Sally to pull over, which reminds one of the girls, Penny, of a nightmare she had of being stuck on a motorway. In the dream,  she was in car with her dad and a horrible truck driver keeps boxing them in so they can’t get to the slip road. When they do get off the motorway, they are led back onto it again and then it changes into a roundabout with no exits and  suddenly changes into a merry-go-round that kept going faster until Penny woke up. While the girls are amused by the story, Sally is worried about the weather and decides to try and find somewhere to stay for the night. They get to a B&B, Hadley Hall, but the owner, Mrs Keeting, seems reluctant to let them stay. She says the sign is an old one but agrees to let them stay one night. Penny gets a shock when a member of staff, George, comes to take care of their luggage, as he looks exactly like the man from her nightmare!

The girls try to make the best of things, while eating Pauline is reminded of a nightmare she had. She goes to a dentist, a strange looking woman,  who pokes and prods until Pauline runs away from her. But the next day Pauline discovers she has fangs, so she has to return to dentist to get them fixed. Like Penny, Pauline gets a shock when the woman clearing the table is the same as the dentist. Mrs Keeting takes them to their room, which has no furniture, so they are forced to sleep on the floor with blankets. Again a girl is reminded of a nightmare. Jenny dreamt of a similar room, where one of the walls revealed the message “Prepare to Meet Thy Doom” and then the walls started to close in on her. The girls are now getting edgy, and pealing off some of the wallpaper reveals the same message as from Jenny’s dream. Sally asks whoever wrote the message to own up, but they all deny writing it.

Even when they try to sleep, it doesn’t stop the girls talking of nightmares. Another story has a girl camping, when she gets flooded and has to cling onto a tree trunk. Two witches appear beside her on other trunks, until she falls down a waterfall into a whirlpool. Suddenly water starts pouring on the girl’s head. Sally being sensible, just says a slate must have come loose, and she will get some dry blankets from Mrs Keeting. But even Sally is unsettled when she finds their door is locked. She is not in the mood when Wendy starts telling the story of her dream of being in a locked room. In the dream she found a trapdoor that had a spiral staircase, she went down for ages only to find another trapdoor leading back to the original room. Once again real life imitates the dream, as they find a trapdoor. Wendy goes to investigate but trips and Sally has to go after her. When they make their back to the trapdoor, Mrs Keeting has closed it as she is not happy with them poking around. She does let them out but Sally has had enough, she tells the girls they are leaving straight away, but when they get outside the minibus is gone and the staff deny seeing it.

Sally tries to call for police but dial is stuck, this again triggers another memory of a nightmare. A girl shrinks and has difficulty phoning for help. In reality they find the phone won’t work because the line is cut. With little choice they are lead back to their room again.  With the door locked Sally thinks the only way to go find minibus is to climb down the ivy. One of the girls protests as she had a nightmare about ivy attacking her, still Sally persists. She is part of the way down when Mrs Keeting and the others see her. She cuts the ivy, causing Sally to fall and brings her back to the room. Penny notices that the key is still in the lock and figure they can knock it onto a piece of paper. The old newspaper they are going to use has the headline that Hadley Hall was destroyed in a fire and even more odd the paper is dated for the next day, Friday the 13th! Freda tells of a dream where she dropped her key and fell down a hole with a bunch of keys, she frantically looked for the right key when a beast started chasing her.

They do manage to get out of the room and house but find themselves in a maze, they get lost and Mrs Keeting finds them. Soon they are back to where they started in the room again. As the storm worsens a nearby tree is struck by lightning and falls onto the house, setting it on fire. Sally and the girls make it to the roof to escape but are one again confronted by Mrs Keeting. Her and Sally fight and they both fall into the flames. It is at that moment Penny wakes up Sally. They are still in the bus, Sally fell asleep soon after they pulled over. As the storm has cleared they can sett off again and Sally tells them about her dream on the way. As they pass a sign for Hadley Hall, Penny asks what the name of the house was in her dream. Sally can’t remember and says it doesn’t matter anyway as nightmares have nothing to do with reality. As she drives on we see Mrs Keeting by the sign.

Thoughts

This is spooky and tense story. I like the dream narrative, and how on reflection, it becomes more obvious its a dream near the end, with archetypes such as sudden transitions and impossible occurrences, such as suddenly finding themselves in a maze or Mrs Keetings sudden appearance on the roof or even one of the girls picking this time to want to tell a nightmare story!  Still it doesn’t make it too obvious that it’s not reality until the end, so it could be believed it is just a very creepy house with maybe something supernatural going on. With all the stories of the girls dreams, it is like there are multiple mini scary stories, which brings more variety and makes satisfying reading. Most of these short nightmares would be scary on their own but to then have it tie into what’s going on around them adds another layer of creepiness.

Oliver Passingham drew a lot of supernatural and eerie stories (he was a regular artist on Skeleton Corner) and his style is suited here. With the nightmares he gets a chance to bring even more supernatural elements such as the witches and the beast, and even in “reality” he makes things eerie. Mrs Keeting is a good villain, and the final confrontation with her is quite exciting, as we wonder if the girls will be able to escape. Even though it all turns out to be a dream, the final panel with Mrs Keeting, makes things a bit more ambiguous, and makes us wonder if there was some sort of prophecy to Sally’s dream. Maybe Hadley Hall is destined to burn down, or the dream serves as a warning to stay away from the house and Mrs Keeting.

It is a story that uses it premise of nightmares well and  takes its time to build to the twist in the end. Although on reflection, knowing that after Penny tells her story in the minisbus, everything else is a dream, it does mean Sally’s nightmare was quite elaborate including nightmares within a nightmare!

 

Malice in Wonderland

  • Malice In Wonderland–  M&J: #01 (18 May 1991) – #08 (06 July 1991)
  • Artist: Oliver Passingham

Plot

Becky Shaw lives in seaside town, Seahaven, when Summer ends the town grows quiet as all the holidaymakers going home. One of the big attractions of the town is the amusement park Wonderland, run by Mrs Jolly. Becky and her friends see Mrs Jolly going around town trying to get the last few tourists to come visit Wonderland. Mrs Jolly has her dog Bones do tricks to attract customers and she isn’t happy when Becky’s dog, Poppy starts copying Bones old to do better than him. She can’t seem nasty in front of other people but soon she gets Becky on her own and offers to buy Poppy or even swap her own dog for him. Of course Becky isn’t having it, but then Mrs Jolly startles Poppy and she runs into Wonderland. Mrs Jolly tells Becky she better find her fast as Wonderland is closing in half hour and won’t open again until next year.

malice-in-wonderland-1

Becky is forced to leave when Wonderland closes but she goes back the next day and manages to get in. She is surprised that all the lights are on and the rides are operational. She finds Poppy but Mrs Jolly has gotten there first, Mrs Jolly says she will make a bargain with Becky – if she successfully goes on all her amusements she will get Poppy back. Becky doesn’t take her on up on this bargain, instead grabbing Poppy she escapes but is suddenly surrounded by fog, she thinks she makes it home only to discover it’s a model of her house and she is still in Wonderland. Becky has no choice but to except the challenge. Helping to keep Becky there are Mrs Jolly’s strange children, who all wear stripy scarves.

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First Becky is led down a hall of mirrors and is scared by distorted image of herself. The image also scares Fey one of the young Jolly children,  Mrs Jolly comforts her daughter and tells her things are not always as the seem in Wonderland. Becky uses this advice when playing a game of getting prize from animatronic cat that is now more vicious. She discovers everything in Wonderland is now more dangerous and realistic looking than when the amusements were opened for the summer. Another example of this is the Little Red Riding Hood amusement where she has to avoid the wolves, which are lot scarier now. She gets through, and Mrs Jolly congratulates Becky for passing one test, then her daughter Tarith corrects her reminding her Becky has passed two tests now. Becky thinks she may have an ally in Tarith, but she notices strangely that Mrs Jolly seems to be scared of her daughter and she begins to wonder who is really in charge.

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Tarith seems friendly begins to quiz Becky about her life, but then Becky finds what ever she tells Tarith makes her forget those memories. The memory stealing seems to be connected to a song on jukebox. At the same time Becky still has to go through the challenges the Jollys’ set her. She is led back to the hall of mirrors, she fails at the task, to escape within a set time. Then Tarith appears to help, Becky is startled to see her reflection has Tarith’s face and she has Beckys. She suspects Tarith’s claims that she will help her to escape, actually means Tarith will take her place and Becky will be left trapped. Not seeing any other choice for the moment, she agrees to take Tarith to her house. Again fog appears and Becky knows they haven’t escaped and are back in the model of her house. Becky things back to Mrs Jolly saying things aren’t what they seem, she stands up to Tarith saying everything is an illusion. She walks pass the Jollys saying they aren’t really. A ghostly Tarith comes after her, reaching for her… at that point a hand wakes her up. It’s her mom, it ha all been a dream. Becky fell asleep after playing Jolly Families card game. Becky is worried when she there is no Tarith card, she wonders if she was possibly real, but then Poppy appears chewing a card, which is the Tarith card. Becky is relieved the nightmare is over.

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Thoughts

From the story title the ending shouldn’t be such a surprise that it’s all a dream. The story does have a sort of surreal feeling about it, knowing it’s a dream, it makes sense – rules change,  Becky goes home only to actually find she’s still in Wonderland, Jollys popping up sudenly in the fog and the changing villains. The art by Oliver Passingham fits this well, as he has drawn a lot of creepy stories and he captures the changing nature of wonderland well. All the characters are very distinctive, Mrs Jolly looks like the villain with some exaggerated features she is like a caricature, meanwhile Tarith the real villain, looks pretty but he captures intensity with her eyes and creepy sequences like the hall of mirrors.

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The shift from Mrs Jolly to Tarith as villain is nicely done.  Mrs Jolly at first shown to be nasty and scary, is shown to be more sympathetic as story goes on, she cares for her children, as shown when she comforts Fey and is scared of Tarith. Tarith when introduced as a possible ally to Becky, also has some sympathetic characteristics as it seems she just wants to escape like Becky, of course the problem is what she is willing to do to achieve that goal – taking over Becky’s life! The ending with it all being a dream would have been more intriguing if they left it with the Tarith card missing. This could leave the reader wondering if Tarith was some supernatural being trying to get at Becky through her dreams. Instead the story was all wrapped up with happy ending, which I’m sure readers were relieved to see!

It’s a short story, only 8 issues, and because of it all being a dream the ending can seem a bit abrupt but it still works well. It would have been interesting to see Becky trying more of the twisted amusements, I was reminded of Goosebumps book “One Day in Horrorland” where kids were trapped in a twisted theme park, although that book came out after this story. So it is a popular  concept that has popped up in other places!

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The Brickfield Belles

Plot

When Lynn Jones, an Olympic sprint gold medallist, returned to home town of Brickfield, she founded the Brickfield Athletic Club to help girls of the town who had no ether facilities to become athletes. Although the Brickfield Belles, as they called themselves, were interested in all events, track and field, their main concern was to train a winning 4 x 100 metres relay team. The team, which it was hoped would help bring publicity and support for the club, had been challenged to race against a team in a house match at the exclusive girls’ school, “The Mount”. Meanwhile, the girls trained by road-running.

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Notes

  • Artist: Oliver Passingham

Appeared

  • The Brickfield Belles   Judy:  circa #550 (25 July 1970) – (?)
  • Reprinted   Judy:  circa #1238 (01 October 1983) – (?)

Davina Dives In

Plot

Orphan Davina Ray’s talent for  diving was noticed by ex-champion Mary Lord, who invited Davina to stay with her for the summer  holidays so that she could coach her for the County Championships. But Mary Lord’s daughter, Elaine, also entering the Championship, resented Davina being there. Now Mary was coaching the girls at the local baths.

davina-dives-in

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Appeared

  • Davina Dives In   Judy:  circa #1229 (30 July 1983) – (?)

The Girl Who Vanished

Plot

When Denise Pender went to Blair School, she expected to find her cousin, Kathy Longren, head prefect there. To Denise’s puzzlement, everyone denied all knowledge of Kathy. However, some clever detective work by Denise led her to a small room where Kathy found her cousin. As they came face to face, Denise gasped in horror, as Kathy’s face was covered in hair!

girl-who-vanished

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Willingham

Appeared

  • The Girl Who Vanished –  Judy:  #1217 (07 May 1983) – #1224 (25 June 1983)

Sarah the Seventh!

Plot:

Sarah Smith was a born liar. When she moved to a new school, she told her fellow pupils that she was the seventh child of a seventh child who had special powers. At first no-one believed her, but gradually, through trickery, Sarah had managed to convince them that it WAS true.

sally-the-seventh

Notes:

  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Appeared:

  • Sarah the Seventh! –  Judy: (?) – #1635 (11 May 1991)

Sweet Melody

Plot

Debbie Johnson and her  seemingly sweet cousin, Melody, were staying with wealthy Great-Aunt Jane. By cunning tricks, Melody had succeeded in turning their aunt against Debbie, so that Great-Aunt Jane’s fortune would come to their side of the family. Then Debbie discovered what “sweet” Melody was really like — but none would take her word against Melody’s.

sweet-melody

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Appeared

  • Sweet Melody –  Judy:  circa #1331(13 July 1985) – (?)

 

Oh, Brother! [1987]

Plot

Penny Brown couldn’t wait to meet her new stepbrother when she learned that her mum was going to marry again. Expecting Damon would be someone all her friends would fight over, Penny was very disappointed to find that Damon was short, fat and childish. He was also selfish and made himself a nuisance by always following her around.

oh-brother

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Passingham,

Appeared

  • Oh, Brother! –  Judy:  #1445 (26 September 1987) – #1455 (28 November 1987)
  • Oh, Brother! (2) –  Judy:  #1466 (13 February 1988) – #1476 (23 April 1988)

Cinderella Jones

Plot:

A humorous update on the Cinderella story. Cindy Jones’ widower father had married again and taken Cindy to live in Brightsea. Cindy’s new stepmother owned the Happyholme Guest House and made it plain Cindy would have to work hard for her keep while her stepsisters, Isobelle and Sarah, did nothing.

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Notes:

  • Art: Oliver Passingham
  • Art: Eduardo Feito (Surprise Party – Judy Annual 1993)

Appeared:

  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy and Tracy:  circa #1411 (24 Jan. 1987) – (?)
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy:  circa #1458 (19 Dec. 1987) – (?)
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy:  #1477 (30 Apr. 1988) – (?)
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy:  #1527 (15 Apr. 1989)
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy:  circa #1562 (16 Dec. 1989) – (?)
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy:  #1587(09 Jun. 1990) – (?)

Other Appearances:

  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1988
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1989
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1990
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1991
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1992
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Annual 1993
  • Surprise Party – Judy Annual 1993
  • Cinderella Jones –  Mandy Annual 1994
  • Cinderella Jones –  Bunty Picture Story Library:  #341
  • Cindy at Sea –  Judy Picture Story Library:  #358
  • Cinderella Jones –  Judy Picture Story Library:  #361