Tag Archives: Paddy Brennan

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Twin Trouble [1985]

Published: Judy & Tracy:  #1306 (19 January 1985) – #1315 (23 March 1985)

Episodes: 10

Reprints: None known

Artist: Paddy Brennan

Writer: Unknown

Plot

Lucy and Lynne Linton are twins. Lynne has the edge when it comes to sports and, feeling jealous at this, Lucy demands a cycle race. However, Lucy is so determined to beat Lynne that she cycles too fast, which causes her to have an accident that leaves her confined to a wheelchair. Lucy secretly blames Lynne and sets out to make her life as miserable as possible by playing sneaky tricks to make it look like Lynne is acting spitefully towards her, such as letting the brakes off her wheelchair and leading Mum to think the tumble she takes was due to Lynne’s carelessness.

Then Lucy suddenly realises she can walk again. But when she hears how Lynne has earned a place in the school athletics team, her jealousy over Lynne for being the better one at sports resurfaces. She decides to pretend to be paralysed so as to play on her parents’ sympathy and get anything she wants, and continue secretly cause trouble for Lynne.

Lucy eventually makes a mistake that tips Lynne off as to what she is up to. However, by this time Lucy’s tricks have poisoned Mum, Dad and the schoolmates against Lynne, and they don’t listen when Lucy tries to tell them what is going on. Lucy makes things so bad for Lynne that eventually the parents put Lynne into care as a problem child. The staff don’t believe Lynne either when she tries to tell them the truth about Lucy.

Lucy now looks forward to having the run of the house and being thoroughly spoilt now there is no Lynne. However, she finds she has miscalculated because the parents are thinking more about Lynne than her. She tags along with her parents for a visit to Lynne. They think she is so brave to do so. But Lucy’s real motive is to check to see if Lynne has got through to anyone, and if so, put a stop to that.

At the home a fire breaks out because Lynne’s roommate Ros keeps smoking in violation of the rules. Both Lynne and Ros become trapped in the blaze. Seeing this, Lucy’s conscience is finally aroused over what she has done to Lynne. She leaps out of her wheelchair and goes to the rescue. She succeeds in helping to get them rescued. Of course this shows everyone that Lucy is not paralysed and she has to confess everything. Lynne considers Lucy has made up for everything with her heroic deed and is happy to reconcile with her. Lucy owns up to the classmates while Lynne graciously supports her so the classmates are more willing to bury the past. The parents are impressed at this and relieved there is no more twin trouble.

Thoughts

Spiteful girls who cause trouble for a foster sibling/relative to make them look like they’re the ones who are acting spitefully are nothing new in girls’ comics, especially at DCT. Girls who pretend to be disabled or conduct a vendetta against someone because they (wrongly) blame them for an accident aren’t new either.

But although the formula is far from new, having a girl causing trouble for her own sister to the point where she gets her poor, innocent sister sent away takes it to a particularly despicable level in this one. It could be that Lucy’s spite was the product of shock and facing the horror that she may not walk again. But Lucy loses sympathy there once she regains the use of her legs and is just pretending to be crippled. Once the story take this turn, Lucy’s conduct grows even more appalling because it’s clearly motivated by jealousy and greed as much as misguided revenge. Lucy does not feel any remorse when she gets her own sister sent away as a problem child either, which makes it even more contemptible.

So it would take something monumental to not only bring Lucy to her senses but to redeem herself as well and open the path to reconciliation and forgiveness with Lynne. Saving the lives of Lynne and Ros is just the thing. It is far better than Lucy just being glibly forgiven once she is found out and things carry on as if nothing had happened, which has happened in some stories such as “That Bad Bettina!” from Mandy.

It’s a nice and unexpected twist when Lucy finds out that getting rid of Lynne hasn’t given her the monopoly of the house and parents. The parents are thinking more about Lynne than her, and Lucy’s nose is put out of joint at how things have backfired a bit. Luckily for Lynne this happens in the final episode, so Lucy’s latest annoyance does not lead to more spiteful tricks.

The Darke Diamonds [1985]

Plot

The Darke Diamonds are the heirloom necklace of the Darke family. Once there were ten diamonds, but over the generations the diamonds have progressively disappeared one way or another (lost, sold, gifted, traded, and even thrown away) and just one is left now. The latest Darke to inherit the last diamond relives the diamonds’ history in a strange dream.

Notes

  • Artist: Paddy Brennan

Appeared

  • The Darke Diamonds – Suzy: #159 (21 September 1985) – #175 (11 January 1986)

Trouble on Wheels

Plot

On the day Jan Patterson’s little brother, Neil,  was to have the plaster removed from his injured leg, the doctor discovered a complication and ordered the plaster to be retained. Jan felt responsible, as Neil had fallen from his chair while in her charge. Realising that Jan felt guilty, Neil rook advantage of his position and blackmailed her.

trouble-on-wheels

Notes

  • Artist: Paddy Brennan

Appeared

  • Trouble on Wheels –  Judy:  #1217 (07 May 1983) – #1224 (25 June 1983)

Fiona and the Ring of Fergus

Plot:

When Fiona Miller’s family was put under a curse by gypsy Meg Fergus, Fiona secretly volunteered to wear the Ring of Fergus for a year and a day, thereby taking all the bad luck on herself. Fiona’s personality changed under the ring’s influence. She was already in trouble when the ring became entangled in her little sister’s hair and, in cutting it free, Fiona made matters worse.

fiona and the ring of fergus

Notes:

  • Art: Paddy Brennan

Appeared:

  • Fiona and the Ring of Fergus   Judy:  #1050 (23  Feb. 1980) – #1059 (26 April 1980)

The Power of Petra

Plot:

Shirley Smith, a new pupil at Redcliffe Towers Boarding School, discovers that Petra Barnes has a hold over everyone to get her own way at everything. Even the headmistress is in Petra’s grip, so Petra can arrange to have girls expelled for crossing her, and several pupils go this way. Shirley is determined to find out what gives Petra her power over Redcliffe Towers.

Petra

Notes:

Artist: Paddy Brennan

Appeared:

  • The Power of Petra Judy: (?) – #1493 (20 August 1988)

 

The Sound of Fear [1967]

Plot

Government experts are investigating a fantastic noise which, from time to time, strikes Tatany Heights School. One of the experts, Mr Tenby, claims that the noise is caused by low-flying jet planes, but his companion, Mr Mountjoy, goes to investigate the downs near the school, where Pat Sims and Anne Dennis have seen weirdly-dressed figures. When Pat and Anne go to warn Mr Mountjoy that Mr Tenby is impatient to leave, he vanishes before their eyes. sound of fear

Notes

  • Art: Paddy Brennan
  • Not to be confused with another Judy story of the same name published in 1975

Appeared

  • The Sound of Fear – Judy:   circa #373 (04 March 1967)  – (?)

 

Sorry, Sue

Plot:

Janie Clarke is now ashamed of how her jealousy made foster-girl Sue Grant so miserable that she went back to the children’s home. A year later they meet up again in a new locality and school. Janie is trying to find a way to convince Sue of her contrition. But her attempts always go wrong and give the impression she is still persecuting Sue.

Sue.jpg

Notes:

  • Artist: Paddy Brennan

Appeared:

  • Sorry, Sue – M&J:  #34  (4 January 1991) –  #41 (February 22 1992)

Nothing Ever Goes Right!

  • Nothing Ever Goes Right! – Judy: #1102 (21 Feb 1981) – #1118 (13 June 1981)
  • Reprinted – Judy: #1553 (14 October 1989) – #1569 (03 February 1990)
  • Writer: Maureen Hartley
  • Art: Paddy Brennan

Plot

Heather Morgan is a pretty, talented girl, with a well-off and loving family. She has not let this make her big headed or spoilt, she is very kind hearted and has plenty of friends. At school she is made captain of the hockey team and wins the leading part in the school play. She is delighted when her parents buy her a pony, who she names Firefly. Then things begin to go wrong…

She meets a boy Frank to practice riding with, Frank is quite self-involved, although Heather doesn’t notice this at first. One afternoon Frank’s horse heads for an open gateway where there are two kids, Heather manages to head him off but she gets thrown into barbed wire and Firefly falls awkwardly. Firefly’s back is broken and has to be put down and Heather is left with bad scars. Heather feels she can’t play a princess in the play because of this but she helps her understudy Caroline with her part. She thinks Caroline is the better actress anyway she just needs more confidence. Heather still has other things to look forward to, like the chance of a ballet scholarship, and a doctor may be able to remove her scars. It’s an expensive operation but her family can afford it. Heather feels a bit guilty that another poorer ballet student, Paula,  will have to stop dancing if she doesn’t get the scholarship, while her family would still be able to afford dancing lessons for her. Heather sacrifices her chances at the scholarship figuring she’ll get another chance later. Then her father’s business runs into trouble and he has to postpone Heather’s operation.

nothing ever goes right_01

Due to her father’s money problems the family have to move across town, to a smaller house, which makes it harder for Heather to meet up with her friends. Eventually she has to switch schools. She doesn’t fit in well at her new school, she finds it hard to make friends. She thinks she has found a friend when she meets Barry who helps out at the library, she helps him with a display for a competition. Then she overhears him talking to friend’s how he is only being nice to her so she’ll help him with the competition. She also finds herself feeling tired and breathless but she doesn’t want to worry her parents any more. Her parents aren’t having any better luck. Mr Morgan plans to sell his car but gets in a crash, meaning he won’t get that much money from the sale.  He also plans to start a new business,  but Mrs Morgan is worried about getting themselves in more debt. She pawns her jewellery to help with the finances. Heather knowing a particular brooch is important to her mother saves up to buy it back. When she arrives home with it, she finds that her mother has walked out on them.

nothing ever goes right 02

Heather continues to have problems at school and is constantly bullied, then she collapses and is taken to hospital. The doctor tells her she has a mild heart complaint, but with rest she should recover completely. Later when her mother rings to check up on then Heather tells her about her heart condition in order to persuade her to come back. Her mother says she’ll come home at once. Heather and her father prepare dinner for Mrs. Morgan’s return but it is a police officer who turns up instead. Mrs. Morgan has been killed in a car accident.

nothing ever goes right_04

When ever things begin to look better, soon more disaster strikes. Mr Morgan gets his shop up and running, only to have it burnt down in a fire. Mr Morgan falls into a bit depression after this. Heather takes on a job as a delivery girl to help out.  On one delivery she meets a girl Pauline who is in a wheelchair after an accident. Heather strikes up a friendship with her. Pauline’s parents know of Heather’s dad and offer him a job and a cottage to live in. Heather leaves her current school but a gang of them come over to Pauline’s house and wreck up the place. Heather gets blamed, as the gang said she invited them over and her father is fired. Her father finds them a new home, a boat house. Heather helps out some neighbour kids who are being abused. When she sees them shoplifting she tells the shop owner who calls the police and when the sees the bruises over the kid’s bodies, social services are called. This leads to another neighbour developing a grudge against the Morgan family.  Mr Morgan sends Heather to stay with relatives but she behaves badly in order to be sent back to stay with her Dad. She has two reasons for this, firstly she overhears her Uncle and Aunt talking about how tight money is and secondly she feels her father needs her. It turns out her father does need her because the neighbour has cut the walkway, causing to Mr Morgan to fall into icy water and getting trapped. It is an hour before he is found.

nothing ever goes right_03

While Mr Morgan is in hospital Heather goes into a foster home. Her foster mother and daughter aren’t friendly and she gets into a fight with the daughter when she takes her mother’s brooch. Heather is sent to a school for problem children. She sneaks out to visit her Dad and one of the other pupils blackmails her into getting junk food for the dorm. They get found out and Heather’s blamed.  She is punished but manages to slip out again. She goes to the hospital but is informed her father died that morning. When the police turn up she runs away so she won’t be sent back to the school.  Heather finds it hard to go on,  but she decides she must get to her relatives that she lived with briefly. When she arrives the house is empty and the next door neighbours tell her they emigrated to Australia last month.

nothing ever goes right

With no where to go Heather is left on the streets. She saves a dog from being run over and brings him to the home on his address. The effort makes her collapse. The Claytons, the dog owner, call a doctor and he tells them she is in poor condition and needs rest and nursing to restore her health. Heather is grateful to Claytons but other than her name she pretends to have lost her memory as she’s afraid they’ll call the police.  She eventually tells them everything, and the Claytons decide to adopt her but keep it a surprise.  A jealous niece who overheard the story calls the cops, while the Claytons are out, forcing Heather to run.

While figuring out what to do next, Heather finds some missing children that are trapped in a collapsed derelict house. She calls for help and then manage to get down to help them. When the firemen arrive she lifts the children to safety but then collapses from the strain. She is taken to the hospital, but it’s all been too much  and she passes away. Because she had no identification on her she is buried in an unmarked grave. No one was there to mourn her death but some of the people’s life she touched remember her and wonder what became of her. Like Caroline who she helped gain confidence in her acting and Barry the librarian who wishes he was nicer to her at the time. The only visitors to Heather’s grave is the children she saved and their mother who would always be thankful to the nameless girl.

nothing ever goes right_06

Thoughts

This story certainly lives up to its title. Tragic heroines were not uncommon, characters often had to deal with a lot of hardships before getting their happy endings or in some cases like this one, there is no happily ever after for the main character. A more famous tragic character is Mandy’s “Angel” which I’ve already discussed here.  At least Angel had a choice of how she wanted to live her last year of her life and she died with her loved ones around her. She even got a statue in her honour. Heather has misfortune after misfortune and ends up in an unmarked grave! It’s quite a depressing end, despite all the other lives she made better. I think the writer was really trying to push the boundaries on how hard they could make life for this character and also not have her get through these hardships and end on a happier note (UPDATE – Writer Maureen Hartley has informed us that it was the editor that wanted the tragic ending). Characters having bad luck, or going through many difficulties were a cliche at the point when this story came out.  This story nearly borders on parody on how much can one young girl endure. At one point Heather helps a young girl who has been pushed out of her wheelchair only for two old women come and berate her for pushing the girl from the wheelchair without listening to explanations! Really nothing she does ends well.

nothing ever goes right _07

Heather also has to deal with some discrimination because of her scars mostly with kids, but also with some adults. She thinks she can’t be the princess in the play because of her scars but that is more a case of her withdrawing rather than forced out. Her ballet teacher, actually tells her she should consider dropping out of the scholarship because she can’t expect a stage career with her scars. Which isn’t very supportive or a good quality for a teacher. The actual person judging the scholarship is much more understanding and knows about stage makeup! Although Heather has a hard time, there are other people in the story, that shows that everyone has their own problems. Paula (the ballet student) has money problems and also has to deal with some nasty girls in the class. Then there’s the two kids that are being beaten and forced to shoplift by their guardians. If Heather hadn’t helped them out, they could have been stuck in that bad situation.

Though it may sound that I’m being a bit mocking because the tragedy is extreme, the story is played seriously and it is very well written and well paced. I can see why it was a favourite with readers. I definitely felt invested in the family and in the story. I did feel sad when Heather died, I felt she was a very likeable character. She breaks down at times but she tries to stay strong, particularly for her family. She stands up for people and is friendly and helpful.  There has also been many stories about orphans but rarely do we get to spend time with the parents first. Having their deaths spaced out, makes it tougher. Just when she gets over her mother’s death (who dies eight episodes in) then she has to deal with her father’s death (the fourteenth episode). I had grown to like the father as well, so his death was nearly as sad as Heathers’.

The last page is well done the majority of the page is taken up with a panel each for a person she affected. While Heather dying is depressing it is nice to see the callback to people she helped and how she changed their lives for the better, in the brief time she knew them. There was some unexpected mentions like Barry, who seems to have regretted early actions, and was not someone I would have expected seeing again. It is very nicely drawn throughout but I particularly liked the last page of the older characters musing about Heather.

(click for larger image)

nothing ever goes right last page