Tag Archives: Peter Kay

Peter Kay (Bruno Kleinzeller)

Even when an artist is credited for their work, it doesn’t necessarily mean we know a lot about them. Such is the case for Peter Kay, whose work people may recognise from the 1950s Girl comic. Girl was initially published by Hulton Press as a sister paper to the Eagle, and it was one of the few publications that actually credited those that worked on the stories, which helps us identify what else an artist may have worked on. Peter Kay worked on many of Girl‘s prominent stories including Susan at St Bride’s, Wendy and Jinx, and Lindy Love. He also did cover work for Princess, and Schoolgirls picture libraries, as well as work on Mandy covers.

        

Thanks to a relative of Peter’s getting in contact we now have some background information on the artist, who led quite an interesting life. Born Bruno Kleinzeller circa 1906 in Ostrava, Czechslkovakia, he and his older brother Erich started  their careers as commercial artists. As well as work on magazines and advertisements, Bruno worked on movies posters. One example of these posters is from the 1938 Czech film “Svět kde se žebrá” (The World Where She’s Married). Bruno moved to Prague and then to England, escaping the rise of the Nazi party and before the German annexation of the Sudetenland. His brother Erich and sister-in-law, were not so lucky and unfortunately were arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where they died in the gas chambers. Bruno meanwhile changed his professional name to the more British sounding “Peter Kay” and worked for magazines in London. It was there that he met his future wife, Mary “Tommy” Thom, who was from Aberdeen originally.  Bruno/Peter continued to work on various publications, doing illustrations for The Scotsman, as well as numerous girl comics and the occasional film poster. He often signed his work off as “Kay”.

Bruno and Tommy lived in London during the Blitz and later had a son, David, who tragically died young, during the polio epidemic in the late 1950s. On a more happy note he was able to reconnect with his older sister Steffi in the late 1960s, they had lost track of each other when they had left their home country for different parts of the world. It is Steffi’s granddaughter who was able to provide information and photos of Bruno. Bruno died in the early 1980s after some health problems, Tommy died in the 2000s. Bruno/Peter was a talented illustrator with a large body of work and I am happy to be able to bring some of his work and life into the spotlight.

(Tommy and Bruno – 1944)  

(Susan at St Bride’s – Girl)

(Wendy and Jinx – Girl)

         

Mandy

  • Mandy –  Mandy:  #01 (21 Jan 1967) – #1269 (11 May 1991)
  • Art: Peter Kay

Plot

The comic’s namesake ‘Mandy’ stayed on the cover of the comic for its whole run with just a few changes along the way.  The first issues were more concerned with advertising free gifts and that it was a new paper. After this it settled into the pattern of a full-shot of Mandy on a mostly white background. Mandy is instantly recognisable with her bobbed dark hair, her clothes changed but are always colourful and kept up with 70s fashions. Accompanying her, is her red and white dog, Patch. The main picture set up the theme for the story.   Each issue had a theme usually involving a play on words.  As well as the large picture there was one small panel in the corner, often this would be a contrast to the calmer/ happier main picture.  For example one cover has Mandy admiring a dalmatian, the smaller panel then has her running away from the bad tempered dog. Also on the cover a pun usually encouraged you to continue reading on the back cover like when Mandy gets sunburned and the line is “Have you “red” it all girls? Then turn to the back cover -”

Mandy_01   Mandy_02

These covers were very eye-catching, the colourful Mandy stands out from the white background. Also I think the cover is so effective by keeping it quite simple the expressions of Mandy and Patch with just a few props sets up the theme without over crowding  the page. Even the corner box isn’t intrusive but a nice hint of what’s to come. The back page consists of 6 panels often with the panels in pairs, continuing the theme. Sometimes the last panel would have things work out for Mandy but not always.

A breakdown of one story; it starts with Mandy skating on the ice on the cover, the smaller panel has her in trouble getting stuck when the ice melts. The bottom of the cover tells us to skate round to the back cover for more fun with Mandy.  The first panel on the back page has Mandy leaving the house to go babysitting, the next panel has Mandy covered in snow because the snow on the roof melted. The third panel Mandy is having trouble with her sitting charge who won’t stop crying. The next panel reveals she is crying because her snowman melted. On her way home in the next panel Mandy complains she has had nothing but trouble with melting things all day. Things work out for in the last panel as her Mum has backed her favourite biscuits Melting Moments.

Mandy_03By the middle of 1978 there was a slight change to the format. Mandy’s still on the cover but now there is no other panels, dialogue and the  picture is usually a more close up shot. The front cover slogan encourages potential readers to buy the comic, like when Mandy in on a boat the slogan is “All Aboard for the best picture stories “or when she is playing catch with Patch the slogan is  “There’s No Catch – if you like picture stories you’ll like Mandy”.  Sometimes the story continued inside the cover rather than the back cover but the format stayed the same. The last few years of Mandy the character had a bit of a makeover. A new artist takes over and now Mandy has longer hair in a pony tail but the format stays the same. After Mandy ends and joins with Judy their new strip M&J- Friends and Neighbours drops the play on words and is more ordinary life mishaps for the friends.

Mandy_04     Mandy_06

Thoughts

I’ve already talked about the Bunty and Judy characters previously and while they are enjoyable,  I think Mandy has the more interesting strip. The play on words is a fun angle instead of the usual straightforward mishaps characters have. A lot of other character strips like Judy & Co., Life with Bunty, Debbie weren’t very different from each other, so Mandy made a nice change. The art is also really good. My favourites are the early covers, like I said above these were very eye catching. The artist really captures a lot of expressions throughout the strip and there are more detailed backgrounds on the back page but he  still keeps things quite simplistic. I enjoy the different outfits Mandy wears, which are nice look back at the time period.

The character must have been a good selling point as she consistently stayed on the cover while other comic covers changed over the years. Although later issues would advertise some inside stories as well, these only took up a small portion of the page while Mandy still kept her place as the main focus of the cover. When Mandy comic merged with Judy comic the two characters became friends in a new strip M&J – neighbours and friends.

List of Appearances

  • Mandy –  Mandy:  #01 (21 Jan 1967) – #1269 (11 May 1991)
  • M&J – neighbours and friends– M&J: 01 (18 May 1991) – #46 (28 Mar. 1992)
  • The Diaries of M&J – M&J: #47 (04 Apr. 1992) – (?)

Other Appearances:

  • Mandy (x3) – Mandy Annual 1971
  • Mandy – Mandy Annual 1974
  • Mandy (x2) – Mandy Annual 1976
  • Mandy (a story without words) (x2) – Mandy Annual 1982
  • Mandy (a story without words) (x2) – Mandy Annual 1983
  • Mandy – Mandy Annual 1986
  • Mandy and Patch – Mandy Annual 1992
  • M&J – Mandy Annual 1993
  • M&J – Judy Annual 1993
  • M&J (x2) – Mandy Annual 1994
  • M&J – Mandy Annual 1995

Susan of St. Bride’s

Plot:

Susan Marsh is a student nurse of St. Brides. In one story Susan finds an abandoned baby with a bad burn. When she discovers the burn can only be healed with a skin graft from a parent she starts to search for the parents. Another story sees the hospital taken over by their traditional rivals St. Bartophs, Susan and her friends Carol and Lois are sent to work in the new private wing. When their staff nurse Peggy is replaced by Julie Oliver from St. Bartophs, Carol and Lois are not happy thinking Julie used her connections to get the job. Susan however likes Julie and wants to help her out.

susan of st brides 3          susan of st brides 2
Art: Peter Kay                                                                          Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsend

susan of st brides

Art: Philip Townsend & Leo Davy

Notes:

  • The story appeared as the cover story for a long period of time replacing Wendy and Jinx.
  • Art: Peter Kay, Ray Bailey , Philip Townsend, Leo Davy
  • Story: Ruth Adam

Appeared:

  • Susan of St. Bride’s – Girl:  1954 – 18 November 1961
  • Susan of St. Bride’s – The Little Dutch Girl 
  • Girl:  circa Vol. 6 #40 (02 October  1957) – ?
  • Story: Ruth Adam, Art: Peter Kay
  • Susan of St. Bride’s in The Foundling –
  • Girl:  circa Vol. 8 #28 (29 August  1959) – Vol. 9 #3 (16 January 1960)
  • Story: Ruth Adam, Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsand
  • Susan of St. Bride’s in The New Staff-Nurse –
  • Girl: Vol. 9 #4 (23 January 1960) – Vol. 9 #13 (26 March 1960)
  • Story: Ruth Adam, Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsand
  • Susan 0f St. Bride’s in Relief Nurse –
  • Girl: Vol. 9 #14 (07 March 1960) – ?
  • Story: Ruth Adam, Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsand
  • Susan of St. Bride’s in Time for Study –
  • Girl:  circa Vol. 10 #9 (04 March 1961) – ?
  • Story: Ruth Adam, Art: Philip Townsand  & Leo Davy

Other Appearances: 

  • Susan of St. Bride’s– The Best of Girl
  • Susan of St. Bride’s – Girl Annual 6
  • A Stepmother for Susan of St. Bride’s – Girl Novel  by Ruth Adam(1958)

Wendy and Jinx

Plot:

Wendy and Jinx are inseparable friends at the Manor School boarding school. They got into many adventures including solving a few mysteries. In one story a theatrical school, Fairbridge opens nearby and Jinx has a run in with a pupil Rowena which then starts a feud between the two schools. Another story has the girls move to Grantly Grange when the boarding house at Manor School is destroyed in a fire.  When they find out that Grantly Grange is supposed to be haunted they go on a ghost hunt.

wendy and Jinx 2           Wendy and Jinx

Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsend                                    Art: Peter Kay

Notes:

  • Wendy and Jinx replaced Kitty Hawke as the front cover story.
  • First appeared March 1952, each story had a new subtitle.
  • Art: Ray Bailey, Philip Townsend, Peter Kay
  • Story: Valerie Hastings, Stephan James

Appeared:

  • Wendy and Jinx – Girl: 1952 – 1964
  • Wendy and Jinx in the Secret of Manor School – Girl: Vol. 1 #22 (26 March 1952) – Vol. 1 #44 (27 August 1952)
  • Wendy and Jinx in the Adventure of Gallant Knight – Girl: Vol. 1 #45 (03 September 1952) – Vol. 2 #16 (11 February 1953)
  • Wendy and Jinx The Mystery of Raven Castle – Girl Vol. 2 #17 (18 Feb 1953) – Vol. 2 #36 (1 July 1953)
  • Wendy and Jinx in The Secret  of the Caves – Girl: Vol. 2 #37 (8 July 1953) – Vol. 2 #61 (23 December 1953)
  • Wendy and Jinx in Rivals of the Fourth Form – Girl: Vol. 2 #62 (30 December 1953) – ?
  • Wendy and Jinx in the Mystery of the Ice Rink – Girl:  circa Vol. 4 #14 (6 April 1955) – Vol. 4 #23 (8 June 1955)
  • Wendy and Jinx in Rescue From Gannet Island – Girl: Vol. 4 #24 (15 June 1955) – Vol. 4 #43 (26 October 1955)
  • Wendy and Jinx in the Million Pound Mystery – Girl: Vol. 4 #44 (2 November 1955) – Vol. 5 #15 (11 April 1956)
  • Wendy and Jinx in Adventure on the Riviera – Girl: Vol. 5 #16 (18 April 18 1956) – (?)
  • Wendy and Jinx in the Treasure of the Legions – Girl: circa Vol. 6  #3 (16 January 16 1957) – (?)
  • Wendy and Jinx in a Race For Life – Gir: circa Vol. 6 #9 (February 27 1957)- (?)
  • Wendy and Jinx in The Fairbridge Feud  – Girl:  circa Vol. 6 #40 (02 Oct. 1957) – ?
    • Story: Stephan James, Art: Ray Bailey & Philip Townsend
  • Wendy and Jinx in the New Headmistress – Girl: Vol. 7 #32 (09 Aug 1958) – Vol. 8 #10 (07 Mar 1959).
  • Wendy and Jinx in The Girl from Norway – Girl:  circa Vol. 8 #28 (29 Aug. 1959) – ?
    • Story: Stephan James, Art: Peter Kay
  • Wendy and Jinx in Ghosts at the Grange – Girl: Vol. 9 #3 (16 Jan. 1960) – ?
    • Story: Stephan James, Art: Peter Kay

Other Appearances: 

  • Wendy and Jinx in the New Headmistress [abridged] – The Best of Girl
  • Wendy and Jinx and the Fight for the Playing Fields – Girl Annual 6
    • Story: Valerie Hastings, Art: Peter Kay
  • Wendy and Jinx and the Royal Dukes – Girl Annual
  • Wendy and Jinx and the Dutch Stamp Mystery – Girl Novel by Valerie Hastings (1956)
  • Wendy and Jinx and the Missing Scientist – Girl Novel by Valerie Hastings (1957)