Tag Archives: Stanley Houghton

Driving into Danger [1978]

Mandy Picture Story Library No.1 – Driving into Danger.

Art: Stanley Houghton


Sisters Julie and Jane Corby travel to South America to meet their dad, who’s gone there for work. But, when he fails to show up at the airport, the sisters buy a dusty old car they name Joe, and set off to look for him. And they discover that Joe (yes, the car) seems to have a mind of “his” own…


This very first issue kicks off the Mandy Picture Story Library with a bang, and a genuinely charming story. Sensible Julie is the one who takes charge, and usually gets them out of the many scrapes the sisters manage to land in, which include crocodiles and bandits. Meanwhile, the pretty and delicate Jane relies on her older sister to arrange accommodation, drive the car (Julie is the only one of the two with a license) etc. She may come across as a bit helpless at first, and ends up as the comic relief character more than once – frightened by monkeys, falling into a swamp. And it really doesn’t help matters that someone on the production team made the strange decision that Jane would go through most of her adventures wearing a polo-shirt with her own face on it:

But, when push comes to shove, Jane is still just as brave as her sister. There is a scene, for instance, where the two of them cooperate to save a baby from a hungry puma, and another one where Jane saves Julie from a mugger by chucking a tin can at him. Still, this is very much Julie’s story – she’s our plucky, practical heroine who never gives up on the search for her missing father.

However, the real star of the show is their antique car – Joe. One time, for instance, Joe inexplicably stops working, only for the girls to discover that they’ve narrowly avoided driving over a bridge that would’ve broken under Joe’s weight. There are so many instances where Joe seems to act on “his” own to protect the girls that the reader starts to wonder – is Joe actually “alive”? No doubt this was inspired by how a lot of old cars seem to have developed a personality of their own, and the artist very much builds up under this theory by giving Joe headlamps that look like a pair of big, googly eyes. Along with his bent front bumper and long front grille, these give the car the illusion of a face, peeking curiously up at the two sisters. The art, by the way, is great – this artist was definitely the right person to start a brand new series with.

In the end, Julie and Jane do find their father – in the care of an indigenous tribe high up in the mountains. They have been nursing him after he crashed his plane, and recognize the girls from a photo they had found in his wallet.

Thankfully, the people of the mountain tribe aren’t portrayed as naïve savages, or even noble savages – they’re just lovely, well-meaning people who are happy to look after a sick and injured stranger. They also throw the girls and their dad a reunion party with a bonfire and dancing, and seem to take delight in teaching Jane how to play their huge, hand-made drums when she exclaims how much she likes their rhythm. Some comics from this period might seem dated by how they treat native tribes, but “Driving Into Danger” steers well clear of negative stereotypes. As soon as their father is well enough to travel, the three of them set off towards home – in Joe, of course. Hopefully he doesn’t take offense at their dad calling him a rustbucket!


*Thanks to new contributor, Gwen, for the review.

Mandy Annual 1985

Picture Stories

  • Valda (Pages: 4-15) [Art: Dudley Wynne]
  • Lucky’s Christmas Dinner (Pages: 17-22) [Art: Wilf Street]
  • Home of Last Hopes (Pages: 28-32) [Art: Richard Neillands]
  • Faith, Hope and Charity (Pages: 33-37) [Art: Claude Berridge]
  • Mandy (A Story without Words) (Pages: 38, 96) [Art: Claude Berridge]
  • “You’ll Never Believe This, But…” (Pages: 39-42) [Art: Leslie Branton]
  • Charmette (Pages: 44-48) [Art: Wilf Street]
  • The Portraits (Pages: 49-55) [Art: Jim Eldridge]
  • Mum’s Bargains (Pages: 57-60) [Art: Tom Hurst]
  • The Masked Ballerina (Pages: 66-74) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • The Best of Friends (Pages: 76-79)
  • The Raggedy-Anne Doll (Pages: 81-88) [Art: Andrew Wilson]
  • A Christmas Story (Pages: 90-95) [Art: Stanley Houghton]
  • Who…? (Pages: 97-102) [Art: Ron Lumsden]
  • “My Brother Hates Me!” (Pages: 105-108) [Art: George Martin]
  • Smiley (Pages: 109-112) [Art: Tom Hurst]
  • Angel (Pages: 114-125) [Art: Dudley Wynne]

Text Stories

  • The Secret from the Past (Pages: 23-26)
  • Down Among the Dinosaurs (Pages: 61-64)
  • Emily (Page 75)
  • The Ugly Queen Contest (Pages: 103-104)


  • It’s a Date! (Pages: 16, 27, 43, 56, 65, 80, 89, 113)
  • “What a Nice Girl!” (Pages: 126-127)


* Thanks to Goof for information and picture

Mandy Annual 1984

Picture Stories

  • Valda (Pages: 4-15) [Art: Dudley Wynne]
  • Dilly the Daily (Pages: 17-20) [Art: Richard Neillands]
  • The Princess and the Slave (Pages: 26-32) [Art: Tony Thewenetti]
  • Mandy (page 33 and 113) [Art: Peter Kay]
  • The Gift (Pages: 34-40) [Art: Keith Robson]
  • Blue Moon Pink Stars (Pages: 42-47) [Art: Claude Berridge]
  • The Letter (Pages: 52-59) [Art: George Martin]
  • Mum’s Bargains (Pages: 61-64) [Art: Tom Hurst]
  • The Meerley Mystery (Pages: 65-75) [Art: Stanley Houghton]
  • “I’m NOT a Boy!” (Pages: 76-80) [Art: Ron Lumsden]
  • Charmette (Pages: 84-87) [Art: Wilf Street]
  • Smiley (Pages: 88-91) [Art: Tom Hurst]
  • “I AM Margaret!” (Pages: 92-95) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • The Hardy Horse (Pages: 97-101)
  • I Hate Boys Who (Pages: 102-103)
  • “You’ll Never Walk Again!” (Pages: 104-112) [Art: Jim Eldridge]
  • Angel (Pages: 114-125) [Art: Dudley Wynne]

Text Stories

  • A Bit Damp (Pages: 21-25)
  • The Search (Pages: 49-51)
  • My Favourite Place (Pages: 82-83)


  • About Horses (Pages 16, 41, 81 and 96)
  • What’s Cooking? (Page 48)
  • How Superstitious Are You? (Pages: 126-127)


* Thanks to Goof for information and cover picture

No Tears for Tina


Tina Standish was a happy-go-lucky girl, until one day when her eyes were damaged by the landing light of an alien spacecraft. Her vision became distorted, until the spacecraft pilot gave her healing eye drops. But he also warned her she must not cry for a month or the healing powers would be washed away!


  • Art: Stanley Houghton


  • No Tears for Tina – Tracy: #223 (7 January 1984) – #232 (10 March 1984)


Little Dolly Demon (1981)


Published: Judy Picture Story Library #220

Artist: Stanley Houghton


Alison Kirby and Denise Vale are best friends. Right now they are in a bit of trouble with their teacher over an essay on why they like where they live, which in their case is Halbury Tower apartment block. Although Alison is having trouble putting it to paper for the essay, she does like to live at Halbury Tower. It’s not grotty as some apartment blocks are, there’s no vandalism, the lifts always work (makes a change!), the caretaker Mr Teal is nice and cheerful, and the tenants are always friendly to each other.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of Little Dolly Demon!

LDD’s arrival certainly lacks for nothing that night. There’s a violent storm, and Alison is surprised to see a ball of light in the sky. There’s a clap of thunder, and Alison thinks she heard something crash on the roof. That something is LDD, landing on the roof in a flash of light, and it can move on its own.

Next morning Alison and Denise are on the roof and find LDD. They are surprised to find the doll bone dry despite all the rain and take it in, thinking it must be lost. As they do so, the cat ring on Alison’s finger (a present her dad picked up in Malta) starts to burn hot and Alison can’t take it off. They leave LDD in Denise’s room, and once LDD is alone it gets to work with Denise’s satchel and the exercise book Alison left in it. Then, Alison is surprised to see Denise acting as though she is hypnotised (by LDD of course), but the pain from the ring forces her back. Under LDD’s influence, Denise throws Alison’s exercise book down the rubbish chute. Later, Denise finds her exercise book has gone too. As a result, they get into trouble with teacher and have their first-ever row. Later the caretaker finds Alison’s now-ruined exercise book in the garbage and then Denise finds her room has been mysteriously vandalised and her own exercise book ripped to shreds. Of course it’s LDD’s handiwork, but Mum blames Denise.


Later, Denise gives LDD to Mr Teal, and then his cupboard suddenly falls into chaos without explanation. Later, a ball is thrown through his window – from the inside – but Mr Teal becomes uncharacteristically bad tempered and he wrongly blames some boys who were playing a ball game. He doesn’t listen to the girls when they try to defend the boys either. Then he finds his own flat is flooded.

Alison and Denise have noticed that the trouble seemed to start when the doll arrived. Alison’s ring tingles again and it seems to be drawing her attention. Following its lead, she discovers the doll walking on its own and there are lightning bolts of some sort coming from its eyes. LDD runs after Alison and soon has her trapped. When she tries to use the lift, the doll uses its powers to sabotage it – which also traps Mr Teal in the lift! He is rescued, but the lift is now out of order for the first time ever.

Everyone blames Alison for putting it out of action. Their committee is lodging complaints against her and for the inconvenience the out-of-order lift is causing. The formerly friendly apartment block is now becoming increasingly acrimonious and everyone is at each other’s throats.

At school things are not much better. Teacher is getting fed up with the girls not producing the essays she set (because of LDD’s interference) and is constantly punishing them.


The doll has disappeared, but soon the girls see it on the roof again. It throws a ball down, which smashes a car windscreen below. Mr Teal blames the girls as they were the nearest to the car, and the tenants join in as they all think the worst of her now, despite pleas from the boys that the ball came from the roof. The girls head for the roof after LDD, which has been committing more vandalism on the roof. Unfortunately it gets away. Mr Teal and the tenants blame the girls for the vandalism, and they even call the police over the matter. This leads to a tenants’ meeting, which is very stormy. The policeman has to urge everyone to keep calm and there is no real evidence against anyone, and he personally believes the girls’ claims of innocence. The rancour at Halbury Tower is now so bad the policeman comments that he is so glad he does not live there.

Meanwhile, a little girl at the apartment block picks up LDD. The girls see her with it and try to take it away. LDD strikes with more powers, which eventually ends up with the tenants irrationally blaming Denise and Alison for a washing machine going haywire (LDD again) and accusing them of bullying kiddies. Now they are even more hostile towards the girls.

Alison has now realised her ring is acting as some kind of LDD detector and protector, and the girls use it to go in search of LDD. Sensing Alison’s approach, LDD starts a fire and uses its powers to make sure the fire spreads quickly. Denise and Alison help people evacuate, but they themselves get trapped on the roof. In the distance they can see LDD dancing and cackling, and using its powers to turn the flames into an inferno and directing them wherever it pleases. In the smoke, they see LDD’s face and realise it does not intend them to escape.


But then LDD gets squashed flat under the wheels of a reversing fire engine and is destroyed. Without LDD, the flames die down and the fire is soon under control. The girls are rescued, and are hailed as heroines for their work in evacuating others. Later they find an imprint in the street where LDD was crushed and realise what happened.

Two months later repairs are finished at Halbury Tower, and the tenants are back to their old friendly selves. The acrimony and nastiness disappeared with the destruction of LDD, and the girls are resigned to never unravelling the mystery of LDD. Alison still has to write her essay on why she likes living in an apartment block (two months on and she still hasn’t written it?!). The girls reiterate how they like living in an apartment block.


It is October and Halloween time, so it is fitting to focus on some of the spooky, scary stories from girls’ comics this month. I think you will agree they don’t come much more scary than Little Dolly Demon. The cover itself says it all in just how terrifying LDD is. That expression of LDD on the cover breaks the fourth wall, for it seems to be staring right at the reader, which makes it even more unnerving. For those who think LDD was inspired by Chucky, the answer is no. LDD precedes Chucky by seven years, which means LDD is original and ahead of its time.

It is not just the powers of LDD – walking on its own, laughing, shooting rays out of its eyes, and possessing the ability to manipulate things, people, and even fire – that make it so frightening. It is also LDD’s very appearance, particularly its hairstyle and the expressions on its face when its malignance manifests. And it is all brilliantly rendered by the Stanley Houghton artwork. Houghton’s style is a perfect match to terror and spookiness and has been seen elsewhere in spooky stories, such as Mandy’s “Teddy”.

Adding to the terror is the total mystery on the origins of LDD or why it acts in the way it does. LDD could have been possessed by an evil spirit. Perhaps LDD was the product of black magic. LDD could even have been some sort of demon in the form of a doll. Or perhaps there was some other reason. But there is no way of knowing. LDD does not actually speak either, which means the doll itself never offers any explanation. It just pops out of nowhere in a violent thunderstorm – probably created by more of its powers – and gets to work. It probably makes a regular habit of travelling from place to place, spreading mayhem and discord wherever it goes. Except that in this case LDD met its match in the girls who were armed with a protective ring. Like LDD, the reasons how or why the ring acted in the way it did are left a mystery, which further adds to the paranormal effect of the story. Hollywood could easily make a movie with LDD.


There is also an insidious element to LDD that adds to its creepiness. The girls note that its very size, which is small, enables it to escape and hide very easily. And being a doll, LDD can just sit and pose as an ordinary doll, where an unsuspecting child could pick it up and lavish love on its, not realising the danger. And this is precisely what happens with the little girl who picks up LDD.

Further adding to the creepiness and mystery of LDD is that it has no known name, unlike most evil dolls/puppets in girls’ serials. It is not given one either, except at one point where the girls nickname it “Kookie” before they realise the threat. But the nickname does not stick. It is just “the doll”.

The story takes the opportunity to comment on the merits of living in an apartment block – provided it is a nice apartment block where the tenants are friendly, the lifts work, and everything goes smoothly. There are other apartment blocks that aren’t. In some girls’ comics stories there are even apartment blocks that possess terrifying secrets/powers of their own, such as “The Sentinels” from Misty. This particular apartment block degenerates into one of the grotty apartment blocks once LDD arrives. Sometimes things do go wrong just when everything seems perfect, even without an evil doll to cause it all. The girls emerge even more appreciative of living in an apartment block once the baleful influence of LDD is lifted from it.





Sarah Hutton is spoiled and selfish. At a Halloween party she mocks a witch, and the witch retaliates by putting a spell on her old teddy bear. Teddy comes to life, and starts making Sarah’s life a misery because of the bad way she used to treat him.


Teddy says he will keep on until Sarah has learned her lesson. But instead he goes to the lengths of threatening to burn down the house. As Sarah tries to stop him, she trips and bangs her head on a wheelbarrow and is knocked unconscious.

When Sarah regains consciousness she finds herself back at the Halloween party. She had hit her head on the wheelbarrow at the party. The Teddy terror had all been just a dream Sarah had while she was knocked out.

Sarah is back on the brink of throwing Teddy into the bonfire before her encounter with the witch. There is no witch this time, but Sarah decides to keep Teddy and send all her other toys to a children’s home. This suggests she will be a better person in future.


  • Artist: Stanley Houghton


  • Teddy –  Mandy: #922 (15 September 1984) – #934 (8 December 1984)


Her Highness of the High-Board


Princess Valentina of Japota is a brilliant high-diver. Ivy Graham, a sports mistress, brings her to a British school to train her to be a champion. But enemies of Valentina’s mother start causing trouble in order to undermine relations between Britain and Japota.

Highness   (click on thumbnail  for bigger picture)


  • Artist: Stanley Houghton?
  • Translated into Dutch: Debbie Parade Album #21


  • Her Highness of the High-Board –  Debbie:  #70 (15 June 1974) – #92 (16 November 1974)
  • Reprinted – Debbie: #465 (9 January 1982) – #487 (12 June 1982)

Mandy Annual 1983

Picture Stories

  • The Troubles of Trixie  (Pages: 4-11) [Art: Jim Eldridge]
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Pages: 13-16) [Art: Claude Berridge]
  • It’s a Dare!  (Pages: 17-21) [Art: Tom Hurst]
  • Lucky’s Country Cousin   (Pages: 24-32) [Art: Wilf Street]
  • The Bride Wore Red   (Pages: 33-43) [Art: Stanley Houghton]
  • Selwyn and Samantha   (Pages: 44-47) [Art: George Martin]
  • Dilly the Daily   (Pages: 53-58) [Art: Richard Neillands]
  • Only a Rose   (Pages: 59-63) [Art: Ron Lumsden]
  • The Diary   (Pages: 65-77) [Art: Kim Raymond]
  • I Hate Boys Who…    (Pages: 78-79)
  • Mandy – a story without words   (Pages: 81, 95) [Art: Peter Kay]
  • Valda   (Page: 82 – 94) [Art: Dudley Wynne]
  • Penny of P.A.W.S.   (Pages: 97- 100)
  • Marco   (Pages: 105-112)
  • Stella Starr – Stunt Girl   (Pages: 113-117) [Art: George Martin]
  • Mum on Wheels  (Pages: 120-126) [Art: Guy Peeters]

Text Stories

  • Mistress Quigley  (Pages: 22-23)
  • Danger on the Moor   (Pages: 49-52)
  • The Very Five   (Pages: 101-104)


  • Table of Contents   (Pages: 2-3)
  • What’s Cooking?  (Page: 12)
  • About Ballet –
    • How it All Began… (Page: 48)
    • The Story of the Dress  (Page: 64)
    • Ballet Facts   (Page: 80)
    • Characters from Famous Ballets  (Pages: 96)
  • Friends or Foes?   (Pages: 118-119)
  • Ad for Mandy Comic (Page: 127)