Tag Archives: Terry Aspin

Bunty for Girls 1990

I was going to do a Christmas post while I had time off from work, unfortunately after Christmas day, I was unwell, but I have recovered now (just in time to go back to work of course!), so better late than never, I have managed to get time to look at an old Bunty annual.

The Bunty annuals up to 1988 all depicted a drawing of the Bunty character on the cover, in 1989 this changed instead to a photo of a girl and the 1990 annual does the same, a trend that would continue until the end of the annuals. What I do notice about this earlier photo covers is they are more minimalist, with just plain background, girl, and title. Later annuals would have more text added to the cover advertising what to expect inside. For regular weekly readers they would know what to look forward to, a lot of familiar characters are present with some fun one-off stories as well. (For just a list of contents go to the next page)

 

Picture Stories

Sister Susie (Pages: 6-15)

Artist: Matias Alonso

Petra Mayne’s uncle raised a chimp named Susie like a human child. While he was away, Susie comes to stay with Petra’s family. Susie can be quite difficult to manage at times. To try and keep her entertained they go to visit a Stately home with a fun fair (oddly enough they leave Petra’s young twin siblings with a neighbour, which seems unfair that they miss out!). The plan is to stay at the outside grounds, but Susie slips away into the Hall. She causes mischief until  a group of children visiting from children’s home are able to lead her outside. They have more success at the fair as Susie helps a boy down the helter skelter and stays with the children for the rest of the day. She does manage to get up to one more piece of mischief before leaving slipping hall to steal the wax fruit display, which the Mayne’s don’t notice until driving home!

Bonnie and Claude (Pages: 17-24)

Artist: Andy Tew

Ballroom dancers Bonnie and Claude Plank along with young Laura Balmain go to Rio de Janeiro on holiday, before they are to compete in the World Latin American Dance Campionship. Unbeknownst to them a competing pair of dancers, Pedro and Carmen Maneto, have decided in order to win, they must make sure the Planks can not participate.

They follow the Planks around on holiday but their tricks always backfire, until Pedro takes drastic measures and gets bandits to kidnap the trio. The bandits put them to work for them, but it has disastrous consequences, Laura puts too much chilli in the food, the Planks flatten his gold watch and burn his long johns with an iron. Laura then comes up with a plan to escape, Bonnie and Claude distract the bandits with dancing lessons and she throws bullets on fire, making them think they are being attacked. Bonnie, Claude and Laura manage to make it to championship just in time and of course win it. Still not knowing Maneto’s involvement she is confused when the Bandit seem to blame the Manetos for things her and the Planks did!

The Wilde Bunch (Pages: 26-32)

Art: Russ Nicholson

Carol Wilde found kids for the model agency she worked at. The company used real ordinary kids off the street rather than pretty posed professional models. Carol was good at finding the perfect kid, but it could also cause a lot of trouble.

While running late for work, she runs into a boy on roller skates, although he says he will jump over her, she ducks out of way landing in water, he tells her she could have saved herself a soaking if she listened to him. When she finally gets to works she has a note from colleague Miss Potts, but she can barely read the hand-writing, “Mega TV need a boy – skater trained – for a special stunt commercial” . Miss Potts is out looking at potential candidate but rings to say she has had no luck, Carol says she has an idea that she ran into a great skater earlier, she hangs up before hearing Miss Potts protest.

The boy, Lennie, sees Carol coming and thinks she is mad about earlier and runs off. Borrowing some skates Carol goes after him. Lennie gives is skates to is twin brother Teddy and disappears, Carol catches Teddy not knowing he is a twin. Without listening to him trying to explain she rushes him over to studio wondering why he has got so clumsy all of sudden, learning the truth, she thinks she is in big trouble but the TV people are delighted with Teddy. Miss Potts arrives she had been trying to tell Carol earlier the note said ‘scatter-brained’ not ‘skater-trained’, the commercial is for a relaxing hot drink where a kid is to wreck the house. So coincidentally for Carol, everything worked out as it should!

Three stories in and a lot of humour, hijinks and misunderstandings in this annual! There’s a change of pace for the next story.

The Necklace (Pages: 33-44)

Artist: David Matysiak

As in a lot of these annuals (mostly in Diana, Man in Black stories)  a spooky tale by David Matysiak, seems tradition. In this story Sally Regan borrows a special necklace from a friend and promises to return it first thing in the morning. She puts in a secret cubby hole for safe keeping but oversleeps in the morning and forget to bring it. Jean is anxious to get the necklace back, so Sally rushes home to get it after school but doesn’t pay attention when crossing the road getting hit by truck.

Sally makes it home but is feeling strange, there is a truck moving furniture and girls in her bedroom which confuses her. Then she puts her hand through a clock and she realises she is a ghost. Her memories are not fully in tact, she remembers getting hit and she was rushing to do something important but can’t remember what it was. Getting used to her ghost state, she eavesdrops on the new owners conversations to find out her parents moved. She then seeks out her grave and sees her friends including Jean visit. Jean is sorry that she was cross about the necklace the last time she saw Sally. Now knowing what she needs to do Sally goes back to the house, and after a workman discovers her secret cubby  hole she scares him and takes the necklace placing it in Jean’s desk. This is not the end of it though, as Sally discovers so much time has passed that her old class have moved to third year. The boy who now has Jean’s desk finds the necklace and gives it to his girlfriend. Sally manages to sneak it back from her during gym class and slip it into Jean’s blazer pocket. Jean is surprised to find it, and even more surprisingly Sally wakes up in a hospital bed with her parents beside her. She has been unconscious since the accident, she thinks it was all a strange dream she had, until Jean visits wearing her necklace, saying she found it in her blazer pocket!

School’s Out! (Pages: 49-58)

Artist: Terry Aspin

Before The Comp came over from Nikki, Bunty’s equivalent long running soap story, School’s Out, followed the pupils at Wansdale School. In this story Patti asks her friends to come along to the Christmas Eve disco with her, but they all have plans – Dawn is decorating at an Old people’s home, Sandra is going to a fancy dress party, Carol is baking a Christmas cake, Ellie is going with her brother Kevin to get a Christmas tree and Gladys is being Santa at a kid’s party. Their Christmas plans end up being a disaster, after lots of complaints about her decorating Dawn discovers someone else has decorated the party room at the old peoples home, Sandra’s Eddie the Eagle costume cause her trouble as she can’t get in taxi or crowded bus with her skis, Kevin and Dawn tries to cut down a tree but after a misadventure buy one instead, and the kids are not convinced by Gladys Father Christmas voice and rip her beard off. Patti is surprised to see them all turn up at the disco, but they all have a good time in the end.

Life in Bunty (Pages: 59-61)

Not to be confused with Life with Bunty that follows the Bunty character, this strip follows Kirstie a worker in a ficionalised Bunty office, that seems to employ a number of women with a male boss they call “Sir”. In this story Kirstie recall some previous years Christmas mishaps, like Sir trying dance on table at restauraunt and slipping onto holly or when they all had the same idea to give Sir a photo of themselves as a present. This year Kirstie brings the whole office down as she slips on a filofax after decorating the office.

Toots (Page: 64)

Artist: Bill Ritchie

Toots bemoans the youth watching TV instead of doing constructive hobbies like bygone years  such as knitting, painting, playing the piano… that is until she hears the theme tune of “Neighbours” on the TV and so has to pause to watch that first.

Bike Rider (Pages: 65-69)

Artist: Andy Tew

Sandy Clark with her computerised super bike go on the hunt for a pickpocket, after mistaking a man running for the bus as the thief trying to get away, they have better luck at the circus and they find a trained monkey responsible. After the events, the ringmaster is sorry that the Bike Rider has disappeared he wanted to offer him a job as a stunt rider. Sandy overhearing thinks “he” won’t be taking up the offer.

The Four Marys (Pages: 71-80)

Artist: Jim Eldridge

After the four Marys find out that Miss Creef’s been teaching at St Elmos for 25 years, they talk to Miss Mitchell about celebrating the occasion. They decide to write to old pupils to get together for the celebration. Everyone replies except sisters Ruth and Rhoda Dale. As the last address they have for them is close to Raddy’s home, over half-term they decide to pay a visit. They are shocked when Rhoda has so much hate for Creefy, she tells them of her time in school. Her mother was a famous actress that they rarely got to see when she was in London for only one day, they wanted to go visit, but Dr Gull was unable to let them go as there was no teacher free to chaperone the. Rhoda and her sister snuck off to London anyway, surprised to meet Creefy at the train station. Despite the hotel being close by, Creefy just took them back to school, and they never got a chance to see their mother again as she died in an accident a few months later.

The Marys are disappointed that Miss Creef could do something like that, but remind themselves people can make mistakes. On the day of the celebration allthe old pupils tell stories of how Miss Creef helped them. The Marys think everything will be ruined when Ruth and Rhoda show up, but of course the story Rhoda told was not the whole truth. What she did not know was that he mother did not want to be seen with the girls in case having grown up daughters damaged her career. Miss Creef had gone to see her to try and get her to change her mind, Ruth found this out later and only after learning that Rhoda still had resentment for Miss Creef she told her the whole story. So the firm but fair Creefy’s reputatation is restored and everyone is able to happily join in the celebrations.

Haggis (Pages: 93)

Haggis is tired of having to follow orders, but he doesn’t refuse the order to come for dinner.

Life With Bunty (Pages: 94-95)

Artist: Doris Kinnear

Bunty is enjoying skating with her friends. When a boy comes along that she likes, she pretends not to be a good skater so he will offer to help her.

No Time for Terri (Pages: 97-104)

Artist: Douglas Perry

Terri Dempster’s parents run a children’s home, Heartvale House. Sometimes Terri feels her parents don’t have as much time for her as the other children, so she is excited when she sees they have booked a holiday to Paris. She icannot hide her disappointment when they tell her it is a getaway just for her mom and dad and they’ve got a temporary matron in for the week. Terri is so upset so won’t stay at the home and asks to stay with an aunt instead. She ends up quite bored, meanwhile the children aren’t getting along with the new matron and decide totrack down Terri. Terri comes back to the home and helps the matron, with all the little tricks she’s learned from her parents (like putting a sprinkle of cheese on the mash so the children eat it).

Hearing the whole story when they return, her parents are proud of her when they come back. They want to treat her to a weekend away to London just the three of them. Terri is excited but when one of the young girls, Mandy, is upset that Terri will miss her birthday, Terri feels so bad that they end up staying for the party instead. Terri tells her parents she is getting as daft about the place as they are.

Bringing Up the Barkers! (Pages: 106-112)

Artist: Andy Tew

Walter the dalmatian of Janner Hall, despaired at his new owners, the rough and common Barkers who had inherited the Hall. When Princess Idra comes to stay, he thinks she must also be appalled by the Barkers behaviour. When he invites some of his dog friends to look at the Princesses room, he get in trouble as Karl attacks a big teddy bear and the room gets wrecked. Walter is  ashamed but redeems himself when he raises the alarm to kidnappers who are spying on the place. Him and the Barkers stop them and Princess Idra is grateful, she also thinks the Barkers are fun and is enjoying her stay. Walter admits one can’t be highbrow all the time!

Dream Pony (Pages: 113-120)

Artist: Edmond Ripoll

Mandy Mason gets to ride her neighbours cart pony Missy, but dreams of owning her own exciting competitive pony. When her father comes into money her dream comes true when she is able to buy an arab pony, Flame. But she soon finds out he is not as perfect as he seems, he tires her out from straining on the reigns, is traffic shy,  he bolts from her and doesn’t watch out for people when jumping over a drop. Mandy#s friends mention having such a thoughtful pony as Missy who would never do such things has spoiled. Mandy had never seen things that way but begins to realise how lucky she was to have Missy. She gives Flame back and when her old neighbour wants to give up her cart, Mandy is delighted she can buy Missy her perfect pony for herself.

Photo Stories

Ever Had That Shrinking Feeling? (Pages: 81-92)

Helen agrees to take on her friend Rosemary’s newspaper round for a day as a favor. The shopkeeper mentions Rosemary was shakey after returning from her round the previous day. Helen wonders what could have caused trouble, as everything runs smoothly, her nerves start to ease, but when she gets to house 13 suddenly everything starts looking bigger. The house belongs to a witch who has cursed her for insulting her the previous day, not realising she’s a different paper girl. Helen has to escape the wilds of the garden before getting into the house and finally getting attention of the witch. Finding out her mistake the witch un-shrinks Helen but also makes her forget what happened. So the next day when Rosemary asks what happened thinking there is no trouble she says she doesn’t want to give up the money will take back the paper round.

There is some dodgy cut and paste sometimes with making Helen small and interacting with things, but it was a different type of photo story than we usually see so it makes it more memorable.

Features

  • Top Popstrels  (Pages: 16, 48, 70, 121)
    • Posters of popstars: Kylie Minogue,Whitney Houston, Tiffany and Sinitta
  • Pop the Question (Page: 25)
    • A pop music quiz.
  • Alton Towers (Pages: 45-47)
    • A feature on the lesure park
  • “As We Were Saying…!” (Pages: 62-63)
    • Animal photos with joke speech bubbles
  • A Right Royal Crossword (Pages: 96)
    • A crossword based on the royal family.
  • Lets All Go to Sandy City! (Page: 105)
    • Feature on sculptor Kent Trollen sand city built on Seal beach, California.
  • A Photo Story is Born… (Pages: 122-123)
    • An interesting insight into the making of a photo story. The story in question is “Nothing to be Afraid of” appeared in the Bunty 1989 Summer Special.  According to this feature firstly the writer Judy Maslen, passes on the story to sub-editor Jeanette Taylor which then gets passed to photographers Norman and Benita Brown. The photographers gather the cast and after shooting the scenes, the film is developed and passed back to the Bunty office. The type is set, read and corrected and stuck up by balloonist Elaine Bolton.
  • Design a Fashion (Pages: 124-125)
    • Eight fashion designs submitted by readers, redrawn by a Bunty artist.

 

Final Thoughts

This was the earliest Bunty annual I owned when I was younger (well… technically it belonged to my sister first). I always preferred the Mandy and Judy annuals, but Bunty had its merits too and I have good memories of this. There is a lot of humourous stories in this, I enjoyed The Wilde Bunch, the misunderstandings and Carol’s chase of Lennie is quite dynamic. The soap story School’s Out could be played for drama in the weekly issues at times, but this story instead goes for a humourous Christmas inspired tale. I especially appreciate Sandra’s costume of an eagle with skis to represent Eddie the Eagle. Another favourite of mine is The Necklace the long spooky story, left you wondering how much was a dream and is a story that stuck out in memory with of course David Matysiak’s distinctive art.  The Four Marys is always a classic, and I do have a soft spot for stories that show flashbacks to St Elmos in the past, of course there was a misunderstandings with Miss Creef, us readers could hardly believe she could be so cruel and story shows of course that’s not the case.  It’s the only story that shows us some past events as well, as all the stories are set in contemporary times, no tragic Victorian orphans stories present here.

Surprisingly we get no text stories, although maybe its not a big surprise as Bunty annuals didn’t have a lot of text stories other than the very early years, and none appeared in annuals from 1988 to 1992. We do get one photo story, Ever Had That Shrinking Feeling? is more memorable than other photo stories which usually stuck to general life stories with their restricted format. Another bonus of this book is the behind the scenes of how the photo stories were made, with names of people who worked on the story. Photos taken of photographer taking photos for a photo story, all very layered! There were some other other fun features, I liked the Design a Fashion page where reader’s designs would be drawn by a Bunty artist, and the sand sculptures in the Lets all Go to Sandy City.

 

Mandy Stories for Girls 1992

The Mandy annual was always very story focused, this is another annual with no features  or articles just text and picture stories. This is also one of the books I had when I was younger and read many times, so these stories have a special place for me, although I think they all hold up well in their own right without the nostalgia attached.

Mandy took advantage of telling longer stories in parts over the annual and the Red Box of Destiny is certainly a memorable one. Most of the stories are one-offs for the annual but there are a few regular characters Valda, Picture-Book Polly, Attractive Angie and of course Mandy & Patch all show up. (For just a list of contents go to the next page)

Picture Stories

The Red Box of Destiny (Pages: 4-12, 49-55, 73-80, 113-125)

A story in 4 parts, the first 3 parts each tell a different story of a girl in trouble who each end up using an old telephone box and in the final part the girls are all enlisted to help in a campaign to save the box and it saves them in the process.

First we have Carrie, an orphan, she lives with her abusive Uncle, Aunt and cousins. When her Aunt Edna allows her to keep a stray puppy, she should have known there was a catch. They only let her have Jasper the puppy as another means of controlling her. Aunt Edna wasn’t happy when Carrie stood up to her cousin about taking her locket but by using Jasper now Carrie is completely powerless. When a new girl joins at school, Carrie knows she can’t give her home number but then she remembers the Red Box’s number and gives her that. Carrie asks Jilly to call when she knows she will be out running errands, she is desperate to hear a friendly voice. The next girl, Kelly, is a promising dancer, her parents take on extra work so she has a chance at a prestigious dance school, but the car crashes on the way to the audition leaving Kelly’s legs permanently damaged. She becomes very bitter about it and blames her parents for it. She stops at the phone box to ring for a lift home and makes her mother feel guilty when she implies Kelly could manage to make it the rest of the small journey home. Finally we have Rama a talented musician but her father wants her to help with the family business, a restaurant, when she leaves school. He believes she shouldn’t spend so much time on music. Rama uses the phone box to ring her teacher and say she will play in a festival behind her father’s back, but then has a dilemma when her father wants Rama to work the same day to help impress a food critic.

In the last part the community start a campaign when red box is to be torn down. When she is approached, Aunt Edna volunteers Carrie  to help. An overworked Carrie collapses on the way home with shopping one day. Once she is inside they start to abuse her, but luckily Jilly and her mother arrive just in time to stop them. They had noticed the number Carrie gave Jilly was the red box number, that along with some other instances made them suspicious to check up on her. They bring Carrie and Jasper to stay in their home. Kelly meanwhile only goes to the campaign talk so she can inconvenience her parents. There she meets David, a boy in wheelchair, he has a bone disease, but he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, he is very enthusiastic and volunteers him and Kelly’s services. He suddenly takes a turn for the worse and dies but Kelly changes her ways and decides to follow his example and not be bitter about how life changed for her. Rama’s father finds out about festival and forbids her from going. They go to meeting and he is fine for Rama to sing to draw attention to the red box. He says he doesn’t mind her singing as hobby he just doesn’t want her taking it seriously. She does well singing for the campaign and people make him realise her talent. He agrees she can go to music school but has to still learn about business if music career doesn’t work out. The last panel of the story has the girls each thanking the box for changing their lives for the better.

It is a heart-wrenching story, Carrie and her dog are cruelly mistreated by her family. Kelly has her dreams shattered and then her new friend dies. Rama doesn’t have it as bad, but still family problems are not easy to cope with and like Kelly, she feels her dreams being taken away. Rama is a bit more sympathetic than Kelly too. Even before the accident she doesn’t seem to appreciate her parents working extra shifts to pay for her school and complains when her dad is running late for the audition. Because she is so worked up, she distracts her father while driving and while I don’t think she is deserving of her fate, her parents definitely don’t deserve her bitterness directed at her. It is nice that David showed her the error of her ways but again sad that he died so young.

Rama and her dad have different viewpoints and story could easily have painted him as the villain but we see that he cares about her. He wants her to work in restaurant but worries when she seems overworked, and he doesn’t ban music completely, he just is cautious of the fickleness of the music business.  He comes to a good compromise in the end so Rama can follow her dream but still have something to fall back on.

Mum’s Secret (Pages: 13-16)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt

When a new neighbour moves in that is known to be a ladies man, and Jane sees her mum going into his house, when she said she was going to the shop, she starts thinking they are having an affair. She thinks her mum will leave the family, but it turns out the man is a painter and mum has being going over to  his to get her portrait painted in secret as a surprise for father’s birthday.

Valda and the Burning of Barthol  (Pages: 17-24)

[Art: Dudley Wynne]

This classic Mandy character appeared in many annuals, here Valda comes across a town of Barthol and burning of effigy of  Richard Bartholomew. It seems a professor of history has reinstated an old village costum of “The Burning of Barthol”. This upsets Richard’s ancestor greatly especially as other villagers have been mean to her saying Richard burnt out villagers because they couldn’t pay rent. Valda sets the history straight about the man, when she leads the villagers to a hidden document. In Richards’ time a plague broke out and with the help of a mysterious girl they crossed ravine to build new settlement. Richard then burnt the village and his castle to stop the plague spreading. With the truth now known Valda leave, though the professor and villagers have many questions about how she knew such things.

Down with Boys (Pages: 25-32)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt, Art: Carmen Barbara

Best friends, Jane and Polly make a pact to not get distracted by boys for Valentines Day, but when Neil starts paying attention to both of them, they end up playing dirty tricks on each other to win his favour. Such as Polly throwing away Jane’s valentine’s card for Neil, and Jane sending lots of cards out in Polly’s name. They eventually find out Neil was using them, so they would help set up a disco for him and he already has a girlfriend. After that they revert back to their original sentiment of down with boys!

Who is Sylvie? (Pages: 35-45)

Art: Andrew Wilson

Rachel thinks there is something mysterious about the new girl, Sylvie.  Although Rachel becomes friends with her she notices somethings she says doesn’t add up, like where she said she went to school previously. Also the teachers seem to let her get away with things other pupils wouldn’t be able to. Despite being a good singer and dancer, Sylvie claims to be stage shy and says she can’t help out in concert to raise money for school pool. Then it turns out her secret is she is a tv star trying to live normal life. Everyone is surprised and even more pleased when a change in her contract means she can now perform in public and help raise money for school.

Picture-Story Polly (Pages: 46-48)

Art: Tom Hurst

Polly tries to copy the picture-stories she reads in her magazine “Candy”. In this story she tries to be like “Olympic Olga” a girl who never gave up and won a gold medal.  Polly tries out some sports but finds out she is better as just a spectator.

The Lucky Locket  (Pages: 56-64)

Art: Guy Peeters

In Victorian times, Charlotte receives a locket on her last day in orphanage, from one of the workers, Harriet. She tells Charlotte it was wrapped in her baby shawl, when she found her on the doorstep.Charlotte then goes to work in a grand house as a scullery maid but the rest of the staff are not kind to her. When one of the other maids spies her pretending to be a lady, they are even more cruel and mocking. She does make one friend, Hugh, the stable-boy,  so when his sister falls ill, she decides to sell her precious locket to help. But one of the other maids follow her and accuses her of theft. Harriet has died so noone can collaborate her story, that the locket belongs to her and she goes to jail. After a few weeks an old French lady arrives and seeing a birthmark confirms that Charlotte is her grandaughter. It seems her mother had run off and got married to man whom they didn’t approve of. They fell on hard times when he died and soon after giving Charlotte up, her mother died too. Her Grandmother helps Hugh’s sister and is to bring her back to France, she no longer has to pretend to be a lady.

Under Her Spell?  (Pages: 65-72)

Art: Wilf Street

Jenny’s mother is researching the family tree and believe they descendants of a witch, Lizzie Blount. Then some things happen that makes Lizzie’s friends think she has witchy qualities. Lizzie embraces it and tries to make a spell to win a writing contest. She does win the contest, then her mum says she has made a mistake they are not related to witch but a writer,, Eliza Blunt. Lizzie isn’t disappointed though, she is happy it is her own talent and not  a spell that let her win.

Come to My Party! (Pages: 83-93)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt, Art: Terry Aspin

Best friends Kim and Laura share the same birthday. They both want to have a special 13th birthday party on the actual day. Neither will back down and they play tricks on each other so friends will come to one of the partys. On the day of  her birthday Kim is upset it seems everyone has chosen Laura’s party. Her parents take her out and she finds out that instead their friends come together with their parents to throw joint surprise party.

Attractive Angie (Pages: 94-96)

Art: Giorgio Letteri

A strange lotion had made Angie Agams magnetic which caused her lots of problems. It is particularly bad when she is feeling bothered, which is the case at the fair, where she attracts coins from the wishing well and accidentally launches a pie at someone. Her powers come in useful when she stops some thieves and she is able to relax and enjoy rest of her day.

Storm Horse (Pages: 99-110)

Art: Veronica Weir

Kylie is out riding with her horse, Heather, when they get caught in a storm and slip down an embankment. A mysterious grey horse appears and leads them to safety, then disappears. Kylie tries and track him down, she finds him and after freeing him from some wire he does grow to trust her but always disappears when someone else is nearby. Then he warns her of the nearby dam breaking and she raises the alarm for the village. She doesn’t see him again but Heather gives birth to foal which Kylie names Storm, proof that the magical horse was real.

Mandy and Patch  (Pages: 126-127)

Art: Claude Berridge

Mandy looks through a book to figure out Patch’s breed. He doesn’t seem to match with any but she doesn’t care as he’s still the best friend a girl can have.

Text Stories

Each of the text stories have a subtitle with the name of person who is telling the story.

Losing Lucy – Carol’s story (Pages: 33-34)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt, Spot Art: Leslie Branton

Carol meets a fortune teller who tells her she will lose her best friend to the water. Carol is horrified by the thought, so she tries to teach her friend Lucy to swim. At first she takes persuading but then she succeeds so well that Lucy becomes a competitive champion and she doesn’t have as much time for friends. Watching her at one of her competitions she realises she did lose Lucy to the water, just not in the terrible way she thought. It’s a nice play on words, the twist of the fortune teller fortune coming true and Carol leads it to come true y trying to prevent it.

In The Bag – Chester’s story (Pages: 81-82)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt

Chester is a monkey who is curious what women carry around in bags. He sees an opportunity to steal one, and is confused by contents and why they are so important. The daughter of the woman he stole the bag from is pleased her mom still carries a picture of her dad as he had left after a falling out. She writes Chester a thank you letter, explaining after seeing that she called her dad, he came around and her family is back together. She also sends Chester a cake as thanks. Chester doesn’t nderstand what that is all about but is very happy with his cake.

Jardine’s in a Tin – Sally’s story (Pages: 97-98)

Writer: Alison (Christie) Fitt, Spot Art: Leslie Branton

Sally and her family live in crowded council house. She is jealous of her friend Tina, an only child, who has a bedroom to herself with all the latest things. Then Tina gets a holiday home and that seems even more unfair. For the holidays the Jardines rent a caravan near where TIna will be. Sally thinks they really are Jardines in a tin, in the caravan, she is eager to visit Tina, but doesn’t know why she is so reluctant. Then Sally discovers it is not a holiday home and that Tina’s parents have separated. Tina didn’t want to admit that she is just spending weekends and holidays at her Dads. Sally realises Tina’s not so lucky after all and appreciates having her family together. Soon after holidays things improve even more for Sally as they get to top of the housing waiting list and get a 4 bed house.

Joining St. John’s – Katy’s story (Pages: 111-112)

While attending a Gilbert and Sullivan show with her mom, Katy gets the idea to join St Johns Ambulance so she can go to theatre for free. She actually finds herself really enjoying the experience and she helps an old woman feel better bu sneaking her cat in for a visit in the hospital. A  friend of the woman, appreciates what Katy has done and gives her a free theatre entry card, but Katy is so busy with St John’s that by the end of the story she still hasn’t had the chance to use it!

 

Final Thoughts

Last year I covered the Judy 1982 annual and noted there was a lot of spooky stories in that book. This book meanwhile concentrates on the more realistic dramas of life and majority of stories are set in contemporary times. Under her Spell? hints at possible supernatural elements, although in the end those are only coincidence and seems to be no magic at work, which leaves only two stories with characters that are not the average girl, Attractive Angie a character with magnetic powers and Valda the long-living character with powers and knowledge. Valda and the Burning of Barthol is a good story, as I’ve mentioned before I like Valda stories that aren’t about her competing in a sport the best. Here we get to see her in past helping a village and in the present restoring the good name of Lord Barthol. There is only one other story that is set in the past, The Lucky Locket, nicely drawn by Guy Peeters and is a classic story of poor girl not realising her rich heritage.

All the other stories are set in contemporary times and majority have themes of friendship or family. A favourite story has to be The Red Box of Destiny, as the big 4 part story it is a strong component of the annual, it brings a lot of drama and heartbreak for the characters and as a reader I certainly hoped that they would each get their happy endings. In the last part where everything comes together, one may expect the characters to interact but instead the stories are resolved separately, although you can see the other protagonists in the backgrounds of some scenes. This actually is more effective as it highlights people that we just pass by, each have their own problems that we may never know about, and also not know that one thing could touch a life in different ways.

Other favourites was Losing Lucy, I like a good twist on a fortune tellers words, and of course it was well written by Alison (Christie) Fitt who wrote many great stories including a number for Mandy Annuals in the early 1990s. Two of her other stories here Come to My Party! and Down With Boys, have similar ideas of friends playing tricks on each other to win the favour of someone but are executed quite differently, so they each have their merits. Carmen Barbara and Terry Aspin respectively each complement the story well, I don’t think if the artists were switched they would have been as effective stories, which shows how important pairings can be. Honourable mentions goes to Picture-Story Polly, just because I enjoy a meta-commentry story and a girl trying to imitate the characters from her “Candy” comic is a lot of fun, and Who is Sylvie? a small sized mystery with lovely art as always by Andrew Wilson.

Bunty Summer Special 1991

Picture Stories

  • Bunty – A Girl Like You (Page 2) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 3-8) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Pony School (Pages: 13-15)
  • Haggis (Page 17)
  • Monkey Business (Pages: 19-21) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Girl Talk (Page 21)
  • Teacher’s Pet (Pages: 27-29) [Art: Guy Peeters]
  • The Girl in White (Pages: 32-34) [Art: Bert Hill]
  • Backstreet Hospital (Pages: 36-38) [Art: “B Jackson”]
  • Clothes Sense (Pages: 39-41) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • The Comp (Pages: 42-47) [Art: Ron Lumsden]

Photo Stories

  • All for Nothing (Pages: 10-12)
  • Luv, Jeff (Pages: 16-17)
  • Holiday at Home (Pages: 30-31)

Features

  • Flying High! (Page 9)
  • Summer Styles (Page 18)
  • Summer Special or Winter Wonder (Page 22)
  • Summer Sizzlers! (Pages: 23, 26)
  • Danni Minogue and Mat Stevenson Poster (Pages: 24-25)
  • Club Corner (Page 35)
  • Phillip Schofield Poster (Page 48)

 

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Bunty Summer Special 1990

Picture Stories

  • Bunty – a Girl Like You (Page 2) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 3-7) [Art: Jim Eldridge]
  • Oh, We Do Like to be Beside the Seaside! (Pages: 12-14) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • Sister Suzie (Pages: 15-17) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • The Good Fairy (Pages: 20-22) [Art: Norman Lee]
  • The Comp (Pages: 27-32) [Art: Ron Lumsden]
  • Superlamb (Pages: 38-40) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • A Place for Misty (Pages: 41-43) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Pinkie (Pages: 45-47) [Art: Douglas Perry]

Photo Stories

  • A Sister for Liz (Pages: 9-11)
  • My Friend Sam (Pages: 33-35)

Features

  • Lucky! Lucky! Lucky! (Page 8)
  • Club Corner (Page 19)
  • Girls! Girls! Girls! (Page 23)
  • Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan Poster (Pages: 24-25)
  • Oh Boys! (Page 26)
  • It’s Legoland (Page 36)
  • Design a Fashion (Page 37)
  • When the Circus Comes to Town… (Page 44)
  • Bros Poster (Page 48)

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Bunty Summer Special 1989

Picture Stories

  • The Four Marys (Pages: 3-6) [Art: Jim Eldridge]
  • Life with Bunty (Page 7) [Art: Doris Kinnear]
  • Bonnie and Claude (Pages: 8-9, 12) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Sister Suzie (Pages: 14-16) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • School’s Out! (Pages: 24-25, 28) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • Mags Musn’t Go! (Pages: 30-31) [Art: Douglas Perry]
  • Bringing Up the Barkers! (Pages: 32-33) [Art: Andy Tew]

Photo Stories

  • Nothing to be Afraid of (Pages: 21-23)

Features

  • For Starters (Contents Page) (Page 2)
  • Royal Fashion (Pages: 10-11)
  • Pop Square (Page 13)
  • Yankie Doodle Dandies (Page 17)
  • Wet Wet Wet Poster (Pages: 18-19)
  • Wizards of Oz (Page 20)
  • A Day at Alton Towers (Pages: 26-27)
  • Side-Splitters (Page 29)
  • Design a Fashion (Page 34)
  • Are You a Brosette? (Page 35)
  • Kylie Minogue Poster (Page 36)

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Bunty Summer Special 1988

Picture Stories

  • Life with Bunty (Page 2) [Art: Doris Kinnear]
  • Sister Suzie (Pages: 3-5) [Art: Rodney Sutton]
  • Little Miss Lonely (Pages: 6-7, 9) [Art: Douglas Perry]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 10-11, 13) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Bella of Bonnybanks School (Pages: 14-16) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • The Tell-Tale Toy – a Tale from the Toy Museum (Pages: 26-27, 29) [Art: David Matysiak]
  • School’s Out (Pages: 30-31, 33) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • Toots (Page 35) [Art: Bill Ritchie]

Photo Stories

  • My Cousin Sarah (Pages: 22-23, 25)

Features

  • All Their Own Work (Page 8)
  • Learn Tinkerbell’s Secrets (Page 12)
  • Holiday Horoscope (Page 16)
  • Paula’s Pop Quiz (Page 17)
  • Hunks ‘n’ Heart Throbs (Pop Photos) (Pages: 18-19)
  • Fox Hunting (Page 20)
  • On with the Dance (Page 21)
  • Postman’s Pets! (Page 24)
  • Design-a-Fashion (Page 28)
  • Pick a Letter (Page 32)
  • The Garden Gnome (Poem) (Page 34)
  • George Michael Poster (Page 36)

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Bunty Summer Special 1987

Picture Stories

  • Robina Hood (Pages: 3-5) [Art: Rodney Sutton]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 6-7, 9) [Art: Selby Donnison]
  • Margie’s Magic Aunt (Pages: 10-11, 13) [Art: Robert MacGillivray]
  • Haggis (Page 12)
  • Little Miss Lonely (Pages: 14-15, 17) [Art: Andy Tew]
  • Bella of Bonnybanks School (Pages: 18-19) [Art: Matias Alonso]
  • Toots (Page 20) [Art: Bill Ritchie]
  • Maisie Mercury (Pages: 22-23, 25) [Art: Terry Aspin]
  • Nonie’s Knight (Page 28)
  • Picture-Book Dreams – a Tale from the Toy Museum (Pages: 30-31, 33) [Art: Douglas Perry]

Features

  • It’s Paula! (Page 2)
  • Just Your Cup of Tea! (Page 8)
  • Bunty’s Picnic Box (Page 16)
  • The Mail Must Go Through! (Page 21)
  • Mystery Cruise Quiz (Page 24)
  • Seaside Souvenirs (Pages: 26-27)
  • Beautiful Butterflys! (Page 29)
  • Bunty’s Cut-Out Wardrobe (Page 32)
  • Ponies on Parade (Page 34)
  • A-ha Fun Facts Quiz (Page 35)
  • A-ha Poster (Page 36)

 

*Thanks to Goof for the information and cover picture

Bunty Annual 1989

Picture Stories

  • Sister Suzie (Pages: 6-12) [Artist: Rodney Sutton]
  • Haggis (Pages: 16, 64)
  • Little Miss Lonely (Pages: 17-23) [Artist: Douglas Perry]
  • Penny’s Problem Pup (Pages: 24-32) [Artist: A E Allen]
  • A Model Family (Pages: 40-48) [Artist: David Matysiak]
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 49-54) [Artist: Andy Tew]
  • Tess Turpin (Pages: 55-63) [Artist: Russ Nicholson]
  • Rita’s Robots (Pages: 65-71) [Artist: Robert MacGillivray]
  • Toots (Pages: 76-77) [Artist: Bill Ritchie]
  • School’s Out! (Pages: 81-91) [Artist: Terry Aspin]
  • Life with Bunty (Pages: 92-96) [Artist: Doris Kinnear]
  • The Challenge (Pages: 97-104)
  • Bella of Bonnybanks School (Pages: 105-111) [Artist: Matias Alonso]
  • The Best Prize of All (Pages: 114-122) [Artist: Matias Alonso]

Features

  • Are You a Jiggler? (Page 13)
  • Dolls to the Manor Born (Pages: 14-15)
  • Pop Crossword (Page 33)
  • Children’s Art (Pages: 34-35)
  • Look Out! King Kong Will Get You! (Pages: 36-39)
  • The Bear Facts (Pages: 72-73)
  • Christmas – By Gum! (Pages: 74-75)
  • Go for Goal! (Pages: 78-79)
  • What’s in a Name? (Page 80)
  • Knock! Knock! (Page 112)
  • School Was Never Like This! (Page 113)
  • Ssh! (Page 123)
  • What’s That in the Road, Mummy? (Pages: 124-125)

 

* Thanks to Goof for information

Bunty Annual 1988

Picture Stories

  • Molly the Matron (Pages: 6-13) [Artist: Andy Tew]
  • Maisie Mercury (Pages: 17-24) [Artist: Terry Aspin]
  • Lizzie’s Lorry (Pages: 25-32) [Artist: Douglas Perry]
  • Robina Hood (Pages: 36-43) [Artist: Rodney Sutton]
  • Polly Pimpernel (Pages: 49-58) [Artist: Manuel Cuyas]
  • A Merry Old-Fashioned Christmas from Toots (Pages: 63-64) [Artist: Bill Ritchie]
  • Bella of Bonnybanks School (Pages: 65-72) [Artist: Matias Alonso]
  • The Swim Kids (Pages: 73-80) [Artist: Terry Aspin]
  • Haggis (Page 81)
  • The Four Marys (Pages: 82-89) [Artist: Selby Donnison]
  • Bike Rider (Pages: 91-96) [Artist: Robert MacGillivray]
  • The Wings of Fear (Pages: 97-104) [Artist: Mario Capaldi]
  • Nonie’s Knight (Pages: 105-106)
  • Ernie’s Girl (Pages: 107-112) [Artist: Russ Nicholson]
  • The Forbidden Doll (Pages: 113-120) [Artist: David Matysiak]

Features

  • Cheers for Chives (Pages: 14-16)
  • A Walk in Death Valley (Page 33)
  • Play Bunty’s Donkey Dash (Pages: 34-35)
  • Cats (Pages: 44-48)
  • It’s Paula! (Page 59)
  • Be a “Bunty” Supergirl (Pages: 60-61)
  • Fan-tastic (Page 62)
  • Bunty’s Cut-Out and Colour Wardrobe (Page 90)
  • The Magical World of Butterflies (Pages: 121-125)

Polly’s Puppies

Plot

When Polly Thompson’s dog, Honey, had 7 puppies, Polly found homes for every one but that wasn’t the end of it as Polly liked to know how the dogs were getting on and checked in on them in their new homes.

Notes

  • Art: Terry Aspin
  • Polly’s Puppies (#215), reprinted and translated to Dutch – Conny: #3/1985
  • Episodes reprinted and translated to Dutch – Mariska Starstrip #1 (circa 1983)

Appeared

  • Polly’s Puppies – Debbie: #213 (12 March 1977) – #219 (23 April 1977)