- Letters of Hate – Bunty: #1678 (10 March 1990) – #1686 (5 May 1990)
- Artist: Tom Hurst
This story is narrated by Gemma, her life isn’t going so well, these days, her boyfriend Mike dumped her and her father has lost a job. So she isn’t having a great time, but she still seems surprisingly upbeat. She brushes off Mike having a new girlfriend as no big deal and encourages her father to keep going for interviews. Then people in her school start getting poison pen letters. Janice is called out for being spotty, Ben and Abigail break up after he gets a note that Abigail spent evening with another guy. Gemma and her friends Cathy and Laura decide to play detective and find out who is sending the letters.
Spoilers! In the end the shocking twist is that Gemma is the culprit herself! Having protagonists be the person behind nasty tricks was one of those plots that would pop up sometimes. The story tries to steer towards other suspects, even in the first issue two girls Babs and Josie are highlighted to be mean gossips, so later on they become suspects. In the second issue Gemma herself gets a nasty letter. Again this was common to have the supposed victim be behind everything.
The letters are written in different methods, so these clues to lead them to new suspects. In one instance a letter is typed right after girl bragging about new typewriter. Conveniently Gemma always is on her own when a letter arrives. When Gemma and Laura decide to hide in the classroom waiting for the writer, Gemma goes to tuck shop and it turns out a letter appears in another class. Next a letter is sent with cut out comic bookletters (Bab and Josie are suspects). Later Gemma and Laura find spare letters in cloakroom they are surprised that they are beside best friends Cathy’s peg. When Cathy is off sick the next day the rule her out,
Throughout the story Gemma’s ex Mike and his new girlfriend Dawn pop up. Her thought bubbles reveal she still wants him back even though she says she she doesn’t mind outwardly.
Mike and Dawn both become suspects, when they find a typed list of names including most of the victims. It is actually a party list and typewriter doesn’t match.
Cathy meanwhile has figured out why the crooked M on typewritten note looked so familiar, it’s Gemma’s. So Laura and her confronts Gemma and yes she did it because she was having a miserable time. Some people who got notes was just to make them miserable too, others like a girl Tania got a note because she disliked her for beating her in a race. Of course Gemma loses all her friends after everyone knows what she has done. She seems quite surprised by this.
Again its not breaking any new ground, but at least some of the suspects like Cathy, Mike and Dawn seem possible and less obvious than earlier suspects. Gemma seems a bit oblivious to the consequences but her motivation is plausible. She is not an overly vicious character, she did a terrible thoughtless things, more because misery likes company than any real spite. But in the end its good to see her get what she deserves. The art is solid. Some stories have settings that gives the artist lots to explore with like old style Victorian, or futuristic sci-fi, or even having crazy pets but with stories set in a modern era schools, there can seem to be less to play around with. Still the expressions are subtle, characters are distinctive and while there isn’t lots of action it is still nice nice and consistent.