First & Last: Judy Annuals

While I talked about the differences of the first Judy annual to later annuals a little bit before, I thought I’d do an additional post to expand on it.

There was 32 Judy annuals in total from 1962 to 1993. Which isn’t as long a run as Bunty or Mandy but still pretty good. Obviously it went through some changes over the years, both in its physical format as well as focus of the stories. Firstly like a lot of  annuals of its time the 1962 annual had a glossy dust jacket, over the hard cover. There was also a different picture inside the dust jacket; it was of the Judy character.  It is black and white picture so while not as eye catching as the colourful dust jacket, I think it does look quite appealing and classic.

By the time the 1993 annual was published it was just a glossy hard cover, no dust jacket. Interestingly Judy annuals rarely had the Judy character on the annuals covers (unlike say Bunty which had Bunty on the cover up until 1988, then it was switched to cover girls for the remaining run.). Unusually, there was a variety of covers for Judy, there didn’t seem to be one long running theme. It used cover girls early on (ballerinas were popular choice for a few annuals) , but it also still used hand drawn pictures that were unrelated to any Judy characters, or anything inside the annual.  The blonde Judy appeared on the cover of the 1964 and 1965 annual. While the brunette Judy  appeared on the 1988 annual and the last two annuals.


Paper quality also improved over time, particularly use of photos were more clearer and brighter in later annuals. The last Judy annual actually used less photos than the first annual. There had been some photo stories in previous annuals but there was none in the last annual, its only photo use was for the ‘Halloween Treats’ feature. Also the first annual used more colour than the last annual. In general the colours in the 1993 annual seem to be more subtle and there is less use of the  bright  bold colours used in the 1962 annual. The 1993 annual used a lot of the two tone colours, which was common at the time (i.e blue/black/white etc.). I presume this method was used to cut down on inking cost, but this wasn’t a bad thing as often it looked just as pretty and more detailed than full colour strips.


As for the contents itself, there was a lot more picture stories in the 1993 annual (21 versus the 8 in the 1962 annual). The picture stories in the 1962 annual also seemed more wordy with a tendency to describe what’s happening. The 1993 stories had more focus on romance with at least 9 of the main plots revolving around a boy. The 1962 annual had the more action like character; in Joan All Alone, but other than those two points the essence of the stories didn’t change too drastically.  There is still a good mix of funny stories and drama stories.  Marta’s Market Stall, has a similar character to Backstage Betty, Junior Nanny is quite like Big Sister. Despite more of a focus on romance, the morals and strong characters were still present in 1993.

The other big differences were there were more text stories in 1962 and also a lot more features. Though right through the 80s, Judy still was very feature heavy. There was a lot of make and do and factual articles.  The last annual on the other hand  is quite sparse. The features it does have focus on Make and Do projects, humour and a Best Friends Quiz. The 1962 annual while having some humour and quizzes it seems its focus was on informing the readers of a variety of subjects from the stars to local birds, its a pity this focus on interesting facts and role models wasn’t present in the later annuals.

Mostly I’ve covered these points in the posts about the two annuals but I will reiterate that Judy had a good run, it was probably lucky it finished when it did before its quality declined too much. The 1962 annual feels more fresher, with a wide variety of things to read, the 1993 annual suffered a bit from having a lot of similar themed picture stories. Still the 1993 stories were still decent and like I said the 1962 stories actually still hold up well with solid characters. Both annuals are still interesting reads.


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