- Dangerous Days for the Tiny Taylors – Spellbound #22 (19 Feb. 1977) – #34 (14 May 1977)
- Artist: Jesus Redondo
The Taylors consisting of parents, daughters; Jane and Jennie and dog, Mickey are on holidays on the deserted (fictitious) Scottish island named Mulholm. They only just get out of their boat when they are sprayed by water and find themselves shrunk except for Mickey. The family seem to take it in their stride, reasoning they just need to get to the cottage to phone for help. Only Jennie complains and she has already been established as a complainer. The Taylors come to their first problem when they arrive at the cottage and realise that they are way too small to get in. Luckily they are adventurous and resourceful and Jane suggests they try the window. Her father climbs up to the window sill and breaks the glass with a pebble. The rest of the family climb up and they try to phone for help but their voices aren’t loud enough to be heard by the operator.
Jane trips and falls off the table, luckily she is uninjured, but unknown to the family the beady eyes of a mouse is watching. The family join Jane on the floor and are attacked by the mouse. Mr Taylor scares it away, but now the situation is beginning to hit the family and they get weary. They figure that the island was once used for secret experiments and they must find out what cause the shrinking in order to cure it. After some adventures in getting food, they go and explore the island. Micky is still out there normal sized and Jane tries to use him as a horse. They find a a fenced off area. The family get through and find spilled canisters in the water, around these are small birds which prove the contamination is coming from there. They make it to a lab where they are attacked but are saved by a now tiny Mickey. In the lab they look at notes that don’t make sense. Mickey drinks from a puddle and grows back to normal size. The family don’t know which puddle he drank from as two bottles have spilled and dead mouse nearby indicates one is poison. Not being able to risk it they decide they need to get back to mainland and find scientists for help.
They encounter more problems such as Jeannie getting trapped in a box and Mr Taylor then gets the idea to cut a hole with razor blade to free her. Continuing to be practical they manage to get to the boat and together they are able to steer and direct it. The boat crashes on some rocks but luckily they are unharmed and manage to make it onto the shore. When seagulls attack they are saved by Mickey their protector. They come across some campers but they run away from the tiny “space people”. They figure they can at least shelter in the tent for the night but disaster as gas falls over and Taylors find themselves fleeing from grass fire. Jane falls into a hole and they take the choice to bury down with her, rather than leave her. After a crew comes to clear up the fire, Mickey gets taken in by someone.
They have no more luck in getting help at the village as a paper boy also thinks they are space invaders. An old lady, Mrs Green, helps them but she thinks they are fairy folk and is expecting them to grant her a wish. Jeannie spots an old purse that has fallen down the back of a cupboard and gets it for her, in order to play along. They ask her to hide them in a basket and take them to the police station but she brings them to a fairy ring instead.
Eventually the family manage to get to London and hide out in a toy shop and they have a more comfortable night since their adventures begun, by using doll house to sleep and even getting a change of clothes. The woman that owns the shop faints the next morning at the sight of the dolls coming to life, her daughter chases them away. All this running makes them hungry so the Taylors make their way to a supermarket for food. Jane gets knocked into an empty carton and nearly gets thrown away. The rest of the family manage to get to the intercom to stop Jane being tossed into rubbish. They finally get the help they needed as the manager gets them to a specialist, who is able to return them to normal size in a short time. While they recover in hospital they are even reunited with Micky.
Shrinking was a popular plot device, from girls in stories like Pinkie, Tiny Tammy, Four Tasks for Tiny Tessa, Microgirl, and also popular subsection of this was specifically shrinking mothers, The Incredible Adventures of Mini-Mum, Mary’s Mini Mum, and simply called Mini-Mum! It was rare to get whole family shrunk together (it did happen in Microgirl, but it was more focused on the girl going on adventure to save her family, rather than the whole family working together). Of course this is not just common in comics but in other media it was popular to have tiny people using their wits to get around the normal sized world – like The Borrowers (I know no shrinking involved here, but similar situations arise), Honey I Shrunk the Kids and even most recently Antman. But it is still a fun dynamic to play with. It is interesting to have the whole family working together, and it is fun to see them being inventive with how to cope with their size, which is also well captured by Redondo. It must be enjoyable to play around with size and some interesting angles.
One problem I found was Mr Taylor is very dominant, I would like to have seen the females taking the initiative more. The adventure takes precedence so characters don’t get a whole lot of development. The girls are pretty interchangeable,(also not helped in that they look so alike), at first Jeannie is more likely to complain, Jane more quick with ideas but both girls are likely to find themselves in trouble. Mrs Taylor is protective of her family but really gets very little panel time. It is also a bit strange how well the Taylors take in their new situation, no breakdowns or flipping out.
Other people have a bigger reaction, although it is funny to think how terrified some people get of tiny people. The ending leaves some questions, we never find out why there were people making shrinking chemicals on the island and who they were and if the island was cleaned up after this incident. Curing the Taylors doesn’t take a lot of effort, it only takes a week to get them back to normal size. It doesn’t say how the specialist did this, if he looked at the notes from the island or contacted the experimenters. It also doesn’t say what he is a specialist of, it seems unlikely that it would be a top specialist for this very specific incident! I suppose the point of the story is not to worry about the why, but enjoy the fun adventure and the journey.