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A quarter-century in comics: Childhood.

August 10, 2009

I’m approaching my 25th year. While I’m still very much in the first flush of youth,  I can use this little landmark in my life as a point from which to look at the graphic novels that I’ve read over the years.

I  can’t remember which came first- the Hergé, Goscinny & Uderzo, the Bill Watterson or the syndicated comics for the comics I read as a child. I’ll start off with the comics.

As a child in Ireland, I read the British comics.  I started off with Twinkle, ‘for little girls’.

You’ll have to settle for the front cover- images from the ‘Twinkle’ stories are difficult to come across, even on the internet.

I particularly liked Nurse Nancy (possibly because she shared a name with my mother) whose grandfather owned a dolls’ hospital and she worked on the wards.  I can still remember seeing her in her nurse’s uniform scurrying along the small ward to the aid of some severely injured teddy bear. Riveting stuff.

Fast forward a few years.

‘Mandy’ , ‘Judy’ and ‘Mandy and Judy’ which then re-named itself the trendier- sounding ‘M&J’ and ‘Bunty’ were all

Some of the serialized stories stood out most- there was one running story set in Victorian times about a girl called Angel who, after finding out that she only had a year left to live, decided to spare her parents the grief of losing her and so faked a drowning accident (no, I don’t see the logic either) and devotes her remaining time to helping poor waifs in London city. Another feature was ‘Skeleton Place’, which told a  horrifying story every week, had a boarding school  haunted by nuns with no faces. That one scarred me for life.

‘Penny’s Place’ was the equivalent of a soap opera- about a girl whose parents owned a cafe and her life moving to a new town.

My brothers read the boys’ versions- the Beano and the Dandy. I remember them most for the terrifically ugly children portrayed:

'Bash Street Kids.' (first appearance 1954)

My favourite  from the boys’ comics was Desperate Dan.

Back to the girls’ comics:

We used to swap them in the playground- a Mandy and Judy for two Bunties. Fierce haggling took place. There was a second hand comic shop in my hometown that had all the older editions arranged in neat rows and I liked nothing better than going into that little arcade and leafing through for ones I hadn’t read. They also had annuals, with longer versions of the stories. These came out at Christmas and made for a great present.

On Sundays, I would get a pound for a sunday treat and I would get a chocolate bar and a comic. I’d find a quiet place and while away the afternoon reading the comic. Good times indeed.

You can now get the comics on Ebay for pretty cheap- so if anyone out there wants to relive their childhood, get clicking away.

Can you remember any of the comics of your childhood? Share them with us in the comments!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tamise permalink
    August 12, 2010 12:06 pm

    I loved reading Twinkle every week. Do you remember one of the ongoing stories ‘Little Columbine?’ It was my favourite and was about 2 young dancers at a travelling show. I also loved Katy and Kitty (another ongoing saga). I think I still have some of them in the loft. My Mum tells me that I was very keen on the story about Sam the sheepdog. We were living in Denmark at the time and my Nan used to send me the comic every week. Apparently I used to make my Nan read the Sam story down the phone.

    I too moved on to Mandy, Bunty and Judy. I remember ‘Angel’. I think she faked her drowning because she couldn’t bear for her parents to see her suffer during her illness. I also liked ‘Bonnie and Belinda’ which was about twins who were separated.

  2. Tamise permalink
    August 12, 2010 12:11 pm

    Just remembered ‘Around the World with Wendy’ from Twinkle. Her father was the captain of a cruise liner and every place they stopped at she had an adventure and collected a doll.

  3. October 9, 2010 11:48 pm

    i loved getting the bunty magazine every thursday.my mum would get it for me id rush home so excited.they stoped making them in 2002 i wish i could still get them.

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