Bunty

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Bunty
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Publication information
Publisher D. C. Thomson & Co.
Schedule Weekly
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date 1958 – 2001

Bunty was a British comics anthology for girls published by D. C. Thomson & Co. from 1958 to 2001.[1] It consisted of a collection of many small strips, the stories typically being three to five pages long. As well as the weekly comic, Christmas and summer annuals were published. Bunty published 2,249 issues, and went monthly in 2001 before ceasing publication after a further 5 months.[2] In contrast to earlier and contemporary comics, it was aimed primarily at working class readers under the age of 14, and contained mostly fictional stories.[3]

Layout and features[edit]

The average issue of Bunty contained several short comic-strip stories, broken up by letters pages, competitions, featured readers, puzzle pages, promotions, next-week previews or advertisements. The back page initially featured a cut-out doll and paper clothes, which eventually gave way to a wall poster.

Regular stories[edit]

The Four Marys[edit]

"The Four Marys" was the longest story the comic ran—drawn by artist Barrie Mitchell, it appeared from its creation in 1958 to its end in 2001. When the strip started, public boarding schools like St. Elmo's, the girls' boarding school, were common, but as time went on, they became less accessible to Bunty's general audience. It centred on four young teenagers who lived in a girls-only boarding school in Elmbury, and often had problems with studying, being bored, or helping (and being hindered by) the other girls or teachers within the school. Of the four main characters, two were middle class, one was the aristocratic daughter of an Earl, and one was a working class girl, attending the school on a scholarship. This representation of the working class was a reflection of changing class experiences in the 1950s.[4]

The Comp[edit]

A comic drawn very much in the same way as The Four Marys, this was set in a mixed-sex comprehensive school. The Comp was originally published in Nikki, and moved to Bunty after that comic folded. The Comp finished a short time before Bunty's end, the story being that Redvale Comprehensive closed down and the pupils were sent to different schools.

Luv, Lisa[edit]

This story was written out as a diary, with pictures to accompany it. The pictures took the form of photographs, being the only regular comic to do so (although regularly 'one-time' comics also took the form of being shown in photographs). Regularly her stories would consist of her writing about people, boyfriends and situations she was in with her friends—although sometimes she would have a story set about her, with an adventure such as finding good Christmas cards. Her friends' names changed from issue to issue, the only regular characters being her brother and her mother.

Bunty—A Girl Like You[edit]

A one-page feature included a short comic strip about the comic's namesake, a blonde girl called Bunty, and her friends Haya and Payal. The strip was so short it usually could not convey more than a quick joke—mostly about normal teenage girl subjects like boys, family or school.

Penny's Place[edit]

A comic drawn in much the same way as The Comp and The Four Marys, Penny's Place began in the comic M&J (an amalgamation of earlier comics, Mandy and Judy), but was taken up by Bunty when M&J ended. The story centred on Penny, whose parents owned a cafe called 'Penny's Place', and her three best friends, who all lived in the same town and attended the same school. Penny's best friend Donna was from a lower-class family and had several brothers and sisters, and these siblings were often involved in storylines.

The story came to an end in the late 1990s, but due to popular demand Bunty began to publish the story again from the beginning. During this time, both Bunty and Mandy published "Penny's Place" in their Christmas annuals.

Moira Kent and Lorna Drake[edit]

"The Dancing Life of Moira Kent", the story of an aspiring ballerina, appeared in the first issue of Bunty, and Moira Kent was a regular feature for many years, the character eventually achieving international stardom. When the storyline was discontinued, it was replaced with "Lorna Drake", also about a ballet dancer, who attended the Thelma Mayne Dancing School (Thelma having been a ballerina herself before an accident prevented her from dancing ever again). This accident was caused by Lorna's father, also a ballet dancer, who was going blind when he let Thelma Mayne fall during a performance, thus crippling her. However, Moira still appeared in the annuals, where she had opened her own ballet school.

Other strips[edit]

  • Bella the Bookworm - A comic strip about a girl who loves books.
  • Lydia and the Little People - After finding the Land of the Little People, a girl is forced to be a servant by a group of leprechauns.
  • Lisa, The Lonely Ballerina
  • Sister of the Bride - Shona and John are engaged to be married, so Shona's sister keeps sabotaging Shona's modelling career in order to ensure a happy marriage.
  • Toots - A comic strip about the misadventures of a young girl.
  • Boyfriend from Blupo - A girl who wants a boyfriend finds one in Morgan, an alien from the planet Blupo.
  • Carrie's Magic Cookbook - A girl discovers a magical cookbook, which takes her back in time to when a recipe was first made every time she uses that particular recipe.
  • Lyn Raymond, Air Stewardess - The adventures of an air stewardess.
  • Jenny Proctor, Doll Doctor - Jenny sets up a toy hospital to mend broken toys.
  • Leave it to Linda - Linda is a "Jill-of-all-Trades" who works at her father's hotel.
  • Witch! - Ellie is persecuted by superstitious villagers who believe she is descended from the village witch.
  • Claremount College - Clara Lawson inherits Claremount College and decides to teach any lesson her students want.
  • Glenda the Gimmick Girl - Advertisement agency worker Glenda is excellent at coming up with ideas for various things.
  • Sharon’s Stone - When a woman is wrongly accused of witchcraft she sets a curse, inscribed on a stone, which will not be lifted until the accuser recants and their respective families make peace. Centuries later, the curse is set in motion once more when the stone resurfaces and sets the descendants feuding.
  • Scapegoat of the School - An important treaty is to be signed with the country of Centralina. However, in order for the treaty to be signed, the princess Rosetta must attend a British school, and must be happy at all times. In order to avoid trouble, the school makes Sally Smith, a scholarship girl, look after Rosetta and take any punishments she earns- but Rosetta earns a LOT of punishments because of her bossiness!
  • Superstitious Cindy - A comic strip about a very superstitious girl.
  • Sally-on-the-Spot - Sally is always in the right place at the right time.
  • Mighty Mo - A comic strip about a Desperate Dan-esque girl who is always trying to be feminine.
  • Miss Merlin - A comic strip about Merlin's daughter.
  • My Sister Mitzy - The adventures of a girl and her troublesome little sister.
  • Gilly of the Flower Garden - The adventures of a girl who works at a garden centre.
  • Wendy's Wishing Well - A young girl lives at a cafe with a wishing well. She devotes herself to making people's wishes come true.
  • The Seeker - A Victorian era actress disguises herself every night to search for her long-lost urchin daughter.
  • Punch and Jenny - The adventures of Jenny and her horse Punch.
  • Down with St Desmond’s! - Carol-Anne Brabazon is out to ruin a school because she believes her mother was unjustly expelled.
  • Margie the Swimming Marvel - Margie Newfield is a ten-year-old orphan who lives with her brother Fred and his wife Lily. Margie wants to be a champion swimmer, even though she has never swum a stroke in her life.
  • Trilby will be Tops! - A mysterious woman takes an interest in Pat Trilby's sports career.
  • The Phantom Ballerina - A mysterious girl arrives at Madame Petrova's ballet school, but she can't dance.
  • Wildcat of the Court - Princess Pandora is rescued from a tower where she has been imprisoned all her life. Such an upbringing has left her rough and tough, which is not suitable princess material. Her relatives try to get rid of her, but they have reckoned without her popularity with the populace.
  • An Athlete She Must Be! - Ellen Perkins tries to turn her guzzling sister into an athlete.
  • The Children's Champion - Dissatisfied with the Victorian lifestyle, Hester Langley renounces her wealthy life to help the poor of London.
  • My Brother's a Pop Star - Stella Jones is manager to her pop star brother.
  • Selma's Sanctuary - story of an animal shelter.
  • Laural and the Talking Doll - Gypsy Laurel Lee is trying to clear her sister's name with a most unusual ally - a talking doll!
  • Amazing Grace, Gymnast of the Future – Circus girl Grace Connor has her heart set on being a gymnast, but her father keeps pushing her into being a trapeze artist, believing that a gymnastics career will not make her money. Can she change his mind?
  • Catch the Cat – Marie Bonnet is hated for being friendly with Nazi soldiers in a French town during the WW2 occupation. But this is really a cover for Marie’s double life as a costumed resister known as “the Cat.”
  • The Courage of Crippled Clara – Mary Jordan is the only friend of Clara Thornton, the crippled daughter of the village squire. Mary is trying to help Clara to walk again by offering her secret riding lessons, but when the squire finds out, he overreacts and turns the whole village against Mary.
  • Destiny Calls Rosita - gypsy girl Rosita is determined to become a ballerina, but the ballet mistress dislikes her and is trying to get rid of her.
  • Lona the Wonder Girl – Lona Neal has been trained by scientists as a super-girl. Now out in the real world, Lona finds that she has a lot to learn.
  • Princess of the Pops – Princess Helen of Lichenberg loves pop music, but her father, King Gustave, has forbidden her to listen to it. Now Helen has gone even further – living a double life as a masked pop star, “M’Lady of Mystery”! But a double life is very tricky, especially when you have both royal and popstar duties.
  • The School for Unwanted Ones - In 1900 Val Matthews is sent to Dr Croome’s Academy for Girls. This is, of course, a cruel Squeersian establishment, complete with a phoney headmaster and forged credentials.
  • Bringing up the Barkers - Walter the Dalmatian disapproves of his new owners' coarse ways and is trying to teach them more genteel habits.
  • Maisie Mercury - Maisie the little goddess is in charge of a new wishing well, but there is a rival determined to strip her of her post.
  • Miss Danby's Dolls - eccentric Miss Danby believes her dolls are alive, and her companion Lizzie Miller finds that strange things are happening about these dolls.
  • The Painting - a witch is burned at the stake, but they neglect to burn a portrait of her as well. So, three centuries later, strange things start to happen...
  • The Westfield Wage - Rose Westfield must win a wager for her horse's sake, but a saboteur is determined to see that she doesn't.
  • Which Twin for Captain? - sibling rivalry over the captain's post.
  • My School Chum Mum - When Mrs Todd tries her anti-ageing potion, it works too well. She ends up looking like a schoolgirl! With her husband abroad, Mrs Todd has to attend school with her daughter (ostensibly as cousin Emily). Mrs Todd is finding the joys of modern schools, modern teaching methods, how teenagers live – but the welfare authorities are asking questions.
  • Mum Knows Best - Jasmine Pearce’s parents are ridiculously over-protective, in reaction to her twin sister dying of a rare disease as a baby.
  • Teen TV - Heston Comp is making its own TV programmes.
  • Heartbreak House - When Penny Wellman moves into Corbie House, spooky and frightening things keep happening to her.
  • Starring Sally - Sally Smith wants to be a singer. But does she have the talent or is she just a dreamer?
  • Last Chance for Laura - Modelling success has gone to Laura's head. When her face is injured because of her own arrogance, Laura's twin sister Amy agrees to secretly take her place as a model until her face heals.
  • In the Picture - Jodie Brown buys a camera which can take photographs of the future.
  • Wonderful Wanda - St Anne’s Boarding School is boring – until Wanda Jackson arrives!
  • Forbidden Island - Jenny Weston goes to live with her uncle and aunt. On an island, she discovers two more relatives living in a run-down house. They have to live there for three months to fulfil the conditions of a will. To make things worse, they have fallen out with the aunt and uncle. Jenny is determined to bridge the gap.
  • Distant Cousin - Jenny Clayton goes to Larchwood Boarding School, where her cousin Claire is a pupil. But Jenny discovers that the girl claiming to be her cousin Claire is not.
  • Flower Power - Donna Mason helps her disorganised parents run Seaview Hotel. Things get really interesting when the new maid, Blossom, arrives – she is from another planet. As her name suggests, she is really a flower species.
  • Susie’s Secret - Julie fancies Susie’s brother. He already has a girlfriend, but Susie is trying to keep this a secret because she doesn’t want to fall out with Julie.
  • Born to Dance - Catherine Collins is a born ballerina but her grandmother has forbidden her to dance. Gran is afraid that Catherine will have a fatal accident like her late mother.
  • Looking after Lara - Lara Shaw has a new stepsister, Andrea, who is a few years older than she. Andrea is determined to look after her new sister, but Lara finds this a bit too fussy and over-protective.
  • Secret School - In Victorian times Hannah Gilbert finds her class at the exclusive Howard Academy disappointing because the spoiled brats just don’t want to learn. Then Hannah discovers that poor children make more willing pupils and is running a secret school for them.
  • Patsy’s Parents - Patsy has just been adopted. Her parents are nice, but seem a bit old-fashioned and dull. Patsy is trying to change them.
  • The Hooded Angel - In Victorian times, Henrietta Farnsworth becomes the “Hooded Angel” to secretly help the poor of London.
  • Bighead - Tina Patterson has never made many friends because she is quiet and shy. Then her good-looking but big-headed cousin Joe arrives and suddenly everyone wants to be friends with her! Tina knows they just want to get to Joe, but she doesn’t care because she is being noticed at last.
  • A New Life for Lilly - In Victorian times, Polly Bond leaves her sister Lilly on a doorstep to be taken in by a wealthy family. Returning to the household as a servant some years later, Polly is horrified to see her sweet sister is now selfish and spoilt.
  • Change in Claire - Jane Cook is delighted when her old friend, Claire Harvey, moves back. Her delight turns to dread when she finds that Claire is waging a horrible vendetta against her entire family for unknown reasons.
  • Captain Carol - Carol gets her best friend, Fiona, expelled so she can take her place as school captain. However, Carol reckons without Fiona's determination to prove her innocence.
  • Donna's Double Life - Grange and Forden schools are bitter enemies. When Forden pupil Donna Wade suddenly transfers to Grange, she leads a double life to keep her friends at both schools from finding out.
  • Debbie's Debt - Jealous Paula interferes with Debbie's bike. When an accident ensues, it is Paula who finds the injured Debbie. Paula proceeds to exploit her family's indebtedness and wealth.
  • False Friend - Sneaky Karen pretends to be friends with wealthy Natalie in order to take advantage of her.
  • The Imposter! - Lady Harriet Mannering switches places with her maid Hetty for a day, but Hetty steals a valuable heirloom belonging to Harriet and claims to be her. Until Harriet can prove her identity, she has to endure a life of toil and grime below stairs
  • In Petra's Place - A girl tries to push Petra out of her place as School Captain.
  • Jealous! - Lindy is jealous when her sister Joanne lands a job as a model.
  • Lessons from Lindy - Angie Parsons is tired of being taken for granted. She asks pushy, selfish Lindy Marchant for lessons in how to get her own way. As a result, Angie swings to the other extreme, and ends up in a lot of trouble, before she finally understands what true assertiveness is.
  • Lonely Lynn - When Lynn Walsh loses her only friends, she turns to breaking up as many friendships as she can, out of pure spite. Lynn certainly breaks up a number of friendships, but it does not occur to her that someone might catch on....
  • Looking for Lyn - Sly Jenna Archer runs away from a children's home, posing as a long-lost granddaughter to get a free ticket to an easy life.
  • Move over, Maria - Maria Campbell is the popular class captain until the arrival of Josie Goulden. Josie looks so angelic, but she is in fact a nasty, cheating, troublemaker. Josie pushes Maria out with a series of frame-ups. Maria must expose Josie before Josie's tricks get her expelled.
  • Oriel - an alien who poses as a schoolgirl in order to learn more about human behaviour. Her goal is to help pave the way for an alien invasion, but she ends up becoming more human than she anticipated.
  • Pop Starr - a girl is leading a double life to keep her snobby classmates from finding out her father was a pop star.
  • Ring of Truth - Spoiled Catriona helps herself to her inheritance - her grandmother's ring. A string of bad luck ensues. Is it the ring, or coincidence?
  • Sandra's Sad Secret a.k.a. Cheat!, Sonya's Secret, Changing Places - Blackmail stories, the secret concerning a family member who has falsely been accused of a crime.
  • The Secret Gymnast - A girl must practise gymnastics in secret.
  • Tina of Tumbledown Towers - Tumbledown Towers must win a certain number of trophies, or it will be closed down.
  • When Harry Dumped Sally - When Sally is dumped by Harry, she takes her revenge by playing nasty tricks that get Harry into a great deal of trouble at school.
  • Wendy's Web - Hannah Matthews discovers that new classmate Wendy is actually an alien planning to kidnap Hannah and her friends for experimentation aboard Wendy's spaceship.
  • Workhouse Wendy - A Victorian girl goes undercover to investigate conditions at the workhouse run by her parents, but when they are suddenly killed at sea, she is believed to be dead as well. Her uncle, the only one aware that she is still inside the workhouse, claims the family fortune and pays the corrupt Beadle to keep her there as an inmate.
  • Sarah and Jane, Little Ladies at War - Two girls play loving sisters in a TV period drama, but off-camera they can't stand each other.
  • Dark Days for Dolly - Orphaned Dolly stands to inherit a fortune from her dying foster mother, whose relatives scheme to force Dolly out of the house and claim her inheritance.
  • The Battling Ballerina - Ballet teacher Belinda comes up against a gang of punks who are fighting her for the right to use the hall she rents for her classes. She decides the only way to save the ballet school is to teach her students judo for self-defence.
  • The Secret Sister - Identical twins Jane and Susie want to attend a prestigious school together; but live with an impoverished aunt who can afford to send only one of them to the school. They devise a plan to each take their favourite classes by posing as the same girl.
  • Yesterday's Children - Two girls get lost on the way to a school camp and discover they have gone back in time to a countryside village. They help the inhabitants with various problems while trying to figure out a way to return to their own time.
  • Grow Up, Granny! - Polly's irresponsible grandmother must learn to behave respectably in order to be approved as Polly's legal guardian.

Recognition[edit]

The lyrics to the song "Melody Lee" by the British punk rock group the Damned, on their 1979 album Machine Gun Etiquette, were borrowed entirely from the dialogue balloons of Bunty comics.[5]

On March 19, 2012, the Royal Mail launched a special stamp collection to celebrate Britain's rich comic book history.[6] The collection featured The Beano, The Dandy, Eagle, The Topper, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, Buster, Valiant, Twinkle and 2000 AD.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gibson (2003), p. 91
  2. ^ Kibble-White, Graham (2005). The Ultimate Book of British Comics 70 years of mischief, mayhem and cow pies. Allison & Busby limited. pp. 57–59. ISBN 0749082119. 
  3. ^ Gibson (2003), pp. 91–92
  4. ^ Gibson (2003), p. 92
  5. ^ See the notes for The Damned's Smash it Up: The Anthology 1976-1987 (2002), Castle Music Ltd
  6. ^ "Beano's Dennis the Menace on Royal Mail comic stamps". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 

References[edit]