School Belle

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School Belle was a fictional character and comic strip in, originally, the UK comic School Fun. When School Fun merged with Buster in 1984 the strip continued to run in Buster until that comic ceased publication in 2000.

School Belle - a pun on the terms 'school bell' and 'belle of the ball' - was the story of a pretty and popular girl (the titular Belle) and the attempts of various boys to become her latest boyfriend. A recurring theme was Belle's feud with the unattractive and jealous Grotty Glenda, who would often plot to cause trouble for Belle. Glenda usually enlisted her steady boyfriend, the physically imposing but henpacked Beefy Bernie, to help her; however, he secretly found Belle attractive, and she was often able to distract him from Glenda's schemes by flirting. In 1988 Belle was given a regular boyfriend, public schoolboy Sebastian.

Another theme of the strip was the attempt of various 'nurks' - nerdy and unattractive boys - to gain Belle's attention. The nurks became such a popular feature of the strip that, in 1987, it began featuring a 'Know Your Nurks' breakout box, in which a different comically named nurk (e.g. Cyril Stinkinbottom) would appear in detail alongside an amusing fact about him.

In 1990, following comments from readers that Belle was not actually that pretty, she was redrawn in a very different style, with a more modern hairstyle and casual clothing replacing her old-fashioned school uniform. The change was explained in a strip which showed Grotty Glenda dressing up as Belle to pose for the strip's artist, making Belle look bad in the process. Belle's boyfriend Sebastian was also replaced by a more modern counterpart. However, when Buster went fortnightly in the mid-nineties and switched to reprints, the original Belle reappeared.