On this day, 22 June 1974: Tammy and June
On this day, 22 June 1974 … It was the date of ‘The great get together’ as June, thirteen years after its launch, merged into Tammy, just three years into its own thirteen-year run – an intersection point between two of the biggest girls’ comics of the 1960s and the 1970s. In addition to all her readers, June brought just two strips with her – Bessie Bunter and the one-off tales of The Storyteller – while Tammy retained Wee Sue, Jeannie and her Uncle Meanie and the long-running classic No Tears for Molly. A number of new serials began: Sadie in the Sticks, in which a girl escapes her troubles and worries through her hobby of making matchstick models (a rather thin premise for a story but that’s all we’re given to go on in this first episode - …), Swimmer Slave of Mrs Squall, in which a disillusioned schoolgirl with an unrealised talent for diving is discovered by the mysterious owner of the Squall housing estate, Eva’s Evil Eye, in which a gypsy girl tricks the bullies at her new school into thinking she has sinister magical powers.
The most significant aspect of this issue is the debut of Bella at the Bar. Bella would go on to become one of Tammy’s longest-serving characters, eventually claiming the front cover of the comic for her own. From what I’ve read online, she’s not remembered with universal fondness – there is a mix of likes and dislikes. As a hardworking but plucky orphan living with her harsh uncle and aunt (in a ‘seedy terraced house’, according to the opening caption), doing good and righting wrongs through her talents as a gymnast, she has the promise of a good, interesting character. There’s something a little too upright, worthy and superior about Bella though, which may be one of the reasons she’s not everybody’s favourite.