Classic cover artists: John Richardson
For seven years – from October 1973, when Tammy merged with Sandie, and through two further merges, with June then Misty, until a redesign of the comic in October 1980 – Tammy’s covers followed the format of a single scene depicting a blonde, teenage girl (whom I presume to be Tammy), partaking in an everyday activity to which the comic’s readers (mainly girls of a slightly younger age) might relate or aspire. Tammy was usually joined on the covers by another girl – at first a bunch-haired, younger sister type (whom I presume to be Sandie), then another blonde girl, shorter than Tammy but seeming to be more of a pal than a sibling (I think she was supposed to be June). These scenes, rooted in down-to-earth, hair, make-up, pets and boys real life marked a bold positioning of Tammy as the revolutionary new comic shifting girls’ publications away from the boarding school and fantasy papers that dominated the market in the 1960s.
The vast majority of this long run of cover illustrations were drawn by the talented John Richardson. John was a regular strip artist for a number of IPC comic titles (his work includes many stories for Misty, The Nightcomers for Scream! and some episodes of The V.C.s and The Mean Arena for 2000AD), but this catalogue of Tammy covers is surely the most remarkable. It is not just the sheer number of them that qualifies him for inclusion as one of our classic cover artists, but the ingenuity with which he told a complete story in just one, eye-catching image. There’s a sort of traditional British postcard feel about John’s style – the majority of the scenes are humorous or slapstick, lampooning either Tammy herself or stuffy British ‘types’, such as dads and shopkeepers. I don’t think it’s too grand to suggest that these wonderful covers also stand as a record of British social history, reflecting the fashions, hobbies and interests of girls of a certain age in the mid- to late-1970s.