On this day, 2 January 1971: Diana
Diana was another quality DC Thomson publication, produced (at this stage at least) in large format (13½x10”) on a glossyish paper that allowed for around half of its pages to be printed in colour. It has the feel of a comic aimed with half an eye on the young girls’ magazine market covered so successfully by Jackie in the 1960s and 1970s. Its middle eight pages are in fact a magazine pull-out section (‘Diana Pop Club: An up-to-the-minute magazine section – for up-to-the-minute Diana girls’) containing photos, style features, interviews with some models, celebs and a good-looking pop chap, and a cover photo of The Kinks’ Mick Avory and a glass of cranberry juice. Diana was merged into Jackie in 1976, so those readers who had grown up with the comic in its latter few years would have had a natural stepping stone to a slightly more mature publication.
Either side of the magazine section, the comic strip content looks very good on the graded paper and large format. A number of the stories seem fairly standard fare for girls’ comics at this time. I Hate Horses and The Family Who Lived in Mill are pet-based, A Girl Called Sarah is a historical story of a heroic servant girl, and there’s comedy in the back-page Rosie cartoon. Tanya Take Us Home is a smart, painted, wartime adventure tale about a gipsy girl helping an English group of finishing school students escape occupied France. Others, such as My Big Brother Marmaduke (drawn, I’m fairly certain, by Jesus Redondo), Mary Brown’s Schooldays, Marian Knight: Beauty Queen and the humorous Up-to-date Kate, have a slightly more teenage feel to them, being concerned with young relationships and fashion. Marmaduke even has a spot of gang violence (or ‘a ding-dong battle’) between sixth-formers on the local common. I’m afraid I don’t have any clues toward naming the writers and artists of any of these, Redondo aside, so do please let me know if you have any information and I’ll add the credits.