Sunday, December 26, 2010

British Girls' Comics: School Friend Annual 1960 selection

This post revisits School Friend, this time sampling the 1960 annual. Examples of finely drawn realistic art abound, starting with this charming ballerina tale, "The Roses That Brought Romance". What reader could resist the allure of this celebrity world of European royalty, splendorous ballet performances, and intrigue in which the young girl saves the day!?

The next story is interesting from multiple points of view. There's a clandestine group of do-gooder girls operating at this private girls' school. These middle class agents of freedom assist a working class girl in achieving justice. In a world away from the oversight of the patriarchs, females can express their full potential, even be heroines. I have no idea whether or not the Silent Three was an ongoing series in the weekly comic, but it seems it would have made a good one:

In this next somewhat unlikely scenario, Tuckshop Trudy is a young female working at a private school for teenage boys with uncanny control over their hormones!

"Peril for Her Royal Pupil" exemplifies the tendency for these middle class girls' comics to locate their universe within the British Empire, even though by this time it was already a thing of the past. A kind of reprise to former days of glory. Simultaneously, however, a strong feminist message can be read from this tale of a teenage girl's ability to thwart adult male evildoers.

"The Riddle of the Four Bells" is a fairly lame mystery tale featuring detective Terry Brent and his assistant, Irish girl Paddy MacNaught. As with many of this type of girls' story, there's a stash of jewels as the prize.

Young British ladies on holiday in Spain. It's interesting here how the British girls on holiday aren't looking forward to going back home - the Spanish people seem so happy - and yet at the end there's the hint that maybe the Spanish dancer might be fortunate enough to go to Britain to dance. I suppose everyone thinks it is a treat to be able to travel outside their own country.

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