Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Prologue to Tammy

Comics don't just appear in a void; they are the products of their times. And Tammy was perhaps the side effect of a strike.

In 1971 IPC's popular title Sally had a break in publication of several weeks. I don't know the cause of this, and as it is both obscure and pre-internet, it's not something you can just look up on Wikipedia. The assumption is that this was due to a strike, since the 1970's were plagued with them. Every other week someone was striking about something.

I also don't know how long the break lasted, but it was long enough to have a cover celebrating its return, and a message from the titular Sally apologising for her absence.

Says comics buff Phil Rushton:
When it first appeared in June 1969 IPC had great ambitions for Sally which, as far as I'm aware, was the first title to reflect Gerry Finlay-Day's fresh approach to girls' comics (though the original editor was listed as Lennox Wenn). Unfortunately, such a long absence from newsagent's shelves must have had a crippling effect on the circulation of this relatively new comic (no doubt many readers had long since jumped ship to DC Thomson's more reliable Bunty). As a result, the very issue that saw Sally's return also featured an advert for a brand new weekly that was to be released the following week with all the advantages of free gifts and a high-power publicity campaign. This, of course, was Finlay-Day's own Tammy.
And that was pretty much the death-knell for Sally, promoting the very comic that would not only replace it, but which would absorb it within a couple of months, becoming the first of five titles that would merge with Tammy over its thirteen year history. Given the schedule, it's hard to believe that this wasn't the plan all along, and that the break in circulation doomed Sally.

Did anything of Sally survive long in Tammy, once they'd merged? I don't know, though I expect to find out shortly. I do know that Sally didn't get to share Tammy's masthead for long. It needed the room for the next comic it claimed....

Thanks also to Phil for the images from Sally used here.


  1. A few stories from Sally continued into Tammy for a short while - The Cat Girl, Maisie's Magic Eye and Sara's Kingdom definitely did.

  2. In Tammy's 10th anniversary issue Cat Girl put in a cameo appearance for a special Wee Sue story to celebrate Tammy's birthday. Cat Girl was described as one of the first-ever characters to appear in Tammy. I was a bit annoyed to learn later that this was not strictly true and Cat Girl actually came over from Sally.

    Looking back at the issue, it was interesting to note that nobody and nothing came from Tammy's early days (when she revelled in cruel and dark stories like Slaves of War Orphan Farm) came to celebrate her 10th birthday. Instead, characters from mergers (Wee Sue, Bessie, Uncle Meanie and Cat Girl), Molly and Bella, and characters from recent or running serials of the period were featured. No Girls of Liberty Lodge, School for Snobs, Aunt Aggie, Beattie or the Slaves of War Orphan Farm appeared.

  3. Titles that merged with Tammy:

    Sally (1971)
    Sandie (1973)
    June (1974)
    Misty (1980)
    Jinty (1981)
    Princess (1984)

    And presumably Tammy herself would have merged with Girl in August 1984 if it had not been for the strike.