Saturday, September 15, 2012

Without a bang or a whimper

I just got a bunch of late edition Tammys, and I was quite excited because this included the last ever issue of the comic. There's this weird feeling of well, I've got the first issue and the last issue; now I just have to fill in the ones between.

But is it the final issue? It's dated June 23rd 1984, which is the date everyone gives for the last issue, but there's no "Great news for all our readers"[1] message. None of the stories reach their conclusion. In fact one story, Secret Sisters begins in this issue. So what's going on?

I did a bit of digging, asked a few knowledgeable folk, and as far as I can piece it together, what happened was this: Tammy was scheduled for the chop, but not until late August. Then there was a printers' strike[2], and IPC couldn't print any comics for several weeks. And rather than delay the cancellation, as they would have had to do if they had kept going, in order to complete all the stories, they opted to cut their losses and leave everything unfinished. So Tammy disappears at the end of June, and then two months later the Tammy masthead gets added to Girl for a handful of issues before Girl gets a makeover and is relaunched with a new look.

I'm told that none of the strips are carried over to Girl. It seems they didn't even bother using the merge to complete the unfinished ones. But I need to check on that as I haven't found anyone who has actually got those comics yet.

Another odd thing is that Tammy was supposed to be part of a comics promotion by KP Skips[3] in the following weeks. In fact it was the only girls' comic taking part. Which led to a slightly entertaining notice being posted in the other comics to cover Tammy's last minute exclusion, suggesting that ex-Tammy readers might like to pick one of the other titles in the promotion. Roy of the Rovers[4] perhaps? Battle Action Force, maybe?

So with a certain poetry, and a dash of irony, Tammy, which was created due to a strike, is ultimately felled by one, too. We'll never know if Bella betrayed a friend to join the acrobatics club, whether Paula and Natalie ever got their right bodies back; we'll never even know whether Cora [4] would win the Victory Cup, or succumb to a brain haemorrhage and die before crossing the winning line. With Tammy, it could have gone either way...

1) The way cancellation in British comics of the period was usually heralded. More about that another time.
2) Yes, another one.
3) A popular snackfood of the time. Prawn cocktail flavour.
4) A football comic.
5) With only one more episode to go, too.


  1. Great to learn more about Tammy, it was before my time so never got to read it growing up. Actually the last issue came out a few days after I was born! Instead I had Bunty, Mandy and Judys to entertain me.

    I have recently picked up some old Misty issues too. There is some great stuff in these old comics and its great to see more blogs about girls comics too.

  2. I was really annoyed that Cora Can't Lose was left unfinished by the strike - that story really had me hooked and I was dying to see the last episode.

  3. I don't think Cora would have died - I think it was more likely she would have collapsed before the finishing line and the hospital saved her in the nick of time. That's if Tammy decided whether or not to let her win the Victory Cup first.

  4. I wonder what might have been if Tammy had been cancelled in August as originally planned - apart from Cora and all the other stories being completed. Would Tammy have been simply said goodbye with a final issue, as Bunty was, or would she have merged with Girl? The fact that her logo did appear on Girl suggeststs the latter.

    But if Tammy had merged with Girl, what would she have brought to Girl? I would say that Bella, Pam and the Button Box are the strongest candidates, plus any remaining serials that Tammy had to complete. Once those were gone, it would have been down to whatever regulars from Tammy had come over. Which wouldn't have been much in my opinion; Girl was a photo-comic, so the space for picture stories would have been extremely limited and the competition with Patty's World would have been fierce. So, a toss-up between Bella and Pam, perhaps?

  5. Does anyone remember the story where the world is taken over by clones and a little girl is the only one not cloned yet. Her family and everyone she knows is trapped in a crystal (individual ones) and she has to save them. I would love to know what happened. I was 10 when this episode so due to finish but I think it was caught up with the crossover.

    1. I am informed that this is likely to be E.T. Estate, which appeared in Tammy from 5 January 1983 to 16 April 1983. It was written by Jake Adams and drawn by Guy Peeters.

      A check of the couple of issues I have from the period shows all the elements you mention (clones, people trapped in crystals, etc), but it was long finished before Tammy ended.

  6. There was certainly strike action at the time, killing off Scream the week after Tammy with the difference that 2 of its strips carried on in Eagle in September. Also, there was no 2000AD between the 7 July and 4 August issues. Tammy’s fate in Girl could be, and in my opinion is, explained by the trendy ‘overhaul’ Girl received around October. It was no doubt in the offing and anytime stories might’ve run for months. There’d certainly have been artwork around for at least a few post-23 June issues, and when that ran out it could’ve been drawn of course so no trouble there. Simply put, Tammy stories would probably have been in the way.

    So alas it seems that industrial action and bad timing did for Tammy. If you’d like me to look up anything at Colindale Newspaper Library I’ll be glad to.