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Mr Valeera
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If you are in Liverpool this weekend and class yourself as a comic fan then you have to attend this event at Liverpool Central Library

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19 Nov 2015, 00:48
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Thanks for this heads-up, Col. I didn't know about it, probably because I hardly ever buy the Liverpool Echo. I shall certainly be popping in.


19 Nov 2015, 02:12
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I only saw it yesterday - looks interesting! I wasn't aware of the collection of girls and womens' comics and mags at Liverpool JMU either, which was good to find out about. Unfortunately I am far away in Oxford and will not be attending - hope someone is able to let us know how it goes.

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19 Nov 2015, 13:00
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PS Phoenix - you can give Dr Mel your feedback on her book, in person :)

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19 Nov 2015, 13:01
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comixminx wrote:
PS Phoenix - you can give Dr Mel your feedback on her book, in person :)
Well I'll be quite happy to discuss it with her, and I might ask her about my belief that she reached some conclusions on flimsy evidence. :D However, I'm hoping she will sign my copy of her book so perhaps I'd better deal with that before broaching the flimsy evidence thing. :) Mind you, I suspect that she will be permanently surrounded by Val Stevenson's LJMU students and inundated with queries about Remembered Reading, which by now must be one of their textbooks. I'll play it by ear. To be fair, I found out a couple of months ago that Val has expressed an interest in assessing my books Free Gifts In The Big Five and This Was The Wizard, with a view to using them in one or other of her courses, but so far we haven't met. Perhaps I could chase that up on Saturday too. The bottom line really though is that I hope to enjoy the event. I will report back to the forum.

P.S. For those people who are planning on travelling to Liverpool, the Central Library is very close to Lime Street Railway Station, and not that much further from the bus station.


19 Nov 2015, 17:02
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The comics event in Liverpool Central Library today seemed to go very well. It was in a reasonably sized room on the fourth floor in which there were seven tables with several chairs round six of them. Every table bar one was covered with a host of individual issues of girls' comics/picture story papers from the university's collection, and a few of them also had upright displays of front covers, which had been scanned and then laminated. The 'bar one' table had headphones for the public to listen to presentations of some sort about Bunty and other story papers in the Liverpool John Moores University collection. These had been prepared by four female students specifically for this event as part of their coursework. I'd like to comment further about them but unfortunately I couldn't hear them clearly enough so I stopped listening. Two of the tables were allotted to LJMU, Val Stevenson having one, Nickieanne Moody, a senior lecturer in Media and Critical Studies who has already submitted research papers to the Association for Research into Popular Fiction, had the other. One table was for Dr. Mel Gibson, the fifth was for children, and was covered with lots of individual colour scans of different Cut-Out Wardrobes from Bunty, and there was an ample supply of pairs of scissors. The sixth table was for merchandise for sale created by a firm called Mouse To Minx under licence from Thomsons. These included tea towels, oven gloves, aprons, and mugs. The seventh one was for the four girls from LJMU mentioned above who were dressed as The Four Marys, as seen in the later colour issues of Bunty. I think most of them are studying English and Drama, and at one point they put on a kind of show or presentation, walking round the room as if it was a stage, each one of them taking the role of one of the Marys. They had sourced all the costumes, and they had written their own script based on stories they had read. It was well done and well received. When one of the girls took me to the headphones table I asked her which Mary she was, and she said Fieldy, which one do you want? Entering into the spirit of the thing I replied Simpy because she was the working class girl who won a scholarship to St. Elmo's, so she was called over. All the girls were speaking with a posh accent, and I asked Simpy where she came from. She said Wigan. I said You don't sound as if you come from Wigan, and she replied in her put-on posh accent Ah no, but you see we have to be in character all day.

I was there for roughly two hours. I spent quite a long time with Val Stevenson, talking mainly about the role of girls' story papers in her courses, and my interest in both girls' fiction and boys' fiction. We had never previously met but she knew who I was. I had taken a copy of each of my books with me to find out whether she was still interested in them and why. It turns out that she wanted them for their library, and after a brief discussion with Pam Dowsett, who holds the purse strings, they bought both of them there and then.

The rest of the time, most of it to be fair, I was with Dr. Mel Gibson. I had expected her to be quite reserved, and if she had read my review of her book, a bit stern. But that couldn't have been further from the truth. She was down to earth, very open and enthusiastic, and extremely friendly, and when I produced my copy of her book the conversation just took off. Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) would probably have called us kindred spirits. We talked about all sorts of things, her meeting Pete Hansen and Ray Moore, Pete's collection, my gratitude to him for having sent me free of charge from Canada at my request a high quality colour scan of a Free Gift on eBay that he had outbid me on, our families and our childhood, our fascination with, and commitment to story papers of all types through the ages, our collections, and inevitably our writing. She was very happy to talk about the aspects of her book Remembered Reading that I had raised some concerns about in my review, accepting that the flimsy evidence one could be seen as fair, although she felt that as she had read quite a lot of stories in the various titles, her decision to select just one of them to focus on was reasonable in her eyes because she was only offering it as a snapshot. In turn, I was happy to repeat my view that the last three chapters were well done, and that her idea of interviewing women about their memories of their comic reading as children was a very interesting one. She naturally raised the point that it is a great pity that similar surveys of readers of much earlier girls' story papers are not available to us today simply because they were never carried out at the time. There was so much more but at this moment I can't recall any of it, apart from the fact that she signed my copy of her book. See below. Furthermore we are going to make sure we keep in touch.

Not wishing to leave empty-handed, I did end up buying a Bunty mug for £11. See below in the bottom right hand corner of the card. Yes, I know it's a lot of money, equivalent at best to three issues of Girl from 1952 at current rates, but you have to show willing, don't you? In for a penny, in for a pound. It was a good day.


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22 Nov 2015, 00:41
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Excellent, thanks for the write-up, Phoenix! I was following on Twitter and it did sound like a cool, fun event. Wish I could have been there!

I've met Dr Mel once or twice, not often, and she comes across very much as you say.

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22 Nov 2015, 10:35
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comixminx wrote:
I was following on Twitter and it did sound like a cool, fun event.
After kicking my Facebook into touch last week I'm no longer in thrall to social media. However, I am intending to set up a website at some point soon if it's not too expensive. You are right, comixminx, it was a fun event, and incidentally I also learned that the whole LJMU comic collection had been donated to their library by Nickieanne Moody and Dr Mel Gibson. I might hand over to them my piles of duplicate Judy and Bunty comics. Although they are not quite good enough to advertise on eBay, they are complete, and therefore may well be very acceptable to the university. Radio Merseyside DJ, Billy Butler, did add one issue of Cherie to the collection yesterday! Tony Snell also did a piece on his Radio Merseyside show yesterday, and I was told that it included an interview with the Marys. I'll buy the Liverpool Echo tomorrow to see if there is a report or a follow-up of some description, and let you know if so.


22 Nov 2015, 12:30
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Phoenix wrote:
comixminx wrote:
I was following on Twitter and it did sound like a cool, fun event.
After kicking my Facebook into touch last week I'm no longer in thrall to social media. However, I am intending to set up a website at some point soon if it's not too expensive. You are right, comixminx, it was a fun event, and incidentally I also learned that the whole LJMU comic collection had been donated to their library by Nickieanne Moody and Dr Mel Gibson. I might hand over to them my piles of duplicate Judy and Bunty comics. Although they are not quite good enough to advertise on eBay, they are complete, and therefore may well be very acceptable to the university. Radio Merseyside DJ, Billy Butler, did add one issue of Cherie to the collection yesterday! Tony Snell also did a piece on his Radio Merseyside show yesterday, and I was told that it included an interview with the Marys. I'll buy the Liverpool Echo tomorrow to see if there is a report or a follow-up of some description, and let you know if so.


I set up a free Wordpress - it's easy to do that without spending any money at all if you don't mind having a URL that ends wordpress.com instead of something more specific.

I would imagine that any duplicates would be very welcome: presumably duplicate reading copies would always come in handy quite apart from anything else.

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22 Nov 2015, 12:56
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Funnily enough I picked up two early issues of Cherie myself yesterday - the first examples of this unusual comic I've ever come across. Of course it belongs more in the Romance genre - a field that seems to generate less interest amongst collectors these days, even though it was tremendously popular at one time.


22 Nov 2015, 13:53
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philcom55 wrote:
Funnily enough I picked up two early issues of Cherie myself yesterday - the first examples of this unusual comic I've ever come across.
The really early issues, Phil, were very big with a drab front cover, mainly blue, initially with a drawing of a pop or film star, soon replaced by photographs. However, at some point between issues 44 and 83 its size was reduced to a more manageable one. For comparison purposes it was about an inch shorter and a quarter of an inch narrower than TV Fun. The number of pages increased from 20 to 28.


22 Nov 2015, 15:04
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Thanks for that info - I ended up taking myself to Liverpool on Saturday to look at this event.

I went early - entered at 11am and stayed for an hour.

I guess Mel must've come later as as didn't spot her there.

I had a good chat wit Pam and Val and the lady who had a table of her own comics people could look at (she contributed to the Comcis UK series on BBC2/BBC4. I mentioned that the documentary jumoped from Bunty in 1950s to Tammy in the 1970s, totally cutting out the 1960s (a neglected decade in girls' comics in my view)- not even a mention of The Happy Days! She said the doc gave them so little space to say more).

I was thrilled that people doing a creative writing course are being encouraged to look at these comics for inspiration. I said that I do some writing just for fun and get some inspiration from the girls' comics, and there was agreement over the lack of positive role models for girls and lack of good female Tv characters on Tv, esp. British stuff. (I would love to do a creative wrting course and being able to devote more time and have more energy to do my writing ideas properly. If only I could afford it...).

Were quite a few men attending when I looked too.

One of the girls playing the Four Marys was clearly a fan of and thrilled to discover the girls' comics.

One couple asked me for some knowledge about the artists and were mazed about how much I knew and asked whrere I got info. I said a cetain website helped...

Was encouraged at the end to carry on collecting. I'd have liked to have stayed longer but I had to rush off with things to do.

Must visit Liverpool again soon to visit John Moores library collection of girls' comics. And do some more annual hunting.

A most fulfilling visit.


22 Nov 2015, 15:38
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DavidKW wrote:
I went early - entered at 11am and stayed for an hour.
Well you missed me somehow, David. I arrived at 10 past 11 and left at 10 past 1. I was the guy wearing a brown suede jacket, blue jeans and trainers. Of course just as I wasn't expecting to see any other ComicsUK members, especially any that I couldn't possibly have recognised, nor presumably were you.
DavidKW wrote:
I guess Mel must've come later as as didn't spot her there.
She was there from the start.
DavidKW wrote:
I had a good chat with Pam and Val and the lady who had a table of her own comics people could look at (she contributed to the Comcis UK series on BBC2/BBC4.
Might this have been Mel? As you entered the room her table was on the left hand side, just before the Mouse To Minx sales table. Mel had her back to the wall at a table covered with girls' comics. I have no idea whether she contributed to a TV series although I wouldn't be surprised if she did. When you say Comics UK are you referring to Comics Britannia?
DavidKW wrote:
Must visit Liverpool again soon to visit John Moores library collection of girls' comics. And do some more annual hunting.
The three best shops are Kernaghan Books in the Bluecoat Chambers off Church Street, Reid Of Liverpool in Mount Pleasant, and Henry Bohn Books in London Road. All three are easily accessible from Lime Street Station. Kernaghans usually have a decent stock of annuals.


22 Nov 2015, 16:45
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Thanks for the information on Cherie Phoenix - I was really impressed by the large format of the issues I bought.


22 Nov 2015, 16:55
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comixminx wrote:
I set up a free Wordpress - it's easy to do that without spending any money at all if you don't mind having a URL that ends wordpress.com instead of something more specific.
I have had a look at it, comixminx, and I certainly haven't ruled it out so thank you for mentioning it. My computer-literate friend, Ken Dalton, has discussed the question with his son Chris, who not only knows more than his father, but creates websites for a living somewhere in Ireland, and he is going to put a few ideas together in the next few days for me to consider. It might be fairly expensive but I know I won't be ripped off because he acknowledges that many years ago when he was a time-wasting layabout in the Year 10 tutor group I was in charge of, that I managed to get him back on track towards some decent 'O' level grades a year or so later, and was grateful for my intervention. We haven't spoken for quite a while but we are certainly still on good terms. Obviously I will just have to wait and see.


23 Nov 2015, 02:43
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