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"Wendy at War" serial in Debbie comic 
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I have recently had a major boost to my collection of Debbie comics so I've spent the past few weeks reading through them. One story that has stood out for me (though there are quite a few others) is "Wendy at War", about one girl's experiences of living in the Channel Islands during WW2 when the Germans landed.

The story is very well written and thought provoking and still relevant to this day. I was somewhat surprised, but pleased, to find a story of this calibre in a supposedly "soppy" girl's comic. Finding gems of stories like this just confirms to me that girl's comics aren't JUST about ballet, horses and nursing (though there is a lot of that about!) - they had relevant, interesting and challenging things to say.

I did scan a particularly good episode which I wanted to upload on this forum but I was unable to - can any one help?


Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:24 pm
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I'd heard good things about girls' comics from Pat Mills so I've bought a few on eBay recently. You're right. They're not all about ballet and horses, and have really well written stories that play on the emotions and are good social documents of their time. Quite a revelation as these were comics one would steer clear of as a boy for obvious reasons. Yet as an adult one can appreciate how well structured they were.

I don't have the strip you mention I'm afraid but I'm sure someone here will.

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:49 pm
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Apparently there was a plan for a "Girl's Victor" (though i think it was going to be done by IPC it was that sort of thing) at one point with stories about spies and stuff. Like "Female Agent", the film which is a boys' own war adventure 'disguised' as an art-house film!

However the comic was cancelled, but one completed story was printed in a boys' comic. It was about a black female spy in WW2 called something like "Ebony Jones". Oh well you can't have everything XD.

I'm actually reading a serial in The Girl's Crystal from 1938 at the moment. It's called "Secret Leader of the Rebel Four" and is about a secret society in a boarding school set up to fight a tyrannical prefect (not unlike the more famous "Silent Three"). The secret being that the other three members don't actually know who the leader, "number 1", is! Though where i'm at it's either the unjustly-expelled sister of the main character, or possibly one of the teachers.

The Girl's Crystal, well the issues and annuals that i own, actually seems to contain quite a lot of mystery and adventure stories rather than ballet and horses. The annuals are a little more conventional though. There's also detective stories with a male detective and a girl assistant. I should think the brothers of the readers wouldn't have minded those stories as a diversion from thier Sexton Blake!

I also have a volume of The Girls Own Paper from 1904 and a couple of 1900's issues of The Girls' Friend Library, i'll read one of those soon and see what they are like. From the flick-through's i've had though they look like they are very plodding, dull romances. Unlike the Boys fare of the era which often had the loosest possible plot as a way of tying various action scenes together

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:04 am
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helsbels wrote:
...I did scan a particularly good episode which I wanted to upload on this forum but I was unable to - can any one help?
Hels, if you want to upload the story, one easy way is to attach your memory device of choice to your PC and then use the Upload attachment which is directly beneath each post you write. If you remember to place them inline, then they should come up in the order you have added them. If this causes problems then PM me.

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:08 am
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I have a couple of episodes of that story. I really appreciate that one of the heroes in this story is a sympathetic German soldier. It reminds us that not all Germans liked Hitler; they were loyal to the Fatherland, not the Nazi Party. A refreshing contrast to the more typical Nazi brutes who turned Wendy and her mum out of their house and such.


Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:10 am
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Why the hating on ballet stories? Some of the most diverse and interesting serials I've read in girls' comics are ballet stories. Is it perhaps that, not having read any, you assume that ballet stories are simply about ballet?

Also, Ebony is great. She's my favourite non-white female action hero in British comics.

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Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:06 am
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Marionette wrote:
Why the hating on ballet stories? Some of the most diverse and interesting serials I've read in girls' comics are ballet stories. Is it perhaps that, not having read any, you assume that ballet stories are simply about ballet?

Also, Ebony is great. She's my favourite non-white female action hero in British comics.

Not sure what this has to do with Wendy at War.


Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:15 am
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I'd guess that Mari was responding to the idea expressed in the first two posts that girls' comics weren't 'just about ballet'. I agree there were some great ballet strips, though in my opinion that was in spite of the subject matter rather than because of it. Funnily enough none of the girls I knew were ever interested in ballet as such, yet it was clearly popular with some readers as there were countless features about famous ballerinas and stories from the ballet - not to mention umpteen editions of the Princess Tina Ballet Book. It probably says a lot about the severely limited career options open to women in previous generations that ballet was one of the few fields of human endeavor in which they could hope to excel.

I agree about Crunch's Ebony as well (almost unique as a strong female hero in a boys' comic), though she probably deserves her own thread.

- Phil R.


Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:49 am
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From the episodes I have, it sounds like Wendy was adopting a secret identity to fight the Nazis, as Marie Bonnet in Catch the Cat did. But instead of pretending to be a collaborator she is working with a sympathetic German. I must say that's a bit different.

I presume Wendy at War ended with the liberation of the Channel Islands?


Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:19 am
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Come to think of it there were a number of strips in which young girls adopted secret identities to fight the Nazis during World War 2. One such was 'The Silent Shadows' in Sally - a story that was clearly based on the classic School Friend series mentioned by Felneymike, 'The Silent Three'. What's more it also featured one of the ultimate 'bully teachers' in that the headmistress was a card-carrying Nazi herself!

- Phil Rushton


Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:42 am
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philcom55 wrote:
Come to think of it there were a number of strips in which young girls adopted secret identities to fight the Nazis during World War 2. One such was 'The Silent Shadows' in Sally - a story that was clearly based on the classic School Friend series mentioned by Felneymike, 'The Silent Three'. What's more it also featured one of the ultimate 'bully teachers' in that the headmistress was a card-carrying Nazi herself!

- Phil Rushton

Could you put a scan of that headmistress on my bully teachers thread, please? I just have to have a look at her!


Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:16 pm
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Here are the Silent Shadows in action (I'll put the complete episode on the 'Bully Teachers' thread so you can see Frau Fischer in all her totalitarian glory).

Image

- Phil R.


Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:30 pm
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I think a scan of Wendy at War is long overdue here. I reproduced the full episode to show the good German. If anyone can identify the artist, that would be great.

@Philcom: Thanks for your scans!

Image

Image

Image


Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:17 am
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That's the episode I was referring to. It's a great story. Not sure about the artist's name but they also drew a lot of Jinty stories (The Girl Who Never Was, Alice In A Strange Land, Curtain of Silence). Thanks for getting the scans up! :cheers:


Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:37 am
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helsbels wrote:
That's the episode I was referring to. It's a great story. Not sure about the artist's name but they also drew a lot of Jinty stories (The Girl Who Never Was, Alice In A Strange Land, Curtain of Silence). Thanks for getting the scans up! :cheers:


You're welcome. If you are still having problems getting scans up, the method I use is upload to Photobucket in jpg format, and then copy and paste the link. The only other episode I have is the first one. Does anyone have any idea when the serial ended?

The artist also drew for Mandy and Bunty.


Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:42 am
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