Did you long to be best friends with Bunty, go on jaunts with Judy or meet up with Mandy? Perhaps you were team Debbie or Jackie. Whatever your preference, there was certainly something for everyone during the golden age of girls’ picture papers, as Holly Crawford discovers…
Readers of a certain age will remember with fondness the excitement of nipping down to the newsagents on a Saturday morning in search of your favourite comic: The excitement of scouring the shelves and that fizzy feeling in your stomach when you clapped eyes on the latest edition. Plucking it from the shelf, you would excitedly make your way to the counter and hand over your money, hardly daring to let go of the coveted comic and dashing home to read it cover to cover!
My first foray into the wonderful world of girls comics was via Twinkle, ‘the picture paper specially for little girls’ which was published by D.C Thompson from 1968 to 1999. It featured a host of lovable characters including Witch winkle, Goody Gumdrops and my personal favourite, Nancy The Little Nurse who worked in the Dollies Hospital and helped mend all the broken toys. A series of annuals were also produced, with the 1970 edition costing the princely sum of 95 pence!
As I got older, I moved onto Bunty, but there were plenty of other titles for my contemporaries to choose from including Nikki, Judy, Mandy, Jackie, Diana, Penny, Debbie and many more! It seemed that girls’ names were popular choices for such titles at the time.
Lorraine Nolan is founder of Girls Comics Of Yesterday, a website dedicated to preserving the memory of these publications which provided so much joy.
“The golden age of girls’ picture papers ran throughout the 1950s and 1960s, when reading was seen as a wonderful pastime,” she says. “Text based story papers had been around for many years, but picture story papers were seen as something new and exciting. School Friend (Amalgamated Press) was the first such publication to hit the shelves in 1950. Girl (Hulton Press) appeared in 1951 followed by Girl’s Crystal (Amalgamated Press.) DC Thomson had been publishing The Beano since 1938, but didn’t jump on the girls’ picture paper bandwagon until 1958 when it created Bunty.
“Such comics were relatively cheap to buy and packed with entertaining stories with weekly instalments, which made readers eager to find out what happened next, which was one of the reasons I think they were so popular.
“The 1970s saw a lot of experimentation: publishers were putting out a lot of different titles to see what worked and what didn’t. For example, Spellbound and Emma (DC Thomson) lasted barely over a year, but were followed by Tracy which stuck closely to the Bunty/Mandy/Judy formula and as such, lasted longer.’’