Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Christmas issue of GIRL (1955)

One of the companion comics to Eagle, Hulton Press' Girl set out to offer the same mixture of intriguing stories and educational features as its fellow publications. Where Eagle was billed as a boy's paper, Girl was obviously pitched towards schoolgirls. As this was the 1950s there was a slant towards needlework, cookery, and stories about ballet and nursing. That said, Girl also featured characters in adventure settings just as Eagle did, and its heroines were just as resourceful, independent, and brave as their male counterparts. 

Let's look at a few pages from the Christmas issue that was published 60 years ago this week, dated 21st December 1955. Unlike most of its rivals, Girl published full creator credits so there's no problem identifying who did the strips.

The cover strip (above) is Wendy and Jinx. Script by Stephen James, art by Ray Bailey and Philip Townsend. It continues onto page two...

As the comic mainly featured serials, not every story had a Christmas theme. However, Susan of St.Bride's did. Presumably the lonely patient had a happy ending in subsequent chapters. Script by Ruth Adam, art by Peter Kay. (No, not the bloke off the telly.)

The centrespread of this issue couldn't be more festive if it tried. A Real Life Story of Franz Gruber, the composer of Silent Night (drawn by Renato Polese, written by Jenifer Callahan); Lettice's Christmas written and drawn by John Ryan (creator of Captain Pugwash); and The Journey of the Magi painted by Eric Winter. What a fantastic array of artistic talent across two pages.

Only nine of Girl's 16 pages featured comic strips (although we still refer to it as a comic, not a magazine). The rest contained features such as this one. Different times, different meanings...

Some strips were educational, such as Cookery Corner. Here you go; a mince pie recipe for Christmas. This strip is uncredited unfortunately, but what interests me is that this sort of 1950s art style (now often called "retro") has come back into fashion, although is usually drawn with vector graphics now...

The back page strip has no festive theme but I thought I'd include it as it's illustrated by Gerry Haylock, and artist many of you will remember for his work on the Doctor Who and UFO strips in Countdown / TV Action in the early 1970s. 

Which Christmas will the Blimey Time Machine land in next? Bookmark this blog and come back soon!

2 comments:

John Pitt said...

But where was Kitty Hawke?

Lew Stringer said...

Long gone by 1955. She wasn't popular enough.

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