Few things in life are as regular as the seasons, giving us changing weather, holidays, and of course, an annual of British comics under the tree or shipped overseas from the grandparents, giving young girls an exciting glimpse into the many and varied career opportunities awaiting them. Like, for instance...
A nurse! A nurse on a cruise ship, which sounds exotic and exciting until you learn the reality of norovirus and what happens when your elderly passengers expire en route (it's the freezers for you, chum). But Fay Farrell is enjoying her job and the thrills and excitement of seeing seagulls steal food from children.
Children grow up so fast. One day they're screaming in fright, soon they'll be recoiling in disgust and eventually they'll just ignore the things, or maybe feed them Alka-Seltzer and watch them explode (don't do this).
The poor kid is really freaked out, and who can blame her? Seagulls are rats with wings. Better dose her up so we can all sleep. That's parenting in the 60s - drugs, and lots of 'em!
Days later and the child continues to throw panicky tantrums at the thought of seagulls. Pamela probably needs professional mental help, but I guess "Fay Farrell, Ship's Psychologist" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
Fay's plan springs into action! Step one, catch a seagull. Good thing nobody else among the two or three thousand passengers has any sort of medical condition requiring attention. It's seagull catching time!
Let's sedate the seagull - is there any problem on this ship that drugs can't help solve? - and shove it into the little girl's face! If this won't cure her perfectly rational aversion to gulls, I don't know what will!
Well, they've tried doing nothing, they've tried exposure therapy, and now it's time to try bird cosplay.
hey, that's KING filthy scavenger of the sea to YOU! Feed the heavily sedated bird, that's the way honey. All better now.
Pamela spent the rest of her life feeding every seagull she ever saw, which meant every trip to the seashore was a never ending nightmare for everyone around her. The gulls followed her day and night, shrieking incessantly. Then Hitchcock made a film out of it. The end.
Some elements of these old comics seemed harmless at the time, but today take on a completely different meaning. For example...
Just leave your toddler with Father Gropey here, they'll be "looked after". Decades later this panel will be known as "Exhibit A" in Crown's Evidence at several trials.
But these annuals didn't just have comics, they also featured historical and educational segments, and the occasional photo piece used to reinforce both typical gender roles and the 1960s standards of hair height.
Here we see Carol Pateman, the woman with the Highest Hair In Britain, starring in what amounts to a paid advertisement for Lipmans of Nottingham.
Seriously, this is some gravity defying hair. Even the groom tries to keep up, but he's no match for that back-combing. Remember, the perfect bridesmaids gowns should be dowdy and unflattering, and also contain enough fabric to conceal the entire wedding party!
So we've established that girls want to be nurses, and they want to get married, and they want to have giant bouffant hairdos. What else do girls want to be?
Well of course they want to be ballerinas. Ballerinas in the thrilling and exciting world of ballet, where mysterious bearded men perform arcane rituals over their willing slaves!
Sure, you can hypnotize people into being great ballet dancers. Well, you can hypnotize them into THINKING they're great ballet dancers, anyway. Then all you have to do is hypnotize the audience into thinking they just saw some great ballet, and you're all set!
But before girls can become nurses or dancers or housewives, there's one hurdle they must clear - school. And school in these comics is never easy!
It's Poppy Clark and the girls of the March Wind School against their miserly headmaster Ebenezer Scrape! Being a Dickensian stereotype was a prerequisite for any sort of educational career in the 60s.
Look, this is just a story about a creepy old man who steals shoelaces from sleeping teenage girls and there's nothing weird or fetishy about this behavior at all.
The headmaster is stingy when it comes to meals, but when it comes to maintaining his supply of huge tacks, he's got all the money in the world.
Just want to confirm the premise of this story, which is that the headmaster is trying to spend less on food by preventing the girls from eating any of the meals in the dining hall - meals that we can only assume have already been cooked and prepared, by staff he still has to pay, meals that will consequently just be thrown out. I'm beginning to think the headmaster's plan isn't so brilliantly money-saving, and I haven't even begun to talk about the capital outlay for this "mobile tuck-shop" he's already invested. Look buddy, just turn off the heat like every other terrible schoolmaster ever. Stick to the classics.
And the girls get their revenge by setting the school on fire and just outright taking the food. Just take it, girls! He's old! What's he gonna do, squint at you
As we said previously, some of these old strips take on different meanings in the light of the 21st century and society's ever changing usage of language. Here's one that the years haven't been kind to.
What I'm getting from the text here is that trannys can do anything. A positive message, I suppose
A good marriage means that chores are distributed equally - Dad fixes the clocks and Mum inspects the snakes, as the dialogue is careful to remind us.
Hey, if a "tranny" makes your "snake" enlarge, well I for one am not here to judge. You do you! And we'll do what we do, which is make fun of the comic books that you might do or have done about seagulls, ballerinas, schoolgirls, or trannys. Merry Christmas!
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