4maryscomic

Can you name the ladies above? Can you name the comic they appeared in? I certainly can as I read it voraciously as a girl. As did many girls before me. Bunty comic was first published in 1958 and ran until 2001. It featured lots of serial comic strip stories – tales of servant girls in Victorian Britain, jolly japes at private school with the Four Marys (There you go – did you guess it?) and brave alpine vets to name but a few. It also had it’s own annual produced every Christmas

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I fancy the stories then were very wholesome – although they did appeal to the feminist in me. In Famous Five books Anne and George always seemed to get left behind at the denouement when the boys headed off to confront the art thieves in the castle basement. In Bunty the girls were the heroines of the day – they saved goats from mountain ravines, fought local councils to save that oak tree in the school grounds or worked through the night to perfect their routine and show that injured, bitter gymnastics mistress what they were really made of. They made me believe girls could have adventures too. They showed me that you could fight the system and win and that, well, sometimes it took a really, really, ridiculously good female vet to figure out how to move an angry hippo from one zoo enclosure to another…

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Of course Bunty went through changes trying to keep up with the times. The magazines got bigger, glossier and even Bunty herself changed her style. I still read it but it wasn’t the same and once the Four Marys had had a makeover and were eventually axed I conceded it was time to move on. With their competitors Just Seventeen and Mizz having columns like ‘Position of the Fortnight’ and problem pages full of girls not sure ‘how’ to kiss, Bunty was looking more and more like the Maiden Aunt with the twinset and pearls.  I think a snigger from a classmate finally made me put down my Bunty and ask for a different magazine. Shame on me…

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My Mum read Bunty, I think my sister read it for a bit, I still have some annuals and I will pass those on to my children to read. Goodness knows what they’ll make of the ballet school stories and the governess adventure stories but I hope they’ll find them as charming and uplifting as I did.

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It is with a yearning to show that grouchy ballet mistress I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

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