Publication Dates: 21 January 1967 – 1991
Number of Issues Published: 1264 (#1 – #1264)
Paper Stock: Newsprint
Publishing Format: Was ongoing
Mandy was a British comic for girls, published weekly by D. C. Thomson & Co. from 21 January 1967 (#1) to 11 May 1991 (#1,269), with annuals appearing from 1972 until 2007.
From 1991 until the 30 December 1995 issue, it was published as a merged comic with Judy. The two then merged with Bunty before ceasing publication completely in 2001.
Mandy’s content, like many other girls comics from the time, appeared primarily in picture-story format. The majority of the stories were serialized, with typically 2-3 pages of a particular story appearing in each issue, and most stories lasting for 8-12 instalments. Some recurring theme elements of “Mandy” stories were:
– orphans forced to live with cruel or uncaring relatives;
– girls enduring blackmail, hardship, or unpopularity to protect a secret (often on behalf of their family);
– girls slaving for cruel employers or criminals;
– Saving animals from cruelty;
– Cruel factories, shops, boarding schools or workhouses;
– Heroines adopting masked identities to secretly help people;
– spiteful girls causing trouble for an unsuspecting cousin, foster-sister or classmate;
– girls becoming unpopular because events keep conspiring to make them appear jealous or selfish;
– blundering girls getting into one scrape after another;
– girls pretending to be disabled in order to take advantage of people;
– girls who were put under a curse or came into possession of apparently supernatural objects which adversely affected their lives, but of which they were unable to rid themselves until they worked out how;
– boyfriend-themed stories (by the 1980s).
Stories were generally moralistic in tone, with long-suffering heroines finally achieving happiness, while villainous relatives or girls who were liars, cheats and bullies received their comeuppance.
Two of the longest-running and most popular picture stories, which also featured in almost every annual, were “Angel” and “Valda”. “Angel” centred on Angela Hamilton, a young, wealthy Victorian girl who discovers she has only a year to live and decides to devote her remaining time to caring for orphaned and unwanted children in the slums of the East End of London. “Valda” stories are set in many different times and places and follow the adventures of a girl with extraordinary abilities and apparently indefinite lifespan. Valda, who draws her physical strength from energy or light passing through a mysterious ‘Crystal of Life’ that she carries, travels the world coming to the aid of the oppressed and those threatened by dark or supernatural forces.
Mandy also ran text stories, usually serialized in the same manner as the picture-stories, of which the most popular was “The Guardian Tree”. This followed the trials and tribulations of the Shaw family, when the five children are orphaned in Victorian times. The children, under the leadership of the eldest sister, Rose, escape the dreaded poorhouse by living on the moors in a cave beneath the roots of a vast tree they christen the “Guardian Tree”, which appears to have mysterious and benevolent powers. The most popular text stories were often reworked and published as picture stories, including “The Guardian Tree” and “The Sad Star.”