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1001 Stories Collection

Bella at the Bar

1001 Bellaatthe Bar
Added on 30th July 2020

Authors Jenny McDade and Primrose Cumming
Illustrator John Armstrong
First appearance 1974 in Tammy comic
Publisher IPC/Fleetway

Dreaming big and overcoming all obstacles are the themes of this girls' comic strip about an aspiring gymnast.

Story

Orphan Bella wants to be a world-class gymnast. She has talent but has to work for her uncle’s window cleaning business. While cleaning windows at a school she meets a teacher who is willing to teach her but she must overcome opposition from her uncle and snobbery from others at the school.

Why we chose it

Girls’ comics were very popular in the 1970s and Bella at the Bar was one of the most popular and successful comic strips ever. It has been called a Cinderella story, with down trodden Bella overcoming all odds to pursue sporting success and follow her dreams.

Where it came from

The story first appeared in Tammy, a weekly comic for girls which was published by Fleetway from 1971-1984. Fleetway published two other comics for girls, Jinty and Misty and each had their own strong themes. Tammy mainly featured stories of girls overcoming the odds stacked against them and Bella was no exception. Some of the stories, particularly in the early 1970s, were quite dark and even cruel. Bella was one of the longest running characters. Her story followed the rise in interest in gymnastics amongst girls following the success of Olga Korbut at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Where it went next

The comic strip ran in Tammy until 1984 and also appeared in a number of Tammy annuals. In 2018 Rebellion published the first two stories in a comic book.

Associated stories

Tammy along with Jinty, Misty, Bunty and a host of other girls comics were popular throughout the 1970s and 80s. Other stories brought back into print by Rebellion include Fran of the Floods from Jinty and two stories from Misty, Moonchild and The Four Faces of Eve.

Rebellion also produced a Tammy and Jinty special in 2019 which mixes old and new characters, including Rocky of the Rovers, younger sister of the iconic Roy.

Added on 30th July 2020

Authors Jenny McDade and Primrose Cumming
Illustrator John Armstrong
First appearance 1974 in Tammy comic
Publisher IPC/Fleetway