Judy 120: Wendy of the Wastelands – Unknown

Judy 120This is a collected digest of one of the stories serialised in the weekly version of Judy. It was part of D.C. Thompson’s broad range of titles targeted at female readers and was published in 1973. Unlike many of these titles this has a real-world feel eschewing a school setting or supernatural elements of many of its peers.

The story concerns Wendy Wilson who fights to save a patch of Marshland important for local wildlife from oil drilling. The ecological movement was in full swing in the 1970’s with The Good Life appearing on TV and encouraging a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Whilst there is no character development or real depth to Wendy other than her sensitivity and enthusiasm she isn’t a perfect heroine or a cardboard cut-out. She has doubts and makes compromises and it is her belief in the cause that convinces others to join her so it is not a singlehanded fight.

The adults, and other children, are shallow and those opposing Wendy are seen as mean and spiteful people. There are grownups who help at each stage but don’t take over. Her campaign features petitions, exhibitions, protests, and visits to managing directors and parliament. Showing the age of this work even the vicar, who had popped in for tea, gets involved.

There is no mention of Wendy’s mother and she lives at home with “her crippled artist father.” This line appears in the opening narration but neither of those attributes are ever seen or mentioned again. There is a Jayne Eyre moment when the kindly local businessman turns out to be the man who owns the land but as a reader you suspected this all along.

The art is very creative considering the period and compared it its contemporaries. There are lots of full page panels, diagonal borders, unframed panels, round highlights, and bleed between frames. Nothing too wacky but still better than symmetrical repetition. The narration is kept to a bare minimum and comes from an external narrator with an occasional thought from Wendy. The rest is dialogue which is age appropriate and feels naturalistic.

A good story with a positive but not preachy message.

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