Thursday’s Child (Tammy)
11 parts, 20/1/79 – 31/3/79
It wasn’t just Misty that had nasty things happening to nice people in the late Seventies, but elsewhere things were much more likely to turn out well. Thursday Brown in a case in point (and don’t you just love the ‘unusual first name/common surname’ combo so common to fiction? I do). Pretty Thursday was popular with everyone, until she decides to turn an ancient flag into a bedspread, reasoning it won’t be needed again until the streets are decorated for the year 2000. But what will the world be like by then? Why, Thursday might even have a daughter! (Dwelling on this means it’s going to be significant, we guess.) Her mum does hint that the flag has a mysterious past, but Thursday ignores that. Silly, silly girl!
That night she goes downstairs for a book, and upon her return discovers a strange girl in her bed who looks a bit like her! (This is a clue, although we have to wait a couple of weeks to find out that – gasp – it is her daughter who has mysteriously arrived from the future! Who could have guessed?) Mysterious Julie proceeds to turn all Thursday’s friends against her, and acts evilly triumphant when Thursday mysteriously loses the use of her legs, has strange visions of blood, and then has an accident where she really loses the use of her legs and ends up in a wheelchair. It turns out that in the future Thursday is responsible for a car crash in which Julie is crippled (NB Sorry, I’m aware that this is not an ideal term to use, but it’s very widely found in girls’ comic stories of this period as ‘girl who can’t walk’ is a common story feature). Now Julie wants her mother to know what it’s like to suffer – even though Thursday was a lovely mother who can’t forgive herself for the accident – and also is determined to stay in the past where for some reason she can walk again.
Thursday, however, discovers that the flag was cursed by a South Sea island chief whom her grandfather slaughtered. (Undead are mentioned here, but sadly are irrelevant to the rest of the story.) It’s also possible that Julie is only being nasty because of the flag’s influence; in any case she now agrees that it must be destroyed. The evil flag suddenly decides to drown Thursday so she can’t harm it, but luckily some farmers come along and burn it in quite a speedy conclusion. (This is a regular feature of girls’ comic strips: a hasty ending. Usually the problem was that the strip had to be wrapped up in a single episode with no room for detailed plans, long confrontations or epilogues where everything could be summed up. It could lead to enormous reader dissatisfaction after faithfully following a gripping story for months – just wait till we get to Worlds Apart.)
Julie disappears, and Thursday is left to hope that the future has been changed now (as the flag existed in Julie’s time). I’m guessing she’ll be pondering matters for a while to come yet. Considering the danger that can apparently be done by someone stepping on a butterfly, the destruction of a great big cursed flag might just cause some serious ripples in time. And will Thursday do any more to avoid that future? Will she name her daughter Julie if she has one? Will she refuse to drive a car? Is she condemning a thinking, feeling future human to non-existence? It all starts to feel a bit heavy, which is possibly why it’s not debated in the strip itself. It just LEAVES ITS IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG AUDIENCE TO WORRY THEMSELVES TO SLEEP AT NIGHT WONDERING WHAT THEY’D DO IF IT HAPPENED TO THEM. Ahem.
Ooh, now, two tragic car crash stories in a row inspires me to take a leaf out of the DWM Time Team book and start tabulating those common occurrences. So far we have:
Tragic car crash: 2 (inc. the one from Winner Loses All!)
Mysterious cursed object: 1
Girl in a wheelchair: 2
Time travel: 1
And these will not be the only categories, I’m sure. ‘Girl forbidden to do something she loves, usually ballet’ will definitely have to be one. Let’s see if I can find a suitable story for next time…