Saturday, June 11, 2011

Only the Silent Three Could Help Her

People sometimes give shoujo manga credit for being the first popular genre of comics for girls. But during the 50s ans 60s, when the prototypes of modern shoujo were just being developed, another kind of girls' comics were already thriving halfway around the world in the United Kingdom.

British girls' comics were circulated in periodicals such as Bunty, Judy, and Diana which bore quite a resemblance to shoujo's Margaret, Ciao, and Princess, with comics sharing pages with short stories, recipes, and beauty tips. The kinds of stories they covered reflected the kinds of stories that were popular in girls' novels of the day - so naturally many of them were girls' school stories.

Most of the school stories were thoroughly of the Angela Brazil, Enid Blyton type: hockey games, midnight feasts, pranks and scrapes. This one, though, which I read on the awesome comic blog Out of This World, has an interesting twist. It's about three girls who dress in hooded robes and black masks to become "The Silent Three", a secret society that works in secret to give their aid to those who ask for it.

This time, it's a school maid who asks for help. She's been sacked for breaking the headmistress's vase, but says that she didn't do it. It's up to the Silent Three to find up who framed her. It's all quite exciting, if implausible.

And it's got me well hooked on British girls' comics, too. I'll be on the lookout for more comic school stories.

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