This post concerns some of my favourite characters from STC’s early days, Cam ‘n’ Bert, Search ‘n’ Repair Operatives in the unfortunately named Badnik Army Repair Functionaries (B.A.R.F.). Yes, their name is a pun on camembert cheese. No, I did not get that as a child. Yes, it is hilarious.
Basically, their job is to find smashed Badniks Sonic and his friends have destroyed and fix them so they’re good to go again. They were the first original characters to get a story in the Sonic’s World strip which, much like Archie Comics’ Sonic Universe, was used to flesh out the world of the comic by focusing on characters other than Sonic himself, eventually becoming Amy & Tekno’s strip.
(From STC #33: “No More Mr. Nice Bug Part 2” - Script by Mark Eyles, Pencils by Mike Hadley, Colours by John M. Burns, Lettering by Elitta Fell)
Cam is a cat and Bert is a bull. Cam’s smart and devious, Bert prefers to just hammer the shit out of things because why not? Together they make an excellent team and are apparently trusted operatives of Robotnik, as seen here:
(From STC #59: “The Seven Badniks Part 1” - Script by Mark Eyles, Pencils by Mike Hadley, Colours by John M. Burns, Lettering by Tom Frame)
The two of them are on quite familiar- indeed, friendly- terms with their glorious leader Doctor Robotnik. Their second story concluded in an open-ended manner that was sadly never resolved. But that’s not why we’re here.
Notice anything different between the two panels above? Well, in spite of the artists being the same, Cam is noticeably different. Her eyes are less sinister and her teeth are less POINTY AND SHARP AND TERRIFYING. In general she is more feminine and feline in design.
I have nothing to prove such a hypothesis but my theory is that the change is a result of STC getting letters from children saying they were having night terrors because of Cam’s scary Goddamn face and could they please never do that again. Like I said, I can’t prove that, but I think I’m going to get night terrors from that face.