Typically, analysis of the British girls' comics that dominated girlhood reading between the 1950s and 1980s focused on only one kind of protagonist, ‘the victim’. This article looks at the wider range of protagonists that existed within the narratives offered by these titles. These protagonists change over time and vary according to the age of the implied reader, typically emphasising aspiration, activity and resilience over passivity. However, that does not stop the stereotype of some of the genres and protagonists within these texts forming the basis of responses to the girls' comic in the late twentieth century, long after all but a few of the titles had disappeared. Titles from the 1980s and 1990s, as suggested, are often reactions to or extensions of the perceived limits of earlier titles. In some cases these are excessive and caustic responses to what might be seen as a hugely dominant discourse about an idealized construction of girlhood and the narratives and protagonists appropriate to it.