Jinty 19 April 1975

Jinty cover 19 April 1975

 

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Jinty Makes It: A Sunflower Banner – Feature
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Tee-Shirts Are Tops! – Competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace… – complete story (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)

 

Katie is helping her Aunt Lucy out at her small hotel while on holiday. Oh, dear – we all know what help from Katie the Jinx can turn into!

Tricia finds her blinded cousin Diana is following her around and thinks she’s being haunted by guilt. More likely she’s being haunted by something more fishy. Diana seems to have learned to walk around town blind in a remarkably short length of time. And how does she always know where to find Tricia if she’s blind?

Merry gets her memory back in the most shocking way possible – she sees her wanted poster, which tells everyone she’s on the run from a reformatory! Now she remembers, how long can she hide it from the family who are looking after her, especially as they now want to adopt her?

There is more parrot trouble than usual with this issue, because Ma Siddons is lumbered with a parrot at the hotel this week. He’s given her husband a good nip on the nose and loves a good nip himself – of rum! And in “Bet Gets the Bird!”, Rosy Posy needs a pick-me-up, but Bet can’t figure out what. And it isn’t rum.

“Face the Music, Flo!” starts this week. It has a twist on the theme where the protagonist wants to pursue a dream, but the parent does not want them to because either they got burned by something similar or they want to decide the career. Instead of a parent it’s an interfering sister, Flo, who tries to stop her brother Greg pursuing a show-business career because their late father tried the same but it didn’t work out. But Greg’s going ahead all the same. Is Flo right to stop him or will she find out she should have stayed out of it – even if she did promise her late mother she would make sure Greg got a steady job instead of going into show business?

Daddy shows his darling that he still has eyes only for her. Maggie collapses but Daddy won’t get a doctor. Lee has to do it.

Meanwhile, Cindy’s scored a small triumph over her nasty cousins. But it looks like things are going to get even worse for her next week now they’ve caught her writing a letter to her father. And it begins with Cindy suddenly being absent from school the next day and nobody knows why.

 

 

Jinty 14 October 1978

Jinty cover 14 Oct 1978

Stories in this issue:

  • The Girl Who Never Was  (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wild Rose (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters)

Stuck-up Tina is finding out the fix she’s in – her parents aren’t really her parents, because Salina the Sorceress has sent her to a parallel world where she was never born – and where people can do magic! And Salina is just leaving her to it, to boot – clearly to teach her a lesson, because she disapproves of Tina’s ‘conceited and self-centred’ ways.

Sue and her magic bag Henrietta weren’t in the last issue, presumably to make room for the special International Velvet pull-out. (Nor was Alley Cat, also returning in this issue.) Sue’s neighbour is boring on about his big game hunting days, and of course Henrietta obliges in making them all too real! This is the first part of a two-parter.

In “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, Dorrie’s little brother Max gradually recovers from his pneumonia. Their kind temporary guardian, Mr Harris, is sending them back to London and the children’s home they escaped from, for their own good – but they give him the slip at the train station and head on their way again.

Cherry is keen to make the most of her big break when one of her cousins fails to turn up for the evening’s performance – but it means her dressing up as a man. Can she turn in a compelling performance? Yes – but by turning it into a comedy! Not everyone is happy, but the audience love it, and the dodgy uncle likewise. Not that anyone says as much as a thank you to her, mind…

Rose is finding out more about her mysterious past, while at the same time her graceful gymnastics gives us a beautiful cover image.

“Clancy on Trial” is reaching its penultimate episode – her kind cousin Sandra, and her uncle and aunt, are looking like they are going to be put on trial for attempted poisoning of Clancy. It turns out that the herbal medicine that Clancy has been glugging contains some dodgy ingredients! Are they innocent or guilty – with an inheritance at stake?

I love Fran and her fixing! Part of what I always love is the background gags, presumably put in by Baikie himself. Fran and her chums still have beards on from pretending to be a gang of window cleaners – they’ve managed everything else quite neatly, from being paid good money for their work to dealing with the school porter, Joggers (by pushing him into the back of the butcher’s van – said van being labelled with the name ‘T Bone’). Here are the last couple of panels of that story, showing Fran’s ingenuity and one of Jim Baikie’s little side-jokes:

Fran'll Fix It - textual joke in art

In the Human Zoo, Shona’s rescued from the cruel circus owner who is happy to let her nearly drown every night. Her previous owner, the alien girl Tamsha, rescues her with help from a group of like-minded animal activists. It seems wonderful to be free in the wilderness, at first – but then the cold wind begins to blow. Will Shona just be left to die in the cold, even though at least she is free?

Jinty 17 May 1975

Jinty cover 17 May 1975

  •  The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • A Ring-a-Ding Competition! – Competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Phantom Playmates – Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories (text)
  • Saturday’s Child Works Hard for a Living… – complete story (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Jinty Makes It: Pretty Swimming Cap – Feature

Katie the Jinx faces the golf match where £25 is at stake and she knows she really does not have the talent to win. Can her klutziness – or sheer dumb luck – help her out?

In “Tricia’s Tragedy” Dad’s snooping goes horribly wrong and he ends up in a police cell. To free him, Tricia agrees to throw the Lloyd Trophy swimming match in Diana’s favour. Looks like Diana’s won and her supposedly blind eyes are all full of triumph – but Dad may not be beaten yet.

In “Merry at Misery House”, Merry makes another break for freedom. Unfortunately Miss Ball puts on a disguise to intercept her. Merry finds out the hard way that Miss Ball can really pass herself off as a man when she wants to.

Cinderella Smith’s getting some edge on her cousins this week, despite all their abuse, and there’s more. She comes across a wedding photograph where the bride’s face is cut out. Hmm, could there be more to her cousins’ attitude than meets the eye?

Daddy is shocked to see his darling turning up at the sale she was going to open looking a fright! He did not count on her helping out in an emergency on the way.

In “Face the Music, Flo!”, Greg has walked out on Flo. From the looks of things, he is playing right into the hands of his nasty-looking manager, who clearly wants to drive a wedge between the twins. Flo isn’t giving up that easily of course. However, we do not expect the road to be smooth, especially with Greg in the clutches of that manager.

Prissy shows how cruel she can really be when she’s out for revenge – she’s trying to poison Rosy Posy the parrot! Something really needs to be done about Prissy, and Bet is out to do it.

Ma Siddons is undercutting the dogs’ food because she spent all her money on a tiara. But after the hijinks of the week she ends up being tricked into feeding them properly.

Jinty 10 May 1975

Jinty cover 10 May 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terence Magee)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Which Four-Footed Friend Are You? – Quiz
  • Friday’s Child is Loving and Giving… – complete story (unknown artist)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Cry in the Night! Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories (text)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

Katie’s trying her hand at golf – sounds like a recipe for disaster already. But in fact Katie gets some lucky flukes. The trouble is, they get her roped into a match against a pompous golfer, and £25 is at stake!

In “Tricia’s Tragedy” Dad’s getting more and more suspicious of his relatives when he discovers they’re trying to deprive Tricia of sleep and stop her winning the Lloyd Trophy. He’s resorting to some breaking and entering into their house to do some investigating. But will he get away with it, and can he find anything that will shed some light on things?

In “Merry at Misery House”, the Warden and Miss Ball are behaving more suspiciously too. They’re putting the inmates out to work on a farm. Is that legal? The farmer’s phone call to the Warden indicates that it is not; it’s all for profit on both sides. For Merry and Co it just means more misery, because the farmer soon shows he is just as cruel as the reformatory staff.

Cinderella Smith now has to take on even more work in order to raise the money to buy back her treasured pendant that her mean cousins sold. But at the end she hasn’t got enough and time has run out! What to do?

In “Daddy’s Darling” Daddy turns human for once and sees to it that Joe gets a train set for his birthday. But the kids in the playground are being mean towards Lee because they think she is a softie from all her dad’s mollycoddling.

In “Face the Music, Flo!”, Flo’s interfering with her brother’s music career and (accidentally) messing up his guitar finally bites back at her. He’s so angry when he finds it all out that he’s walking out and leaving her all alone!

Concealing a parrot at school reaps more consequences for Bet. Bully Prissy finds out and starts blackmailing her and her friends. Rosy Posy manages to put a spoke in that wheel, but now Prissy’s really out to get her!

Layabout Ma Siddons gets a shock when two Welsh collies are booked into the dogs’ hotel. They are working dogs that demand that people keep them working, and they are rounding Ma Siddons up like a sheep (someone had to do it).

 

 

Jinty 29 March 1975

Jinty cover 29 March 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry, writer Terence Magee)
  • Easter Fun with Jinty – feature
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

 

This is Jinty’s first Easter issue. To celebrate, Jinty has “Easter Fun with Jinty”, which tells you how to make an Easter egg cake and felt Easter bunnies. The Jinx from St Jonah’s has an Easter theme too – Katie is invited to an Easter holiday fancy dress show. But we all know our jinx, and she really excels herself when she persuades a friend to dress up as a gorilla!

“Slave of the Mirror” and “The Kat and Mouse Game” look like they are nearing the end. Mia, the slave of the mirror, finds surprise help in Inez. Inez has not only worked out what the mirror is doing to Mia but also found out information that could help free her from the mirror. In “The Kat and Mouse Game”, Kat has the gall to continue taking advantage of Mouse after getting her expelled. This time it’s conning Mouse into taking her place in the ballet show and dancing Kat’s way to success for her. But Kat did not bargain on everyone finding out who was really dancing the role! Trouble is, how is this going help Mouse clear her name and declaw the scheming Kat?

Merry has escaped from Misery House. But she had the bad luck to lose her memory in an accident. She cannot remember who she is, that she is on the run, or that she has to raise help for the girls at Misery House. And now the cruel staff of Misery House have discovered her escape and spitefully locked up her friend Carla in a detention cell.

Tricia’s guilt complex is turning her into a slave to her cousin Diana and leaving her with no time to train for the event she promised her father she would win. Dad does not believe a word Diana’s family are saying about the matter – and neither do we. There has been something suspicious about it all from the beginning.

A pompous sergeant major is bossing Dora and the dogs around like they’re in the army. As if life wasn’t miserable enough with Ma Siddons.

In part two of “Cinderella Smith”, Cindy’s first full day with her cousins gets worse and worse as their abuse becomes more and more apparent. It begins with slogging in the stables with nothing to eat. Then she finds they’ve taken away all her clothes and are forcing her into tatty, patched replacements – and she has to wear them when seeing her new headmistress. But what’s really the pits of cruelty in this episode is Cindy finding the bacon in her substandard breakfast looks suspiciously like what was in the dog’s dish a while earlier! Even the mean Ma Siddons doesn’t go that far with Dora.

And it’s part two of “Bet Gets the Bird!” as well. Bet discovers she hasn’t thought through the consequences of having the teachers think her parrot Rosy Posy is a pupil. She has to cover for Rosy Posy in class and produce homework from her – which the pesky parrot messes up and Bet lands in trouble because of it!

Lee remains “Daddy’s Darling” while he shows nothing but a heart of stone to everyone else. This week it’s making Lee’s two evacuee friends walk to school in pouring rain although one has a limp and the other has a cold – while he gives Lee a cosy lift.

 

Jinty 7 October 1978

Cover 19781007

Stories in this issue:

  • The Girl Who Never Was – first episode (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Wild Rose (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pullout “International Velvet” souvenir
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters)

After a little hiatus due to the summer holidays (on my part, at least – of course Mistyfan has posted her article on Cliffhangers versus non-cliffhanger endings), I have dug out a number of consecutive issues for a part of Jinty‘s run that we haven’t done much on. I should hopefully be able to write some posts on stories from this time period, too.

Fran’ll Fix It returns in this issue – one of the very few Jinty characters given a sequel. She leads on the cover but the first story inside is an entirely new one, “The Girl Who Never Was”. This is a favourite of mine: it has magic, a parallel universe, an annoying anti-heroine who is taken down several pegs in the story, and beautiful art by Terry Aspin. Tina Williams is a conceited know-it-all who has some grounds for being big-headed: she is clearly actually very talented at everything she does, but far too full of herself as a result. In the opening four pages we get plenty of evidence for how annoying she is, including making enough of a nuisance of herself at the end of term treat – a magical spectacle by entertainer Salina the Sorceress – that Salina threatens to make her disappear and perhaps never return… or ‘not to this world, anyway’. Of course Tina thinks it’s all just Magic Circle trickery that she can see right through – but her conceit is punctured when she opens her eyes in a deserted theatre that has been closed for months, and has to walk home to parents who fail to recognize her and say they don’t even have a daughter…!

“Wild Rose” is a relatively run-of-the-mill story of a runaway with a hidden past and a special talent, though I always have a soft spot for Jim Baikie’s art, which is striking and strongly-drawn at this point in time. Rose Harding left the circus life to find out who her real mother is: the search seems to be leading her to famous gymnast Lady Vere. Could her gymnastic ability be inherited? What will Rose find out now that she is living in Lady Vere’s gymnastics school? and what secrets will the gypsy with the mysterious moon-shaped scar eventually tell her?

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” was such a popular story that it stretched for 36 episodes, and at this point it is only reaching about the half-way mark. Little brother Max is terrifyingly ill with pneumonia, Dorrie has had to tell her story to Mr Harris, the producer of the version of the show she has been starring in, and at the end of this episode Max is lying in an oxygen tent and may not recover. Anyone would think this might be the cliffhanger for the penultimate episode… but no.

“No Cheers for Cherry” has stage-struck Cherry Campbell dreaming optimistically of making it big on the stage, or at least impressing her uncle, aunt, and cousins with her abilities to learn a script and to step in if necessary to save the show. Her family are clearly happy to exploit Cherry’s good nature and naivete, but it doesn’t have the truly nasty edge of a full-on Cinderella story.

This issue has a four-page pull-out, about the film “International Velvet”. If anyone is interested in the teenage Tatum O’Neal, there are some interview quotes and rather striking photos, though of course the poor-quality newsprint paper makes the print reproduction a bit muddy.

Clancy is no longer on trial, at least in some ways – her grandfather has announced that he likes her spirit so much that he is making her his business heir. This has understandably upset her cousin and family, who have been trying hard to make sure Clancy recovers from the effects of her serious accident. Now Grandfather has organized a big party to make the announcement, but cousin Sandra and family are going out for the day and leaving them to it. The tonic that Clancy has been taking to help boost her confidence is really needed now, but all that happens is that she falls down in a faint and may be worse off than ever…

Fran kicks off her return by talking to the readers, as ever – she is quickly drawn into the usual mad scrape of a story. This time, she is sent to the Headmistress’s office for larking about but immediately hatches a plan to replace the current window cleaners with a cut-price replacement – herself, and three school friends, dressed up as cleaners. Won’t the staff recognize them right away? Not with the cunning addition of specially-glued on beards… which is all very well, but Fran did say “don’t worry about them coming off”…

The final story in the issue is “The Human Zoo” – a piece of classic SF taking on alien abduction and animal rights, with the addition of great scene-setting like two-headed animals and telepathic aliens with big domed heads. Shona is made to be part of a cruel circus act as the aliens watch and laugh. How long can she survive it, when it involves her being nearly drowned night after night?

Storytelling in Girls’ Comics: Cliffhanger vs Non-cliffhanger Episodes

In this post I will discuss two opposing points of view in regard to how the endings of episodes in serials were structured. I will also discuss the effects these had on story structure and resolutions.

Pat Mills advises that each episode of a serial should end on a cliffhanger or dramatic high point (personal email). So his stories, such as “Land of No Tears”, have episodes that end on cliffhangers or dramatic high points. For example, in part two of “Land of No Tears”, Perfecta hauls Cassy off for punishment at the end of the episode. The cliffhanger leaves readers particularly anxious because the episode had built up to Cassy expecting a cruel and merciless punishment. But they do not see what it is until part three. A multitude of stories at IPC were structured this way, with each episode ending either on a cliffhanger or being a self-contained episode that ends on a high dramatic point.

There were some IPC stories, such as Jinty’s “Bound for Botany Bay” and Tammy’s “No Haven for Hayley”, that had a blend of cliffhanger and non-cliffhanger episodes. For example, in Botany Bay, Betsy’s story has episodes that end mostly on cliffhangers, but some, such as the ones that depict her transportation voyage, are self-contained ones.

However, the Mandy editors took a completely different view to Mills in this respect. In an interview with former DCT writer Maureen Hartley, she reveals that their rule was “no cliffhangers”:

“I learned that in every instalment the heroine must take some form of executive action. That may seem highly obvious, but it is easy to be distracted from the heroine by other facets of the plot or more interesting characters. Also there must be no cliffhangers. The editors felt strongly that the readers should get value for the money they had paid for the comic and should be given a full self-contained story in each instalment, interesting enough to make them want to read more but not blackmailing them with a cliffhanging ending into buying the next issue”.

http://girlscomicsofyesterday.com/2016/06/maureen-hartley-writing-for-dct-girls-comics/

So in Mandy stories, each episode is a self-contained one, containing action that advances the story in some way. But with some exceptions, such as Mandy’s “The Posy Princess”, there are no cliffhanger endings for the episodes in the development of the story. The only real exception to this rule would be the penultimate episode, which often ended on a cliffhanger. This would be a signal to the readers that it is the penultimate episode, because its cliffhanger ending breaks the pattern of how the episodes are structured. The cliffhanger would be part of resolving the story in the final episode.

A good example is “The Truth About Wendy” from Mandy. In each episode we have a protagonist who tells us, in flashback, how they found out the hard way that Wendy Ware is a scheming girl who plays dirty to get whatever she wants and destroys anyone who stands in her way. They all think at the end of the episode that only they know the truth about Wendy; everyone else thinks she is a sweet girl. But in the penultimate episode, Wendy’s latest victim does not think this way. Instead, she resolves to expose Wendy and get back the friend that Wendy stole off her. This tells us that this is the penultimate episode and not a regular one. So we are all extra eager to buy next week’s Mandy to find out how the truth about Wendy will be revealed at last.

Bad Luck Barbara 5
Non-cliffhanger ending to penultimate episode of “Bad Luck Barbara”, Mandy #985, 30 November 1985.

Not all penultimate episodes in Mandy serials were structured this way. One example is “Bad Luck Barbara”. The penultimate episode is a regular one, with no cliffhanger ending at all. The next episode could also have been a regular one. But instead it is the final episode, and it is entirely self-contained instead of resolving a cliffhanger from the penultimate episode.

And this type of story structuring can be seen in plenty of serials in other DCT titles as well. For example, Bunty’s “Witch!” has self-contained episodes until the penultimate episode while the similarly-themed “Mark of the Witch!” in Jinty has a lot of episodes ending on cliffhangers. And some Bunty stories, such as “Captain Carol”, have self-contained episodes all the way through.

This non-cliffhanger episode structure at DCT meant that their serials tended to be episodic. This did have the advantage of spinning the story out for as long as needed – or cutting it short if necessary. When the editor gave the word, the writer could just end the story in an episode or two because the episodic structure made it easy to end without tying up a lot of plot threads that had been spun along the way. There were some exceptions, where DCT serials were tied up in several episodes that were structured as a story arc. One example is Bunty’s “The Guilt of Glendora”, which is tied up in a span of three episodes.

One disadvantage of stories with non-cliffhanger episodes is that the structure could get boring, annoying and tedious. Sometimes the ending of each episode would end up pretty much the same, such as episodes that invariably end up with the protagonist being disgraced through no fault of her own. Using some variety with episodes ending on cliffhangers would make it more interesting. In this respect “The Posy Princess” was less boring because it often had cliffhangers.

The cliffhanger episodes favoured by Mills enabled the development of story arcs; for example, a conclusion that needed several episodes for it to develop properly. If the story was popular, more threads could be developed to spin it out more rather than just putting in more episodes for padding. But in some cases there could also be more tying-off that would have to be done before the story could end. And if the editor gave a sudden order to end the story, this could result in an unsatisfactory ending. One example is Jinty’s “Worlds Apart”. One gets the impression that towards the end, the story was meant to run for more episodes to really develop the final dream world and the lessons its protagonist learns from it. But instead the ending gives the impression that the story was cut short because of Jinty’s upcoming merger into Tammy. So the conclusion came too soon and left the final dream world nowhere near as developed as it should have been. It all cries out to be reworked.

Witch 7
Cliffhanger ending to penultimate episode of “Witch!”, Bunty #1754, 24 August 1991.

Mandy’s rule non-cliffhanger endings for episodes apparently did not stop readers from buying the next issue. The editors counted on making the self-contained episodes interesting enough to encourage readers to keep buying. And it did work – readers kept buying Mandy and she became one of the longest-running titles at DCT. But the cliffhanger structure at IPC also worked well. And stories that combined cliffhangers and non-cliffhangers certainly added variety to the storytelling structure. They must also have been easier on the writers, who must have found it difficult at times to keep episodes self-contained or end them on cliffhangers.

Wild Horse Summer (1974)

Sample images

Wild Horse Summer pg 1

Wild Horse Summer pg 2
click thru
Wild Horse Summer pg 3
click thru

Publication: 3 August 1974 – 30 November 1974 (18 episodes)
Artist: Unknown (same as Gwen’s Stolen Glory)
Writer: Unknown (but see Thoughts)

Translation/reprints: Translated into Dutch as ‘De zomer van het witte paard’ (in: Tina 1976, Tina Topstrip 15 (1980)). Translated into Indonesian as ‘Elvira misteri kuda putih’

Synopsis

We first meet Daphne in the orphanage that she has been consigned to since the death of her parents in the car crash that also left her unable to speak. She clearly loves all sorts of animals – she finds some field mice and her immediate thought is that they are really sweet and she wonders if she could tame them as pets. She herself is pretty wild though – when the cook finds the mice and is about to splifficate them, Daphne’s resort is to attack and bite the poor woman. Well, she can’t argue rationally with anyone, but additionally everyone in the orphanage seems to have written Daphne off as a daftie who has strange ideas and is not to be trusted.

Nor does anyone in the orphanage empathise with her in other ways. Even when she writes it down as a heartfelt plea, she is not allowed to miss the road journey to the farm that is proposed as a holiday trip – even though such a journey is bound to bring back memories of the day her parents were killed.

At the farm however she makes friends with a wild horse. Unfortunately this is a horse that everyone has been told to keep away from, as it’s ‘best left alone’ – rather like Daphne herself, I suppose. Again and again the misunderstanding by the authorities who are looking after this girl are clearly signalled – she is still shocked after the journey but the matron thinks she is avoiding doing her share, or mooning about. And the matron doesn’t really do her job properly in other ways – in telling the other girls not to go near the wild horse she doesn’t check that Daphne had heard or understood, which could have been a fatal error. She also asks her daughter Eileen, arrived to share the holiday, to befriend Daphne – and Eileen clearly shares her mother’s lack of tact, talking loudly to Daphne as if she was stupid rather than simply unable to speak.

The matron continues in this vein, taking Daphne into town by car despite her clear fear of this mode of travel; Daphne rebels and walks back by herself, but this backfires when she gets lost in the moorland with night coming on. The white horse that everyone else was warned about comes to comfort and help her, and she is charmed and delighted by the mare rather than being frightened (because she didn’t hear or listen to the earlier warning). Daphne is led back to the farm by the horse and manages to make more time to spend together after that – each lonely creature being the other’s only friend. Of course it doesn’t take long for the other kids to find out – they throw stones at the horse they believe to be dangerous, and of course Daphne can’t speak to tell them that she is friends with the mare.

The matron is fed up of Daphne sneaking off and assigns her daughter Eileen to make friends with the girl and to keep an eye on her – not that Daphne is fooled. Especially as Eileen thinks she is so clever, training to be a nurse and having an interesting case to study right in front of her! Daphne rebels, cheekily writing in Eileen’s set of notes that she needs to take ‘more care … over simple spelling.. very untidy writing…’. After initial crossness, Eileen laughs heartily and takes Daphne more seriously, opening up the possibility of real friendship between the two – but of course Daphne still has the secret of the horse to keep.

It’s not a secret for ever – Eileen finds the bridle that Daphne has been using to ride the mare, and has a dilemma of her own. If she gives away the secret then she knows Daphne will never forgive her, and if she doesn’t, then she’s afraid the white mare may turn dangerous and even kill Daphne one day. What should she do? The secret is clearly not going to last for long. Eileen tells Daphne her fears, which is at least rather more grown-up than just telling the authorities – and the warning seems to be borne out when the mare throws Daphne for no very obvious reason. Is the horse turning wild and unsteady again?

The story of the horse and the girl are clear parallels – the reason the horse seemed wild and unreliable was because of the bad experiences she had that led her to grow wild in the first place. Daphne’s hair style had reminded the horse of that time, which is why she was thrown. But the two couldn’t stay away from each other for long. When they next met they rode together for joy – into dangerous bog! Daphne is saved by the mare’s actions and wants to save her in turn – which means revealing the secret. Unfortunately, it is to the last person in the area who will take it well – she has to tell Jem, the farmhand who bears the most of a grudge against the mare, from when she broke his arm in a frenzy. He thinks the mare is dangerous and vicious, and is more likely to kill her than save her!

Because Daphne is willing to go into the bog after the horse, and drown alongside the mare if need be, Jed is forced to save the horse – but takes his gun out later to kill her after all, now he knows where she is. Of course Daphne can’t leave it like that, so she sneaks out after midnight to save the mare, which she does by hiding her in an abandoned mine – little knowing that this is just another danger. This time it is a danger for Daphne herself, who falls down a hole and cannot even scream to let people know she is there. The mare knows, but how can she bring help? Only by exposing herself to danger, which she does – she brings the farmer and Eileen to rescue Daphne. Many people in the farm now realise the horse is not dangerous after all, and are willing to rehabilitate it – but not Jed (as can be seen in the penultimate episode above). He drives the horse away and shoots at it, to make it seem as if the horse went wild again and needed a mercy-killing – but Daphne gets in the way and is shot instead.

Of course this is the denouement that leads to great remorse on Jed’s part – he carries Daphne into the farmhouse where she is nursed back to health, and leaves the farm in disgrace thereafter. The shock of the injury gives Daphne her voice back (in that way that happens in comics) and everything else ends happily – the mare will be kept by the farmer, Daphne will be understood by the people surrounding her, Eileen nurses her back to health, and the mare is given a fitting new name (Hope). In the last two panels, similarly to the sort of vindication seen at the end of “Slave of Form 3B“, Eileen even offers Daphne a bright new future – “Being dumb has given you a lot of patience and understanding, Daphne. You’d make a wonderful nurse! Mum says when you’re old enough, you could train along with me!” “Oh Eileen! I’d love to!”

Thoughts

The unknown artist (who also worked on “Gwen’s Stolen Glory”) does a lovely job once again. These were the only two Jinty stories that s/he drew: if anyone knows of any stories by this artist in other story papers, please do let me know. Many of the episodes are very clear and open in feel, with a lot of white space used for hair and other details that might well be completed in darker textures by other artists. This artist reserves that for scenes like the one in the sample pages – taking place by night, and with potentially deadly outcomes. It makes for a story drawn with a lot of nuance and variety.

The writer is also unknown. We understand that often the same writer and artist were paired up repeatedly, and Alan Davidson is known to have written “Gwen’s Stolen Glory” – could he therefore have written this story too? Hopefully his wife Pat would be able to confirm or deny this at some point, but against this suggestion we should set the point that “Jackie’s Two Lives” ran at the same time as this story. It was not unknown for writers to have two or even more stories running at the same time, but nor was it that usual.

Pat Mills is also known to have written at least one horse story in Jinty, and he has declined to specify which one (giving the impression that he was a bit unimpressed in retrospect with that particular story). This is actually a rather good story – tight and dramatic, if more low-key than some other Jinty stories with supernatural goings-on or scenery-chewing villains. It’s not the sort of thing that I would expect Pat Mills to have any particular reason to disown – the protagonist is hard-done-by by the authorities and has to make her own way in life. She takes no guff, and this is not a particularly daft story or over-the-top in any way. It could still be the missing Mills horse story, but I take leave to doubt it.

Girl and Tammy 25 August 1984

Girl cover 25 August 1984

  • The Return of Splat! (photo story) – first episode
  • Animal Poem – competition
  • Olly Decides! (artist Trini Tinturé) – complete story
  • Let’s Go Pop! Regular feature
  • The Kitty Café Cats – cartoon (artist Joe Collins)
  • Wham Pinup – feature
  • Village of Shame (photo story)
  • Patty’s World (artist Purita Campos, writer Phillip Douglas)
  • The Final Curtain (photo story) – last episode
  • Help Me! – problem page

We continue exploring the context of Jinty’s family tree with Girl. IPC published Girl from 14 February 1981 to 1990. Later IPC published the Best of Girl Monthly, which reprinted stories from the original comic.

This was the second series called Girl; the first was a comic that ran from 1951 to 1964. Another photo story/picture story comic, Dreamer, merged with Girl in 1982. Tammy was scheduled to merge with Girl in 1984 but was instead dropped after a strike, leaving her stories unfinished. None of the Tammy stories carried on in Girl. Only the Tammy logo made it, mysteriously appearing on Girl’s cover (as is the case here), some time after Tammy disappeared with no explanation. It appears about the time Tammy was originally scheduled to be cancelled, so it was probably meant as a token gesture. All the same, Girl readers must have been puzzled by the sudden appearance of the Tammy logo. In 1990, Girl merged into My Guy.

Note: As Tammy came out Monday and Girl Thursday, my theory is that Tammy, being originally meant to be cancelled in late August, was set for cancellation 22 August and readers instructed to pick up the week’s issue of Girl on Thursday 25 August.

Girl II was largely a photo story comic, but always included two picture stories. One was the regular, “Patty’s World”, which made its way into Girl after going through several other titles. The other picture story was a serial or complete story. The photo stories were in black-and-white. Strips included “Nine to Four” (written by Pat Mills), “The Haunting of Uncle Gideon”, “No Mother for Marty”, “The Pink Flamingo”, “Slaves of the Nightmare Factory”, “The Evil Mirror”, “Wish of a Witch”, “The Runaway Bridesmaid”, “The Perfect Pest” and “To Catch a Thief”.

Most of the photo stories were about school, boyfriends, horse riders, gymnasts, theatre and ballerinas. But some photo stories did have a supernatural theme, such as “Wish of a Witch”, where a girl is given a ring that can grant seven wishes. But she gets greedy and also wastes several wishes because she is not using the power thoughtfully. “Splat” and its sequel, which starts in this issue, are among the few Girl photo stories to delve into science fiction. Occasionally the photo stories used the theme of tortured and abused heroines as well. One, “Slaves of the Nightmare Factory”, was about a racket where girls are abducted and used as slave labour in a dress factory – in the 1980s.

The early Girl annuals are noteworthy in that they reprinted serials from Tammy, Jinty and Misty. These include “Tricia’s Tragedy”, “Secret of the Skulls” and “Journey into Fear…” – which was a badly abridged reprint, with about half of the material cut out. The annual would have done better to use a shorter serial or one that lent itself more readily to abridging.

And now we turn to the issue that has been chosen to represent Girl. In this issue, we see the start of a sequel to an earlier Girl story, “Splat!”, about a space alien. Splat returns in response to a call for help from his Earth friend Wendy. But another alien has landed too. Is it friend or foe?

It is the final episode of “The Final Curtain”. It is the final curtain in more ways than one because Julian Berridge, who has been giving Sherry Martin acting lessons, dies on stage after helping her give the performance of her life.

In “Village of Shame” the Walker family are on holiday at a fishing village – only to find it mysteriously empty. Except for some bank robbers who are now holding them hostage! But the bank robbers could be in trouble too if there is some supernatural force responsible for the empty village. And it’s not much of a holiday for Patty either – she has discovered the holiday chalet her family booked got destroyed in a cliff collapse! And the place they do end up in delivers another whammy – Patty’s arch enemy Doreen Snyder is there too!

“Olly Decides!” is a complete story, where a dog has to end up choosing between the girl who has taken him over and loves him, and his previous owners who have suddenly turned up to claim him.

References

http://ukcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Girl_(1981-1990)

http://britishcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Patty’s_World

http://britishcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Girl_(IPC)

 

Dreamer 17 October 1981

Dreamer cover

  • My Strange Sister (photo story)
  • Shari King – Shark Girl (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Dawn Dreamer (cartoon)
  • Rose Among Thorns (photo story)
  • Cliff Richards – pinup
  • Pattern Printing – feature
  • Ugly Duckling (artist Santiago Hernandez)
  • Dog-in-the-Middle (photo story)
  • The Silver Ballerina (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Who Stole Samantha? (photo story, writer Alison Christie Fitt)
  • Shower Power! (feature)

Like Girl, Dreamer was a 1980s IPC title that was a blend of photo stories and picture stories, and the blend seemed to be more balanced than in her sister comic Girl, which consisted of mostly photo stories. Dreamer was probably inspired by the popularity of Girl, a title that lasted nine years. However, Dreamer proved to be another short-lived title. It lasted 35 issues, from 19th September 1981 to 15th May 1982. It then merged with Girl.

We are privileged to know the writer of “Who Stole Samantha?”. Alison Christie Fitt, who has been credited more often with emotional stories, is writing a detective story here. Cheryl Homes (not Holmes!) is investigating who stole her sister’s doll, Samantha. She has to check six suspects and it is a race against time because little sister is pining for Samantha so badly that she refuses to eat.

“My Strange Sister” is also a mystery story. Joanne, who has been wheelchair-bound since an accident, is noticing her sister Eve is acting very strangely all of a sudden and sets out to discover why. But that wheelchair could be a handicap to investigations.

A ballet story is always a guarantee in a first lineup, and in this case it is “The Silver Ballerina”, about two girls who accidentally had their identities switched as babies and haven’t a clue until the power of the silver ballerina bracelet begins to reveal itself. Eduardo Feito demonstrates that he can draw beautiful ballet, and it is a pity he wasn’t called upon more regularly to draw ballet stories.

“Rose Among Thorns” is the school story. Rose is having trouble settling in at her new school and crossing a lot of bullies. And snooty old Mum nearly breaks up the only friendship Rose has there because the girl is not good enough for her. A dog is causing problems with another friendship in “Dog-in-the-Middle” where two friends start falling out over who should own the dog.

Our shark girl is a real cheat who has cheated all her way to team captain. Now she’s got her swimming team cheating against other schools. No doubt readers are reading on to see how her comeuppance shapes up. Meanwhile Sandra Swann is dubbed “Ugly Duckling” and trying to turn herself into a swan by learning to skate. It would do her well to take more care with her appearance too.