Exciting news about the IPC copyrights

The British comics internet was buzzing yesterday with news that Rebellion, who publish 2000AD, have bought the whole IPC list of comics from Egmont (covering all comics and characters first published after 1970 – the earlier material is owned by another company). The most detailed report is the Down The Tubes one, but it has also been announced on the BBC, Bleeding Cool, and even on Wired, so there are lots of excited people!

The quotes from Rebellion’s Ben Smith make it clear that both reprints and new stories are now possibilities – though of course with such a wide range of material having been bought, there’s no telling what will be the company’s main focus – or initial focus. The list that has been bought includes boys comics such as Roy of the Rovers, Action, and Battle, but also humour comics (which aren’t a big part of the announcement but have been part of the excited internet discussion, with calls to look at Oink and at the Ken Reid material in particular). And of course on this site our particular thoughts are on what it could mean for the girls comics – which were even specifically mentioned by Rebellion owner Jason Kingsley, very hearteningly.

If you had a say in the matter, what would you want to happen with the girls comics material in this haul? Clearly, reprinting specific stories would be an option – after all, Rebellion are already bringing out a reprint of “Moonchild” and “Four Faces of Eve” from Misty (published on 8 September). What stories would you choose to bring back as reprints, across the IPC list of girls titles? I think you’d have to make sure they weren’t chosen just for nostalgia reasons – they’d have to be really great stories that stand the test of time and don’t look dated, even though clearly there is a ‘bringing back classic comics’ element to this sort of publication. What would be your top five picks, and why?

What about other uses of the material? Merchandising, using some of the lovely design and images? Dare we think about re-worked stories, or characters extended in their life span? Would Bella, or Fran and her zany fixing, still work with new artists? Translations into other markets and languages? I would love to hear your ideas. Who knows, maybe they can happen!

[Edited to add: Down the Tubes have published a useful summary of the titles and characters that are now owned by Rebellion.]

Jinty 21 June 1975

JInty cover 21 June 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories – The Sobbing Sands (complete story)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Keep Tidy with My Tortoise! (Feature)

A couple of issues ago Cinderella Smith received instructions on how to make a cute cloth tortoise, which she used to make a birthday present. Perhaps Jinty is now sharing the instructions, because this week’s craft feature is how to make a cloth tortoise, which can be used to keep your things tidy.

Speaking of Cinderella Smith, she starts her career as a model this week, and it all has to be done behind her cruel cousins’ backs. This presents a problem when Cindy realises she has to get her cousins’ signatures for the modelling contract, and she knows they won’t sign voluntarily.

The reformatory staff really show just how corrupt and criminal they really are in this week’s episode of “Misery at Misery House”. They help evil farmer Leggatt force Barry to sign the contract signing away the farm. How? They tell Barry they will have him arrested on trumped-up charges if he does not sign. Barry gives in – but then there are signs that Merry’s call for help to the child welfare officer could be paying off…

Katie’s teacher hopes she’s not always a disaster when there’s water around because she wants to butter up a school governor so the school will get permission to use his houseboat. Fat chance. The episode ends with Katie on a runaway motorboat that is too powerful for her to handle!

Things look up for Barbie as she acquires a guide dog and a job at a ballet company. It looks like a chance to advance her love of ballet at last – but the episode ends with Barbie in danger of falling down the stairs. Moreover, the obligatory jealous rival of the piece has now started her nasty scheming against Barbie.

The Valley of Shining Mist won’t take Debbie in this time and she knows it is because she stole a silver hairbrush from there. However, Debbie’s nasty relatives are trying to stop her efforts to return it. So Debbie is finding she has to acquire some lessons in backbone as well as honesty.

Julie’s campaign to stop Mr Blackburn’s motorway and save the Green People, is going ahead and looking strong. Unfortunately it has cost his brother his job. Furthermore, there is a new enemy in the form of Julie’s teacher, Miss Berridge, who happens to be a cousin of the Blackburns.

For a brief moment it looks like Daddy’s heart has melted towards the two evacuees. However, he hardens up again to the point where he won’t allow their mother to visit because he doesn’t want his darling to catch any germs from her. That man is just impossible. Is there nothing that can get through to him?

In this week’s “Dora Dogsbody” there is a mishap with hair-restorer lotion that causes a dachshund to grow long hair! They have to keep Ma Siddons from finding out.

This week it looks like Greg and Flo will be reconciled. Then a television producer discovers the shabby flat Flo has been staying in and blames Greg for the state his sister has been reduced to. Are the twins set on a collision course again?

 

Ad for first Lindy issue

Lindy ad

This is the advertisement for the first Lindy issue, from Jinty 14 June 1975. The ad entices readers more with a Bay City Rollers pin-up than the story contents. Only the cover gives any indication of what stories to expect. Lindy was a short-lived title and merged into Jinty after only 20 issues. She was the first of two comics to merge with Jinty.

 

Jinty 14 June 1975

Jinty cover 14 June 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Cuckoo Clock Competition
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)

Katie the Jinx breaks the school goldfish bowl (she would) and has to replace it. Trouble is, she’s broke and has to use her brains to find a replacement – while going through her usual scrapes, of course.

Ana Rodriguez had quite a track record in drawing ballet stories, and now she’s illustrating “Blind Ballerina”. Our blind ballerina has a very bad run this week, and it’s only part two of her story. She’s had a road accident, can’t find her sister Daisy, her blindness leads to disaster at her new circus job, and the circus boss has turned so nasty that he’s threatening to set a dog on her.

“Merry at Misery House” and her friends find the mean farmer is abusing his stepson Barry as much as he is abusing them, and is trying to force Barry to sign over the farm to him. Merry and Co step in to help, and also take an opportunity to phone a children’s welfare officer about Misery House. So will there be help at last for the abused inmates? Or will their enemies foil them again, as they have so many times before?

Cinderella Smith’s off to the ball – er, friend Susie’s birthday party – this week. It turns out better than expected when Susie’s Dad spots how photogenic she looks in the party photos and wants to sign her up with a modelling contract. Wow, Prince Charming already! Unfortunately, Cindy’s still in the clutches of those abusive cousins and we can be certain they will do everything they can to stop her.

Debbie comes back from the Valley of Shining Mist with a new ambition to take up violin – and a silver hairbrush she’s stolen from the Valley. Her abusive family notice both the hairbrush and the new violin Debbie buys and are not impressed. Their abuse drives Debbie to run off. But will the Valley emerge from the ruins it dissolved into earlier and take her in again?

The dogs’ hotel is taking in Susi Sparkle, a famous pop star dog this week. The dog is not top of the pops with Ma Siddons after she breaks Ma Siddons’ new colour TV, pinches the food (in her sleep), and causes Ma Siddons to get a black eye!

This week Flo turns pop star herself. Greg won’t perform at a charity show at the children’s hospital – too much under the influence of his mean-looking manager. So Flo dresses up as Greg and performs in his place. Unfortunately Flo did not count on a newspaper photographer being there, and it’s all going to be all on the front page tomorrow! What’s Greg going to say when he finds out his estranged sister has been impersonating him?

The evacuee children liven things up for Lee when they help her get rid of the old dragon of a tutor that Daddy hired for her. However, Daddy gets even worse than usual when the anniversary of his wife’s death approaches, and takes it out on the poor evacuees.

Julie’s efforts to help the Green People unwittingly get her brother Chris into trouble; the company thinks he’s been leaking information about the new motorway. The Green People soon tell Julie the real reason why the company wanted it kept top secret – people will protest against it. Which is precisely what they do after the Green People discreetly spread the word around – telepathically!

The issue also advertises the first issue of Lindy, which is out next Saturday. The free gift is a charm bracelet. The ad doesn’t entice you with descriptions of the stories. Instead, it tells you that there is a pin-up of the Bay City Rollers waiting for you if you buy the first issue.

And Jinty has a new competition where the prize is a cuckoo clock. Unscramble the names of some birds and you go into a draw to win.

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?