Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic

Dates: 29/1/1977 – 21/11/1981
Tammy and Jinty: 28/11/1981 – 17/7/1982
Artists: Various, including Terry Aspin, Jim Baikie, Guy Peeters, Phil Townsend, Trini Tinturé, Carlos Freixas, Douglas Perry, Keith Robson, Christine Ellingham, Douglas Perry and Hugo D’Adderio.

Image

(artwork by Keith Robson)

Spooky storytellers. The storytellers who bring you a spooky tale of mystery, creepiness, paranormal, magic, fantasy and even horror every week. Often there was a moral in it, with girls learning about courage and confidence, paying the price for bad behaviour, or some other lesson or experience they will never forget. Spooky storytellers were extremely popular mainstays in girls comics, and a spooky storyteller was guaranteed to last for years and even decades, as the Storyteller who brought us The Strangest Stories Ever Told proved. The Storyteller went through three comics – School Friend, June and, finally, Tammy. Other spooky storytellers included The Man in Black from Diana and Skeleton Corner from Judy/M&J. And Jinty had Gypsy Rose (no relation to Gipsy Rosa Remembers from Diana). ‘Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic’ debuted in Jinty on 28 November 1977.

Gypsy Rose, as the name suggests, is a gypsy woman whose Romany understanding of the supernatural, not to mention her wanderings as a gypsy where she can encounter adventures in more distant places, brought an extra advantage to her stories. And from the beginning, Gypsy Rose showed us that she was going to break the conventional mould of the spooky storytellers in several ways. First, while most other storytellers were older people with a parental or creepy look to them, Gypsy Rose was a young woman. Second, Gypsy Rose not only told us the story but was often a story character as well, somewhat like DC’s Madame Xanadu. While she opened some stories with a panel to open the story and then a concluding panel to round it off as other story tellers did, she also took an active role in other stories as a supernatural consultant who has been called in for advice. This was only natural as she was a gypsy, who was expected to not only understood the supernatural but have powers of her own as well. The only one we really see is Rose consulting her crystal ball to answer a client’s query. The other is how, whenever she is called in, she always seems to know the story behind whatever is plaguing the consultant and able to tell them what is going on. How she knows is never revealed, though we do see her doing research in a library occasionally.

As Rose often acted as a supernatural advisor, her stories were set in the present and centred on ghosts, curses, strange happenings, and evil objects, places or people. For example, in ‘The Box of Hate’, one girl comes to Rose saying that she is being blamed for strange activities that are destroying her guardians’ shop. Rose comes along, traces the problem to a box which is inhabited by a poltergeist, and has the box buried. In ‘The Haunted Ballerina’, another client comes to complain of a malevolent force emanating from a mirror that she has just bought. It seems to be out to destroy her dancing career. Rose tells the client that the mirror is haunted by a jealous ballerina who hated to see others dance because she could not do so following an accident. The evil ends up destroying itself. We never see Rose fighting evil with exorcisms, magic charms or spells, though in one story she urges an angry god to stop chasing a girl who took a bracelet from a sacred site.

Whenever Rose was an actor in her stories, it brought one drawback – they had to be set in the present. There could be no period settings (except in flashback or in one case, time travel), science fiction stories, or fantasy stories dealing with mythical beasts and such, as could be done in the Storyteller stories as he merely narrated the story, not acted in it. So story material was limited to supernatural-based themes. Only in stories where Rose was the narrator could there be more diversity in the themes explored.

By 1980, the Gypsy Rose tales were all reprint. Some of them were reprints of her own stories, but others were reprints of old Strange Stories from Tammy and even June, but replacing the Storyteller with Rose. As such, she was now more a narrator than an actor and consultant. This did have the advantage of bringing more diversity to the story material. We began to see more period stories, fantasy and even a bit of science fiction. It also enabled artwork from non-Jinty artists such as Giorgio Giorgetti, John Armstrong and Diane Gabbot to appear in Jinty and give readers a taste of these artists. On the other hand, a fallback on reprints is never a good sign for a comic. All too often it reflects cost-cutting measures and/or that the comic was declining and approaching cancellation. Indeed, Jinty would merge with Tammy the following year.

After the merger, Gypsy Rose was rotated with the Storyteller in the spooky story slot until 17 July 1982, with the launch of a new-look Tammy. Her stories in the merger were new material and not reprints or recycled Strange Stories as they were in Jinty‘s final year. When the new-look Tammy appeared, spooky stories continued but their narrators disappeared – even the long-running Storyteller.

Here is the first Gypsy Rose story, “The Ring of Death”, from Jinty and Lindy 29 January 1977; art by Jim Baikie.

Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 1

Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 2Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 3

List of Gypsy Rose stories in Jinty (incomplete, to be added to as issues are posted)

  • 29 January 1977: The Ring of Death (artist Jim Baikie)
  • 5 February 1977: The Box of Hate! (Artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • 12 February 1977: Dream of Destiny (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • 19 February 1977: Hide and Seek with a Ghost! (artist Maria Barrera)
  • 5 March 1977: The Doll’s Dark Secret (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 12 March 1977: So Long at the Fair (artist Keith Robson)
  • 19 March 1977: The Hound from Hades (artist Terry Aspin)
  • ….
  • 2 April 1977: The Holy Stones (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 9 April 1977: The Bells (artist Christine Ellingham)
  • 23 April 1977: The Gemini Girl (artist Maria Barrera)
  • 30 April 1977: Cassie and the Cat (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 7 May 1977: A Storm of Vengeance (artist Jim Baikie)
  • 4 June 1977: The Strawberry Handkerchief (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 25 June 1977: The Lost Locket (artist Phil Townsend)
  • 2 July 1977: The Wish on Devil Rock! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 9 July 1977: The Winged Spirit (artist unknown)
  • 16 July 1977: The Magic Tambourine (artist Douglas Perry)
  • 23 July 1977: Suburst! (artist unknown)
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….
  • 3 September 1977: The Last Rose of Summer (artist Christine Ellingham)
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….
  • 15 October 1977: Lilies for the Bride (artist Christine Ellingham)
  • 22 October 1977: The Eternal Flame (artist Richard Neillands; writer Alison Christie)
  • 5 November 1977: The Thirteenth Hour (artist Douglas Perry)
  • 12 November 1977: The Carnival of Flowers (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 3 December 1977: A Picture of the Past (artist and writer Keith Robson)
  • 24 December 1977: The Spirits of the Trees (artist Christine Ellingham)
  • 31 December 1977: Snowbound! (artist Keith Robson)
  • ….
  • 29 January 1978: The Eyes of Chang (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Jinty Summer Special 1978: The Stone of Courage (artist unknown)
    • The Mirror That Knew The Truth (artist unknown) – reprint
    • 5 May 1979: Captive of the Stars (artist Juan Solé)
  • 4 November 1978: Wicked Lady Melissa (artist Shirley Bellwood) – reprinted from June
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1979: The Ghost of Charlotte (artist unknown) – reprint
  • Jinty Annual 1979: Chain of Destiny (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint
    • Violetta’s Donkey (artist Richard Neillands) – reprint
    • Midnight Express (artist unknown)
    • Una the Unsinkable (artist Rodrigo Comos) – reprint
  • 5 January 1980: Did Taffy Know? (artist unknown)
  • 16 February 1980: The Poisoned Rose (artist Trine Tinture)
  • 23 February 1980: Oasis of Dreams (artist Phil Townsend)
  • 1 March 1980: The Haunted Circus (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint, source unknown
  • 5 April 1980: Bridge of Heart’s Desire (artist Trini Tinturé?) – reprint from June, reprinted in Tammy
  • 21/28 June 1980: The Magic Hockey Stick (artist Dudley Wynne) – reprint, source  unknown
  • 6 July 1980: Unscheduled Stop (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 12 July 1980: The Dark Tower (artist unknown) – reprint, original source unknown
  • 19 July 1980: A Light for the Loyal (artist Bill Mainwaring) – reprint, source unknown
  • 26 July 1980: The Romany’s Reading (artist Jim Baikie)
  • 2 August 1980: The Last Leap (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – reprint from Tammy
  • 9 August 1980: The Magic Carpet (artist unknown) – reprint, original print unknown
  • 16 August 1980: Pictures of Peril (artist unknown) – reprinted from Tammy
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1980: Rock of Destiny (artist Rodrigo Comos) – reprinted from Tammy
    • The White Blackbird (artist John Richardson)
    • Porthole of Panic (artist unknown)
    • The Yellow Dress (artist John Richardson)
    • Laddie (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 23 August 1980: Lure of the Lamp (artist Christine Ellingham)
  • 30 August 1980: Black Rory’s Curse (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 13 September 1980: Phantom of the Fells (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 20 September 1980: Wheels of Fate (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 27 September 1980: Pennies for Her Thoughts (artist Douglas Perry) – reprinted from Tammy
  • 4 October 1980: A Call for Help (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 11 October 1980: Only Time Will Tell (artist Diane Gabbot), reprinted from Tammy
  • 18 October 1980: The House of Hate and Happiness (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – reprint from Tammy
  • 25 October 1980: Dawn of a New Era (artist Ken Houghton) – reprinted from Tammy
  • 1 November 1980: The Secret of Covent House (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 8 November 1980: The Face of Greed (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 15 November 1980: A Cross for the Cornish Queen (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 22 November 1980: Wheels of Fortune (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • 29 November 1980: The Demon Eye (artist Ken Houghton) – reprinted in a Penny annual
  • 20 December 1980: The Friend from Far Beyond (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 27 December 1980: An Ace Up the Sleeve (artist John Armstrong)
  • 3 January 1981: no Gypsy Rose story
  • 10 January 1981: Correct Error (artist Manuel Benet) – reprint from Tammy
  • 17 January 1981: A Gift for Gaynor (artist unknown)
  • 24 January 1981: Race against Time (artist unknown) – reprint from Tammy
  • 31 January 1981: Gail at Sea (artist unknown) – reprint from Tammy
  • 7 February 1981: The Lollipop Man’s Promise (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones) – reprinted from Tammy
  • 14 February 1981: Friends for All Time (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 21 February 1981: Zebras of Zendobo (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 28 February 1981: The Golden Touch (artist Peter Wilkes) – reprint from Tammy
  • 4 March 1981: Farah’s Three Wishes (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – reprint from Tammy
  • 11 March 1981: No Expectations (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • 21 March 1981: Kathie Come Home! (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – reprint from Tammy
  • 28 March 1981: The Queen’s Vengeance! (artist Trini Tinturé) – reprint from June
  • 4 April 1981: Arrow of Fate (artist unknown) – reprint, original source unknown
  • 11 April 1981: The Puppet That Came to Life! (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint from June
  • 18 April 1981: Whispers In The Wind (artist Antonio Borrell) – reprint from Tammy
  • 25 April 1981: The Missing Link – (artist unknown) – reprint from Tammy
  • 2 May 1981: The Lost Chord (artist Eduardo Feito) – reprint from Tammy
  • 9 May 1981: The Seal People (artist unknown) – reprint, source unknown
  • 26 May 1981: Ancient Remedy (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • 23 May 1981: Shark! (artist unknown) – reprint, source unknown
  • 30 May 1981: The Unlucky Rabbit’s Foot (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint from Tammy
  • 6 June 1981: The Dove of Peace (artist Bob Harvey)
  • 13 June 1981: The Resting Place (artist Veronica Weir)
  • 20 June 1981: Russalka (artist unknown) – reprint from Tammy
  • 27 June 1981: The Broomstick Gymnast (artist Veronica Weir) – reprint from Tammy
  • 4 July 1981: The Lap of Death (artist John Armstrong) – reprint from Tammy
  • 11 July 1981: A Monumental Detective (artist Tony Highmore) – reprinted from Tammy; reprinted in Girl Picture Story Library #19 as “The Crook Catchers”
  • 18 July 1981: Call from the Heart (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • 25 July 1981: The Veiled Threat (artist Tony Highmore) – reprint from Tammy
  • 1 August 1981: The Witching Bones (artist Veronica Weir) – reprint from Tammy?
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1981: The Bracelet of Love (artist Jim Baikie) – reprint from Tammy
    • They Always Know (artist Robert MacGillivray)
    • When Things Go “Bang” in the Night… (artist unknown) – reprint from Tammy
  • 29 August 1981: Money isn’t Everything! (artist Bob Harvey)
  • 5 September 1981: Tiger Burning Bright (artist unknown) – reprint, source unknown
  • 26 September 1981 Child’s Play (artist Phil Townsend)
  • 3 October 1981: The Wish on Devil Rock! (artist Trini Tinturé) – reprint
  • 10 October 1981: The Robber Bird (artist Isidre Mones)
  • ….
  • ….
  • 31 October 1981: The Marble Heart (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint
  • 7 November 1981: The Sable Knight (artist Keith Robson)
  • 14 November 1981: The Secret World (artist Keith Robson)
  • 14 November 1981: The Spirits of the Trees (artist Christine Ellingham) – reprint
  • 21 November 1981: A Window on the Past (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – reprint

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