A Jinty Sampler, Part II

As with the previous Sampler post, the aim behind this is partly to give me a good excuse to range over all the years of Jinty‘s publication (rather than taking ages to get to the later issues), and partly to help look for some of the changes over time that are otherwise rather hidden.

  1. Issue 125: 16 October 1976
    • Extent and print details: 32 pages. Cover and back cover are in full colour, 11 pages in duotone (blue and black).
    • Cover design: Story page cover. (Around this point there are a few story pages for lead strips (“Girl In A Bubble”, “Jassy’s Wand of Power”, and “Go On, Hate Me!”)
    • Content: 10 stories; 1 humour, 1 gag strip.
    • Regular artists include Jim Baikie, Phil Gascoine, Keith Robson, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Trini Tinturé, Phil Townsend
  2. Issue 150: 9 April 1977
    • Extent and print details: 32 pages. Cover and back cover are in full colour, 11 pages in duotone (red and black).
    • Cover design: story montage (free-form). (From Jan 1977 a more free-form montage design starts up, though initially still with boxy tendencies.)
    • Content: 9 stories; 1 humour, 1 gag strip.
    • Regular artists include Jim Baikie, José Casanovas, Phil Gascoine, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Trini Tinturé, Phil Townsend.
  3. Issue 175: 1 October 1977
    • Extent and print details: 32 pages. Cover and back cover are in full colour, 8 pages in duotone (red and black); plus gag strip Alley Cat is printed just in red.
    • Cover design: competition plus small story image.
    • Content: 9 stories; 1 humour, 1 gag strip.
    • Regular artists include Jim Baikie, Mario Capaldi, Rodrigo Comos, Keith Robson, Trini Tinturé, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Phil Townsend.
  4. Issue 200: 25 March 1978
    • Extent and print details: 32 pages. Cover is in full colour; back cover and 8 pages in duotone (red and black).
    • Cover design: single image, seasonal.
    • Content: 9 stories; 1 humour, 1 gag strip.
    • Regular artists include Jim Baikie, Richard Neillands, Douglas Perry, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Trini Tinturé, Phil Townsend, Julian Vivas.
  5. Issue 225: 16 September 1978
    • Extent and print details: 32 pages. Cover is in full colour; back cover and 8 pages in duotone (red and black).
    • Cover design: story montage (free-form)
    • Content: 9 stories; 1 humour, 1 gag strip.
    • Regular artists include Jim Baikie, Phil Gascoine, Ron Lumsden, Guy Peeters, Ron Smith, Hugh Thornton-Jones, Phil Townsend.

There are some subtle changes, though I’m not sure that they add up to a clear overall direction taken by the comic as a whole. The number of pages in each issue is pretty steady at 32, but sometimes the number of story strips goes up to 10 rather than the more regular 9 per issue (in issue 25 the editors managed to fit as many as 11 stories into the 32 page format, but that did include 3 humour strips and 2 gag strips, which are typically short items). The contents format of having mostly ongoing stories and only one humour strip and one gag strip per issue seems fairly well established at this point.

Many of the artist names are people who have long runs on this title and who form part of the look of it: once Jim Baikie starts with Jinty he seemingly hardly stops, and similarly so Phil Townsend. Others are regulars but come and go a bit more – Trini Tinturé, Mario Capaldi, José Casanovas. Phil Gascoine was someone who I’d understood to be an absolute constant presence, but seemingly has a gap towards the end of 1977 and the beginning of 1978; and Guy Peeters starts to be a regular from 1977 onwards, but sporadically enough that this sample-every-25-issues only shows him joining from 1978.

I have been trying to come up with a good way to analyse the balance of stories in these Jinty samples so that these issues could potentially be compared with other comics of the time and even with the few weekly comics that have been published recently. I will do a separate post on this another time, but what I can say (without going into too many details for what is already a long post) is that I have tried to categorise stories using a fairly black & white distinction, that of real vs unreal. By this I mean stories where all the elements are ones that don’t contradict any of our physical laws or set-up, versus ones where there is some element that is fantastical, magical, or counter-factual. So a deception story like “Tricia’s Tragedy” may perhaps have narrative aspects that are not very realistic in terms of ‘is this how people would really behave?’ – but fundamentally it’s a story that could happen in our physical world as it is. In comparison, “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!”, a story of magic both good and evil, is marked as ‘unreal’ on this criterion. Why do this? I hope this may be one way of measuring differences between comics, along one dimension – it’s a simplistic test, but so is the Bechdel test, and that can sometimes reveal some interesting insights, too. (I should note that I am exempting humour/gag strips from this measure, as they are often “unrealistic” in the service of a joke – say where Do-It-Yourself Dot uses her harp as a chipper, or where Dora’s dogs are rather cleverer than any real dog could ever be.)

This “real/unreal” test is still being worked on, but it is showing me that despite me thinking of Jinty as the IPC title with the fantastical/science fiction stories, it’s the case that the “unreal” stories aren’t taking up any more than a third of each issue, at most – and sometimes considerably less (look at 16 October 1976 or, even more so, 3 May 1975). But there are still more issues to come in the next Sampler, let alone more work to be done on any kind of analysis or test.

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5 thoughts on “A Jinty Sampler, Part II

  1. Some stories such as The Perfect Princess can be termed unrealistic because their premise and plot is so ludicrous, unbelievable and stupid that they have to be called turkeys.

    1. This isn’t intended as an aesthetic judgement! But in the case of The Perfect Princess you’ll be glad to know that because it includes a made-up country it should be counted as ‘unreal’ – and indeed it is pretty clearly a humorous wish-fulfillment sort of story. (I clearly have a higher tolerance for this than you do, but I am very tolerant of anything drawn by Trini!)

  2. Know I commented previously, but I do love this systematic approach!
    Re: comparing your sampler of Jintys with other comics of the time, perhaps your devised (in progress) test could be applied to girls’ comics and annuals from earlier times too? I have a (pitifully small) collection of much older girls’ annuals (1910s-1930s), and while I think of them as being dominated by school stories, perhaps there is more diversity than I give credit for…the ‘fantastical’ element seemed to be mainly history-led time travel though.

    1. Thanks Rachel! Glad you are finding this interesting. I’d like to apply the test more widely once I feel it’s reasonably stable and telling us *something*, if perhaps a limited something.

      I think it’s quite difficult to distinguish between story genres or types like school story vs sports stories or whatever, because it ends up being quite hard to come up with a cast-iron way of defining a school story (not surprisingly). Probably most of us experienced readers know a school story when we see one, but would you be able to reliably coach someone inexperienced into distinguishing between one type of story and another? And if you can’t do that, how good is your identification of a story as falling into one type, really? Might you not come to a different conclusion if you assessed it another time?

      Currently I’m toying with using the real/unreal distinction, plus a) a Cinderella/slave category (meaning a story where the narrative pull is between the girl protagonist and an adult or adults who coerce her; b) a friends/rivals category (where it’s about the relationship between the girl protagonist and another girl or girls, so a story between peers rather than between a girl and more powerful adults), c) an animal story, d) a humour / gag story. I feel like those are (broad) categories that I should be able to use fairly reliably, even if some stories will fall into more than one of these categories and some others will still be sightly borderline.

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