A number of the artists on Jinty remain as yet unidentified. One of the main artists we would love to identify is the person who drew one of the Jinty stories in the very first issue, “Merry at Misery House”. For convenience in this article, I will use the pronoun ‘her’ for this artist, and refer to her as ‘Merry’. (Of course, I have no knowledge at present as to whether she really was a female artist, or anything much about her. I like to think she may have been a British artist; somehow I get a vibe of classic British style, as if her art would be right at home in a Bunty or Girl annual from a previous decade. I also like to think she may be female, but if asked to substantiate my feeling I would have to go down some route of gender essentialisation, pointing to the delicate lines or similar, so I shall avoid doing that. That is, any guesswork is all supposition and imagination!)
‘Merry’ seems to have been particularly associated with Terence Magee at various points in time: she drew “Merry at Misery House” in Jinty, but also “Four Friends At Spartan School” (published in Tammy in 1971-72), and “Slave of the Trapeze” (published in Sandie in September 1972, but originally commissioned for Tammy). The Jinty stories attributable to her are as follows:
- Merry at Misery House (1974)
- Hettie High-And-Mighty (1975)
- Friends of the Forest (1976)
- Miss Make-Believe (1979)
- Casey, Come Back (1979)
- Tale of the Panto Cat (1979)
The post about “Merry at Misery House” also includes artwork from “Four Friends at Spartan School”. In these earlier stories, the composition of individual panels is mostly based around a middle distance view: the characters are seen full body, or three-quarters, and you get lots of interaction between them. The slightly later story “Friends of the Forest” (above), in particular, gives a ‘closer up’ feel, with tight focus on the faces of the characters. In this example there are fewer panels on a page, too, giving a more open feel. It is really nice to see an artist changing the way they work as they go along and experimenting with new looks; as a reader you feel that it wasn’t just a treadmill or a grindstone, despite the busy schedule that many of the artists must have put in to create so many pages of amazing art.
I should also add that some of the stories attributed above to ‘Merry’ have previously been attributed to other artists: “Hettie High-And-Mighty” to Jordi Badia, and “Miss Make-Believe” tentatively to Sarompas. I am however confident of this attribution to ‘Merry’; there is a typical stance that she draws with hands in a specific position that is unmistakable. I will feature it when I come to illustrate “Miss Make-Believe” later; it can also be seen in the bottom-left panel of this page from “Hettie High-And-Mighty”:
Any information leading to a positive identification of this artist will be very gratefully received.
Edited to add: other stories drawn by this artist include
- Bess’s Secret Brother (Judy, 1984)