Jim Baikie

Jim Baikie (1940-2017) was one of the longest-running Jinty artists. While he was not in the very first issue, his starting story (“Left-Out Linda” in 1974) was done fairly early on in his career (he started in 1966); after he and Jinty parted ways, he went on to become well-known in his 2000AD work as well as in American comics. In recent years some news items have been posted on his Facebook page, where the news of his death was also posted by his family. (See also his Comiclopedia page.)

From Jinty 7 May 1977

From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)
From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)
From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)

My trajectory as a comics reader is such that pretty much alone amongst Jinty artists, Baikie is someone whose subsequent work I came across again and again. As well as reading Jinty, I also read American comics (primarily Marvel), and later on I read 2000AD as so many of my university peers did.  The short-lived comic Crisis was a must-read too, and that included an ongoing story drawn by Baikie (“The New Statesmen”). I don’t remember quite when I identified him as having been the artist on the memorable “The Forbidden Garden”, but I remember how it felt: excitement, surprise, and a mental ‘click’ as two disparate parts of my comics-reading life came together.

He drew a number of different kinds of story in Jinty: ones about troubled family relationships, spooky stories, a science fiction strip, a humour strip. The first great swathe of stories are nicely done, but nothing outstandingly different: they are well-observed and good to read, but only “Face The Music, Flo!” and “Ping-Pong Paula” made much impression on my memory at the time. “Spell of the Spinning Wheel” moves up a gear while still being an evil object story matching other ones (“Creepy Crawley” ran at precisely the same time, making it a great time for fans of spooky stories).

For me, both “The Forbidden Garden” and, rather differently, “Fran’ll Fix It!”, represent the peaks he reached in Jinty. Both are fairly unique within the set of stories he drew in this title: one science fiction story, one humour strip. We have previously seen a lot of repetition of a given writer & artist combination – Terence Magee stories being drawn again and again by the ‘Merry’ unknown artist – and I could well imagine that in the list below, ‘Linda’, ‘Kat’, ‘Flo’, and so many other stories might be written by a popular Jinty writer who produced a number of similar stories along the same themes. But ‘Fran’, in particular, strikes me as something that a writer-artist – or more precisely, a cartoonist – could well have produced. There are so many sight-gags in the background, such a zany feel to the whole story, that I am very tempted to think that Baikie is likely to have written the whole lot as well as drawn it – or at the very least, had a large creative hand in it.

We now know that there was at least one case of an artist writing their own strip, as Veronica Weir is known to have done this on “Girl The World Forgot“. Baikie is also known to have written his own material at subsequent points in his career, too (he wrote sequels to the Alan Moore science fiction strip “Skizz” amongst others). Might he even have written “The Forbidden Garden” as well? This striking story has a soulless future dystopia where the soil is poisoned and the people are oppressed, barely one step up from being robots: echoes of the Megacity that Baikie’s future colleagues were simultaneously creating in 2000AD. It could be said to parallel the other Jinty science fiction stories, but it doesn’t feel particularly close to any of them. This is probably my wishful thinking, though.

Leaving aside this speculation, you don’t have to think much about it to see why he was such a well-loved artist. The Gypsy Rose four-page story above has beautiful, energetic composition: the girl’s running foot in the first panel, the echo of the tree root in the forked lightning just below, the girl’s face forming the bottom section of the third page. It’s full of dynamism and individuality. Likewise, although he drew 14 stories plus various Gypsy Roses over the years, his characters are all clearly identifiable without blurring into each other. As one small example, ‘Linda’ and ‘Flo’ have similar hairstyles (though one dark, one blonde) – but their facial expressions are distinctively their own. There is no danger of mistaking one for the other, even if separated from their story context – but that’s something for a follow-up article sometime. (How did long-running artists manage to avoid visual repetition, indeed?)

List of Jinty stories attributable to Jim Baikie:

Edited to add: Baikie also appeared in other IPC girls’ comics.

  • Our Big BIG Secret! (Sandie, 1972)

18 thoughts on “Jim Baikie

  1. When Tammy ran credits, I saw no credit that said any story had been drawn and written by the same person.

    1. Thanks Mistyfan. You don’t have the story credit available to you to refer to, do you? I hadn’t thought about it but if Forbidden Garden was reprinted there in the right era then that might tell us the writer, but I guess you’d already have said if that was so!

      1. By the time The Forbidden Garden was reprinted in Tammy (unfinished due to the cancellation) Tammy had stopped running credits. And Tammy did not run credits for reprinted stories anyway. For example, she ran no credits for the reprint of Glenda’s Glossy Pages.

        1. Oh, ok. In that case I don’t quite get your earlier comment. Are you saying that in the era when there were credits, there are no examples you can remember of the same person writing & drawing the same story? (I thought you were talking about Forbidden Garden rather than more generally.) It must have been rare, I’m sure, but if Veronica Weir did it, it could have happened more than once. I do think it’s not really likely to have been the case for Forbidden Garden but I do definitely think that Baikie must have had a big hand in a lot of the stuff going on in ‘Fran’, at the very least.

  2. No, in the era that Tammy ran credits, no story was credited as having been written and drawn by the same person. Veronica Weir’s art appeared a few times in complete stories, but she was not credited as the writer. It could be that things were a bit different on the Jinty team and artists had more of a hand in writing the stories.

    1. So VW must presumably only have both written and drawn “Girl The World Forgot”, at least as far as her work for Jinty and Tammy is concerned. Certainly in a separate email, Terry Magee was surprised that it had ever happened, so it must have been pretty unusual.

      1. It is possible VW also wrote Seulah the Seal or was inspired by it in writing Girl the World Forgot. I have commented that there are similarities between the two stories. We don’t have enough information about the writers to determine how often girls’ serials were written and drawn by the same people.

        I suggest an interview with Jim Baikie if you can. It should help throw light on whether he had a hand in writing Jinty stories as well as drawing them.

        1. I think that as she specifically commented that she wrote GTWF, she would equally have commented about Seulah if she’d written that too. I am still hoping that we will get more details from her, let’s see.

          I would love to have an interview with Jim Baikie, for sure. I have made an approach to a mutual acquaintance but not sure if anything will come of it. In any case having this post to point people to can only help, I think.

  3. I wonder if Pat Mills wrote The Forbidden Garden? He had written one dystopian serial for Jinty already, Land of No Tears. Or perhaps Malcolm Shaw? He seemed to go for SF stories, such as The Sentinels from Misty, and he wrote The Robot Who Cried for Jinty.

    1. I am pretty sure the writer wasn’t Pat Mills, as he’s already given the complete list of stories he wrote for Jinty, apart from declining to state which horse story he wrote as he’s less proud about that one! I could well believe it was Malcolm Shaw.

      1. Pat seemed to think the Jinty story about the blind show jumping horse was a bit ridiculous, didn’t he? Even though he was told there was one in real life.

        1. I too find it pretty blooming ridiculous despite being told there was one in real life. As they say in Wikiepdia, Citation Needed!

  4. Artist-writer teams I know of in Tammy were Phil Towsend and Alison Christie (possibly they teamed in Jinty too – I don’t know without information) and Jay Over and Maria Barrera.

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