Concrete Surfer – first episode (writer Pat Mills)
Meet the Singing Stuntman Actor Gareth Hunt (feature)
Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
Darling Clementine (artist Richard Neillands, writer Alison Christie)
Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
Race for a Fortune – final episode
Well, this is the issue that begins one of Jinty’s best remembered stories, Concrete Surfer. Skateboarding is the only thing to come out of Jean Everidge’s stay in Australia. Her family are losers who failed at everything in Australia. Jean comes back to Britain, where cousin Carol and her family are the opposite – successful and well off. And Carol likes nothing better than being the centre of attention. The trouble is, when Jean is on a skateboard, she is the centre of attention. This will make skateboarding the bone of contention between the two cousins for the duration of the story.
Ironically, skateboarding also features in the final episode of “Race for a Fortune”. Katie’s sneaky cousin Rodney barters for a skateboard to get ahead of Katie’s roller skates in the final lap on the race. Fortunately for Katie, Rodney is nowhere near as good as Jean on a skateboard. But with a name like Ebenezer, you have to wonder what the uncle has really left for the winner of the race. “Race for a Fortune” will be replaced next issue by a much darker story, “Paula’s Puppets”. In fact, Jinty dares us to be honest – would we do as Paula does when she finds some weird puppets with strange powers? Maybe, maybe not. But then, surely we are not embittered by the same ordeal that Paula faces in this story – being bullied and stigmatised after her father is imprisoned for insurance fraud. He protests his innocence but is not believed. However, that is a story for another entry on this blog.
In the other Pat Mills story in this issue, “Land of No Tears“, the Gamma girls are doing really well in the finals. And judging by the Hive Inspector’s attitude towards the Gamma girls, we can imagine that he is not pleased. But Cassy is still bound by her bargain with Perfecta to throw the swimming marathon, which will mean they lose the trophy and their one chance of better treatment. However, the blurb for next week tells us that fate is going to take a hand, so there be even more readers eager to buy the next issue!
In “Two Mothers for Maggie”, Maggie gets a break from her abusive stepfather. But then her mother falls ill and is taken to hospital. Good breaks never last long for heroines – until the end of the story, that is. In “Waking Nightmare”, Phil is trying for a break of a different kind – breaking into Hardacre House to rescue Carol. So far she has not had much success, and now she is finding there is a mystery about the house itself. Another reason readers will be lining up for the next issue. And in “Darling Clementine”, Ella is trying for jobs to raise money for her water-skiing equipment to get into the club. But the snobby girls at the club are not making her welcome, and we are told that next week they will get even more spiteful. And in “Come into My Parlour”, Mother Heggerty forces Jody into even more spiteful acts, this time at a department store.
Gypsy Rose disappears from Jinty with this issue and is not seen again until 13 May 1978. Also, she had previously used her own material and interacted with the characters in her stories as a consultant. However, when she returns she is recycling Strange Stories from June/Tammy and is bodged over the Storyteller.
Lastly, this issue advertises the first issue of Misty. For some reason we are told the issue will be on sale on 30 January although the issue will be dated 4 February.
Darling Clementine (artist Richard Neillands, writer Alison Christie)
The Eyes of Chang (artist Terry Aspin) – Gypsy Rose story
Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
Race for a Fortune
Sew Yourself a Sash! (feature)
I dug this particular issue out because the Gypsy Rose story featured on the cover has really stuck with me. For this reason the cover does as well. I decided to upload the story itself along with the cover.
The cover promises us that this is a chilling story, and it sure delivers. It ends on a grimmer note than most Gypsy Rose stories, despite Rose’s reassurances to the heroine that she will find happiness if she forgets. Usually evil is vanquished in Gypsy Rose stories, but not in this case. It is still there, ready to strike again, in the form of an evil, possessive dog who will go to any lengths, including murder, to get rid of anyone who he sees as coming between him and his mistress. We really feel for anyone the mistress hires in the future (or probably has hired in the past) and hope the dog hurries up and dies.
This was the last story to appear in the first Gypsy Rose series. After this, Gypsy Rose disappears from Jinty and is not seen again until 13 May 1978. Also, she had previously used her own material and interacted with the characters in her stories as a consultant. However, when she returns she is recycling Strange Stories from June/Tammy and is bodged over the Storyteller.
“Race for a Fortune” enters its penultimate episode. It’s a race across to the finish line. And the legendary monster (no, not Nessie) said to inhabit the loch they must cross? It turns out to be a money-making fraud, but helps Katie to get ahead of her scheming cousins after they smash her raft. She is setting off again, in a rowboat.
In “Land of No Tears“, the threads that will be tied up in the concluding episodes become manifest here. Cassie begins to discover the identity of the mystery trainer as her disguise comes off, and she is in for a big surprise when she sees the woman’s face. But we don’t see what the surprise is until the next issue. Perfecta manages to blackmail Cassie into throwing the swimming marathon in the finals after she discovers Miranda is seeing her mother illegally. On the other hand, Perfecta looks like she is seriously overdoing her training in her crazy determination to win the event…
Meanwhile, in “Darling Clementine” Ella’s training for the water-skiing event is not going well. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. And poor Ella is still being wrongly blamed for Clem’s accident and is not even allowed to visit her in hospital. She has to pay surreptitious ones.
In “Come into My Parlour”, Jody is still under the power of Mother Heggerty, who is forcing her to harm the Saxton family. But her sister Tess has begun to notice things. Can she help?
Meanwhile, the parents in “Two Mothers for Maggie” are no help to her – in finishing her homework. The extra chores she is forced to do are making it worse and worse and slaving is all step-dad sees Maggie as fit for. Miss Keyes offer to talk to them, but will they see reason? We will have to wait until next week to find out.
And in “Waking Nightmare”, Phil Carey believes she has finally tracked down the institution where Carol is being held. But how to get in?
Finally, we have the blurb that “Concrete Surfer” will start next week. “Start the gripping story of this rebel on wheels in your next super JINTY!” Funny, the blurb says the issue will be out on Monday, January 23 – but this issue is January 21. Looks like a typo.
Bizzie Bet and the Easies – artist Hugh Thornton-Jones
Rock of Destiny – artist Rodrigo Comos (Gypsy Rose story)
Fairy Cakes and the Good Fairy (text story)
Gwen’s Quiz Show (feature)
See – It’s Spring! (feature)
The White Blackbird – artist John Richardson (Gypsy Rose story)
Handing it to You! (feature)
Dream of a Holiday… (quiz)
Porthole of Panic (Gypsy Rose story)
Welcome Your Guests to Your (word missing) – feature
Wedding in the Family (text story)
The Tansley Tresses – artist Carlos Freixas
The Yellow Dress – artist John Richardson (Gypsy Rose story)
A Present for Tina – unknown artist (Merry) – text story
Twice as Nice with Rice! (feature)
Neck and Neck! (feature)
Laddie – artist Peter Wilkes (Gypsy Rose story)
Alley Cat (back cover)
There are a few holes where someone cut things out, so the title on one of the features is incomplete. One feature, “Neck and Neck” is unusual for being about boyfriends; it advises you on the types of boy you might meet on holiday. “Handing it to You!” is all about palmistry, no doubt a nod to Gypsy Rose. Speaking of which, most of her her stories in this special all seem to be more recycling of old Strange stories. The exception seems to be the last one, “Laddie”. Here, Gypsy Rose is drawn by the same artist who draws the story. “The Tansley Tresses” may possibly be a recycled Strange story too. But there is no Gypsy Rose, just a text box introducing us to the story. So perhaps it is Jinty’s own story. The Tansley women have been outstanding athletes for decades. Grandma says it is because their long hair (shades of Samson!) gives them strength. Grand-daughter Joan thinks this is rubbish and cuts off her tresses because short hair is easier for athletics. But then Joan seems to lose her strength for no apparent reason and even becomes wheelchair bound – until Grandma pins her tresses back on.
“Wedding in the Family” seems to be a reprint from elsewhere. Beccy’s sister Liz Britton is getting married, but things begin to go wrong when Beccy discovers another Elizabeth Britton who was jilted at the altar and died of a broken heart. And Liz is to be married on the anniversary of the event. Becky begins to worry that history will repeat itself, and for a while it looks like it is. Thankfully it turns out to be a misunderstanding and the wedding goes as planned – but there seems to be an extra guest dressed in old-fashioned clothes….
“Bizzie Bet and the Easies” is drawn by Hugh Thornton-Jones rather than their regular artist, Richard Neillands. Thornton-Jones has had plenty of experience in drawing humorous and zany strips such as Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag, so he must have felt at home here. The Easies are not pleased when Bet drags them off to see an old stately home. The Easies win in the end, as usual. In fact, they even end up enjoying their visit because they are rewarded with a slap-up meal because their hijinks to take things easy end up doing the owner a favour.
Note: writerAlan Davidson used a similar plot for his book The Bewitching of Alison Allbright
Jackie Lester is discontented and fed up at missing out because her family is poor. She can’t afford school trips and outings and does not invite anyone over because she is too ashamed to let them see her shabby house. As a result, her classmates get the impression she is standoffish and don’t invite her over. This does not do much for her popularity at school – or her self-confidence. And Jackie cannot afford a pony like most of the other girls although she is good with horses. This leads to constant rows with her family; the parents are distressed and say they do their best while Jackie’s sister Wendy tries to reason with her, to no avail.
One day, another row with her family has Jackie running off, and she nearly gets run over. It is the rich Mrs Mandell, who has just moved into the district. Mrs Mandell looks like she has seen a ghost when she sees Jackie and orders her chauffeur, Dowling, to track Jackie and then find out all he can about her. Dowling soon gives a full report on Jackie’s discontent.
Under pretext of making amends for the near-accident, Mrs Mandell offers to take Jackie on a school outing. Jackie is outraged when her parents decline the offer as they do not approve of gifts from strangers. She has no idea how right her parents are; Mrs Mandell hopes that the offer will be the lure to get to work on her.
And Mrs Mandell does get to work on Jackie. Being a rich lady, Mrs Mandell can offer Jackie the riches she wishes for. It starts with weekends at Mrs Mandell’s, with Jackie being groomed to be a lady. Her family comment on what a snob she is turning into because of this, which widens the rift between them. Then Mrs Mandell gives Jackie a secret name – Isabella, and during her special lessons, Jackie has to wear a wig to adopt the persona of Isabella. Jackie finds it strange, but soon likes it because it gives her confidence she never felt before. She is like an ugly duckling turning into a swan. And even better, there are riding lessons.
There seems to be a dark, insidious side to becoming Isabella. It starts when Jackie finds that Mrs Mandell starts entering her in gymkhanas under the name of Isabella Mandell – and starts telling everyone that she is her daughter! Now Jackie is living a lie as Mrs Mandell’s daughter, but she seems to be caught in a web of deceit she can’t get out of. Besides, it still gives her everything she could wish for, including trips to Paris.
Jackie is becoming confused about her own identity – is she Jackie or Isabella? Her confusion grows when Mrs Mandell starts insisting that Jackie call her Mummy. Mrs Mandell even blackmails Jackie with it – accept being her daughter without question or lose everything Mrs Mandell has given her. It looks more and more like Mrs Mandell is trying to lure Jackie away from her family and turn her into her own daughter.
Mrs Mandell’s hold over Jackie is causing more and more upsets in the Lester household. Jackie neglects Mum’s birthday and even goes off with Mrs Mandell instead of going on the birthday outing, which ruins the occasion. But the birthday is well and truly ruined when Mum sees through Jackie’s disguise at the restaurant, so Jackie has them all thrown out of the restaurant, just to silence her. The family are upset that Jackie is not appreciating the small treats they are contriving to give her to assuage her discontent. Jackie grows even more dissatisfied with her home and she calls her family “common”. Wendy tells Jackie that Mrs Mandell is breaking up the family. It reaches the point where Jackie actually slaps Wendy!
But there is a dark side to being Mrs Mandell’s daughter. Mrs Mandell has been training Jackie for gymkhanas, but when Jackie does not do well at her first event, Mrs Mandell goes completely fanatical and starts training Jackie to the point of exhaustion and beyond her limits. And it gets more frightening when Jackie discovers a portrait of Isabella. It seems there had been a real Isabella Mandell. But the riches still tempt Jackie to stay. And Jackie still wants to be Isabella, but Mrs Mandell says that in order to do so, she must turn her back on her family altogether and become Isabella on a full-time basis. Eventually Jackie does so, by faking her death.
The classmates’ mourning of Jackie has an upside – they finally see Jackie’s home, and once they do, they realise the real reason for Jackie’s seemingly standoffish conduct and regret their misjudgement.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mandell’s demands on Jackie get even worse. She becomes obsessed with Jackie winning the Princedale Trophy. This is an extremely tough event, and the training becomes even more demanding, gruelling, and merciless. Jackie grows even more terrified because she knows she does not have what it takes to win the trophy. It culminates in a nightmare that seems to be a premonition of what will happen at the Princedale event.
But Wendy suspects that Jackie is not dead and starts investigating Mrs Mandell’s past. She discovers that the daughter Isabella is dead – so the current Isabella cannot be her and therefore must be Jackie in disguise, just as she suspected. Wendy learns that Isabella was driven to her death by her mother’s obsession with her winning the Princedale Trophy. She was so terrified at the thought of failing her mother that she just rode off blindly and was killed in a road accident. Mrs Mandell was blamed and forced out of her old district. Wendy now sees how Mrs Mandell contrived to recreate Isabella in Jackie because Jackie resembled Isabella (the only difference being their hairstyles, hence the wig Jackie has to wear as Isabella) and have her make another bid at the trophy. She realises that Jackie is in terrible danger, from the same obsession that killed Isabella. She tries to talk sense into Jackie, but Jackie has her removed. Wendy finds help and they go after Jackie.
Mrs Mandell takes Jackie to the real Princedale course for a dry run. But Mrs Mandell’s demands finally get too much and Jackie “does an Isabella” – run off wildly on the horse. Wendy and help arrive in time to prevent Jackie from getting mangled by a car. But she does get knocked out, fulfilling the premonition in the dream. Mrs Mandell is horrified at the near-replay of Isabella’s death and belatedly opens her eyes to what she has done.
Mrs Mandell ends up in a nursing home. The doctors say she will recover one day. Jackie is happily reunited with her family. She now feels gratitude in her family life instead of discontent, has no shame in having friends over, and feels lucky compared to Isabella.
“Jackie’s Two Lives” was Ana Rodriguez’ second story for Jinty, starting straight after “Make-Believe Mandy”, the Rodriguez story in the very first Jinty lineup. After Jackie, Rodriguez would start straight on her third Jinty story, “Tricia’s Tragedy”. Another example of how Jinty liked to keep her artists in constant business.
Snobbery is something normally ascribed to spoiled rich girls in serials, but here Jinty turns the snob theme on its head. She shows us that snobbery can arise in the lower classes too, with a poor girl who is too ashamed to let her home be seen by her classmates because she has snobby attitudes that become even more manifest as riches come into her life and her head gets turned by the manipulations of Mrs Mandell. Her sister Wendy takes a more sensible attitude. Presumably Wendy has no problem with inviting mates over, but Jackie has clearly not learned from her example. The double life Jackie leads inflames her snobbery even more, even to the point where she hurts her family deeply. But in the end, Jackie, although still in a poor family, has changed her whole attitude towards it altogether and is much happier. She sees what she does have – a house full of love – which the unfortunate Isabella did not, for all her wealth, and Jackie is grateful for it. And once she is not ashamed to invite friends over, she finds she was making a big fuss over nothing. They don’t mind at all.
We know that Jackie is set for a sharp lesson at the beginning of the story with her disgruntled attitude. The twist is that it came through the thing Jackie wanted – riches. But it comes as little surprise to the readers. There have been so many stories on people finding that riches are not everything or bring happiness they expected, and Jackie finds this the hard way as she discovers what it means to be a poor little rich girl. She has everything she wants and then some as she becomes the new Isabella Mandell. Yet she does not have real happiness or freedom because she is sinking deeper and deeper into a web of lies and deceit while growing all the more terrified of Mrs Mandell and her relentless demands that Jackie knows she cannot meet. We can imagine it must have been the same for the real Isabella – a rich girl with everything but is miserable because she has an over-demanding mother. And for Isabella there was no escape while Jackie has a family she could go back to anytime. Yet Jackie is not pulling herself away despite all the warning signals. The temptation of riches keeps pulling her back and her mind is becoming increasingly confused in a form of brainwashing. She does not know whether she is Jackie or Isabella and then really begins to think she is Isabella who must please her mother, even though she is driving her far too hard in a way that is increasingly ruthless and terrifying. And Mrs Mandell herself is a very crafty and skilful manipulator in the tactics she uses to ensnare Jackie and deliberately drive wedges between Jackie and her family. It is all part of her plan to lure Jackie away altogether and make Jackie her own. It takes the shock of the accident to clear Jackie’s mind and restore not only her sense of identity but her senses as well.
From the moment Mrs Mandell orders her chauffeur to monitor Jackie, we know it bodes ill for Jackie. We also see Mrs Mandell in the role of the wicked witch who tries to lure a child away with treats and take advantage of her poor family situation. The thing is, we don’t yet know if Mrs Mandell is truly wicked and out to kidnap a child for some sinister purpose or if she is need of a psychiatrist. But as we begin to see it is all tied up around the mystery of Isabella, we are all eager to follow the clues and see if we can solve the mystery.
The ending may be a bit slick, with Mrs Mandell suddenly waking up after her one-tracked obsession with Isabella winning the trophy. On the other hand, the shock of seeing it happening all over again may have done what the first round did not. And there is some pity for Mrs Mandell when she ends up in the nursing home at the end and Jackie still feels Isabella haunts the place somehow (though she never actually lived there). It is understandable that Mrs Mandell was a grieving mother who wanted her daughter to live again. And she does redeem herself somewhat at the end when she finally realises what she has done. But it took a near-second time for her to do it. She did not learn from her mistake the first time.
We can see plenty of situations lessons that are all too much like real life in here. Tragedies resulting from obsessed parents driving their children too hard and making demands that are way too high. Grieving parents who want their children back in one form or another. Poor people wanting riches, but if they get them, do they get them the right way and does it really serve their best interests? And if you are poor, one thing you can do about it is your attitude towards it. Jackie should be a case story for The Secret, which says to look for the things you do have, not the things you don’t have. Every day look at the things to be grateful for, not brood on what you don’t have. Your situation will be so much better and you will be much happier. And finally, the old adage: be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.
It’s a Dog’s Life – text story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Cuckoo Cookery (feature)
Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
The Captain’s Bride – text story (artist Terry Aspin)
It’s Your Day to be Special! (feature)
The Spoof of St. Elma’s (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Masquerade (artist Shirley Bellwood)
Fishing for Compliments! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
A New Hobby for Every Mood! (feature)
My Lady’s Fan (text story)
Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
Grey Owl and the Beaver (text story)
The Ghost of Charlotte – Gypsy Rose story
I have the misfortune to be missing a few pages in this special, so I do not have the ending to “The Spoof of St. Elma’s” or the title of the text ballet story that follows. If anyone can help, I would be most grateful!
Update: I now have the missing information, which I will supply later.
The special starts off with a Cinderella story “The Girl on the Pier”. The McLorys and their niece Belinda move into a seaside town where they start a guest house. But it’s Belinda who is lumbered with all the work and no pay. A bit of fun would make it better, but there’s no fun either – except for her friend Noreen who promises fun on the pier when it opens. And when it does, Belinda has the time of her life and Noreen says she can stay forever. Back at the guest house, the uncle and aunt are puzzled by their niece’s disappearance, as the only pier around is one that burned down years ago. They begin to think they will never see their unpaid slave again….
With “The Spoof of St. Elma’s”, Jinty takes a rare foray into the theme of the sadistic school where the headmistress believes in the harshest discipline that makes for torture. But there is a twist that turns the theme upside-down. The “cold and unfeeling” Miss Reed, who takes great pride in making St Elma’s “the harshest and strictest school in the country” (grim teachers and appointing the hardest girls as prefects are among her methods) retires and is replaced by Miss Steele. Miss Steele was chosen by Miss Reed herself for carrying on the Reed tradition, so the pupils brace themselves for more of the same. But Miss Steele seems to be poking fun at the whole thing when she humiliates the grim teachers by having them do PE in front of the pupils and then tell them to sing nursery rhymes, mimic an air raid to teach pupils about World War 2, and other bizarre things she directs over the newly-installed loudspeakers that are soon turning the harsh discipline of Miss Reed on its head. The odd thing is, nobody ever sees Miss Steele – they just hear her voice over the loudspeakers. Sadly, I am missing the story beyond page 30, so I have no idea what Miss Steele was playing at. If anyone can help, please advise me! I sure would like to know what happened!
In another school story, “Fishing for Compliments”, the headmistress growls at Chrissie for lousy schoolwork and hopes the new maths teacher can do something with her. When the new teacher, Miss Mayhew, moves into Chrissie’s house, Chrissie hopes to take advantage of Miss Mayhew’s love of fishing to divert Miss Mayhew from her grades. But things rebound on Chrissie during a fishing trip and she ends up with extra maths after all. But in the end, everything’s happy and everyone’s laughing over their misadventures.
Regular Jinty features are Bizzie Bet and the Easies and Gypsy Rose – which looks like another recycled Strange story that substitutes Gypsy Rose for the Storyteller. The story is about a brutal aristocrat who takes on a new wife, Charlotte. His brutality ends up killing her, but her ghost takes revenge when he tries to get rid of his former in-laws. He ends up perishing and becoming a ghost himself while they inherit his estate! A most satisfying tale of revenge and retribution on domestic violence.
No Fran, although she had her sequel in 1979. Maybe she showed up in other specials – she certainly made it to an annual or two. But Alley Cat and Rinty ‘n’ Jinty are there to give us the expected dose of laughs!
Update: Helsbels of www.comicsuk.co.uk has supplied me with the missing information. The text story is called Masquerade, and the entry has been amended accordingly. And Miss Steele turned out to be a computer, the only thing Miss Reed thought was capable of carrying on her hard, unfeeling discipline. Too bad for Miss Reed that Miss Steele malfunctioned, hence the goings-on that turned Miss Reed’s regime on its head. And now the computer has blown altogether. Miss Reed says she will soon get Miss Steele up and running the Reed way, but she does not get the chance. The governors are not impressed and neither are the teachers of Miss Reed’s ilk, who resign. They are replaced by school staff and a headmistress who take the opposite approach to Miss Reed, and the school becomes a happier place. So Miss Reed ended up destroying her own regime instead of perpetuating it!
The Slave Girl and the Prince (artist Ken Houghton)
Miss Clever Thinker (artist Douglas Perry)
You’ll Never Swim Again!
The Test of Love (feature)
Oh I Wish I Had Beautiful Nails… (feature)
Gi-Gi of the Circus and Her Horse Go-Go
Things People Say… (feature)
A Chinese Love Story
No Horse Like Hamlet
Why Do We Say These Things? (feature)
Christmas Creations (feature)
The Adaptable Animals (feature)
Locket of Fate (artist Shirley Bellwood)
The “Ghost” of Miss Clare
Autumn’s Child (artist Shirley Bellwood)
The Waxworks Mystery (artist Diane Gabbot)
If Inventors Had Their Way… (feature)
The Diary (artist Bill Mainwaring)
Weather: The Rhyme and the Reason (Feature; artist Joe Collins)
Heart of Ice
Beautiful Tales: La Prima Ballerina
Miss Moneybags (artist Jim Baikie)
Holly Takes the Plunge! (text story)
Sad, Sad Susannah (artist Rodrigo Comos)
Rudolph’s Relatives (feature)
Caravan Christmas (artist Phil Gascoine)
The last two Jinty annuals were not a distinguished run. There was no recognisable Jinty content anywhere. They were a collection of stories, features and jokes that could either be reprints from non-Jinty sources or a mix of such stories and new material. Economics may have been the reason for the drop in quality. But when compared to the Tammy and Misty annuals of the period, this hardly seems a convincing explanation. Both Misty and Tammy continued to run their own material, even if they did fall back on reprints. In 1986 Misty also produced her last annual. This annual had a far reduced number of pages, indicating something serious behind the scenes which may have some bearing on the Jinty annuals. But at least it was still Misty and she was still producing her own material in her annuals. Yet this was not the case with the last Jinty annual of the same year. There was no Jinty content anywhere, just a collection of stories and features. It was Jinty in name only. Some stories, such as “Miss Clever Thinker”, “The Diary”, “Heart of Ice” and “Autumn’s Child” I recognise as reprints from older annuals, including Girls Crystal. “Holly Takes the Plunge!” is also a reprint – ironically, it also appeared as a reprint in the first Jinty annual!
The drop in quality began in the 1984 Jinty annual. While it still had some Jinty material to make it a substantial Jinty annual, the Jinty material had been reduced and some of the content gave way to reprints from older sources. The 1985 annual dropped her Jinty content altogether and was just a collection of stories and features that could make it any old annual (and very likely taken from older non-Jinty annuals). Why was there such drop in the quality of the last two Jinty annuals, particularly when compared to the Tammy and Misty annuals of the same years? Internal politics or economics? Lack of budget? Or something else? We will never know.
Jinty annual 1984 was the last Jinty annual to have any recognisable Jinty material. The next two would be a collection of reprints that were taken from older annuals and were Jinty in name only. Stories that are recognisably Jinty are Alley Cat, Snoopa, and reprints of The Four-Footed Friends and Forget-Me-Not at Christmas. But there is no trace anywhere of Gypsy Rose or Pam of Pond Hill. What appear to be new material are “The Talking Cat”, “Princess Punkerella” and the text stories. And the annual is heavy on features, such as recipes, art & craft, quizzes, general knowledge and games.
We get some Misty in this annual. “The House Across the Way” is a surprise in that it is a reprint from Misty #16. “Princess Punkerella” could be straight out of Misty too, as it is drawn by Honiera Romeu, who was a regular Misty artist. The story is worthy of Misty too, as it concerns a punk girl, Ella Jones, who tries to extort money out of an old lady. The old lady says that her purse has nothing but three wishes. Ella uses the first two wishes to satisfy her greed, but as you might expect, it backfires and Ella’s third wish is to wish she had never met the old woman. Yet this story never appeared in Misty. Neither did “The Talking Cat”, which could be straight out of Misty as well. Shona finds her beloved cat Clovis, who has been taken ill, can suddenly talk. The reason is that he is possessed by an alien, and it’s not long before all the cats in the neighbourhood are talking too! It all turns out to be a dream, but of course Clovis recovers.
While this can be described as the last substantial Jinty annual, it is a bit disappointing that it does not use more Jinty material, even just more reprints. Some of the shorter Jinty stories, such as Tale of the Panto Cat, could have been recycled, and likewise with Gypsy Rose tales. Why did Jinty not use more of her own material – legal reasons, maybe? Or economics? Still, this annual would still satisfy any reader who wants a good read from cover to cover.
It’s been four or five months since we celebrated the 100th post on this blog; things have moved a little slower in the second hundred posts than in the first hundred, but I’m glad to say we’re still going strong.
Back on the 100th post, I asked what people would like to see more of, apart from the posts on individual issues and stories.
More artists and creators! And more discussion of the background and development of Jinty.
More analytical posts
There was some discussion of the different natures / ‘personalities’ of the different comics titles (Marionette’s comment “I’ve always thought that the prime three IPC girls comics, Tammy, Misty, and Jinty, have distinct personalities. It’s in the style of the stories they tell, as well as the subject matter, but often it’s cumulative. There are lots of individual stories I’ve found in early Tammy that don’t really fit the Tammy style, but it’s still there in the background. Jinty begins almost as a Tammy clone, with stories like “Make Believe Mandy”, which is pure Tammy, but it soon picks up its own style.”)
Since then, we have posted items on more creators, taking the total of articles on this up to around 8 – many more to do, of course. There has also been some discussion recently about identifying artists, and the tangles that can result in different attributions floating around – again there is more to be done on this, to see if a couple of conundrums can be resolved.
As for analytics – shortly after the 100th post I wrote about my invention of a WTFometer, which I want to get back to as a tool to analyse more stories. I think it could also be interesting as a comparison of a single creator – for instance, Pat Mills wrote a pure SF story, an SF-tinged story, and a sports story. Does this tool emphasise how different the three stories are, or highlight some hidden similarity? I also wrote about interesting omissions: ‘what sort of stories did Jinty not cover?’. There will be more along these lines, for sure.
We have recently branched out into posts on story themes; the notion that there is a ‘type’ that suits one comics title more than another fits into these discussions quite relevantly. The Cinderella theme, for instance, is more prevalent in Tammy than in Jinty, and the Slave story likewise; but the Science Fiction theme perhaps has the reverse pattern of frequency.
As well as starting to post on story types, we’ve also been posting on special publications – annuals, summer specials – and on special features in individual issues. At the same time we haven’t stopped writing about individual issues, or individual stories: at a rough guess I think we’ve covered around or just under half of the individual issues, though probably not as many of the individual stories.
So, over to you: more of anything in particular? A step into new areas? A particular old favourite creator or story to cover sooner rather than later? Let us know!
Happy Ever After…. (artist Audrey Fawley) text story
The Hole in the Wall
How to be a Witch! (feature)
Mystery of the Devil Dancers (writer Linda Blake) text story
Desert Island Daisy (artist Robert MacGillivray)
Second Best Sally
Birthday Budgie (game)
“Starlight” Saves the Train
Midsummer Madness and Michaelmas Magic (feature)
It’s a Laugh! (feature)
All Right on the Night (poem)
Holly Takes the Plunge! (text story)
Dora Dogsbody (artist Jim Baikie)
Ideas…Big and Little!
Strawberry Fare! (recipe feature)
Oh Dear, David! (text story)
Animal Crackers (feature)
Button, Button…Who’s Got the Button? (feature)
Shirley Finds Her Feet
People of the Sea (feature)
Date with a Dreamboat (artist Phil Townsend)
It is the 200th entry on this blog, so what to do to celebrate? Well, The Best of 70s Girls’ Comics Annual reprinted the cover from the 1975 Jinty annual, so it seems appropriate to now take a look at the annual itself – which is in fact the first annual Jinty produced!
Jinty herself appears on page 124, saying it is the first-ever Jinty annual and she was granted the right to be the first person to read it. But ye Editor suddenly realised he forgot to include Jinty herself in it and had to take fast action to redress the oversight. So Jinty appears on page 124 rather than page 1, with Gary Glitter himself! What a way to make it up to her and give the readers an extra treat!
The annual has six text stories (oddly, one of them, “Mystery of the Devil Dancers” actually credits the writer, Linda Blake), six picture stories, at least ten features, and the regulars are The Jinx from St Jonah’s, Dora Dogsbody, The Snobs and the Scruffs, and Desert Island Daisy. The last two are unusual because they were the most short-lived features from the original Jinty lineup. And Daisy actually appeared in two Jinty annuals after a short span in the regular comic. By contrast, Merry from Misery House, one of the longest-running stories from the original Jinty lineup, did not appear at all in the annuals. Perhaps Jinty was aiming for more lightweight features with her annuals. Or perhaps Merry was regarded more as a serial than a regular and therefore did not qualify to appear.
Dora Dogsbody is drawn by Jim Baikie instead of her regular artist, José Casanovas. In fact, this was the case with all the annuals Dora appeared in. Do-It-Yourself Dot, the longer running of Jinty‘s funnies, makes no appearance while the short-lived Snobs and the Scruffs does. Another oddity in the lineup.
The Jinx from St Jonah’s retains her regular artist, Mario Capaldi. Katie is unsure about joining the latest roller-skating craze at school because she is klutsy enough on her own two feet. The prospect of being selected for a roller-skating/swimming show decides the matter. Katie sure is determined to get into the show, but will her jinxing wreck her hopes – or the show, maybe? Or will Katie land on her feet somehow, skates and all?
As was frequent with young IPC titles, the annual reprints material from older annuals as she was not old enough to reprint her own material in the annuals. The early Jinty (and Tammy) annuals reprinted a lot of old material (some of it under revised titles) from June, and this was very likely the case with “Four on the Road”; there can be no doubt it was originally a serial, and it may or may not be appearing under a revised title. The story concerns two orphaned Italian children Lola and Toni, who are faced with an orphanage after their grandfather dies. Then their adventures begin when their landlord, Signor Borani, has the children collect two dogs and then they get stranded, forcing them and the dogs to take the the road in order to deliver the dogs to their new owner.
Update: I have found that “Four on the Road” originally appeared in Sally.
One text story, “Holly Takes the Plunge” was ironically reprinted in the last Jinty annual in 1986. Talk about bookends.
Some of the shorter stories such as “Eve’s Dream”, “Starlight Saves the Train” and “Shirley Finds Her Feet” may be reprints from older sources as well, because they are not drawn by Jinty artists. “The Helping Hand” and “Date with a Dreamboat” may be Jinty as they are both drawn by regular Jinty artists. The former is an intriguing story about a student nurse who is struggling with her training until she gets help from a strange character dressed as a jester. Then she sees the same jester in a portrait and discovers he founded the hospital 800 years ago. Someone playing a joke or did the founder return to help the nurse? Whatever the truth, Jinty seems to be stretching credibility a bit with a jester founding a hospital – even if he did persuade the king to grant him the land for it. All the same, the story is fun to read. The latter, quite surprisingly for the times, is a boyfriend-themed story. Claire takes a fancy to Tom, but soon finds herself in a love triangle with Susie – Tom’s boat! And Susie seems to be just as unhappy with the situation as Claire when Claire joins Tom for a sailing in Susie. But of course things work out in the end.
The first Jinty annual can be regarded as an enjoyable read. It cannot be described as having a full Jinty feel as it is a mix of Jinty stories (some of which are a bit surprising) and reprints of older IPC material. But that is understandable as Jinty was still getting established and did not yet have enough material to fill her annuals with her own material. It is a good start to the run of Jinty annuals that would sadly end on a whimper. The last two Jinty annuals were Jinty in name only; they were just a collection of reprints from older comics and not a trace of Jinty material anywhere.
I have recently added a couple of new links on the links sidebar; it seems to me that there are some relevant points worth airing and asking about, in the area of attribution of work.
I’ve written before about the difficulty of attributing work to artists in the absence of proper printed story credits (how much harder to attribute work to writers! but that’s another post). On this blog many of the names of artists have come from information supplied by experts such as David Roach, or from internet links written by others who are particularly keen on one or other artist themselves. How to verify these different sources, when even experts can make mistakes or have their attributions occasionally mistyped?
Take Angela’s Angels, for instance; which has been consistently attributed to Alberto Cuyas on this blog. It now seems clear to me that we should have been listing him as Manuel Cuyàs all along, as this set of links on Spanish-language blog Deskartesmil shows. I got to that information via a link on the Comics UK Forum while looking for another artist, Stanley Houghton. Now Stanley Houghton is someone who is a possible candidate to be credited with the art on “The Hostess With The Mostess“; I have been pointed at a very useful reference site, Catawiki, which lists him as the artist on one issue of “Hostess” but not all of them. I will have to go back to my issues and see if the artist on this strip differs in different weeks, particularly as the Stanley Houghton art I have seen on links is very nice and I don’t remember the “Hostess” art being as nice as that.
So at this rate I have at least two sets of changes to make, one of which is more uncertain than the other.
Another name I have come across on Catawiki is Leo Davy, who is credited with the art on “Angela’s Angels” (see how it comes full circle!). There is little on the internet about this artist, but new-to-me blog ‘Out of This World’ has a post that includes the fact that Girl credited artists and writers, at least on the annual that is discussed. There are some pages of Leo Davy art posted there (it’s a long post, so search for “The Red Pennant” which is the story that Leo Davy drew). Based on this, I don’t agree with Catawiki’s attribution of “Angela’s Angels” to Leo Davy, but I am sure that Davy drew other stories I have come across.
Anyway, I have now linked to Catawiki and to ‘Out of This World’; the Comics UK Forum was already on the sidebar of links and has provided much useful information (and indeed scans) before now. I think the only conclusion that can be drawn is that attribution of artists is hard! The scans on sites such as Lambiek’s Comiclopedia, which I also use as reference, are often quite small and show the variety of styles that an artist can work in, which is great, but I think the best way to identify an artist is often a specific ‘tic’ – the way they draw hands, or mouths, or even shoes – and for that you need a good-size scan so that you can really focus on those details.
Later on I will update this post with some images from the various artists in question, and some “Angela’s Angels” artwork, as a direct comparison!
Images for comparison
Angela’s Angels artwork from first episode
Quite a nice range of faces, and a good couple of active moments in those first panels, meaning we should hopefully have enough to go on.
This is the art credited to Manuel Cuyàs, on a specialist Spanish blog. Some similarities to the “Angela’s Angels” art but also some differences there I think, in the faces and linework. (The same blog credits Manuel Cuyàs with “Angela’s Angels” but without attaching any art examples.) On the basis of these examples, I am tempted to retract the assignment of Cuyàs to “Angela’s Angels”, in fact – though I definitely have another Jinty story (in an annual) that I would be confident of saying is by Cuyàs.
This is the Leo Davy art, credited clearly in the Girl Annual posted about on the ‘Out of this World’ blog. Of course “Angela’s Angels” isn’t in this more painted style. Again, there are similarities but I am not clear that this is the artist either.