Monthly Archives: June 2015

Jinty & Lindy 10 January 1976

JInty 10 January 1976

  • Slaves of the Candle
  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Friends of the Forest (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Golden Dolly, Death Dust! (artist Phil Gascoine) – last episode
  • Ping-Pong Paula (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Too Old to Cry! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wanda Whiter than White (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Haunting of Hazel (artist Santiago Hernandez)
  • Song of the Fir Tree (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Penny Crayon

This is the last episode of “Golden Dolly, Death Dust”, so it is fitting that it should have a final appearance on the cover too. Next issue Phil Gascoine starts his new story, and the longest he ever drew for Jinty – “Fran of the Floods”. And although Nell’s story says she’s “Too Old to Cry”, the cover definitely shows her crying in this episode. I have always felt the title of this story was a bad one. Couldn’t they have chosen something more descriptive?

Elsewhere, Ping-Pong Paula has achieved her latest victory. But Mum spoils it with her pride and turns away because she was obliged to share Paula’s victory photograph for the paper with her estranged husband. We are told that it’s the climax for this story next week. Oh good – it’s about time those quarrelling parents were sorted out.

“Slaves of the Candle” is also approaching its climax, with Mrs Tallow threatening to burn down the House of Candles – with all Lyndy’s friends in it – if Lyndy tries to stop her stealing the Crown Jewels. At this, the long-fighting Lyndy finally gives in. But the blurb for next week tells us fate has a surprise in store. The artist has also changed for this story; Roy Newby has been replaced by a filler artist, whose name is not known. But Newby will be back to draw the story that replaces this one – “Bound for Botany Bay“.

In “Friends of the Forest” a new friend, Maya, emerges to help Sally against the nasty Walkers who treat her like a slave and want to sell her beloved deer to a circus. But it turns out that Maya is on the run, which is sure to cause even more problems.

Wanda, the biggest tattletale in the school, makes herself even more unpopular, and poor Sue cops some of the blame as well. And now Wanda’s been appointed a prefect, which means it’s bound to get worse. And it starts with Wanda accusing Sue of stealing!

Hazel’s beginning to understand why she’s being haunted, and she is defying orders to go home so she can investigate some more. And it looks like she’s going to get some help from Marnie, the old woman of the mountain.

And in “Song of the Fir Tree”, Solveig and Per have escaped Grendelsen’s latest attempt to kill them. Unfortunately their father thinks Grendelsen succeeded and is giving up the search for his children and heading home.

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Lindy Summer Special

Lindy Holiday Special

  • Diana’s Dolphins (artist Tom Hurst)
  • Curiouser & Curiouser (feature)
  • Carrie Calls the Tune! (text story)
  • Be a Summer Butterfly… (feature)
  • The Millionaire Dog (artist Jesus Redondo)
  • Tell Your Fortune? (text story)
  • Where the Lion is King (feature)
  • Know Your Stars (pop quiz)
  • The Ghost of Hermit Island (Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Someone Else’s Pony (text story)
  • Dragonacre
  • Can You Keep Your Mates? (quiz)
  • Hard Days for Hilda (artist Dudley Wynne, writer Terence Magee)
  • I Remember (poem)
  • Penny Crayon
  • Milk-Round Maggie (artist Mike White)
  • The Flower of Chivalry (feature)
  • Our Friend Prickles (hedgehog feature)
  • Jumping Jenny (text story)
  • A Quilted Night-Dress Case (feature)

Lindy was an extremely short-lived comic, despite the “great launch” the special says she had. She lasted only 20 issues before becoming the first comic to merge with Jinty in 1975. So this is most likely to be the only summer special Lindy produced. It looks like the special came out while Lindy was still running because there is an ad urging you to buy Lindy on page 33. Moreover, the editor’s comments on the inside front cover describe the regular comic as “brand new”, and also that it had a “great launch”. But there is no sign of a cover girl called Lindy; it is photographs of people that accompany the comments. Only the signature at the end says “Lindy”. Clearly, Lindy never had a cover girl, unlike Tammy, Jinty (to some extent) or Penny.

My copy regrettably has some missing pages, but at least there is a contents page to fill some gaps. The missing pages are 39-42, so if anyone can provide scans I will be grateful.

The cover certainly is colourful and beautiful. The use of yellow background and pinks and blues in the picture are very eye-catching. The only regular characters Lindy had were “Hard Days for Hilda” and Penny Crayon, which appear here as well. Hilda Hobbs works cheerfully at the hotel where she works, despite the abuse from senior staff. Here the mean cook begrudges a tramp a square meal and blasts Hilda when she tries to do so. But of course there is a complete turnabout in the end: the cook is forced to give the tramp a free meal as a reward when he unmasks a thief disguised as a professor. It is a pity there were not more regulars to give more Lindy flavour to the special.

Lindy special 1

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It is hard to say which stories were written for Lindy and which were reprinted from elsewhere, or whether they are all reprints. Reprint is certainly the case with “The Millionaire Dog”, as Jesus’ Redondo art looks like it came from his early days and is not up to the level of development seen in his artwork for the regular comic. Perhaps it came from June. And the Tom Hurst artwork in “Diana’s Dolphins” looks like it might be some of his earlier work too.

Lindy special 2

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There are some gems in the stories. In “Diana’s Dolphins”, the Dobson family run a dolphinarium, but Dad doesn’t want the girls to find this out when he sends Diana to a posh school, in case they look down on her. But Diana’s swimming skills from her dolphinarium experiences put the school on the map for swimming and Dad finds he had nothing to worry about. In “Dragonacre”, the environment of Dragonacre is threatened when a Mr Barker wants to buy it for development. To save it, Kerry Ward and her friends have to find £2000. It is then that they discover that the legend of real dragons at Dragonacre was not just a legend. And in “Milk-Round Maggie”, Maggie Marvin wins the title of Milk-Round Miss and treats her friends at Paradise Place to a day at the seaside. A yob called Crispin threatens to ruin things with his thoughtless behaviour and disregard for others. But of course it all ends up a smashing holiday – except for Crispin. And in “Jumping Jenny”, new girl Jenny gets off to a bad start at her new school when she is wrongly branded a sneak and sent to Coventry. A teacher discovers her talent for hurdling when she tries to run away, but how can she even get into the team while she is in Coventry?

Lindy special 3

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Addendum: I have found that the special came out on 3 July 1975 while Lindy was only on her third issue.

Rodrigo Comos

Comos signature on Haunting of Form 2B

Rodrigo Rodríguez Comos (1935- ) is an artist with a distinctive style, quickly recognizable as a strong contributor to Jinty and to other British girls’ comics over many years. The Lambiek Comiclopedia has a detailed entry for him in English; likewise there is an entry on Spanish reference site Tebeosfera. He seems to have only started drawing for the non-Spanish market in the late 60s or early 70s, so his work for Jinty was probably quite early on in his career in British girls’ comics. This is in contrast to his slightly old-fashioned style, which I could happily have imagined to have been brought through from the days of comics such as Girl. I say this not to do him down: he is the artist on some key reader favourites. He lives in Spain and currently focuses on oil painting.

“The Haunting of Form 2B” is one of the stories in the launch issue in 1974, establishing Comos as one of the stable of Jinty artists thereafter. This ghost story set in a school has many classic elements: a mystery to be resolved, a school teacher with a difference, weird and scary goings-on, and danger to life and limb before all is cleared up. The fact that the main plot driver is ghostly rather than fantastical or science fictional lends it a less Jinty-like tone; but then Comos drew more ghostly or spooky stories than he did fantastical ones, in Jinty‘s pages at any rate. Having said that, the key story he will be particularly remembered for in this title is the classic SF story “The Robot Who Cried“.

As with many of the Spanish artists seen in Jinty and other comics of the time, Comos often signed his art, which helps to make attribution straightforward.

Jinty cover 12Jinty cover4.jpg

List of Jinty stories attributable to Rodrigo Comos:

  • The Haunting of Form 2B (1974)
  • Destiny Brown (1977)
  • Horse From The Sea (1976)
  • The Robot Who Cried (1977)
  • Various Gypsy Rose stories (various dates between 1977 and 1980)
  • Angela Angel-Face (1980, reprinted from Sandie)
  • Dutch-original stories featuring Fran from “Fran’ll Fix It!”

 

Jinty 1 February 1975

JInty 1 February 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest

It is part two of Katie the Jinx’s weekend with the sea cadets and how the bullying Petty Officer Piggy Porker is taking revenge when he falls foul of her jinxing. But knowing Katie, it will be Piggy who gets sunk in the end.

The latest trick that “Slave of the Mirror” has been forced to pull on Major Rose fails, thank goodness. But the mirror is soon up to its tricks again and forcing Mia to play another trick on him.

In the penultimate episode of “Jackie’s Two Lives”, Wendy has discovered the full danger to Jackie – the same danger that killed the real Isabella, the daughter she is now impersonating for Mrs Mandell. A premonition in a nightmare has given Jackie the same warning, but neither this nor Wendy are enough to break her free of Mrs Mandell’s clutches.

Merry is still striking back at Misery House with her resolve to win a hockey match, but the Warden is out to make sure they fail. When they win despite her, she smashes the trophy, just to show how much she hates Merry, and takes no pride or delight in the fact that her reformatory won. Go figure.

In “Prisoners of Paradise Island”, Sally is still having no luck in making her hockey players realise what a gilded cage they are in and decides it’s time for a change of tactics. We find out what this means in the next issue, and whether it will turn things around.

Dora Dogsbody” and her dogs demonstrate against Ma Siddons’ mean economics, but a snowstorm is messing it up. The good news is they find refuge with a kindly farming couple. But the farm donkey could pose a problem with one of the dogs, who has been reared to look on donkeys as friends.

In the “Kat and Mouse Game”, Kat fears the game will soon be up and is now plotting to get Mouse expelled before she gets found out. Will her “two wicked tricks” next week succeed?

A chance of a new life comes in “Always Together” when Dad’s old mate Mr Lawson offers them a new home in Canada. Will they take the offer next week and the story end in the same issue as “Jackie’s Two Lives”?

It’s birthday time for “Bird-Girl Brenda”, but Mum forgot to deliver the invitations! The party is that evening and snow is blocking hand delivery. But of course it can’t block Brenda’s flying power.

Jinty 25 January 1975

JInty 25 January 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest

As Comixminx has been doing a run of early Jintys, I have decided to do a few too.

Katie the Jinx has won a weekend with the sea cadets. Pity the poor cadets? Not quite – Katie’s jinxing has centred on the bullying Petty Officer, “Piggy” Porker, much to the delight of his long-suffering cadets. By the last panel, Piggy is out for revenge on Katie by forcing her out on a trip on a boat in a rough sea. But the blurb for next week tells us it will be punishment time for Piggy, and we can pretty much guess how.

A seaman of a very different nature is in danger of a most undeserving fate when “Slave of the Mirror” forces her to sabotage his boat during a race.

In “Jackie’s Two Lives”, Jackie is now living the life of Isabella Mandell. It is the life of luxury Jackie has always dreamed of, but there is no happiness. It is also a living nightmare and misery under the demanding mother who is obsessed with her winning the Princedale trophy. Meanwhile, Jackie’s sister Wendy has decided it is time to do some investigating into Isabella Mandell and discovered that she was driven to her death by the same obsession! The story is clearly now headed for its ending, but where is it going to end with what we’ve seen in this episode?

Merry is striking back at Misery House with her resolve to win a hockey match, but the Warden is out to make sure they fail. She does not want her own reformatory to win? Guess it shows how much she hates Merry.

In “Prisoners of Paradise Island”, where the prison is such a gilded cage that its prisoners don’t even realise what it is except Sally Tuff, Sally tries to escape. But she doesn’t have much luck. The only score she gets is a cream cake she throws in a jailer’s face.

Dora Dogsbody” and her dogs strike back too, when Ma Siddons’ ideas of economics is to cut back heating, bathing, lighting and food for Dora and the dogs to the extent where they starve, freeze and creep around the dark with candles while the Siddons couple indulge themselves. Dora decides it’s demo time, but the blurb for next week warns us it will be a disaster.

In the “Kat and Mouse Game”, Kat’s latest trick on Mouse backfires and she gets stuck in a lift while on her way to an audition. Mouse decides to help by secretly taking Kat’s place in the audition. But it doesn’t look like Kat will be grateful – the blurb for next week informs us that she is going to plot to get Mouse expelled. So the story is building up to its climax too.

In “Always Together”, artwork comes to the rescue when food runs low in the wake of Christmas. But the children are in danger of discovery when an old friend of Dad’s turns up.

And “Bird-Girl Brenda” uses her flying power to wash windows while doing some other good deeds on the quiet at the same time.

Penny Holiday Special

Penny Holiday Special

  • Cover – Mario Capaldi
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Wotsits – Feature
  • Snoopa – Joe Collins
  • Summer Time Tips – feature
  • Will of the Birds
  • Edinburgh Scotland
  • Penny’s Super Summer Circus Dice Game!
  • Blunder Girl (artist J. Edward Oliver)
  • Penny’s Holiday Do’s and Don’ts
  • Sweet Eats (feature)
  • Penny’s Happy Holiday Puzzle Spot
  • Penny’s Pebble Maze
  • Cherry and Her Family’s Car Caper (artist John Armstrong)
  • The Day Erik almost Had His Chips: The Risk Business
  • The Treasure Seeker – text story (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Nature Trail – feature
  • Cream Crackers – feature
  • Sad Sal and Smiley Sue (artist SD Duggan)
  • Penny Arcade
  • Blunder Girl (artist Edward J. Oliver)
  • Penny Larfs
  • Wrecker’s Cove
  • Three Friends – poem

Recently I have come into possession of this Penny holiday special and there is nowhere to discuss it except on the blog of the comic it merged into.

As this is a holiday special, it is not surprising that many of the stories focus on holidays, including the regulars in the comic: Sad Sal and Smiley Sue, Tansy of Jubilee Street, and Snoopa. Tansy is drawn by Robert MacGillivray this time (I leave a page of it here for you to draw your verdict on his Tansy), but all her other regulars have their usual artists.

Tansy

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Penny also has a collection of reprints (probably from June), which also have holiday themes. Several of them are connected with boating and seaside, such as “Will of the Birds” and “Wrecker’s Cove”.

Wreckers Cove 1 Wreckers Cove 2 Wreckers Cove 3

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“Wrecker’s Cove” is clearly reprinted from Strange Stories, except that the Storyteller himself has been deleted and replaced with text, and the panels where he should be look like they have been drawn in additionally as the hatching looks more coarse and crude than it does in the rest of the story. The story itself I found a delight – the joke is on an old wrecker! I have reproduced the story here as I wanted to take a scan of it anyway.

There is also a reprint from June’s “Cherry”. As the story is drawn by John Armstrong, it carries over nicely from his artwork on the Enid Blyton adaptations in the regular comic. I wonder if that was what the editor was thinking? In the story, Mum buys a vintage car so she can learn to drive (what a model to start driving in!). Naturally this leads to all sorts of scrapes, including the one Mum is accused of doing to another car. Cherry and her family have to turn detective once they realise another vehicle was responsible.

Cherry

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And the feature, on Erik Estrada of “Chips” shows that life imitates art. Estrada suffers a serious accident on the set – and they use his accident in the footage for the show!

Erik

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This is a pretty solid holiday special. The stories and features will make readers want to read it again and again. It is not quite aimed at the younger readership of the regular comic and seems to be more for a mainstream audience that makes up the readership of Tammy and Jinty. But Penny readers would have enjoyed it all the same.

300th post!

Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, we are continuing to move on with posting to and extending this blog. Since the 200th entry in November 2014, we have very nearly completed the posts on Jinty Annuals and Holiday Specials, including looking at an annual from precursor title June too. More stories have been covered, such as popular story “The Forbidden Garden“; Mistyfan has been doing the bulk of this work, which is much appreciated. She has also forged ahead with writing numerous posts on individual issues too, helping to fill in many gaps. This includes curiosities like the advert for the very first Jinty! However, there are still further gaps for us to get to; for instance back around the 200th post a comment asked for a post on “Battle of the Wills”, and no doubt there are many other favorites people are looking forward to. The story theme posts were added to with the entry on Sports stories, but again these story theme posts could well be added to.

I would always like to do more Creator posts. It was particularly gratifying to be able to do an interview with writer Alison Christie and with artist Keith Robson; getting people to talk about their memories of how things worked and how they did them is really important. As with so many creators, writer Len Wenn is not able to be interviewed but Keith Robson was able to give us some first-hand information that helped to fill out more details on his work. Likewise, Terry Magee wrote in to give us more background on script conferences, which are often mentioned in people’s information about how the editorial process worked. It was also good to be able to correct the attribution of “Angela’s Angels” and do a post on artist Leo Davy, who it is now credited to. There are plenty of creators that could be posted about right away, but if anyone ever has a lead for a creator who is happy to be interviewed for this blog, that would be absolutely excellent. We’re particularly looking for any information on Mavis Miller, who would be able to shed so much light on the names and details behind so much of this comic and others.

There has also been quite a few other general and analytical pieces, such as my post about readers’ memories of the stories they read a long time ago, and one on Female writers in a Girls’ Genre. I also enjoyed writing a series on What Makes a Story Work? Most recently, we have gone back to the WTFometer idea and there are now five posts on this, analyzing some 14 stories so far. Even within a themed group you can get a wide range of story arcs, going from relatively mundane to extreme with serious danger of death or loss of autonomy.

One unexpected direction that this blog has taken is the extension of our knowledge to cover the area of translations and foreign editions. This followed the publication of the Alison Christie interview; comments on this highlighted the fact that a number of her stories had been the subject of European Translations. I had already seen some Dutch translations of Jinty stories, but I would never have predicted the range of the translations we now know about, including into Greek and Indonesian! This work could not have happened without the input of people reading the blog – particularly Marc, Peggy, Sleuth, Yulia, Ruth B. I’m really grateful for this widening of the network that we’re building together. Here’s to the next few hundred posts – I am sure there will be many more to come.

Jinty 2 November 1974

Jinty 2 November 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas) – last episode
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

In “Merry at Misery House”, Merry is going out of her way to help new reformatory inmate Violet Smith, who in turn has gone out of her way to be unpleasant to all the other inmates… Merry is trying hard to prove that solidarity is the best way of dealing with the reformatory life, but will she be proved wrong by hard-nut Violet?

“Left-Out Linda” wasn’t a story I remembered from my original reading of Jinty as a kid, but the final few episodes of it work really well, in that unusually the resolution (the saving of spoiled, thoughtless Linda) is developed over a few weeks rather than given in just a few panels. Unlike in most stories of this ilk, Linda has a grown-up who is sufficiently practical and sensible that she can help her work through the problems caused by her own foolishness. Good for Mrs Grant, the mother of Linda’s exasperated step-father! As I mentioned previously, this story does end up exonerating the step-father more than I would like to see, but it is just so refreshing to see someone who is actually helping the protagonist fix her solution. It didn’t happen very often, did it? I have scanned the pages from this episode for you to enjoy, too; below. It is the last episode of “Wenna the Witch”, which stuck in my mind more than most of the other stories from this time, despite a fairly silly story-line in many ways. I think I must have remembered the lovely Carlos Freixas artwork…

Left Out Linda pg 1
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Left Out Linda pg 2
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Left Out Linda pg 3
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WFTometer V

Comixminx has devised the WFTometer, the idea of which “was to give a framework for looking at how bonkers (or not) a story’s plot was, by comparing the story to an assumed ‘average reader’s situation’. This gives a structured way of comparing stories, including the possibility of finding patterns of oddity in seemingly different stories which are perhaps odd in similar ways”. In WFTometer V, three historical stories from Jinty are put through the WFTometer. They are Bridey Below the Breadline, Slaves of the Candle and Bound for Botany Bay. The three stories also have a common thread of the heroines being victims of injustice. In the first, Bridey Brown and her father are wrongly accused of starting the Great Fire of London. In the second, Lyndy Lagtree is framed for the crime that her captor, Mrs Tallow committed. In the third, Betsy Tanner and her father fall foul of the harsh 19th century law that gets them transported. In this case they are actually guilty of the crimes that got them transported, but their crimes were of desperation and circumstance, not the black-hearted villainy that the judiciary calls it. The ratings for all three stories are very similar as the current times category has been rated “extreme”; all three heroines are in danger of physical death, so emotional, mental and physical security all have the same ratings; and current time period has been rated “big diff”. Their agencies are also very similar because of their backgrounds (class status etc). The differences in ratings mainly lie in family structure, school structure, talents, and in one case, physical location. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.45.59 pm In Bridey Below the Breadline, Bridey still has her father but no immediate family or school. She and her father came to London in search of bakery work but ended up being accused of starting the Great Fire of London. As a result, Bridey has to hide her father, who was injured in the fire, while keeping ahead of the authorities, lynch mobs and using her own talent at baking to survive. And she also falls foul of unscrupulous people who take advantage of her “wanted” status to force her to work for them in a plot to assassinate Charles II. It scores a 38 on the WFTometer. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 3.24.46 pm Slaves of the Candle scores slightly higher at 40. The main difference here is that while Bridey still has her father, Lyndy has no family or parents in sight, so it can be safely assumed she is an orphan with no family. Lyndy starts off as a maidservant who witnesses a crime committed by Mrs Tallow. To silence her, Mrs Tallow kidnaps her and brings her to her candle-making slave racket, where she holds girls prisoner in a basement and forces them to make candles. To make doubly sure of neutralising Lyndy, Mrs Tallow frames her for the crime, confident that the substantial price that is now on Lyndy’s head will deter her from escaping. However, Lyndy is determined to escape, shut down the racket and prove her innocence, but spends a lot of time being constantly recaptured from failed escape attempts. The escape attempt that does succeed leads Lyndy to discover that Mrs Tallow is out to steal the Crown Jewels. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.47.51 pm Bound for Botany Bay scores the highest at 48. Family-wise, Botany Bay scores lower than Slaves of the Candle because Betsy still has her father while Lyndy appears to be an orphan. And unlike the first two girls, Betsy goes to school – at least, before she is transported. The main difference is the shift in location from England to Australia when Betsy and her father are transported. This scores a “big diff”. A small difference also comes in agency in local laws. While the first two heroines had standard ratings there (despite their being on the run), Betsy’s is rated “small diff” because she not only speaks out against the harshness of the penal system during her trial but her case becomes a focal point for prison reformers. But it is not rated “big diff” because in normal circumstances Betsy is an honest girl and law-abiding citizen who would never have dreamed of the things she did to get arrested.

WTFometer IV

Comixminx has devised the WFTometer, the idea of which “was to give a framework for looking at how bonkers (or not) a story’s plot was, by comparing the story to an assumed ‘average reader’s situation’. This gives a structured way of comparing stories, including the possibility of finding patterns of oddity in seemingly different stories which are perhaps odd in similar ways”.

In this WFTometer post I take three well-remembered stories from Jinty that all deal with bullying. They are Tears of a Clown, Waves of Fear and The Slave of Form 3B. The purpose of selecting the bullying theme is to see how the seriousness and effects of the bullying situations in the stories fare on the WFTometer. WTFometer Tears of a Clown In the first, “Tears of a Clown”, Kathy Clowne is subject to teasing, cruel tricks and bullying because of her name and she is clumsy, slow to learn and considered hopeless at everything. The effects of the bullying wear her further down, causing her schoolwork to deteriorate even more. Neither her parents nor school authorities step in to investigate the problem or help Kathy. They also consider Kathy hopeless at everything, fit only to be laughed at, and also a troublemaker because her lashing out at the bullies is misconstrued as violence. Worst of all, the ringleader (or sometimes fate) keeps sabotaging her attempts to prove her talent for running – until Kathy is pushed too far and uses her talent to run away. The psychological effects of the bullying, lack of friends, the outstanding talent for running, and the unusual dog who becomes Kathy’s pet scores “Tears of a Clown” a 20 on the WFTometer. Physical security remains standard as the bullying is not physically abusive or a physical risk, nor does Kathy face any physical danger during her time on the run. WTFometer Waves of Fear

The second story, “Waves of Fear”, scores a 37. The scoring is much higher, mainly because the emotional and mental security of the heroine, Clare Harvey is rated “extreme” for two reasons. First, she is actually mentally ill, which is something extremely unusual for the heroine to be. Second, her illness  (extreme claustrophobia) has been misconstrued as cowardice (and then violent behaviour as it deteriorates further) because it caused her to panic and flee while her friend was drowning in a cave. As a result, Clare not only suffers ostracism and abuse at school and in the community but also from her own parents. They treat her extremely harshly, abuse her emotionally, and neither they nor the headmistress take any action against the bullying Clare is experiencing at school, although they are fully aware of it and it almost got Clare killed when it went too far at one point. Instead, the parents drag Clare straight back to the bullying environment, regardless of how terrified she is of it. The scoring is high on physical danger as well, because Clare’s life is not only put in danger twice but she is driven to the brink of suicide when she also runs away because of the bullying, emotional abuse and her worsening mental state. WTFometer Slave of Form 3B The last story, “The Slave of Form 3B”, is considered the most over-the-top bullying story in Jinty because of the form the bullying takes. Instead of the more usual teasing, blackmail, or emotional and physical abuse the bully, Stacey, uses mind control techniques (hypnotism and telepathy) on her victim, Tania, in order to cheat, steal and sabotage her way to the Girl of the Year Award while cunningly planting suggestions to cut Tania off from avenues of help. Stacey’s manipulation escalates to near death for Tania because of Stacey’s ruthless disregard for her victim, even when Tania gets seriously injured because of Stacey, yet Stacey will not seek help because she just wants to protect herself. Instead, Stacey tries to hide the injured Tania and then cover up with more hypnotism, despite Tania’s worsening condition. It scores a 37 on the WFTometer, tying it with “Waves of Fear”. It might score higher if more information was given about Tania’s background (family structure, parents, pets etc), but we have to go by what we are given in the story.