Stories in this issue:
- The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
- Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
- 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)
- The Hostess with the Mostest
- Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
I have got out two Christmas issues as it is that time of year. This first one is posted exactly 41 years from the date on the cover, and gets us ready for Christmas with some seasonal stories. Katie Jinx and friends are delivering presents collected for the old folks, but a little mishap and someone else’s misunderstanding leads to the presents going astray – with the schoolchums in hot pursuit!
“Jackie’s Two Lives” is not seasonally cheery – it is a creepy and grim story of emotional coercion, now nearing its peak. Jackie Lester has faked her own death and taken on the life of her double, Isabella Mandell – but the hard-driving Mrs Mandell has got her increasingly scared for what will happen next. We have recently learned that this story was written by Alan Davidson, who also wrote the well-known story “The Bewitching of Alison Allbright”; from the available plot summaries this latter seems to be a story very much along the same lines as this one. I wonder if it is as chilling – has anyone read both?
“Merry at Misery House” sees her waking up wondering if she is still ill – because suddenly all the staff and monitors have become friendly and compassionate! Of course it is all to trick an outside warden who has come to inspect the reformatory.
“The Kat and Mouse Game” is not one of my favourites: in the first few episodes, the Jim Baikie artwork looked more rushed than his usual efforts, and it is another story following some well-trodden paths: a bully who gets away with emotional abuse of a timid new girl, plus ballet and scheming to get one’s own way. Having said that, the character of Kat is marvelously full-on: no question of remorse or back-pedalling with her, oh no.
“Prisoners of Paradise Island” is the first Jinty story to feature Trini Tinturé’s beautiful artwork. It’s a light story and fairly silly, which I suppose parallels one of Trini’s last stories for Jinty: “The Perfect Princess”.
“Always Together…” gives us more Christmas atmosphere, as the three orphans manage to outwit a snooping reporter and then try to have a homely Christmas in their cave. Big sister Jilly is doing her darndest to make sure it is a nice time for her two smaller siblings, but when she fails to sell her sketches in time to buy presents and the all-important Christmas meal, it looks like a sad time instead of an uplifting end to the year…
Finally, the evil Mirror seems to be driving its slave into hospital – either through physical injuries, or by breaking her mentally.