June cover 18 March 1961.
- Diana’s Diary – first episode
- Jenny – first episode
- Against All Odds – first episode
- Make a Pally-Pup – Feature
- Bambi’s Children – Felix Salten book adaptation
- The Black Pearls of Taboo Island – first episode
- When Did You Last See Your Father? – first episode
- Kathy at Marvin Grange School – first episode
- Cloris and Claire the Sporting Pair – first episode (artist Roy Wilson)
We continue expanding the context of Jinty’s predecessors and family tree by taking a look at the first issue of June, published 18 March 1961. June would enjoy a 13-year run before merging with Tammy on 22 June 1974. Coincidentally, Tammy’s own run would go to the same length. Over the years June had many well-remembered characters and strips, including Kathy at Marvin Grange, Bessie Bunter, Vanessa from Venus, The Strangest Stories Ever Told, Lucky’s Living Doll, Cherry and the Children and Oh, Tinker!. Two of them, Bessie Bunter and the Storyteller, went on for a long run in Tammy after the merger.
June started off with a cover girl on her cover. In later years June covers would feature panels from picture stories, as the Jinty covers would do 1977-mid 1980 and Tammy from mid 1982 to 1984. It is interesting that the free gifts that come with any new comic go for four weeks instead of three, as was seen in the 1970s-1980s. The first issue of June had no celebratory contests or a message from the editor welcoming the new readers. But she did have a crafts page, and also a book adaptation, “Bambi’s Children”.
The first picture story is “Diana’s Diary”. It is a day-to-day diary (and the first entry even has its own date, which isn’t the same as the issue), a bit like “Luv Lisa” but has is a bit more serious. It starts off with Diana facing the prospect of missing out on being chosen for her ballet class’s presentation at the County Festival because of an accident with a bicycle tyre that her brother carelessly left in the hall. Looks like Diana is also the resident ballet story, which was one of the lynchpins of girls’ comics in the 1960s. The other two were horse stories and boarding school stories.
“Against All Odds” is the horse story. June (note the name!) Hurst and her mother want to continue the family horse stables. But they are facing odds in the form of increasing costs that are proving difficult to meet and the villainous Sam Fletcher who is out to buy them out. And of course Fletcher is pulling dirty tricks to get what he wants.
“Kathy at Marvin Grange School” (later just “Kathy at Marvin Grange”) is the boarding school story, and it would run in June for four years. Kathy Summers has grown up in a orphanage and wonders what her origins and parentage were. But instead of embarking on a quest to find out, she is sent off to Marvin Grange because the orphanage thinks she will get a better education there.
“When Did You Last See Your Father?” is a period story set in the English Civil War. Celia Vane’s father goes on the run to protect a vital document from the Roundheads. But the Roundheads are pounding at the door, asking Celia the question that establishes the title.
“The Black Pearls of Taboo Island” is an adventure story with apparent supernatural elements. It is building up to be a treasure hunt story for valuable black pearls on an island armed with a curse that repels anyone who tries to take them. Anyone, that is, except an innocent girl, or so the legend goes. Our protagonist, Sally Grant, looks innocent enough, especially as she has a pet chimpanzee and a father who wants to open his own hospital.
Of course it wouldn’t be complete without humour strips. “Jenny” and “Cloris and Claire” are filling in the role. The first is a nice girl with a penchant for getting into/causing trouble. The second derives its humour from the long (Cloris) and the short (Claire), and bossiness (Cloris) and klutziness (Claire) that always gives her the last laugh over Cloris.
5 thoughts on “June 18 March 1961”
Great to see some titles from the 1950s and 1960s being covered. It’s noticeable that when Fleetway took over from the old Amalgamated Press in the late 1950s they initially favoured new titles over existing ones – some of which had existed for decades. Thus famous names like Film Fun, Radio Fun and Knockout were quickly swallowed by Buster and Valiant, while Princess and June eventually replaced Girls’ Crystal, Girl and School Friend. Personally, I always felt that the AP/Fleetway girls’ comics had more of a Middle Class bias than the titles produced by their rivals DC Thomson (who usually ensured there was a scholarship girl on hand in the poshest school). Nevertheless they did turn out some beautifully drawn and written strips – especially in Princess which was more expensive and featured better printing.
Agree that it is good to see earlier titles being written about! No artist credits included – I assume you have no info on who created what?
Nope, no information on the creators at all.
Cloris and Claire was one of the last regular strips drawn by the great Roy Wilson. I must admit I’d love to know more about the other artists who worked for the early AP/Fleetway girls’ comics.
David Roach might know more, he’s very knowledgeable about identifying these artists.