- Ring of Feathers (artist Santiago Hernandez)
- Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit (photo story)
- Their Darling Daughter (artist Bert Hill)
- Miranda’s Magic Dragon (artist Carlos Freixas)
- Stairway to the Stars (photo story)
- The Incredible Shrinking Girl! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
- The Princess Diana Story – Feature
- Sadie-in-Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
- Princess Diana Pin-up – Feature
Here we continue the theme of more context around Jinty’s family tree at IPC. As I do not have #1, I present #4, which is the earliest issue in my collection, to represent Princess. Updated to add: I now have Princess #1, and its entry is here.
Princess (not to be confused with the 1960s Princess, later called Princess Tina) ran from 24 September 1983 to 31 March 1984, and then it merged into Tammy on 7 April 1984. It was riding on the popularity of Princess Diana, and included pinups of Diana and the story of Diana’s life. It lasted for 28 issues and, unusually for IPC girls’ titles, numbered its issues. Up until #18 it had a lot of colour pages and two photo stories, one in black-and-white and the other in colour. But it had fewer pages than Tammy, which was printed on cheaper newsprint than Princess. From #19 Princess dropped the photo stories and colour pages and switched to the same newsprint, format and number of pages as Tammy. This is similar to the pattern that Penny followed three years earlier before it merged into Jinty.
Princess also reprinted several serials from Tammy and Jinty: “Horse from the Sea”, “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” (completed in the merge with Tammy), “Rowena of the Doves” and “The Dream House”. These changes and reprints are signs that Princess was not doing well. Ironically, the reprints in Princess enabled some original Jinty artwork to survive the cavalier manner in which IPC handled original artwork.
Princess stories were not particularly memorable or well remembered, and some only lasted a few episodes. One, “The Incredible Shrinking Girl!”, looks like it is on its penultimate episode, and it is only #4.
Other Princess stories were a bit unconventional, such as the photo story “Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit”. Mr Evans has turned himself into a rabbit after messing around with a magic book. Unfortunately the change has not improved his disagreeable character and he is still the “miserable old so-and-so” that his wife does not miss one bit. Nonetheless, Jenny Andrews continues to help him find the book and change back – trouble is, the book has been sold and they need to track it down. This is the colour photo story, which makes it stand out more.
The black-and-white photo story, “Stairway to the Stars”, is a bit of a mix between a soap opera and a serial at a stage school. Right now, the school is now being threatened with closure, just because one mother (who unfortunately has influence with the council) thinks it is not doing anything for her daughter and would rather close the school down than have people think her daughter is a failure. She does not realise her daughter was doing badly on purpose because she wanted to be taken away.
“Their Darling Daughter” comes from the long line of stories where a spiteful schemer tries to get rid of a foster girl/cousin. In this case it is a housekeeper in an aristocratic household, who idolises the parents’ late daughter and does not want foster-girl Sylvie taking her place. Unusually for this type of serial the victim has an ally – her dog!
“Ring of Feathers” is the abusive guardian story, except that heroine Cheryl Gibson does not fully realise how cruel her Uncle John is. Her mother does, though – Uncle John makes her work like a slave for hardly any money and now he has started hitting her. Meanwhile, Cheryl is given a ring that gives her strange powers with birds. We eagerly wait to see how that is going to work against nasty Uncle John.
In “Miranda’s Magic Dragon”, Merlin’s granddaughter Miranda has travelled in time to 1983 to escape the evil sorcerer Mordac. There she makes friends, and also an enemy out of greedy Paula, who has stolen her magic pendant. This could get Paula into an awful lot of trouble with Mordac, who is after it too. But where’s the dragon? It’s the emblem on the magic pendant.
“Sadie-in-Waiting” is the resident cartoon strip and would carry on in the merger, replacing Tammy’s Joe Collins strip “The Crayzees”. As with Molly Mills, it is a maid vs. a devious butler, but played for weekly laughs.
3 thoughts on “Princess (series 2) #4, 15 October 1983”
The Incredible Shrinking Girl does indeed end in issue 5. Clare regains her normal size when her sister decides to spray the fly on whose back Clare is riding. The fly spray reacts with the chemicals in the food sampler. I was going to add that I couldn’t see Thomsons ever using such a theme but then I remembered Mr Mystery Jordan in Adventure in 1951. At one point in one instalment, thanks to Jordan’s extraterrestrial skills, a nosy newspaper reporter finds himself one foot tall up a tree.
Ben, the dog in Their Darling Daughter, doesn’t belong to Sylvie. He has been waiting every night for a year for his owner Rachel to come home, which obviously she won’t as she has died.
In Ring Of Feathers Cheryl discovers that the birds are helping her cope with school bully Jean Gibson. Crucially though they help to collect all the pieces of the original deed to the house and woods that Uncle John has ripped up and thrown away now that he has a forged replacement. Despite their condition a lawyer tells Cheryl that the deed looks authentic so will not let one inch of the wood be harmed until he can compare the two. When the uncle is on the point of capturing Cheryl the birds help her to float over a collapsed bridge.
In Miranda’s Magic Dragon Mordac kidnaps the whole house, which travels back in time with Miranda’s friend Liz Munro in it. Liz tells her story to King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. The Black Knights kidnap Liz and take her to Mordac, who tells her that she will be bait to bring Miranda back. Miranda realises that she now knows the secret of the pendant, and can use it to defeat Mordac. She tells Liz’s parents that she has to go back to Camelot, and going back in time she then sees Liz imprisoned.Surprisingly she gives the pendant to Mordac, and to Liz’s horror he uses it to get a bolt of lightning to strike the two girls. What actually happens though is that five sets of chains go whirling through the air, imprisoning Mordac and his men by wrapping themselves round them as Miranda has used the pendant for good ends, not evil ones. Miranda then sends Liz and their house forward through time. Finally Miranda is made a magician to the Court just as her grandfather had been.
The artist on Ring of Feathers does not look like Santiago Hernandez to me, but rather more like Purita Campos.