Stories in this issue:
- The Girl Who Never Was – first episode (artist Terry Aspin)
- Wild Rose (artist Jim Baikie)
- Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
- No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
- Pullout “International Velvet” souvenir
- Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
- Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
- The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters)
After a little hiatus due to the summer holidays (on my part, at least – of course Mistyfan has posted her article on Cliffhangers versus non-cliffhanger endings), I have dug out a number of consecutive issues for a part of Jinty‘s run that we haven’t done much on. I should hopefully be able to write some posts on stories from this time period, too.
Fran’ll Fix It returns in this issue – one of the very few Jinty characters given a sequel. She leads on the cover but the first story inside is an entirely new one, “The Girl Who Never Was”. This is a favourite of mine: it has magic, a parallel universe, an annoying anti-heroine who is taken down several pegs in the story, and beautiful art by Terry Aspin. Tina Williams is a conceited know-it-all who has some grounds for being big-headed: she is clearly actually very talented at everything she does, but far too full of herself as a result. In the opening four pages we get plenty of evidence for how annoying she is, including making enough of a nuisance of herself at the end of term treat – a magical spectacle by entertainer Salina the Sorceress – that Salina threatens to make her disappear and perhaps never return… or ‘not to this world, anyway’. Of course Tina thinks it’s all just Magic Circle trickery that she can see right through – but her conceit is punctured when she opens her eyes in a deserted theatre that has been closed for months, and has to walk home to parents who fail to recognize her and say they don’t even have a daughter…!
“Wild Rose” is a relatively run-of-the-mill story of a runaway with a hidden past and a special talent, though I always have a soft spot for Jim Baikie’s art, which is striking and strongly-drawn at this point in time. Rose Harding left the circus life to find out who her real mother is: the search seems to be leading her to famous gymnast Lady Vere. Could her gymnastic ability be inherited? What will Rose find out now that she is living in Lady Vere’s gymnastics school? and what secrets will the gypsy with the mysterious moon-shaped scar eventually tell her?
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” was such a popular story that it stretched for 36 episodes, and at this point it is only reaching about the half-way mark. Little brother Max is terrifyingly ill with pneumonia, Dorrie has had to tell her story to Mr Harris, the producer of the version of the show she has been starring in, and at the end of this episode Max is lying in an oxygen tent and may not recover. Anyone would think this might be the cliffhanger for the penultimate episode… but no.
“No Cheers for Cherry” has stage-struck Cherry Campbell dreaming optimistically of making it big on the stage, or at least impressing her uncle, aunt, and cousins with her abilities to learn a script and to step in if necessary to save the show. Her family are clearly happy to exploit Cherry’s good nature and naivete, but it doesn’t have the truly nasty edge of a full-on Cinderella story.
This issue has a four-page pull-out, about the film “International Velvet”. If anyone is interested in the teenage Tatum O’Neal, there are some interview quotes and rather striking photos, though of course the poor-quality newsprint paper makes the print reproduction a bit muddy.
Clancy is no longer on trial, at least in some ways – her grandfather has announced that he likes her spirit so much that he is making her his business heir. This has understandably upset her cousin and family, who have been trying hard to make sure Clancy recovers from the effects of her serious accident. Now Grandfather has organized a big party to make the announcement, but cousin Sandra and family are going out for the day and leaving them to it. The tonic that Clancy has been taking to help boost her confidence is really needed now, but all that happens is that she falls down in a faint and may be worse off than ever…
Fran kicks off her return by talking to the readers, as ever – she is quickly drawn into the usual mad scrape of a story. This time, she is sent to the Headmistress’s office for larking about but immediately hatches a plan to replace the current window cleaners with a cut-price replacement – herself, and three school friends, dressed up as cleaners. Won’t the staff recognize them right away? Not with the cunning addition of specially-glued on beards… which is all very well, but Fran did say “don’t worry about them coming off”…
The final story in the issue is “The Human Zoo” – a piece of classic SF taking on alien abduction and animal rights, with the addition of great scene-setting like two-headed animals and telepathic aliens with big domed heads. Shona is made to be part of a cruel circus act as the aliens watch and laugh. How long can she survive it, when it involves her being nearly drowned night after night?