Monthly Archives: November 2016

Jinty & Penny 27 June 1981

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  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Food for Fagin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Friends in Need – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • The Broomstick Gymnast – Gypsy Rose (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Horses Around the World
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)
  • Worlds Apart (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Dracula’s Daughter (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Beautiful Jars – Feature

This is one of the few issues where Phil Gascoine’s art does not appear. Neither does Phil Townsend’s. They’re both between stories for the moment, but of course it won’t be long before they’re back.

Pam’s having one of her crazes, and this time it’s really ambitious. She wants a piano! But there are some things Pam has not considered – like there being no room for a piano at home. Eventually she settles for trying out the tuba instead. Will it work out?

This week’s text story is a period story, which is set in Victorian times. Two waifs are trying to get to the country, away from the workhouse. Along the way they meet some very unlikely help – from the very top!

Olivia’s doing her best to raise the money for the dog food to keep ahead of Fagin’s bottomless belly. Unfortunately Fagin and his gargantuan appetite keep messing up every opportunity Olivia finds to fill that tum of his.

It’s another recycled Strange Story this week. A modern gymnast finds herself time travelling back to Puritan times to save a girl who’s been accused of witchcraft, just because she tried out some gymnastics.

Sir Roger’s had enough of bossyboots Gaye and brews a potion to make her his slave. Gaye discovers the trick and decides to play along so as to get her own back.

Pity they couldn’t have a potion like that for Mr Graves, who is continuing with ruthless, overbearing strong arm measures to turn Castlegate into an old-style grammar school as quickly as possible. He’s even barging into classes to force his ideas on teaching pupils upon the teachers.

Tansy wants to participate in a parade for preserving the quality of the environment. She ends up leading the parade with a majorette’s baton, but is crimson with embarrassment to be leading a marching band that is campaigning for noise abatement!

In “Worlds Apart” the girls are now in dream world number three, which is Samantha’s world. Samantha is Sleeping Beauty and her world is a fairy tale world that has to indulge her vanity and lust for power. And if it’s happily ever after for Samantha, the other girls will be stuck in her dream world for life.

In “Angela’s Angels” Sharon’s helping Susannah with her boutique. It ends up doing well, but there are a few mishaps – including making Sharon and Susannah late for duty. Can they get out of this spot?

Jinty and Penny 6 September 1980

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Stories in this issue:

(Cover artist: Mario Capaldi)

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and Veronica Weir) – first episode
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Swim For Life: A Jinty and Penny Special Story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Unscheduled Stop – Gypsy Rose story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Mork ‘n’ Mindy: Behind The Screen (Feature)
  • A Spell Of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend) – first episode

Many thanks to Derek Marsden for the copy of this issue, which he kindly sent on to me.

Pam is on a roll – her ‘witch ball’ brings her luck or so she thinks, and indeed it seems to be the case. By returning it to its rightful owner, her school benefits from help to go on a school trip to France (which leads us on to a whole other set of stories).

“Girl The World Forgot” starts this issue. Initially it looks like an adventure story with a castaway plot, but later on it turns spooky. It is beautifully drawn by Veronica Weir, and through a comment on this blog we found out that it was also written by her too – one of only a very few cases where we know the artist and writer were the same person.

Kathy Clowne is bullied by Sandra Simkins, as so often in her time at school. This time Sandra paints Kathy’s face in greasepaint to make her up in clownface. Not realizing that this has happened, Kathy snaps when a teacher comments ‘What have you done to your face?’ and of course a punishment now looms – even though really it is all Sandra’s fault.

“The Swim For Life” is referred to as a ‘special story’ – it’s a complete two-page story that is presumably reprinted from an earlier title, but unusually it doesn’t fit into the mold of a Strange Story which was normally changed into a Gypsy Rose one. This one is a straightforward adventure story with a brave dog saving the brother and sister who went out in a speedboat and got into difficulties. There are no supernatural elements though, unlike in the Gypsy Rose story “The Unscheduled Stop” – which is likewise by John Armstrong. In this latter story, Jenny Shaw’s parents are arguing non-stop, until an unscheduled train stop shows her the reason in their earlier history for their bitterness, and a way to fix their future.

The letters page this week includes a letter from Sophie Jackson, a science fiction fan, who loved “Land of No Tears” and asked for more SF like that story and “The Human Zoo”. She also specifically said how much she liked the artist who drew both stories and also others such as “Black Sheep of the Bartons” and “Pandora’s Box”, and wanted more by that artist. Perhaps this was part of the reason why the Jinty editors commissioned “Worlds Apart”, also drawn by Guy Peeters?

(I also take this opportunity to comment on the fact that the form that you were supposed to send in with your letters, saying which your favourite stories were, has an issue number printed on it which is otherwise not shown elsewhere. This issue is number 320.)

Finally, it’s also the first episode of spooky-mysterious tennis story, “Child of the Rain”. Drawn by Phil Townsend, this story is flavoured with elements of the South American rainforest, which lends it particular interest in my eyes as I was living in South America at precisely this time. Despite this attraction, I have to admit it’s not the strongest story ever. Jemma West is a keen tennis player and hates the rain because it stops her playing – that is, until an accident in the rain forest, after which she starts to love the rain and to find it gives her extra strength and energy. It shares some similarities with “Spirit of the Lake” (mystery / supernatural elements, and sporting details) which we think is likely to have been written by Benita Brown – I wonder therefore if this story also might have been penned by the same writer.

Jinty & Penny 6 June 1981

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  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Diving Belle – final episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Double Take – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • The Dove of Peace – Gypsy Rose story (artist Bob Harvey)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Just the Job
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • The Mysterious Mynah – Gypsy Rose Story (artist Manuel Benet)
  • Worlds Apart (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Sporting Horses – feature
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)
  • Snoopa (artist Joe Collins)

In this issue Jinty has a double feature on Gypsy Rose stories. “The Mysterious Mynah” is another recycled Strange Story, but “The Dove of Peace” is completely new. This makes a nice change from the Strange Stories Jinty recycled in 1981. “The Dove of Peace” looks like it is being used as a filler because Jinty wanted to start the replacements for “Fancy Free!” (ended last issue) and “Diving Belle” (ends this issue) in one issue.

And how does “Diving Belle” end? Belle trusts Betty and her instinct enough to carry out the dive from the oilrig, even though it could kill her. Readers should not be at all surprised when the dive enables Belle to find her father’s bathyscaphe, so he and his comrades are rescued. That’s what this mysterious diving training has been for all along.

In “Worlds Apart” the sports world is getting increasingly bizarre. You don’t sit down to eat – you are expected to eat while playing table tennis at the same time. And of course it’s all health foods, which the girls loathe. School punishments don’t apply detention or lines; they are designed to make girls lose physical fitness. Meanwhile, Ann’s all set to compete in the war against the Soviet Union. But why is Clare hoping Ann’s side will lose?

Pam persuades the school staff to let the girls have a go at woodwork and the boys sewing. However, Pam is the only girl who enjoys the woodwork. Well, she always was a bit of a tomboy, after all. And the boys? The sewing teacher has not enjoyed teaching the boys because they had a great time wrecking the sewing machines!

In this week’s text story, a psychic bond between twins is causing one to feeling the other’s pain, which is rather putting a damper on the holiday one of the twins won. It all gets sorted out, of course.

Sir Roger’s a bit put out when Gaye says he can’t come to the seaside with the family. He sneaks along anyway, which proves fortuitous. He unwittingly scares off some people (car thieves, police and a packed beach) who would have otherwise spoiled things for Gay and her family.

Snoopa’s back this week with a big-headed mouse who boasts he can beat Snoopa at anything. However, when the mouse loses his voice it gives Snoopa the chance to beat him at one game – Snap.

Tansy’s lumbered with a dog that is trying to get out of getting his booster shot. But then Tansy and Simon are just as chicken when it comes to their shots, which are due too.

Matron’s all set to come hard down hard on Sharon, just because an emergency got her caught in her swimsuit instead of uniform. Fortunately the patient speaks up for her and she’s off the hook. The girls discover Lesley’s secret, and wonder what all the fuss was about in her hiding his occupation.

 

The Human Zoo (1978-9)

Sample Images

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Published: 12 August 1978 – 13 January 1979 (20 episodes)

Artist: Guy Peeters

Writer: Malcolm Shaw

Reprint/translation: Tammy and Jinty 20 March 1982 to 10 July 1982; Tina as Als beesten en een kooi (like animals in a cage); Jinty Vol. 1, 2018

Plot

Alien bounty hunters from a distant galaxy come to Earth to collect specimens to take to their home planet. They make no exception for humans, which they think are just animals like any other. Among the people who are kidnapped by the aliens are twins Shona and Jenny Lewis. (It is implied that suchlike kidnappings are responsible for the Mary Celeste mystery.)

The aliens soon make it obvious that they do not care for animal welfare. They lock animals (and humans) into obedience collars that give intense pain when activated. Once the spaceship arrives on the aliens’ home planet, all the Earth specimens are sold at a cattle market. Shona and Jenny are sold to different owners, which means they are forcibly separated. The story then follows the fate of Shona, who becomes an exhibit in a zoo along with other people, and her quest to find Jenny.

Shona also realises the only way to freedom is to make the aliens realise that humans are sentient beings like themselves and not mere animals. However, there is a huge communication barrier between humans and the aliens: the aliens communicate by telepathy and do not speak; humans are not telepathic and communicate verbally. A bridge between the different forms of communication needs to be found.

Fortunately the zoo owner’s daughter Tamsha cares more for animal welfare than most of her people, including her father. She notices Shona and develops a soft spot for her.  Although she also thinks Shona is just an animal she makes Shona her pet. Shona tries to convince Tamsha of human sentience by doing some writing. Tamsha understands it is writing but fails to grasp it is proof that humans are sentient. During this time Shona also befriends Tamsha’s other pet, a two-headed goat, which will prove a key plot development.

Then Shona goes to the rescue of her fellow prisoners at the zoo, who are being forced into a cruel “chimps tea party” sideshow. This incident gives Tamsha’s father the impression she is a rogue animal and has to be destroyed. So he sells Shona to a slaughterhouse to be turned into food. Fortunately another alien spots Shona and buys her off the slaughterhouse in the nick of time.

However, saving Shona from the slaughterhouse is the only good thing he does for her. He wants to incorporate Shona in a circus act that involves a huge tub of water. This is a thrilling thing for the aliens, who are terrified of water. When he tries to work the act out Shona almost drowns because she can’t swim. Tamsha’s two-headed goat saves Shona in time. The circus boss is so impressed with it all that he buys the goat in order to recreate it all as his big circus act. When the cruel act of near-drowning is performed, the aliens go crazy over it and give a huge ovation afterwards. Tamsha is the only one who is appalled. With the help of some fellow aliens who are animal rights activists, Tamsha rescues Shona and the goat from the circus and releases them into the wilderness (she thinks she is putting Shona back into the wild).

The two-headed goat reunites with his own kind, and they take Shona to the Outlanders, a primitive Stone Age people who suffer dreadfully at the hands of the aliens, whom they call “The Silent Death”. She becomes very close to an Outlander girl named Likuda. The aliens remove the males, which they use as beasts of burden for farming and mining. They hunt the females for blood sport. The Outlanders are resigned to this and are also weakened by insufficient food to fight back.

All of a sudden, Shona gets strange pains in her head. Then she starts having visions of Jenny, who shows her a secret valley, which is full of luscious fruit trees. Then Shona discovers the valley is real and leads the Outlanders there. Now the Outlanders worship Shona as a saviour.

The pain returns and this time the visions of Jenny are horrifying. They show her being taken to a laboratory where the aliens perform experiments on her. There is also a male Outlander being used as a lab rat; he is identified as Likuda’s father, Lik. Shona and Likuda set off to rescue them.

To get back to the city, they hide in one of the vehicles used by the bloodsporting aliens. En route to the city they pass a farm where they see how male Outlanders are being used as beasts of burden. It is not only cruel but also surprisingly crude and primitive for such a technologically advanced race. The Outlanders use hand ploughs and tools, while the robots that force them to work until they collapse from exhaustion use whips. Shona marvels at why the aliens don’t use machines instead; Likuda says it simpler than machines, which can break down.

In the city Likuda and Shona meet up with Tamsha again. Tamsha has grown more vociferous in her animal rights activism and is part of an animal rights demonstration at the scientific establishment that is performing experiments on Jenny and Lik. The activists show they have been collecting evidence of animal cruelty, including a recording of Shona and the others arriving on the planet. The activists also remove Shona’s obedience collar. Note: this scene is deleted from the Tammy and Jinty reprint. In the reprint, when Shona and Likuda arrive in the city they just go straight into the laboratory. This deletion creates two plot holes in the reprint. First, what happened to Shona’s obedience collar? It has suddenly disappeared without explanation. Second, how come the alien scientists had Tamsha to throw into the cage with the humans?

Shona and Likuda find Jenny in a bad state. Lik explains that the aliens deprived her of sleep for their experiment, which is designed to make humans telepathic so they can communicate with them. Shona realises Jenny used her new telepathic powers to tell her where she was. They are about to escape when the aliens capture them. Jenny realises too late that she had unwittingly lured them all into a trap set by the aliens. The aliens are triumphant at finally making contact with a member of the animal kingdom (yes, they still have not realised humans are sentient beings despite their experiment). They throw them all back into their cages and throw Tamsha in after them. Looks like the demonstration collapsed.

Then the aliens’ weather control goes on the blink, which causes a violent thunderstorm. This is a shock for the aliens, not just because they are terrified of water but also because they have never known such weather. A lightning bolt hits the building and frees the prisoners. They make their way through the city, which is now flooding badly (looks like the aliens have no rainwater drainage systems), and sending off all the aliens into a panic. Shona spares a moment to rescue a drowning alien child. They make a boat out of a floating cupboard and sail their way out of the city.

They soon find that the flooding also destroyed the robots guards at the farm and freed the Outlanders who were slaving there. When the Outlanders see Tamsha and the alien child they are all set to tear them to pieces until Shona intervenes. She tells them that the flooding has only brought momentary freedom. Once it passes the aliens will go back to their old treatment of the Outlanders. Hiding in the secret valley is no good because the aliens will find it sooner or later. She persuades them all to go and help the flood-stricken aliens, because it is the only way to be free of them permanently and live in peace.

The Outlanders decide they have nothing to lose, so they put their hatred aside to begin a mission of mercy. The aliens, who have no skills in swimming, water navigation or flood control because they are so terrified of water, have been more badly stricken by the flood than Earth people would. Humans, on the other hand, have learned to swim, developed boating skills, and are more accustomed to water.

The humans have a lot of success in helping the aliens, and the water is receding too. Then they find a panic-stricken engineer. Using her telepathic powers, Jenny learns that the dam at the reservoir is about to burst. If it does, the whole city will be submerged and kill everyone. The aliens are trying to redirect the water, but the crucial valve is twenty feet below water. Of course the aliens have no skills in underwater swimming. However, Likuda and Jenny do, and they succeed in turning the valve. Sadly, Likuda gets her foot caught underwater. By the time she is rescued, it is too late. Likuda has sacrificed her life for the aliens.

Now, will the aliens appreciate everything the humans have done and realise humans are sentient beings, not animals? Or was it all for nothing and things will go back to what they were before?

It looks like the latter when security guards round up all the humans and throw them back in a cage. Then the city’s ruler frees all the humans and brings them all to a celebratory feast. The aliens got the message after all (perhaps it took a little while to sink in). Furthermore, it turns out the alien girl Shona rescued was the ruler’s daughter, so he is grateful for that as well as their saving the city. The aliens will now leave the Outlanders in peace and send the Earth humans back to Earth. The aliens will use a time machine to put them back on Earth the day before they disappeared so they will not have to face awkward questions about their disappearances. It also means they will lose all memory of what happened. All the same, when they arrive on the day in question, Shona finds she seems to know how a caged gorilla at the zoo feels…

Thoughts

This story is one of Jinty’s classics. It is one of her most popular and enduring stories, and is right up there with “Worlds Apart” and “Land of No Tears” as one of her best science fiction stories. Due to popular demand “The Human Zoo” was reprinted during the Tammy & Jinty merger. No doubt a lot of the votes would have come from “Pam’s Poll” in 1980. Indeed, a panel from “The Human Zoo” featured in the poll itself.

What makes the story so powerful is the allegories of animal abuse that humans themselves commit. By turn we see alien equivalents of bounty hunting, pain-induced discipline, cattle markets, zoos, slaughterhouses, circuses, bloodsports, beasts of burden, vivisection and even a hint of animal sacrifice. For this reason we cannot totally condemn the aliens for their treatment of humans, for humans themselves are guilty of the same things. The callous attitudes many of the aliens have towards animals are echoed in humans too. Just look at the attitude of Tamsha’s father, for example: “Don’t forget, they’re just animals, for us to use as we like.”

You would think such an advanced race would have more enlightened attitudes. However, it would be a mistake to assume any race that is technically advanced would be advanced in other ways as well. Moreover, it is easier to understand their coldness when we see this is a race that does not approve of soft emotions or tenderness. Sentimentality is considered as a primitive emotion and shedding tears a primitive action. After the Outlanders are freed, Tamsha is no longer ashamed to cry and tells the humans that her people have a lot to learn from them about showing emotions.

Fortunately there are kinder aliens among this cold-hearted race who stand up for animal rights. The aliens clearly are light-years behind Earth in regard to animal welfare, although they are far more technologically advanced than Earth. There are evidently no laws against animal abuse and exploitation. Hopefully this will change after the humans proved themselves to the aliens and the ruler himself proposed a toast to better understanding among all species. But then, animal rights are only a comparatively recent innovation on Earth itself, and in many places on Earth they have yet to take a serious hold. Still, at least it does exist on this alien world, and without it Shona and her fellow humans would never have escaped the animal abuse they suffered at the hands of the aliens. It is ironic that an experiment meant to make contact with animals becomes the bridge of the huge communication gap between humans and aliens and helps convince the aliens that humans are sentient beings and not animals. The alien scientists did not mean it that way; they were just out to score another scientific triumph with animals.

The emotional aspects of the story make it even more compelling. Shona goes through the pain of being torn away from Earth and her parents, and then from her own sister, whom she resolves to find. She is subjected to the horrors of being treated just like an animal, including a cruel circus act that takes advantage of her not having learned to swim. Even when Shona is finally freed from the abuse and joins the Outlanders she is still not safe from the aliens. Plus there is still the matter of finding her sister and maybe even returning to Earth. The story delivers quite a wallop when Likuda dies, and her death leaves an ominous question dangling over it: was Likuda’s sacrifice in vain or not?

The story is a bit vague about the aliens themselves. The name of their planet is never revealed; it’s just “the planet with two suns” (binary star system). The Earth humans just call them “the aliens” and the Outlanders “The Silent Death”. What the aliens call themselves is not known.

The aliens come across as rather arrogant and obtuse in assuming humans are animals and not realising they are sentient. Clearly they have not bothered with much study of the planet they have been taking specimens from. And it is implied that they have been doing so for centuries, as there is a hint they are responsible for the Mary Celeste mystery. Still, the concept is not entirely new. For example, in Star Trek: The Animated Series, there is an episode called “The Eye of the Beholder”, where Spock and Kirk are captured by the Lactrans, who think they are animals because they are primitive by their standards. (Perhaps this is the reason why the aliens think humans are animals?) The Lactrans put them in a zoo. Spock convinces the Lactrans of their sentience by mind melding with one of them and they are set free. That episode always reminds me of this story.

There are some aspects of this story that don’t look like they have been all that well thought out. For example, if the aliens segregate the sexes of the Outlanders by removing the men for forced labour, then how is it the Outlander women have children? How are they able to reproduce with the men removed?

Another more head-splitting example is the aliens using the time machine to restore the Earth humans to Earth the day before they disappeared. What happens when they approach the original time when the alien bounty hunters abducted them in the first place? Do they go through the whole ordeal again, come back once more with the time machine and their memories wiped, and then the whole thing starts all over again?

It also seems inexplicable that the aliens even need the Outlanders to be beasts of burden in the first place. With their advanced technology they could surely come up with something more efficient for farming and mining. And this advanced race still puts out hand ploughs and hand tools for their beasts of burden to use? Oh, really! Even Earth technology, which is not as advanced as the aliens’, has advanced way beyond that in farming.

Overall though, this is a very solid, powerful story that strikes a lot of chords and would leave a lasting impression on readers long after they have read it. A lot of readers would emerge from it thinking more carefully about how animals are treated. One reader wrote in to thank everyone involved for such commentary on animal cruelty and said she wouldn’t laugh at chimps’ tea parties anymore after reading the story. Some may even have considered vegetarianism after reading “The Human Zoo”.

Diving Belle (1981)

Sample Images

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Published: 4 April 1981 – 6 June 1981 (10 episodes)

Artist: Phil Gascoine

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: none known

Plot

Diving is big in the McBane family. Dad works as a deep-sea diver and his daughter Belle shows promise on the high-diving board. Dad is currently working on the oilrig at the “Fogbank”. The locals have misgivings about an oilrig on the Fogbank because of a superstition that the Fogbank is unlucky. Dad laughs at the superstition. He and his colleagues set off on a shift in their new bathyscaphe.

Later, Belle rescues a woman named Betty Black who is in danger of drowning. Betty says she will return the favour, but then she disappears.

There is an explosion out at the Fogbank rig, which causes Belle to have a bad accident at diving practice. The rig had blown up and is later abandoned. The bathyscaphe got lost, which means Dad is too, and the search is eventually called off. The doctor confines Belle to bed for a week, and of course she has lost her nerve for high diving.

However, Betty Black has other ideas. She says she has gypsy blood and can foresee the future. What she foresaw has her telling Belle that she must start diving again and be at her peak within days. Betty says she was a high-diving champion before she injured her back – so she couldn’t save herself when she was drowning – but she can still coach Belle to the upmost.

Belle is not 100% sure of Betty’s credibility or coaching credentials. She suspects Betty may be a thief too. Still, instinct keeps telling her to trust Betty. Betty is very insistent that Belle re-train as fast as possible, for time is limited. Betty’s tactics certainly are strong-armed in making Belle overcome her shattered nerves from diving, but it works. The coaching is not only intense but also takes liberties in finding avenues in which to train. They break into school for secret diving practice. When the caretaker discovers them it’s training on the cliffs with an improvised diving board. The board breaks, so next it’s Betty having Belle take the place of a stunt diver at the funfair. This really crosses the line to dangerous because Belle has to dive from a board that’s even higher than an international diving board, and she has to land in a shallow tub of water! Nonetheless she manages to pull it off. They then have to do a hasty retreat when the fairground people discover Belle is not their stunt diver. Next they gate-crash a garden party so Belle can use the diving board there. They are discovered and their efforts to get away cause chaos.

They arrive back at Belle’s home, where the police are waiting. They say Betty is wanted for burglary, shoplifting and common theft, and Belle has some serious explaining to do as well. Then Betty has the final vision of where Belle is meant to do the dive, and she must do it right now. They break away from the police and do a crazy dash to get there, with the police in hot pursuit. The place for the dive is none other than the abandoned oilrig – which means Belle has to do an extremely dangerous dive from the height of the oilrig!

Belle trusts her instincts, which say that she and Betty are doing the right thing. She dives, much to the horror of everyone who is watching below. They realise a dive from that height would make her go extremely deep in the ocean. Deep enough, it would seem, for Belle to find Dad’s bathyscaphe, which is all caught up in the legs of the oilrig. Belle’s dive and ensuing rescue save the men in the nick of time, for they were on their last hour of oxygen.

Afterwards it is surmised the blast sent the bathyscaphe all the way to the ocean bottom, out of reach of the initial search. It then floated upwards, but got caught in the oilrig’s legs and the search had been called off by then. If not for Belle’s dive and Betty’s visions the men would have died. So the police drop the charges against Betty. It turns out she had been quite truthful about being a diving champion before her injury. Belle resolves to win so many medals for Betty that she will become the most sought-after coach in Britain.

Thoughts

Now this could well be the most intense and offbeat “comeback” serial in girls’ comics. A girl loses her nerve after an accident, but she sets out to make a comeback, either because she loves her sport too much or something vital, such as saving a beloved horse, depends on it. In Belle’s case it is the latter, but the story is irregular in that Belle has no idea exactly what the comeback is supposed to be for. Not even Betty, who is having the visions in the first place, knows exactly what it is about. Her powers don’t give her the full picture, only flashes. The final vision only reveals where the all-important dive has to be. It doesn’t reveal why the dive has to be done. Some readers might guess it has something to do with saving Dad and his comrades, but it’s all kept mysterious until Belle finds the bathyscaphe. However, the reveal should come as no surprise to readers.

Adding to the mystery is that we, along with Belle, can’t be 100% certain that Betty can be trusted. Only intuition tells Belle to keep on trusting Betty, against the face of the more suspicious aspects about the woman. And in the end, intuition turns out to be 100% right. This story sure is a salutary lesson in trusting your gut.

What turns out to be a race against time against the dwindling oxygen supply in the bathyscaphe makes for very tight plotting. There can be no mucking around with padding to stretch out the story, or go gently with Belle’s shattered nerves after the accident. Of course retraining Belle for the dive still does not go smoothly, which is to be expected. Betty has to be very inventive in devising ways to train Belle up as avenue after avenue closes. Unfortunately this leads to conflict with the law, which is all the more reason for saving the men with the all-important dive.

Jinty & Penny 23 May 1981

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Pam of Pond Hill and her friends have been suspended from school because of that nasty Jill Cook, who is having them carrying the can for a crime she did. Their parents are outraged and want their children’s names cleared or they will take them away from Pond Hill.

This is the day for Diving Belle’s all-important dive. Betty has now had the final vision of where she is meant to do it, and she must do it urgently. But the police are closing in because of all the liberties Belle and Betty have taken, so will they get the chance to do the dive?

This week’s text story is about a do-it-yourself Dad who is about as good at DIY as Homer Simpson. Unlike Homer Simpson, he gives it up after the hijinks in the story.

Gypsy Rose recycles another Strange Story. Jenny mistakenly uses her dad’s raffle ticket for the old message-in-a-bottle routine. The bottle goes all the way around to Australia where Jenny, who has now emigrated there, uses it to fend off a shark!

Sir Roger is a film star this week. Unfortunately they forgot that being a ghost, he wouldn’t show up on film. Tansy is in need of pest control this week. No, it’s not her brother Simon and Peter the Joker – it’s a mouse that’s taken up residence in the house.

It’s the penultimate episode of “Fancy Free!”. Ben once told Fancy running away was a mug’s game, but now he’s doing it himself because he’s terrified the police will find him, and he’s an escaped convict. Unfortunately he has a serious accident while doing so.

In “Worlds Apart” the girls are surprised to find themselves clear of the fatties world after Sarah seems to drown and is rescued by Ann, who was supposed to be dead. They think things are back to normal. However, they realise this is not the case when they look out the window and find there is not a single vehicle in sight. Everyone is getting around by running and they’re all wearing tracksuits.

In “Angela’s Angels” an emergency catches Sharon at an awkward moment. She was sunbathing on the roof when the emergency chopper arrived, so she was wearing a swimsuit instead of uniform. Now disciplinary action is imminent!

 

Jinty and Penny 25 April 1981

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  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Diving Belle (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • A Lot to Sing About – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • The Missing Link – Gypsy Rose story (artist Juan Garcia Quiros)
  • Just the Job – Feature
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Worlds Apart – first episode (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Fancy Free! – (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Easter Parade – Feature
  • Horses in History – feature
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

This is Jinty’s Easter issue for 1981. Tansy and Gaye both have stories where they enter Easter parades. And Jinty has a feature on how to make things for Easter.

The letter column prints one letter that yields interesting information on Pam’s Poll. The reader and her sister want Jinty to reprint “Stefa’s Heart of Stone”. The editor replied that Stefa was one of their most popular stories and in Pam’s Poll lots of readers voted for it to be repeated. Yet the editor still asks if other readers would like to see it reprinted and please write in if they do. Now why does the editor need to ask this? Surely there has been demand enough already.

In this issue is the first episode of the serial that was Jinty’s jewel in the crown for 1981: “Worlds Apart”. Greed, sports mania, vanity, delinquency, intellectualism and fearfulness are exemplified in six girls who get knocked out by gas from a tanker that crashes into their school. When they wake up they are in hospital, but there is something odd about it – everyone in sight is grotesquely fat, and by their standards the girls are emaciated. The hospital treatment they are about to get is designed to forcibly turn them into fatties!

This week’s text story is a bit improbable. Violet is a dreadful singer (but tell her that!). When she starts singing in the street, people give old stuff just to get rid of her. It’s put to good use for a jumble sale – but come on, would people really give old stuff to get rid of horrible singing? Throw it, yes – but give it?

Pam reveals her two big dislikes about Pond Hill: school sago pud and Jill Cook. Now she dislikes Jill more than ever as Jill has become a bad influence for her boyfriend Goofy Boyle.

In “Fancy Free!”, Fancy’s in a huff when Ben tries to press his own rules on her. It culminates in a row at home, where Mum says she had the same trouble with Fancy’s mysteriously absent father.

Angela’s Angels are having a hard time learning the ins and outs of nursing. And Sister Angela looks a nervous wreck herself after a day of instructing them. Student Nurse Helen is put on night duty – but falls asleep on the job and now she’s in trouble!

This week’s Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story. Stacy Fletcher’s hobby in making jewellery leads to a strange time travel story where she drops a piece of jewellery in the past after unwittingly foiling a crime. This gives rise to a legend that a ghost left it.

In “Diving Belle” Betty’s coming up with all sorts of inventive ways to get Belle diving again. This week it it’s breaking into school to use the pool. When the caretaker finds them, it’s an improvised diving board on the cliffs. And Betty says time is pressing as there is only a day or two left. Day or two left before what?

 

Jinty and Penny 30 May 1981

jinty-cover-30-may-1981

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Diving Belle (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • She Who Laughs Last – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • The Unlucky Rabbit’s Foot – Gypsy Rose story (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Jinty Fights Junk! (readers’ submissions for anti-litter posters)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Fancy Free! – last episode (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Worlds Apart (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

Jinty’s feature this week is anti-litter posters submitted by readers. This was a suggestion from one reader and Jinty said they would print the best one. However, they had trouble deciding which was the best one, so they printed several winners.

The text story this week is about a quest to get a pop star’s autograph, but the protective barriers are proving a bit unsurmountable. One fan finds a way around it – the pop star’s younger brother.

Pam of Pond Hill and her friends have been suspended for vandalism that the horrible Jill Cook is responsible for. Jill won’t own up, so Mrs Dankins is the only one who can clear them – but she hasn’t got the guts and wants to forget the whole thing. How selfish can you get?

Diving Belle is on her penultimate episode. She and Betty are running the gauntlet with the police to get to the place where she must do the all-important dive Betty foretold – which turns out to be the abandoned oil rig where Belle’s father was lost! Good grief, Belle has to dive from the height of an oil rig? It sounds like suicide!

Fancy Free concludes this week. It’s a very emotional ending, when Ben, the only one who ever cared for Fancy, dies in her arms. The difficult Fancy will definitely emerge more sober after this.

In “Worlds Apart” there are some amusing moments with politics in the sports world. The girls learn that in the sports world, wars are played as sports events. Hitler fought World War II as the coach for the German footy team (below). And Margaret Thatcher addresses the nation while wearing a tracksuit and working out on gym equipment. Thatcher informs the nation that the Soviet Union has declared war on Britain, which will be played as a swimming match. Ann is thrilled because she will be in the team – but the girls are horrified as the losing war teams are executed.

Worlds Apart Fave panel 1
“Worlds Apart”: How Hitler fought WW2 in Ann’s dream world of sport.

This week’s Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story. The people on Squire Robson’s estate are horrified when he marries the unpleasant Carrie Piggott. It’s as if she has him under a spell. In view of the strange things that start happening on the estate that seem to be connected with a strange hare, it could well be the case…

Sir Roger’s armour gets magnetised after a contretemps with a magnetic crane and he becomes ‘attractive’ in a way he doesn’t want. From Sir Roger’s point of view the cure is just as bad: he has to take a bath to de-magnetise his armour, which makes it – horror of horrors – clean!

Tansy’s trying to help old folks with redecorating this week, but things don’t work out as she expected. Worse, Dad now lumbers her with redecorating her room because he thinks she can do it herself!

In Angela’s Angels, Sharon is facing disciplinary action because she got caught up in an emergency while she was wearing a swimsuit. And Lesley finds it awkward to help one patient because he is the governor of the prison and her own father.

Fancy Free! (1981)

Sample images

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Published: 28 March 1981 – 30 May 1981 (10 episodes)

Artist: Phil Townsend

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: none known

Plot

Fancy Cole is the most difficult pupil in her school. She is slovenly, unmanageable, uncooperative, and a bully. What Fancy wants more than anything else is freedom – which she thinks just means doing anything she likes – so she hates school authority and rebels against it in any way she can. As for bullying, well, when you’re free you make your own rules. To underline her point about freedom she turns all the school pets loose in class to give them freedom, much to the consternation of the teacher and classmates.

When we see Fancy’s home life, however, she becomes a more sympathetic character. We begin to understand why Fancy is the way she is and we suspect that what Fancy really wants is someone to care about her. Her home is a tip and nobody  cleans it up. Goodness knows what the bacteria count is like. Her mother, though not downright cruel or abusive as some parents/guardians are in girls’ stories, does not show Fancy any love or caring. In fact, Mum cares far more for bingo than she does for Fancy. They just argue all the time. It seems Fancy’s home life has been that way for years; when she was younger she used to pretend she was switched by the fairies and did not really belong to that family at all. As for the father, he has been absent for twelve years for some unknown reason. Fancy yearns for him and wants to know more about him, but doesn’t even know what he looks like.

Mum steals the money Dad sent for Fancy’s birthday for her bingo. This is the last straw for Fancy. She runs away, determined to find somewhere where she can enjoy freedom. On the moor, however, she meets Ben Harrington, who cares for the wildlife on the moor and has converted an old double decker bus into a hospital for them. Fancy becomes fascinated with Ben and caring for wildlife and wants to learn all about it. They are particularly concerned with a sick purple heron, and Ben can’t quite figure out what’s wrong. Ben agrees to teach her, but there is one condition – she must stop running away from whatever she is running from. Eventually Fancy agrees to do so, figuring that what she does with Ben will make it all worthwhile.

Ben also keeps telling Fancy that her views on freedom – being able to do anything she likes – are unrealistic. Nobody, not even wildlife, is completely free, for there are always restraints and regulations in one form or other. Ben has views on his own freedom too, which seem to be a bit touchy. For example, he can’t stand the word “prison”. He doesn’t like snoopers either and initially drew a gun on Fancy because he thought she was snooping.

Fancy is now reconsidering her bullying as she does not want Ben hearing bad things about her. However, she finds herself hauled up before the headmistress for the school pets she let loose and bullying a girl out of dinner money. Fortunately the headmistress is now dealing with a more thoughtful Fancy. Fancy says her action with the school pets was not the best thing for them, which she realised during her encounter with Ben. She also promises to repay the girl’s dinner money. The girl’s mother says it must be repaid by Monday or it’s the police. The headmistress gives Fancy three Saturday detentions, which will cut into her time for seeing Ben.

When Fancy finally gets to Ben, she finds a strange man asking questions about the place, but she tells him nothing. Ben gets extremely agitated when he hears about the man snooping. Following this, Fancy realises there is more to Ben than meets the eye. However, when Ben gets all strict about conditions needing to be met if Fancy is to continue with him, Fancy leaves in a huff, saying Ben’s just one more stuffy grown up who cramps her freedom.

Fancy arrives home in such a rage that she picks a fight with her mother and starts smashing wall ornaments. When Mum tries to stop Fancy, she says she had the same thing from her father and doesn’t want it with her. At this, Fancy really demands to know just what it is about her father.

Mum explains the father was a good-for-nothing who ended up in prison. She refuses to say what the charge was, though she does say the father pleaded innocent but neither she nor the jury believed him. He then escaped from prison and has not been seen since, much less bothered with his wife or child (then how did he send birthday money for Fancy, as mentioned in part 1?). Mum says that if she knew where he was she would turn him in. Clearly, she is very bitter and angry towards him and blames him for the life she leads with Fancy.

After this, Fancy becomes less centred on herself as she wants to go back and help the birds. She cleans up the broken ornaments and then goes back to Ben to apologise (for the first time in her life, she wants to apologise to someone). She never helps around the house at home, but is really enjoying cleaning up at Ben’s. While working, Fancy mentions the story of her father, and Ben hints he may know something. However, Fancy doesn’t know enough details for them to really make a headstart and Ben still seems a bit evasive on the matter anyway. Meantime, they turn their attention back to the purple heron. Fancy is really honoured when Ben trusts it to her care. He also gives her ten pounds as a payment. So Fancy can now repay the dinner money she stole with her bullying.

Unfortunately Mum finds the money and takes it to the police, thinking Fancy stole it (though it is implied that Mum takes it to bingo instead!). It turns out Mum isn’t too far wrong, as a check of the serial numbers confirms that the money came from a bank robbery years ago – and this is what Fancy’s father was jailed for! Fancy manages to talk her way out of it with the police and shift suspicion to her mother. So while Mum is now down at the police station facing awkward questions, Fancy goes to see Ben about the money.

It was a bad miscalculation on Ben’s part – he thought it wouldn’t matter as so much time had passed since the crime. Fancy now realises that Ben is an escaped convict. Ben is getting worried that the police might come, so he takes off and leaves Fancy in charge of the birds. Fancy is honoured, because nobody has ever trusted her so much before, and nobody ever needed her so much before either. She wants to stay there forever and never go back.

However, this has made Fancy absent from school and the headmistress and Mum call the police in. Mum finds the police asking her some hard questions about how she has treated Fancy and they say they will be keeping an eye on her after that stolen money. Before long, Fancy sees a police copter flying around. The weather turns against the police chopper, but it also causes Ben to have an accident. Ben decides to struggle back to the bus, deciding his place is with the birds, and never mind the police. He makes it back but he is dying. Still, he arrives in time to see the purple heron return to the wild.

Just before Ben dies, he says the money was stolen, but not by him – it was planted to frame him after the bank robbery. They then discuss the possibility that Ben is Fancy’s father. Their surnames don’t match, but Mum could have changed her name, and everything else seems to fit. So they decide it’s feasible and Fancy says she would like it that way anyway. Ben then dies and Fancy vows to carry on his work as the bird girl.

Thoughts

One of the definite strengths of this story is how Fancy’s behaviour is rooted in realism. All too often the reason why so many kids are problem is kids stems from the parenting they have received and their home lives. In this case it is Fancy being raised by a solo mother because the father is absent, and the mother is completely uncaring. The conditions under which they live make things worse. They live in squalor and there are constant money and even food shortages because Mum squanders money on bingo and uses Fancy to get welfare. There is no evidence of Mum having a job or bothering with one.

Of course Fancy is just as much the architect of her own misfortunes with her own selfishness and bad attitudes, particularly her bullying and her naïve notions of what freedom is. She does not understand that if she wasn’t so difficult at school it would be so much better for her and she’d have some friends. But the real root of it all definitely comes from the mother. Fortunately Fancy is not beyond redemption. Once she finds her vocation in caring for the birds and deciding the moors are made for her, that’s it. She wants to change and be different in future. Of course her bad temper still erupts with Ben and Mum, but there is no going back to her bullying ways. Under all that difficult behaviour lies a heroine with a lot of courage and balls. Nobody is going to push this protagonist around – she’s going to stand up for herself and the birds. And she always wants to be free. However, she is still being unrealistic in wanting to care for the birds and never return home. By law she is still a minor and needs a guardian and has to attend school. Hopefully they came to some sort of arrangement where Fancy could still care for the birds while still a minor.

Mum is clearly consumed with bitterness towards the father and blaming him for how she and Fancy have ended up. But just how much is the father at fault? Before Mum reveals the father was jailed and then escaped, both we and Fancy get a strong impression that old trout drove him off. The story cries out to have the full story of just how the father ended up in prison so readers would be able to judge how much blame the mother and father should take for everything. We only have the mother’s side of things, but she is hardly an objective observer, and she did not give the full details on what happened. After all, suppose the father’s claims of innocence were genuine? On the other hand, it could well be that the father was indeed a less than admirable character. Or he could have just made a mistake and got mixed up in something he shouldn’t have. Or he could have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. We just don’t know because we don’t have the full story.

There are a couple of oddities that need to be explained. If the father was absent and had no contact with his family, how did he manage to send Fancy birthday money in part one of the story? How did Ben come to be in possession of the money that was used to frame him after the robbery? And just who framed him with the stolen money after the robbery anyway? Was it the real criminals or the police?

Assuming the father and Ben were the same person, he definitely is a far better person than Mum gives him credit for. It could well be that he started off less so, but became a changed person when he started caring for the wild birds on the moor – just like his daughter. Or perhaps he was the kinder of the two parents who chose to use his time in hiding to care for wild birds in lieu of his family.

“They Call Me a Coward!” (1971)

Sample images

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Published: June and School Friend 3 July – 28 August 1971

Artist: Leslie Otway

Writer: Unknown

Sometimes we discuss non-Jinty serials, particularly if the entry is within the confines of Jinty context. Such is the case here. Recently I came across this story from June and School Friend, and was immediately struck with the parallels it shares with “Waves of Fear”: a girl is bullied at school after being accused of cowardice in the wake of an accident; her enemies gang up to get her expelled; she is pushed too far and runs off in pouring rain; then comes a turn of events that puts things right. It could well be it was the same writer.

Plot

Cathy Price has a terrible fear of heights (acrophobia). So when Sue Dawson is clinging to a cliff top and in need of rescue, Cathy is too overcome by her phobia to help. Sue falls and is soon having life-or-death surgery. Following this, the girls at school call Cathy a coward and start bullying her. Leading them are Brenda Smith and her crony Marion, who are always causing trouble for somebody one way or other in any case.  Cathy’s best friend Lynn Greenway is shunning her as well – at first.

The bullies’ taunts drive Cathy back to the cliff, where she tries to prove herself by trying to climb the cliff this time. But again her fear overwhelms her. The bullies dangle her over the cliff and then leave her on the grass. When Cathy returns to school the bullies throw her in the shower with the water set to hottest because they think she is sneaking on them. Lynn rescues Cathy and almost picks a fight with the bullies until a teacher intervenes. Following this, Lynn becomes Cathy’s defender against the bullies. Lynn also cops some of the bullying as well. On a school trip Brenda and Marion push into her into the pool at the aquarium, which puts Lynn in danger from a killer whale and she can’t swim. Mr Withers rescues her, and she tells Cathy not to beat herself up for not being able to do something herself, commenting that those two bullies didn’t do any heroics either.

Cathy’s parents do not know what is going on. Cathy does not tell them because she is too ashamed, and also because they become stressed when Dad is suddenly made redundant and money gets tight. Cathy’s paper round helps make ends meet, but she loses the job because she is too upset about the trouble at school to do the job right. So Cathy takes an evening job in a café, but the extra work is soon taking its toll and interfering with homework. She loses sleep and is getting exhausted at school. Mum finds out about Cathy’s evening job and tells her to stop it because it is affecting her schoolwork. Cathy continues regardless because the family needs the money, but gets her wages docked when she accidentally breaks a stack of plates.

At school Brenda picks another fight with Cathy and they are hauled up before the headmistress. Brenda refuses to shake hands as ordered; she calls Cathy a coward and a disgrace to the school. The headmistress, who does not know what happened either, eventually gets the whole story out of Cathy. She handles it compassionately, telling Cathy that you don’t always succeed at being a hero, and how many people would be heroes when it comes to the crunch? The headmistress then has a word with Brenda, but it only makes the situation worse because afterwards Brenda tells Cathy that they are now out to really fix her.

Next day, Cathy finds out what Brenda means: the girls are now trying to get her expelled with a protest demonstration and threats of strike action. Worse, the press have gotten wind of it. The headmistress sends Cathy home while they try to sort it out. Form teacher Mr Withers assures Cathy that everything will be all right in the end.

Cathy is too ashamed to tell her parents or pass over the note from the headmistress. Then, when Cathy hears a newsflash reporting the trouble at school, she is so terrified that she runs away – in pouring rain. Her dog Spot follows and gets injured. The vet is closed, so Cathy takes Spot to the hospital. She discovers Sue has pulled through surgery and is on the mend. She goes in to see Sue and finds Sue wants to be friends with her. However, Cathy knows she will continue to be branded a coward and runs off again.

Then Cathy sees a young girl about to be attacked by a vicious guard dog. Without thinking, she jumps in to save the girl, but takes a bad mauling in the process. Now Cathy is quite the heroine and considered as having redeemed herself. The headmistress says it is safe for Cathy to return and there will be no more trouble. Indeed, all the girls cheer Cathy when she returns, including Brenda. The girl’s father is so grateful for the rescue that he gives Cathy’s father a job.

Thoughts

As stated before, this story shares a number of parallels with Jinty’s “Waves of Fear”. There are differences, of course. First, it is a phobia that stops Cathy from rescuing Sue and consequently being branded a coward, not an outright medical condition as it was in “Waves of Fear”. It is akin to how Marnie’s hydrophobia prevented her from going to the rescue of a drowning child in part one of “Cursed to be a Coward!”. This means Cathy has to redeem herself for her initial failure a whole lot more than Clare does if she is to shake off the “coward” label and the bullying is to stop. Not to mention assuaging the dreadful feelings of shame and guilt she is suffering in the wake of the accident.

Second is the focus of the bullying. It is confined exclusively to the classmates, which seems a bit unbelievable. One would think the story would filter through to other quarters of the town, as it does in “Waves of Fear”. And it is a bit strange that Cathy’s parents remain ignorant of the whole affair, even if Cathy is too ashamed to tell them. One would expect them to hear rumours or gossip of some sort.

The vendettas to get the protagonists expelled is motivated by revenge, but it differs in whose idea it is. In “Waves of Fear” the accident girl’s aggrieved parents demand the expulsion, which the headmistress refuses. Word leaks out and the chief bully takes up the task because of a personal grudge. In Cathy’s case the drive to get her expelled is motivated by pure spite from the ringleaders Brenda and Marion. Sue’s parents don’t compound the trouble at all.

Third is how the school tries to deal with the bullying. In “Waves of Fear” the school staff know about Clare being bullied. But they don’t do a thing about it and show no regard for Clare’s welfare or the bullying getting out of hand. In Cathy’s case the headmistress and teachers show deep concern for Cathy. They are extremely worried about the trouble and  what could happen if it does not blow over, though they could have taken much sterner action against it. The headmistress actually takes a non-judgemental approach with Cathy over the matter that is most impressive. The headmistress in “Waves of Fear” does not sound that wise or kind; in fact we hear it is unlike her to even pay compliments! And Lynn must be praised for her courage and empathy coming over to defending Cathy because she feels the bullying is going too far. Clare never had anyone like that at school to help her against the bullies.

Fourth is the trouble at home that both Clare and Cathy have to contend with on top of the trauma and guilt over the accidents and the bullying they are suffering at school. In Clare’s case it is because her parents have become a pair of ogres and turned against her because they also think she’s a coward. In Cathy’s case the parents don’t even know about the matter. It is the emotional and financial stress over the father’s redundancy and Cathy exhausting herself to help make ends meet that creates the domestic problems on top of her bullying problem. At least Cathy has someone to support her at home – her dog Spot. Clare doesn’t even have a pet to lean on during her troubled time.

Fifth is the ways in which the protagonists confront their fears. They both return to the scene of the accident to try to do so – only to be attacked by the bullies. This particular parallel does suggest the same writer for both stories. However, the ways in which they finally handle their fears is quite different. In Clare’s case she has to fight her fear (claustrophobia, which has intensified into a mental illness) all the way to rescuing her friend from the cave she is trapped in. This is regarded as the first step in recovering from her illness. In the case of Cathy, saving a child from a dangerous dog has nothing to do with her acrophobia. It was a matter of not giving in to fear itself. In fact, Cathy didn’t think about fear – she just jumped in without thinking. There is no indication of Cathy overcoming her fear of heights. The story goes for something less clichéd; Cathy just accepts that she’ll always be scared of some things. After all, she is only human.

There is a nice touch in having Cathy tell the story herself. This gives the story a more personal perspective, for it is told in the protagonist’s own words and gives insights into how the protagonist is thinking and feeling throughout the story. Having a serial being told in the first person is not unknown in girls’ comics though it was not used much. The only two Jinty stories that had the protagonist narrate her own story were “Wenna the Witch” and “Pam of Pond Hill“.