On 15 December 1979 Jinty introduced the character that further defined her distinctive flavour: Pam of Pond Hill. It is a full page splash panel, which made the Grange Hill inspiration all the more obvious and therefore more attractive to readers. They would no doubt also be attracted by the presence of boys on the cover and would be seeing a lot more of them in Jinty. The cover also indicates that Jinty is gearing up for Christmas covers.
It was around this time that Jinty lost Mavis Miller, the editor who had defined the character of Jinty and really made Jinty her own. A new editor was being ushered in, which of course led to changes in the comic. How did these define the cover layout as 1980 unfolded?
To begin with, not much change. The panel covers continued for the first three months, and still had colourful, well-remembered stories to adorn the covers. Among them were Pam of Pond Hill, “Spirit of the Lake”, “The Venetian Looking Glass”, and “Tearaway Trisha”. On occasion we got a cover girl, such as for the Valentine issue.
On 12 April 1980 Penny merged with Jinty, the second title to do so. It was also the last. Apart from the addition of the Penny logo, there was little change to the cover. The merger cover introduced the competition to go with the merger and panels from both comics, with captions to appeal to a wide range of readers’ tastes.
The Penny logo initially suffered from the merger. It was just plain black, red or blue letters with no outline or inner fill. It was totally dull, not in the least bit advertising or appealing, and was nothing like what it was like before the merger, as shown here. Just what sort of editorial attitude does this reflect? When a title merged into another its logo usually did not suffer such indignity, even though its eventual disappearance would be inevitable.
The cover for 14 June 1980 ended the cover panel run that Jinty had been running since late 1976. The next cover would see a completely radical change in the cover style, and it is the one that set the stage for the remainder of Jinty’s run.
On 21/28 June 1980 the cover changed to sports covers drawn by Mario Capaldi. There is a feminist appeal about these covers as they show girls in all sorts of sports, some of which are really adventurous, such as rock climbing, surfing and martial arts. The top caption contained a pun that was linked in with the sports theme on the cover in order to promote Jinty. For example, a cover showing a girl throwing the javelin had the caption “Jinty Hits the Target!”
However, we wonder how the sports-themed cover girls would have appealed to readers who were not into sport. They might have wished for something different. These covers had two other drawbacks. First, they could not provide glimpses of new stories starting inside or even give the title. The covers only had captions announcing the start of new stories. Second, they could not be used for special occasion issues such as Valentine’s Day or Easter.
The Penny logo, though still stuck in the dull fill with no outline, at least had a complementary background box to make it stand out more. This yellow box was the beginning of how the Penny logo would change on the cover. It shifted to a yellow fill with no outline to a font with a coloured fill and black outline. The fill was usually yellow, but green, red and blue were also used.
The issue for 9 August 1980 was the last to have the old style Jinty logo that had been on the cover from the first issue. On 16 August 1980 the Jinty logo underwent a tweak. The n, t and y, which had been joined ever since the first issue, became separate letters like the J and i, with the same spacing. The i changed to having a short curved tail at the bottom. The top and bottom of the J underwent tweaks as well, which made it a slightly more solid letter but less cursive and perhaps less bold. The “before” and “after” covers are shown below.
The 28th March 1981 issue featured the last of the sports covers. The Capaldi artwork still adorned the cover, but it was now being used for something new. On 4 April 1981 Jinty began running text stories, with spot illustrations drawn by Capaldi. Full-sized versions of these spot illustrations were used on the covers, and they had a blurb saying “The Cover Story”. Jinty still ran punning captions advertising herself that tied in with the theme on the cover. Another “before” and “after” is shown below.
Another change, which also started 28 March 1981, was a band appearing across the top of the logo. The band appeared in shades of orange, blue and green. Its purpose was probably decoration as it was not used for any blurbs. These appeared lower down on the cover.
The spot illustration covers gave a greater variety of themes on the covers, including school, supernatural, hobbies, fantasy, animals and humour. This format also enabled the covers to commemorate any special events, such as the Royal Wedding, which the sports covers could not.
The 25th July 1981 issue, the Royal Wedding issue, was the last to have the Penny logo. Oddly, the Penny logo did not shrink in size before disappearing altogether, as the Lindy logo had done.
After Jinty dropped the Penny logo she had a plain background behind her logo and still had the top band. The editor must have felt the plain background was a yawning blank, because on 15 August 1981 Jinty started to have a background fill behind her logo once more (see “before” and “after” below). This time the fill was yellow. The tail in the “y” of the logo” breaks out of the box, which gives it a less boxed-in feel than its 1975 predecessor. The yellow makes the cover and logo look brighter and more eye-catching.
The band at the top was now beginning to be used for blurbs, which not only made it practical but also more attractive. But this only happened with some covers; with others it was just a plain band like before. The band, which had appeared in other colours before the yellow fill box, was now firmly coloured blue.
4 thoughts on “A History of Jinty Covers”
A super run through the history of Jinty’s covers! It really highlights some of the sorts of editorial / in house choices and thinking that would have been going on.
That was a fun read. So much decision making goes into covers! Re that lettering design on the first issue: It’s a deliberate choice that the I is not linked to the other letters in the Jinty logo. What happens when you join the I to the N is that you get a U shape which makes the letter combination very ambiguous. Does that word spell JUNTY? JMTY? You’d have to look at it for a second or 2 to figure it out. And that’s no good for a cover logo which needs to be immediately readable from a distance. If it was a longer word, the rhythm of the links between the letters might make it perfectly okay to join them all up, but on such a short word, there aren’t enough to make that strategy work. Floating the I between the big J and the N is The only way to make sure it’s legible. It’s also very slightly flared at the base so that the right edge of the letter is closer to the N than the top, to help make a subtle visual link between them.
Thanks for the expert input W! Our interested speculation, careful tho it may be, is no substitute for hearing from someone who’s been there and done it.