All posts by comixminx

Scream! and Misty: Review

Hooray! Another fruit of the IPC copyright purchase has hit the shops – now alongside the reprinting of classic stories from the IPC years, we are also seeing new stories written and drawn by current creators, inspired by those glory days and revisiting old setups and characters. “Scream! and Misty” (also available in a variant cover entitled “Misty and Scream!”) is out now. What’s in it? And – the bigger question – is it any good?

  • Cover: Henry Flint
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artists John Stokes / Frazer Irving, writer Guy Adams)
  • The Dracula File (artist Tristan Jones, writer Grainne McEntee)
  • Death-Man: The Gathering (artist Henry Flint, writer Feek)
  • Return of Black Max: Blood Moon (artist Simon Coleby, writer Kek-W)
  • The Return of the Sentinels (artist Ben Willsher, writer Hannah Berry)
  • Fate of the Fairy Hunter (artist Dani, writer Alec Worley)

First of all, rightly or wrongly, this is more 2000AD than it is Misty (or Scream!, as far as I can tell, though I am not an expert on that title). The art and the story telling is generally much more focused on current styles than traditional ones – and when you flick through this 52-page special it’s noticeable what a variety of styles is included within, much more so than in the 32 pages of Misty. There are traditional elements: John Stokes starts off the issue in the story revisiting “The Thirteenth Floor”: Max the psychotic computer who runs the decrepit building gets us off to a great start, though the ending to the first story is a little clumsily handled. This story is split between the black and white traditional art that Stokes provides and a colourful interlude drawn by Fraser Irving, which is very definitely 2000AD. The combination works well it itself, but I’m left slightly unsure as to what Rebellion are trying to do here – attract an audience for the reprint titles (blurbed as a whole-page advert on the following page), pull their 2000AD audience over to a new title with a different sort of inspiration, or what?

“The Dracula Files”, likewise, is more 2000AD than anything else – and is the most scrappily-drawn of the offerings to boot, I think. It’s quite well-written but some of the visual story-telling is hard to follow, and below in the last panel you can see an example of a very awkwardly-drawn hand, which looks like the artist changed their mind about part-way through.

“Deathman: The Gathering” makes it clear that this is a remix and reworking of the traditional characters. Characters from all sorts of IPC titles, not just Scream!, make it into this one – even alien shape-shifter Paddy McGinty’s Goat does! It’s readable and fun – how often do you get to see the Leopard of Lime Street mixing it up with Blake Edmonds from Death Wish? This is very far from a complete story though, and again I am not quite sure where Rebellion are planning on taking this from here on in. Are Rebellion going to launch a separate line or something? This feels somewhat similar to some of the Vertigo comics from back in the day, when that is what DC did to free themselves from the constraints of their mainstream universe.

“Return of Black Max: Blood Moon” is one of the most successful combinations of tradition and modern styles, it feels to me. The art is bang up to date but the panel sizing, story telling, and even the story themes are just like what you would get in the old girls comics at least. It leads off with a disturbing dream that Maxine Newland is recounting to her schoolfriends the next day – and continues with detention, an absent parent, a spooky item from the past, and an inadvertent trip to another dimension. Maxine even ends the story asking herself, troubled: “He said I wasn’t a girl. That I was a…thing. W-what if he was right?” That self-doubt could have come straight out of a girls weekly comic!

There are only two Misty-inspired stories. The second one (“Fate of the Fairy Hunter”) is a short, complete story that has a lot of similarities to the horror shorts included in that title; less gore though. There’s a twist in the tale but I have to say that the Misty versions would have ended a lot less happily for the female lead – a bit of a shame to have missed out that disinhibited proper horror element.

“The Return of the Sentinels” is the big ticket item for many of the people reading this post, I suspect. It didn’t disappoint me – I loved it. It’s tightly written and the art is great. I can’t give away much about it because I know lots of people will want to read it unspoiled – suffice to say that it doesn’t explain anything about how the Sentinels work or what happened to the characters in the original story, but it compresses the spooky feeling of wandering into a parallel world that is very definitely not right into only a few pages. It’s not clear that there is a chance of writer Hannah Berry developing this modern-day story further, but if that was an option then I can tell you that I’d be there in a flash.

So, yes. Much of this is 2000AD-has-fun: almost a fanfiction reworking of those original characters and stories (and nothing wrong with that, let me clarify). “Black Max” and “Sentinels” feel like they could be the start of something new and great on their own terms, which I’d love to see. Some other bits miss the target to a greater or lesser extent: in addition to the scrappy drawing in the Dracula Files, Henry Flint’s front cover is great on the creepy ghouls (I love Ghastly McNasty holding a selfie stick!) but much less great when depicting Misty herself (who looks like a plastic doll with a blank expression rather than a mysterious one). Overall: a definite ‘yes’, especially as tastes inevitably vary and that is the particular strength of the anthology title.

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Daddy’s Darling (1975)

Sample images

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Published: 8 March 1975 – 16 August 1975

Episodes: 24

Artist: Phil Townsend

Writer: Alison Christie

Translations/reprints: None known

Plot

Lee Simons is the daughter of a wealthy businessman, though not all is smooth sailing in their lives: her elder brother Peter was knocked over and killed while riding his bike and a year later, Lee’s mother dies of an illness that presumably she was not strong enough to fight off due to sadness. Lee and her father only have each other now – well, actually, Mr Simons has got the munitions factory and the large house too, not that Lee is all that bothered about those things. She would rather make her own life and choose her own friends – at least, this is the case by the time she is thirteen and has had five years of stifling over-protectiveness to cope with.

At the beginning of the story, though, the war gives her unexpected hope. First her governess resigns in order to join the land army, meaning that Lee has to go to the local village school; and then she pulls a fast one by volunteering to host an evacuee (something that her father was very against). She gets more than she bargained for – evacuee Maggie Hope is billeted on them but so is Maggie’s little brother, Joe – the family he had been going to were unable to take him after all. Lee is over the moon to have friends staying, but her father keeps them apart at every opportunity. He sends Lee to school in a chauffeur-driven car and makes Maggie and Joe walk behind even when it is raining; the other school kids taunt and despise Lee for that, even though Maggie sticks up for her. Mr Simons is susceptible to public opinion though, and when he eventually realizes it will look bad for him to keep doing that, he sends Maggie and Joe to school by car as well – but a different one, so that Lee is still kept away from the two ‘guttersnipes’ as he thinks of them.

And so the tussle goes – Lee intervenes with her father to protect and help the two Hope kids, Mr Simons protects and coddles his daughter but in a narrow, stifling way that keeps her isolated from other experiences and emotions, and Maggie and Joe bring more and more excitement into Lee’s life, willy-nilly. Even sending a food parcel to Maggie’s mum in London is a struggle, and it only happens because Mr Simons doesn’t want to look bad in front of others when a newspaper reporter sees Lee trying to post it.

Some fights are won by the kids and some by the father, at least initially. Allsorts, Maggie and Joe’s dog, is sent from London and the kids hide it in the air-raid shelter but of course it is not long before it is found – luckily before he is sent back, he saves Lee from a falling brick wall and so Mr Simons agrees to let the dog stay. Maggie and Lee both write an essay in class about their mothers – Maggie’s is chosen for a class prize because it is so emotionally written. The prize is a tour of a local factory – specifically, Mr Simons’ factory – and he ignores Maggie and only talks to Lee, as if she had won the prize herself. But the factory workers chat to Maggie and take to her, even choosing her as their social club queen.

They have a whip-round too, and Maggie wants to spend the resulting windfall on getting Joe a train set – but with the war on, there is none to be had in the shops for any money. Finally, a moment for Mr Simons to show a different side – out of the blue, he gives Joe the train set that Lee’s dead brother never got to use. Not that he’s softening towards them, mind you!

One incident causes her father to harden further rather than the reverse. Lee is tasked with opening an event – a sale of work – but on the way there , an RAF plane is downed and her clothes are all ruined, either by using them to aid the RAF pilot directly or because she is running across rough land and they are scratched and torn. Despite her heroism the result is that Lee is taken out from the village school and made to have lessons at home again – taken by a snobby maid who has been working at their house but who is a qualified teacher. Miss Johnson (former maid Daisy) is a nasty piece of work, but Lee is not left alone with her for long, because air raid damage conveniently closes the local school and so Maggie and Joe need to join the lessons, much to the disgruntlement of Miss Johnson and of Mr Simons. Young Joe proves to be quite a terror, teasing Miss Johnson with their dog, with a mouse, and with scurrilous caricatures, so quite soon Daisy heads off in a temper. Lee is delighted and although Mr Simons is cross, he is more upset by it being the anniversary of his wife’s death, leading him to snap even more nastily at the two evacuees.

It’s the anniversary of Joe’s father’s death too though, and they find him crying in the village graveyard. Maybe Mr Simons is softening after all – he puts his arm around Joe and even gives some money for the kids to go to the cinema – but it is only temporary and he very quickly turns up at the cinema and separates the two groups so that he has Lee all to himself. Nor will he invite Ma Hope over to visit the two kids, despite Lee’s pleas – but new maid ‘Mrs Watkins’ turns out to be Mrs Hope under an assumed name, come to be with her children. Lee takes to her instantly but they have to make sure that Mr Simons doesn’t find out and send her packing. Of course it is not long before the inevitable happens (a comic set-piece has Ma Hope soaking her feet in a warm bowl in front of the fire when she thinks the master is out for the evening, only to be interrupted by Mr Simons and posh guest).

So Mrs Hope is back in London when further air raids hit the East End, and of course her children are distraught with fear for her. Mr Simons bows to public pressure and has his chauffeur drive them back to their old area to check, but doesn’t allow Lee to go along with them and is not particularly upset when the two run away from the chauffeur to go on looking for their Ma. Lee of course is the next to run away, to find her dear friends – and although it looks like their mother is dead, she vows to stay and look after them so that they are not alone. Fat chance that Daddy will let her alone though: he drags her out and gives the Hopes the ultimatum that they can come to the hotel that the Simons will be at for the subsequent 24 hours, or they can stay and be left to their own devices.

It wouldn’t be a girls’ picture-story without a dramatic ending, of course – so as soon as that ultimatum delivered, Lee finds herself looking with horror at the house that the Hopes are in, as it burns down! Lee runs into the burning building and of course is immediately struck down – while she struggles for her life, Mr Simons has time to realize what a caring and unselfish child he has raised despite himself. And when she comes round, a week later, her new room mate turns out to be Mrs Hope, who is not dead – a wall fell on her and she was injured but not killed by the air raid that Maggie and Joe heard about. In turn, Mrs Hope hears about Maggie and Joe’s deaths in the penultimate episode. The final episode, however, has all being well – Lee and Mrs Hope are both discharged from hospital, Mr Simons continues with his change of heart and invites Mrs Hope to stay with them in the country, and although she says no (most vehemently) once Maggie and Joe are found, safe and sound after all, the grand house is turned in to a Convalescent Home with Mrs Hope as the House Mother. It is no longer only Lee who is Daddy’s Darling, but a wider group including Joe and Maggie and the other kids who will come to escape the war.

Thoughts

This is a long-running serial – not quite one of Jinty‘s longest (see more discussion on this post about story length) but nearly half a year’s worth of story. I don’t remember reading it when it first came out as I was a bit too young, but it must have been a successful product of the Alison Christie – Phil Townsend creative team to have run to that length. Some elements are a little repetitive, as is the danger with something of this length – Daddy’s single-minded attention to only his daughter’s comfort changes only towards the end of the serial and there are perhaps a little too many cases where Lee mourns his lack of caring towards others in similar wording to the earlier examples. But of course this is something that is more obvious on a re-read after the fact than at the time of original publication.

There were only relatively few stories in Jinty that feature the Second World War: “Daddy’s Darling”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and “Song of the Fir Tree“. (The first two are known to be written by Alison Christie and drawn by Phil Townsend, so of course it raises questions whether “Song of the Fir Tree” might also be, but it was not listed as such by Alison Christie in her earlier interview.) It feels to me as if in the case of this story it is more of a backdrop than a theme – the other two stories are about war, or about things that wouldn’t have happened without the war, whereas this story is really about a stifling over-protective parent. So this makes it more similar to another Christie story, “The Four-Footed Friends“.

In “The Four-Footed Friends”, the protagonist struggles with her stifling mother, who lost a child to illness and wraps her daughter in cotton-wool as a result; in “Daddy’s Darling” it is the father who is the antagonist that the daughter has to struggle against. This feels unusual: I know of a similar story, Tammy’s “My Father – My Enemy!”, where the socially-conscious daughter saves the workers at the mine owed by her Victorian father (thanks to Mistyfan, in the comments, for supplying further details) but not many others where the father is the blocker. “Dracula’s Daughter” is the obvious exception to that, but it is generally mothers or other women / girls who are the villains and antagonists in girls’ stories. There are a couple of examples of mystery stories where the villain is eventually revealed to be the father (photo-story “Slaves of the Nightmare Factory” is one such) or where a husband and wife team are equally to blame, but other than that, the antagonists are more typically headmistresses, female teachers, bully girls, mothers / step-mothers, grandmothers, aunts.

Mr Simons is not particularly evil but he is spectacularly clueless throughout. He does soften towards the two evacuees before the end, but his change of heart is depicted as somewhat out of the blue as it only really comes to pass in the last couple of episodes. In other ways the story develops quite nicely over its length: Maggie Hope is drawn as scrawny and plain to start with, and she becomes much more well-favoured by the end. Is that supposed to be as a result of better feeding than she’d get in the East End of London, or because Phil Townsend forgets to draw her quite as plain as at the start? Either way it works pretty well and matches the growing friendship of the two girls.

Jinty 8 March 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie) – first episode
  • Jinty made it herself… (craft feature on how to make a dressing table tidy)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

Katie jinxes herself at the launderette this week – she spilt the water from her goldfish bowl over her eiderdown and it all comes apart when she tries drying it. The understandably tetchy manageress kicks her out unceremoniously and so she needs to hang things up at home. Her Heath Robinsonesque drying lines only succeed in giving the vicar a hot bum and a cold neck, but Katie’s mother is just as glad that the vicar was chased away by this odd combination as it saved her from having to say yes to the favour he was about to ask for. The grateful mum hauls out a ‘do it yourself continental quilt kit’ that Katie can make up and use that night – with the goldfish bowl set far away from the bedside this time! (DIY continental quilt sets – did they ever really exist I wonder?!)

In “Tricia’s Tragedy”, Tricia is blaming herself for her cousin Diana’s accident and subsequent blindness. She’s feeling so guilty that she is even going to withdraw from the important swimming trophy that they are both entered for. Her father is adamant that she shouldn’t do that, and even locks her in until the morning so that she can’t do something rash. That doesn’t stop her and she runs away to Diana’s house – though her father does get her to promise that at least she won’t actually withdraw from the Lloyd Trophy competition herself.

Merry realises what the mysterious joker has been up to over the past few weeks – trying to get Miss Ball sacked. Wardress Stropp (aptly named) turns out to be the mysterious figure behind it all, and soon she is sacked and Ball reinstated. Not that Ball is any more of a fan of Merry than she was before the reinstatement! But Merry doesn’t mind too much because she is inspired by something Miss Ball said – it has given her an idea for a potential escape plan!

Kat opens this episode by hesitating when asked to leap up onto a platform – because she has weakened it herself deliberately, so as to get Mouse to injure herself! Mouse guesses what is behind the hesitation, and it is the end of their friendship. For good? Probably – but Kat is very sneaky and can at least think of ways to turn everyone else against Mouse, even if she can’t get her willing wee slavey back again.

Sally Tuff thinks everything is going her way at last – her school sports mistress Miss Granley has come to find and save them from Paradise Island, so she thinks. But an overheard conversation between Miss Granley and Miss Lush makes Sally question who is on her side.

New story “Daddy’s Darling” starts in this week’s issue. Not many Jinty stories were set during WWII (one exception being “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by the same creative team, and another being “Song of the Fir Tree“, also drawn by Phil Townsend but with no credited writer at present). Lee Simons is a poor little rich girl – her father is over-protective of her because of the tragic deaths of her older brother who was killed when riding his bike, and her mother who got ill and died rapidly thereafter. Five years later Lee is chauffered around and tutored at home; but the war is about to change things as Mr Simons can no longer arrange everything just as he wishes.

In “Slave of the Mirror” Mia Blake is dead set on getting enough money to pay for modelling classes. At first she tries it the straight way, by doing extra tasks at the boarding house and hoping her sister will give her more pocket money; but soon the sinister girl in the mirror has her going about things in a rather less straightforward way, by sneaking off to a bathing beauty contest that her sister is bound to be up in arms about. She is doing well in the contest too, but Janet is outraged and swears she will soon put a stop to that!

Jinty 15 February 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi and Mike White)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy – first episode (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Jinty Made It Yourself – So Can You! (feature)

This issue is very close to Valentine’s Day, and so it features Katie Jinks receiving an appropriate heart-shaped card. What she doesn’t know is that her friends Liz and Sue are playing a trick on her – but as they soon find out, putting Katie into a romantic daze “means she’s a danger to life and limb! Our lives and our limbs!” How true – Katie jinxes her friends’ attempts to get a date for the Valentine Dance that night, while she herself gets an invite from the dishy lifeguard. Heh heh.

This issue has the first episode of “Tricia’s Tragedy“, following hard on the heels of the previous week’s final episode of the Alan Davidson-written “Jackie’s Two Lives“. It is seems pretty typical that a story by one artist / writer combination is often followed by another story from the same team, so while we do not have any definite indication that this story was also written by Alan Davidson, it seems a good likely hint. Tricia starts off the story by training in the local quarry pool because her family is too poor to use the public baths very often. We are told that if she can manage to win the Lloyd Trophy, then everything could change for her family.  But in the same few pages, her chance to continue using the quarry pool is dashed, by a complaint from the rich side of the family.

Merry is puzzled because someone else is playing practical tricks on the wardens in the reformatory – but they are tricks that go too far and will rebound on the joker. Of course everyone thinks it’s Merry who’s doing it while she knows it’s someone else – but who would have the nerve to do it, and why? Whatever the reasons, it spells trouble for Merry.

Kat is playing horrible tricks on Mouse but she is a careful and thorough worker, so all the ‘accidentally on purpose’ slips that Kat makes are undone by Mouse. The task that Mouse is trying to accomplish is to wash some expensive theatrical costumes, and it all goes off so well that Kat is driven to a desperate step to blacken Mouse’s name. She tries to chuck the hamper in a rubbish truck – but instead puts herself in the path of a passing motorbike, and hurts her leg badly!

Sally Tuff’s hockey team try to leave Paradise Island – they are not exactly prisoners, but they are tricked into staying as Miss Lush fools them into thinking that it doesn’t matter how little they train and how much they eat or drink – they are unbeatable no matter what! Sally knows different, but will she be able to do something about it?

It’s Beth’s birthday in “Always Together…” – as a small girl who doesn’t understand death, she is expecting her mother to come and give her a present, or at least to send her a card. Her brother and sister are working hard to make it a lovely birthday for her, as much as they can… but an unexpected visitor drops the bombshell that makes little Beth believe that her mother truly is dead. It is enough of a shock for her to fall down in a faint. Will the truth kill her, as her sister believes it might?

The girl in the mirror has Mia forging a number of letters, but this time in a good cause – she ends up clearing the Major’s name. Mia has also been noticed as someone who is pretty enough to make a living as a model – we are told this will lead to amazing developments later.

Jinty 21 September 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Jinty Made It Herself… so can you! (craft feature)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

I have been on a bit of a hiatus recently due to a very busy patch at work and some achy wrists from too much typing. Things have now settled down on both fronts so hopefully I will be able to ease myself back into blogging – and of course Mistyfan has been keeping things going on the blog with a recent focus on stories published in other titles and issues of other titles too.

This is issue 20 of Jinty and it feels quite thick and substantial – on counting the pages, it seems this was still running at a 40 page length at this point. There’s certainly quite a lot in it – the Katie Jinx story is a four-pager which continues a short story arc about Katie learning how to do hypnotism. She’s not quite as successful as she thinks she is being, because her school chums are fooling her by pretending to be hypnotized! But can she hypnotize a charging prize porker before it flattens her? I suspect not!

In “Jackie’s Two Lives“, Jackie meets Mrs Mandell for the first time. Of course she has to lie to her family in order to do that. That is only the tip of the iceberg, as Mrs Mandell starts to manipulate her further. It sounds so innocuous but it will all end badly, as we know.

Wenna is being persecuted as a witch – her local friends are being prevented from seeing her by their prejudiced parents. In fact the whole class of her year have been kept away from school – very cruel! Not surprisingly, Wenna takes this as a cue to run away.

The family in “Always Together…‘ are already runaways – elder sister Jilly is shocked to read in the paper that the water they have been using in cooking is polluted and likely to make them ill. Indeed, they all end up coming down with something. Jilly bravely keeps things going but once they are better there are the continuing challenges of before. How will they get enough money to eat and sustain themselves? Jilly’s talent for sketching will hopefully help but that might not be enough, because the little family are still not very strong and healthy.

In “Jinty Made It Herself” the reader is advised on how to adapt an old jumper into a different piece of clothing such as a tank top.

Linda is feeling very left-out in the story of the same name. Her mother has remarried and she has a step-sister, which rather spikes Linda’s plan of being expelled from school so that she can hang out with her mother and be as close as they were before everything changed. Step-sister Lorette seems rather nice and is certainly trying hard to be friends but Linda is having none of it. What’s more, when she does try to make amends by cooking tea, it all seems to go wrong and she is unhappier than ever.

Merry at Misery House is unhappy because her parents are suffering money troubles due to her father being taken ill. The other reformatory girls come up with a plan to earn a bit of cash that Merry can send off home. Unfortunately the way they earn it involves exposing themselves to illness, and soon the whole of Misery House starts to come down with virulent influenza. Yikes, that’s a real killer.

Daphne of “Wild Horse Summer” is made to go out picking sloes with the other orphanage children – everyone’s being very kind but all Daphne wants to do is to see the splendid white horse that she is secretly making friends with. On her ride, though, she spots that the farmhouse is on fire, with no-one left there to put it out! Her secret will be out but she has to alert everyone.

Finally, “Angela’s Angels” features a daring rescue from a crashed light plane – nurse Sharon rescues her hero, Neil Crosby, a tennis star. Fat lot of thanks she gets from him when he realises that he is paralysed and may never be able to walk again! There are lots of anguished faces in the beautiful art by Leo Davy.

June and School Friend 23 October 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Fashion flashes – feature (writer Angela Barrie)
  • Ann’s South Sea Adventure (artist Dudley Pout, writer Jason Alan)
  • Emma In The Shade (artist Juan Solé)
  • Bijli in the Dark (text story)
  • Bessie Bunter (writer Ron Clark)
  • Shirley’s Showdate – feature on Ian Carmichael
  • Sindy and her Friends in Boomerang! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Champions: sports feature on Emma ‘Maid Marian’ Gapchenko
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Strange Story: The Island of Mystery (attributed to artist Shirley Bellwood)
  • My Brother’s a Nut!
  • Dottie Doogood (gag strip)
  • Double for Danger (artist Leslie Otway)
  • Star Special “The Darwin Adventure”

For this last issue of June & School Friend of the three that I acquired, I looked through the credits listed on Catawiki to be able to list artists (and even some writers) that I didn’t otherwise know. I am very grateful to that site for its detailed information. I was rather surprised to see Shirley Bellwood credited with the art on the Strange Story (The Island of Mystery, which was reprinted as a Gypsy Rose story in the Jinty Annual for 1980) as it looks much scrappier than Bellwood’s normal lovely art, but I have gone with this attribution rather than doubting it.

[By request, here is the Strange Story – click through for large, more readable pages]

“Gymnast Jinty” has escaped the confines of the school environment and is into thrilling spy-story stuff. Jinty is on a modelling assignment on a tropical island during a coup d’état; she gets embroiled in a rebellion against this wrongdoing. In this episode we see her scattering two thousand leaflets across the capital city – during a parachute drop! But we are promised that next week, she is thrown in jail. An exciting story!

“Oh, Tinker!” this week is a fun story about a magpie who stole an engagement ring from a young woman whose fiancé is very angry about it – the ring is returned in time for it to be clear that it wasn’t from carelessness that it was lost, but due to the thieving magpie. The best bit though is when the young lady in question gives her fiancé the heave-ho for having been such a git about it all.

[By request, here is the Tinker story – click through for large, more readable pages]

We have a single page of what looks art-wise like a rather earlier story: “Ann’s South Sea Adventure”. Ann Pilgrim travels to the South Sea Islands. Lots of action and danger with natives who speak broken English, hmm.

This is a much later episode of “Emma In The Shade” – her and her mother are living in poverty on a barge and just scraping by. Her mother is failing to make a living at painting, until an accident transforms one of her naturalistic paintings into a modernist success. (A well-worn joke that seems to have been used several times as the basis of an episode of one or other comic story.) She also makes a success of singing in a talent contest, once she takes Emma’s advice to not make the songs too ‘highbrow’.

The Sindy story features a fire at the sheep station where she is staying in Australia – and a secret that the daughter of the house is hiding from her father. It is simply that she is a talented violinist, but her father disapproves.

I reproduce here the page of “Nature’s Wonderful Ways”, which was often reprinted in Jinty issues and annuals. There is a signature at the bottom of the page, so we are able to credit it to Helen Haywood.

“Double for Danger” is the dramatic story of the issue. Gail Dawson is asked to become a body double for ballet soloist Karen Grant – a request which seems innocent enough, just embarrassing if she is found out. I suspect it will end up as rather more than it seems, though! I like the way the logo is done in one large vertical panel that runs from top to bottom of the page: it is shaded as if it might have been intended for colour reproduction originally.

I notice some differences between this title and the way things worked a bit later in Jinty‘s day. Primarily it’s rather longer – this issue is 36 pages rather than the 32 I am used to seeing – but looking at Catawiki I see that this figure is down from 44 pages in around 1968. I also see that the lettering in the stories is not done via typewriting as in Jinty et al – it’s hand-lettered throughout, sometimes more neatly than others, so presumably it was not done in house by a central resource. Interesting! Often the lettering was very nicely done too.

June and School Friend 4 September 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Emma in the Shade (artist Juan Solé)
  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Angie’s Angel (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • S.O.S.! – Agony aunt Angela Barrie
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bijli the Curious Mongoose (text story)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (feature)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • More Winning Pictures By Our Readers
  • Sindy and her Friends in “Carefree’s Champion”
  • The Champions – Lillian Board (sports personality feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Strange Story: “Phantoms of the Old Chateau” (artist Phil Townsend)
  • My Brother’s a Nut! – sparkling new family story begins today
  • Adam’s Got What he Wants – feature on Adam Faith
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)

Another one of my slightly-randomly-acquired issues of June and School Friend. As I said in the comments on the last post, we will look to cover more titles beyond Jinty on this blog in the future.

“Emma In The Shade” is a nicely-drawn tale of parental angst. As with the other stories in June & SF, it feels very short at only 2 pages long per episode but other than that it could certainly fit in the pages of Jinty. Emma is the only child of brilliant parents, who expect her to excel likewise. But she doesn’t feel that she has any talents, and her mother in particular is very hard on her as a result. Of course when there is an accident that deprives her of one parent, it is the unsympathetic one that she is left with…

Little fairy Tinker is trying to help a young boy who is having no luck fishing – through a series of happy accidents she ends up dragging the whole jetty he is standing on off to the deep sea, which at least means that he ends up with an impressive catch!

Angie West is in trouble. While trying to find out what happened to a china angel belonging to her old friend, she has got mixed up in something which results in her being accused of robbery. She is cleared by the end of the episode because luckily she sketched a man that she saw in pirate costume in the location of the robbery – and that turned out to be the perpetrator, so all was well.

Gymnast Jinty is faced with a dilemma – the school she works at is due to be merged with another, and she and the games teacher at the other school must compete for their jobs. I’m not that interested in the story resolution but Jim Baikie does such lovely art even in the background details – Jinty invents a game to get the school girls practicing hard, by hitting tennis balls against ‘space monsters’ she has set up dangling from the ceiling of the gym. They are lovely little details. I include it here for others to enjoy.

click thru

The text story is a three-pager, as with the earlier issue I posted about. This is not so much a serial as a series of linked stories about the same protagonists, seemingly the little curious mongoose in particular. There is also a one-page “Nature’s Wonderful Ways” illustrated feature on interesting animals and their play-time habits.

Bessie Bunter is up to her usual tricks, but so is her brother, who is her rival in the quest to obtain a feast from a school hamper! But the two chumps, sorry chums, end up pinching a basket of cacti for the flower show instead, alas for them.

Sindy’s pal Tim dashes into a stable when a fire breaks out, and they discover a tale of drugged and sabotaged horses. Very Dick Francis.

The feature about a sports personality is on Lillian Board, a very fast runner I’d never heard of. She sadly died of cervical cancer at the very early age of 22: the feature just refers to ‘her killer disease’ without going into any further details and I needed to look her up to find out anything more.

Robert MacGillivray delivers his usual fun as Lucky and her living doll try to enjoy the sunshine without too many slapstick sillies.

The Strange Story is drawn by Phil Townsend, meaning we really have a good lot of Jinty stalwarts featured in this issue. It is about a girl in the French Resistance, who is guided to find an important package which has landed in the middle of a maze. Her guides are the ghosts of previous inhabitants who followed the path to escape from revolutionaries long ago.

“My Brother’s A Nut” is rather sloppily drawn I would say. Jilly Carter’s family is all very normal and ordinary, apart from her brother, who often takes it into to try out new ideas. This week he’s trying to get Jilly to form a band with him and some friends, as the drummer – but of course she has never done any drumming before.

The artist on “Orphans Alone” is familiar but I don’t know his/her name [edited to add – Catawiki tells me this is Tom Kerr]. Beth and Tim are orphans who have run away from the workhouse and are struggling to make a living. When Tim buys her a bottle at a fair, they seem to be dogged by bad luck afterwards, but it turns out to be all because of a scam that a nasty trickster is trying to play on the two. I assume there are further episodic tales of these two orphans to come, until eventually they find their last home or long-lost parents or similar.

June and School Friend 10 April 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • It’s Easter Week! (crafts feature by Angela Barrie)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Pony Trek Penny (writer Linda Blake) – prose serial
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)
  • “I Talk To Basil Brush” – Showdate (feature)
  • Sindy and her friends in The Haunted Theatre (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene – her Diary and Club News (feature)
  • Animal World (feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Hobby Time – Rambling (feature)
  • “The Elsa Story” (true story feature)
  • “The Shadow of Success” – Strange Story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Secret of Bell Mountain

Some months ago I bought three copies of June and School Friend, slightly on a whim. They are very readable, and also interesting for the light they shed on how IPC girls comics developed over the years. There are a lot of different comics stories included – 10 in total – but these are shorter than in Jinty or the like, as they are pretty much all only 2 pages long each. That leaves more room for text items, including a three page serialised prose story, which is something that never happened in Jinty and only rarely in Tammy. I will write detailed posts on all three of them, as we do for Jinty issues, but I know fewer of the artists to be able to credit their work.

“Oh, Tinker!” looks rather like a story from a nursery-title: drawn by Trini Tinturé, it features a sweet little fairy who can cast up to 3 spells a day and often gets things mixed up. Of course in the end everything always works out ok.

The “Wild Girl of the Hills” is Naomi, a gypsy girl who lives alone in a cave and is friends with wild creatures. Her only friend is Jean Ross, whose father is the head game-keeper locally; the two girls are drawn together by their love of animals. This is a theme that occurs in other stories; Freixas’ lovely art makes it worth a look.

“Gymnast Jinty” was occasionally seen in as a reprint in an annual; it’s interesting to see this story, which I assume may have lead to the idea behind naming Jinty itself. Jinty Lewis is a popular young gym mistress at Sandbury School; she has to deal with emotional troubles from her pupil Gail.

Bessie Bunter is always a fun strip, if very silly indeed, and of course old-fashioned. Bessie does some shopping and scarfs as many free samples as she can – but what with one thing and another still ends up as the hero of the day when she inadvertently catches a shoplifter.

“Pony Trek Penny” is credited to Linda Blake, who is also credited with a text story printed in the 1975 Jinty annual. I suspect that means either that the story in the annual is a June &SF reprint, or that Mavis Miller kept Ms Blake on the creative books during the initial while that Jinty was getting established. She is not a name that seems to appear in subsequent pages of Jinty though.

“Call Me Cupid!” starts this week – a humorous story about a girl whose older sister breaks up with her fiancé when he fails to turn up to the church in time – he got his dates mixed up! Cue match-making from the younger sister, to stop her older sister from moaning so much.

There is a comic with a difference in the middle of the  issue – ‘by arrangement with the manufacturers of Pedigree Dolls’, it features Sindy and her friends. Here it is, partly so you can enjoy the lovely Phil Townsend art.

click thru

There is a two-page episode of “Lucky’s Living Doll” which lets us enjoy Robert MacGillivray’s art, but then we are very well off for his art in this issue, as the Strange Story also is drawn by him. The Strange Story is 3 pages long – the only comics story in the issue which is as long as that. A girl borrows a tennis racket from an old champion and it seems to encourage her to heights of dedication and ruthlessness, which starts to make her unhappy. And MacGillivray also draws “The Greys Fight Back!” about a family rallying round their father, who is in a wheelchair following an accident and is depressed about it. Normally this sort of role would be fulfilled by a girl protagonist so this is a different twist. It has a humorous angle rather than dealing strongly with negative emotions like anger or despair.

In the letters page we see an example of a reader who is interested in the creators behind the stories: she asks “why don’t you print something about the different artists who draw the stories”. A particular favourite of hers is Trini Tinturé, who is given a name in the reply and described as “a Spanish girl… who lives in Barcelona – and has her record player going to keep her company while she’s working!” We are promised more of Trini in a later issue. I wonder if she was in a feature?

The last story of the issue is “Secret of Bell Mountain”, a thriller which ends with the brave girl protagonist being held up at gun point by the villain of the piece.

Hip hip hooray! Jinty (would have been) 43 today!

This is a post covering more than one celebration. It is the 600th post on this blog, posted on the 11th May, the day that Jinty was first published 43 years ago. And while we normally don’t make much of the anniversary of the blog itself, it has been a little over three years since it first started, back on 15 April 2014.

Jinty likewise also didn’t make much of its anniversaries. There is a celebration cover for its 200th issue but that mostly consists of an Easter picture and some text stating that it is a celebration issue. And while the cover of its 5th anniversary, above, is at least specially-drawn for the occasion, there is nothing much more inside to remind readers of the exciting times from the previous years. We can do more than that, in this blog post!

Well of course on this blog you can go back and read posts on individual issues, either in the order in which they were originally posted or (rather more conveniently) as an index, in date order. This also shows you how far we’ve got through the list of all 383 issues of Jinty ever published. For much of the run, we have now got long unbroken streaks of consecutive issues. There are gaps here and there of two or three issues together where we still have to fill in issues not-yet-blogged, but these are much fewer than used to be the case. (To give you context of the publishing of the time, there is also a much shorter list of issues of other titles which we have written about. It’s an area we focus on less, of course, but we will continue to add to nevertheless.)

We are still plugging gaps in the list of stories, too, but there again the gaps are narrowing. If you look at the list of Stories by Publication Date you can easily see which stories are yet to be posted about. Most of the key stories have already been covered, but there are still some crackers to come. Mistyfan is promising us “Tears of a Clown”, and on my own list I need to get to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, the popular and extremely long wartime tear-jerker from Alison Christie and Phil Townsend.

In terms of other sorts of blog achievements, of course 600 posts is itself a really good number to have got to, in as little as three years. I would have been happy to manage about one post a week, but thanks to Mistyfan’s energy and our combined bright ideas on new things to tackle over that time, we have managed three or four times that rate. (I must give due credit to Mistyfan, who writes about one and half as many posts as I do!) The readers of this blog will be glad to know that even though we are closing the gaps on individual issues to write about, we still have many creators to cover as well as the story gaps mentioned. And although issues of other titles have featured previously as context for Jinty‘s family tree, I can see that we might need to cover more of these so as to continue to trace the path of different creators, story types, and themes throughout the years.

Jinty never had a chance to continue even as far as its 8th birthday issue, alas. I wonder what it would have been like if it had lasted longer? There would certainly have been a lot more great stories and excellent art to read and enjoy, but would it have stayed as inventive and energetic as 2000AD has done in its 40th year? Bunty lasted from 1958 to 2001 and had strong stories even to the end, but I think it would be hard to class the latter-day content of the title as ranking with its heyday. A longer-lasting Jinty would have had to reinvent itself more widely: I’m not sure how that would be possible in the constraints of the British comics market, especially with comics marked out as being more and more ‘for boys’. Esther, the Spanish “Patty’s World”, managed it, with stories being written specifically for the Spanish market and grown-up readers still seeking out the title of their childhood and sharing it with the next generation. Perhaps not a coincidence that it succeeded so well: Esther was always down-to-earth and realistic, compared to stories about boarding schools or ballet, so it stood more of a chance to tap into the mainstream urge for everyday stories that lies behind the popularity of soap operas. Not that soaps are the only way to produce popular entertainment, of course: Jinty and the like could perhaps have tapped into the science fiction or fantastical elements that worked so well in their pages. For sure, something  different would have been needed. Wouldn’t it have been great to have seen the publishers give it a go!

Jinty and Lindy 29 January 1977

Stories in this issue:

  • The Ring of Death – first Gypsy Rose tale (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Cándido Ruiz Pueyo / Emilia Prieto)
  • Starsky and Hutch, the best of mates! (feature)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Freda, False Friend (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)

This issue gives us the first of a long line of Gypsy Rose stories – a spooky storyteller series which gives the Jinty editors the flexibility of commissioning a number of different artists and writers and running the resulting stories as they suit best. Most of the stories include Gypsy Rose as an active participant in the tale and helping to resolve the mystery; but later on a number of spooky stories from other titles had a panel of Gypsy Rose art pasted over the other storyteller so that it could be rebranded as a Jinty-style story. I have uploaded “The Ring of Death” into the Gypsy Rose summary post, so do head over to that to read it. You will notice some art that is repeated in subsequent Gypsy Rose stories, such as the image of her seated figure, displaying her patchwork skirt to best advantage.

Malincha’s wicked uncle Telqotl is plotting ways to trap her and to steal the golden sceptre. The two girls manage to give him the slip at the museum but they are soon trapped in a department store and he has managed to put out all the lights by mystic means!

Mandy Mason, the humble caretaker at an elegant beauty salon, ends up going to a posh safari park by accident and has a chance to turn herself into Raquel, the fearless white huntress. But at the end of this episode she is trapped in a cage with two adult lions running towards her as she holds a cub in her arms! Audrey Fawley draws lovely human figures but sadly the lions just look like round bouncy creatures who aren’t very convincing to my eyes.

It is also the first episode of “Freda, False Friend”. Freda’s father is a police officer; he seems to have suddenly got a promotion as the family move to a posh big house and start driving in a swanky new car. It all turns out to be a ruse though – he wants her to make friends with Gail, the girl next door, because the police have suspicions about Gail’s father. Very unpleasantly for Freda, she is being made into a spy against her will!

In “The Big Cat” Ruth saves a stag from being hunted by the local staghounds, but for her pains she is driven off from the village that she has been working in. It was a very unfriendly village, with people who hated to see strangers come along, but still it was a depressing thing to have happen.

Martine is claiming that the ballet school is her house, even though it was sold to Miss Bond some time previously. The worry of what is happening to her sister causes Tessa’s ballet dancing to suffer, and her relationships with her classmates are also suffering. But the most dangerous thing is the chance it gives her jealous rival, to score over her!

Emma Fielding is torn between believing in Alice’s attempts to be friends, and her father’s bitter denouncing of those attempts as just charity. The spiteful local girls look like they want to make it all go wrong for Emma, too.