Jinty and Penny 20 September 1980

Jinty 20 September 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Contents in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: Charlie’s Angels
  • Wheels of Fate (artist John Armstrong) Gypsy Rose story
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé) – final episode
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

Looks like Betty, the sports mistress from the future serial “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, is supervising the javelin on the cover. Well, it does look rather like Betty.

The trouble in “A Spell of Trouble” solves itself in a four-page finale, which looks like it has bumped “Winning Ways” this week. The witches, who have been pressing Angela to become a witch, find out – the hard way – that making Angela White a witch is only a recipe for disaster because she’s such a bungling menace. So they restore the Blacks’ powers, but please, please, keep Angela as a non-witch from now on! And now that’s all been sorted out, Angela and Carrie can become friends. In two weeks’ time Jinty will start another witchcraft story, “Sue’s Daily Dozen”, which will be the last witch serial she will ever run.

Everyone in Pam’s class is vying for the ten places on the French trip. Even the class larrikins Fred and Terry are, but only once they find out it will mean missing the last week of term. Those two will do anything to get out of some lessons – even swotting up French and crawling to the French teacher. But then Pam notices that something seems to be bothering her friend Tracy…

Shona finds out she is now the girl the world forgot: a radio broadcast announces that she has been presumed dead and the search for her has been called off. Tantalisingly, it does not inform her whether her parents survived or not. At least Shona finds the island is kitted out for survival, with a source of fresh water and an abandoned croft, and she’s got other company on the island – a talking crow.

In “Tears of a Clown”, Kathy’s respite from the bullying is over. The bullying is back now, and it’s worse than ever. Then the upcoming sports day gives Kathy new hope to prove her running talent. But considering her luck in proving it so far, she might be wise not to set her hopes too high. And what about spiteful Sandra, the bully who keeps thwarting Kathy’s efforts to prove her talent?

Tansy and the gang from Jubilee Street go off to apprehend some smugglers – only to find they were just actors for a television show. Fortunately their interference makes the scene even better, so it will be retained and they will see themselves on television next week.

Jemma’s strange problem with rain gets her withdrawn from the school tennis team. And now it’s about to land her in big trouble with her teacher!

Sir Roger’s bragging about how brave he is, but just how brave is he really? He apprehends some burglars, but it’s due more to hijinks and dumb luck than courage.

The Gypsy Rose story is yet another recycled John Armstrong Strange Story from Tammy. Gail Hawkins goes on holiday with her uncle and aunt. She is plagued by a constantly passing lorry, but no lorry has been allowed on that road since one caused a fatal accident some years back. And it is a French lorry, just like the one that caused the accident…but there can’t be such things as ghost lorries, surely?

Jinty and Penny 13 September 1980

Jinty 13 September 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Contents in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Back to School! (craft feature)
  • Phantom of the Fells (artist John Armstrong) Gypsy Rose story
  • Behind the Screen: Grange Hill
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Winning Ways #25: Tennis – the Grip (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

Jinty commemorates it being “back to school” after the summer holidays with a “back to school” craft page and doing a feature on Grange Hill for “Behind the Screen”.

At Pond Hill, school’s much happier because a school camping trip to France is planned. Pam’s so enthused that she’s boning up on her French, much to Miss Peeble’s surprise. But there’s one problem: the school can only take ten pupils because that’s all the room there is in their vehicle. So there is no guarantee Pam will even go.

In “Child of the Rain”, Jemma’s odd reaction to rain is causing a real nuisance at school and she’s running the risk of letting the school tennis team down because of it.

School is now looking up for Kathy the class clown because her classmates decide Sandra has gone too far and start protecting her from Sandra’s bullying. But Kathy loses that protection when her clumsiness turns a classmate’s party into custard and a stereo system is wrecked! Now it’s back to square one for her, and we are warned that the bullying will grow even worse next week.

“A Spell of Trouble” is on its penultimate episode. The witches find out Angela is still not a witch and carry out their threat to strip the Blacks of their powers because of it. But when Angela sees how hard this is on her Black relatives because they’ve never gotten by any other way except witchcraft, she decides to become a witch after all, for their sakes. She doesn’t think it’s going to be that easy, though, and we have a feeling she’s right.

Shona becomes the “Girl the World Forgot” once the searchers find her empty life raft and draw the apparent conclusion that she is dead. Nobody knows that Shona and her dog Scuffer are in fact washed up on a deserted island and waiting for rescue.

Aunt Agnes comes to stay at Stoney Hall, and she’s so house-proud she insists on cleaning everything in sight, while Sir Roger likes it dusty and cobwebby.

Tansy’s holiday gets even weirder when she and June find their way out of the cave they got lost in and find a gang of smugglers – in pirate costumes(?). She runs to the other Jubilee Street residents to get help in rounding them up.

This week’s Gypsy Rose is another recycled John Armstrong Strange Story, which is reprinted from Tammy. An arrogant mountaineer learns that the fells should not be underestimated, even if they are “flea bites” compared to the mountains she’s climbed, and they can be dangerous for those who do not know them. She learns that dogs should not be underestimated either. But we wonder what her opinion on ghosts will be after this episode?

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.

Jinty and Penny 30 August 1980

Jinty cover 30 August 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Black Rory’s Curse (artist John Armstrong) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: Happy Days (feature)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes) – final episode
  • Winning Ways #24: A Squat Vault (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend) – final episode
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

On the cover we see Betty, the sports mistress from the future serial “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, supervising the high jump. Oh, just kidding! But the sports mistress does bear a striking resemblance to Betty.

In the letter column there is a letter from one reader saying she cuts out the “Winning Ways” and gives them to her P.E. teacher, who pins them on the gymnasium wall. Benita Brown must have been so chuffed.

Both “Blind Faith” and “Minnow” finish this issue. Clare has to forfeit her win because she entered under false pretences, but she has made her point about Cromwell being able to jump despite his blindness, so he’s safe now. Minna has to do a life-or-death swim to shore to get away from her kidnappers, which is a real test for a girl who’s only recently learned to swim. Her escape can be viewed on the Peter Wilkes page in the panel gallery.

Their replacements next week are “Girl the World Forgot” and a new Phil Townsend sports story, “Child of the Rain”, which, come to think of it, was Jinty’s one and only tennis story. “Girl the World Forgot” is a castaway story, something that Jinty has not used since her earliest days with “Desert Island Daisy“, but it clearly takes the theme seriously, while Daisy used it for laughs.

Spiteful Sandra is at her worst this week to make sure Kathy stays “the clown”, and it makes this episode a really cruel one. Under cover of pretend kindness, she tricks Kathy into eating too much food to stop her demonstrating her running talent at the sports centre. And just look at the monstrous amounts of food she’s coercing poor Kathy to eat. Talk about gavage!

Pam guesses who has taken her witch ball and resorts to some sneakiness to get it back – while tricking the thief into making a fool of herself and cheer up her depressed gran into the bargain.

This week Tansy discovers just how superstitious the residents of Jubilee Street are. Although she herself remains a sceptic, she eventually decides to bone up on superstitions for luck: “better safe than sorry!”

Sir Roger thinks modern people don’t know how to make others suffer through torture these days. But after a trip to the funfair and trying out its rides, he changes his mind.

This week’s Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story, which originally appeared in June. It treats Jinty readers to some John Armstrong artwork. The old maxim “you can’t take it with you” is put to the test with Black Rory, a robber baron who was so greedy that not even death would make him part with his ill-gotten loot; he had himself buried in full armour in a stone room with all his riches. It looks like being beyond the grave is not stopping his greed either, because his spirit is taking possession of generous Carly and making her insatiably greedy. And then he disappears from the stone room altogether…to spread even more greed…?

Angela’s off to a boarding school, and Carrie goes along to ensure her bungling cousin stays there. But it all backfires in the end and they’re still stuck with Angela.

Jinty and Penny 23 August 1980

Jinty cover 23 August 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Lure of the Lamp (unknown Concrete Surfer artist) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Wonder Woman (feature)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways #23: Forward Roll on a Beam (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

Mario Capaldi brings us a very nice water-skiing cover for this issue of Jinty.

Both “Minnow” and “Blind Faith” are on their penultimate episodes. Minna finds out the hard way that the mystery in her mother’s past is connected to some foreign goons. How hard? These goons have now kidnapped Minna, tied her up, and locked her in the cabin of a ship that is now sailing for an unknown destination. And they aren’t any more cooperative than Mum is when it comes to explaining just what the heck it’s all about.

In “Blind Faith” Clare disguises herself to enter Cromwell in a gymkhana to show he can still jump, even if he is blind. But then the old ghost from the past returns when Cromwell refuses a water jump that is like the one that blinded him in the first place.

In “Pam of Pond Hill” the witch ball helps Pond Hill to win a footy match. But then bad luck strikes when the witch ball gets stolen.

Gaye tries to get Sir Roger to help out with housework. But he can’t seem to put a foot right about it for some reason – like pulling a fast one to get out of it.

Hooray, a policeman catches arch-bully Sandra red-handed when she plays a spiteful trick on poor old Kathy the clown! But then spiteful Sandra twists it to turn the class even more against the poor old clown. Boo! And now Sandra is plotting something even worse – foiling Kathy’s bid to show off her running talent at the local sports centre.

In “A Spell of Trouble”, Mrs Black pulls a body-switching spell so Carrie, in Angela’s body, can fool the Witch Inspector when she calls to see how Angela is getting on at becoming a witch. But Angela, in Carrie’s body, has to dance in the school disco team – and she has two left feet. Afterwards, Angela says she’s moving to a boarding school, away from the Blacks. Carrie thinks this is too good to be true, and it sounds like she’s right.

Tansy of Jubilee Street is still on holiday at a home away from home because everyone else in Jubilee Street is holidaying there too. They might as well have stayed at home.

The Gypsy Rose story is a recycled Strange Story drawn by the unknown Concrete Surfer artist. Sara Warren finds the lights in her street acting in a strange way, and then she sees a lamplighter with a disfigured face – er, hang on, hasn’t electric street lighting made lamp lighters obsolete?

Minnow [1980]

Sample Images

Minnow 1

Minnow 2

Minnow 3

Published: Jinty 3 May 1980 – 30 August 1980

Episodes: 12 (skipped one issue)

Artist: Peter Wilkes

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: None known

Plot

Minna Purves’ class starts swimming lessons. For some reason Mum is totally against Minna going to the swimming class. She says it’s wrong for Minna, but won’t explain why. However, nobody is excused from swim class without a note, so Minna’s off to it anyway – behind Mum’s back.

Minna has no swimsuit, so she has to make do with an unflattering swimming costume from lost property (no wonder nobody claimed it!) that makes her a butt for teasing, especially from Sharon. They call her “tadpole”, but the swim coach, Miss Garrett, more kindly calls her a “minnow”, and so her nickname is born. Emma is Minna’s only friend in the class.

Surprisingly, Minna soon finds she is a natural in the water and Miss Garrett even thinks she will become a very good swimmer. But when the waves machine comes on, Minna has a strange panic attack that she can’t explain (hmm, could this be what Mum was on about?). Following this, it becomes obvious Miss Garrett will have to give Minna some special attention if she is to regain confidence and carry on swimming.

Mum finally tells Minna that her father was drowned at sea, which gave her a phobia about water and losing Minna to it (but is that all there is to it?). In Minna’s view, this is all the more reason to improve her swimming. The coach for the local swimming club, Mr Byrnes, comes scouting out the class for new members, and Minna wants to join. They do trial laps to get into the club, but the noise from the cheering has Minna going off into another panic attack. This time there is a flashback too, of clouds and seagulls. Minna is pulled out and despite the mishap, Mr Byrnes wants her to join. But there are two problems: first, Minna has to pay fees, and second, she needs the signature of a parent/guardian. Minna addresses the first with her savings, which is easy enough. As for the second, well, she has little choice but to forge Mum’s signature.

While looking for something to copy Mum’s signature from, Minna finds other surprises that deepen the mystery: old letters in a foreign language, and a photograph of her mother and father holding swimming trophies. Later, when Minna wonders why her mother never lets her handbag out of sight, not even indoors, she can’t resist opening it – and finds an Olympic gold swimming medal with her father’s name on it. When Minna tackles Mum about it, Mum says it’s best for Minna not to know why.

That evening Minna goes to the swim club. To her consternation, bully Sharon is there too, but at least Emma is there also. When trying to dive off the diving board, the faces in the water and their voices yelling for Minna to jump set off another panic and she runs off, screaming that she has got to get away or she will drown like her father. As Minna runs off she unwittingly knocks Sharon into the pool, which makes Sharon hate her even more. Minna is encouraged to return to the water later, when there are no voices or faces, and her love of water returns.

Miss Garrett gives Minna a better swimsuit so Sharon will stop teasing her over the old one. But Miss Garrett also wants to question Mum about the strange panic attacks, not realising Minna is swimming behind her mother’s back. Minna does some quick thinking and says Mum is not in – which turns out to be true, as she’s late home from work.

At the next swim session, Sharon has the girls all teasing Minna by splashing water at her – which triggers off another panic attack. Sharon is stricken with remorse when she sees she nearly caused Minna to drown and she has to be pulled out. From then on she gives Minna no more trouble. Minna remembers more from the strange flashback: this time she saw mist over the water. But it all fades again. Miss Garrett says she seems to remember a bit more each time, and Minna finally tells her not to approach Mum about the matter because of the upset it could cause.

Newspaper reporters come in to do a feature on the swim club – and they would take a photo of Minna jumping off the diving board, which makes the front page the next day! Minna tries to hide it from Mum, but of course she finds out eventually. After the initial shock and anger, Mum agrees to let Minna continue with swimming, but she says something odd: “I think the damage may already be done…” Now what can she mean by that? Mum also says that she couldn’t save Minna’s father from drowning, but then Minna wonders how this could be if Mum and Dad were champion swimmers. She realises Mum is not telling her the full story and there is more to it. Mum also seems to be getting more overprotective in her behaviour when she suddenly starts collecting Minna from the swim club. While she does so, Mr Byrnes seems to think he knows her from somewhere.

Then two suspicious-looking men take a photo of Minna and Mum outside the club and drive off in a hurry, and they are clearly not reporters. The strange men send Mum off into a real fright. She whisks Minna off home and locks the place tight. She says it’s something she’s been dreading all of Minna’s life but still won’t explain what the hell is going on.

That night, Minna has more nightmares of the strange flashbacks, and this time she dreams she is a drowning baby with yelling voices all around her. One voice yells, “Leave me. Save the baby!” But as always, it fades.

Next day, Mum goes out to withdraw all their savings and tells Minna not to let anyone in. But the sinister men return and, with the unwitting help of a neighbour, make their way in and kidnap Minna. They tie her up and take her to a ship, which has notices written in the same language as Mum’s letters. They won’t explain what the kidnapping is about because they assume Mum has done it already (which she hasn’t). And then the ship starts sailing.

However, Minna manages to break out when a man brings her food (stupid idiot left the door open while untying Minna’s hands!) and she dives off the ship. (You will find it all on the Peter Wilkes page in the panel gallery.) The swim back to shore in the cold water tests all her new swimming skills to the limit, but she makes it – just.

Minna arrives home, where Mum and Mr Byrnes are so relieved to see her. Mum says the men were using Minna as blackmail to force her to return home, which is an Iron Curtain Eastern European country. Mum met Minna’s father at the Olympic Games, where he won his gold medal (and Mr Byrnes a bronze, which is how he came to know her). When Mum’s home country would not allow her to go to England with her new husband and newborn Minna, he tried to help her escape by boat. But it all went horribly wrong when fog caused the boat to founder against some rocks. Mum managed to save baby Minna from the water, but Dad was killed. Minna realises that this disaster was what she had been recalling in her flashbacks, and now she can see it in its entirety for the first time.

Mum made it to England with Minna, but has always lived in dread of her Iron Curtain home country catching up with her and dragging her back. This was the real reason why she had been so opposed to swimming, and she even gave it up entirely. She also realised her home country would try to grab Minna once they realised what a good swimmer she was, because they never give up.

Sure enough, the men come back to try again. However, the police are waiting for them this time. The police say they will arrange for Mum to remain in England. Mr Byrnes says it would be easier if she married another Englishman (hint, hint!).

A few weeks later, Mum is back in the swim with her new husband (Mr Byrnes, of course). Minna’s panic attacks have disappeared, and she is learning more and more about swimming from her Olympic champion parents.

Thoughts

This story must have been popular, because it prompted one reader to write to Jinty on how she loved the mystery and leaving everything unexplained until the last episode so readers could keep having a go at solving it. She also asked Jinty to write more mystery stories, which was a suggestion Jinty didn’t seem to take up much for the remainder of her run.

Girls always loved mystery serials. It does not take a Sherlock Holmes to guess that Minna’s strange flashbacks, Mum’s opposition to Minna learning to swim, and Dad’s death from drowning are all connected. The mystery is just how they are connected. It deepens when Minna finds evidence that both her parents were swimming champions, so what’s turned Mum off the swimming that made her a champion? It gets even more tantalising when it becomes more and more obvious that Mum is not telling the whole truth. Not even when the sinister men show up, which makes the situation cry out for her to tell Minna everything.

When the creepy men appear in the story, their introduction makes it evident that Mum is not just some problem parent who is unreasonably opposed to the swimming because she was traumatised by a tragedy associated with it, as other parents in similar stories are. It becomes even more so when Mum starts behaving that she is clearly in hiding and making preparations to run away. This not only deepens the mystery still more but also makes it even more exciting. And when Minna is kidnapped by the strange men who won’t tell her what’s going on either and have her bound for some unknown destination, it all comes to a very exciting and dramatic head.

This is the first Jinty story since “Curtain of Silence” to use the topic of the Iron Curtain. As with “Curtain of Silence”, it uses sport and kidnapping as part of the Iron Curtain oppression. Unlike “Curtain of Silence”, however, the Iron Curtain element is not revealed until the end of the story, and it’s all part of the mystery that permeates the story right up until the final episode. We don’t even know the name of the Iron Curtain country or exactly who the kidnappers are. It also raises the disturbing question of just how much people who manage to flee the Iron Curtain ever fully escaped from it. Even in a democratic country, did the shadow of the Iron Curtain continue to hang over them in one way or other?

Jinty and Penny 5 July 1980

JInty cover 5 July 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Seulah the Seal (artist Veronica Weir) – final episode
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé) – first episode
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Smashing Bangers! – feature
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Winning Ways # 16: High Jump – the Frosby Flop (writer Benita Brown)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

This issue says farewell to the serial that came over with Penny, “Seulah the Seal”. This must have been a bit sad for former Penny readers, although the ending is happy.

We are also introduced to a new Trini Tinturé story, “A Spell of Trouble”, about the Blacks, who are a family of witches that find their magical lifestyle is under threat. Is it a witchfinder? Is it a witch-hunting mob? No, it’s a gormless non-magical cousin who is such a walking disaster area she would make “The Jinx from St Jonah’s” look competent.

Pam of Pond Hill starts a new story too. Hazel Bayley, who has no friends and isn’t popular, kindly gives Pam a macramé potholder when Pam has difficulty making one for Mum’s birthday. But then Pam sees the same potholders in a department store, and surely Hazel couldn’t have afforded the £5 for one! Pam can think of only one thing…but it couldn’t be, surely? Or could it? We are told there will be more surprises with Hazel the following week, but we doubt they will be pleasant ones.

In this week’s episode of “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” we see the Arthurian legend like we’ve never seen it before. According to Sir Roger, the real-life Sir Lancelot was a fat, short, bald man with a filthy temper and thick spectacles! He inadvertently creates the famous Round Table when he gets into a fight with Sir Roger over porridge. Gaye doesn’t believe a word of it, but the story’s so funny I put it up on the Hugh Thornton-Jones page in the panel gallery.

Lucy Craven breaks “The Venetian Looking Glass” in three and thinks her trouble with the ghost of Lucy Craven is over. But no – it’s trebled! Lucy now has to do the ghost’s bidding by “the power of three!”

It’s part two of the kids vs. adults sports competition in “Tansy of Jubilee Street”. The adults are into serious training, but Tansy has to find surreptitious ways to get the kids off their butts and do it too.

Minnow is now joining a swimming club, but again she has to do it behind her mother’s back. And while in Mum’s room she finds more strange clues to the mystery: letters in a foreign language and a photo that shows Mum and Dad used to be swimming champions! So why’s Mum got such a thing against swimming now?

In “Blind Faith” Clare has to do some breaking and entering to rescue Cromwell from the knacker’s yard – but she’s been spotted doing so!

Jinty and Penny 2 August 1980

Jinty 2 August 1980

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine) – first episode
  • The Last Leap (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Behind the Screen – Dr Who
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways #20: Headstand (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

This week’s issue is one for Doctor Who fans because it has a feature on the show and Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.

The cover informs us that “a great new story starts today”. That story is “Tears of a Clown”, which, like “Waves of Fear”, is a hard-hitting Phil Gascoine story about the evils of bullying and people in authority handling it badly. Here neither the parents nor the school are picking up that the protagonist, Kathy Clowne, is being bullied, much less step in to help. Instead, they all write her off as a no-hoper who’s no good at anything, not realising that the bullying is responsible for her poor school performance. It sounds all too familiar.

The shoplifting storyline in “Pam of Pond Hill” wraps up this week. It turns out the reason Hazel Bayley resorted to shoplifting was to use the stolen items to make the friends she didn’t have. That sounds all too familiar as well. Poor, foolish girl, who realised too late that it was not the way. She makes friends at Pond Hill in the end once they understand and sympathise, but her foolishness landed her in juvenile court and now she has a criminal record.

Minna finally sorts out her problem with bully Sharon, but now there is a new problem: her secret is in danger when a photographer takes a photograph of her at the swimming club.

Clare makes a new friend in Angie, who helps hide her and Cromwell. But Angie’s Dad has guessed what’s going on and is shadowing her.

This week’s Gypsy Rose is a Strange Story reprint that brings some Giorgio Giorgetti artwork to Jinty. The story is about a window where anyone who approaches it always seems to fall out of it. The doctor says it’s vertigo from the chequered pattern from the path below. However, there is another theory – and more evidence – about an aggrieved spirit of a mistreated servant girl who also fell out of that window. The story has been uploaded into the Gypsy Rose section in the panel gallery.

Tansy is surprised to find everyone in Jubilee Street is turning nice. Ah, so it’s a contest to find the kindest neighbour in the district. Yes, it sounded too good to be true – and so is the contest, which turns out to be as phony as the niceness in Jubilee Street.

Making Angela a witch becomes even more pressing when the Blacks receive a letter to make her one by next Halloween or have their powers removed. Carrie thinks she’s got it in the bag this time when Angela accepts a bet that if she can’t make a friend by the end of the day she’ll agree to be a witch. We shall see…

Sir Roger has sprained his haunting muscles and now he can’t vanish. We have to wait until next week to see if he recovers.

Jinty and Penny 4 October 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Stories in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • ‘A Call for Help’ – Gypsy Rose story (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Behind the Screen: Return of the Saint
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas) – first episode
  • Winning Ways 27: Tennis – the Forehand Drive (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

Pam’s friend Tracie is all of a tizzy – she’s terrified of her mum walking out on the family. The obvious question is, why would she do that to them? It’s a serious worry: her mum is increasingly fed up with her home life and actively threatens to leave them. Of course it’s causing Tracie no end of worries on a daily basis but it also means there is no way she wants to come on the class trip to France. Pam’s cheerful mother thinks it’ll never come to that point, but when Tracie gets home after school one day and finds that her mother has packed a bag and got on the 3 o’clock bus it seems like quite a different matter!

Shona is the “Girl the World Forgot”, trying to survive on a deserted Scottish island. Some seals give her a pleasant surprise and she forgets her worries in swimming with them. But when the night comes and she is alone in the croft she has found, she seems not to be alone after all…

Kathy is trying hard to prove herself as a runner to her classmates and her teachers, but bad luck and the bullying nature of the horrible Sandra Simkins mean everything is against her. Even the obstacle race is a shameful experience for her – so bad that she vows to run away. At least her speed in running will help here there!

The Gypsy Rose story is clearly drawn specially for Jinty as it’s by Terry Aspin throughout in a matching style. Kay’s little sister Jenny has an imaginary friend called Mary who rings her on the toy phone – but one night the toy phone really does ring and Mary pleads for help because the hospital she is in is burning down! It turns out to be a hospital for toys, very fittingly. Gypsy Rose introduces the story and rounds it off at the end, rather than being one of the characters in the story itself as she sometimes is – but her appearance outside the burned toy factory in the last two panels makes it clear that she inhabits the same world as the stories she tells, that is, they are really real as far as she is concerned.

In the first episode of “Sue’s Daily Dozen” Sue Baker is feeling left-out as the only newcomer to the village. In the house that her dad is busy doing up, she finds a mysterious set of items that help her to integrate into village life – an old cooking pot, a ‘Daily Dozen’ book, and a spoon. Suspiciously witchy-sounding? But the first recipe, of some little cakes, turn out smashingly – but they do seem to be causing people who eat them to act a little… oddly.

Jemma West learns yoga from her serendipitous guest but when the rain comes down again she still can’t control herself enough, and she loses a big chance.