Stories in this issue:
- The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
- Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
- Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee) – last episode
- Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
- The Valley of Shining Mist (artist Carlos Freixas)
- Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé) – last episode
- The Green People (artist Phil Gascoine)
- Barracuda Bay (artist Santiago Hernandez)
- Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie) – last episode
- Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
I recently bought two batches of early Jintys from Peggy in Greece – how amazing and unexpected the movements of these items of ephemera can be! I will mostly be posting about them in date order (this has filled in a number of gaps I had from 1974 and early 1975), but I wanted to start with this one, out of order. This is because as soon as I set eyes on it I gave a gasp of recognition – this was an issue that immediately felt familiar to me, despite not having seen it since passing on my original set in the early 80s. I believe that although my sister bought the first few issues of Jinty at least, there must then have been a gap in buying those early issues, which is why I missed out on some of those early stories such as “Always Together” and “Slave of the Mirror”.
I think this also emphasises the role of nostalgia in (my) reading. I have enjoyed reading those earliest issues which I have no very definite memories of as a child, but the thrill for me is not the same as it is when re-reading one that is much more vivid to me due to the feelings it evokes. I suppose this means that I really am hard-pressed to distinguish between how good I think the stories are objectively, and how good they make me feel…
This issue has a number of stories finishing up at once, making way for three new stories next week: “Ping-Pong Paula”, “Song of the Fir Tree”, and “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!” The first of those new stories is a direct replacement – family conflict story “Face the Music, Flo!”, drawn by Jim Baikie, is replaced by another in a similar vein. Tearjerker “Song of the Fir Tree” could arguably be said to replace long-running slave story “Merry at Misery House”, but it’s more of a stretch; and certainly “Cinderella Smith” is not directly comparable to the spooky tale “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!”. It feels to me as if with this upcoming set of new stories, Jinty will move its focus slightly.
At this point, “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” has returned to its light-hearted Mario Capaldi ways – with a goat on the front page, you can bet there will be a certain amount of farmyard capers ahead, and so it proves!
“Blind Ballerina” and “Merry at Misery House” bring a more serious tone back, of course, but this is the last episode of “Merry” and it ends in happiness, though hardly hi-jinks. Misery House is closed down, Merry’s parents turn up to take her home as her name has been cleared – nice timing! – and the rest of the girls don’t go forgotten either. Even cruel Adolpha redeems herself by saving Merry’s life when the cruel wardress was setting her up for a very literal – and deadly – fall.
“Cinderella Smith” likewise has an escape from bondage and a happy ending; Cindy is away from her horrible aunts’ house when it burns down, all their cruelty is revealed, and she is able to carry on with her modelling career and live with her dear schoolfriend who has supported her all along. “Face the Music, Flo!” gives us a miraculous turnaround on the part of twin brother Greg, who was setting off for the US without knowing that his sister was deathly ill and sinking fast… his arrival at her bedside gave her hope to live again. Although the machiavellian manager runs off with the money and they need to make new careers for themselves, they do that – together. Aww.
“The Valley of Shining Mist” is perhaps my favourite Carlos Freixas story. Sometimes his lines can be a little thin or his faces a little repetitive (he draws a lot of his characters with an ‘oh’ shaped mouth of astonishment or worry – a drawing mannerism that I am not very keen on overall). This story feels as if the art is very solid, with more variety in how he draws the faces. But perhaps I am biased, with this being a story I remember with great nostalgic fondness.
Finally, the episode of “Dora Dogsbody” is light and frothy. Like “Jinx”, there are times when this story has had darker or more serious moments, but not in this week’s strip. Dora and the Siddonses are stuck with hippies overnight – a fun and friendly caricature of a commune, where only those who contribute through working will eat. Obviously Mrs Siddons is in for a bad time! It’s nice to see Dora being recognized and appreciated.