Jinty is about to honour her promise to bring back “Fran’ll Fix It!”. There is an announcement saying that Fran will return in the next issue, and there will also be a new story called “The Girl Who Never Was”. They are replacing “Dance into Darkness” and “7 Steps to the Sisterhood”. The return of Fran means a double workload for Jim Baikie, who is still working on “Wild Rose”. But Rose has tracked down the woman in her locket now (Lady Vere), so maybe the ending to the story isn’t too far away.
Meanwhile “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is still going strong, despite Max falling dangerously ill and getting buried in snow. So is Clancy, who has now been named grandfather’s heir. But this is causing a rift with her cousin Sandra. Aunt and Uncle are understandably upset too; they have helped with grandfather’s business for years and must feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back.
Cherry still hasn’t caught on to how her relatives are taking advantage of her. They are very slick at pulling the wool over her eyes (they are actors, after all), and Cherry is by nature trusting and naïve, just like her mother.
Shona narrowly escapes being turned into food at the aliens’ slaughterhouse – a circus owner buys her in the nick of time. But now she is about to be forced into a cruel circus act where she is brought to the brink of drowning each time she performs it. And all because she can’t swim (like the aliens themselves, as it turns out).
A new competition has pushed all the stories off the cover. The letters page of this issue informs us that popular demand has prevailed and “Fran’ll Fix It!” will return in one month’s time (almost a year after her first story ended). So now we know one story that will replace whatever ends in three weeks, which raises speculation as to what will end.
Della is beginning to find she is beginning to like Winnie after all – and suddenly realising that she does not like the idea of foisting the curse onto her. So Della, who started off as a rather selfish, shallow person, is beginning to change her ways. At least something is coming out of the curse.
The Cinderella theme is now manifest in part two of “No Cheers for Cherry”. Aunt Margot just wants Cherry to do all the donkeywork for her family, who are too selfish and lazy to pitch in to help their theatre barge business. Poor Cherry does not even have a proper bed – she is forced to sleep on the floor in her cousin Michelle’s cabin. Worst of all, she is too naïve to realise that her relatives are exploiting her.
By contrast, Wild Rose now knows how the fairground people have duped and exploited her, and she has run away from them. But they are determined to recapture her for their snake girl act.
With help from Nirhani, Shelley now realises what a dupe she has been as well. There is no “Sisterhood” at all – an enemy has set her up with phoney tests that are actually traps. It’s the turning point of the story, and now they plot to turn things around on the enemy. It’s started with the fourth challenge that was clearly meant to get Shelley expelled. And now the fifth one is here. What nasty setup is planned with this one?
Shona makes friends with Tamsha’s hitherto jealous pet, and now she has an ally. But then she is horrified to see her fellow humans at the zoo being humiliated and abused in the aliens’ version of the chimps’ tea party! And the reference to chimps’ tea parties shows how much things have changed for chimps in our PC times.
Dorrie is surprised to find herself being offered the role of Dorothy in another production of The Wizard of Oz. Let’s hope her being a fugitive doesn’t mess up her chance.
The sale of a priceless ring gets Clancy on the wrong side of her grandfather and then on his good side when she shows signs of his knack for profit. But then Clancy’s health problems begin to plague her again….
“No Cheers for Cherry” starts in this issue. Cherry Campbell wants to pursue a career in the theatre. Too bad she takes after her mother, who is too trusting and easy to deceive. This makes them both prey to Cherry’s unscrupulous Aunt Margot, who pays a visit to con her own sister out of priceless family heirlooms. Worse, Aunt Margot cons her out of Cherry too, with false promises of taking Cherry on for her own theatre, “Theatre Rose”. But it is clear that Aunt Margot really wants Cherry for something that is not going to bode well for the unsuspecting girl.
It’s the last part of the merry-go-round mobile. So what will be on the centre pages next week?
In “Dance into Darkness”, we see the consequences Rozelle is facing in foisting the curse of darkness onto Della. Rozelle is having a ball indulging herself in light for the first time in her life. She just can’t get enough of light in her own home. But Rozelle forgot her mother is still cursed, and the light she is pouring into the house has driven poor old Mum to living in the cellar. How is this aspect of the story going to be resolved, as well as the main one in freeing Della from the curse?
Jealous Betty plays a dirty trick on “Wild Rose” that makes a fool out of Rose in the snake girl act that Betty’s family have forced Rose into. But there are hints that Betty’s jealousy may backfire.
Jealousy takes a more dangerous turn “The Human Zoo”. Shona is now a pet to alien girl Tamsha. But Tamsha’s other pet is so jealous that it’s about to attack Shona!
Shelley must have some guardian angel – she passes the third test of the Sisterhood (ride a dangerous horse bareback) without breaking her neck or getting into serious trouble with the headmistress (except for a punishment essay that has to be written in Spanish, which takes days to write). But when the fourth test arrives, it’s the limit – it is asking Shelley to steal!
Although Grandfather wonders if he has demanded too much of Clancy, he still hasn’t learned his lesson. His hardness is causing problems for the family, such as not forgiving Clancy’s mother for leaving home. And now he’s beginning to think Clancy is a weakling after all and not fit to inherit his fortune.
September is a bit early for Christmas in Jinty. But finding a way to celebrate Christmas is precisely what Max and Dorrie are trying to do this week, while sleeping rough and trying to find food.
“Dance into Darkness” featured on a lot of covers during its run, and this one is no exception. The ad for part three of the carousel mobile provides whites and yellows of light to contrast with the darker colours used to for “Dance into Darkness”. However, the cover does feel like it has too many red and magenta hues in it. It could have done with some more contrasting colours, such as some blues.
Meanwhile, Della is finding she is not having much luck in fobbing the curse off onto Winnie. However, she is beginning to find advantages to the curse, such as sharing the night with nocturnal animals.
In “The Human Zoo”, Shona finds herself in a zoo. But things may soon look up as Shona is set to become a pet to an alien girl Tamsha, who is an animal rights advocate in the making (what a contrast to her father, who owns the zoo). The trouble is, Tamsha still thinks Shona is an animal, not a sentient being like herself.
Rose sets off to Bencombe Fair with a gypsy family in her quest to find her mother. But she soon finds herself forced into a contortionist act as “The Amazing Snake Girl”, and realises too late what a snaky lot she is travelling with.
Shelley’s second test – baking a strawberry cake and leaving it in the stables seems harmless enough. But then comes her third challenge – ride a dangerous horse barebacked! What will Shelley decide over this one – go through with it, or tell the Sisterhood to sod off, because she is not risking her neck for a secret society?
Both Pat and Clancy find themselves in danger of drowning when they pass out in deep water. For Pat, it leads to the resolution of her story and a happy ending. For Clancy, it’s a narrow escape and Granddad wondering if he had demanded too much of her. But Clancy’s left in deep depression afterwards, so no resolution in sight for her just yet.
Max transcends his hatred of Germans when the fugitive German soldier saves his life. In turn, they teach him their maxim about happiness over the rainbow, which persuades him to stop hiding. But they themselves are still fugitives, trying to find rainbow’s end before the authorities catch up with them.
Next week “No Cheers for Cherry” starts. This is one of the last Jinty stories to have the Cinderella theme. The Cinderella theme had been present in Jinty since her first issue (though not as frequent as Tammy), but by the late 1970s it was being phased out of IPC girls’ titles.
The cover for this issue is the cover that represents Jinty in her Wikipedia entry. The use of the pinks on the bottom half make it a standout, and the use of complementary colour in the green in the top half makes it even more striking.
In “The Human Zoo”, twins Shona and Jenny and their fellow abductees arrive on the aliens’ home planet, which has two suns (the astronomy term is binary star system). The aliens have already demonstrated how they discipline animals, including humans – with collars that inflict pain. And now there is emotional pain for the twins as well – they have been sold to different owners at the aliens’ cattle market, which means they have now been separated! The quest to find each other again is clearly going to be a major plot driver.
Rose sets off to find the birth mother in the locket that was left with her as a baby. A fortune-teller has warned her that there will be heartbreak (hmm, can of worms there?) but happiness at the end.
Shelley passes her first step to the Sisterhood. But the test could have gotten her into trouble as she had to borrow a priceless Thai costume for it (without permission) – and then someone throws water at her, which almost ruins the costume. Coincidence or sabotage? The next test looks harmless enough, but we are beginning to wonder….
In “Dance into Darkness”, the curse really has gotten Della into hot water this time – suspended from school and landed her parents with a whopping great big bill that they have to borrow money to pay for!
Dorrie and Max are having problems with the German they have encountered at the old army camp – but is it the German or Max’s hatred of Germans that is causing the problems?
Clancy is about to compete at the swimming gala, but her body is telling her that it’s not up to it. She could be heading for trouble.
Pat being caught returning a shoplifted item turns out to be a blessing when the police discover the injuries from the beating her nasty guardians inflicted. But Pat is too scared to accept their help and runs away – where she falls into a canal and is too weak to swim out of it. And the only girl around to help is her friend Cheryl – who can’t swim and is terrified of water!
Sue and Henrietta are back with this issue. Sue is grumbling about the beach being too crowded and wants to go back to a time when it wasn’t so crowded. But Sue soon finds herself on a be-careful-what-you-wish-for time travel lesson.
The Human Zoo – first episode (artist Guy Peeters)
7 Steps to the Sisterhood – first episode (artist Ron Smith)
The cover for this issue is so taken up with part 1 of a merry-go-round mobile that there is barely enough room to say that three new stories have started. They are “Wild Rose”, “7 Steps to the Sisterhood” and “The Human Zoo”.
Wild Rose is Jinty’s first story to star a circus girl since A Dream for Yvonne from her very first lineup. Unlike Yvonne, Rose Harding is very happy in the circus she has been brought up in – but then she finds the family who brought her up aren’t her real family! Sounds like a quest to find the true parents, but what will Rose find at the end?
“The Human Zoo” went on to become one of Jinty’s biggest classics. It is an alien abduction story with animal abuse analogies, where twin sisters find themselves abducted by aliens who think they are just animals and treat them as such.
In “7 Steps to the Sisterhood”, new girl Shelley Vernon is delighted to receive an invitation to join the secret society of the school – but she must pass seven tests if she is to join. Ooer, sounds dangerous already.
There is no “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” in this issue. Presumably, she is taking a holiday because of the mobile pull-out. Phil Gascoine is also taking a break.
In “Dance into Darkness”, Della is trying to fob off her curse on someone else, but finds she can’t bring herself to do it. And now the curse is about to get her into trouble in a record shop.
Dorrie and Max are taking refuge in an old army camp, but they find someone else there too – a mean-looking man who talks with a German accent. German accent? What with World War II still being fresh in the story, this does not sound good.
Clancy’s latest trial is an upcoming swimming match when she’s still walking with a cane. She’s determined to win, but will she win or will it be a step too far?
Pat’s wearing dark glasses to hide a brutal battering she has gotten from her nasty guardians. Then she tries to quietly return an item she shoplifted in a moment of rashness – but she gets caught!
Ron Smith (1924 -2019) is best-known as a Judge Dredd artist, which is how I initially came across his work. Or should I say, that is how I first came across his credited work, because Smith drew two stories for Jinty, which I read well before I even read my first 2000AD.
His reputation as a Dredd artist overshadows the huge body of work that he has done elsewhere. The Down the Tubes comics site is currently publishing a retrospective of Smith’s work: so far three posts have gone up here, here, and here, with more to follow from writer Colin Noble. They show the vast number of titles and stories that Smith has contributed to British comics over the years. Many of the stories he illustrated were boys adventures in titles such as The Hotspur, but he also drew for DC Thomson’s girls titles Judy and Bunty. (The UK Comics Wiki also has a comprehensive entry on this important artist.) [Edited to add: Down The Tubes has also just published Ron Smith’s obituary and an appreciation by fan and expert Colin Noble.]
As we have not [or had not, at the time of posting!] yet written about either of them to link to, of course I need to include some of Smith’s stylish artwork from one of those stories in this post. Here, then, are three pages from the episode of “7 Steps To The Sisterhood” printed in the issue dated 23 September 1978.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
Wild Rose (artist Jim Baikie)
Clancy On Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters)
7 Steps To The Sisterhood (artist Ron Smith)
I dug out this issue in order to scan the Ron Smith artwork for Comics UK forum member Colcool007, who is writing an article about this artist for the Down The Tubes website. As I looked through it, I was really struck by the astounding quality of this run of Jinty – almost every story a memorable one that cried out for scanning and sharing.
“Dance Into Darkness” is onto the penultimate episode. Della Benson, having gained her heart’s desire and found out the attached curse, is trying to pass it on by granting her schoolmate Winnie’s own wish – to have a friend. But when Della visits Winnie at home she realises that Winnie’s sister is blind too – the very curse that would be passed on by granting Winnie’s heart’s desire. Della is hard-hearted, but not as hard as that – she breaks the friendship instead. A trip to a cave system gives Della another chance – but will she be cold enough to take this final get out, or not?
In “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, orphan Dorrie Peters is looking after her little brother Max; they are both living in an abandoned pill-box while she plays the lead in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Her success in the play leads to complications as no-one is supposed to know that they are living by themselves: and horseplay by Max leads to further problems as he falls ill. Dorrie has to leave him alone in the pillbox while she goes off to do her job…
Stage-struck Cherry Campbell is living with her aunt and uncle as part of their travelling theatre, but there’s a lot she has to learn about the artistic temperament – or, more realistically, about the downright emotional abuse and exploitation that she is knee-deep in. Yes, it’s a Cinderella story, with the addition of a theatre barge and some dreams of acting. No wonder they called it “No Cheers for Cherry”.
“Wild Rose” is a beautifully-drawn Jim Baikie story with a foundling brought up within a circus family – unlike “A Dream For Yvonne”, she loves the circus life but wants to find her real family. There are some great acrobatic sequences such as a dramatic tight-rope walking bit – a very solid sequence from Baikie.
When reading this period of Jinty, however, I am always particularly taken by the art and the story in “Clancy on Trial”. If I’m not wrong, Ron Lumsden only drew this one story for Jinty; stubborn Clancy is expected to be an invalid for the rest of her life after an accident, but she is so determined to exercise and get stronger that she does more and more, benefiting from the particular support of her cousin Sandra. Will the family relationship falter as Sandra feels that the resurgent Clancy is taking things away, not just gaining back what was lost? As this is an artist who is not much seen in Jinty, I attach the story pages from this issue.
Regular Jinty artist Guy Peeters is here represented through the strong science fiction story “The Human Zoo” – one of the SF stories we haven’t talked about much on the blog, though it features cool elements such as alien abduction, telepathy, separated twins, and a barely-disguised animal rights agenda. In this episode Shona is about to be put down, turned into food!
Finally, the Ron Smith story “7 Steps to the Sisterhood” rounds off the issue. Shelley is suspecting everyone around her – there is a chance for her to unmask her secret enemy but it comes to nothing. And the next task she is given by her enemy could end up more dangerous than she expected, if the blurb for the next week’s episode is anything to go by…
Following up on the previous post on European Translations, Sleuth from Catawiki has kindly sent me a list she has prepared of Jinty stories which were translated into Dutch. (See also some comments from her in that post, about Dutch translations.) They were mostly published in the weekly comic Tina and/or in the reprint album format Tina Topstrip. The list below shows the original title, followed by the title in the Dutch translation, with a literal translation in [square brackets] where appropriate, and then the details of the publication that the translation appeared in. It is ordered by date of original publication.
Gwen’s Stolen Glory (1974): De droom van een ander [Someone else’s dream] (in: Tina Club 1975-2)
Curtain of Silence (1977): Achter het stille gordijn [Behind the Silent Curtain] (in: Tina 1978/79, Tina Topstrip 52, 1983)
Fran’ll Fix it! (1977; 1978-79): short story 3/4; Annabel versiert ‘t wel [Annabel will fix it]; episodes in Tina from 1983 till 1994; there were also “Dutch” episodes written by Bas van der Horst and drawn by Comos, and there is an episode in 1994 written by Ian Mennell and drawn by Comos.
The Ghost Dancer (1981): Dansen in het maanlicht [Dancing in the Moonlight] (in: Tina 1983)
Holiday Hideaway (1981): Wie niet weg is, is gezien [If you’re not gone, you’re seen – a sentence children use in hide-and-seek] (in: Tina 1982)
Freda’s Fortune (1981): Could be: Fortuin voor Floortje [A Fortune for Florrie] (in: Groot Tina Herfstboek 1983-3)
Airgirl Emma’s Adventure (reprint from June 1969, in Jinty Holiday Special 1975): Short story 16; Emma zoekt het hogerop [Emma takes it higher up] (in: Tina 1970)
Various of the stories translated in Tina were also reprinted in the Indonesian title Nina (of course Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, making for a clear link). These will be listed on a new reference page for Translations into Indonesian.
This long list enables us to see how very popular some creators were – for instance, a large number of Jim Baikie and Phil Gascoine stories are included (though not all, by any means). Of course, these were also the most prolific of Jinty artists too.
Many stories were translated very shortly after initial publication, and then reprinted in album form some time later. There was also a ‘second round’ of translation work done after Jinty ceased publication, to go back and pick some of the earlier stories that had not been selected earlier. This was the case with “Always Together” and “The Kat and Mouse Game”, for instance.
Many but by no means all of the story titles were translated fairly literally or exactly, though the main character’s name was almost invariably exchanged for another one. Some titles ended up particularly poetical or neat in translation: “A Spell of Trouble” and “Holiday Hideaway” perhaps benefit most from their translated titles. Of course, there are also some losers: I think “The Human Zoo” and “The Girl Who Never Was” ended up with less resonant titles through the process.
A wide range of stories were translated: spooky stories, humour stories, science fiction, adventure, sports stories. There are some omissions that I’m surprised by, though of course the editors had to pick and choose from so much that was available. “Fran of the Floods” was probably too long (see Marc’s comment about the length of stories selected for translation). No Gypsy Rose stories were selected – maybe they didn’t want a storyteller, ‘grab-bag’ approach? I am however quite surprised at the omission of the excellent “Children of Edenford” (1979). Could it have been too subversive a story, with its underlying theme of adults undermining their position of trust by hypnotizing children in order to control their moral development? The similarly-themed “Prisoner of the Bell” was also not translated. Of course this is rather a guess! At the end of the day I’m sure there were just more stories to choose from than there were spaces for publication.
For reference, I also include a complete list of stories published in the album format Tina Topstrip (71 albums in total). This gives us a view of how many of the reprinted stories deemed worthy of collection came from which original title. Note that some of the stories in this album format were themselves originally written in Dutch as they are credited to a Dutch writer. (NB I will add this to the new page created for Translations into Dutch)
Becky Never Saw The Ball
Twinkle, Twinkle, Daisy Star
Het geheim van oom Robert (original story in Dutch)
Kimmy op de modetoer (original title unknown)
Marcella het circuskind (original title unknown)
Moses and Me
Peggy en Jeroen (Patty’s World story)
Anja – Dorp in gevaar (original title unknown)
Het lied van de rivier (Patty and the Big Silver Bull Band story, original in Dutch)
Sonja en de mysterieuze zwemcoach (I suspect this is a translation as no writer is given)
De man in het koetshuis (original story in Dutch)
Linda’s verdriet (original title unknown, from Tammy)
Het circus komt (original story in Dutch)
Wild Horse Summer
Noortje (original story in Dutch)
Ruzie om Jeroen (Patty’s World story)
Het lied van de angst (Patty and the Big Silver Bull Band story, original in Dutch)
We are now solidly into the era of covers based on images from the stories inside, combined in a fluid montage that to my mind produces some beautiful designs that have stood up well over the years.
Of the stories inside, particular note should perhaps be taken of “7 Steps To The Sisterhood”, one of the few Jinty stories with a diverse cast. The main protagonist is Shelley, a blonde, white girl but right by her side helping her to solve the mystery is her Indian friend Nirhani; the setting is an international school and many of the other characters are non-white, including (as it turns out) the eventually-unmasked villain. There is some stereotyping at work in this story but nevertheless it is considerably better than the invisibility or outright racism normally seen in weekly comics of this era.