Tag Archives: Alan Davidson

Jinty 21 May 1977

jinty-21-may-1977

  • Creepy Crawley – artist Trini Tinturé
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! – artist Hugh Thornton-Jones
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • The Warning Windbells (Gypsy Rose story) – artist Christine Ellingham
  • Curtain of Silence – artist Terry Aspin
  • Home-Made Refreshers for Hot Days! – feature
  • Alley Cat – artist Rob Lee
  • Cheeky Cheggers Chats to You! – feature
  • The Robot Who Cried – artist Rodrigo Comos, writer Malcolm Shaw
  • The Darkening Journey – artist José Casanovas
  • Kerry in the Clouds – artist Cándido Ruiz Pueyo/Emilia Prieto, writer Alan Davidson
  • Spell of the Spinning Wheel – artist Jim Baikie, writer Alison Christie

Creepy Crawley hopes to stop her campaign against Mandy now – but will the scarab let her? Of course not. She obviously didn’t pay more attention to the book’s warning that nobody would be safe from the scarab, even after it defeated the rival. Sheila has discovered Jean’s secret, but now Jean is blackmailing her into doing everything she says, so can Sheila do anything to stop the scarab? We will have to wait and see.

Rowan’s attempt to switch the evil spinning wheel with a harmless replacement fails and she almost gets killed too. Then the spinning wheel reveals a weakness when it gets broken: its curse does not work while it is out of action. So Rowan is free of the curse for the time being, but Mum intends to get the spinning wheel fixed. If she does, it’s back to square one.

Yvonne and Olga are struck by how alike they look. But Yvonne has no idea how their lives are such a contrast. Olga is the virtual slave of a slave-driving coach whose mere threat of the dreaded Home for Children of Dissidents keeps Olga in line; Yvonne is swelling up her big head with dreams of becoming a cycling star, much to her team mates’ annoyance.

Gail Terson is giving Kerry a complete makeover and giving her everything to become a star: money, glamour, publicity and fans. Then Kerry begins to feel that it is a bit too good to be true – which means it usually is.

A well-meaning fortune-teller helps Beaky and Thumper escape and they’re back on the road. Unfortunately she did not foresee what would mean Dad missing his chance to find them and bring them to Julie.

When a carpet seller has a nasty encounter with a bully, Henrietta turns one of the carpets into a flying carpet to teach the bully a lesson and trick him into buying a carpet from the seller at well above the price it was selling for.

Anna Wong tells Gypsy Rose the story of the family’s Chinese windbells, which only chime when there is impending danger. Unfortunately not everyone receives or heeds their warning but Anna does, and they help save her life in a fire.

Katy doesn’t know her own strength in this episode, which is causing mayhem on a bus. And her lack of understanding about human ways is not making her popular in school.

The Valley of Shining Mist (1975)

Sample Images

valley-of-shining-mist-1avalley-of-shining-mist-1bvalley-of-shining-mist-1c

Published: 31 May 1975 – 1 November 1975 (23 episodes)

Artist: Carlos Freixas

Writer: Alan Davidson

Translations / reprints: Het dal van de glanzende nevel (The Valley of the Shining Mist) in Tina 1977)

Plot

At the Cornish village of Armfield, Debbie Lane has lived with her aunt, uncle and cousin Elaine ever since her parents died. The upbringing she has received from them has been a terrible one. They are cruel relatives who abuse Debbie while teaching her to steal. Debbie also has a stammer and never spoken a full sentence in her life. As a result, everyone at school bullies her and calls her “Dumbie Debbie” and “stupid”. As she can’t talk back to the bullies because of her stammer, all she can do is lash out at them. Nobody cares for her at all or steps in against the bullies or the abusive relatives, although the teachers do notice it. Everyone compares her to a wild animal, and that’s just about what her behaviour has been reduced to because of the terrible life she leads.

On the upside, when Debbie passes the village antique shop she takes a moment to play a violin there, and the dealer says she has a genius for it. But what’s the use when she can’t get the violin or lessons? She also takes solace by finding solitude in the nearby valley, though it is dangerous from old mine workings.

One day Debbie lashes out at the Lanes and runs off when they are about to punish her for stealing food from a grocer. That’s pretty hypocritical of them, since they are the ones who teach her to steal. Moreover, they also drove her to steal the food in the first place by not leaving her anything to eat.

For the first time, Debbie heads for the valley while it is full of mist. She figures she will be safe there because everyone is scared to approach the valley when it is full of mist. When Debbie enters the mist, she is astonished to find an idyllic, shining fantasy world under it. And the valley farmhouse, which was in ruins before, is now intact and there is a woman there. Her name is Mrs Maynard, and there is something familiar about her that Debbie can’t place (clearly, a thread to be tied up later). She is the first to treat Debbie kindly and her home is everything Debbie has dreamed of: love, comfort, lots of food, and a violin she plays. Debbie is astonished to find that she is speaking proper sentences now and realises it is because she feels so relaxed in this loving, heavenly atmosphere and nobody is cruel to her. Mrs Maynard encourages Debbie’s gift for the violin, but when Debbie asks if Mrs Maynard can teach her, Mrs Maynard says that’s up to Debbie.

As Debbie leaves Mrs Maynard she steals a silver hairbrush with which to buy the violin she saw at the antique shop. But there is a strange, sad look on Mrs Maynard’s face as she watches Debbie go, and the text says it is as if Mrs Maynard knows what Debbie has done. Once Debbie is out of the valley, it returns to its normal state, with no trace of Mrs Maynard or the mist.

Debbie uses the hairbrush to obtain the violin, but can’t get far with it without proper lessons. When the violin attracts the attention of her cruel uncle, she tries to flee to the Valley of Shining Mist. But the mist rejects her, and she knows it is because of her theft. So she returns the violin to the shop, confesses the theft, and gets the hairbrush back. However, spiteful Elaine throws the hairbrush into the dangerous mine workings. This means Debbie has to risk her life to get the hairbrush out. However, she finds she does not mind the danger, even though she gets hurt, because she feels it is purging her of her sin in stealing the hairbrush.

This time the Valley of Shining Mist opens up for Debbie. She returns the brush, apologises, and promises Mrs Maynard that she will stop stealing. Mrs Maynard then gives Debbie her own violin. Later, when Debbie asks Mrs Maynard about her origins, she is vague, saying that perhaps she does not exist except in Debbie’s imagination, and only when Debbie wants it. As for why she seems so familiar to Debbie for some reason, she says that one day she will understand, but only if Debbie does everything she asks and becomes the great violinist she wants her to be.

Over time Debbie’s cruel family increasingly suspect she is up to something because of the objects she brings back from the Valley of Shining Mist, such as the hairbrush and the violin. Elaine soon realises it has something to do with the valley, but she just gets sucked down in bog when she tries to follow Debbie into the mist. Eventually the family force it out of Debbie, but of course they don’t believe a crazy story like that.

Debbie finds that if she is to continue to return to the Valley of Shining Mist and receive more violin lessons she must pass a series of tests Mrs Maynard sets for her. As the tests unfold, it becomes apparent that they are designed to bring out Debbie’s inner strengths, build her confidence, and shed the negative traits Debbie has developed from her abusive upbringing.

The first is to obtain a mug, which turns out to be the prize in a poetry reading competition – so Debbie is challenged to overcome her stuttering. The village is buzzing with astonishment and scorn when word spreads about “Dumbie Debbie” entering the poetry competition, and everyone turns up just to see how “Dumbie Debbie” fares. With the help of a strange vision from Mrs Maynard, Debbie manages to recite two lines of her poem without a stutter, but she is too overwrought to continue. The winner is so impressed that she insists Debbie receive the mug instead for her courage. Debbie also has to run the gauntlet with Elaine, who tries to take the mug from her, before she brings it to Mrs Maynard. In the Valley of Shining Mist, she makes tremendous strides with her violin under Mrs Maynard’s tuition. Mrs Maynard also suggests a shed where Debbie can practise in secret from her cruel family.

The next test is to obtain a brooch from Tracey Stocks – but that’s the girl who bullies Debbie the most at school! Then Tracey herself catches Debbie while she’s practising in the shed and starts bullying her over it. When Tracey snatches the violin, Debbie is pushed too far. She lunges at Tracey and during the fight the brooch comes off. Debbie takes the brooch while Tracey is in tears over losing it. Later, Debbie realises that taking the brooch like that had broken her promise to Mrs Maynard never to steal again. So she goes to the Stocks’s house to return it and is in for a surprise – Tracey’s home is as bad and abusive as hers! So they are two of a kind. Tracey is so impressed with Debbie’s kindness after all that bullying that she lets her keep the brooch to make things up to her. Tracey says she will be Debbie’s friend from now on, make sure the bullying stops (next day, Debbie finds it has), and Debbie can use her gang hut to practise.

Tracey is also very surprised to hear Debbie suddenly speaking almost proper sentences. The Lane family are noticing this and other changes in Debbie. Elaine begins to wonder if there is something in her story about “the valley of shining mist”, and wants to crush it.

Debbie’s third test is to enter a talent contest to demonstrate her violin ability in public, with a £100 prize for the winner. Mrs Maynard trains her up for it and gives her an envelope containing instructions. But Elaine has entered the contest too, so her spite towards Debbie is worse than usual. She throws Debbie’s violin down a hillside. By the time Debbie has retrieved it, her best dress has been ripped by brambles and her hands stung and blistered by nettles. This gets her off to a bad start when she finally arrives at the talent contest, but the miraculous strength she gets from visions of Mrs Maynard gets her through to victory.

Debbie treats herself to a spending spree with the prize money. Her family suddenly go all nice to her. She is completely taken in by their phoney kindness, and she does not realise they are just conning her into spending some of the money on them. But she forgot the sealed envelope, and by the time she opens it, she realised she should have taken the money to Mrs Maynard instead of spending it. Elaine sees the note and says Mrs Maynard is conning and exploiting her, which plants seeds of doubt about Mrs Maynard in Debbie’s mind.

Debbie returns the things she bought to recoup the money she spent. The Lanes continue to string her along because they are hoping to make money out of her talent, and they recruit a sleazy agent, Arthur Swain, for the job. Debbie is tempted by the money and fame Swain promises her and almost signs his contract. But in the nick of time she thinks the right things about Mrs Maynard and realises Swain is a nasty man. She leaves the contract unsigned and heads to Mrs Maynard with the money. Mrs Maynard said it was a test to see if Debbie could resist the temptation of money, and she shows what she thinks of those ideas of taking advantage of Debbie by burning the money.

Mrs Maynard then gives Debbie the last payment: bring Swain’s contract to her, all torn up, to show she will never sign it. However, the Lanes trick Debbie into signing it by having Elaine fake illness and saying they need Swain’s money for Elaine’s treatment. Debbie realises too late they have been fooling her and are as bad as ever. She runs off and her uncle gives chase. He forces her to retreat into the misty valley. Debbie is surprised to find herself in the Valley of Shining Mist after failing the last test. But no – she had passed it by signing the contract. It was really a test of selflessness and self-sacrifice. And the contract cannot be enforced against Debbie because she is a minor.

Mrs Maynard now says goodbye. She and the Valley of Shining Mist all dissolve in front of Debbie’s eyes and the valley goes back to its normal state. But in the village, Debbie is surprised to see Mrs Maynard get out of a car!

Er, it’s not quite Mrs Maynard. It’s Mrs Maynell, Debbie’s aunt, whom she had only seen once as a small child. She missed out on claiming Debbie when her parents died because she was out of the country at the time. She came to look for Debbie after getting a lead from a newspaper report about Debbie winning the talent contest. She shows Debbie a photograph of her house, and Debbie realises it looks exactly like Mrs Maynard’s home in the Valley of Shining Mist. Mrs Maynell has a stronger claim on Debbie than the Lanes do, and Debbie is only too happy to leave them and go with her. Mrs Maynell is a concert violinist and will encourage Debbie’s talent. When Debbie talks to Mrs Maynell, there is no trace of a stammer.

The Lanes just say “good riddance to her!” As Debbie and Mrs Maynell leave Armfield, Debbie requests one last stop at the valley. She deduces the Valley of Shining Mist was created out of her own imagination and subconscious memories of her one stay at her aunt’s. All those tests from Mrs Maynard were created by Debbie herself to rise above her abusive upbringing and the “wild animal” traits she had developed from it. She now says goodbye to the valley, but will always remember it when she plays her violin.

Thoughts

“The Valley of Shining Mist” was one of Jinty’s most popular and enduring stories and is fondly remembered in Jinty discussions. It has its roots in the “Cinderella” story, but it certainly is not your average Cinderella story. It is a Cinderella story that features one of the most intense, extraordinary, and emotional journeys in character development ever seen in girls’ comics.

Here the heroine is so emotionally and psychologically damaged by the abuse that she is likened to a wild animal. Mrs Maynard herself says a wild animal was what Debbie pretty much was when she first came to the Valley of Shining Mist. Nowhere is Debbie’s lack of self-esteem more evident than in her stammer. This must have struck a chord with readers who had stammers themselves. One even wrote in to Jinty’s problem page saying that she had a stammer just like Debbie.

So our heroine is set to not only rise above the abuse at home and bullying at school but also to overcome the psychological problems from it and find her true self: the violin genius. But Debbie is so damaged that she needs to do a whole lot more than develop her musical genius if she is to rise above the terrible life she leads.

This is precisely what Debbie gets in the Valley of Shining Mist (the fairy-tale land) and Mrs Maynard (the fairy godmother), both of which tie in appropriately with the Cinderella theme. But the fairy godmother does not help simply by giving Debbie gifts. She also helps Debbie to find her true self with a series of trials. Several of which seem unreasonable, bizarre and even impossible, but there always turns out to be a reason for them that does Debbie’s character development tremendous good. As Debbie progresses through the tests we see her strengths developing and her bad traits disappearing. The “wild animal” traits are being progressively shed and a more confident, compassionate and talented girl is developing. As Debbie’s character develops and strengthens everyone notices it, Debbie herself feels it, and it is reflected in her stammer, which gradually disappears after the first test. It is far more realistic to have the stammer disappear in stages, through each trial, rather than all at once.

One of the finest moments in the story is when Debbie discovers why Tracey Stocks is such a bully. It’s because she has an unhappy home life; in fact, she even has to sleep in the shed because there’s no room in the house. There’s no love for Tracey either; the only one who was ever nice to her was her late Aunt Betty, who gave her the brooch. The brooch meant everything to Tracey for that reason, so we realise it is a tremendous leap in Tracey’s own character development and redemption when she gives Debbie her beloved brooch because Debbie was the second person to be nice to her. Tracey Stocks would be worthy of a serial in her own right, and we wish she could find the Valley of Shining Mist too.

The explanation on how the Valley of Shining Mist worked at the end is the weakest part of the story. If Debbie had created the valley and tests out of her own imagination and subconscious memories of her aunt’s home, then where did the hairbrush, violin and envelope with the talent contest instructions come from? How did Mrs Maynard manage to give Debbie violin lessons? What happened to Tracey’s brooch and the £100 that Debbie took to Mrs Maynard? It would have been more convincing to have a more supernatural explanation, and preferably one that ties in with why the locals get so scared of the valley when it is full of mist – something that was never explained. Still, we can’t be certain that Debbie’s deductions about the Valley of Shining Mist were entirely correct. There may have been some supernatural force in the valley that she was not aware of. It certainly would tie in with the Cinderella theme beautifully.

Jinty 4 October 1975

Cover 4 October 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Golden Dolly, Death Dust! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Song of the Fir Tree (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine) – last episode
  • Barracuda Bay (artist Santiago Hernandez)
  • Ping-Pong Paula (artist Jim Baikie)

Katie Jinks’s school is competing against the nearby boys’ school, to see who does best at ‘gender-swapped’ tasks – so Katie and pals are making a concrete pathway for their school, and the boys are cooking a cordon bleu meal, which the victors get to eat! Of course, her equal-opportunity jinxing sees her ruining the chances of both groups equally – the boys win, but Katie’s antics end up with the boys locked in a store-room unable to eat their fine supper – so naturally the girls have to self-sacrificially eat it up… The tagline for upcoming stories advises readers that ‘there’s a long story starring Katie in the new Jinty Annual‘ (which turns out to be drawn by Audrey Fawley rather than Mario Capaldi).

Ballerina Barbie gets a shock as she is dancing before an audience – her sight returns and she can dance with more joy than ever! But she isn’t able to get to her sister quite in time to see the beloved face that she hasn’t seen for so many years.

Lucy and Yvette need to come up with a cunning plan to save Corn Dolly from the prison that Miss Marvell has put her in – the doll is powerless herself, surrounded as she is by black magic items in the local museum. But the brave and resourceful girls swop the doll for a very similar one that they have bought. Miss Marvell is fuming once she finds out of course, and threatens that ‘next time, there will be no half measures!’.

Debbie is stunned at the next request that Mrs Maynard makes – to bring her £100! A huge amount of money for the poor girl, of course, representing the entirety of her winnings at the talent contest. And she’s already spent her winnings, too! She sadly goes round returning the items she’d bought, but meanwhile her cruel family come up with ways to stop her from giving the money to Mrs Maynard. Will this mean that Debbie can never see her kind, if odd, mentor again?

Per and Solveig are still being pursued by Grendelsen, with much trekking through the woods. There’s natural dangers in the woods as well as Nazi stalkers though, as the kids are threatened by a wild boar and by a fierce dog too.

“The Green People” comes to an end this week. Moura’s aunt Zella has betrayed the peaceful underground people in a pact with the surface dwellers who want to build a motorway on the moor – but she finds that the dangerous monster Krakengerd is not as easy to control as she had thought. All ends well and the green people’s secret – and their lives – are safe.

“Barracuda Bay” sees Susan Stevens captured and trapped underwater, with her air running out. Will her partner Martin find and rescue her in time? This thriller is slightly old-fashioned in style and quite reminiscent of the Sandie story “The Golden Shark”, which also is a diving-based thriller with a female lead who has good hair. The art on “Barracuda Bay” is much tighter and more neatly-finished, though less obviously by the same artist as “The Haunting of Hazel” (which starts in the next issue). “The Golden Shark” gives a much clearer artistic link between the two stories that were reprinted in Jinty, which I was slightly surprised by.

Finally, “Ping-Pong Paula” has Paula suffering from lack of sleep, in the dodgy digs that her mother has dragged her to. Paula’s dad can support her table-tennis playing better, but of course her mother is bound to find out and to use it as more ammunition in the parental war.

Pat Mills: Interview

Pat Mills is someone who has already contributed lots to our knowledge of girls comics of this era, but even so there are still some gaps in our knowledge of what he wrote, and always plenty more questions to be asked. With thanks to him for his contributions now and in the past, here is a brief email interview.

1) In previous discussions you’ve identified the following stories in girls’ comics as having been written by you. Are there any stories missing from that list that you can remember? Some other stories have been attributed to you – also listed below – which you’ve either specifically said you didn’t write, or which haven’t been included in those previous discussions. It would be great to clarify this once and for all, if we can.

Known stories (Jinty)

You have also said before that you wrote a horse story, without identifying which one it was. Might it be “Horse from the Sea”? Or perhaps “Wild Horse Summer“?

Pat Mills: No. Doesn’t ring a bell. It’s possible I did the horse story for Tammy, but it wasn’t very good.

Tammy

  • Ella on Easy Street?
  • Glenda’s Glossy Pages?

Pat Mills: Charles Herring wrote Ella which I hugely admire. I wrote Glenda. Also – Aunt Aggie, School for Snobs, and Granny’s Town, but not all episodes.

Misty

  • Moonchild
  • Roots (Nightmare)
  • Red Knee – White Terror! (Beasts)

Pat Mills: Think “Red Knee” was mine if it was the spider story. Also “Hush Hush Sweet Rachel” – art by Feito.

And some Jinty stories you didn’t write but which are often attributed to you: “Knight and Day” (now confirmed as not yours), “The Human Zoo” (I think this is thought to be Malcolm Shaw’s), “Wanda Whiter Than White“, “Guardian of White Horse Hill” (you’ve previously thought this is likely to be Malcolm’s too).

Pat Mills: No, none of those are mine.

2) I appreciate that it’s harder to remember which stories were written by other people, if you even knew these details at the time. If there are any stories that you know the writers of, we are always up for adding to our store of attributions! We know that co-workers of yours such as John Wagner, Gerry Finley-Day, Malcolm Shaw, Charles Herring wrote for girls comics, in case that helps to trigger any memories. Did you also perhaps know Jay Over, Ian Mennell, Benita Brown, Maureen Spurgeon? (Some of those names are listed in the era when Tammy printed creator credits between 1982 and 1984, meaning we do have some story credits already in hand for that time.)

Pat Mills: Charles Herring was great – Ella and similar stories.  Pat and Alan Davidson wrote stories like Little Miss Nothing – Sandie and the equivalent in Tammy. They were top writers and that style of ‘Cinderella” story was hugely popular, but I don’t think they ever worked for Mavis. [In fact we do know that Alan Davidson wrote for Jinty, though Pat Davidson did not.]

John Wagner created and wrote “Jeanie and her Uncle Meanie” for Sandie, I think.  John was an editor on Sandie, but Gerry was the founding editor.

I wrote “Captives of Madam Karma” in Sandie.

John Wagner and I wrote “School of No Escape” in Sandie. (That was not bad) And “The Incredible Miss Birch” for Sandie. (Not our finest hour!) And I must have written at least one other story of this kind for Sandie.

I also wrote “Sugar Jones” and other stories for Pink, and “9 to 4” for Girl.

3) In Steve MacManus’ new book on his time in IPC / Fleetway, he talks about stories being measured in terms of the number of panels in the story: so for instance at one point he refers to a ‘twenty-two picture episode’ and at other points to a ‘thirty-picture script’. Is this something that you too remember from your time at IPC Fleetway? Did it happen at DCThomson too? I was interested in this because it seemed like a surprising way to think about comics, rather than in terms of page count.

Pat Mills: Yes. Steve is spot on. It’s a big subject. A thirty picture story in girls comics would theoretically deliver a lot of story. But it would be crammed and old fashioned. So I changed all that on 2000AD with less images on the page and started to apply it to Misty.

4) You’ve talked before about girls comics working differently from boys comics, and Steve MacManus recalls you saying that in a girls story the heroine would beat a bully, ride in a gymkhana, and still get back home in time to make her motherless family a hearty tea. Clearly girls comics were very full of plot! And you were a big part of rewriting a bunch of boys stories to make them fit the girls comics model more closely. Can you talk in a bit more detail about how this worked, in other words, what the mechanism was, more exactly? Is it a case of using fewer action sequences, more surprise reveals, lots of scene changes…?

Pat Mills: The big principle of girls comics that I applied to boys comics was “emotion”. Sometimes this worked well, but it needed applying in a different way. More “cool”, perhaps. Some girls principles didn’t adapt well:  jealousy for instance. Girls loved stories involving jealousy – boys didn’t. Hence “Green’s Grudge War” in Action wasn’t a hit.  Similarly, mystery stories work well in girls comics, boys didn’t give a damn about mystery. Hence my “Terror Beyond the Bamboo Curtain” in Battle, boys didn’t care what the terror was. It wasn’t a failure, but not the hit we hoped for.

However, where girls comics scored ENORMOUSLY was in having realistic stories that didn’t talk down to the reader. My “Charley’s War” is really a girls comic in disguise. Its popularity lies in it applying girls comic principles NOT boys comic principles – e.g. emotion is allowable in the context of World War One.

I was never that sold on “girls adventure” where there wasn’t a strong “kitchen sink”/Grange Hill factor. I think when Jinty went in for science fiction adventure it led the field, but not so sure about regular adventure which could seem “old school” – to me, at least. This was a factor everyone battled with on girls and boys comics, avoiding “old school” and creating stories that were “cool”.  Thus I would describe “Cat Girl” in Sally as uncool and old fashioned. Some of the Misty stories fell into that category – historical stories, for example.

Many thanks again to Pat Mills for his time, and for his memories and thoughts on this.

Jinty 8 February 1975

jinty-cover-8-february-1975

Stories in this issue:

 

This week Katie’s torn between getting her own back on a horror who keeps plaguing her with practical jokes and sticking to her New Year’s resolution of being nice to people. Katie’s jinxing turns out to be the perfect compromise.

Speaking of practical jokes, they are the order of the day in this week’s episode of “Merry at Misery House”. Merry has turned to pranking Miss Ball. Then another practical joke is pulled on Miss Ball – but it isn’t Merry! What’s going on here?

It’s the final episode of “Jackie’s Two Lives”. History threatens to repeat itself for the obsessive mother who hasn’t learned her lesson from the last time she drove her daughter too hard to win the Princedale Trophy. Next week, Jackie will be replaced by another Ana Rodriguez story, “Tricia’s Tragedy”. Jinty sure liked to keep her artists in business. As with Jackie, “Tricia’s Tragedy” sounds like it has a rich vs poor basis, and there’s a trophy at stake again.

Sally seems to have succumbed to the old adage, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Actually, it’s another scheme to bring the “Prisoners of Paradise Island” to their senses. And it works! But will it last, or will the devious Miss Lush come up with another ploy to ruin them as hockey players?

Bird-Girl Brenda is given an ostrich egg and thinks it is a most appropriate gift for her. But perhaps it isn’t so appropriate when she starts having odd dreams about the egg.

The latest trick forced upon “Slave of the Mirror” destroys the reputation of an innocent man. But – surprise, surprise – the face in the mirror breaks down in tears when she hears what she’s done to the man! Maybe the spirit has a better side to her nature after all?

Kat definitely does not have a better side to her nature though. She’s playing nasty tricks on both Mouse and the juniors that Mouse has taken under her wing. Then she’s trying to ruin their costumes, while still trying to find a way to get Mouse expelled. All the while she still expects Mouse to do all her chores and cover for her in the role of the Tiger in the ballet show. What a nerve!

Dot is inspired to play Indians this week, which brings heap big trouble on her. Heap big angry croquet players play her at her own game and stake her out on lawn.

Ma Siddons has been so much more nasty than usual that Dora has walked out with the dogs. They’ve now taken refuge on a farm, where hijinks are ensuing between the dogs and the donkey. Things get even more hilarious when the Siddonses catch up and try to take the dogs back.

A Canadian offers to adopt the children in “Always Together”, but Beth won’t budge because she believes they should wait for their mother.

 

Jinty 16 August 1975

Jinty cover 16 August 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • A Journey Through Time! Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories – text story
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling – final episode (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Jinty Makes…Easy Cool Drinks!

After a break of several weeks, Jinty’s favourite spooky tales are back. This one teaches a girl a creepy lesson about not dithering so long in bed that she runs late for school.

Katie the jinx is on holiday, but Clarence, the boy her cousin Janice is expected to pair up with because they are neighbours, is really spoiling things. He’s such a snob and a prig who always makes put-down remarks about everything Katie does, and he never loosens up. Dora’s not having much fun on holiday either. Even then, Ma Siddons makes her the dogsbody – especially when she wants Dora’s help in winning a talent contest.

It’s the final episode of “Daddy’s Darling”. Daddy, having finally seen the light in the previous episode, makes up for things in a big way to deliver a happy ending. Next week we see the start of “Barracuda Bay”, which promises us adventure, mystery, the Bahamas, a sunken ship and disappearing scientists. Sounds like an exciting mixture already!

Debbie finds the courage to stand up to bully Tracey and finally gets the brooch off her. But then Debbie realises that she stole the brooch when she promised Mrs Maynard she would not steal again. So the Valley of Shining Mist may not take her back unless she can sort out this tangle.

Hilda agrees to come back to Misery House to keep the peace with the Warden and release Merry from punishment. The gypsy’s herbs have made her so fighting fit that she’s strong enough to stand up to Adolfa the bullying toady. Something may catch on from this because the blurb for next week says: “‘Up with the barricades! Down with Misery House!’”.

Woozums the dog is suddenly standing up bullies too. In this week’s episode of “Cinderella Smith” he’s taking a growl at the nasty cousins on Cindy’s behalf.

In “Blind Ballerina” a tipster provides the lead to Daisy’s whereabouts. But now it’s Barbie who’s disappeared!

Flo gets the worst birthday ever. Greg is so busy that all he can do is send her a bunch of flowers. And then Flo is so shocked when she finds out Greg’s off on an American tour that she blunders into the road and gets hit by a truck!

Julie and Mary finally deliver the message to Moura that her Aunt Zella is a traitor and in league with Mr Blackburn. Moura believes it, but Zella is making sure she can’t convince her father and stop the soldiers who are on the verge of planting explosives that will destroy their world.

 

Jinty 2 August 1975

Jinty cover 2 August 1975.jpeg

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)

 

The issue is a bit unusual in that there is no Dot, quiz, competition or special feature. Only the ads intermingle with the flow of the stories.

This week’s Jinx story is curiously similar to a “Fran’ll Fix It!” story that appeared in 1978. Our protagonist and her friends stick on false beards and other facial hair – only to find they won’t come off because of our protagonist’s special homemade glue (made with glue from the makeup kit, flour, nail varnish and stuff for mending bathtub cracks!). After several failed attempts to get rid of their “hairy appendages”, they finally succeed after they work up sweat during one of Katie’s scrapes. This is not unlike how Fran must have worked herself up in a sweat getting away from Sheikh Abbis and then jumping into the duck pond. Could it be the same writer?

Barbie gets the role of the blind ballerina in the production. Talk about irony. Unfortunately other dancers turn against Barbie in this episode, which will make things easier for jealous Sylvia. And now Pauline has discovered Barbie’s secret. Someone in the company had to at some point. Fortunately it is not Sylvia – but how long before that happens?

Despite Merry’s efforts to stop Miss Ball capturing Jessie, she succeeds and is now holding Jessie hostage to force the gypsies to return Hilda to Misery House. Jessie’s going mad from her confinement in a Misery House cell, which is precisely what Miss Ball anticipated because gypsies are outdoor people. It’s all part of her plan to turn the screw even more on Merry to make a choice between Hilda and Jessie – or think of something fast!

This week Dora Dogsbody is trying to help a dog overcome his fear of water. She succeeds – unwittingly – when she develops cramp in the pool and the dog dives in to fish her out. But that sneaky Ma Siddons steals the credit and charges the owner extra for it! Another episode where Dora does not score a total victory over Ma Siddons, but she takes solace in the fact that the dog is cured.

Elaine finds herself in a bog when she tries the entrance to the Valley of Shining Mist. Must be more of its magic. But then again, Mrs Maynard says something odd to Debbie: “Perhaps I don’t exist here at all when you’re not here, Debbie. Perhaps I only exist in your imagination – because you want me to.” Meanwhile, Debbie has to pass another test – get a brooch off Tracey Stocks. And Tracey is Debbie’s worst enemy! (Funny – we thought Elaine was.)

Cinderella Smith hides her first cash payment from her cousins by burying it in the garden until she is ready to bank it. But she had not counted on Woozums’s doggy trait of digging things up in the garden. Now the cousins have found the money.

Julie finally decides she has no choice but to take her sister Mary into her confidence about the Green People. Unfortunately her enemies have guessed she would try something like that, so now they are watching Mary too. As a result, they meet the evil Green Woman, Zella, and now they join forces. Oh, crumbs!

Lee finds the evacuees, but they can’t find the mother and Daddy won’t let his darling help with the search. And now it looks like the evacuees are trapped in a fire!

Greg’s manager exhibits more of his selfish, greedy, uncaring attitudes to his own discoveries. He’s driving Greg so hard that his health is suffering. He sacks Pip the drummer – and punches him in the face – for helping Flo when she tries to step in. Undaunted, Pip and Flo hatch a plan to help Greg.

 

 

Jinty 26 July 1975

Jinty 26 July 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Quickie Quiz!
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Jinty Makes…a Sideshow (feature)

 

Katie’s trying to get an amateur circus act going because the circus is offering a big cash prize for the best one. She should stick to doing what happens to her all the time – getting into all sorts of oafish scrapes – because it makes her a natural clown. Which is of course what gets her the prize in the end.

Wouldn’t you know it – the lead part in Barbie’s new ballet requires the lead to dance like a blind girl! If only they knew they had a real “Blind Ballerina”.

Merry succeeds in alerting the gypsies to Miss Ball and the Warden, who are out to burn their camp down – and the gypsies give the two misery-makers a jolly good soaking into the bargain (the panels of it are in the panel gallery). Hilda is now safe in the medical care of the gypsies. Then, it looks like Jessie the gypsy girl has broken into the reformatory once too often. Miss Ball is about to make a grab on her!

Ma Siddons lumbers Dora with the job of flag day seller for the Down and Out Dogs League – and then the rotten cheat steals the credit for all the money collected when the organiser returns for it. Occasionally Dora does not score a total victory over Ma Siddons, and this is one of those times.

Debbie passes the test in obtaining the mug from the poetry reading competition – not because she won but because the winner thought she deserved it more. Unfortunately Debbie’s nasty cousin Elaine is getting hotter on the trail, to the point where she tries to follow Debbie into the Valley of Shining Mist.

Cinderella Smith has to disguise herself to keep her secret from her nasty cousins – who have turned up to watch her first fashion show!

Nasty Mr Blackburn and Miss Berridge are so suspicious of Julie now that they’ve had her grounded at home and escorted to and from school until she tells them what she’s up to. Of course Julie can’t tell them about the “Green People”. At least she has a new pendant to contact them with, so that should help.

The evacuees run off in London in search of their mother after a huge air raid bombing. “Daddy’s Darling” goes to London to search for them – something her father hasn’t bothered to do.

Flo’s finding it difficult to keep in touch with Greg this week because his nasty manager and mobs of fans keep coming between them. Could her misgivings about him becoming a pop star be right?

Jinty 28 June 1975

JInty cover 28 June 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Jinty Makes…a Jewelled Collar (feature)

Katie’s teacher Miss Dean has excluded her from a visit to a VIP’s houseboat – only to discover she is a jinx herself and aggravating the very VIP she wanted to impress. Not to be outdone, here comes Katie the Jinx herself in a souped-up motorboat she was given by mistake.

Blind Ballerina creates more problems for herself this week because she just won’t explain that she is blind after it got Daisy taken from her. And as if that wasn’t enough, Barbie’s jealous rival Sylvia is getting suspicious.

Merry’s call to the children’s welfare officer pays off and saves Barry from being forced into handing over his farm to his horrible stepfather. The stepfather then gets an uproarious send-off and won’t be back. Unfortunately the call does not save Merry and Co, who get carted back to Misery House, because Barry didn’t get the name of the reformatory! Oh well, perhaps a seed has been sown that will sprout into something later on.

Meanwhile, it was too close for comfort for Miss Ball and the Warden, so they are not going to risk any more of those deals. Well, that’s something. However, we now know how corrupt they really are, so what else will they get up to? And would it have anything to do with exposing Misery House, which Merry has been trying to do all along?

Dora is sent to collect a dog named Tiny. Now why is it that when an animal is called Tiny, it always turns out to be enormous? As it turns out, there was a tiny mixup; Dora received the wrong dog and Tiny really is tiny after all.

Cinderella Smith’s got her modelling contract, but there’s a snag – she needs to get her nasty cousins to sign as they are her legal guardians. Cindy’s trying to stuff them with so much food they will be in a state to sign without reading the document. We will have to wait until next week to see if Cindy’s trick works.

Debbie’s going to dangerous lengths to return the brush she stole to the Valley of Shining Mist after spiteful Elaine throws it down a collapsed mine. Now Debbie has to risk life and limb to retrieve it. In the end it’s worth it because the Valley opens up for her again. But after that hairbrush incident, Debbie’s horrible relatives now suspect she’s up to something. And there is a blooper here: Debbie hurts her left knee while climbing down the mine – but in one panel the injury appears on her right knee.

Workers on the new motorway are surprised to find emeralds Julie planted, courtesy of the Green People. As hoped, it has put work on hold. Unfortunately, Julie’s brother is about to do some investigating after the enemy teacher, Miss Berridge, sees the entrance to the world of the Green People.

Daddy hires a new maid, Mrs Watkins, but only because she was the only applicant. Personally, Mrs Watkins does not meet his snobby approval – which means she gets on famously with his darling and the evacuees!

Snobbery now seems to be coming between Greg and Flo too. Greg wants his sister to start enjoying the high living as the sister of a pop star, but the humbler life the twins used to lead has rubbed off on her. And she still feels uneasy about Greg pursuing a career as a pop star.

This week’s issue advertises the second issue of Lindy and her second free gift: Lindy’s favourite perfume. Wonder what scent it was?

Jinty 21 June 1975

JInty cover 21 June 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Blind Ballerina (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories – The Sobbing Sands (complete story)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Valley of Shining Mist – (artist Carlos Freixas, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • “The Green People” (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Keep Tidy with My Tortoise! (Feature)

A couple of issues ago Cinderella Smith received instructions on how to make a cute cloth tortoise, which she used to make a birthday present. Perhaps Jinty is now sharing the instructions, because this week’s craft feature is how to make a cloth tortoise, which can be used to keep your things tidy.

Speaking of Cinderella Smith, she starts her career as a model this week, and it all has to be done behind her cruel cousins’ backs. This presents a problem when Cindy realises she has to get her cousins’ signatures for the modelling contract, and she knows they won’t sign voluntarily.

The reformatory staff really show just how corrupt and criminal they really are in this week’s episode of “Misery at Misery House”. They help evil farmer Leggatt force Barry to sign the contract signing away the farm. How? They tell Barry they will have him arrested on trumped-up charges if he does not sign. Barry gives in – but then there are signs that Merry’s call for help to the child welfare officer could be paying off…

Katie’s teacher hopes she’s not always a disaster when there’s water around because she wants to butter up a school governor so the school will get permission to use his houseboat. Fat chance. The episode ends with Katie on a runaway motorboat that is too powerful for her to handle!

Things look up for Barbie as she acquires a guide dog and a job at a ballet company. It looks like a chance to advance her love of ballet at last – but the episode ends with Barbie in danger of falling down the stairs. Moreover, the obligatory jealous rival of the piece has now started her nasty scheming against Barbie.

The Valley of Shining Mist won’t take Debbie in this time and she knows it is because she stole a silver hairbrush from there. However, Debbie’s nasty relatives are trying to stop her efforts to return it. So Debbie is finding she has to acquire some lessons in backbone as well as honesty.

Julie’s campaign to stop Mr Blackburn’s motorway and save the Green People, is going ahead and looking strong. Unfortunately it has cost his brother his job. Furthermore, there is a new enemy in the form of Julie’s teacher, Miss Berridge, who happens to be a cousin of the Blackburns.

For a brief moment it looks like Daddy’s heart has melted towards the two evacuees. However, he hardens up again to the point where he won’t allow their mother to visit because he doesn’t want his darling to catch any germs from her. That man is just impossible. Is there nothing that can get through to him?

In this week’s “Dora Dogsbody” there is a mishap with hair-restorer lotion that causes a dachshund to grow long hair! They have to keep Ma Siddons from finding out.

This week it looks like Greg and Flo will be reconciled. Then a television producer discovers the shabby flat Flo has been staying in and blames Greg for the state his sister has been reduced to. Are the twins set on a collision course again?