Tag Archives: annual

300th post!

Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, we are continuing to move on with posting to and extending this blog. Since the 200th entry in November 2014, we have very nearly completed the posts on Jinty Annuals and Holiday Specials, including looking at an annual from precursor title June too. More stories have been covered, such as popular story “The Forbidden Garden“; Mistyfan has been doing the bulk of this work, which is much appreciated. She has also forged ahead with writing numerous posts on individual issues too, helping to fill in many gaps. This includes curiosities like the advert for the very first Jinty! However, there are still further gaps for us to get to; for instance back around the 200th post a comment asked for a post on “Battle of the Wills”, and no doubt there are many other favorites people are looking forward to. The story theme posts were added to with the entry on Sports stories, but again these story theme posts could well be added to.

I would always like to do more Creator posts. It was particularly gratifying to be able to do an interview with writer Alison Christie and with artist Keith Robson; getting people to talk about their memories of how things worked and how they did them is really important. As with so many creators, writer Len Wenn is not able to be interviewed but Keith Robson was able to give us some first-hand information that helped to fill out more details on his work. Likewise, Terry Magee wrote in to give us more background on script conferences, which are often mentioned in people’s information about how the editorial process worked. It was also good to be able to correct the attribution of “Angela’s Angels” and do a post on artist Leo Davy, who it is now credited to. There are plenty of creators that could be posted about right away, but if anyone ever has a lead for a creator who is happy to be interviewed for this blog, that would be absolutely excellent. We’re particularly looking for any information on Mavis Miller, who would be able to shed so much light on the names and details behind so much of this comic and others.

There has also been quite a few other general and analytical pieces, such as my post about readers’ memories of the stories they read a long time ago, and one on Female writers in a Girls’ Genre. I also enjoyed writing a series on What Makes a Story Work? Most recently, we have gone back to the WTFometer idea and there are now five posts on this, analyzing some 14 stories so far. Even within a themed group you can get a wide range of story arcs, going from relatively mundane to extreme with serious danger of death or loss of autonomy.

One unexpected direction that this blog has taken is the extension of our knowledge to cover the area of translations and foreign editions. This followed the publication of the Alison Christie interview; comments on this highlighted the fact that a number of her stories had been the subject of European Translations. I had already seen some Dutch translations of Jinty stories, but I would never have predicted the range of the translations we now know about, including into Greek and Indonesian! This work could not have happened without the input of people reading the blog – particularly Marc, Peggy, Sleuth, Yulia, Ruth B. I’m really grateful for this widening of the network that we’re building together. Here’s to the next few hundred posts – I am sure there will be many more to come.

Jinty Annual 1977

Cover Jinty Annual 1977

Stories in this annual:

  • The Blue Daffodil
  • Noelle’s Ark (text story)
  • Herbs of Life (Uncle Pete spooky story; artist Shirley Bellwood) – originally printed in June & School Friend, 4 July 1970 (source here)
  • Jill In the Dark (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Seal Summer
  • Spiky and Otis – gag strip
  • A Chip On Her Shoulder (Uncle Pete spooky story)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • A Call for Help (text story)
  • Star Performance (text story, illustrated by Terry Aspin)
  • Heroes of the Wreck (prose non-fiction)
  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • The Pooh Stick Game (text story, written by Lindy Gale)
  • The Nodding Mandarin (Uncle Pete spooky story)
  • Curse of the Cat Goddess!
  • The Bells of Karlok (Uncle Pete spooky story, illustrated by John Armstrong)
  • The Truth… and Mandy Martin
  • Nurse, please help me! (text story)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • A Christmas Dream (text story, illustrated by Trini Tinturé)

This doesn’t strike me as the strongest annual I’ve ever read, though some of that feeling may be down to the lack of many of the usual strong Jinty artists. There are a good number of strange stories, which I always like, and some solid text stories, but nothing very outstanding in any of it.

The first story, about a mystical plant that will bring happiness to the finder, has a desperate girl who wants to find it so as to make her mother well, and a rival bitchy girl who only wants to enrich herself. Of course the good end happily and the bad unhappily – but I do wonder what illness the girl’s mother could have that ‘only an expensive operation could cure’ that she wouldn’t be able to get on the NHS? It sounds rather like plot taken from the heyday of girls school stories rather than a 1970s story.

Other readers may well be more interested than me to read “Jill In The Dark”, illustrated by Carlos Freixas who I know has many fans. I like his work in other stories, and it is very nicely done, but there is a preponderance of melodrama both in the plot (girl runner finds herself going blind at unpredictable points, has to struggle in the absence of friends and family) and in the art (lots of shots of the eponymous Jill staring in panic as she struck by sudden blindness).

Jill In The Dark
(click thru)

There are at least a couple of good solid Jinty standbys in the shape of “Dora Dogsbody” and “The Jinx from St Jonah’s”. Dora sees household hijinks as Mrs and Mr Siddons dress up for a fancy dress ball as Dick Whittington and a cat respectively – including Mr Siddons being ordered by his missus to  get onto the floor and miaouw at the cheeky mouse who has frightened her! In the end Dora gets to go to the ball and Mrs and Mr stay at home, nursing nasty colds. And in Katy Jinks’s story, of course she is the one causing the upsets and shenanigans, if inadvertently as ever. There are lots of trips and spills, and much outrage is caused, only to end happily for all. They are both nicely-judged stories with a light touch and a feel-good factor.

As ever there are also various quizzes and articles about possible careers for the reader when she grows up, and things to make and do. I include a scan of one of the quizzes below because it is illustrated by an artist I am particularly fond of, who I would like to know more about. Does anyone know the name of this artist at all?

Quiz for Castaways
(click thru)

Jinty Annual 1979

Jinty Annual 1979 cover

In this annual:

  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Beside the Sea (feature)
  • The Beltane Walk (story, illustrated by Terry Aspin)
  • Gypsy Rose: Chain of Destiny (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint
  • You’re a Real Character! (quiz)
  • Couldn’t Be Nuttier! (feature)
  • Can You Beat Sharp-Eyed Sharon? (artist Keith Robson)
  • Hands Up For Beauty (feature)
  • Cups and Saucers (story, illustrated by Terry Aspin)
  • Trudy on Trial! (artist Manuel Cuyas) – reprint
  • Gypsy Rose: Violetta’s Donkey (artist Richard Neillands) – reprint
  • True Stories of Girls of the Wild Frontier: Bonnie Kate – reprint
  • Wrap It Up! (feature)
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (feature)
  • Gypsy Rose: Midnight Express
  • Grow A Bottle Garden (feature, in colour)
  • The Purrfect Pet (feature, in colour)
  • Cook Up Something Special (feature, in colour – courtesy of Cadbury Typhoo Food Advisory Service)
  • Going To School At The Circus (feature, in colour)
  • Gran’s Patchwork Quilt (poem, illustrated in colour)
  • All About Apples (feature, in colour)
  • Stories of the Flowers (feature, in colour)
  • It’s a Puzzle (puzzle page)
  • Jokes Galore
  • Come Fly with Me (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Baby Ape (feature)
  • You Can’t Let The Team Down (story)
  • The Dolly and Our Ivy
  • Puzzle Page
  • Sharp-Eyed Sharon (artist Keith Robson) – first story
  • Be A Stow-Away (feature)
  • Alley Cat
  • Fun Spot (jokes and puzzles)
  • True Stories of Girls of the Wild Frontier: Annie Oakley – reprint
  • Mediaeval Mirth (jokes)
  • Romance of the Spoon (story)
  • Big Ben – The Nation’s Timepiece (feature)
  • What A Dog’s Life! (feature)
  • So You Want to Be (feature)
  • Gypsy Rose: Una the Unsinkable (artist Rodrigo Comos) – reprint
  • Keep In Shape! (feature)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Animal Capers (jokes)
  • Tears for Cinderella (artist Trini Tinture)

This is the first annual we’ve yet looked at on this blog that is a proper solid Jinty publication, with a number of stories which look like they were produced specifically for this title alongside reprints that go well with the feel of the weekly paper.

The first story as you open up the annual features good old “Fran’ll Fix It”, one of my favourite humorous characters. The words ‘zany’ and ‘madcap’ were coined for her, and her adventures always bring a smile to my face. Here she is trying to solve some of her school’s financial woes by making her own laundry powder (and not telling anyone so they can have a lovely surprise!), baking cakes (unfortunately with the flour swopped for Plaster of Paris), and running a jumble sale stall (helped out by a crafty bit of ventriloquism that has her selling her goods in a very unorthodox fashion). Jim Baikie is at his best and silliest in this strip, and I would always recommend it heartily to anyone, so it’s a great one to start with.

A number of the stories included are clearly reprints, originally drawn for a publication of different proportions – a band has been added across the top and bottom of the page to fill in what would otherwise be blank space. This is pretty successful and passes unnoticed (certainly it is only on this re-read that it struck me).

Trudy on Trial pg 1

Even harder to notice is the fact that one story, “Trudy on Trial!” has been reprinted from an earlier weekly format. This means that where the title was originally printed (as we see in the first page above) required the top panel of each new week’s episode to be lightly altered. This has mostly been done reasonably well, but there is one rather egregious example shown below… (look at the right hand side of the panel!) Again, it clearly worked overall, because it is only on this close re-read that I spotted it.

Trudy on Trial pg 3 crop

“Trudy On Trial!” is a light, amusing story that is still substantial enough to carry the centre part of the annual (it is reprinted in one continuous block as a good long chunk). Trudy is invited to her rich uncle’s house mostly because she is refreshingly outspoken and doesn’t suck up to get dosh out of him, but she is clearly kind-hearted and practical, and a real bond grows between them. The art is by Manuel Cuyàs who we have spoken of recently; it is memorable, having stuck in my head all these years, so that when I saw other examples of his work I could immediately link them. The artist signs a couple of the panels: here’s one:

Trudy on Trial pg 16 crop

There are also a number of Jinty-type strips drawn specially for the annual. The “Fran” story mentioned at the start is a good example – something that could easily have been in the regular weekly (though on closer look it has been drawn to the different proportions of this annual, which is nearer to A4 than to the weekly comic). “Can You Beat Sharp-Eyed Sharon?” reminds me of those few stories that address the reader directly, whether to moralise or to challenge: “Is This Your Story?” or “Jenny – Good or Bad Friend?“. It is a puzzle writ large: sharp-eyed Sharon notices some suspicious circumstances and resolves them, and the reader is challenges to spot the same give-away as she did. The art is by Keith Robson: not the most frequent Jinty artist but a familiar face bolstering the very Jinty-feel of this annual.

Sharp-eyed Sharon pg 1

One of the other specifically-created stories is drawn by Phil Townsend – “Come Fly with Me”. It is about Joanna, a girl who lacks confidence and is bullied by her school mates and talked down to by everyone including her family. The only friend she has is old tramp Mr Andrews, who used to be the school janitor before his family died and his life fell apart. Mr Andrews believes in Joanna and encourages her in her artistic endeavours; he even ends up sending in her drawings for a contest, which she wins. This rather obvious story is done memorably enough that I have gone looking for it elsewhere in Jinty (though I had forgotten it was in this annual).

There are no fewer than four Gypsy Rose stories, one of which was drawn specifically for this annual’s proportions and hence is presumably not a reprint. It also features Gypsy Rose directly in the story itself; Mistyfan has pointed out before that the Strange Tales reprints cover lands far away and times long ago, whereas ones written specifically for the Gypsy Rose character feature her in the body of the story.

Two other reprints are single pages entitled “True Stories of Girls of the Wild Frontier”. The art is beautiful and makes me think it might be by J M Burns, but I don’t know his style well enough to be sure. They are not very PC for nowadays, unsurprisingly, with tales of derring-do fighting savage Indians…

I could keep going for a long time, as there is so much in this annual (for the princely sum of £1.25 when new!). The text stories are very readable – I like them in an annual though I don’t in a weekly, where I think they interrupt the flow too much. A couple of the stories feature lovely Terry Aspin artwork, which also endears them to me.  The features are quite fun though something I normally skipped over and certainly never tried – making a bottle garden, for instance.