Tag Archives: Bird-Girl Brenda

Jinty #40, 1 March 1975

Cover 1 March 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie) – last episode
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

Katie fools a pony-napping gang in the cover story – there are some crooks who are stealing away the foals of some wild ponies and selling them to a nearby pony riding school. You’d think the school would soon spot that the ponies are wild, but the crooks tell them that ‘they’ll soon settle down’! Well, luckily Katie has hitched a couple of rides – first on one of the mother ponies trekking after her stolen baby, and then in the truck taking the ponies away. So she soon foils the plans, and is a hero to the neighbourhood.

Tricia’s tragedy takes place in this issue – cousin Diana dives too close to Tricia when she is in the pool, and the next thing Tricia knows, Diana seems stunned… unconscious! and when she wakes up, suddenly the cousin has been struck blind.

In Merry at Misery House, she is trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the sinister figure – the joker who is turning the place upside down, but only at times when Merry is blamed for the pranks! But at last the prankster gets Miss Ball dismissed as deputy warden – and Merry finally gets a clue as to what is happening. We are promised that she will be unmasking the joker – next week.

The Kat and Mouse Game” is nearing its climax. Mouse is still dancing Kat’s part and letting her take the credit, but is hurt because Kat doesn’t seem to be acting like a real friend and taking any interest in Mouse’s small dance solo. The scheming Kat plots to sabotage even this small triumph – but we can tell that it will rebound on her, one way or another. The sample page on the story post shows you what happens in the following week’s episode…

The Prisoners of Paradise Island aren’t yet seeing through the luxury trap that Miss Lush has set for the hockey team. Sally Tuff has managed to get out a radio message to Miss Granley, their sports mistress – will she be the saving grace?

It is the last episode of Always Together…. Little sister Beth is desperately ill but all is sorted out in the final few pages – even to the extent of restoring the lost mother and the family home!

Finally, in “Slave of the Mirror“, Mia is still being manipulated by the mirror at the times when she feels most resentful for her sister’s bossy ways. But nice old Major Rose has build Mia a beach hut that she can escape to when she feels stressed out. She does so, and prepares to go for a dip – unaware that she is being watched by two men. Are they sinister stalkers such as we would expect them to be nowadays, or far more benign?

Jinty #42, 15 March 1975

Cover 15 March 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • My Perfect Day – themed reader letters
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé) – last episode
  • The Ghostly Wedding – spooky story
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine) – last episode
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

Katie is dog-sitting for Lady Lampwick – but the huge dog ‘Cuddles’ looks like rather a handful! She earns enough money to be able to afford a dog of her own, but by the end of the story she is somehow not quite as keen on the idea…

Tricia is forced to slave for her cousin Diana, whose family say was blinded by an accident caused by Tricia. At least, unlike in some slave stories, Tricia is not emotionally fooled by her abusive cousin: they are ‘two people who hate each other… tied to each other by a terrible debt!’

There is a page of reader-produced content: the winning selections in a request made by the Jinty editors for letters on the theme ‘My perfect day’. I reproduce it here particularly because of one letter, ‘Just peace would be perfect’, about living in Northern Ireland – the reader wishes for peace and safety in Belfast. In the intervening years this has indeed come to pass, though there are many fears at present of possible impacts that could affect the Good Friday agreement as and when the UK exits from the EU – and/or the EU Human Rights Convention, the legal framework of which underlies the Good Friday agreement.

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Merry is planning an escape from Misery House, so as to try to warn the outside world of the cruelties that go on inside its walls. The convicts make a dummy look-a-like of Merry, to hide the fact that she is not returning with the rest from an outdoors stint of fence-mending. Will it work?

Kat is still fooling everyone, this time by pretending to sleep-walk to make it look like some missing money was stolen by the innocent Mouse.

It’s the last episode of “Prisoners of Paradise Island” – school sports mistress Miss Granley was Sally Tuff’s hope for outside rescue, but she seems to be in league with the evil Miss Lush. When it is revealed that the teacher is really on their side, Miss Lush pops up and takes Miss Granley hostage – but it all goes wrong for her as reinforcements help the girls to finally fight back against their captors. At the end of the story, we see the hockey team winning the international championship, and we are promised that new dramatic story “Cinderella Smith” (also drawn by Trini Tinturé) starts next week.

It’s also the last episode of “Bird-Girl Brenda” – a very sudden ending, as Brenda discovers that going for a walk with her friends – and someone’s dishy cousin Rob – is just as much fun as flying. Just as well, because her flying powers have abruptly deserted her. Next week we will get new story “Bet Gets The Bird”, likewise drawn by Phil Gascoine – another lightweight humour strip with no overall story arc. Bet was rather more short-lived than Brenda – perhaps it wasn’t as successful – but for whatever reason that left Gascoine drawing more memorable stories such as “The Green People”, “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!”, and of course the long-running “Fran of the Floods”.

It’s early days in “Daddy’s Darling” – protagonist Lee is being looked after so closely by her father that she has no life of her own. Even though she now has to go to the local school, her father is still managing to separate her from others her own age.

Mia Blake is still strongly possessed by the spirit in the mirror – not surprisingly it is feeding off the resentment that Mia feels when her sister prevents her from going into a modelling competition.

Memories triggered

I have recently received a few 1975 issues of Jinty, which I will write individual issue posts about in due course as usual. Before that, I wanted to write a little bit about the memories triggered by seeing these issues again for the first time in many years.

I’ve seen the cover images on Catawiki or similar, and they didn’t particularly lead me to feel that I remembered what the contents were going to cover. Indeed, when starting to read issues 42 and 51, practically none of it triggered any memories from when I was little – “Tricia’s Tragedy”, “The Kat and Mouse Game”, and the end of “Bird-Girl Brenda” rang no bells at all. But looking inside the issue dated 26 July 1975 was a different matter: of course the  front cover with Katie Jinks’ antics was familiar, but so was the inside story of her circus exploits – I wouldn’t have been able to remember it in advance but looking at it again I felt I knew it well. The next story was “Blind Ballerina”, much more familiar to me than “Tricia’s Tragedy” – as I read each page it felt as if it was flooding back to me, not just the plot (which I could have got from Mistyfan’s post on this issue) but the individual panels and the dialogue boxes themselves, too.

Likewise with “The Valley of Shining Mist” – the very first panel of it gave me a shock of recognition, as ‘Dumbie Debbie’ stumbles tearfully away from the poetry reading competition she has been asked to take part in. It is like when Mistyfan sent me a scan of the episode of “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!” from the issue dated 1 November 1975, which I have also just received recently – but until she sent me that scan some months ago now, I hadn’t seen the episode since I was perhaps ten years old or so, and yet the snippet of dialogue where evil witch Miss Marvell poisons the buddleia in the school grounds has lived in my mind ever since then.

My six-year old daughter has taken to reading my old Jintys now (and Sandies, and anything else I leave lying around). She’s enjoying them greatly and can hardly be torn away from them for suppertime and the like. I hope for her sake that when she is my age, she will not just have vague fond memories of this childhood reading, but ingrained snapshots in her mind that are subtly longer-lasting than you could ever have expected – unless of course you hadn’t already had it happen to you.

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 23 November 1974

Jinty cover 23 November 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St. Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer (artist and writer unknown)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

Katie Jinks is trying to help her dad with his interview for a new job, but of course jinxes it all over the place! The real problem though is that her dad’s reputation has been blackened by the way he lost his last job, leaving Katie furious and desperate to clear his name.

Jackie Lester is finding out more and more how Mrs Mandell will drive her cruelly and without regard for safety. In Misery House, stray dog Mr Nobody is looking out for Merry’s safety but will that work for long, or will he be destroyed, as per the Warden’s orders?

New girl Leticia is about as soppy as you can get, and a soft target for Kat’s mean-spirited domination over her. This story reminds me quite a lot of “Slave of Form 3B”, but without the hypnotism. Kat’s wangling gets Mouse moved out of the hostel where she’s supposed to stay (and where other people might find out about Kat’s emotional hold over the shyer girl) and into staying at Kat’s own home.

Revenge-crazed Jed sets it up to look like the Wild Horse has escaped from her barn, even though it’s the middle of a thunderstorm – but Daphne has seen what’s going on, and gone with her beloved white horse. In the darkness, Jed’s shot doesn’t hit the horse, but the girl! He is filled with remorse, but the mare doesn’t know that, and this may be the turning point that may turn her wild in earnest… We are promised the final episode next week.

The homeless family in “Always Together…” go from bad to worse luck. They are not dragged back to the children’s home, but Jilly’s hurt her arm badly and can’t earn money, and Beth goes too close to the fire and sets herself alight!

 

Jinty 14 December 1974

Jinty cover 14 December 1974.jpeg

  • The Jinx from St. Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Jinty Made it…for Christmas (feature)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

This issue has just arrived in my collection.

Kate discovers plotters aboard her dad’s ship and is out to expose them. Knowing our jinx, maybe we should pity the poor plotters. Meanwhile, another crook pulls a fast one over Mrs Siddons with a phoney ghost act. By the time she finds out, she has paid good money to him to exorcise the ghost. But given what an unsavoury character she is, Dora has more sympathy for the crook.

Jackie goes too far – she fakes her own death so she can play up to Mrs. Mandell as her daughter Isabella full-time. But she had forgotten what a hard mother Mrs. Mandell can be, and already the demands are starting. Meanwhile, Jackie’s sister Wendy is not convinced she is dead – but how can she prove it?

Two different types of punishment cells appear in this issue. For “Merry at Misery House”, it’s a week in solitary on meagre rations of bread and water, which puts her in the infirmary. And then she is very surprised to see the sadistic Warden suddenly being friendly to her! But it can’t be sincere, so what’s the Warden up to now? For Sally in “Prisoners of Paradise Island”, the punishment cell is a room filled with luxury, temptation, and gorgeous fruit to eat (far better than bread and water). But Sally is determined not to let this type of punishment room break her either.

A new threat threatens the Harveys in “Always Together” – a nosy reporter who has realised they are runaways and wants the full story! New help, Inez, arrives at the hotel, and the evil power over Mia, the “Slave of the Mirror” is forcing her to cause trouble for Inez. But Mia is soon caught out. And at least someone has caught Kat out in taking advantage of Mouse – her own mother, who stops her pocket money in punishment. But not even this causes Mouse to see through Kat.

Story length through Jinty’s life

I have created a new page listing the stories in Jinty by publication date. This seemed like an interesting and useful addition to the list of stories in alphabetical order that has been in place on the blog since we started. As part of the information on that new page it seemed sensible to count the number of episodes for each story, too (where possible) – luckily for me, the Catawiki data that I was using to compile this information gave me the ability to include that for almost all stories. As I put together the list, I got the impression that in the last year of Jinty‘s publication, the story length was getting shorter and shorter: so I pulled together some stats on it.

For each year below, there are some stories I excluded from the statistics, either because I didn’t have a complete count of all the episodes (for instance where a story had started in Lindy or Penny before their merger with Jinty), or because they were by their nature long-running humour strips with no specific start or end point. I’ll give a list of the excluded stories and their running lengths further down this post.

  • For 1974, the mean story length is just under 16 episodes and the mode (most usual) story length is 13 episodes
  • For 1975, the mean is just under 18 episodes and the mode is 16 episodes
  • For 1976, the mean is just under 15 episodes and the mode is 19 episodes
  • For 1977, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 11
  • For 1978, the mean is just over 16 episodes and the mode is 18
  • For 1979, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1980, the mean is 11.5 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1981, the mean is 11 episodes and the mode is 10

We can see that the two averages do go up and down over the run of Jinty. Having said that, the drop-off in episode length in 1980 and 1981 does look like a real change, despite that context of background variation. (I’m not going to do any full-on statistical analysis with standard deviations and so on though!) Both average figures are down in those two years, because there are fewer long stories pushing up the mean as well as a general trend to the slightly shorter length of 10 – 12 episodes.

Which stories did I exclude from the analytics, and why?

  • The humour strips with no specific story arc: “Dora Dogsbody” (94 episodes), “Do-it-Yourself Dot” (62 episodes), “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” (112 episodes), “The Snobs and the Scruffs” (12 episodes), “Desert Island Daisy” (9 episodes), “Bird-Girl Brenda” (27 episodes), “The Hostess with the Mostess” (19 episodes), “Bet Gets The Bird!” (11 episodes), “Alley Cat” (163 episodes), “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” (111 episodes), “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” (27 episodes), “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (96 episodes).
  • “Merry at Misery House” (66 episodes) is not a humour strip but like those above, it has no specific overall story arc, no obvious beginning or end that is worked towards throughout its run. I have therefore excluded that too. The same goes for “Pam of Pond Hill” which ran to a mighty 126 episodes in Jinty and then on into Tammy of course.
  • The stories that I have incomplete episode information about: “Finleg the Fox”, “Penny Crayon”, “Hettie High-and-Mighty”, “Gypsy Rose” (these stories are not catalogued on Catawiki as a group), “Rinty n Jinty”, “Seulah the Seal”, “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, and “Snoopa”. Various of those would be excluded even if I had complete episode numbers, of course.
    • Edited to add: further information has been given in the comments below. “Finleg” and “Hettie” ran for 7 episodes in Lindy, and “Tansy” ran for 45 episodes in Penny. “Seulah” ran for 11 episodes in Penny, and then started a new story in Jinty & Penny, which I hadn’t really realised. The two Seulah stories were more like separate arcs in a bigger story than self-contained stories in themselves. Many thanks to Marc for this information! I will add them into the spreadsheet and see if it makes any difference to the years in question.
    • “Snoopa” ran for 45 episodes in Penny, which Mistyfan confirms below (many thanks). As a gag strip, this would not be included in the year-on-year statistics in any case.

Longest run of an individual story? “Alley Cat” has all the others beat, at 163 episodes; runners-up are “Pam of Pond Hill” at 126 episodes, and then “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” and “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” neck and neck at 112 and 111 episodes respectively. However, if you exclude these and look at the length of the ‘normal’ stories, then the top three are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (36 episodes), “Fran of the Floods” (35 episodes), and “Always Together…” (29 episodes). (Phil Townsend does particularly well for long-running stories, as “Daddy’s Darling” clocks in at 24 episodes and “Song of the Fir Tree” at 22 episodes.)

At the other end of things are some short stories. There are only two single-episode stories: “Holly and the Ivy” and “Mimi Seeks a Mistress”. “Freda’s Fortune” is the only two episode story. “Mimi” was a reprinted story, printed towards the end of 1980; possibly “Holly” and “Freda” were intended for publication in annuals or summer specials and then used as filler.

There are a few 3 or 4 episode stories: “The Birds”, “The Changeling”, “Casey, Come Back!”, and “The Tale of the Panto Cat”. This is also an odd length for a story – long enough to allow for a bit of development, but short enough to feel a bit abruptly cut off when you get to the end. Of these four, I’d say that “The Birds” is the one I find uses its length most successfully, though “Panto” works pretty well as a seasonal short. The slightly-longer “Her Guardian Angel” (5 episodes) likewise uses its length reasonably well to give us a seasonal amusement.  Some other shorter stories, such as “Badgered Belinda” (7 episodes), do read like they have probably been cut down from an originally-intended standard length of 10 – 12 episodes.

The spreadsheet with this information is available on request – please comment and I will be happy to email it to you if you want.

Jinty 18 January 1975

Cover 18 January 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

This is the second of the two Christmas issues I got out. This one is very festive and seasonal, with a competition to find the robin printed on a number of story-pages, and Christmas story-lines in “Dora Dogsbody”, “The Jinx From St Jonah’s”, and “Always Together” (yes, the kids get their Christmas after all, once Jilly manages to sell some of her sketches and Johnny gets given food by his gypsy friends).

The only catch with all this Christmassy-ness? It came out in January, due to a few weeks “production troubles” (often a euphemism for industrial action).

I thought I would include some art from “The Kat and Mouse Game” to show that despite having felt that the earliest pages drawn by Jim Baikie on this strip were a little shaky, there was also lots of good art – and a totally unrepentant and black-hearted bully protagonist.

The Kat and Mouse Game pg 1

The Kat and Mouse Game pg 2
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The Kat and Mouse Game pg 3
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Jinty 21 December 1974

Cover 21 December 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

I have got out two Christmas issues as it is that time of year. This first one is posted exactly 41 years from the date on the cover, and gets us ready for Christmas with some seasonal stories. Katie Jinx and friends are delivering presents collected for the old folks, but a little mishap and someone else’s misunderstanding leads to the presents going astray – with the schoolchums in hot pursuit!

“Jackie’s Two Lives” is not seasonally cheery – it is a creepy and grim story of emotional coercion, now nearing its peak. Jackie Lester has faked her own death and taken on the life of her double, Isabella Mandell – but the hard-driving Mrs Mandell has got her increasingly scared for what will happen next. We have recently learned that this story was written by Alan Davidson, who also wrote the well-known story “The Bewitching of Alison Allbright”; from the available plot summaries this latter seems to be a story very much along the same lines as this one. I wonder if it is as chilling – has anyone read both?

“Merry at Misery House” sees her waking up wondering if she is still ill – because suddenly all the staff and monitors have become friendly and compassionate! Of course it is all to trick an outside warden who has come to inspect the reformatory.

“The Kat and Mouse Game” is not one of my favourites: in the first few episodes, the Jim Baikie artwork looked more rushed than his usual efforts, and it is another story following some well-trodden paths: a bully who gets away with emotional abuse of a timid new girl, plus ballet and scheming to get one’s own way. Having said that, the character of Kat is marvelously full-on: no question of remorse or back-pedalling with her, oh no.

“Prisoners of Paradise Island” is the first Jinty story to feature Trini Tinturé’s beautiful artwork. It’s a light story and fairly silly, which I suppose parallels one of Trini’s last stories for Jinty: “The Perfect Princess”.

“Always Together…” gives us more Christmas atmosphere, as the three orphans manage to outwit a snooping reporter and then try to have a homely Christmas in their cave. Big sister Jilly is doing her darndest to make sure it is a nice time for her two smaller siblings, but when she fails to sell her sketches in time to buy presents and the all-important Christmas meal, it looks like a sad time instead of an uplifting end to the year…

Finally, the evil Mirror seems to be driving its slave into hospital – either through physical injuries, or by breaking her mentally.

Jinty 9 November 1974

Jinty cover 19741109

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie) – last episode
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas) – first episode
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

I should have posted this one earlier in the month as a timely Guy Fawkes story, but never mind – Katie makes a sparkling guy herself, as she points out! She tries to help some local kids raise money for some fireworks and a bonfire, but in the end her jinxing gets the kids into a posh local bonfire party in an unexpected way. This is a one-off story but next week another serialised story arc will start up, about Katie’s sailor father returning from sea.

In “Jackie’s Two Lives”, Jackie Lester has promised to come along to her mother’s birthday get-together, but we know that she will make some excuse to get out of it. The alternative life that Mrs Mandell is offering her is just too tempting – this week it involves a flight to Paris to have a dress made for her… And the mystery deepens, as the couturier says he has been making clothes for Mrs Mandell’s daughter since she was a small child!

Merry is once more seeing the Warders of Misery House setting the inmates against each other. New joiner Violet initially lies to get Merry into trouble, leading Miss Ball to identify her as a potential monitor – but the stratagem applied by the wardens to get Viola to commit to them once and for all is a step too far, and Viola joins Merry’s pack in the end.

It’s the last episode of “Left-Out Linda”, and she is working hard – and hand-in-hand with her stepfather’s mother (‘Gran’ to you). It’s really nice to see the protagonist getting appropriate support to clear up the mess she has made – even if she still has to do a lot of the work herself, of course. It all ends happily, with Linda having the second chance she has come to want, and to deserve.

Daphne, who can’t talk, is trapped down a mine shaft; her only hope is the wild horse she has befriended. Will the white mare help to rescue her, next week?

“Always Together…” has the three Harvey kids struggling to avoid detection – this time by persuading some scouts that the cave they are living in is nothing but a ‘leaky hole’. The next challenge is that brother Johnny has to tackle his jealousy of boys who live in a real house; some neat psychology by eldest sister Jilly has things working more smoothly. It seems as if their lives can go along this track for a while, but will they get derailed some time?

It is the first episode of “Slave of the Mirror”, drawn by the stylish Freixas. Mia Blake is trapped by the mysterious mirror before she gets much further than the first page of the story; but then, she is already grumpy and resentful at being ‘a glorified skivvy’ in her sister’s boarding house, which hardly helps.