- Ring of Feathers (artist Santiago Hernandez) – first episode
- Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit! (photo story) – first episode
- Their Darling Daughter (artist Bert Hill) – first episode
- Miranda’s Magic Dragon (artist Carlos Freixas) – first episode
- Stairway to the Stars! (photo story) – first episode
- The Incredible Shrinking Girl! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones) – first episode
- The Princess Diana Story (part one) – feature
- Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins) – first appearance
- Princess Diana pinup (feature)
We start the Jinty blog entries for 2018 with the first issue of Princess, which I was fortunate to find while on holiday. No, not the Princess that later became Princess Tina. This is the start of the second Princess series, which used Princess Diana pictures and life story to sell the comic – sadly, not enough, because it merged into Tammy after 28 issues.
Although Tammy was the title Princess II merged into, she started off as calling herself a sister comic to Girl II, IPC’s photo story comic. Indeed, Princess II was the same type of comic as Girl II, including the same newsprint and page size. She had her own photo stories, though she only ran two at a time, so there was more room for picture stories. There were also more colour pages, which must have made her more attractive to buy. One photo story was in full colour while the other was black-and-white, while the photo stories in Girl were all black and white. Later in her run Princess II switched to the same newsprint and style as Tammy and dropped the photo stories altogether. This must have been why Princess II merged with Tammy instead of her sister comic.
In fact, the letters page of Princess II used letters from Girl as she had not received any of her own yet. The winning letter was the one that made sulky old Grovel grin. Readers must have wondered who Grovel was as they did not see his strip, the resident cartoon strip “Sadie in Waiting”, until the last page. Grovel is the villainous (but humorously so) butler of the piece. Grovel is alway sucking up to his employer, Princess Bee (hence his name), and is a bully and a schemer into the bargain, but Sadie the maid was always on the alert to his game. Princess Bee doesn’t think much of his grovelling either, so we have to wonder how on earth he holds onto his job. I wonder if this cartoon drew inspiration from Molly Mills in Tammy.
The first story, which starts off on the cover, is “Ring of Feathers”. Cheryl and her mother move to Scotland to live with Uncle John. He soon makes it clear to them that he’s a mean type, and we’re soon getting hints that he is criminal as well. Meanwhile, birds have been hanging around Cheryl in an odd manner ever since she was given a ring of feathers as a parting gift.
The first photo story, “Mr Evans the Talking Rabbit!”, is the one that appears in colour, and unlike most photo stories it has been remembered. Mr Andrews has lost heart as a kids’ entertainer ever since his wife died, which is not bringing in money for the rent and they’re on the verge of being evicted. While out on an entertainment job, daughter Jenny is very surprised to encounter a caged rabbit that can talk, and it doesn’t appear to be her father’s ventriloquism. But we don’t find out what’s going on until next week.
In “Their Darling Daughter”, Lord and Lady Towne foster Sylvie, a girl in a children’s home, while still grieving for their daughter Rachel. There’s some mystery as to how they actually came across Sylvie and why they fostered her, but there’s one person who is determined to get rid of her. No, it isn’t a spiteful stepsister or cousin, which is usually the case. It’s Mrs Crooks the housekeeper, who worshipped Rachel and doesn’t want anyone taking her place. Unlike most of these types of schemers, Mrs Crooks does not keep her campaign secret from her unsuspecting victim. She tells Sylvie straight off that she wants her out, and why. This story is also unusual for using Bert Hill, an artist who was seen frequently at DCT, but not at IPC.
“Miranda’s Magic Dragon” is not a real dragon. It’s a magic dragon pendant that Merlin bequeathes to his granddaughter Miranda before he dies. Unfortunately Miranda has not got the hang of its magic yet, and her first disaster is to be transported from the days of Camelot into the year 1983. Talk about a fish out of water! Meanwhile, Merlin’s enemy Mordac is after the pendant, and we are getting hints that he is about to make his presence felt in 1983. Gee, what’s he going to make of that time period? Miranda has almost been hit by cars as well as culture and time shock.
Oddly for a girls’ comic’s first lineup, there is no ballet story. Still, we get plenty of dancing in the second photo story, “Stairway to the Stars!”, which is the black-and-white photo story. It is set in a stage school and has a soap opera feel to it. So we get a school story into the bargain.
Clare Humphreys is recruited to test a range of products. She feels it is unhealthy because they are so full of chemicals, but she does not realise how right she is until they start making her shrink.
Towards the end we start seeing Princess Diana herself. It’s part one of her life story, and on the back cover we get the first Princess Diana pinup.