Tag Archives: Christine Ellingham

Christine Ellingham – Interview

With many thanks to Christine Ellingham for sending through such detailed and interesting answers to the interview questions below – and of course also thanks to her for getting in contact in the first place!

Question 1 – Can you please give a bit of background context to your time in comics – when did you start doing work for picture strips / comics titles, and what got you into them in the first place? You say that your time as a strip artist was short – what led you to cut it short, if there was anything specific?

As with a lot of the jobs I have done over the years, I arrived at IPC, then Fleetway Publications, purely by accident and good luck.

I had been a staff layout artist plus fashion illustrator on a girls’ teenage magazine called, Go Girl! (This is where I first met Malcolm Shaw.) Go Girl! was part of City Magazines, the magazine division of The News of the World. This was in 1968.

Unfortunately, Go Girl! folded after a very short life and it was suggested that I approach Leonard Matthews, the then Director of Juvenile Publications, not sure of his correct title, at Fleetway. I did, and was offered a job there. In those days it was relatively easy to move around from one job to another.

Initially, I was placed in a department with several other people, not a specific title, where we did odd jobs for different papers, i.e. illustration, lettering, pasteup and, in the case of Alf Saporito, cartoons. I remember John Fernley being one of us, possibly Tony Hunt, though I’m not sure.

After a short period I was moved to the Nursery group, under the managing editor, Stuart Pride, and there I worked on a new publication called Bobo Bunny. This had come from Holland and needed adjusting size wise and certain content adaptation making it suitable for the UK market.

By now John Sanders was the overall editor of the juveniles. I have a feeling I wasn’t the first to be offered the position of art editor of a new girls’ paper called Tammy but I accepted it nevertheless and moved from juvenile to teenage. John Purdie was the editor and Gerry Finley-Day and Iain MacDonald made up the editorial team.

Under John, we gathered writers and artists and the aim was to compete with D.C. Thomson’s Bunty and maybe other titles of that type. I remember John and I made a trip to Rome to talk to the Giorgetti stable of artists and we were wined and dined by Giorgio Giorgetti and his American wife. We also attracted all the relevant artist’s agents, Danny Kelleher and his son Pat of Temple Arts, Linden Artists and Bardon Art for example, and collected together a group of strip artists, writers and balloon letterers.

Eventually, Tammy was launched and did very well. I was able to contribute a small amount of artwork, the back cover of the first edition is mine, but really my job was to get it all together, see the agents and in one case, the artists themselves (I remember Roy Newby used to deliver his own work) but usually the agents would deliver the artwork.

I have to admit, I was not entirely happy in the role of art editor. I had studied illustration at Hornsey College of Art and that was what I wanted to do. I left Fleetway 1971/72. Barry Coker and Keith Davis of Bardon Art represented mainly Spanish strip artists. I thought that maybe I could ‘have a go’ at doing this as a freelance and doing it from Spain. Barry and Keith took me on and my then partner and I moved to Spain. Just like that! This was 1972. Amazing really.

Christine Ellingham, 1973/74
Christine Ellingham, 1973/74

First of all my work was for D.C. Thomson; they waited for a whole series to be complete before publishing so as I was a novice and slow, this suited me. Fleetway needed an episode completed in a week, too much for me then. I am hazy about the titles, there may have been something called, “Warning Wind Bells” and another with an Egyptian theme with a character or a cat called Nofret, or these could have been later for IPC. I have a few old diaries of that time and one story I worked on I have only the initials of the title, S.O.S. I wonder what that stood for! 1972. There was “Topsy of the Pops”, “Vet on the Hill” and “Lindy Under the Lake”, all for Thomson’s circa 1973. (This is the date that I drew them, not necessarily of publication.)

As agents, Barry and Keith were superb. They made sure I was never without work, one story followed immediately after another, that I was paid promptly and they gave me such good advice regarding page layout, technique and story interpretation.

While I was still working on Tammy I started to have problems with my right hand (I am right handed), it not functioning properly. This continued to get worse when we were in Spain and instead of speeding up and refining my style the opposite was happening, my work deteriorated. Bardon Art kept me going but eventually we had to return to England in 1974, where I continued to struggle depressingly.

During the Spanish time I illustrated at least two Annual covers, Tammy 1972, including the front endpapers depicting National Costumes and Sandie Annual 1973, plus various spot illustrations. I still have these annuals. Or I could have done these before Spain.

After inconclusive tests that found nothing terribly wrong with my hand or me generally, the GP at the time suggested I learn to use my left hand. After thinking initially, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, I realised this was my only option. I remember one ten-part story for Thomson’s started with me using my right hand and gradually with training, ended using my left hand. I can’t remember which story that was.

From then on things got better. I speeded up and developed my style. Bardon got me the first IPC job.  I’m not one hundred percent sure but it could have been, Cove of Secrets or Secret Cove, something like that, for the Jinty Annual possibly 1974. Also The Whittington’s Cat Princess, DCT, around the same time. To this day, I draw, paint and write using my left hand.

“Concrete Surfer” came later. That particular story stands out for me because it was such fun to do. It was all action with hardly any background, it was very modern and I love doing figure work. I remember we bought a skate board so that I could see what it looked like from all angles, a helmet too, still got them!

I cannot remember how many strip stories I worked on after “Concrete Surfer” but at some point I felt the need to move on, that I wasn’t being stretched any more. Bardon Art were no longer able to represent me, as strip was their speciality, and sadly, we parted company. I started contributing illustrations to Oh Boy, Loving and other IPC papers for older teens.

After a few years I moved on again and, as an illustrator, contributed to national newspapers, women’s magazines, house magazines, mail order publications, coin design, greetings cards and so on.

The work was still there after my retirement but the need to move on again got the better of me and now I paint, back in Spain.

 

Question 2 – On the blog we are always very keen to try to establish any creator credits for artists and writers, as these are otherwise very likely to get lost in the mists of time. As far as we can tell from the art style, it looks like you drew three stories for Jinty (“Race for a Fortune” (1977-78), “Concrete Surfer” (1978), and “Dance Into Darkness” (1978) plus some covers and spot illustrations, as well as a story in the Lindy Summer Special (1975) and in the Jinty Annual 1978. It may be asking too much at this distance in time, but what other work do you recall doing and in which publications?

I would have to look at these stories that you mention to verify that I actually drew them! As I have said, Concrete Surfer stands out because for me it was a joy to do. The others, some I have managed to see on line and they do look vaguely familiar. At the time I used my partner as a model. I found men more difficult to draw than women and girls and I have noticed him in certain frames even though I tried hard to make them not look like him! When I see him I know that I did that one!

Cover 19780708
Jinty 8 July 1978: cover shows “Dance Into Darkness”

Question 3 – At the time it was very usual for artists and writers to work quite separately from each other, particularly freelance creators. Was this the case with you, or did you know others working in the same area? I ask partly in case there are any interesting stories or anecdotes that you can relate at this distance in time, but also in case you remember any names of people on the creative or publishing side that can feed in to our information of who did what.

Yes, this was the case for me. Artists do lead a solitary life and being freelance meant I would be at my desk not wanting to be interrupted. The deadlines, especially for IPC, were pretty tight. In my case the work would be delivered to Bardon Art and they would take it to the publication in the case of Fleetway, a few minutes walk away. Though in Spain I posted it directly to DCT. Nevertheless, Barry and Keith were very much involved and would add their comments sometimes.

While we were in Spain the work was rolled into a tube and posted. The tubes had to be open at both ends, some string threaded through and tied and a description of the contents had to be stuck to the outside, or left with an official at the post office.

I did meet one artist in Spain, Miguel Quesada. It was he who told me how to send artwork to England. He and some of his very large family, (a lot of mouths to feed), visited us unexpectedly. He was one of Bardon’s and a contributor to Tammy. I never met any of the other artists apart from Roy Newby, but that was before I was a contributor myself.

I did meet John Jackson when he was the art editor of Jinty and of course, Mavis Miller.

Question 4 – I am keen to understand more about the creative and publishing processes of the time. Presumably the writer supplied a script, and the editor chose the artist, but I don’t know how everything interacted. Did you get any guidance (say as part of the written script) or conversely any interference from the editor or art editor, or was the published page pretty much under your design control including the composition of the page?

Yes, the editor would choose the artist, art editors didn’t have much say in the matter, (Though this is just from my experience of working on Tammy.) And I think the editorial team would have suggested an idea for a story to the writer, again, this is how it happened on Tammy.

The artists were given a lot of guidance. Before even starting, we would be briefed on the content and theme of the story, to get to know the main characters. In the case of IPC the scripts would come one at a time, having only just been written, probably. The artist would receive a document containing the dialogue for each balloon and the positioning of the balloons had to be in that same order in the frame, also, there would be instructions on the action and mood in the frame, i.e. the heroine to look sad, the bad girl to look vindictive; a closeup and so on. The composition of each frame would be influenced by the order and size of the balloons and the overall design of the page would have had input from the editor. Quite a lot to work out, now I come to think of it! [An example of a script has been previously sent in by Pat Davidson, wife of Jinty story writer Alan Davidson: see link here.]

I always had to submit pencil roughs that would be shown to the editor for his/her comments. In Spain there were many visits to the post office, pencils going off to Stan Stamper in Dundee, coming back with comments, a finished, inked episode flying off, the two passing each other on the way. Also, we artists had to work ‘half up’ so there was a lot of ground to cover. [‘Half up’ means using a larger piece of art paper – half as much again as the finished size, so that for instance if the finished publication is 10 inches by 12 inches, half up would be 15 inches by 18 inches – with the artwork being photographically reduced in size during the production process.]

 

Question 5 – A slightly self-indulgent question but with a point to it – how did you come across the Jinty blog? Was it a case of happening to suddenly remember something you worked on years ago and searching for it, or being sent to it? (I ask because I would love to hear from other creators from the time, and if there is anything I can do to increase the chances of someone posting a comment saying that they wrote or drew a story from the time, I will certainly consider it.)

I’m trying to think. How did I find it? I get carried away on the internet sometimes. I think  I was looking up an old friend of my now husband’s, the two of them used to work together on Eagle, Swift, Robin and Girl papers, as balloon letterers and layout artists. I started looking at Girl artwork as I do have a couple of Girl Annuals, No.3 and No.5. I noticed that the writers and artists all got a credit; one name I recognised was the artist Dudley Pout, I wonder if he contributed to any of the Jinty stories? Though he was probably of another generation.

The friend of my husband had died but in reading his obituary I found links to other sites and by then I was interested to see if any of my work was featured anywhere, the only title I could think of was, “Concrete Surfer”!

First episode of the 1978 story “Concrete Surfer”
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Jinty 2 June 1979

The cover on this week and the following week’s comics are drawn by the unknown artist who gave us “Concrete Surfer” – lovely fun summer scenes! Edited Feb 2018 to add – this artist is now identified as Christine Ellingham.

Stories in this issue:

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie) – last episode
  • Are You a Do-er, a Ditherer, or a Do-Nothing? (quiz)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)

Alice is rescued from being sacrificed – partly because she is smart enough to take off the Sun Goddess mask and show the priestesses that she is not really the goddess they thought she was. That wouldn’t save her from the High Priestess herself, but Sir Edward turns up in the nick of time and tells her that it’s all over – the fountain of youth has been blocked by the earthquakes and their eternal life will soon come to an end. A split in the ground carries away the mad priestess and Alice is safe – if she can just get back to where the other girls are so they can all get away together!

Laika is stuck in the Industrial Zone where she can’t look after her plants in her Forbidden Garden – the only hope that is keeping her ill sister alive is the promise to have a flower of her very own. Suddenly everything changes: Laika is dragged off by the Child Protection Force, who say that she has been deemed highly intelligent and must be taken away from her parents so that she can be brought up as befits her intelligence. What next?

It is the last episode of “I’ll Make Up For Mary“. Poor sad Ann thinks there is no way out other than the very final way of going back to where Mary was drowned! Luckily the friends she has made even during her struggles, and her parents who have never stopped loving her, rescue her.

Quizzes were a very normal feature of girls comics and magazines: here is an example. I love this artist, who featured in lots of items like this – features, quizzes, and articles published in summer specials and annuals. I wonder what his or her name was?

click thru

“Daughter of Dreams” is not one of Jinty’s best or most memorable stories. Sally Carter is shy: she has invented an imaginary friend who is outgoing and slightly obstreperous. She has such a strong imagination that her friend ends up coming to life – and even being able to do things like rescue the bully who has fallen into the canal water! Sally is too scared to do it herself, but finds that she is being fêted as the heroine of the hour – which is perhaps even harder for her to deal with.

Laura’s mum is really angry with her husband, who has borrowed scruffy mongrel Riley to help protect the house after a burglar broke in. Riley and Winston are very glad just to be able to hang out together! And there’s more – the father is actively working to support the local council estate, by building a supermarket nearby, which will help to bring much-needed amenities to the area.

In the dramatic last episode of “Children of Edenford”, Patti is taken down to the Temple of Purity – yes, the headmistress has got a temple of fire, named after herself! – to be sacrified on the altar of Miss Goodfellow’s ambitions. Unlike other sacrificial lambs, Patti is no pushover and she fights back – and the fight sees Miss Goodfellow tipped down into the firey pit of her own making! All is over, and the world is saved from the threat of being turned monstrously, unwillingly perfect.

Jinty 8 July 1978

Jinty 8 July 1978

Stories in this issue:

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown artist Concrete Surfer)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • Knight and Day
  • The Zodiac Prince (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Slave of the Swan (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Cathy’s Casebook (artist Terry Aspin)

The cover image isn’t taken from an image inside this week’s episode of “Dance Into Darkness” – I am not sure without checking whether it is actually from next week’s episode, though I think it must be. It makes a fine spooky, gothic cover, and I love the little black cats winding their way around Della’s ankles.

Della Benson is starting to find out where her mysterious dancing skills have come from – along with her love of the dark and of the creatures of the night, such as the cats. What secret does the strange lady and her daughter hold?

Dorrie and Max run away from the grim chidren’s homes they have been placed in – they have found out that there is a place called “Rainbow’s End”, in Scotland, and they think it must be a sign that they will find their happiness there. It’s a rainy start, but they feel sure they can manage the long trek north.

“Knight and Day” is one of the grimmest, most realistic stories ever printed in Jinty. Pat Day was fostered to a loving couple but when her mother tried to get her back then she had to go – even though it all turned out to be a scam. Her mother and stepfather are abusive and uncaring, and Pat’s new stepsister is a bully and a thief.

“The Zodiac Prince” is a rare strip featuring a male lead character – though you could argue that his friend and sidekick Shrimp is the real lead, in some ways. It’s a light-hearted romp but it is coming to an end – this is the penultimate episode and Shrimp is nearly due to find out who the Prince really is and where he comes from.

In “Clancy on Trial”, Clancy has enrolled herself in the local comprehensive school, to force her grandfather to see that she can live as independent a life as possible without relying on him and his money. The schoolkids are not that friendly though.

“Slave of the Swan” is a pretty nasty slave story – Katrina Vale has lost her memory and is being very badly treated by Miss Kachinsky, who hated Katrina’s mother with great passion. Katrina is now in great danger as Miss Kachinsky tries to cover her tracks!

“Cathy’s Casebook” has doctor’s daughter Cathy cure Diana of her nerves when riding a particular horse she’d started to get afraid of. Next on Cathy’s list is wild runaway Denis. Will she find out what ails him, too?

Following my recent post on “The Mighty One”, where Steve MacManus mentioned the fact that editors of the time often thought in terms of stories filling a certain number of panels / frames / pictures, I thought I would count up the number of panels in a sample issue of Misty and one of Jinty, for comparison. (If I can also do the same for a typical issue of 2000AD from the time then I will, but right now it’s hard for me to dig out my old copies of other titles.)

Of the stories in this issue, this is how the panel count breaks down:

  • Dance Into Darkness – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 9 panels (25 panels)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels (17 panels)
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow – pg 1 7 panels, pg 2 10 panels, pg 3 7 panels (24 panels)
  • Alley Cat – pg 1 12 panels (12 panels)
  • Knight and Day – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 8 panels (25 panels)
  • The Zodiac Prince – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (26 panels)
  • Clancy on Trial – pg 1 6 panels, pg 2 10 panels, pg 3 10 panels (26 panels)
  • Slave of the Swan – pg 1 7 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (25 panels)
  • Cathy’s Casebook – pg 1 6 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (24 panels)
  • = 24 pages of comics, 9 stories. Minimum number of panels = 6, max = 10 on a serial or 12 on a gag strip

I know this is not a huge sample to use, but I have compared to the issue of Misty with the same cover date of 8 July 1978

  • The Four Faces of Eve… – pg 1 3 panels, pg 2 6 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 10 panels (serial) (25 panels)
  • Nightmare – ‘Master-Stroke’ pg 1 3 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 2 panels (complete story) (20 panels)
  • Journey Into Fear – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 7 panels, pg 3 8 panels, pg 4 6 panels (serial) (25 panels)
  • Wrong Station – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 7 panels,  pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 7 panels (complete) (25 panels)
  • Beasts – ‘Where There’s a Will…’ – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 7 panels (complete) (26 panels)
  • The Black Widow – pg 1 2 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 8 panels, pg 4 8 panels (serial) (26 panels)
  • = 24 pages of comics, 6 stories. Minimum number of panels = 2, max = 10

All the stories in Misty, whether they are serials or complete stories, are 4 pages long rather than just 3. There are fewer stories but it adds up to the same number of pages of comics. Each story has pretty much the same number of panels whether it is a 3 page Jinty story or a 4 page Misty one (though in Jinty the single page gag strip and the two page complete stories are certainly shorter in panel count). And the pattern in Misty is pretty striking and consistent, in this issue at least – the first page of each story has a considerably reduced panel count (so that the panels that are left can be large and visually striking) whereas subsequent pages are only very slightly shorter than a typical Jinty page in terms of the average number of panels used (and therefore the size of each one).

Jinty 30 September 1978

Jinty cover 30 September 1978

  • Dance into Darkness – last episode (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wild Rose – (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Tim Curry – feature
  • The Human Zoo – (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood – last episode (artist Ron Smith)

Jinty is about to honour her promise to bring back “Fran’ll Fix It!”. There is an announcement saying that Fran will return in the next issue, and there will also be a new story called “The Girl Who Never Was”. They are replacing “Dance into Darkness” and “7 Steps to the Sisterhood”. The return of Fran means a double workload for Jim Baikie, who is still working on “Wild Rose”. But Rose has tracked down the woman in her locket now (Lady Vere), so maybe the ending to the story isn’t too far away.

Meanwhile “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is still going strong, despite Max falling dangerously ill and getting buried in snow. So is Clancy, who has now been named grandfather’s heir. But this is causing a rift with her cousin Sandra. Aunt and Uncle are understandably upset too; they have helped with grandfather’s business for years and must feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back.

Cherry still hasn’t caught on to how her relatives are taking advantage of her. They are very slick at pulling the wool over her eyes (they are actors, after all), and Cherry is by nature trusting and naïve, just like her mother.

Shona narrowly escapes being turned into food at the aliens’ slaughterhouse – a circus owner buys her in the nick of time. But now she is about to be forced into a cruel circus act where she is brought to the brink of drowning each time she performs it. And all because she can’t swim (like the aliens themselves, as it turns out).

 

Jinty 9 September 1978

Jinty cover 9 September 1978

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Was My Face Red! (feature)
  • No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wild Rose – (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • The Human Zoo – (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood – (artist Ron Smith)
  • Alley Cat
  • Let’s Go Blackberrying! (feature)

A new competition has pushed all the stories off the cover. The letters page of this issue informs us that popular demand has prevailed and “Fran’ll Fix It!” will return in one month’s time (almost a year after her first story ended). So now we know one story that will replace whatever ends in three weeks, which raises speculation as to what will end.

Della is beginning to find she is beginning to like Winnie after all – and suddenly realising that she does not like the idea of foisting the curse onto her. So Della, who started off as a rather selfish, shallow person, is beginning to change her ways. At least something is coming out of the curse.

The Cinderella theme is now manifest in part two of “No Cheers for Cherry”. Aunt Margot just wants Cherry to do all the donkeywork for her family, who are too selfish and lazy to pitch in to help their theatre barge business. Poor Cherry does not even have a proper bed – she is forced to sleep on the floor in her cousin Michelle’s cabin. Worst of all, she is too naïve to realise that her relatives are exploiting her.

By contrast, Wild Rose now knows how the fairground people have duped and exploited her, and she has run away from them. But they are determined to recapture her for their snake girl act.

With help from Nirhani, Shelley now realises what a dupe she has been as well. There is no “Sisterhood” at all – an enemy has set her up with phoney tests that are actually traps. It’s the turning point of the story, and now they plot to turn things around on the enemy. It’s started with the fourth challenge that was clearly meant to get Shelley expelled. And now the fifth one is here. What nasty setup is planned with this one?

Shona makes friends with Tamsha’s hitherto jealous pet, and now she has an ally. But then she is horrified to see her fellow humans at the zoo being humiliated and abused in the aliens’ version of the chimps’ tea party! And the reference to chimps’ tea parties shows how much things have changed for chimps in our PC times.

Dorrie is surprised to find herself being offered the role of Dorothy in another production of The Wizard of Oz. Let’s hope her being a fugitive doesn’t mess up her chance.

The sale of a priceless ring gets Clancy on the wrong side of her grandfather and then on his good side when she shows signs of his knack for profit. But then Clancy’s health problems begin to plague her again….

 

Jinty 2 September 1978

Jinty cover 2 September 1978

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Wild Rose – (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend)
  • No Cheers for Cherry – first episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Merry-Go-Round Mobile part 4 – last part (feature)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Human Zoo – (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood – (artist Ron Smith)
  • Salad “Flowers” – feature

“No Cheers for Cherry” starts in this issue. Cherry Campbell wants to pursue a career in the theatre. Too bad she takes after her mother, who is too trusting and easy to deceive. This makes them both prey to Cherry’s unscrupulous Aunt Margot, who pays a visit to con her own sister out of priceless family heirlooms. Worse, Aunt Margot cons her out of Cherry too, with false promises of taking Cherry on for her own theatre, “Theatre Rose”. But it is clear that Aunt Margot really wants Cherry for something that is not going to bode well for the unsuspecting girl.

It’s the last part of the merry-go-round mobile. So what will be on the centre pages next week?

In “Dance into Darkness”, we see the consequences Rozelle is facing in foisting the curse of darkness onto Della. Rozelle is having a ball indulging herself in light for the first time in her life. She just can’t get enough of light in her own home. But Rozelle forgot her mother is still cursed, and the light she is pouring into the house has driven poor old Mum to living in the cellar. How is this aspect of the story going to be resolved, as well as the main one in freeing Della from the curse?

Jealous Betty plays a dirty trick on “Wild Rose” that makes a fool out of Rose in the snake girl act that Betty’s family have forced Rose into. But there are hints that Betty’s jealousy may backfire.

Jealousy takes a more dangerous turn “The Human Zoo”. Shona is now a pet to alien girl Tamsha. But Tamsha’s other pet is so jealous that it’s about to attack Shona!

Shelley must have some guardian angel – she passes the third test of the Sisterhood (ride a dangerous horse bareback) without breaking her neck or getting into serious trouble with the headmistress (except for a punishment essay that has to be written in Spanish, which takes days to write). But when the fourth test arrives, it’s the limit – it is asking Shelley to steal!

Although Grandfather wonders if he has demanded too much of Clancy, he still hasn’t learned his lesson. His hardness is causing problems for the family, such as not forgiving Clancy’s mother for leaving home. And now he’s beginning to think Clancy is a weakling after all and not fit to inherit his fortune.

September is a bit early for Christmas in Jinty. But finding a way to celebrate Christmas is precisely what Max and Dorrie are trying to do this week, while sleeping rough and trying to find food.

 

Jinty 26 August 1978

Jinty cover 26 August 1978

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Wild Rose – (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Knight and Day – last episode
  • Merry-Go-Round Mobile part 3 (feature)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Human Zoo – (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood – (artist Ron Smith)
  • Alley Cat

“Dance into Darkness” featured on a lot of covers during its run, and this one is no exception. The ad for part three of the carousel mobile provides whites and yellows of light to contrast with the darker colours used to for “Dance into Darkness”. However, the cover does feel like it has too many red and magenta hues in it. It could have done with some more contrasting colours, such as some blues.

Meanwhile, Della is finding she is not having much luck in fobbing the curse off onto Winnie. However, she is beginning to find advantages to the curse, such as sharing the night with nocturnal animals.

In “The Human Zoo”, Shona finds herself in a zoo. But things may soon look up as Shona is set to become a pet to an alien girl Tamsha, who is an animal rights advocate in the making (what a contrast to her father, who owns the zoo). The trouble is, Tamsha still thinks Shona is an animal, not a sentient being like herself.

Rose sets off to Bencombe Fair with a gypsy family in her quest to find her mother. But she soon finds herself forced into a contortionist act as “The Amazing Snake Girl”, and realises too late what a snaky lot she is travelling with.

Shelley’s second test – baking a strawberry cake and leaving it in the stables seems harmless enough. But then comes her third challenge – ride a dangerous horse barebacked! What will Shelley decide over this one – go through with it, or tell the Sisterhood to sod off, because she is not risking her neck for a secret society?

Both Pat and Clancy find themselves in danger of drowning when they pass out in deep water. For Pat, it leads to the resolution of her story and a happy ending. For Clancy, it’s a narrow escape and Granddad wondering if he had demanded too much of her. But Clancy’s left in deep depression afterwards, so no resolution in sight for her just yet.

Max transcends his hatred of Germans when the fugitive German soldier saves his life. In turn, they teach him their maxim about happiness over the rainbow, which persuades him to stop hiding. But they themselves are still fugitives, trying to find rainbow’s end before the authorities catch up with them.

Next week “No Cheers for Cherry” starts. This is one of the last Jinty stories to have the Cinderella theme. The Cinderella theme had been present in Jinty since her first issue (though not as frequent as Tammy), but by the late 1970s it was being phased out of IPC girls’ titles.

Jinty 19 August 1978

Jinty cover 19 August 1978

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Wild Rose (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Knight and Day
  • Alley Cat
  • Merry-Go-Round Mobile part 2 (feature)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood (artist Ron Smith)
  • Sunny Memories

The cover for this issue is the cover that represents Jinty in her Wikipedia entry. The use of the pinks on the bottom half make it a standout, and the use of complementary colour in the green in the top half makes it even more striking.

In “The Human Zoo”, twins Shona and Jenny and their fellow abductees arrive on the aliens’ home planet, which has two suns (the astronomy term is binary star system). The aliens have already demonstrated how they discipline animals, including humans – with collars that inflict pain. And now there is emotional pain for the twins as well – they have been sold to different owners at the aliens’ cattle market, which means they have now been separated! The quest to find each other again is clearly going to be a major plot driver.

Rose sets off to find the birth mother in the locket that was left with her as a baby. A fortune-teller has warned her that there will be heartbreak (hmm, can of worms there?) but happiness at the end.

Shelley passes her first step to the Sisterhood. But the test could have gotten her into trouble as she had to borrow a priceless Thai costume for it (without permission) – and then someone throws water at her, which almost ruins the costume. Coincidence or sabotage? The next test looks harmless enough, but we are beginning to wonder….

In “Dance into Darkness”, the curse really has gotten Della into hot water this time – suspended from school and landed her parents with a whopping great big bill that they have to borrow money to pay for!

Dorrie and Max are having problems with the German they have encountered at the old army camp – but is it the German or Max’s hatred of Germans that is causing the problems?

Clancy is about to compete at the swimming gala, but her body is telling her that it’s not up to it. She could be heading for trouble.

Pat being caught returning a shoplifted item turns out to be a blessing when the police discover the injuries from the beating her nasty guardians inflicted. But Pat is too scared to accept their help and runs away – where she falls into a canal and is too weak to swim out of it. And the only girl around to help is her friend Cheryl – who can’t swim and is terrified of water!

Sue and Henrietta are back with this issue. Sue is grumbling about the beach being too crowded and wants to go back to a time when it wasn’t so crowded. But Sue soon finds herself on a be-careful-what-you-wish-for time travel lesson.

Jinty 12 August 1978

Jinty cover 12 August 1978

  • Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Wild Rose – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Knight and Day
  • Merry-Go-Round Mobile part 1 (feature)
  • Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
  • Summer Madness (feature)
  • The Human Zoo – first episode (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood – first episode (artist Ron Smith)
  • Fan-tastic! (feature)

The cover for this issue is so taken up with part 1 of a merry-go-round mobile that there is barely enough room to say that three new stories have started. They are “Wild Rose”, “7 Steps to the Sisterhood” and “The Human Zoo”. Wild Rose is Jinty’s first story to star a circus girl since A Dream for Yvonne from her very first lineup. Unlike Yvonne, Rose Harding is very happy in the circus she has been brought up in – but then she finds the family who brought her up aren’t her real family! Sounds like a quest to find the true parents, but what will Rose find at the end? “The Human Zoo” is an alien abduction story with animal abuse analogies, where twin sisters find themselves abducted by aliens who think they are just animals and treat them as such. And new girl Shelley Vernon is delighted to receive an invitation to join the secret society of the school – but she must pass seven tests if she is to join. Ooer, sounds dangerous already.

There is no “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” in this issue. Presumably, she is taking a holiday because of the mobile pull-out. Phil Gascoine is also taking a break.

In “Dance into Darkness”, Della is trying to fob off her curse on someone else, but finds she can’t bring herself to do it. And now the curse is about to get her into trouble in a record shop.

Dorrie and Max are taking refuge in an old army camp, but they find someone else there too – an mean-looking man who talks with a German accent. German accent? What with World War II still being fresh in the story, this does not sound good.

Clancy’s latest trial is an upcoming swimming match when she’s still walking with a cane. She’s determined to win, but will she win or will it be a step too far?

Pat’s wearing dark glasses to hide a brutal battering she has gotten from her nasty guardians. Then she tries to quietly return an item she shoplifted in a moment of rashness – but she gets caught!

Christine Ellingham

Edited 20 February 2018 – this artist has now written in to identify herself as Christine Ellingham.

As per my post last year about the unknown artist who drew “Merry at Misery House”, we still have a number of Jinty artists who remain unidentified. One key one is the artist on “Concrete Surfer”, who also drew two other stories and a number of one-offs in annuals and summer specials. As with my post on the ‘Merry’ artist, I will for convenience refer to this artist as ‘she’ though I don’t have any information one way or another about whether this might have been a female artist or not. (Partly this is optimism on my part, as I would really like to know of more female creators in this medium aimed at girls!)

The Jinty stories attributable to her are as follows:

This artist also did a few stories in one or two summer specials / annuals:

  • Lindy Summer Special (1975)
  • Jinty Annual 1978

All three of the stories illustrated by this artist are dramatic and memorable, but the pick of the bunch has to be the classic “Concrete Surfer”, with its fantastic skateboarding scenes and great page layouts that bring the sports action to life. Below are the three pages from the episode printed in Jinty‘s 200th issue, dated 25 March 1978.

Concrete Surfer pg 1

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I wonder why this fantastic artist only drew these few stories for Jinty – and, more importantly, I wonder what she went on to do afterwards? It very much feels to me as if she developed her style and stretched herself during her relatively brief run in Jinty.

As ever, any information leading to a positive identification of this artist will be very gratefully received.

We have also recently used this story in particular as the basis for some OuBaPo experiments in using existing artwork while relettering the story, to see what different effects can be gained. My original post here shows some of this artist’s work with the text removed, which gives an interesting different view of it, while Mistyfan reworked the page to include new text.