Tag Archives: Daughter of Dreams

Jinty 9 June 1979

Stories in this issue:

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin) – last episode
  • Rinty ‘N’ Jinty
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Nothing To Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie) – first episode
  • Dip into this! (recipe feature)
  • Daughter of Dreams – last episode
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters) – first episode

This is a time when Jinty seems to be finishing some particularly good stories – “Alice In a Strange Land”, “Children of Edenford”. This issue sees the start of tear-jerker “Nothing to Sing About” – another heart-tugger created by the joint talents of Alison Christie and Phil Townsend – and of the amusing but fairly light-weight “Pandora’s Box”. Next week sees the first episodes of “Casey, Come Back!” – another tear-jerker, drawn by the unknown artist who drew “Merry at Misery House” – and “The Disappearing Dolphin”, a mystery story beautifully drawn by Trini Tinturé. All are good, but none quite match those immediate predecessors.

“Alice” ends with a four-page episode that takes Alice out from the crumbling rocks threatening to crush her, to a reunion with her friends and a reconciliation with her cousin Karen. “I’m proud to be your cousin, Alice! I hope you can forgive how badly I’ve treated you in the past and let me be your friend?” Karen’s parents still need to understand the changed relationship but eventually all is resolved. The tag line at the end tells us that “Alice has deserved her happy ending. Next week, meet ‘The Disappearing Dolphin’!” In fact, the subsequent cover mostly features that story but the lead spot at the front of the comic is taken by “Casey, Come Back!”.

“The Forbidden Garden” is picking up the pace: Laika is told that someone has reported her as being of superior intellect, which means she is saved from the Industrial Zone where the rest of her family will just rot away their lives. Her old friends can’t afford to stay friendly with her, because if Laika makes any complaint about them, they will be severely fined, even imprisoned! The only bright side is that she can get back to her garden and tend to her plants – but even they are a source of fear, because surely they are growing much too fast? There must be something strange about them!

“Nothing to Sing About” starts off with 12 year old Linette Davis following in the footsteps of her beloved, popular singer father. By the end of the first three-page episode, her father is dead, and Linette is cursing the fans who she blames for killing him, by crowding round him too much!

It is the last episode of “Daughter of Dreams”. In this four-pager, Sally realises she can be brave after all, when she has to act without thinking – and her imaginary friend Pauline has a hand in making everything come out right, too. We are promised another Pauline Starr story later, so it looks like this was intended to be a long-running character feature. In the end there were only two stories featuring this duo.

Laura and her mum have to go and visit the slums that Laura’s friend Josie used to live in – Laura thinks this will change her mum’s mind now that she has seen how badly folks need re-housing, but not a bit of it, of course. In fact Laura’s mum purposefully gets Josie’s dog Riley lost, leading him into danger with the dog catchers.

Finally, it is the first episode of “Pandora’s Box”. Pandora is stubborn and conceited, but in for a shock – it’s bad enough her aunt suddenly claiming to be be a witch and telling her that she has to follow the family tradition of learning the ‘wisdom of witchcraft’ but her aunt is also claiming she has no drama talent and won’t succeed without the witchcraft! Of course Pandora is determined to prove her aunt wrong – but can she resist the temptation to use magic to make her path smoother?

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!

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 26 May 1979

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)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Tennis superstar John McEnroe talks to you (feature)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • “Frieze” A Jolly Good fellow – craft feature
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)

“Alice In a Strange Land” is coming to a distinct climax – it starts off with Alice and her schoolgirl party in a dungeon, coming up with a plan to save their skins from the high priestess, who is planning to sacrifice Karen to the Sun God! Alice swaps places with Karen and waits heroically during the long ceremony, hoping frantically that the girls will be able to get away and find Sir Edward in time to stop the priestess. But the last panel has got the knife being raised over Alice’s chest, ready to be plunged down! Will it all work out in time?

Laika has had bad news in “The Forbidden Garden” – her family is being sent to the industrial zone. She tells her friend Kara what happened – including the fact that this transfer is Gladvis Clampp’s revenge on Laika, for burning the negatives that were being used to blackmail all sorts of people. But the worst aspect of it is that there is no way that Laika will be able to keep her promise to her deathly sick little sister Valli, to bring her a real flower some day…

Gwenny Gulliver has to handle the annoying four tiny Lilliputians who claim that as the last descendant of Lemuel Gulliver she needs to protect them. She needs protecting from them, as the two kids of the family start flinging ink pellets and all sorts while at school!

Mary has finally cracked – she flies into a rage at school, and runs off after flinging the school dance club records at all and sundry. When she gets home she overhears her parents say they need to move north to start again – ‘We must think of Ann… Ann’s all we’ve got left now.’ Ann, despairing, thinks there is only one way out – ‘I’m the one who must go… There’s only one thing left to do!’ The last episode is next week, and all will be resolved.

“The Four Footed Friends” has a surprise for Laura – it’s her dad, returned from his work abroad! He has a very different take on things from Laura’s mum, including borrowing Riley to come and help guard the house from burglars (because their house has just been burgled).

Miss Goodfellow has caught Patti good and proper – red-handed smashing the bottles of the mystery drug that turns people perfect! The headmistress’s plan is to drug Patti into submission. Friend Jilly is nearly caught too: she escapes the school but when she flags down a police car to get away, even the local cops are in Miss Goodfellow’s thrall! Patti cannot be zombified, because of the extra-bad hay fever causing her eyes to stream and weep, so the headmistress swears to – burn out her imperfections instead! The final episode is promised for next week – so it will be a very exciting week for readers.

Jinty 19 May 1979

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)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • What’s In a Name? (feature and quiz)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Real Thing – pop feature on Liverpool band
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Dashing Cravat – craft feature

“Alice in a Strange Land” enters prime H Rider Haggard territory – she finds that her rescuer is a Victorian explorer – complete with mutton-chop whiskers – who has been kept young by the spring of eternal youth. Sir Edward takes Alice to see the Incan carving that tells the tale of how the spring was blocked by an earlier earthquake – it must periodically be stopped and started by earth tremors. It is this that the High Priestess wants to prevent, by sacrificing Alice or her cousin to the Incan sun god!

Laika has found a hidden safe that is almost certainly where scheming blackmailer Gladvis keeps the negatives of the compromising photos she has taken over the years. (Ah, negatives – a blast from the past, in this science fiction story!) Gladvis inadvertently gives away the combination when she tips out a bunch of stuff from her drawer, for Laika to tidy up. Laika wastes no time in getting rid of the material in the safe, but Gladvis’ revenge is not long in coming. Laika’s dad gets the news that he has been downgraded to a Grade C manager – and the family have to move to an underground apartment in the Industrial Zone!

Gwenny Gulliver is getting used to having tiny guests – the last Lilliputians have come to stay with her. There are a few hitches – not least them setting fire to the doll’s house that they are living in!

Ann Ridley’s parents are putting a brave face on things and clearing out the bedroom of Mary’s things. Ann works hard to help, but giving stuff away to the jumble sale sparks painful memories that cause her to go off in anger at just the point when she is starting to feel she is doing a good job. Once again she feels “they only want Mary, and there’s nothing I can do about it!”

Laura’s posh mother is on stage in “The Four-Footed Friends” – she wants to beguile the audience into signing her petition against extending the council estate. But mongrel Riley and best friend Winston undo her efforts by putting up such a show of friendship that no one wants to sign the petition! Good for them.

Jilly and Patti are busy clearing up the school – headmistress Purity Goodfellow has turned all the parents and schoolchildren into perfect zombies in the wake of the riot that the two girls incited. Patti and Jilly must try and destroy the perfection drug as soon as possible, before Miss Goodfellow tries to feed it to the whole country – she has enough of it stored up to do so!

Jinty 31 March 1979

Stories in this issue

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands) – first episode
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Boney is beautiful! (feature on pop group Boney M)
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • You Wanna Be a Millionaire… or do you? (quiz)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Kate Bush (pin up)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • What price beauty? (feature)

Alice follows the sound of Chana’s voice and discovers that they have both been betrayed – Chana has been exiled from the city and will thereby surely die, and Alice’s cousin Karen has got the golden urn and declared herself sun goddess. The temple priestesses seize Alice on sight and she is forced to dress as a jester in order to appease her cousin, who is finding that power has gone to her head!

It is the first episode of “Bizzie Bet and the Easies”, a lightweight two page humour strip that has started running in the place of “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”. Bet is an energetic girl but her friends the Easies are much keener on a quiet life with minimal effort. I like their style, personally!

Laika is starting to grow her forbidden garden, but she has to balance the needs of tending to it with the danger of getting caught in the Forbidden Zone. This time the police nearly catch her, and her weak little sister Valli is half-dead with anxiety.

Susie is no longer the prisoner of the bell – at least temporarily so, because her gran can’t get at her while she is on the residential gym course. A weight seems to have lifted from her, and Susie’s gym mojo returns – but the gran doesn’t give up as easily as that!

Ann tries to emulate her sister by demanding that the bullies who have pinched a precious photo album give it back – but instead they just rip up the photos! Ann is heartbroken but more importantly she can’t face telling the news to the old lady whose photo album it is. When the story comes out, more and more people are disappointed in Ann and she feels once again that she can never make up for her dead sister.

The “Daughter of Dreams” is Pauline Starr – she’s really just a figment of shy Sally Carter’s imagination, but such a strong imagination that she comes to life! Sally is the only person who can see her, but the fantastical creation can nevertheless have an effect on the world around her… and on Sally’s confidence, of course. The sequel to this story is drawn by the unknown artist who drew Merry, but this is done by the hand of a different artist (probably a Spanish person by the looks of the style).

The four-footed friends are posh Peke Winston and scruffy mongrel Riley – their owners are also fast friends, but Laura’s mum is having none of it. Riley ends up shut in a shed, with a threat to turn him over to the police, as a vermin spreader.

Patti is still a normal teenager in “Children of Edenford” but not so the girls next door – Mandy and Debbie used to be lazy messy little horrors who never helped out, but now they make posh suppers for dinner parties and listen to poetry records for fun. Patti escapes to visit her friend Jilly – only to find that Jilly too, is proposing to do some maths homework for a bit of fun, and has taken down all her Travolta posters! “Pop music is a waste of time. It neither enriches the soul nor challenges the intellect.” Yikes!

Jinty 7 April 1979

Jinty cover 7 April 1979

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Your Easter Bunny– feature

“Alice in a Strange Land” finds the temple is a prison that nobody is willing to escape from because of what lies beyond it. The guards don’t even try to stop Alice. And Alice gets her first hint of why when she finds the city outside is nothing but ruins and nobody around. This land is getting stranger and stranger!

Bizzie Bet tries to get the Easies into training. But they end up with injuries from it, which gives them a valid reason to lie about again.

Desperation drives Laika to break the law and steal water for her plants. To make matters worse, Gladvis the “meanest prefect in the school” has photographed her in the act. And it looks like Gladvis is worse than Laika thinks, because it looks like she is out to blackmail Laika instead of reporting her.

Grandma is determined to bring the prisoner of the bell back under her power and sets her up to be expelled from the gymnastics college. Now that is not very becoming for a grandmother!

Ann tries to take Mary’s place at the drama club, and so far, so good. But will it stay that way or will the jinx that seems to dog Ann’s every attempt to emulate Mary strike again? Meanwhile, in “Daughter of Dreams” Sally Carter is gearing up for a dance production.

Mrs Marshall is foiled once more in her efforts to break up “The Four-Footed Friends”. Then she’s off on her high horse again when she discovers the council is going to extend the estate, which will bring more “riff raff” into the area. She does not realise it is so the “riff raff” will be liberated from dreadful slums.

Patti is still waging war against whatever is turning the “Children of Edenford” into goody-goody automatons – but in the last panel it looks like she has succumbed to it herself!

 

 

Jinty 28 April 1979

Jinty cover 28 April 1979.jpeg

Cover artist: Audrey Fawley

Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)

  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoner of the Bell – last episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Mirror, Mirror – feature (Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Make Matchbox Furniture – feature

We have a very beautiful, striking cover from Audrey Fawley. Instead of advertising a story, it advertises the beauty treatment feature on the centre pages.

“Alice in a Strange Land” is forced to take the mixture to make her forget her past life. Now that may not have been much of a life, but it’s better than being a slave in the strange land in South America. Then Alice has a flashback of her old life, so the drug clearly isn’t all that perfect.

Meanwhile, Patti and Jilly find a way to break through the headmistress’s strange power to turn her pupils into goody-goody automatons of perfection. So now they’ve turned on the school sprinkler system to flush it out of everyone!

It’s the last episode of “Prisoner of the Bell”. It looks like grandmother has finally won and turned Susie into the prisoner of the bell completely. But it all backfires on grandmother at the worst possible moment and could get Susie killed! There is no blurb saying what will replace this story, so we just have to wait and see.

The dreadful cleaning job Laika has been blackmailed into is taking its toll on her (and giving her a taste of what it is like to work in the dreaded Industrial Zone where her father will be forced to work in later on). She can barely drag herself back home, she flops at her school test because of her horrible job, and still no water for her plants. And now vicious dogs that have been dumped in the Forbidden Zone are threatening to eat her up!

Ann leads a protest demonstration at school. But as with all her other attempts at emulating Mary, it all goes pear-shaped and Ann ends up in Coventry just as she is planning a party.

Another party is threatened too, in “The Four-Footed Friends”. It’s Riley’s birthday, but that’s not stopping spoilsport Mrs Marshall from keeping him away from his friend Winston. However, they score one over Mrs Marshall and it’s a happy birthday for Riley.

Gatecrashers have wrecked yet another party in this issue, in “Daughter of Dreams”. It gets even worse when imaginary friend Pauline suggests a conga dance, which backfires. But Pauline is determined to put things right…

This issue also advertises the first issue of Penny, a title destined merge with Jinty the following year. Penny had more impact on Jinty than Lindy, the previous title to merge with Jinty.

 

 

Jinty 21 April 1979

Jinty 21 April 1979.jpeg

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Feature – Superman Christopher Reeve Talks to Our Jinty Reporter
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Feature – Cherry Ripe

“Alice in a Strange Land” learns about the Spring of Life – waters that can make her immortal, but she will forget everything her old life (though that may not be such a huge loss, considering how unhappy it was), and become a brainwashed slave of the temple. And in the final panel she is being ordered to drink from it!

Brainwashing is big in Jinty at the moment, with two other stories featuring it. In “Prisoner of the Bell”, Susie is being brainwashed into becoming an academic through the power of grandma’s bell. And in this episode she not only succumbs to it completely, but the change in her is also getting the blessing of her parents. But luckily for Susie it sounds like the final episode next week.

In “Children of Edenford”, Patti has worked out a way to counteract the strange brainwashing at her school that is turning everyone there into obedient robots and has now freed her friend Jilly. They have now combined forces against the brainwashing, while pretending they have succumbed to it.

Ann is still having no luck in “making up for Mary”. A housewarming party is ruined and the blame is put on her, quite wrongly. And it looks like another party has gone wrong for “Daughter of Dreams”. How can her magical companion help her put it right?

Snobby Mrs Marshall is still coming between “The Four-Footed Friends”. How is she going to react when she discovers they have managed to defy her once again and get their photograph in the paper in this episode?

In this issue we see “Laika’s dirty job”, the one we would have seen in the 30 June 1984 issue of Tammy had the strike not intervened, making the 23rd June issue the last one ever. It’s a gruelling, unpleasant job cleaning out huge vats in a food-processing factory, in the dreaded industrial zone where people are stuck on dead-end jobs of the worst kind. And to make things even worse, Laika has to cleaning chemicals that are choking her, and there’s no time to do a ton of homework. And the job is dirty in another way too – it is illegal because Laika is underage, and Gladvis is getting off-ration food from her uncle for in return for Laika. And Laika is stuck there unless she can find a way out of Gladvis’ blackmail.

And in this issue, Jinty gets an exclusive interview with the then Superman, Christopher Reeve. It reveals some interesting information on Reeve’s audition for the role and the filming of the first movie.

 

One-offs, series, returning characters, regulars

The Goods News for All Readers blog has recently done a Halloween post about Misty; in the comments on that post, and on a related post on the Comics UK forum, a few of us have had a brief discussion about one-off stories, series, and regular characters. Different titles create different balances between the various kinds of comics: Misty has always struck me as having a strong focus on one-off (complete) stories in a way that Jinty didn’t, so that is an obvious comparison between the two, but there are other groupings that could be usefully looked at too.

One-off stories / complete stories haven’t ever been a big focus in the pages of Jinty, except for in annuals or summer specials which are by their nature reliant on complete reads. Indeed, I wonder whether the two examples that come readily to mind – “Mimi Seeks A Mistress” and “Holly and the Ivy” – might have been originally written for publication in an annual and for whatever reason then been included in the weekly comic instead?

If you ask someone who was a reader of Misty at the time for specific stories they remember from the comic, they may well mention some key serials but they are perhaps even more likely to remember the spine-chilling stories. Clearly, one-off or complete stories have important strengths: this format allowed Misty to be tougher on the protagonists than an ongoing story would typically be. Indeed, many of the Misty stories featured character death – or even a worse fate! You can also have a huge amount of variety with complete stories, with the rapid turnover allowing creators potentially to experiment with a lot of different themes or plots. On the down side, they don’t allow enough narrative time for much character development, and I suspect that can lead to a focus on clever ‘twist in the tale’ story structures. (I personally felt like Misty placed too much reliance on this at certain points in its life.)

‘Storyteller’ / framed stories are stand-alone stories that still fit into some sort of structure or framing sequence. Gypsy Rose is Jinty‘s most obvious example, but I would also classify “Is This Your Story?” and “Thursday’s Child” within this as being complete stories that may not have a narrator but do have a constraining element to them that means you have a certain sense of knowing ‘what you’re getting’. In a Gypsy Rose story you know you’ll have a spooky element, but also a sense of safety; the protagonist won’t herself suffer an awful fate. In 2000AD‘s “Future Shocks” there was no such guarantee, but you did know it would generally be an SF story rather than a horror story or a morality tale (as “Is This Your Story?” was).

Both the entirely stand-alone and the framed stories have the advantage editorially of great flexibility – they can be run in any order so it doesn’t matter if one story is not ready for printing that week, you can try out new artists and writers, you can try out new directions and ideas. This flexibility can also lead to problems – the results can be uneven in quality or interest level, or overly repetitive. I would also say that to my mind they’re a bit too easy to put down and not feel that motivated to pick up again – even if you know that Gypsy Rose or Future Shock stories are generally really good, to me they don’t have the “must read” factor that a cliff-hanger ending to an earlier episode gives.

Serial stories are Jinty‘s bread-and-butter, but if you count up the number of series in a given issue it is not given over totally to them: 23 February 1980, for instance, has 5 serials out of 8 stories in comics format. I am here using the phrase ‘serial stories’ meaning stories that run over more than one week with a beginning/middle/end narrative structure. The way the ‘end’ element works is important because Katie Jinx or the Four Marys also have stories with endings, but they aren’t final – we know that next week they’ll be back with more, which is what makes them ‘regulars’.

A serial story has a lot of degrees of freedom: it can be a story about a ghost or a horse or a superheroine (or maybe a ghost horse or a horse superheroine). What it can’t easily do is change tack dramatically once the story starts; the start of the story sets it into certain tracks and certain expectations. The strength of the serial is the length of time that it has to develop a story and to really hammer it home, or to twist and turn surprisingly. It also has the freedom to change the situation of the characters in the story: it can end with them healed, or vindicated, or with the protagonist growing as a person. A complete one-off story doesn’t have enough length to develop that sense of change, and we often don’t know enough about the character to even care that much if they grow into a better person. A story with a regular character, contrariwise, has to ‘reset’ at the end of each episode or each multi-episode story, so that as the next story starts it can pick up more or less from the beginning again.

There are still weaknesses in the serial story format, of course. It can get too long and lose its way; it can be too short to let itself develop properly while not benefiting from the punchiness of the self-contained story.

Jinty also has a couple of cases of returning characters, where the original series gets a second, follow-up story. There aren’t many of these – “Fran’ll Fix It!” gets a second run, and so does “Daughter of Dreams”. Each story is a complete serial in itself, but because the character or the story was popular, they returned for another go. One option would be to reprint the original story, which Jinty did a few times; but if the story structure allowed it then a whole new follow-up story might also a possibility. Some stories would be better suited to this than others – a sequel to “Land of No Tears” wouldn’t be impossible to imagine but would require quite a lot of changes (someone from the dystopian future travelling back to the past, perhaps?), while a sequel to “The Robot Who Cried” wouldn’t be that hard at all to do (her adventures at school as an acknowledged robot, and how other people reacted once she had no secrets left to hide?).

A regular character may have short complete stories like “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag” or individual longer story runs as in “No Tears for Molly“. Either way there is no real change in or development of the character over the time her story runs. “Merry at Misery House” was also basically a regular, with story arcs; you don’t really get a sense of a planned resolution that Merry was struggling to reach from the start of her story, it’s just… time to wrap up the story so her mum and dad announce that her name has been cleared, bang.

They can be great fun reads, with a real comfort factor – we can get to know the characters well, and look forward to seeing them again, like old friends. That is really the draw of regulars; like reading a beloved Chalet School book, we know what we are getting and that we will enjoy it. The characters can develop some strong external recognition, too – the interviewees in Mel Gibson’s “Remembered Reading” consistently mentioned long-running regulars “The Four Marys”, and “Bella” from Tammy.

On the down side? If the reader just isn’t that interested in the character in the first place, or doesn’t find their antics funny, it ain’t likely to change for the better… The main counter-example I can think of in this area is 2000AD and Judge Dredd in particular: he is a regular who has turned into a proper, fleshed-out character with a backstory, a life, and unpredictability. Through him now, all sorts of stories can be told. The Four Marys changed their uniforms and were updated to become more modern on the surface, but never changed their fundamental natures – and that is much more the usual case with regulars.

At the end of the day, a weekly publication needs a balance of different types of story, not just thematically, but also structurally. There are other types of story structure that I don’t know of within girls comics: is there an example anywhere of the Buffy tv story structure, where individual self-contained stories build up in an overall arc to a series finale? I’m sure there are other kinds of structure in girls’ comics and elsewhere: what can others think of?

Edited to add: I have thought of another kind of story structure – Worldbuilding, or Shared worlds. This is where the reader is shown an imagined world that is developed in story after story. Perhaps one set of creators are mostly responsible for writing and drawing that world, or maybe a number of different creators add their own influences to the world. In traditional British comics, I guess that Dan Dare inhabits this sort of built world, though I’m not that sure as to how much of the world we see outside of stories focused on Dare himself; it is at least a strong enough world in itself for Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes to develop their own take on it in Revolver’s “Dare“. 2000AD does a lot of this worldbuilding: what else is Judge Dredd’s universe of Megacities, isocubes, and the Cursed Earth? But in traditional girls’ comics I’m not sure I can think of any examples. This is a big shame I think as this would provide not only very fertile ground for telling stories but also a lot of ongoing reader loyalty in the way that 2000AD has seen over the years – eventually even moving into mainstream acceptance.

Edited further: Lorrbot points out in the comments that there are also examples of Spin offs, where the characters in the original story generate stories with further characters from that setup. It may not be the same case as Worldbuilding, if there is no very obvious effort to invent a whole new world different from ours, but it shares some characteristics with this.

Jinty 14 April 1979

Jinty cover 4 1

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters)
  • The Princess’s Champion (feature/text story)
  • Daughter of  Dreams
  • Jet-setting with Paul Young
  • The Four-Footed Friends (Peter Wilkes)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)

It’s Jinty’s Easter issue for 1979, but the only thing that celebrates Easter is the cover. Inside, it is business as usual. Even Alley Cat is up to his war against Spotty Muchloot instead of fossicking an Easter treat, and the craft-and-make on the cover is to make a mobile rather than something for Easter.

Meanwhile, “Alice in a Strange Land” goes in search of Chana in a deserted city, and is shocked to find her suddenly turned into an old woman! In “The Forbidden Garden“, grotty Gladvis discovers a victim fit for blackmailing in Laika. Laika is to be blackmailed into gruelling work at Gladvis’s uncle’s food-processing plant in the industrial zone. The industrial zone is infamous for giving its workers all the “awful jobs”, and it is here that Laika and the reader get a taste of it first hand. So we get an idea of what Laika’s father will go through at work when the family is transferred to the industrial zone later in the story.

In “Prisoner of the Bell“, Susie loses Lorraine, her only protection against her gran at Harford Manor. Lorraine is forced to take the blame to prevent Susie from being expelled after Gran’s dirty trick. Susie begins to pick up, but soon Gran and her bell strike again.

In “I’ll Make Up For Mary”, Ann tries acting to make up for Mary, but stage fright ruins everything and it’s another failure. Pity Ann doesn’t have a magic companion as Sally Carter does in “Daughter of Dreams” to pep her up when shyness takes over.

A photograph of the slums the common people come from does shock Mrs Marshall, but not enough to stop her campaign against them and “The Four-Footed Friends“. The heat is on with Josie’s counter-campaign. Then Winston gets sick and Mrs Marshall blames Riley.

Patti has succumbed to the power that turns “Children of Edenford” into goody-goodies. But then she discovers its weakness – shedding tears breaks the power. Now she has a secret weapon.