Tag Archives: Disappearing Dolphin

Jinty 30 June 1979

Jinty cover 30 June 1979

  • Casey, Come Back! – final episode (unknown artist – Merry)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Keep Your Fingers Crossed! (feature)
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trine Tinturé)
  • The Hill that Cried – Gypsy Rose story (artist Shirley Bellwood)
  • Some Scarecrow! (Michael Jackson feature)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Beauty on a Budget (feature)

This issue’s cover portrays two water scenes, but they are a complete contrast. In “The Forbidden Garden” it’s a life-or-death situation where Laika and Kara nearly drown in floodwaters, while in “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” it’s fun-and-sun by the sea. And for once Bet scores a final laugh over the Easies.

In “A Girl Called Gulliver” there’s water trouble too, as our last Lilliputians set themselves sailing down the river in an old tea kettle – only to find they forgot to check it was seaworthy first, and it isn’t!

It’s the last episode of “Casey, Come Back!”, one of the three-part stories that appeared in Jinty in 1979 but give the impression they could have done with more prolonged treatment. Next we see the start of the Jinty classic, “Almost Human”, and “Mike and Terry”, Jinty’s response to popular demand for a detective story.

Pandora’s difficulty with maths has forced her hand to use the witchcraft box. But she finds she won’t get her box to work unless she gets herself a familiar, which means swallowing her dislike of cats. So meet Scruffy, the cross-eyed cat who doesn’t like Pandora any more than she likes him.

“The Disappearing Dolphin” leads the scuba divers to exciting archaeological finds. But Mrs Ormerod-Keynes, who is trying to stop the expedition, is not impressed. Now why could that be?

Gypsy Rose is back this week, but it feels like a filler. Gypsy Rose all but disappeared in 1979, making intermittent appearances. She never achieved the long-standing regularity of the Storyteller in June/Tammy. The Gypsy Rose story this week is clearly another recycled Strange Story. A Cornish family are faced with selling their farm, but strange things start to happen when a hill starts crying and wailing…

Alley Cat artist Rob Lee breaks the fourth wall and presents Alley Cat with some tasty treats to cheer him up in the last panel after Alley Cat gets a bit of a disappointment with this week’s episode.

Linette’s actions to shut her father’s music out of her life is really hurting her schoolmates, who are still fans of it. This week she has to change schools as well, but her attitude is making the transition even more difficult.

Jinty 28 July 1979

Jinty cover 28 July 1979

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Forbidden Garden – final episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Long and the Short of It! – Competition
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Hot But Happy! – Feature
  • The Bizzie Bet Holiday Dice Game! – feature
  • Picnic with Patti (artist Paul White)
    The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

The stories get pushed off the cover in favour of Jinty’s latest competition, which tests your skills in fashion design. The centre pages have a Bizzie Bet and the Easies dice game (below), which gives you an idea of all the work Bet piles on herself even when she’s not trying to change the Easies. But I have always wondered if anyone ever actually played those dice games that girls’ comics put out.

Xenia not being able to touch Earthlings without killing them gets her in another bind when she comes across a sick woman who needs help. Linette escapes the blackmailing landlady and found refuge with far nicer people. But they are fans of her father, which means more painful reminders of his death.

It’s the last episode of “The Forbidden Garden”. Laika hits on an extremely daring plan to help her dying sister. But she has to run the gauntlet with the police – and with armfuls of real flowers, which stick out like a sore thumb in a world where flora has been rendered extinct because of pollution! Another Baikie story, “Village of Fame”, replaces it next week.

Mike and Terry get caught in a trap set by the Shadow. They escape, but Mike’s adopted a rather weak disguise to get on the Shadow’s trail again – a ridiculous false beard.

Loads of laughs as the Lilliputians get rid of nosey parker Noreen. But fresh trouble is never far away of course, and at the end of the episode Minty has got stuck in a vending machine.

Briony’s got all the prefects ganging up on Pandora and picking on her for the most trivial thing. The box does have a spell for that sort of thing, of course. But Pandora has to choose between using the box to solve the bullying problem or making Scruffy a free cat again, which means no more witchcraft, because she can’t do both because of the timetable.

In “The Disappearing Dolphin” the girls find dirty work afoot with their expedition: their Roman artefact has been stolen and someone has messed around with their underwater samples. They’re off to do some investigating, but it looks like someone is on their trail…

Bizzie Bet game 1Bizzie Bet game 2

 

 

Jinty 21 July 1979

Jinty cover 21 July 1979

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Budding Genius…or Blooming Nuisance? – Quiz
  • Cornucopia – recipes
  • Picnic with Patti (artist Paul White)
    New from Old! – Feature
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

Xenia finds another runaway, but is forced to get police when he falls down floorboards and she can’t touch him to pull him out. He’s safe but very sour with her. Back on the road again…

It’s the penultimate episode of “The Forbidden Garden” and it’s taking an astounding twist – Laika suddenly finds her garden is now a lush tropical paradise! But what use is it with the police after her and now tipped off that she is in the Forbidden Zone, and still no flower or help for her dying sister?

Mike and Terry become bodyguards to a singer they suspect is a tempting target for the Shadow to kidnap. And talking of singers, Linette is forced to sing to raise money for food and is now being blackmailed and abused at the hostel she is staying at, by the landlady who has discovered she is a runaway. And Linette’s bringing it all on herself by blaming the fans for her father’s death.

Nosey parker Noreen is out to find the Lilliputians in “A Girl Called Gulliver” and wormed her way into Gwenny’s house to do so. But they’re onto her, and now they’re threatening to put a spoke in her wheel, um no, a fork in her foot!

Pandora tries a spell to make her hear better so she can overhear what teachers are saying about her. It works, but the spell starts rebounding when every single noise becomes unbearable and she can’t find a counter-spell. On the other hand, the spell enables Pandora to overhear she has an enemy in Briony, who is out to get rid of her. Don’t be too sure of that Briony, when Pandora is armed with her box!

In “The Disappearing Dolphin” the girls find a Roman artefact and they’re in the paper. But unforeseen consequences have Mrs Ormerod-Keynes and local fishermen up in arms.

 

 

Jinty 16 June 1979

Jinty cover 16 June 1979

  • Casey, Come Back! – first episode (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Alley Cat
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Take Your Pick! – General Knowledge Quiz
  • The Disappearing Dolphin – first episode (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Your Own Seaside Rock! (feature)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

As the cover announces, there are two new stories in this issue. And the moment we open up the issue, we see the first one: “Casey, Come Back!”. Josie Stanton lives a lonely life with her grandfather. While not downright cruel or abusive like some guardians we’ve seen in Jinty, grandfather does not show Josie any affection, takes her for granted, and just expects her to work hard on the farm. Casey the dog is the only friend Josie has. Then grandfather deprives Josie of even that when he sells Casey! Looks like he’s taken Josie for granted once too often.

The other story is another Trini Tinturé story, “The Disappearing Dolphin”. An underwater archaeological dig turns to mystery when a dolphin shows up and then disappears without explanation.

“The Four-Footed Friends” is now on its penultimate episode, so we will be seeing a new story pretty soon. Mrs Marshall finally pushes Laura too far with her ridiculous carry-on about germs and mixing with ‘common’ people. So now Laura is running away, with the dogs in tow!

In “The Forbidden Garden”, they have advanced the programmed rainfall, which puts Laika’s precious plants in danger of being ruined. Talk about “it never rains but it pours”!

In part two of “Nothing to Sing About”, Linette’s father dies. Linette blames the fans, despite her mother saying it was just a heart attack that could have struck at any time. Linette’s bitterness is making everyone suffer, and she’s vowed never to sing again. Hmm, that may be harder than you think, Linette!

Pandora has been confident that she can get by at stage school without her aunt’s box of witchcraft. But her confidence is shattered when she gets mixed feedback on why she was such a hit at her school show, with some saying that she is not all that good and just gets noticed because she is “so pushy” and a “big-head” (no arguments there). So she gives in to her aunt and accepts the box.

In “A Girl Called Gulliver”, Maloney snatches Gwenny’s bag to get his hands on the Lilliputians. But then a policeman gets his hands on Maloney! However, more trouble is soon brewing for the Lilliputians, in the form of a vacuum cleaner and then a cat, whom Minty is determined to fight.

Bizzie Bet hopes the Hobbies Fair will make the Easies more active. But of course they go for a hobby where they can still go easy. And it’s yoga. Maybe they should try meditation too.

Jinty 7 July 1979

Jinty cover 7 July 1979

  • Almost Human – first episode (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Timbuctoo Fashion – Competition
  • The Forbidden Garden – (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Mike and Terry – first episode (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • More Smart Ideas! – Feature
  • Picnic with Patti – (artist Paul White)
  • July with Jinty – Feature
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

Two new stories begin in this issue. The first, which went on to become one of Jinty’s classics, is “Almost Human”. An alien girl, Xenia, is left to fend for herself on Earth because her own planet is facing ecological catastrophe. But Xenia soon discovers that her alien touch is deadly to any life form on Earth. Talk about being the Untouchable!

The second, “Mike and Terry”, is the Editor’s response to a recent competition in which readers were asked for what they especially wanted in Jinty. Ye Editor was flooded with requests for a detective story, hence Mike Temple (makes a change, having an adult male as protagonist in a Jinty serial) and his assistant Terry (a woman) on the trail of a master criminal known as “The Shadow”. This must have taken inspiration from “The Zodiac Prince”, which had a similar pairing that proved extremely popular.

Meanwhile, Pandora wants to be rid of the cat she was obliged to magically bind to her in order to make her box work because she hates cats. But it looks like she’ll have to learn to tolerate the cat instead.

Maloney thinks the Lilliputians are leprechauns and is out to catch them. And the Lilliput children are in big trouble on a river. Linette’s hatred of Dad’s fans is driving her to run away from home, which can only lead to big trouble for her too. And in “The Disappearing Dolphin”, Paula and Chris are having problems overcoming local hostilities to their expedition. But it looks like they’ve got an ally at last, with something in his boot that can help them.

In “The Forbidden Garden” Laika discovers that destroying Gladvis’s blackmail evidence is now paying off dividends in a most surprising manner. The headmistress Miss Karvell was among the people she freed, and Miss Karvell has been her secret helper in return. (Pity Gladvis is still in business, using her position as prefect to collect more blackmail evidence to use on pupils and teachers alike.) However, the forbidden garden yields a surprise that is not so pleasant – Laika discovers that the plants she had been cultivating for her dying sister are not beautiful flowers but hideous mutants!

 

Jinty 18 August 1979

Jinty cover 18 August 1979

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Tom Baker – Doctor Who feature
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Be a Private Eye! (text story with deliberate mistakes to spot)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Harvest Crossword – Feature
  • Crumbs! That’s a Good Idea! – Feature

The indignity the Lilliputians suffer in this issue makes the cover, and the complementary use of orange and green on the cover makes it even more striking. The silly things thought a sandcastle was for living in, and have been hung up to dry after the soaking they got from the sea. This Gascoine story certainly had several cover slots, no doubt because it was such a fun, upbeat story (unlike the next story Gascoine will draw – “Waves of Fear” –  which is one of Jinty’s most disturbing stories).

This issue is one for Doctor Who fans because it has an exclusive interview with Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor. The text story is unusual too. There are deliberate mistakes in it, and the challenge is to see how good a sleuth you are by picking up as many of the mistakes as you can.

Xenia’s inability to touch Earthlings without killing them causes real problems as she tries to help some people with an accident. The district nurse is getting suspicious.

Sue does not trust Mr Grand’s scheme to use her village as a location for a television serial. And when she discovers just how he is filming it (cameras everywhere and stirring things up to create action), she declares war on him.

Mike and Terry are out to stop a plot to kidnap a ventriloquist, and Mike is turning conjurer to do it. But at the end of the episode he looks like he could do with a disappearing trick when the kidnappers accost him.

In “The Disappearing Dolphin”, Paula and Chris think they’ve worked out who is plotting against them – Mrs Ormerod-Keynes. But now they need to work out why and how.

It’s the penultimate episode of “Nothing to Sing About”. Linette has now been put straight about the cause of her father’s death and realises she was wrong to blame the fans. But her bitter behaviour beforehand has had serious consequences – it wrecked her mother’s new engagement.

Pandora works another spell to get what she wants – a job in a commercial. But she finds a conscience when she discovers it cost Ruth her chance of getting it, and she badly needed the money because her father can’t pay the school fees.

Jinty and Girl Picture Library

Girls picture libraries. The monthly Commando-style digests where girls could read a complete 64-page story every month as a supplement to their regular weekly comic. Thrillers, humour, drama, horror, supernatural, heart-breakers, fantasy or science fiction stories were told in a once-a-month, one-volume complete story.

The picture libraries also provided stories about favourite regulars such as The Four Marys, Wee Slavey and The Comp. Occasionally there were variations in the formula, such as a story being told over two picture libraries, or a picture library featuring several short stories instead of one complete one. One example was “Scream!”, which told five scarey stories that made you scream.

Picture libraries were a long-running staple of four of DCT’s titles: Bunty, Judy, Mandy and Debbie. The Bunty picture libraries lasted 455 issues. This is not surprising as Bunty herself is the longest-running girls’ title in history. The Mandy books finished at the same time as the Bunty ones, but at 277 books. Judy produced 375 books and Debbie 197 books. Towards the end of the run reprints appeared although original stories continued.

In IPC the girls’ picture library had a more unusual and uneven history. June and Princess Tina were the only titles to produce any long-running ones. In fact, the June picture library eventually recycled the old Princess logo to become the wordy title, “June and School Friend and Princess Library Picture Library“. Maybe this was why “Picture Library” was dropped on the cover at some point after #458, though the spine continued to say “June and School Friend and Princess Picture Library” to the end of its run.

Tammy and Jinty were never given any picture libraries although they lasted the longest after June. Yet the photo-story comic, Girl (series 2) was given her own picture library. This lasted for just 30 books. Miniscule compared with the rich histories of the June picture library and its counterparts from DCT. But what gives Girl Picture Library its place on this blog is that although some of the libraries were original material, many of them also reprinted material from Jinty and Tammy.

Most of the reprints appeared under revised titles, some of which were awful and showed little thinking. For example, “Vision of Vanity Fayre” from Tammy was reprinted in Girl Picture Library #2 under the the extremely lame title of “Dear Diary”. Strangely, the last three Girl picture libraries reprinted Tammy stories under their original titles.

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There were some oddities and even downright sloppiness in the run, which may indicate what sort of budget or editorship that the series was running to. For example, the cover of #16 (reprint of “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”) changes the appearance of the heroine. Readers must have been surprised or irritated when they opened the issue and found the brunette heroine inside bearing no resemblance to the girl on the cover. And the girl who appears on the cover of #25 (reprint of “Shadow on the Fen”, above) has the wrong hair colour – she is blond on the cover but is a brunette in the story. The witchfinder too looks different – he looks younger and has a fuller face than the craggly gaunt face rendered by Douglas Perry. Still, it is a beautiful, haunting cover.

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A more striking oddity was “Sue’s Daily Dozen” being reprinted over two volumes: “Spellbound” and “Bewitched”. But there was no indication in “Spellbound” to say “to be continued”. Readers must have wondered why the story suddenly stopped abruptly. The remaining pages are devoted to “Tiny Tina”, which is Wee Sue under a revised title. “Cathy’s Casebook” also appears in two volumes: “Cathy’s Crusade” and “Dr Cathy”. But the reprint is even odder in that “Dr Cathy” does not come immediately after “Cathy’s Crusade” – “The Old Mill” is in between them.

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Naturally, some material and panels had to be cut or modified to make the reprints fit into 64-page pocket size volumes. For example, “Moments of Terror”, which reprints “Waves of Fear”, deletes Priscilla Heath and the orienteering club sequences. Both of these played a key role in the resolution of the story in its original run – realising that the panic Clare Harvey had while her friend was drowning in a cave was a claustrophobia attack and not the cowardice that has made her the most hated girl in town. The revelation is now made by Clare’s mother after Rachel tells her about the trick Jean pulled – playing on Clare’s claustrophobia – to get her expelled.

On the other hand, the editing also mercifully reduces some of Clare’s ordeal; for example, the hostility Clare receives from the townsfolk has been removed completely. Some of the bullying at school and the harsh treatment Clare gets from her parents has been deleted as well. The editing is pretty seamless, but there is one glitch: when Clare is pushed to the brink of suicide, she thinks the business at the club was the last straw. With the orienteering club deleted, readers must immediately have wondered “what club?” or “what’s missing here?”. They would know it’s been reprinted from somewhere else because there was always a caption saying “previously published” for the reprint material.

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Cutting out material also had the unfortunate effect of removing key turning points in some plots. For example, the reprint of “Thursday’s Child” removes the scene where an evil flag forces a man to nearly saw his own hand off. Yes, it’s gruesome. But in the original run it was what made the villainess, Julie, who had been using the flag’s power to conduct a revenge campaign against her future mother, Thursday, come to her senses and realise the flag had to be destroyed.

Below is a list of the Girl Picture Libraries, along with their original titles and appearances. The only one that has not been identified is “Penny’s Best Friend” in #8. It could be that this was an original story as not all the Girl Picture Libraries carried reprints, but I need to confirm this.

  1. Patty’s World – original
  2. Dear Diary – Vision of Vanity Fayre from Tammy
  3. Patty’s World – original
  4. The Dolphin Mystery – The Disappearing Dolphin from Jinty
  5. Cathy’s Crusade – Part 1 of Cathy’s Casebook from Jinty
  6. The Old Mill – original
  7. Dr Cathy – Part 2 of Cathy’s Casebook from Jinty
  8. Penny’s Best Friend – ?
  9. Circus Waif – Wild Rose from Jinty
  10. Stormy Seas – original
  11. Moments of Terror – Waves of Fear from Jinty
  12. The Shadow – Mike and Terry from Jinty
  13. Princess Wanted! – The Perfect Princess from Jinty
  14. The Black Sheep – Black Sheep of the Bartons from Jinty
  15. I’ll Never Sing Again! – Nothing to Sing About from Jinty
  16. A Second Chance – My Heart Belongs to Buttons from Jinty
  17. Winner-Loser! – No Medals for Marie from Jinty
  18. Spellbound! – Part 1 of Sue’s Daily Dozen from Jinty, plus A Wee Sue story from Tammy reprinted as Tiny Tina
  19. Bewitched! – Part 2 of Sue’s Daily Dozen from Jinty, plus a Strange Story, “A Monumental Detective” reprinted as “The Crook Catchers”
  20. The Inheritance – Race for a Fortune from Jinty
  21. The Fortune-Teller – Cursed to be a Coward! Jinty
  22. Tina’s Temper – Temper, Temper, Tina! Tammy
  23. Fame and Fortune – Make the Headlines, Hannah! Tammy
  24. Wonder Girl – Betta to Lose from Tammy
  25. The Witchfinder – Shadow on the Fen from Jinty
  26. Sweet and Sour – The Sweet and Sour Rivals from Jinty
  27. Carol in Camelot – Carol in Camelot St from Tammy
  28. The Happiest Days – Tammy
  29. Thursday’s Child – Tammy
  30. A Girl Called Midnight – Tammy

Story theme: the Magical Companion / Non-human companion

Stories of magic and the supernatural often include a companion who helps, guides, prods, or sometimes rather forcibly plonks the protagonist in the middle of adventure. The companion in question has his, her, or its own agenda and in that, it has some similarities to the evil object which takes over people’s lives: but unlike the evil object story, the magical guide does not coerce or remove free will. Generally speaking, the agenda of the companion is at least morally neutral, if not positively on the side of the protagonist’s best interests. The journey towards a happy ending, though, is not in itself happy all along: often the life of the main character is made decidedly more uncomfortable as the story unfolds.

Normally the companion is clearly magical, maybe right from the start: sometimes she (rarely he) or it seems outwardly normal at first but is found in the thick of things too often for it to be a coincidence. This perhaps is particularly the case where the companion is an animal, such as one of the three(!) examples of magnificent white horses that help protagonists in various ways.

Core examples

The example I think is one of Jinty‘s best for this theme is “Guardian of White Horse Hill”. Janey Summers is an orphan, with foster parents who she is hoping will go on to adopt her. However, life with her new family is not easy, partly because of mean snobbish girls in the local area, partly because of trauma she hasn’t yet got over (badly handled by the adults in question, as usual), and partly because, well, she sees a white horse that no-one else can see. Obviously people start questioning her sanity as well as her temperament, but the horse in question turns out to be Celtic horse goddess Epona. Epona takes Janey back in time more than once, to the Celtic settlement originally located where the modern village is. In the historical time, Janey finds herself in the body of a young priestess facing the peril of a Roman invasion; in the modern time of the story, the village is threatened by a road which is to be built through the village itself. At the priestess’s behest, the Celtic villagers saved themselves by a non-violent path, namely digging a white horse on the hillside; the earth left over from all the digging is swept into the path of the invaders by torrential rain. In parallel in modern times, the path that the villagers were going to take – giving up and giving in – is derailed by Epona, who through Janey’s actions reveals the historical white horse carved on the hill. The villagers are able to declare this a site of special interest and hold off the road-building that way.

Even before Epona takes Janey back in time, she clearly reveals her magic to the reader: no-one else can see the horse apart from Janey, and when she gets on the back of the horse she is invisible to those around her. Ultimately Epona’s actions are in Janey’s interest too: by saving the village, the livelihoods of Janey’s foster parents are secured, but also Janey’s role in bringing that salvation helps to secure her wish to have real, loving parents again. There are uncomfortable moments for Janey along the way: for instance when Epona makes her dismount (so that she can then be seen by anyone who can spot her) just before a big village meeting. Even more so, you could point to the basic fact that making yourself visible to just one person is in itself asking to lead them into trouble – and Epona, magic though she is, is not a talking horse and does not explain herself.

Clear examples of this story theme in Jinty are:

  • “The Valley of Shining Mist” (1975) has a mysterious woman in a mysterious cottage in a mysterious valley – only when the mist fills the valley can the protagonist see the cottage as anything but an old ruin. Debbie is taught music by the woman in the cottage, but more than that, she also learns love and acceptance as Mrs Maynard helps her to change her life.
  • Corn Dolly in “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!” (1975-76), who guides and protects the protagonists in their battles against the evil witch Miss Marvell.
  • The eponymous horse in “Horse From The Sea” (1976) seems initially like a normal (magnificent, unbridled, appearing-out-of-the-blue) white horse, but a tale is recounted part-way through the story that makes it clear that this is the same mysterious horse that throughout centuries has defended the heir of the local estate from danger.
  • The mysterious Malincha in “Sceptre of the Toltecs” (1976-77) is golden-eyed, and inhumanly strong and smart. She needs the help of protagonist Jenny Marlow to fulfill her quest; you could perhaps consider Malincha to be the protagonist herself, but she is so characterless and mysterious that it is hard to see her in that role.
  • In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag” (1976-79), the magical companion is another inanimate object: well, I say inanimate – the bag in question is given expression by the creases in the leather, giving her a cheeky look. This one is played for laughs too, and as an ongoing humour strip there is less of a clear agenda on the part of Henrietta the hand-bag as there is less of an overall story. Henrietta often helps Sue and gets her out of a pickle, but equally she often lands her in one too.
  • In “Daughter of Dreams” (1979), Sally Carter is a wall-flower until she makes up an imaginary friend, Pauline Starr. Her imagination is so strong she can see her new friend clearly – so clearly in fact that Pauline comes to life! Pauline helps to shake up Sally’s life, first of all by getting her to do more lively things so she can make more friends, and then in the sequel, “Miss Make-believe” (1979), defeating crooks in a stately house caper.
  • Karen finds a ghostly skating instructor in the “Spirit of the Lake” (1979-80): appearing to her as an elegant woman, the spirit is friendly and helpful to Karen in a situation where the girl is otherwise not shown much love or friendship. The skating spirit seems to have little agenda of her own other than to help Karen become a skating champion.
  • “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (1979-81) has another ghostly companion but is an ongoing humour strip like “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag” (and indeed is drawn by the same artist too).
  • “Sue’s Daily Dozen” (1980) has an inanimate object as the magical companion, making it perhaps a slight stretch from the main theme of the category. Sue finds a book in the old cottage that she has moved into with her sister: the recipes in the book turn out to be more like magic spells, but very positive and homely ones intended to spread positive effects in the local community: sweets turn out to bring the childhood sense of fun back, and a love potion reconciles a quarreling couple. None of the spells are dramatically and clearly magic until the end of the story: the ambiguity of whether the odd effects are coincidental is maintained for quite a while, which is nice. In the end the book is reunited with the cauldron that Granny Hayden had also used, and both items disappear off to be found in the future by another lucky girl.
  • Gabbi is the magical companion in “Her Guardian Angel” (1980-81); literally a guardian angel, this played-for-laughs story has her defending her charge from all sorts of things that are not in fact dangerous. Gabbi has her own agenda: she has to pass a test to earn her wings, and earthbound Roz must therefore temper her normal way of being in order to help this angel who has become a friend.

Not in Jinty: Mistyfan has pointed out the Tracy story Rhoda’s Robot, in which the companion is not magical in origin, but a robot. (It’s a little arguable in my mind as to whether the robot really should be counted as non-magical as she doesn’t behave anything like a ‘realistic’ robot, but still.)

Edge cases

As with the other themes, you can see examples that don’t fit quite as clearly in the category but still have a lot of overlap with it.

  • “Wild Horse Summer” (1974) has (yet another) magnificent wild white horse which changes the protagonist’s life, but this horse really does seem to be a real-life horse who behaves reasonably realistically.
  • “The Zodiac Prince” (1978) in question is definitely magical; he is more protagonist than companion.
  • “Paula’s Puppets” (1978) is a little harder to categorise; I’d say it was a better match with the Evil Object / Supernatural Object theme as the puppets have a less clear agenda of their own, if any.
  • In “Pandora’s Box” (1979) Pandora has a little black magical cat, Scruffy, but he acts like a typical witch’s familiar, not as a magical guide.
  • “Sea-Sister” (1979) has a ghostly/magical character who again is more protagonist than guide or companion.

Related but different

  • There are other stories with animal friends or antagonists – cats, dogs, horses, birds and so forth in stories such as “The Big Cat”, “The Birds”, “Blind Faith”, “The Disappearing Dolphin”, “Finleg the Fox”, “Friends of the Forest”. As with “Wild Horse Summer”, these are animals that are given a generally realistic treatment.
  • Evil object / supernatural object, discussed separately.
  • Mysterious helper: a story type where someone is mysteriously helping the main character, but in a naturalistic way. The particular example in Jinty would be “Diving Belle”, where the protagonist gets training in diving by a female instructor who appears mysteriously and does seem to have more-than-natural knowledge of what is needed (what with being a gypsy, as obviously psychic powers come with that). Nevertheless she is a human and interacts with the main character in a human way.
  • Wish fulfilment: this can be magical/supernatural in nature (“Dance Into Darkness”) or through more naturalistic methods (“Jackie’s Two Lives”, “Kerry In The Clouds”). There is a trigger for the protagonist to have her wish fulfilled but that is not someone who accompanies her throughout the story guiding her.

Other thoughts

Bringing a magical companion into an otherwise ordinary girl’s life is always going to be a popular way to power a story; any reader could hold out a hope that just such a force could enter her own life and help her out with her difficulties. I guess it also makes sense that the writer can’t have the magical companion make things too straightforward for the protagonist as it’d be boring otherwise; the magical companion must therefore challenge or complicate the main character’s life as much as improving it.

Jinty 14 July 1979

Jinty cover 15.jpg

  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (Guy Peeters)

The panel of the repulsive mutant flowers from “The Forbidden Garden” has really made this Jinty cover stick in my memory. Mankind has poisoned the world and plants can’t grow. Laika finds a patch of soil that can support plant life. But the horrible flowers she has just produced are one hard lesson – you can’t go from poisoned, barren earth to plant paradise without a few snags and setbacks along the way.

Meanwhile, Pandora uses her box to produce bewitched ballet shoes to make her dance flawlessly. But the box can’t teach her manners, and Pandora’s self-centredness gets her into  serious trouble when it has her committing an act of sheer rudeness.

It’s part two of “Almost Human”. Xenia has just discovered she can’t touch any Earth creature without killing it. This is now causing problems with integrating with Earth people and plenty of misunderstandings.

In “Nothing to Sing About”, Linette is so desperate not to sing that she runs away – only to find herself in a situation where she is forced to sing or go hungry. But can she do it without breaking down?

Jinty 23 June 1979

Jinty 23 June 1979

“Nothing To Sing About” in this issue is not one of artist Phil Townsend’s best-remembered stories nor one of his most heart-wrenching, but it deals with grief at losing a loved one to an early death a bit more effectively than the rather silly “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” did. Linette Davis’ erratic behaviour is rightly set down to the shock of her dad’s early death, and she has not yet worn out her mother’s (or the readers’!) sympathy.

The Four-Footed Friends” finishes in this issue: Laura’s mother’s attitude is changed once Riley the mongrel heroically pushes Laura away from a falling brick wall. She explains finally that it was her own grief at losing her baby boy many years ago that made her snobbishly push away Riley and his owner Josie.

Stories in this issue:

  • Casey, Come Back! (unknown artist ‘Merry’)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Nothing To Sing About (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)