Tag Archives: Giorgio Giorgetti

Jinty and Penny 18 October 1980

Jinty 11 October 1980

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Snoopa (artist Joe Collins)
  • Behind the Screen: It’s a Knockout (feature)
  • The House of Hate and Happiness (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas)
  • Winning Ways #29: The Forehand Volley (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

This week we’ve got a very nice go-kart cover from Mario Capaldi. Jinty sure didn’t hesitate from showing girls in sports and activities that are considered venturesome and daring, which is a nice touch of feminism.

Pam of Pond Hill and nine other classmates are gearing up for the school trip to France. But Diana’s younger sister Alison is so jealous that she’s throwing tantrums and pulling dirty tricks to stop them getting there. It looks like she might actually succeed when she locks one of the chaperones in a storeroom and throws the key down the drain. What a horrible kid, but it’s the parents’ fault for spoiling her and being overprotective of her instead of disciplinary.

Shona risks life and limb to rescue her dog Scuffer when he gets bowled over a cliff and lands on a ledge. Next, she and Scuffer sail off on a makeshift raft to hopefully get rescued and see if her parents did survive, which she does not know one way or other.

Kathy the clown is on the run after the relentless bullying drove her away. If only she could see the effects it’s having on her tormentors. It has shocked them all into guilt and shame, and they’ve turned against Sandra, the ringleader of all it all. Sandra, once she’s had a taste of being the class outcast herself, is also remorseful and her redeeming qualities are coming out after being nothing but spiteful.

Meanwhile, Kathy has made a friend, a mutt she has named Mutt. Then Sandra spots them from the train and will set out in search of them next week. But how will that work out? After all, Sandra cruelly tricked Kathy once before with a false show of friendship and remorse.

“Child of the Rain” tries to run away too, in order to get to a place in Britain where rain is forecast. Luckily for her, the drought breaks at home and she’s got rain again.

Tansy tries out a conjuring book. Unfortunately she ends up doing a disappearing trick (not one from the book) after one of her tricks backfires, and she doesn’t have a trick to make her wrathful father disappear.

In “Sue’s Daily Dozen”, real magic creates a house cleaner that makes every speck of dirt fall off in one big black curtain that goes right down the walls and disappear. Now that can be called a disappearing trick!

The Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story, drawn by Giorgio Giorgetti. Ruth Newton moves into a new house, but there seems to be some sort of weird time travel thing going on when she finds a boy who keeps crying because his parents are always squabbling over painting: Dad wants to pursue art while Mum nags at him that it won’t pay the bills, so go out and get a real job. It turns out the boy is none other than the real estate agent who sold them the house, but now he’s a grown man!

Gaye needs help with improving her gymnastics because of an upcoming school display. Sir Roger helps out, but he thinks that what Gaye really needs is confidence. It looks like he’s right there, but then things go a bit wrong…

Jinty and Penny 2 August 1980

Jinty 2 August 1980

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine) – first episode
  • The Last Leap (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Behind the Screen – Dr Who
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways #20: Headstand (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

This week’s issue is one for Doctor Who fans because it has a feature on the show and Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.

The cover informs us that “a great new story starts today”. That story is “Tears of a Clown”, which, like “Waves of Fear”, is a hard-hitting Phil Gascoine story about the evils of bullying and people in authority handling it badly. Here neither the parents nor the school are picking up that the protagonist, Kathy Clowne, is being bullied, much less step in to help. Instead, they all write her off as a no-hoper who’s no good at anything, not realising that the bullying is responsible for her poor school performance. It sounds all too familiar.

The shoplifting storyline in “Pam of Pond Hill” wraps up this week. It turns out the reason Hazel Bayley resorted to shoplifting was to use the stolen items to make the friends she didn’t have. That sounds all too familiar as well. Poor, foolish girl, who realised too late that it was not the way. She makes friends at Pond Hill in the end once they understand and sympathise, but her foolishness landed her in juvenile court and now she has a criminal record.

Minna finally sorts out her problem with bully Sharon, but now there is a new problem: her secret is in danger when a photographer takes a photograph of her at the swimming club.

Clare makes a new friend in Angie, who helps hide her and Cromwell. But Angie’s Dad has guessed what’s going on and is shadowing her.

This week’s Gypsy Rose is a Strange Story reprint that brings some Giorgio Giorgetti artwork to Jinty. The story is about a window where anyone who approaches it always seems to fall out of it. The doctor says it’s vertigo from the chequered pattern from the path below. However, there is another theory – and more evidence – about an aggrieved spirit of a mistreated servant girl who also fell out of that window. The story has been uploaded into the Gypsy Rose section in the panel gallery.

Tansy is surprised to find everyone in Jubilee Street is turning nice. Ah, so it’s a contest to find the kindest neighbour in the district. Yes, it sounded too good to be true – and so is the contest, which turns out to be as phony as the niceness in Jubilee Street.

Making Angela a witch becomes even more pressing when the Blacks receive a letter to make her one by next Halloween or have their powers removed. Carrie thinks she’s got it in the bag this time when Angela accepts a bet that if she can’t make a friend by the end of the day she’ll agree to be a witch. We shall see…

Sir Roger has sprained his haunting muscles and now he can’t vanish. We have to wait until next week to see if he recovers.

Pre-Misty merger: Tammy 12 January 1980

tammy-cover-12-january-1980

Cover artist – John Richardson

Contents

  • Sister in the Shadows (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Cindy of Swan Lake (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Daughter of the Desert (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Important News for All Readers! (merger announcement)
  • The New Girl – Strange Story
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (Joe Collins)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Promotion – last episode (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Make the Headlines, Hannah! (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Everything in the Garden – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Edie’s Hobbyhorse – Tie ‘n’ Dye

tammy-and-misty-ad

This is the Tammy that came out the same week as the final issue of Misty. So what did the issue have to say about the Tammy & Misty merger and how did it prepare for it?

The first hint of it comes on the cover, with the Devil in a sandwich sign announcing “there’s exciting news in Tammy – on sale now!” I’ve always been struck at how that Devil character bears a striking resemblance to Pickering, the bully butler in Molly Mills. Is Tammy having a bit of an in-joke here?

As far as room goes, there is not much space to make room for a reasonable proportion of Misty stories. All the serials are still running and one, “Sister in the Shadows”, is only on its second episode. The announcement about the merger informs Tammy readers that not only will all their regular favourites be there but there will also be a new Bella story starting. In other words, Tammy isn’t reducing any of her own features to make room for more features from Misty, such as “Beasts”, “Nightmare!” and (we suspect) “Monster Tales”. There must have been great disappointment among former Misty readers that the proportion of Misty was miniscule compared to the Tammy one. I myself hoped that once the current Tammy stories finished more Misty stories would take their place, but I was disappointed there. Why couldn’t Tammy have done some double episodes of Hannah, the serial closest to finishing, so she would be finished off by the time of the merger and there would be more space for Misty stories in the merger issue?

In discussion of the stories, in part two of “Sister in the Shadows” Wendy continues to have what must rank as one of the worst first days at school in history. On top of the king-sized collywobbles she came with, she is encountering constant embarrassment and humiliation as teachers keep comparing her to her sister Stella, who was once the star pupil at the school, and Wendy can’t live up to their expectations. It’s not endearing her to her fellow classmates either and the stage is clearly set for some bullying.

“Daughter of the Desert” features a school that is strangely reverting to a desert pattern after an Arabian princess comes to the school. In an exciting but very odd episode, the two protagonists find themselves in a quicksand trap, which is supposed to be part of the strange desert pattern. Then the quicksand mysteriously disappears into a hard concrete road when the girls return with their headmistress to investigate.

Cindy decides to throw away her ballet career for the sake of her swans, who are being poisoned by chemical pollution. Despite the pollution the swans find the strength to persuade Cindy to continue, much to the chagrin of Cindy’s jealous rival Zoe. Now Zoe is now back to scheming against Cindy to become the star dancer of their village.

Molly Mills gets promoted but deliberately sets out to lose it once she decides she was happier with the status quo as a servant. Miss Bigger buys a sedan chair for charity – but trust her to lumber Wee Sue and her friend with the job of carrying it to her place! Then thieves steal the chair, and it’s up to Wee Sue’s big brain to sort them out. The promise of a hamper lures Bessie out for ice-skating practice, but of course there have to be hijinks.

Hannah’s latest attempt to hit the headlines fails again because her prop got vandalised. At first she suspects her sisters, who have been sabotaging her every effort so far, but now she isn’t so sure. Sounds like a mystery to tie up, and will it have any bearing on Hannah’s campaign to prove herself?

There is a double-up of Strange Stories this week. The first is about a new girl named Stella who is perfect at everything. But Tracey Roberts thinks there is something odd about it all, and about the star on the bracelet Stella always wears. Then, when the star falls off Stella’s bracelet she falls mysteriously ill and Tracey gets strange visions from her parents urging her to find the star. The second is a parable about how beauty can be found even in the most unexpected places. Once Chris Dale learns this lesson she agrees to have the eye surgery she had refused before.

Incidentally, the blurb announcing the new Bella story says she will have a crack at the Moscow Olympics (which of course will be a “struggle”). Older Bella readers would know that she had never succeeded in competing at the Olympics. Her 1976 Montreal bid only got her as far as performing in the opening ceremony. Will Bella succeed in competing at the Olympics this time?

Sally 21 June 1969

Sally 21 June 1961

  • Farm Boss Fanny (artist unknown)
  • The Cat Girl (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Little Lulu – cartoon strip
  • Legion of Super-Slaves (artist unknown)
  • The Castle Kids and the Very Important Cow (artist unknown)
  • The Girl from Tomorrow (artist unknown)
  • Des and Dink – cartoon strip
  • Tiny Tania in Space (artist Rodrigo Comos?)
  • Daddy Come Home (artist unknown)
  • Maisie’s Magic Eye (artist unknown, but later drawn by Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Justice of Justine (artist unknown, but later drawn by Mike Noble)
  • Thunk – cartoon strip
  • Four on the Road (artist unknown)

Sally began on 14 June 1969. She started off with a strong emphasis on adventure, fantasy, SF and super-heroine stories. Later some of these elements gave way to more traditional stories on orphans and ballet. Memorable strips included “Maisie’s Magic Eye” and “Cat Girl”, both of which would be absorbed into Tammy. Sally merged with Tammy on 2 April 1971, making her the first of six titles that would be absorbed by Tammy during her 13-year run.

The merger was unusual in that Sally was older than Tammy, which had barely been out two months before swallowing Sally. Tammy hadn’t even finished all the stories from her first issue yet! This is a complete reversal of the usual pattern in which the older comic absorbs the newer one, very often a fledgling that has not proven profitable enough to last. It is thought that Sally had taken a bad hit in her sales due to a long absence from a 10-week strike, whereas the new Tammy was booming. Ironically, Sally is now enjoying a whole new status as a collector’s item and her issues command high prices.

I do not have the first issue of Sally, so I present the second (nice budgies, anyway!) to represent some Sally context in Jinty’s family tree at IPC.

Sally has two stories where kids go up against grasping schemers, and the antics have comical overtones. The first is “Farm Boss Fanny”, where Fanny locks horns with Gerald Garlick, who is out to buy her farm. The other is “The Castle Kids and the Very Important Cow”. Susan Porter and friends – which include a cow they rescued – help Mr and Mrs Lemington from being unfairly evicted from the castle by barricading it. But what’s so important about the cow? Ask the two men who are out to get their hands on it.

SF strips are both serious and comic. On the humour side is “Thunk”, a dog-like alien who has made friends with Penny Jones. “The Girl from Tomorrow” is more serious: a 23rd century girl has landed in 1969 after messing about with her uncle’s time machine, and is now on the run with a reformed pickpocket. Another is “Tiny Tania in Space”, who has permitted herself to be miniaturised and taken to an alien planet in order to escape an abusive guardian – only to find the alien is putting her on show at a science conference! But others howl in protest and one is out to rescue Tania. We are told that Tania will return to normal proportions next week, so should the title really have included the “tiny” bit if Tania was only to be miniaturised for three episodes? Finally, there is “Legion of Super-Slaves”. Sounds like some sort of super-hero thing gone wrong? Something is definitely wrong with the mind of “The Grand Termite” if he kidnaps girls to be used in a slave colony called “The Ants”, and they are only allowed to join if they survive his deadly tests!

The super-heroine theme is high as well. The most memorable is “The Cat Girl”, where Cathy gains cat-like super-powers after donning a magic cat suit and sets out to help her PI father, who is currently running up against his arch-enemy, The Eagle. Cat Girl would be one of two Sally strips to go into the merger. The other super-heroine, “The Justice of Justine”, proved less durable and was eventually dropped. Justine is given magic items that turn her into a super-heroine, including a magic mirror that tells her where she is needed each week.

The other Sally story to go into Tammy was “Maisie’s Magic Eye”. Maisie Macrae has acquired a magic brooch fashioned from a piece of meteorite. At this stage the brooch has hypnotic powers; whenever it glows, it makes people do whatever Maisie tells them. Trouble is, the brooch doesn’t glow all the time and its power tends to cut out at the worst possible moment. Later the brooch would have powers to make anything Maisie says come true, such as transforming two difficult teachers into Romeo and Juliet. Trouble is, it can also do the same with things Maisie says in the heat of the moment, such as calling her friend Lorna an ignoramus.

There are two non-super heroine stories as well. “Daddy Come Home” is a World War II story where evacuees find themselves put into a cruel home with Mrs Grimble, who mistreats her dog as well and the children set out to save it. The other is “Four on the Road”, where two Italian children are told to take two dogs to a rich American in Naples. It sounds like a pretty odd assignment. But there must be a reason for it, which will no doubt be revealed in due course. This story, by the way, was reprinted in Jinty annual 1975.

And of course there are cartoon strips. Thunk has already been mentioned. The other two were “Des and Dink” and “Little Lulu”. Lulu made it to Tammy, and would make an appearance in an annual.

 

Tammy’s 10th Birthday Issue

Tammy 7 February 1981

Cover artist: Robert MacGillivray

Characters/serials on the cover: Sandy Rawlings; Molly Mills; Belinda Bookworm; Wee Sue; Bella Barlow; undetermined; Push-along, Patti; Bessie Bunter; Miss Bigger

  •  Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • The Black and White World of Shirley Grey – first episode (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • Push-along, Patti (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Help Yourself to a Holiday – competition
  • Molly Mills and the Echoes from the Past – new story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Tune-In (feature)
  • Belinda Bookworm (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Imaginary Abbie – Strange Story from the Mists (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Rita My Robot Friend (artist Tony Coleman)

While it is out of the garage, I am going to discuss the issue where Tammy celebrated her 10th birthday (sadly, this is something Jinty never reached). Tammy certainly pulls out the stops to celebrate: her commemorative cover; Edie and Miss T redecorating their rooms with 10 years’ worth of Tammy; Miss Bigger taking Wee Sue and her friends on a special tour to the Tammy office; and Molly reflecting on her 10 years at Stanton Hall (once Pickering points out she had been there that long). And of course it wouldn’t be complete without celebratory competitions.

When revisiting past Tammy characters, we see that the focus is on ones who are currently running (Belinda Bookworm), have appeared in comparatively recent years (Thursday’s Child, Cindy of Swan Lake), or whose memory still lingers on (Olympia Jones, Babe of St Wood’s). The only really early Tammy character to reappear is Cat Girl. There are no Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’, Aunt Aggie, School for Snobs, Beattie or any of the characters from the first years.

(click thru)

However, the Molly story does reflect back on the early days and hints at how different the tone of Tammy was back then. Molly not only remembers the time she arrived at Stanton Hall but also how much more cruel Pickering was back in the early days.  Indeed, the Molly strip has become tamer now in comparison to what it was in Tammy’s early years. It has clearly been toned down. Pickering is still a bully who picks on Molly, but the stocks, beatings, dungeons and cold duckings in the lake are now a thing of Tammy’s past, thank goodness. Even the catty Betty and Kitty, who played a dirty trick that nearly got Molly sacked on her first day, have lost their cattiness and are more friendly with Molly.

(click thru)

Tammy herself has been toned down as well. When she was first launched, she revelled in stories filled with darkness, cruelty, torture and suffering. But readers loved it and her sales rocketed. Stories with the Cinderella theme or slave theme (girls used as slaves in one form or another) abounded, and a number of them, such as “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’” and “The Four Friends at Spartan School” really pushed the envelope with the tortures their heroines went through. But by the late 1970s these had all faded. All that remained of them was Bella Barlow, who is still badly treated by Jed and Gert Barlow, although she has just rescued them from hard times.

But Tammy had not gone all light and soppy. Her current stories, “Belinda Bookworm”, “Push-along, Patti” and “Rita My Robot Friend” all feature heroines who are being bullied/ostracised at school and trying to rise above it. Tammy’s new story, “The Black and White World of Shirley Grey”, will also feature some extremely vicious and horrifying bullying in the weeks ahead.

It has been just over a year since Misty merged with Tammy. The Misty logo is smaller now and there have been fewer spooky stories than when Misty joined. But the Strange Stories from the Mist continue, as do Edie and Miss T and the Misty horoscope.

Edie and Miss T 1

Tammy and Misty 19 January 1980

Tammy and Misty cover 19 January 1980

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Bella – new story (artist John Armstrong)
  • Daughter of the Desert (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Sister in the Shadows (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Spider Woman – first episode (artist Jaume Rumeu aka Homero Romeu)
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Put Yourself in the Picture! – Quiz (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Friend Pepi – Strange Story from the Mists (artist José Ariza?)
  • Make the Headlines, Hannah! (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Cindy of Swan Lake (artist Ana Rodriguez)

Sometimes we deviate from the main topic to bring attention to topics that are related to Jinty. So this entry goes off-topic to discuss the issue where Misty merged with Tammy.

The merger still resonates years later – mostly because a number of Misty readers were not happy with it and wanted the original back. The short-lived Best of Misty Monthly that appeared some years after the merger was a response to the demand for the return of Misty. A “Best of” monthly was something neither Tammy nor Jinty ever had, though Girl (series 2) did get one as well. Even today, there are efforts to bring Misty back in one form or other.

At the time, the merger itself must have been something of a disappointment for a number of Misty readers because there was not much Misty in it (it was for me, and I was a Tammy reader). Things did not improve much once Tammy’s current serials finished, which would have made more room for overt Misty material. “The Loneliest Girl in the World”, “The Sea Witches”, (possibly) “A Girl Called Midnight”, “Danger Dog” and “The Shadow of Sherry Brown” look like they may have come from Misty. Some of them, such as “The Loneliest Girl in the World”, were undoubtedly Misty. But in other cases it can be hard to say if the spooky story was Misty or Tammy; after all, Tammy ran spooky stories too. Later on, Misty’s text stories returned; they must have taken the advice of one reader who suggested it. Mini-serial spooky stories, such as “The House Mouse”, also appeared occasionally, just as they did in the original Misty.

Edie and Miss T

Misty arguably made her mark more in the Strange Stories, which became “Strange Stories from the Mist”, with Misty herself being rotated with the Storyteller. Miss T and Edie merged into one cartoon, which is a simple matter, because Joe Collins drew them both. They are a bit of an odd couple (ordinary girl and witch), which perhaps made the cartoon even better. Once Snoopa joined in the Jinty merger, they became “The Crayzees”.

Misty also brought a darker tone into Tammy, which was still felt even during the Tammy and Jinty merger, when “Monster Tales” started. There was no way either Tammy or Jinty would run anything like that – it had to be Misty. Perhaps “Monster Tales” was originally conceived for Misty, but there was no room until Bessie, Wee Sue and Molly Mills were amalgamated into one feature “Old Friends”, which they shared in rotation.

Some letters from Tammy readers indicate that the incorporation of Misty must have been a shock to them. Several commented that they found her spooky theme not only unsettling but unrealistic as well. Indeed, “Spider Woman” (a sequel to “The Black Widow” from Misty) must have given them all nightmares full of spiders. Spider Woman is an insane scientist who could well have been the first villain in Tammy to be out for world domination. Even more frightening, the story plays on the common fear of spiders to heights that Tammy readers had never seen before. We see spiders capable of eating people alive and leaving only the bones, giant spiders, poisonous spiders, and even a serum that can turn a human being into a spider!

Spider Woman 1

 

Spider Woman 2

The merger issue also has a very interesting quiz that shows that Tammy and Misty made serious efforts to accustom readers to the tone of the two different comics. Here readers are not only invited to imagine themselves in the places of the heroines in the story, but are also informed about the stories that will replace the currently running “Cindy of Swan Lake”, “Sister in the Shadows”, “Daughter of the Desert” and “Make the Headlines, Hannah!” This is the only case where I have seen upcoming stories being revealed in this way. Normally we are not informed about any new stories until the week before they start. The quiz also informs us that Bessie Bunter has been demoted from a regular weekly strip to a character “who you’ll meet from time to time”.

(Click thru)

In later weeks, Tammy and Misty ran another feature to get readers further acquainted with Tammy regulars (two of whom, Bessie and Molly, were not even appearing at the time). This was “Misty’s House of Mystery”, a game where Tammy regulars Sue, Bella, Bessie and Molly are caught in Misty’s House of Mystery, which is full of horrors such as blood showers and man-eating plants! The game is reproduced below. Imagine Jinty regulars going through a thing like that….

(Click thru)

And in this issue, Bella starts her bid for the Moscow Olympics by entering the world qualifier in Texas, with the help of her coach and her wealthy guardians, the Courtney-Pikes. Sounds like Bella’s hopes for the Olympics are better than in her 1976 Montreal Olympics story, where she had to make her way alone without even a passport, but only got as far as participating in the opening ceremony. But unexpected expenses that cause money shortages, unhelpful Texan coaches, and the sudden withdrawal of the Courtney-Pikes without explanation are already leaving her up the proverbial creek without a paddle before the event even begins.

Anne Digby – Interview

We are fortunate in being able to publish an interview with Anne Digby, children’s author Anne Digbyand writer of girls comics stories. The title she is particularly associated with is Tammy, of course, which saw publication of various text stories written by her, as well as comics adaptations of her already-published children’s books, also done by her. Below she gives some previously-unseen information on her past time in this comics world, which we are very grateful to have.

 

1 I was interested to see your interview with www.booksmonthly.co.uk this month as I know you rarely give interviews.  I would love to know more about your experiences of writing for comics and how you first started, and how this led on to writing children’s books.

Hello, Jenni. Well, like a lot of people, I’d always wanted to write books. The seed was sown in primary school  when I had a poem published  in a children’s magazine and the prize was a handsome hardback entitled, I think, “Sheila’s Glorious Holiday”. I thought how exciting it might be to write a whole book one day and see that in print, too.

At sixteen I became an editorial trainee at Fleetway House and then later become a freelance writer. My first published work of any substance was a full-length book entitled “Ella’s Big Sacrifice” (Schoolgirls Own Library, 1960). In those days the girls’ comics still carried text serials and stories alongside the picture-strips and the best of these were republished in book form under the Schoolgirls Own Library imprint, together with some new works. S.O.L. published two titles a month and, to keep them affordable, they were printed on poor paper and in tiny print. So my first book was hardly the handsome hardback I’d once dreamed about – but at least it was a start.

2  At what stage did you start writing stories in picture-strip format? When did you stop?

It’s difficult to date this exactly. My freelance career in the 1960s was quite varied, including straightforward journalism, which involved a certain amount of travel, and at one stage a staff job with Oxfam. But I always kept my hand in at writing stories for children and the market for picture-stories was becoming much larger than for straightforward text. I adapted to this quite happily – in fact back in my schooldays I’d written and drawn a picture-strip for an unofficial magazine we produced. (This was once confiscated, an episode that was to become the inspiration for one of the plot threads in First Term at Trebizon!) So, once I became a stay-at-home Mum, I dropped the journalism and just concentrated on children’s fiction – in either format – which could be written from the comfort of home.

And when, by the 1970s, the market for girls’ weekly comics with a strong fiction base was shrinking in favour of text-based mass-market paperbacks, it was a natural progression to move on to children’s books.

3 Your trajectory as a writer has involved the movement back and forth between prose fiction and picture-strip fiction. Can you tell us a little about  what differences you see between the two kinds of story-telling media – the things that work better or less well in each, the adaptations that you perhaps had to make when moving between one and the other?

What a fascinating question. Do you know, I think I found remarkably little difference. I think this might be because – once I’ve hit on the basic idea – I’ve always first visualised stories in a filmic way, certain key scenes/ images which appeal to me, around which I create the rest of the plot.

Another point is that writers and artists never worked in a collaborative way at Fleetway or Odhams Press – at  least, not to the best of my knowledge or in my own experience. When starting a script I had no idea who would be drawing the pictures.  I always had faith in an editor to marry the script with the right artist – and some of them were brilliant. One had a blank sheet of paper on which one drew up a grid, sketching in each scene for an instalment (like events in a book chapter), then one went on to describe each scene, frame by frame, for the artist’s guidance – together with the accompanying dialogue, to indicate the size/number of speech balloons required for each frame.  As these descriptions were not for publication, they would be less formal than if they’d been written for a prose work, but that was the only real difference.

For instance, I remember I was once invited to adapt two of my books into picture-strip serials for Tammy. I discovered that both of these scripts – for “A Horse Called September” (which I’d already published as a text serial) and for “First Term at Trebizon” –  in fact just about wrote themselves!

4 I’m sure every writer has their favourite creations.  As you look back on your time of writing for Tammy and other similar titles – are there any particular stories that you are still really pleased to have written, or maybe some you’d prefer to expunge from your memory?

Well, I’m sure there may be some of the latter, but if so they are safely expunged already.

First Term Front Cover
Illustration by Lucy Truman

Going even further back, I suspect that “Ella’s Big Sacrifice” might be one of them. As far as picture strips go, my favourites include “The Dance Dream”, “Olympia Jones” and “Tennis Star Tina” – (Trebizon readers might guess that  I’ve always loved that particular sport). All three stories were reprinted at least once, so hopefully the readers liked them too.

Once again, many thanks to Anne for providing the above interview. Her popular (or indeed, classic) Trebizon series is being reissued by Egmont on the 28 January.

Misty fan added scans from “The Dance Dream”, Girl annual 1982 reprint.

dance dream
Dance Dream
dance dream 2
Dance Dream
dance dream 3
Dance Dream

Edited to add: thanks to poster Peace355 on the Comics UK Forum, here are two pages from “Tennis Star Toni” in June (issue dated 10/06/1961; art by Giorgio Giorgetti).

Tennis Star Tina 1

Tennis Star Tina 2

Here also are the pages from the first episode of “First Term at Trebizon”, with associated factfile, from Tammy 19 November 1983. It ended in Tammy 4 February 1984. Thanks to Peace for this, too.

First Term at Trebizon pg 1

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Edited to add: the following stories written by Anne Digby and printed in Girl have been catalogued by Phoenix on the UK Comics Forum. Many thanks to him for this extra information!

  • 21 Newlands Park (May 20 1961 – Feb. 10 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in The Spring Term Mystery (Feb. 17 1962 – Mar. 17 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in Island Adventure” (Mar. 24 1962 – Jun. 2 1962)
  • Jill Of 21 Newlands Park in The New Girl (Jun. 9 1962 – Sep. 1 1962)
  • The Missing Masterpiece (Sep. 8 1962 – Nov. 17 1962)
  • The Emergency [complete] (Nov. 24 1962)
  • Jill And Gino (Dec. 1 1962 – Feb. 2 1963)
  • Lindy Goes Pop! (Feb. 9 1963 – Jun. 1 1963)
  • A Present For Haven (Jun. 8 1963 – Sep. 7 1963)

Jinty Annual 1985

Jinty annual 1985 2

  • Cold Comfort (feature)
  • The Lady of the Manor (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Sky at Night (feature)
  • Two Janes in History (feature)
  • The Donkey Hero (feature)
  • Freckles (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • The True Story of Lady Hester Stanhope (feature)
  • Make a Motif (feature)
  • Mini Ha-Ha! (cartoon)
  • 100 Dogs and a Girl
  • Just Your Luck (feature)
  • A Carol for Christmas (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • Take a Tip (feature)
  • Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle (cartoon)
  • Curious Curses (feature)
  • The House on Sinister Hill (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Six Steps to Popularity (feature)
  • Hair Today… (feature)
  • Hints for Happy Campers (feature)
  • Party Food…All through the Year! (feature)
  • The Jinty Nature Trail (feature)
  • Scruff’s Dog Show (poem)
  • Holiday of Adventure
  • Candy and Mandy (cartoon) (artist Fergusson Dewar)
  • A Cat Called Shivers (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Stencil It! (feature)
  • Friends and Neighbours (artist Ken Houghton)

This was the second-to-last Jinty annual, and it is also the first to really show the decline in her annuals. The previous annual had been the last to feature Jinty material; this one begins a fallback on reprints that are not even Jinty. They look like they have been taken from older material, probably June, Girls Crystal or whatever. The artwork from Jim Baikie and Ken Houghton looks like it came from their early days as it looks less developed and sophisticated than their regular Jinty artwork. The Diane Gabbot artwork in “Freckles” also looks like it is some of her earlier artwork. Even the cartoons have been taken from elsewhere, and there is no Snoopa or Alley Cat to be seen. The annual is Jinty in name only.

Why such a decline when Jinty’s sister titles Misty and Tammy still featured and reprinted their own material in their own annuals? Was it due to legal reasons, economics, or other editorial decisions?

Tammy & Jinty 28 November 1981

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  • Jump, Jump, Julia (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
  • The Shadow of Sherry Brown – first episode (artist Maria Barrera)
  • Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Pam of Pond Hill – from Jinty (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Goodbye, Jo… (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Sheena, So Shy (artist Tony Coleman)
  • The Bow Street Runner – continues from Jinty (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Lara the Loner (artist Juliana Buch, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)

This was the issue where Jinty merged with Tammy. Strangely, the merger changed the Jinty logo – something Jinty had never done in all her seven years. And it was very unusual to change the logo of a merging comic. What could be the reason for doing it here? Had there been plans to change the Jinty logo during her own run that they decided to put into practice here? Or did they feel the previous style would not stand out so well in a smaller size? The more solid lettering, narrowing of the letter spaces, and the overlap of the letters in the new style does point to the latter.

Correction: It has been brought to my attention that Jinty did change to the new logo in October, about seven issues before the merger.  This figures, because I do regard these last seven issues of Jinty as a “countdown” to the merger because of the abrupt change in the lineup of stories to short filler stories and hints that “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” was building up to a conclusion. The rushed conclusion of “Worlds Apart” and sudden return of “Pam of Pond Hill” point to this as well.

Jinty brought with her “Pam of Pond Hill” (with an entirely new story that had no proper introductions to the characters – Tammy readers were left to pick things up), the continuation of “The Bow Street Runner”, and the amalgamation of Snoopa into the Edie & Miss T strip to become “Crayzees”. They move into a new house to celebrate, but Edie dislikes Snoopa from the start and is chagrined when Miss T’s cat falls in love with him. Phil Townsend made his transition to Tammy with “The Bow Street Runner” and became a regular contributor. Trini Tinturé made no contributions to Tammy, except for one complete story, “When the Wild Geese Call…”. Later, Tammy & Jinty readers would see a repeat of Jinty‘s “The Human Zoo”, possibly due to Pam’s Poll in 1980. The merger would also run “Little Sisters”, which was possibly originally written for Jinty because it appeared in a Jinty annual. Tansy of Jubilee Street would return in “Old Friends”, a slot she shared with Bessie Bunter, Molly and Wee Sue until the merger gave way to the new look Tammy on 17 July 1982. Gypsy Rose would return in the spooky storyteller slot that she shared with The Storyteller. The merger also carried on Jinty‘s ribbon-cutting logo that she had used to open new stories. And of course no merger is no complete without a competition to celebrate (though some readers may not have), and the first prize is a 7-day trip to the US.

In regard to Tammy, she had dropped the Misty logo shortly before the merger. But one suspects that the Misty influence continued, as the merger ran “Monster Tales”, which told stories of monsters that included a man-eating plant, a gargoyle, a (helpful) fire monster, a doll that reflected the evil nature of its owner, and a man turned into a monstrous dog as a punishment for his cruelty to dogs. Such a thing could only come from Misty; perhaps this was originally written for Misty and appeared in the Tammy & Jinty merger because the space had opened for it.

The merger also saw changes in the art teams. Phil Townsend was now a regular and Maria Barrera’s artwork appeared more frequently, starting with “The Shadow of Sherry Brown”. But other Tammy art veterans were on their way out. Giorgio Giorgetti, an artist who had been with Tammy from her early days, made his Tammy swansong with “Jump, Jump, Julia”. Douglas Perry, who had been on the Tammy team since year one, would become sporadic, with Molly Mills in “Old Friends” and some complete stories, before disappearing from Tammy later in 1982. Presumably this was when Perry moved to DCT. Diane Gabbot, who had been a regular Tammy artist since 1976, drew her last Tammy serial, “Rosie at the Royalty”, just before the merger. She would return only to draw the spot illustrations for “Into the Fourth at Trebizon” adaptation in 1983.

 

Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic

Dates: 29/1/1977 – 21/11/1981
Tammy and Jinty: 28/11/1981 – 17/7/1982
Artists: Various, including Terry Aspin, Jim Baikie, Guy Peeters, Phil Townsend, Trini Tinturé, Carlos Freixas, Douglas Perry, Keith Robson, Douglas Perry and Hugo D’Adderio.

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(artwork by Keith Robson)

Spooky storytellers. The storytellers who bring you a spooky tale of mystery, creepiness, paranormal, magic, fantasy and even horror every week. Often there was a moral in it, with girls learning about courage and confidence, paying the price for bad behaviour, or some other lesson or experience they will never forget. Spooky storytellers were extremely popular mainstays in girls comics, and a spooky storyteller was guaranteed to last for years and even decades, as the Storyteller who brought us The Strangest Stories Ever Told proved. The Storyteller went through three comics – School Friend, June and, finally, Tammy. Other spooky storytellers included The Man in Black from Diana and Skeleton Corner from Judy/M&J. And Jinty had Gypsy Rose (no relation to Gipsy Rosa Remembers from Diana). ‘Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic’ debuted in Jinty on 28 November 1977.

Gypsy Rose, as the name suggests, is a gypsy woman whose Romany understanding of the supernatural, not to mention her wanderings as a gypsy where she can encounter adventures in more distant places, brought an extra advantage to her stories. And from the beginning, Gypsy Rose showed us that she was going to break the conventional mould of the spooky storytellers in several ways. First, while most other storytellers were older people with a parental or creepy look to them, Gypsy Rose was a young woman. Second, Gypsy Rose not only told us the story but was often a story character as well, somewhat like DC’s Madame Xanadu. While she opened some stories with a panel to open the story and then a concluding panel to round it off as other story tellers did, she also took an active role in other stories as a supernatural consultant who has been called in for advice. This was only natural as she was a gypsy, who was expected to not only understood the supernatural but have powers of her own as well. The only one we really see is Rose consulting her crystal ball to answer a client’s query. The other is how, whenever she is called in, she always seems to know the story behind whatever is plaguing the consultant and able to tell them what is going on. How she knows is never revealed, though we do see her doing research in a library occasionally.

As Rose often acted as a supernatural advisor, her stories were set in the present and centred on ghosts, curses, strange happenings, and evil objects, places or people. For example, in ‘The Box of Hate’, one girl comes to Rose saying that she is being blamed for strange activities that are destroying her guardians’ shop. Rose comes along, traces the problem to a box which is inhabited by a poltergeist, and has the box buried. In ‘The Haunted Ballerina’, another client comes to complain of a malevolent force emanating from a mirror that she has just bought. It seems to be out to destroy her dancing career. Rose tells the client that the mirror is haunted by a jealous ballerina who hated to see others dance because she could not do so following an accident. The evil ends up destroying itself. We never see Rose fighting evil with exorcisms, magic charms or spells, though in one story she urges an angry god to stop chasing a girl who took a bracelet from a sacred site.

Whenever Rose was an actor in her stories, it brought one drawback – they had to be set in the present. There could be no period settings (except in flashback or in one case, time travel), science fiction stories, or fantasy stories dealing with mythical beasts and such, as could be done in the Storyteller stories as he merely narrated the story, not acted in it. So story material was limited to supernatural-based themes. Only in stories where Rose was the narrator could there be more diversity in the themes explored.

By 1980, the Gypsy Rose tales were all reprint. Some of them were reprints of her own stories, but others were reprints of old Strange Stories from Tammy and even June, but replacing the Storyteller with Rose. As such, she was now more a narrator than an actor and consultant. This did have the advantage of bringing more diversity to the story material. We began to see more period stories, fantasy and even a bit of science fiction. It also enabled artwork from non-Jinty artists such as Giorgio Giorgetti, John Armstrong and Diane Gabbot to appear in Jinty and give readers a taste of these artists. On the other hand, a fallback on reprints is never a good sign for a comic. All too often it reflects cost-cutting measures and/or that the comic was declining and approaching cancellation. Indeed, Jinty would merge with Tammy the following year.

After the merger, Gypsy Rose was rotated with the Storyteller in the spooky story slot until 17 July 1982, with the launch of a new-look Tammy. Her stories in the merger were new material and not reprints or recycled Strange Stories as they were in Jinty‘s final year. When the new-look Tammy appeared, spooky stories continued but their narrators disappeared – even the long-running Storyteller.

Here is the first Gypsy Rose story, “The Ring of Death”, from Jinty and Lindy 29 January 1977; art by Jim Baikie.

Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 1

Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 2Gypsy Rose Ring of Death pg 3

List of Gypsy Rose stories in Jinty (incomplete, to be added to as issues are posted)

  • 29 January 1977: The Ring of Death (artist Jim Baikie)
  • 12 February 1977: Dream of Destiny (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • 19 February 1977: Hide and Seek with a Ghost! (artist Maria Barrera)
  • 5 March 1977: The Doll’s Dark Secret (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 12 March 1977: So Long at the Fair (artist Keith Robson)
  • 19 March 1977: The Hound from Hades (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 2 April 1977: The Holy Stones (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 9 April 1977: The Bells (artist unknown)
  • 23 April 1977: The Gemini Girl (artist Maria Barrera)
  • 7 May 1977: A Storm of Vengeance (artist Jim Baikie)
  • 4 June 1977: The Strawberry Handkerchief (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 25 June 1977: The Lost Locket (artist Phil Townsend)
  • 2 July 1977: The Wish on Devil Rock! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 9 July 1977: The Winged Spirit (artist Juan Garcia Quiros)
  • 16 July 1977: The Magic Tambourine (artist Douglas Perry)
  • 23 July 1977: Suburst! (artist Juan Garcia Quiros)
  • 3 September 1977: The Last Rose of Summer (artist unknown)
  • 22 October 1977: The Eternal Flame (artist Richard Neillands; writer Alison Christie)
  • 5 November 1977: The Thirteenth Hour (artist Douglas Perry)
  • 12 November 1977: The Carnival of Flowers (artist Guy Peeters)
  • 3 December 1977: A Picture of the Past (artist and writer Keith Robson)
  • 24 December 1977: The Spirits of the Trees (artist unknown)
  • 31 December 1977: Snowbound! (artist Keith Robson)
  • 29 January 1978: The Eyes of Chang (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Jinty Summer Special 1978: The Stone of Courage (artist unknown)
    • The Mirror That Knew The Truth (artist unknown) – reprint
  • 5 May 1979: Captive of the Stars (artist Juan Solé)
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1979: The Ghost of Charlotte (artist unknown) – reprint
  • Jinty Annual 1979: Chain of Destiny (artist Carlos Freixas) – reprint
    • Violetta’s Donkey (artist Richard Neillands) – reprint
    • Midnight Express (artist unknown)
    • Una the Unsinkable (artist Rodrigo Comos) – reprint
  • 5 January 1980: Did Taffy Know? (artist unknown)
  • 23 February 1980: Oasis of Dreams (artist Phil Townsend)
  • 1 March 1980: The Haunted Circus (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • 21/28 June 1980: The Magic Hockey Stick (artist Dudley Wynne)
  • 16 August 1980: Pictures of Peril (artist unknown)
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1980: Rock of Destiny (artist Rodrigo Comos)
    • The White Blackbird (artist John Richardson)
    • Porthole of Panic (artist unknown)
    • The Yellow Dress (artist John Richardson)
    • Laddie (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 27 September 1980: Pennies for Her Thoughts (artist Douglas Perry)
  • 4 October 1980: A Call for Help (artist Terry Aspin)
  • 15 November 1980: A Cross for the Cornish Queen (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • 27 December 1980: An Ace Up the Sleeve (artist John Armstrong)
  • 7 February 1981: The Lollipop Man’s Promise (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • 14 February 1981: Friends for All Time (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 4 April 1981: Arrow of Fate (artist unknown)
  • 9 May 1981: The Seal People (artist unknown)
  • 13 June 1981: The Resting Place (artist Veronica Weir)
  • 25 July 1981: The Veiled Threat (artist Tony Highmore)
  • 1 August 1981: The Witching Bones (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Jinty Holiday Special 1981: The Bracelet of Love (artist Jim Baikie)
    • They Always Know (artist Robert MacGillivray)
    • When Things Go “Bang” in the Night… (artist unknown)
  • 3 October 1981: The Wish on Devil Rock! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • 10 October 1981: The Robber Bird (artist unknown)
  • 31 October 1981: The Marble Heart (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • 7 November 1981: The Sable Knight (artist Keith Robson)
  • 14 November 1981: The Secret World (artist Keith Robson)
  • 21 November 1981: A Window on the Past (artist Hugo D’Adderio)