Tag Archives: Hard Days for Hilda

Lindy Summer Special

Lindy Holiday Special

  • Diana’s Dolphins (artist Tom Hurst)
  • Curiouser & Curiouser (feature)
  • Carrie Calls the Tune! (text story)
  • Be a Summer Butterfly… (feature)
  • The Millionaire Dog (artist Jesus Redondo)
  • Tell Your Fortune? (text story)
  • Where the Lion is King (feature)
  • Know Your Stars (pop quiz)
  • The Ghost of Hermit Island (artist Christine Ellingham unknown Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Someone Else’s Pony (text story)
  • Dragonacre
  • Can You Keep Your Mates? (quiz)
  • Hard Days for Hilda (artist Dudley Wynne, writer Terence Magee)
  • I Remember (poem)
  • Penny Crayon
  • Milk-Round Maggie (artist Mike White)
  • The Flower of Chivalry (feature)
  • Our Friend Prickles (hedgehog feature)
  • Jumping Jenny (text story)
  • A Quilted Night-Dress Case (feature)

Lindy was an extremely short-lived comic, despite the “great launch” the special says she had. She lasted only 20 issues before becoming the first comic to merge with Jinty in 1975. So this is most likely to be the only summer special Lindy produced. It looks like the special came out while Lindy was still running because there is an ad urging you to buy Lindy on page 33. Moreover, the editor’s comments on the inside front cover describe the regular comic as “brand new”, and also that it had a “great launch”. But there is no sign of a cover girl called Lindy; it is photographs of people that accompany the comments. Only the signature at the end says “Lindy”. Clearly, Lindy never had a cover girl, unlike Tammy, Jinty (to some extent) or Penny.

My copy regrettably has some missing pages, but at least there is a contents page to fill some gaps. The missing pages are 39-42, so if anyone can provide scans I will be grateful.

The cover certainly is colourful and beautiful. The use of yellow background and pinks and blues in the picture are very eye-catching. The only regular characters Lindy had were “Hard Days for Hilda” and Penny Crayon, which appear here as well. Hilda Hobbs works cheerfully at the hotel where she works, despite the abuse from senior staff. Here the mean cook begrudges a tramp a square meal and blasts Hilda when she tries to do so. But of course there is a complete turnabout in the end: the cook is forced to give the tramp a free meal as a reward when he unmasks a thief disguised as a professor. It is a pity there were not more regulars to give more Lindy flavour to the special.

Lindy special 1

(click thru)

It is hard to say which stories were written for Lindy and which were reprinted from elsewhere, or whether they are all reprints. Reprint is certainly the case with “The Millionaire Dog”, as Jesus’ Redondo art looks like it came from his early days and is not up to the level of development seen in his artwork for the regular comic. Perhaps it came from June. And the Tom Hurst artwork in “Diana’s Dolphins” looks like it might be some of his earlier work too.

Lindy special 2

(click thru)

There are some gems in the stories. In “Diana’s Dolphins”, the Dobson family run a dolphinarium, but Dad doesn’t want the girls to find this out when he sends Diana to a posh school, in case they look down on her. But Diana’s swimming skills from her dolphinarium experiences put the school on the map for swimming and Dad finds he had nothing to worry about. In “Dragonacre”, the environment of Dragonacre is threatened when a Mr Barker wants to buy it for development. To save it, Kerry Ward and her friends have to find £2000. It is then that they discover that the legend of real dragons at Dragonacre was not just a legend. And in “Milk-Round Maggie”, Maggie Marvin wins the title of Milk-Round Miss and treats her friends at Paradise Place to a day at the seaside. A yob called Crispin threatens to ruin things with his thoughtless behaviour and disregard for others. But of course it all ends up a smashing holiday – except for Crispin. And in “Jumping Jenny”, new girl Jenny gets off to a bad start at her new school when she is wrongly branded a sneak and sent to Coventry. A teacher discovers her talent for hurdling when she tries to run away, but how can she even get into the team while she is in Coventry?

Lindy special 3

(click thru)

Addendum: I have found that the special came out on 3 July 1975 while Lindy was only on her third issue.

Lindy # 2, 28 June 1975

Lindy cover

  • Pavement Patsy (artist Miguel Quesada)
  • The Tin-Mine Ponies (artist Manuel Cuyàs)
  • Nina Nimble Fingers (artist Roy Newby)
  • Jane’s Jeannie
  • David Essex pinup (missing from my copy)
  • Sophie’s Secret Squeezy (artist José Casanovas)
  • The Last Green Valley
  • Penny Crayon
  • The House of Fear (artist Tom Hurst)
  • Hard Days for Hilda (artist Dudley Wynne; writer Terence Magee)
  • Pop Spot (feature)

Lindy was the first comic to merge with Jinty. But how did she start off originally? What was in her first lineup? I do not have the first issue, but I do have the second, which came with a bottle of perfume as its free gift. Lindy’s favourite perfume, apparently. I wonder what scent that was?

I suspect my copy is lacking a couple of pages (at the “Jane’s Jeannie” section), most likely because someone took out the David Essex pinup, so it is possible that the lineup I have listed here is not quite complete. If someone could clarify this with a complete copy, please leave a comment below.

New IPC titles of the 70’s started off with a Cinderella story and a  slave story in their first lineups, and Lindy is no exception. The Cinderella story is “Pavement Patsy”, where Patsy Logan puts up with her horrible aunt and uncle so she can stay together with her little sister Jenny. She is their drudge and obliged to go on on her uncle’s coal round. The aunt and uncle are as mean as Scrooge too; in this episode Patsy asks her aunt for money to buy a new pair of shoes for Jenny, but all the aunt will cough up for it is five pence for something at a jumble sale, which results in shoes that don’t fit properly. There is usually some hobby or passion that provides solace; in Patsy’s case it is pavement art, and words of praise from a tramp encourage her to believe that her art is going to be more than just a hobby. But you can be sure the horrible guardians are going to get in the way.

The slave story is “Nina Nimble Fingers” (reprinted in Jinty Holiday Special 1981). The slaving is set in a Victorian dress shop, where Nina Sinclair and her sickly younger sister Clare have ended up as apprentices after their mother’s death. We are into part two, and Madam Estelle, the owner of the shop, has now established to the Sinclair sisters just what a hard, cruel woman she is to work for. She even takes off money that Nina has earned for herself and badly needs in order to get medical treatment for her sister. But it also establishes the to-be-expected determination of the heroine not to give in to such cruelty and ultimately rise above it. Supernatural stories are part of the parcel as well, of course.  In this case they are “Sophie’s Secret Squeezy” and “Jane’s Jeannie”. Jeannie is the more lightweight one, played for humour. Jane makes friends with a genie called Jeannie. But instead of a bottle, Jeannie pops out of a tennis racquet! That sure makes a change. Sophie has been down on her luck until she acquires a squeezy bottle and now feels different about herself. Every time she makes bubbles, she sees visions in them that help her immensely. In this episode she is framed for stealing, but the squeezy bottle shows her who and why; it was a girl who was embittered because her mother will not allow her to join the hockey team. How will the squeezy help her to sort out the problem, and in a way that helps the girl? Presumably the story lasted until the squeezy bottle ran out.

A scary story is always popular, and so Lindy has “The House of Fear”. Harriet has gone to stay at her aunt’s and the only residents are the servants who are trying to scare her off with claims of hauntings. As if they need to fake ghosts – the butler looks like Frankenstein’s monster or Lurch from the Addams Family. And by the end of the episode, Harriet suspects they are holding her aunt prisoner in the cellar. But I wonder if Lindy is tipping her hand way too soon with this one – it’s only the second episode and already Harriet is convinced the servants are trying to scare her off. Shouldn’t the story be allowed to develop more before she begins to suspect them of that?

“Hard Days for Hilda” is a maidservant story, but set in the 1930s rather than the more usual Victorian times. Hilda Hobbs takes the lowest maidservant job at The Grand Hotel (makes a change from aristocratic residences like Molly Mills’ Stanton Hall) though she doesn’t let it get her down and remains chirpy. But in the second episode she finds her days getting harder when she finds the other maidservants are spiteful and play tricks to get her into trouble, and there is the typical bullying from senior staff. But there is always one servant who is friendly and Hilda finds him in this episode as well – Willie the Buttons Boy. I have found on UK Comics Wiki that it was written by Terence Magee, a stalwart at writing stories about tortured heroines at all sorts of cruel institutions ranging from schools to reformatories, including Jinty’s own “Merry at Misery House“.

In “The Last Green Valley”, Lindy seemed to anticipate Jinty in featuring environmental stories. The environmental issue in this case is Britain being plunged into an ice age, and our band of survivors are making their way to “the green valley”, an oasis that is supposed to have escaped the ice age.

Finally, there are “The Tin-Mine Ponies”, where the snobby Mrs Gore-Bradley threatens the rehoming of ponies at a pony trek centre because she wants to keep the countryside to herself. She is outsmarted in this episode but is still determined to get rid of “those ghastly ponies”, and it won’t be for lack of trying. Hilda and Patsy were the longest-running stories from the first Lindy lineup; Patsy finished in #18 and Hilda in #19. This indicates they were popular while they lasted, perhaps among the most popular.

In summary, it can be said that Lindy got off to a promising start, with Norman Worker at the editor’s helm. Lindy’s stories were filled with the ingredients (hardship, cruelty, humour, supernatural, friendship) that made the early Tammy and Jinty popular. There were even some surprising takes on established formulas, such as the genie who popped out of a tennis racquet. However, her lineup lacked humorous regular characters (a la Tansy of Jubilee Street or The Jinx from St Jonah’s); the only character in that area was the Penny Crayon cartoon, which made her the only Lindy character to carry on in the merger. She also lacked regular characters in general, a deficiency that is always means a girls’ comic fades fast once it goes into a merger, because it is the regulars and cartoon strips that carry on in a merger. So although Lindy’s first lineup showed potential, it exhibited deficiencies that would be telling once she merged with Jinty. Had she lasted longer, the deficiencies could have been addressed, more regular characters introduced, more serials that could still be well-remembered, and Lindy herself remembered more. Instead, she was short-lived (only 20 issues), even by the standards of short-lived girls’ comics, and is largely forgotten.