Tag Archives: Is This Your Story?

Jinty and Lindy 1 January 1977

Jinty cover 1 January 1977

Contents in this issue:

Jinty’s New Year issue for 1977 was bang on New Year’s Day. Jinty says “make it a great New Year – with us!” Indeed, in my opinion 1977 was the year Jinty hit her stride. In 1977 she cast off the Lindy logo that had stayed with her throughout 1976. But what really defined 1977 as the year Jinty hit her stride was fully establishing her trademark science fiction and jauntiness with strips like the quirky “Fran’ll Fix It!” and her “smash hit” story of 1977, “Land of No Tears”. In the same year, Jinty added her resident spooky storyteller, Gypsy Rose. It was also in 1977 that Jinty added Guy Peeters and the unknown Concrete Surfer to her team, who would go on to draw some of her biggest classics.

Oddly, although Gypsy Rose did not appear in Jinty until 29 January 1977, there is a horoscope in this issue saying, “Gypsy Rose looks at the stars”. Readers must have been wondering, “Who the heck is Gypsy Rose?” The horoscope appears on the same page as the blurb for a new story, “Mark of the Witch!”, so perhaps it was meant as a foreshadowing for Gypsy Rose too. If so, it is an odd one, because it gives no hint of who Gypsy Rose is supposed to be. Is it the pen name of the astrologer who writes the horoscope or something?

The cover itself is a beautiful one, with its ingenious use of blues, yellows and reds. The white space lightens things up and does not make the cover too heavy. The seasons look a bit mixed. Mandy’s water-skiing panel hints at summer, while the holly the poor old druid is about to sit on implies winter. The rock Gertie puts the holly on makes it reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, which further adds to the winter theme. While Mandy and Gertie look happy on the cover, we get the opposite with Ruth and Ayesha, who are on the wrong end of a farmer’s gun.

Of course we have New Year features. There is a page where pop stars like Paul McCartney and Paul Nicholas list their resolutions for 1977. In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” Henrietta mishears the word “resolution” as “revolution” and enchants everyone at school into a revolution instead of making resolutions. Alley Cat starts off New Year doing what he does best – annoying the Muchloots. In this case it’s raiding their larder for a New Year feast. Gertie triggers a series of events that establishes Stonehenge – its purpose being a tourist attraction – and its opening has New Year celebrations included.

Now, on to the other stories:

“Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud” is the first of Jinty’s stories to end in 1977, with the mixed-up identities of the skivvy and the high-class girl being sorted out once they finally find each other. This also marks the end of Jinty’s serials with 19th century settings, which had been introduced when Lindy merged into Jinty way back in November 1975. Its replacement next week is Phil Townsend’s first 1977 story, “Mark of the Witch!

So far there is no end for Hetty King’s ordeal. Hetty is lumbered with looking after Jo, but Jo hates Hetty because she wrongly blames Hetty for her sister’s death. Hetty manages to secure a job as a temporary PE teacher at her new locality after Jo’s hatred forced her out of her old one, but she faces an uphill battle to win respect from the pupils. And how long before Jo’s hatred interferes with everything?

Mandy applies makeup to adopt a new persona, “Bubbles”, and goes water-skiing. But really – wearing a wig while water-skiing? No wonder the episode ends with Mandy’s secret in danger.

Martine’s odd behaviour is getting worse and worse. Tessa can’t figure out what the hell is going on, except that Martine seems to be acting like the crazed woman she plays onstage.

As already mentioned on the cover, Ruth and Ayesha have a scary moment with a farmer. Fortunately he turns friendly after Ayesha saves his life. But then a shoplifter makes Ruth the scapegoat for her crimes, taking advantage of the prejudice against gypsies.

In “Is This Your Story?”, Lynn Carter feels her family don’t appreciate her and she envies her friend Mary for being an only child. But when both girls end up in hospital, right next to each other, Lynn learns that some people may not be as enviable as she thinks and she draws closer to her family.

In “Sceptre of the Toltecs”, both Clare and a class bully begin to suspect that Malincha, the mystery girl from Mexico, has strange powers. The blurb for next week says there will be more evidence of this.

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Jinty & Lindy 15 January 1977

jinty-lindy-cover-15-january-1977

Stories in this issue

 

I have just acquired this issue. The pages are loose, so it is possible something is missing in the middle, though I see nothing noticeably missing in the issue. If anyone sees anything missing in the list above, please let me know.

In “Go On, Hate Me!”, Hetty gets Jo out of two big scrapes, but the little hatemonger does not appreciate it one bit. She still hates Hetty as much as ever and now she’s turned other girls against her. However, we are told that all the hatred is going to bring an act of love next week. It sounds the end of the story then, and things are finally going to change for Hetty, thank goodness.

“Is This YOUR Story?” changes its title to “Could This Be YOU?” for some reason. The story is about a girl who is picked on because she is tall. When the teasing finally gets too much for her, a teacher comes up with a clever plan to help her use her height to her advantage and beat the bullies.

“Made-Up Mandy” also comes up with a plan to beat the bullies at her old school, who have bullied a friend out of the lead in the school play. She plays “ghost” to teach the bullies a lesson – but now she is in danger of being found out.

However, there is no respite from the bullying for poor Emma in “Mark of the Witch!”, despite Alice’s help to get her accepted at the riding club. No matter what she does, Emma is always “Black Emma” the bad lot in the eyes of the other kids.

There are no bullies in this week’s episode of “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”. However, there is a vain girl in serious need of a lesson, and Henrietta is always ready to oblige.

“The Big Cat” is in big trouble – she got trapped in a warehouse that was being demolished. Ruth manages to get her out, but she’s injured.

“The Mystery of “Martine” is deepening, with Martine’s inexplicable behaviour growing even more troubling for her sister Tessa.

In “Sceptre of the Toltecs”, Malincha is giving guarded explanations for why her evil uncle is after her; she says she can’t reveal everything without consulting her father. That’s a bit annoying, especially as it looks like the evil uncle has now arrived.

Gertie Grit lands in the future this week instead of a period in Earth’s history. She helps out a dog that doesn’t want to be part of a space programme.

 

 

One-offs, series, returning characters, regulars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jinty & Lindy 22 January 1977

Jinty 77

One of the most colourful and striking Jinty covers in my opinion, and it’s another of my favourites. On the cover, Henrietta is making it plain to Sue that she does not like Sue putting an umbrella into her while Emma stops a runaway horse but gets no thanks. As far as the villagers are concerned, she is a “bad ‘un” and that’s that. Only Alice is friendly and in this issue she offers her hand of friendship again. Will Emma take it next week?

Two stories end in this issue. Hetty reaches breaking point and snaps from all the hatred she is receiving. But Jo sees the consequences of the hatred against Hetty that she fermented and learns the value of forgiveness – not to mention getting her facts straight. Druid Caractacus finally catches up with Gertie, but she is pleased to see him because she is in a spot of bother. Next week we will see the start of one of Jinty’s most enduring and popular features – “Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic“. Also starting next issue is “Freda, False Friend”, Phil Gascoine’s first Jinty story for 1977.

The origin of the Sceptre of the Toltecs is revealed, so the story is heading for its climax now. Made-Up Mandy has played “ghost” to help a friend, but narrowly missed being caught. And now she’s set on going on safari, although her nasty employer Miss Agate won’t allow it. So we have a pretty good suspicion that Mandy will be headed back to the make-up kit for another disguise next week. Whatever has possessed Martine is still causing trouble and  it’s all Tessa can do to concentrate on ballet so she can get into the City Ballet Company.

 

 

Jinty & Lindy 19 February 1977

Jinty cover 5.jpg

  • Hide and Seek with a Ghost! Gypsy Rose story (artist Maria Barrera)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Emilia Prieto)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Freda, False Friend (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Big Cat (Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Is This Your Story? (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)

Hide and seek with a ghost? Now how on earth can you do that? It would not be surprising if readers open the issue immediately to find out. And the story is on the first page, so they would be able to read it immediately.

In the other story profiled on the cover, Emma has finally had enough of all the persecution from the villagers who brand her a witch and an outcast. Her efforts to prove herself have got nowhere and now she going to strike back by becoming what they always say she is. Well, they asked for it. But where is it going to end?

The Mystery of Martine is now on its penultimate episode. Tessa has run out of moves to help Martine, and whatever is possessing Martine is now taking her to its ultimate conclusion – burning down the house she failed to get back from the woman she harassed. Something has to happen fast!

The cover says the issue is meant to be the Valentine’s Day issue. Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag does the honours with a sniffy teacher who confiscates “trashy Valentine cards”. Henrietta soon gets to work on her, of course. But where it ends up surprises even Henrietta, and it all ends happily and appropriately for Valentine’s Day.

In “Made-Up Mandy”, Mandy turns Balinese dancer to help a friend. It turns out that she is no Balinese dancer, but she wins plaudits for thinking on her feet. Her next disguise swings the pendulum to the other extreme – a “stiff and starchy governess”.

 

Jinty and Lindy 8 January 1977

Jinty and Lindy 8 January 1977

The striking aspect of this issue has got to be the cover artwork from “Mark of the Witch!“, which begins this week. This story shows emotional abuse happening generation after generation, though the abuse is not purely limited to being within the family: it’s perpetuated by the protagonist’s grim, tough father but also indulged in by the whole village. There is a telling panel where she avoids the father with palpable relief on her face – treading on eggshells, indeed.

Stories in this issue:

  • Go On, Hate Me! (artist Keith Robson, writer Len Wenn)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Emilia Prieto)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh-Thornton Jones)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Alley Cat
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)

Is This Your Story? aka Could This Be YOU? (1976-1977)

Sample images

ITYS1.jpg

ITYS2.jpg

(artist: John Richardson)

Publication: 16 October 1976-22(?) January 1977

Artists: Various, including John Richardson and Richard Neillands

Writer: Unknown

“Is This Your Story?”, also known as “Could This be YOU?”, was one of Jinty’s more unusual, if short-lived features. Actually, it was a reprint from June & School Friend, and was originally published as “Could This Be You?” It was a true-life feature, and each week it would run a complete story that was based on common problems among girls. But unlike the teen magazines, it was not based on letters that readers had sent in where they recount their real-life experiences or outline a problem. The stories were composites of common real-life problems.

The title “Is This Your Story?” was meant to be a touching strip that strike a chord with readers, hence the underline under “Your”. Later it reverted to its original title, “Could This Be YOU?” Would any of the readers have encountered a situation similar to the one in the story? If so, they would see themselves in that story. If not, it might be a situation they were familiar with or a warning if they did encounter one.

The first episode concerned a girl named Peggy who rejects her new dog because she still grieving for her beloved Punch (maybe her parents bought the new dog too soon). The new dog is miserable at not getting her love and on the very verge of being sent to the kennels when Peggy takes a liking to it at the very last minute.

Other problems the series tackled included a girl called beanpole, little sisters always tagging along, getting jealous when a brother finds a girlfriend, and resenting a new stepfather. Common enough problems that many readers could identify with one way or another.

Sometimes the stories were told by the girls themselves. One case is Shirley, who feels her parents are treating her like a baby when they say she is trying to grow up too quickly. Shirley sneaks off to a night on the town to show her parents that she is old enough to do it. But she runs into trouble and a night of terror before her local bus driver comes to the rescue. Afterwards she tells us that her parents were right. And they were pretty sporting parents too, in not giving a Shirley a row for what she did. Instead, they say they understand, having been young themselves (and probably had the same trouble with their parents!).

Some of the stories showed real insight into human psychology by more drawing on reality than patronising moralising. For example, Freda’s problem (above) is telling lies. This is not because she is deceitful by nature but because it is a habit she has gotten into. But then she tells one lie too many (she had to slip up sometime) and in danger of facing serious trouble at school. And we get another lesson into the bargain – don’t try smoking!

In another story, Claire impresses all her friends because she is always so stylishly dressed, and no outfit is the same. But in reality Claire helps herself to her sisters’ clothes to make that impression because she is dissatisfied with her own. And Georgie’s problem is that she flies off the handle too readily and often finds herself hurting people’s feelings very badly. She always apologises and really means it, but she thinks she cannot control her temper. The class sends her to Coventry for a day to teach her that she can and must control it. Afterwards, Georgie does make serious efforts to keep her temper. It is not easy, but she finds she is much nicer now.

Of course, each story always ends happily, with solutions being found to the various problems. Some of those solutions sound a bit improbable and even drastic. For example, Claire’s sisters punish her by locking up their wardrobes and hers, so she is forced to go to school in her mother’s dress. It is too big for her of course and gives everyone a laugh. The whole story comes out, but instead of teasing her over it for days on end, the girls are understanding and help Claire out with expanding her own wardrobe. They must be some classmates you don’t see every day. Freda, the habitual liar, is extremely lucky to have a teacher in a million with Miss Birdlace (above). In real life, she would be far more likely to find herself hauled up before the head and get a rocket the size of a megaton.

Towards December, “Is This Your Story?” did not appear in some issues, and it began to take on the feel of a filler story than a regular feature. Was it not as popular as Jinty hoped? Was there not enough room for it in some issues? Or did the editor indeed start using it as a filler feature rather than a regular feature? Indeed, it only had a two-page spread which made it easier to use for that purpose.

“Is This Your Story?” was the second (and last) of Jinty’s strips to foray into the world of the agony aunt and real life problems; the first had been the short-lived “Jenny – Good  or Bad Friend?” in 1974, where Jenny tells the story of how her friendship broke up and the editor questions her along the way, and readers to make up their own minds at the end. The Jenny formula was not repeated, which suggests it did not work out. “Is This Your Story?” was more substantial, but it did not last long either. Perhaps Jinty found that real-life problem based strips were better left to teen magazines and she should stick to problem pages.

 

Jinty & Lindy 23 October 1976

Jinty Cover 23 October 1976 

  • Jassy’s Wand of Power (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

Human sacrifice on a Jinty cover is disturbing, even though we can see Jassy is striving to save the boy (and succeeds). The boy is blind, which makes it even more horrifying. It makes for a striking cover to feature on this blog. “Jassy’s Wand of Power” would have been better to keep the explanation that it is set in an alternate Britain that is more superstitious so readers who joined the story would know. But it didn’t, so some readers must have been been puzzled as to why Britain is suddenly reverting to human sacrifice, witchcraft and water diviners, even if it is in a drought crisis.

Witchcraft also features in Gertie Grit, where Gertie gets a job with a witch. She ends up causing the Vesuvius eruption and the destruction of Pompeii when she makes a miscalculation with some magic powder. Gertie is forced to make another hasty exit to another time period, and for once she learns a lesson: “You can’t learn magic spells in five minutes!”

This week’s “Is This Your Story?” features Clare who makes herself the centre of attention and the envy of her classmates with her clothes. They don’t realise the clothes are not Clare’s – she helps herself to her sisters’ wardrobes to impress everyone with her appearance. The sisters resort to drastic measures to teach Clare a lesson – they lock up their wardrobes and Clare’s, so the hitherto smartly dressed Clare has to go to school in her mum’s dress! Everyone gets a huge laugh, but Clare takes it in part and sees the funny side too. This is what sees her through her dressing down, so to speak, as well as learning her lesson.

Last week Stefa softened and cried when her mother had a bad accident. But then she regretted it, seeing it as weakness when she should have stayed firm with her stony heart. This week, silly Stefa resolves to harden up even more. So poor Mum is in for a shock when she comes home from the hospital. Dad reaches his limit and decides to give Stefa a taste of her own medicine by telling her she must buy and cook her own food. Stefa welcomes it, as it will widen the rift between them. But in the next issue, Stefa finds it turning into another test for her stony heart as she is a lousy cook! But will this teach her the lesson she so badly needs to learn?

Rose foils another plot from the Thornes, but falls out with her friend Elaine. The girl in the bubble is on the run from Miss Vaal, but she and Linda dodge the police to sneak back and find out what exactly Miss Vaal is up to. They find Miss Vaal’s black book, but what will it reveal? Daisy’s plan to escape by chimney  has to be put on hold when the family go on holiday and take the servants with them. It’s no holiday for Daisy, who still has to cope with hard work and bullying, but she is hopeful for a chance to escape her servitude on holiday. Will she succeed or be forced to go back to her chimney plan? Uncle Jason is in hospital, but this brings no peace between the Sisters at War. In Champion in Hiding, Mitzi’s mother is in hospital too, and nasty Aunt Shirley is taking advantage of it to sabotage Mitzi’s training for the dog championship.

 

Jinty and Lindy 20 November 1976

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  • Go On, Hate Me! – first episode (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! – first episode (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Big Cat – first episode (artist Ana Rodrigues)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Is This Your Story? (artist John Richardson)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Alley Cat

This issue marks the debut of one of Jinty‘s most popular humour strips, “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” This strip would run for three years, arguably longer than The Jinx from St Jonah’s and Dora Dogsbody. Sue sees a handbag (brought back from the mysterious Orient) at a jumble sale and just has to have it. It seems that the handbag, which Sue names Henrietta, seems to be grinning at Sue, but Sue has no inkling of what she has bought just yet. But we do when a thief snatches the bag with the takings. He takes a comb out of the bag and when he uses it, he is astonished to find his hair growing to monstrous proportions and then wrapping around a pole. He ends up begging a policeman to arrest him. Sue takes back her bag, not noticing its mischievous grin. An interesting approach to the first episode, where we’re not told everything at once, but we have been given enough to have us eager for the next episode.

Two other stories start, “Go On, Hate Me!” and “The Big Cat”. The panel of happy running girls on the cover is a stark contrast to its title “Go On, Hate Me!” and belies the ugly campaign of hate that will start against Hetty Blake in subsequent episodes. Ruth Lee in “The Big Cat” is the target of a campaign as well, one that sees the council evict her gypsy camp. Ruth burns her caravan gypsy-style and sets out on a journey. Readers will see how it explains her dying gran’s prophecy: “Take care of the big cat and she’ll bring you luck and happiness at last.” What big cat? We get a hint that we will find out in the next episode when we read the blurb for it: “‘That’s Ayesha…and she’s untameable! A killer!'”

“Rose among the Thornes” is reaching its climax, with an unexpected twist that could backfire on the Thornes. A canister fell from a plane and wrecked gran’s cottage, which gives them the excuse to pull it down. But they don’t realise the canister contains a dangerous toxic chemical and it is leaking! Rose is on her way to warn them, and it is the race of her life.

Stefa gets even more daft with her heart of stone. Dad threatens to get rid of her statue, so Stefa runs away – with the statue on a wheelbarrow! You just have to laugh, and of course Stefa can’t get far when she is carrying a statue along.

Jinty & Lindy 4 December 1976

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(Cover artist: Keith Robson)

  • Go on, Hate Me! (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Made-Up Mandy. First episode. (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodrigues)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

We have returned to covers that feature the first page of a story after a jag on 1-2 story panel covers. With Katie Jinx gone, the cover is currently occupied by one of Jinty’s most disturbing and ugliest stories, “Go on, Hate Me!” You may find yourself wincing when you view this cover. Hettie King is hated because her sports club blames her (wrongly, of course) for the death of her friend, Carol, on the field. Nobody listens to Hettie’s protests of innocence. Among them is Carol’s sister Jo, who is secretly Hettie’s worst enemy. In this episode Jo puts tacks in Hettie’s shoes, which draws blood (ugh – poor Hettie!). But Hettie is determined to run because it was Carol’s dying wish that the club win the relay. In the next episode she does win the relay despite her damaged feet, but gets no thanks for it. By the way, is it my imagination, or has Hettie’s head been drawn too large in the opening panel?

In “Stefa’s Heart of Stone”, Stefa discovers that Ruth is far braver than she is – having lost three people while Stefa has lost one. But Stefa has still not learned her lesson and remains even more determined to turn her heart to stone so she will not face grief again. What will get through to the wretched girl?

In this issue, “Made-Up Mandy” starts. In a variant of the Cinderella theme, Mandy Mason is a cleaner and caretaker at a beauty salon where everyone looks down on her and her employer, Miss Agate, is nasty. But then Mandy discovers that she has a talent for make-up herself, and her talent enables her to secretly enter a variety of disguises that improves her self-confidence but also gets her into a lot of scrapes. And it all has to be kept secret from Miss Agate, who will surely sack Mandy.

It is the penultimate episode of “Girl in a Bubble”, and now poor Helen is back in the bubble at Miss Vaal’s. Nobody listened to Helen’s protests that she did not need it or that Miss Vaal is insane. Belatedly, Helen’s parents wake up, and now they are speeding towards her. But are they too late? Miss Vaal has put in extra security to stop Helen escaping again, and in the last episode she will well and truly show just how insane she is.

In “Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud” we see another bid to escape. Daisy, a rich snobby girl who has been mistaken for a skivvy,  is so desperate to escape the skivvy’s life that she is climbing a chimney to do it.