Tag Archives: Julian Vivas

Paula’s Puppets [1978]

Sample Images

Paulas Puppets 2aPaulas Puppets 2bPaulas Puppets 2c

Published: Jinty 4 February 1978 to 22 April 1978

Episodes: 12

Artist: Julian Vivas

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: De poppen van Petra [Petra’s Puppets] (in: Tina 1979, Tina Topstrip 54, 1983).

Plot

Paula Richards has come out top athlete at Handley Athletics Club and has a very jealous rival in Marnie. Paula’s father is a prominent man because he owns the biggest toy factory in town. Unfortunately Dad has spoiled Paula ever since her mother died, so she’s a bit on the selfish side. For example, Paula just finds it boring to hear that her father’s factory has taken a downturn in recent months instead of worrying. She isn’t too worried either when a fire burns Dad’s factory to the ground; she just tells him the insurance will put everything right.

For everyone else, though, the fire was the worst thing that could have happened because the factory was the source of the town’s employment. Now they are rendered jobless and there’s no other work around. Then nasty rumours go around the town that Dad burned his own factory down for the insurance; even the housekeeper Mrs Black believes it and walks out on the Richards family. Dad is getting really down but Paula is merely angry over Mrs Black and thinks it’s just a stupid fuss over a “silly old fire”. She goes off to the burned out factory, where she finds some wax puppets that have survived the fire. She gives vent to her anger about Mrs Black by making one puppet look like her and giving it a big fat wart on the nose.

Then Dad really is charged with burning down the factory and protests his innocence as the police take him away. Everyone turns against Paula when word about it spreads. Dad has no chance at his trial; everything seems to point to his guilt. Even Paula thinks the jury is right when they find him guilty, and she turns on him as well.

Meanwhile, Paula is very surprised to see Mrs Black has developed a swelling on her nose, which looks just like the wart she moulded on the puppet. Paula now begins to wonder if the puppets have some sort of power, and whether she can use it to get revenge on the town.

The only friends Paula has left are club coach Joanne Phillips and her father, who was her father’s partner in the business. They take her in, and Joanne encourages Paula not to give up her athletics. However, the girls, led by Karen Thompson, want Paula out. They refuse to run in the relay team unless Joanne gives Paula’s place in the team to Marnie. Joanne refuses to give in to their blackmail while Paula angrily walks out – and towards the puppets for her revenge. She models one on Karen and mimics Karen getting a sprained ankle from a fall in the high jump. This is precisely what happens to Karen later. So the puppets’ power is definitely for real.

Paula is too angry to realise some of the girls have become apologetic, including Karen before the fall happened. Lindy seems more sympathetic, but something makes Paula so ruthless that she nobbles Lindy during the hurdles. An inquiry is now pending and Paula is in danger of being banned. She begins to wonder if the puppets are a bad influence and she should stop using them. But she does so anyway, with a puppet made to look like Lindy. At the inquiry, she directs the puppet to have Lindy say it was a mistake. It works, but Lindy has now lost her sympathy for Paula. Paula wonders if she should destroy the puppets while Joanne advises Paula to stop thinking everyone is against her.

That advice is hard to take when Paula sees “Get out of Handley, Paula Richards” daubed on the old factory wall. Two girls, one of whom resembles Lindy, wrote the graffiti, and passers by just let them go because they are hostile to Paula too. Paula goes back to the Lindy puppet for revenge, but gets really scared when she gets startled and drops the puppet.

The hurdles race is being re-run, and this time Paula resolves to win it fairly. But the other girls are not, what with hiding Paula’s running gear in the gym attic and taking the ladder away when she tries to retrieve it. Lindy comes in and offers to help by crossing a beam. Paula sees the beam looks dangers, but finds she can’t make a sound when she tries to warn Lindy – and then realises why when she remembers her own words of revenge against Lindy just before she dropped the Lindy puppet. So the beam cracks under Lindy and she falls to the floor, which renders her comatose. The girls confess to the trick on Paula, while Lindy’s brother blames Paula for the accident, but out of the bitterness towards her father: “We heard how Lindy risked her life for the daughter of a jailbird!”

Paula tries to destroy the puppets but finds they won’t burn. So she decides to give up the athletics club because of the hostility towards her that tempts her to use them. However, Joanne is not having that and wants Paula to enter a cross-country championship. Paula agrees, but starts ducking out of school to train for the event because she wants to avoid temptation to use the puppets because of the bullying at school.

Meanwhile, Paula’s athletics club enemies have begun to notice a pattern about the things that have happened to them and are beginning to (correctly) suspect Paula has something to do with it. One girl, Rhoda, puts her name down for the cross-country event so they get another chance for revenge. They also discover Paula is playing truant in order to train, and spitefully sneak on her. When Joanne hears, Paula makes the excuse that it was the bullying, which Joanne finds understandable. She withdraws Paula from school and teaches her at home. Paula also starts getting personal training from Joanne, but does not realise Marnie is spying on her and trying to figure out her weaknesses.

Discovering there is still no change in Lindy’s condition, Paula decides to see if the puppets can be used for good for a change. She dresses one like Lindy and another like herself, and mimics Lindy waking up when she goes to visit her in hospital. She does not realise Marnie is trying to spy on her while she is doing this. After Paula leaves, Marnie investigates the puppets’ hiding place. She thinks nothing of the puppets she finds, but takes the puppet made to look like Paula for her kid sister.

Paula succeeds in waking up Lindy, and in doing so finally discovers the joy of helping people. However, she soon finds this does not improve people’s attitude towards her. Lindy’s brother remains as hostile as ever towards her, and has the hospital ban Paula from seeing Lindy.

Then Paula discovers that Marnie has taken the puppet she had made to look like herself. She manages to sneak into Marnie’s flat and retrieve the puppet without being detected. But she is very surprised to find Marnie lives in such a shabby, rundown place and overhears it’s because that like everyone else in town, Marnie’s family have been driven into poverty and no job for the father after the factory fire. Marnie moans at how Paula does not understand poverty because she has always lived in luxury, and that she had always taunted her for dressing shabbily.

Paula realises Marnie is right and now understands why Marnie hates her so much. Recalling how she had taunted Marnie about wearing tatty plimsolls just before the fire, Paula decides to give her a present of her spare pair of plimsolls to make amends. But Marnie just throws it in her face and Paula soon finds out the reason why – everyone but her (Joanne wouldn’t tell her) knows that her father has just escaped from prison!

Thinking that getting her father recaptured is the only way to make everyone stop hating her, Paula turns to her puppets to do it. Later, when Dad shows up, he protests his innocence and asks for her help in proving it, but Paula turns him in. Dad is deeply hurt, which has Paula believe him for the first time and she now hates herself for what she did.

The newspaper prints the story of how everyone’s hatred drove Paula to betray her father. This has the athletics club girls repenting how they treated her and now wanting to be friends. They invite her to Lindy’s “welcome back” party, but things get ruined when they start whispering as to what a crook her father is. Paula sticks up for her father and then walks out.

She asks the puppets for help in clearing her father, at which one of them walks to the puppets’ prop box and points to it. Inside she finds a letter to Mr Phillips that she cannot understand. The correspondent says that in accordance with the instructions of Mr Phillips’ last letter, he is cancelling all future supplies of raw materials to the factory. Now what the heck does this have to do with Dad’s innocence?

Paula takes the letter to Joanne for help in understanding it. Joanne gets upset when she reads it and demands to know where Paula got it. Of course she does not believe Paula’s story about the puppets and thinks it was all crazy imagination. This leads to Joanne having a big argument with her father; she tells him it can’t go on and it’s having Paula imagining things. Next day, Paula finds them both gone to attend to some business, and nobody to cheer her on when the cross-country event begins. Paula’s heart is not in the race, and it shows – but then Dad appears to cheer her on! Now Paula is spurred on to win, and she does.

Dad explains that Mr Phillips burned down the factory to cover up that he had been embezzling from the factory; the letter was proof he had been cancelling orders for raw materials and withholding the money. He did not mean Dad to take the rap, but had been too frightened to confess. However, Joanne, who has had her suspicions about the embezzling, has persuaded him to do so. So Dad has been vindicated and released.

Joanne now tries to leave town as she thinks Paula no longer wants to be her friend. However, she misses the train because she went back for the puppets as a memento of Paula, which enables Paula to catch up and prove she still wants to be friends. Paula believes it was the power of the puppets that made Joanne miss the train. Joanne seems to believe in their power now and asks Paula if she still needs them. In response, Paula leaves the puppets behind at the station for someone else in need of help. Hmmm…

Thoughts

There have been countless stories in girls’ comics about dolls/puppets with supernatural powers, but this is the only Jinty serial to use the theme. The serial is even more unusual for not following how the formula is used. The cover introducing the serial says the puppets have evil powers, but as the story develops they do not come across as evil. Usually evil dolls/puppets in girls’ either exert an evil power over the protagonist that forces her to act nasty or out of character, or they cause trouble, mayhem or destruction for our protagonist. But that is not the case at all with these puppets. They do have powers, but how their power works depends on how they are used, which can be for good or evil. It depends on the intentions and scruples of the user, and how carefully he or she thinks before using them.

In the hands of Paula Richards, we are deeply worried as to how things will go with the puppets. Paula, though not downright nasty, is definitely spoiled and selfish. Moreover, she has good reason to be bitter and vengeful, what with everyone turning against her because of something that she is not responsible for. This could easily send Paula down an extremely dark path. Even a good-natured girl could find it hard to resist the lust for revenge against the way all these people are treating her.

Admittedly, some of the hostility may have been Paula’s own fault for not being very nice to people to begin with. We see this in the case of Marnie. From the beginning, Marnie comes across as a spiteful, jealous girl who is taking advantage of Paula’s downfall to make things even harder for her. It’s a surprise when we learn that Marnie did have a reason to hate Paula in the first place because Paula teased her over her shabby gear.

It’s also surprising to see that the terrible consequences of using the puppets for revenge and personal gain are what begin to turn Paula around. She tries to stop using them, but really she can’t avoid temptation to use them against the people who hate her because it’s everywhere and there’s no hiding from it. So she hits on the idea of trying to use them more wisely, and it works. Paula also begins to open her eyes to how there are people who are less fortunate than herself and no longer puts them down as she did before. Sadly, her efforts to reach out to them and help them more go unappreciated because they feel nothing but hate and bitterness towards her. Joan’s advice that acts of kindness will make people less nasty towards her proves to be woefully inadequate because everyone’s just too full of hate. It takes the shock treatment of seeing what they drove her to – turning her own father in – to make at least some of them stop and think.

The other theme in this story – clearing a wrongly accused father – also breaks with the formula that girls’ serials usually follow when they use this theme. Usually it is the daughter who believes the father is innocent, sometimes when nobody else does. This is what sustains her throughout the story, but Paula does not even have that. She believes her father is guilty too, which makes her even more bitter because she feels he’s let her down. In effect, she disowns him and does not even visit him in prison. It takes the shock of how she hurt her father and his frantic pleas of innocence to finally get through to her. And she finally does what she clearly should have done in the first place – turn to the puppets for help in clearing up the trouble. And would you believe they held the solution to the problem all this time – the evidence in their box! All Paula had to do was ask.

Having it turn out the protagonist was staying with the people who were responsible for her father’s false imprisonment all this time is not an unusual one; “The Girl with the Power” from Tracy is one example where this happened. What is unusual is that these are people with a conscience who are struggling to find the courage to put it right. Until they do, they are pillars of support for Paula and the only friends amid all the enemies she has in town. Usually they are unscrupulous crooks who not only take advantage of the father taking the rap for them but also take advantage of the protagonist as well. Again, “The Girl with the Power” is one example of this.

The final fate of the puppets – being left for someone else needing help to find – also goes against the usual formula of evil dolls/puppet serials. Usually they either get destroyed or lose their powers, but neither happens. The story ends on a worrying note that they might end up in the wrong hands; perhaps even with somebody with no scruples at all. We can only hope Paula is right in that they can influence whom they end up with because that person needs help.

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Jinty 22 April 1978

jinty-cover-22-april-1978

Last week Jean believed she had finally seen through Carol as “a smarmy little creep!” But she repents when Carol really puts on the waterworks. Did she really hurt Carol’s feelings or has the smarmy little creep worked her way around her again? Meanwhile, Jean takes on some advice to bring some rhythm and flow into her skateboarding and is making progress. However, could Carol be trying to discreetly undermine it?

In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” some bullies always pick on a girl and call her names. Naturally, Henrietta decides to give them a taste of their own medicine, which gets a bit out of hand. They end up in detention, but it’s a fitting punishment for bullying.

The Swan has made a slip that she knew the slave’s parents. But she twists it around with another lie: the slave’s parents died in prison for theft and she may have inherited their bad ways. It’s an old trick in “amnesiac” serials and it does what the Swan intended: the slave becomes demoralised and begins to doubt herself.

Carol comes to the rescue of Phil, who’s under a pile of debris. However, Carol seems to be going to pieces because the debris is reminding her of something.

The Zodiac Prince casts a spell on a girl to make her attractive to animals. It was meant to save her from a tiger, but it backfires when every single animal in town follows the girl all the way home, and the spell starts messing things up at the circus as well. Father tells the Prince he can’t remove the spell, so he suggests another to modify the first. But will it work out?

It’s the final episode of “Paula’s Puppets”. Paula’s in a cross-country race but isn’t up to it with nobody to support her. Then, all of a sudden, Dad is there to cheer her on. But he’s supposed to be in prison! What gives?

Linden manages to get the plant to cure Rebecca, despite the Witchfinder trying to stop her by turning himself into the largest rat you ever saw. Next they learn how to stop the Witchfinder – destroy his three magic items – but they have to track them down first.

Cathy thinks her father needs a break and leaves the phone off the hook so he won’t be disturbed. But this could lead to real trouble if there is an emergency…

 

Jinty 15 April 1978

jinty-cover-15-april-1978

  • Concrete Surfer (writer Pat Mills, artist unknown)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Slave of the Swan (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • Waking Nightmare (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Zodiac Prince (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Paula’s Puppets (artist Julian Vivas)
  • Idol By Name (Billy Idol feature)
  • Shadow on the Fen (artist Douglas Perry)
  • The Revenge of Peter-the-Fisherman! (writer C. Mitchell, artist Keith Robson) Text story competition entry
  • Cathy’s Casebook (artist Terry Aspin)
  • “Sunny” Sparklers – feature

Jean is furious to discover Carol has been muscling in on her skateboard territory by secretly learning to skateboard as well. And she reckons she’s finally seen through sweet-faced Carol too – “you’re a smarmy little creep!” But has Carol finally been defeated?

Sue asks Henrietta for a spell to help her win a balloon race, though she admits she should know better than that. Sure enough, Henrietta makes the punishment fit the crime.

The Swan’s revenge on Katrina is getting worse and worse. She’s tricked Katrina into wearing heavy boots to stop her dancing and then she just about breaks Katrina’s fingers when she slams a piano lid on them. At least the other girls are wising up and trying to help Katrina. But what comes of it remains to be seen.

Life on the run in “Waking Nightmare!” reaches the climax when Phil has a serious accident and now she’s trapped under a pile of debris, with nobody to hear her screams for help, and there’s no sign of Carol.

“Paula’s Puppets” has reached its penultimate episode. The puppets have led Paula to a piece of evidence that is supposed to clear her father. Unfortunately Paula can’t understand what the hell it is about.

The Zodiac Prince takes a job as a fortune teller at a funfair, and with the help of his father predicts a terrible thunderstorm is going to hit. Pity the father didn’t also predict a tiger getting loose because of the storm damage, which puts a little girl in danger.

Rebecca’s been injured by the Witchfinder’s blade and could bleed to death from its poison. The only way to save her is to venture into Barberry Fen to get a certain flower – but that is where the Witchfinder is at his strongest!

Cathy’s been advised to work with her doctor father in order to get closer to him. So she joins a first aid class – but she didn’t expect her father to be the instructor!

Tammy 11 February 1984

Tammy 11 February 1984

  • Foul Play (artist John Armstrong, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Cassie’s Coach – first episode (artist Tony Coleman but credited as George Anthony, writer Alison Christie)
  • Julie’s Jinx (artist Julian Vivas, writer Nick Allen)
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Event of the Year – complete story (artist Raymond, writer Roy Preston)
  • Queen Rider – final episode (artist Eduardo Feito, adapted from book by A.D. Langholm)
  • My Terrible Twin (artist Juliana Buch)
  • Spring a Foot! – Feature (by Mari L’Anson)

The first Tammy to feature credits has recently had an entry on this blog. Now the last Tammy to have credits will be profiled as well.

Since the credits started, they have evolved and changed, sometimes in odd ways. Some of the credits were pseudonyms. For example, Tony Coleman was credited under his own name at first, but he was subsequently credited as George Anthony, as he is here. Some writers and artists did not appear under their full name. For example, the DCT artist who draws “Event of the Year” is only credited as “Raymond” (is that his first or his last name?).  Julian Vivas, who draws “Julie’s Jinx”, is just credited as “Vivas”, but his full name appears in other Tammy credits. Reprints were not credited, as was the case with “My Terrible Twin” here. Even the artist, Juliana Buch, is not credited, as she was for her new stories in Tammy. Features, such as the one about footwear on the back cover, also received credits. But it is not clear whether Mari L’Anson is the writer, the artist or both for it, because the credit just says “by: Mari L’Anson”.

When the credits first began, Roy Preston was credited with a lot of stories that had dark, supernatural themes such as “The Evil One” and “Sign of the Times”. These were probably leftover scripts from “Monster Tales” in the Tammy and Jinty merger. Preston continued to be credited with several complete stories that had a supernatural theme, such as “The Lady of Ranoch Water” and “The Moon Maiden”. But here Preston is credited with a lighter story that has no supernatural theme whatsoever: “Event of the Year”. Throughout the credit run, Preston wrote only complete stories; there is not a single serial attributed to him during this period.

Ian Mennell is credited with several mystery stories, such as “Foul Play” and “Saving Grace”, but the credits also show he was not solely confined to that genre. Mennell wrote the unorthodox male cross-dressing story “Cuckoo in the Nest” and a lot of Button Box stories, such as the one in this issue. Alison Christie, who first started Button Box, did not write all of its stories; Mennell and Linda Stephenson are also credited with Button Box stories. This is unlike the case of “Pam of Pond Hill”, where Jay Over is credited as the writer throughout.

Alison Christie remains credited with emotional stories such as “A Gran for the Gregorys” and “It’s a Dog’s Life!” throughout Tammy’s credit run. There were no stories with a more supernatural or sporty theme attributed to Christie, though her interviews revealed that she sometimes delved into those genres in Jinty. And here Christie begins her last credited Tammy story “Cassie’s Coach”. This is a Victorian-set struggle for survival after the mother is wrongly imprisoned. Her children take up the most unusual accommodation after they are thrown out of their old home – a discarded coach! Cassie is not quite as intense or disturbing as some of Christie’s emotional stories. This is probably why Tony Coleman was the choice of artist for a period story, something he does not normally draw.

 

 

Jinty 29 October 1977

Jinty cover 29 October 1977.

 

  • Destiny Brown (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (artist Julian Vivas, writer Pat Mills)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Goose Girl (artist Keith Robson, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Stage Fright! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Kids Fly High! – feature
  • A Window on the Past – Gypsy Rose story (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • Make Your Own Mini-Monster! (feature)
  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Cursed to be a Coward! – final episode (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)

 

This issue came out about Halloween time, but there is nothing to commemorate Halloween in the issue. The nearest to it is the mini-monster feature. However, the issue promises that the Guy Fawkes issue next week will be a sparkler, and in more ways than one – because that is when the Jinty classic, “Land of No Tears”, starts.

 

The story that gives way to “Land of No Tears” is “Cursed to be a Coward!”. The prophecy is fulfilled, but the twist is that it does not come true in the way Marnie expected – it had a completely different meaning altogether. And that is exactly how a prophecy is supposed to work. Once it is fulfilled, the crazed fortune-teller who had been trying to kill Marnie has one more desperate go at it – but there is something she apparently did not foresee, for all her powers to see in the future…

 

Alison Christie’s other story, “The Goose Girl”, is now on its penultimate episode. Glenda wants to go for an interview to get the career she wants. Unfortunately, her impossible mother messes everything up by sending her off to another interview because she is still pushing her into fashion design.

 

“Destiny Brown” also messes things up because she misinterpreted what her second sight was telling her – again. This time it screws up the chance that she and her father had of escaping the criminals who kidnapped them.

 

Fran and Co are off on a camping trip. But the outfits Fran picks show how ignorant she is about camping or country life, and it’s causing some embarrassment.

 

The mystery of the frightened girl deepens in “Stage Fright!” when Linda tries to reach out to her, but gets rebuffed. Linda turns to the mystery of the acting trophy instead and finds a clue there. And in “Guardian of White Horse Hill”, Janey’s emotional state gets so bad that her foster parents decide to send her back for expert help. Janey gets even worse when she overhears this; what will it drive her to do next week?

 

In the Gypsy Rose story, Tracy Gray discovers a window that can show her the past and the story of a stern father who is coming between his son and the girl he loves. But the story gets altered for the worse when a replacement pane from an evil house is fitted. Can the story be put right before the girl gets murdered?

 

Henrietta takes exception to Sue’s nail polish and her showing it off at school (um, isn’t nail polish banned in school?), and casts a spell in response. However, things rebound a bit on Henrietta when the spell has unexpected results that have her giving up in the end.

 

Jinty 26 November 1977

Jinty cover 26 November 1977

  • Come into My Parlour (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Christmas mobile part 2 – feature
  • Two Mothers for Maggie (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (artist Julian Vivas)
  • Stage Fright! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Jinty Pops the Question! (quiz)
  • The Scarecrow of Dread – Gypsy Rose story (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
  • Race for a Fortune (Concrete Surfer artist)
  • More Flowery Fun (feature)

Jinty is gearing up for Christmas with her Christmas mobiles. And things gear up elsewhere in the issue as well. In Land of No Tears, Cassy’s getting her ideas together to liberate the Gamma girls. And her plan is to train them up to win a top sports award. In part two of Race for a Fortune, Katie has to get her thinking cap on to raise money because under the terms of her Uncle’s will, both she and her scheming cousins had to set off without money. In Stage Fright, a doctor is called in and Linda tries to get him to help Melanie. Can he help Melanie to remember her past and break her free from the scheming Lady Alice? Janey learns that her Guardian of White Horse Hill was a Celtic goddess! And in Two Mothers for Maggie, step-dad still thinks acting is a waste of time for Maggie, and he gets abusive when he finds out she has gotten a job on television.

Douglas Perry is drawing his first serial for Jinty, Come into My Parlour, about an evil witch who enslaves a girl with a spider-like necklace. It’s strange that both serials Perry drew for Jinty had witch themes. The first features the typical evil crone who is out to cause trouble with her evil magic, while the pendulum swings to the other end with the second, Shadow on the Fen, which depicts witches as they really were – wise women who helped people with folk magic and the real evil lay with the people who persecuted them. Maybe it’s Perry’s style that made him the choice for drawing these serials?

Although Halloween was a month ago, there is a distinctive Halloween flavour with this week’s Gypsy Rose story. A terrifying scarecrow and horrible turnip faces are scaring Oonah Jack at the farm she is trying to run. Fortunately for her, she has Gypsy Rose for company.

Jinty 1 April 1978

Jinty cover

  • Concrete Surfer (writer Pat Mills)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Slave of the Swan – first episode (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Waking Nightmare (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Zodiac Prince (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Paula’s Puppets (artist Julian Vivas)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Shadow on the Fen (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Darling Clementine – final episode (artist Richard Neillands, writers Alison Christie)

My latest Jinty acquisition, thanks to Marc, and it complete several runs of Jinty stories in my collection. Among them are the last episode of “Darling Clementine” and the first episode of “Slave of the Swan”, the story of an amnesiac girl who falls foul of a spiteful ballet mistress who has a grudge against her mother. Next week we see another of Jinty’s classic stories, “Cathy’s Casebook”, and its blurb shows how well advanced the preparation for this story must have been. We are told that Cathy will save a lonely old shepherd, help an injured girl to walk again, stop a backward boy being persecuted, and solve an outbreak of food poisoning.

In the other stories, things are stepping up. Paula’s beginning to realise how nasty she has been to everyone in the past and she is partly responsible for the mean treatment she gets from them now. But her efforts to change backfire and make her even more unpopular. And to make it even more interesting, her wrongly-convicted father has escaped from prison! Is it the key to clearing his name or just to add drama to the story, and his vindication lies with Paula and her puppets?

In “Shadow on the Fen”, the witch finder turns up in the 20th century and Rebecca discovers how her friend Catherine took the witch-hunting rap for her at his hands in the past. Next week things are going to step up even more as the girls find out one of the witch finder’s secrets.

The Zodiac Prince’s latest effort to help someone impresses his father this time, and next week he tries fortune telling at a fair. How easy can that be when you’re the Prince of the Zodiac? Or will it be harder than we expect?

The Concrete Surfer wonders if she has got things wrong about Carol and is trying to be nicer. But is she doing the right thing or playing straight into Carol’s hands?

And in “Waking Nightmare”, Phil Carey is blaming herself for Carol’s disappearance because she realised too late that Carol had a phobia about trains. Fortunately she finds Carol and now they’re off to her grandmother’s. But when they arrive, the occupants are definitely not Gran! What has happened?

Jinty 3 December 1977

Jinty 3 December 1977

Stories in this issue:

  • Come Into My Parlour (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Two Mothers for Maggie (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (artist Julian Vivas)
  • Stage Fright! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Gypsy Rose: A Picture of the Past (artist and writer Keith Robson)
  • Alley Cat
  • Land of No Tears (artist Guy Peeters, writer Pat Mills)
  • Race for a Fortune

I got this issue out to scan the Gypsy Rose story for the Keith Robson interview, as it is the first script he wrote as well as being drawn by him. It’s a cool time-travel story with a twist, and one that I found memorable; it came to mind many years later when I visited Lacock Abbey where the inventor of photography, Fox Talbot, lived.

“Come Into My Parlour” is spooky: I find Douglas Perry’s artwork very atmospheric for this sort of thing. Evil old Mother Heggerty is proper creepy! She forces Jodie Marsh to be her slave, her literal cat’s-paw, to get revenge on a family called Saxton – and when Jodie tries to rebel, she is reminded of how under the spell she is as she can’t even take off the cat’s-paw necklace that binds her to the old witch…

“Two Mothers for Maggie” contrasts Maggie Jones’ glamorous role in a tv soap opera with her humdrum life in a house full of poverty and hard work: she tries to do her homework and instead has to help the kids with breakfast while her slobby stepfather gobbles down his full English. The whole story is Maggie being tugged between her family – especially her mother, who she dearly loves – and her exciting life in tv and the luxury of her telly mother’s home.

“Guardian of White Horse Hill” has runaway Janey finding out that her mysterious white horse is actually Epona, the Celtic horse goddess! No wonder when she gets on the horse’s back she is invisible – an easy task for a goddess presumably. Powerful beings like that have a habit of wanting something in return, and Janey starts to find out more as she is dragged back into Celtic times…

“Stage Fright!” is a thriller mystery based around a girl with amnesia and another girl who is being made to win an acting trophy, otherwise her father will lose his job. (Of course this sort of blackmail is hardly unusual in girls’ comics, as you have gathered by now!) Protagonist Linda has taken her new friend Melanie to be hypotised, hoping it will bring back her memory and even the voice that she lost in the same accident that made her amnesiac. It works, but reveals a greater threat at the house they both live in: Melanie’s aunt is a scheming murderess who caused the death of Melanie’s father and mother in a boating accident – yes, it’s rather melodramatic as a plot item but the scene is drawn beautifully by Phil Townsend. Can the two girls secretly work against the aunt?

Land of No Tears” is still at an early stage at this point, but Cassie already has a plan to get back at the bitchy Alpha girls in the dystopian world she has landed in: she will lead her pack of Gamma girls to win the Golden Girl trophy! It would be a hopeless task except that one of them turns out to be superb at gymnastics. Hmm, now what secret is Miranda hiding?

“Race for a Fortune” is a light-weight amusing comedy story with a scruffs-vs-snobs theme: Katie is up against her two posh cousins in a race to get to the Scottish ancestral land of their late grandfather, starting off with nothing in their pockets. Katie is clearly far more resourceful than the two poshos; it doesn’t always work out for her but this week she manages to get her cousins stuck in a medical research facility, being well-paid to help science by trying to catch a cold! And of course in the meantime Katie gets a few days’ head start, grinning as she goes… This is drawn by the same unknown artist who drew one of my favourite stories, “Concrete Surfer“.

Jinty 5 November 1977

JInty cover 2 1

  • Destiny Brown (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sonya’s Success…and Heartbreak (feature)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (artist Julian Vivas; writer Pat Mills)
  • The Goose Girl – final episode (artist Keith Robson; writer Alison Christie Fitt)
  • Alley Cat
  • Stage Fright! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • The Thirteenth Hour – Gypsy Rose story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Land of No Tears – first episode (artist Guy Peeters; writer Pat Mills)
  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)

This is the issue that starts “Jinty’s smash-hit story from 1977” (the blurb that came with its reprint in 1981) – “Land of No Tears”. Cassy Shaw trades on her bad leg to win sympathy, so is not keen on the operation to fix the problem. But then she finds herself in a future world where there is no sympathy for girls like her. In fact, there is no sympathy anywhere, because this is not only a world that demands perfection and treats less-than-perfect people as an inferior class, but also where the expression of emotion is outlawed, especially the shedding of tears.

It is also the Guy Fawkes issue, and Alley Cat and Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag celebrate with the fireworks stories. Henrietta re-enacts the Guy Fawkes story, but causes mayhem because she does not fully understand what it is about. However, it gets the pupils the afternoon off, and they’re not complaining about that, of course. Meanwhile, Spotty straps Alley Cat to one of his rockets for his fireworks display. But it backfires and Alley Cat gets the last laugh on Spotty.

In “Stage Fright”, Linda discovers the history of the mystery girl,  and she discovers something else as well – Lady Alice has been poisoning the girl against her!

“Destiny Brown” has been tied up and gagged and left to die in a building scheduled for demolition. It’s also the penultimate episode, and we are promised news of three new stories in the next Jinty. One of them will replace “The Goose Girl”, which concludes in this issue. Glenda has missed her interview because of Mum, but gets something even better – it turns out that the interviewer is the one person who can get through to Mum and ensure the happy ending.

Janey’s guardians think she needs expert help and send her away for it – but we know the “Guardian of White Horse Hill” is going to step in. In fact, he helps Janey escape by encouraging her to jump off the train in pouring rain and onto his back!

In “Fran’ll Fix It!”, the girls are fed up with camping and want to go back to school. And after being lumbered with spud-bashing, Fran is only too happy to fix it for them. The trouble is, her fixing is meeting its match in their potty headmistress. Something needs to happen fast or Fran will be thrown in the duck pond!

Gypsy Rose‘s tale, “The Thirteenth Hour” concerns a Queen Anne clock that strikes thirteen. Why did it strike thirteen, and does it have any connection with Sharon Bayne giving her brother a hard time for breaking her alarm clock and vowing never to forgive him?

Jinty 22 October 1977

Jinty cover 3

  • Destiny Brown (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (artist Julian Vivas)
  • An Initial or Name Necklet (feature)
  • The Goose Girl (artist Keith Robson; writer Alison Christie Fitt)
  • Stage Fright! (artist Phil Townsend)
  • From Rollers to Rosetta Stone (feature)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • The Eternal Flame – Gypsy Rose story (artist Richard Neillands; writer Alison Christie Fitt)
  • Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Cursed to be a Coward! (artist Mario Capaldi; writer Alison Christie Fitt)

We have just received word that Alison Christie (now Fitt) wrote “The Eternal Flame”, the Gypsy Rose tale in this issue. So I thought it was appropriate to put up the cover, and I had the issue out anyway. It is a beautiful cover that makes effective use of the complementary effects of blue and pink. The yellows, greens and oranges set it even off even more. And we see the colour combinations in both panels that are being used on the cover, rather the colours used in one being a contrast to the colours used in the other.

“The Eternal Flame” is a candle that will not burn down until the man it is being lit for returns from sea. But how can he when his boat went down years ago? Or is it more than just the candle that is supernatural in this story?

Two other known Christie stories are also running in this issue: “Cursed to be a Coward!” and “The Goose Girl”. In the former, the bullying continues for Marnie at school because of her hydrophobia and even the presence of her mother does not make the bullies back off. Nor does Madame Leo, whose harassment of Marnie wrecks her birthday. And now her dear friend, Mr Rennie, has collapsed. But we are told that next week is the final episode, so maybe it’s what they say about it getting worse before it gets better. In the latter, Mum’s hatred of birds now causes Glenda to run away with her beloved goose, but they get caught in a snow storm. However, we are promised that next week something good will happen to Glenda for a change.

Meanwhile, in “Stage Fright”, Linda Roberts pretends to sleepwalk to find out who is harassing her. Her ruse seems to have fooled everyone, but will it draw her enemy out and enable her to find out who is living in the mystery wing?

In “Fran’ll Fix It”, Fran’s two ghastly aunts, whom her father threatens her with if she gets expelled again, now appear in her story for real. Yikes! They’re even more fearsome in person than in the film Fran’s father showed her of them. Yet they have their wacky side too and can cause as much mayhem as Fran, so it must run in the family. Anyway, Fran soon learns that she doesn’t even need to be expelled to be sent to them – if they don’t like the school, she ends up at their place anyway! Can Fran fix it so they will walk away impressed with the school and let her stay?

“Destiny Brown” finds her father is not an accomplice for some robbers – he is their prisoner! They are holding him hostage to force her to use her clairvoyance to work for them. And in “Guardian of White Horse Hill”, girls at the stables tease Janey over her teddy bear, but then weird things start happening. The horses are acting like they’re spooked and then Janey finds nobody can see or hear her. Has she become invisible or something?