Tag Archives: Linda Blake

June and School Friend 15 May 1971

June cover 15 May 1971

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Angela Replies… (problem page)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Pick of the Post (letters page)
  • Bessie Bunter (artist Arthur Martin, writer Ron Clark)
  • Pony Trek Penny – text story (artist Jim Baikie, writer Linda Blake)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Showdate Shirley Reports on Arthur Lowe (of Dad’s Army)
  • Sindy and Her Friends in: Operation Ugly Duckling (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene: Her Diary and Club News
  • Nature’s Wonderful Ways (artist Helen Haywood)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Champions (Karen Muir) – first episode
  • Animal World
  • The Curse of Witch Wood – Strange Story
  • Dotty Doogood (cartoon)
  • Orphans Alone (artist Tom Kerr)
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)

In this issue “The Champions” begin, a feature that profiles a sports champion each week. Starting off the series is Karen Muir, a South African swimming star who retired at 18. At the time, Muir was distinguished for being the youngest world breaker holder at the age of 12.

This week’s Strange Story is about a ship’s head that has a curse on it. It turns out this is because the tree used to make the ship’s head was taken from Witch Wood without planting an acorn to replace it. If there is no acorn to replace a cut-down tree in that wood, the witches curse anything made from the tree’s wood. Sounds like very ecological witches.

Tinker tries to help a boy whose lion costume lacks roar – but it works too well. Tinker manages to put it right, and the boy has no memory of what happened, thank goodness. But she now has to face her Fairy House-Mother over the matter, so don’t you go giggling at me as well, she says to readers.

We didn’t know Jinty was brilliant at tennis as well as gymnastics, but it turns out she is. She is helping out Louise, who has her heart set on Wimbledon. But it looks like an arm injury could put an end to that.

Bessie is trying to hide a dog at Cliff House for the sake of its owner, who can’t afford to keep it. But the dog’s a huge bumbling menace whose appetite rivals Bessie’s own. Eventually the school pitches in so the owner can keep the dog.

The Grays are out on the street after their horrible landlord threw them out (at least they’re well rid of that landlord), and they’re not having much luck finding anything suitable. Worse, their mum is fit to come home now – but there is no home for her to come home to. So they have to find one, and fast!

Sindy has the task of turning the ugly duckling daughter Melinda of the Mayor-elect into a swan, um mayoress, with a makeover. Melinda hasn’t been cooperative until she discovers her cousin Angela is playing dirty tricks to replace her. And lack of confidence is now proving to be a problem too, but everything works out splendidly – except for Angela, of course.

Tina is doing spring-cleaning. But it turns into disaster when a kitten interferes, followed by a dog that Lucky tried to use to dry the washing. Maybe leave it to Lucky next time eh, Tina?

“Orphans Alone” try their luck with a theatrical company, and they handle rubbish-throwing hecklers like troupers. But it turns out that wretched beadle is in the audience, so they’re back on the run.

This week “Call Me Cupid!” tells the story of how her efforts to help Cherry went so badly wrong that she got a row from the folks that just about broke her eardrums, lost her pocket money and has to do washing up every night. But she isn’t giving up on finding the man for Cherry.

In “Wild Girl of the Hills” Naomi has been wrongly accused of theft while the real thieves have tied up Jean on the moor – and a wildcat is threatening her!

June and School Friend 10 April 1971

Stories in this issue:

  • Oh, Tinker! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Wild Girl of the Hills (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • It’s Easter Week! (crafts feature by Angela Barrie)
  • Gymnast Jinty (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Pony Trek Penny (writer Linda Blake) – prose serial
  • Call Me Cupid! (artist Bill Baker)
  • “I Talk To Basil Brush” – Showdate (feature)
  • Sindy and her friends in The Haunted Theatre (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Sindy’s Scene – her Diary and Club News (feature)
  • Animal World (feature)
  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Hobby Time – Rambling (feature)
  • “The Elsa Story” (true story feature)
  • “The Shadow of Success” – Strange Story (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • The Grays Fight Back! (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Secret of Bell Mountain

Some months ago I bought three copies of June and School Friend, slightly on a whim. They are very readable, and also interesting for the light they shed on how IPC girls comics developed over the years. There are a lot of different comics stories included – 10 in total – but these are shorter than in Jinty or the like, as they are pretty much all only 2 pages long each. That leaves more room for text items, including a three page serialised prose story, which is something that never happened in Jinty and only rarely in Tammy. I will write detailed posts on all three of them, as we do for Jinty issues, but I know fewer of the artists to be able to credit their work.

“Oh, Tinker!” looks rather like a story from a nursery-title: drawn by Trini Tinturé, it features a sweet little fairy who can cast up to 3 spells a day and often gets things mixed up. Of course in the end everything always works out ok.

The “Wild Girl of the Hills” is Naomi, a gypsy girl who lives alone in a cave and is friends with wild creatures. Her only friend is Jean Ross, whose father is the head game-keeper locally; the two girls are drawn together by their love of animals. This is a theme that occurs in other stories; Freixas’ lovely art makes it worth a look.

“Gymnast Jinty” was occasionally seen in as a reprint in an annual; it’s interesting to see this story, which I assume may have lead to the idea behind naming Jinty itself. Jinty Lewis is a popular young gym mistress at Sandbury School; she has to deal with emotional troubles from her pupil Gail.

Bessie Bunter is always a fun strip, if very silly indeed, and of course old-fashioned. Bessie does some shopping and scarfs as many free samples as she can – but what with one thing and another still ends up as the hero of the day when she inadvertently catches a shoplifter.

“Pony Trek Penny” is credited to Linda Blake, who is also credited with a text story printed in the 1975 Jinty annual. I suspect that means either that the story in the annual is a June &SF reprint, or that Mavis Miller kept Ms Blake on the creative books during the initial while that Jinty was getting established. She is not a name that seems to appear in subsequent pages of Jinty though.

“Call Me Cupid!” starts this week – a humorous story about a girl whose older sister breaks up with her fiancé when he fails to turn up to the church in time – he got his dates mixed up! Cue match-making from the younger sister, to stop her older sister from moaning so much.

There is a comic with a difference in the middle of the  issue – ‘by arrangement with the manufacturers of Pedigree Dolls’, it features Sindy and her friends. Here it is, partly so you can enjoy the lovely Phil Townsend art.

click thru

There is a two-page episode of “Lucky’s Living Doll” which lets us enjoy Robert MacGillivray’s art, but then we are very well off for his art in this issue, as the Strange Story also is drawn by him. The Strange Story is 3 pages long – the only comics story in the issue which is as long as that. A girl borrows a tennis racket from an old champion and it seems to encourage her to heights of dedication and ruthlessness, which starts to make her unhappy. And MacGillivray also draws “The Greys Fight Back!” about a family rallying round their father, who is in a wheelchair following an accident and is depressed about it. Normally this sort of role would be fulfilled by a girl protagonist so this is a different twist. It has a humorous angle rather than dealing strongly with negative emotions like anger or despair.

In the letters page we see an example of a reader who is interested in the creators behind the stories: she asks “why don’t you print something about the different artists who draw the stories”. A particular favourite of hers is Trini Tinturé, who is given a name in the reply and described as “a Spanish girl… who lives in Barcelona – and has her record player going to keep her company while she’s working!” We are promised more of Trini in a later issue. I wonder if she was in a feature?

The last story of the issue is “Secret of Bell Mountain”, a thriller which ends with the brave girl protagonist being held up at gun point by the villain of the piece.

200th Entry: Jinty Annual 1975

Jinty annual 1975.jpg

  • Eve’s Dream (artist Manuel Cuyas)
  • Cooking Magic! (recipe feature)
  • Token of Gratitude (text story)
  • Happy Memory Coverlet (feature)
  • The Helping Hand (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Puzzle Time (feature)
  • Four on the Road – (update: reprinted from Sally)
  • Dreaming Again (feature)
  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • This Beautiful World 1975 (feature)
  • Sarah – the Spellbinder! (text story)
  • The Snobs and the Scruffs
  • Can You Take a Joke? (quiz)
  • Happy Ever After…. (artist Audrey Fawley) text story
  • The Hole in the Wall
  • How to be a Witch! (feature)
  • Mystery of the Devil Dancers (writer Linda Blake) text story
  • Desert Island Daisy (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Second Best Sally
  • Birthday Budgie (game)
  • “Starlight” Saves the Train
  • Midsummer Madness and Michaelmas Magic (feature)
  • It’s a Laugh! (feature)
  • All Right on the Night (poem)
  • Holly Takes the Plunge! (text story)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Ideas…Big and Little!
  • Strawberry Fare! (recipe feature)
  • Oh Dear, David! (text story)
  • Animal Crackers (feature)
  • Button, Button…Who’s Got the Button? (feature)
  • Shirley Finds Her Feet
  • People of the Sea (feature)
  • Date with a Dreamboat (artist Phil Townsend)

It is the 200th entry on this blog, so what to do to celebrate? Well, The Best of 70s Girls’ Comics Annual reprinted the cover from the 1975 Jinty annual, so it seems appropriate to now take a look at the annual itself – which is in fact the first annual Jinty produced!

Jinty herself appears on page 124, saying it is the first-ever Jinty annual and she was granted the right to be the first person to read it. But ye Editor suddenly realised he forgot to include Jinty herself in it and had to take fast action to redress the oversight. So Jinty appears on page 124 rather than page 1, with Gary Glitter himself! What a way to make it up to her and give the readers an extra treat!

The annual has six text stories (oddly, one of them, “Mystery of the Devil Dancers” actually credits the writer, Linda Blake), six picture stories, at least ten features, and the regulars are The Jinx from St Jonah’s, Dora Dogsbody, The Snobs and the Scruffs, and Desert Island Daisy. The last two are unusual because they were the most short-lived features from the original Jinty lineup. And Daisy actually appeared in two Jinty annuals after a short span in the regular comic. By contrast, Merry from Misery House, one of the longest-running stories from the original Jinty lineup, did not appear at all in the annuals. Perhaps Jinty was aiming for more lightweight features with her annuals. Or perhaps Merry was regarded more as a serial than a regular and therefore did not qualify to appear.

Dora Dogsbody is drawn by Jim Baikie instead of her regular artist, José Casanovas. In fact, this was the case with all the annuals Dora appeared in. Do-It-Yourself Dot, the longer running of Jinty‘s funnies, makes no appearance while the short-lived Snobs and the Scruffs does. Another oddity in the lineup.

The Jinx from St Jonah’s retains her regular artist, Mario Capaldi. Katie is unsure about joining the latest roller-skating craze at school because she is klutsy enough on her own two feet. The prospect of being selected for a roller-skating/swimming show decides the matter. Katie sure is determined to get into the show, but will her jinxing wreck her hopes – or the show, maybe? Or will Katie land on her feet somehow, skates and all?

As was frequent with young IPC titles, the annual reprints material from older annuals as she was not old enough to reprint her own material in the annuals. The early Jinty (and Tammy) annuals reprinted a lot of old material (some of it under revised titles) from June, and this was very likely the case with “Four on the Road”; there can be no doubt it was originally a serial, and it may or may not be appearing under a revised title. The story concerns two orphaned Italian children Lola and Toni, who are faced with an orphanage after their grandfather dies. Then their adventures begin when their landlord, Signor Borani, has the children collect two dogs and then they get stranded, forcing them and the dogs to take the the road in order to deliver the dogs to their new owner.

Update: I have found that “Four on the Road” originally appeared in Sally.

One text story, “Holly Takes the Plunge” was ironically reprinted in the last Jinty annual in 1986. Talk about bookends.

Some of the shorter stories such as “Eve’s Dream”, “Starlight Saves the Train” and “Shirley Finds Her Feet” may be reprints from older sources as well, because they are not drawn by Jinty artists. “The Helping Hand” and “Date with a Dreamboat” may be Jinty as they are both drawn by regular Jinty artists. The former is an intriguing story about a student nurse who is struggling with her training until she gets help from a strange character dressed as a jester. Then she sees the same jester in a portrait and discovers he founded the hospital 800 years ago. Someone playing a joke or did the founder return to help the nurse? Whatever the truth, Jinty seems to be stretching credibility a bit with a jester founding a hospital – even if he did persuade the king to grant him the land for it. All the same, the story is fun to read. The latter, quite surprisingly for the times, is a boyfriend-themed story. Claire takes a fancy to Tom, but soon finds herself in a love triangle with Susie – Tom’s boat! And Susie seems to be just as unhappy with the situation as Claire when Claire joins Tom for a sailing in Susie. But of course things work out in the end.

The first Jinty annual can be regarded as an enjoyable read. It cannot be described as having a full Jinty feel as it is a mix of Jinty stories (some of which are a bit surprising) and reprints of older IPC material. But that is understandable as Jinty was still getting established and did not yet have enough material to fill her annuals with her own material. It is a good start to the run of Jinty annuals that would sadly end on a whimper. The last two Jinty annuals were Jinty in name only; they were just a collection of reprints from older comics and not a trace of Jinty material anywhere.