Tag Archives: Mario Capaldi

Jinty and Penny 1 November 1980

Jinty cover 1 November 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Contents in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine) – final episode
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: Robin’s Nest
  • The Secret of Covent House (artist Peter Wilkes) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas)
  • Winning Ways #31: The Lob (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

“Winning Ways” is running a lot of tennis tips. This must be because of Jinty’s tennis story, “Child of the Rain”. Next week a netball story, “Life’s a Ball for Nadine” starts, so it will not be surprising if we start seeing some netball tips in “Winning Ways”.

Nadine will replace “Tears of a Clown”, which ends this week. Last week Jinty promised an emotional ending, which she delivers with Kathy coming home from her time on the run and allowed to keep her new dog. She is astonished to find all the new-improved attitudes from the girls who bullied her and her parents and teachers who failed her. From then on, Kathy progresses so well at school, including becoming the star of the school cross country team with her running talent, that her parents let her throw her first-ever party and treat her to a trendy makeover. At the party Kathy celebrates her new look by ripping up a photo of the old gawky one.

One reader wrote in to say that the ending had her in tears; she thought “Tears of a Clown” was one of Jinty’s best ever and hoped all her future serials would be just as good. Indeed, this story would still stand up today because the bullying issues it commented on still prevail. (How about a reprint, Rebellion?)

Tansy of Jubilee Street and Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost deal with this being Jinty’s Guy Fawkes issue. Spoilsport Dad won’t let Tansy have fireworks or a bonfire; he can be a bit mean at times. Then Tansy finds the school could be the answer. They are willing to provide the bonfire, but the class has to raise the money for the fireworks because the school can’t. So it’s the penny-for-the-guy routine, and with Jubilee Street you can only expect hijinks along the way. The story has been uploaded onto the Ken Houghton page in the panel gallery. Meanwhile, Gaye’s father is willing to have the bonfire, but he can’t afford the fireworks either. So Gaye is using Sir Roger for the penny-for-the-guy routine to raise the money, which he finds a bit undignified. Of course this also leads to hijinks.

It’s Shona’s birthday, which she is trying to celebrate as best she can while marooned on the island. But given her circumstances, it can’t be anything but bittersweet. Meanwhile, Shona’s parents honour her birthday, even though they think she’s dead. If only they knew.

For once, the Gypsy Rose story is an original instead of a recycled Strange Story. New owners move into Covent House, next door to Mary Jones, but there is something strange about them. And they are reacting very oddly to Mary’s cat, Rye. Then Rye mysteriously disappears, yet Mary gets an odd calling from him to come…where she finds him in the centre of some…witches’ coven?

Witchcraft features on a more savoury basis in “Sue’s Daily Dozen”, though Sue is still not convinced of that. And the Daily Dozen does look a bit angry with her for doubting it.

Jemma is banned from the tennis club when a jealous rival frames her for stealing. She needs to find another way to train, and luckily, she finds a disused tennis court next door. But who can she use for a training partner?

The Pond Hill French camping trip is not doing too well, and then it takes a mysterious turn when a strange boy steals Fred’s shirt. We get the feeling the boy is a runaway, and whatever trouble he’s in will drag the Pond Hill campers down with him – but to what?

Jinty and Penny 20 September 1980

Jinty 20 September 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Contents in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: Charlie’s Angels
  • Wheels of Fate (artist John Armstrong) Gypsy Rose story
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé) – final episode
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

Looks like Betty, the sports mistress from the future serial “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, is supervising the javelin on the cover. Well, it does look rather like Betty.

The trouble in “A Spell of Trouble” solves itself in a four-page finale, which looks like it has bumped “Winning Ways” this week. The witches, who have been pressing Angela to become a witch, find out – the hard way – that making Angela White a witch is only a recipe for disaster because she’s such a bungling menace. So they restore the Blacks’ powers, but please, please, keep Angela as a non-witch from now on! And now that’s all been sorted out, Angela and Carrie can become friends. In two weeks’ time Jinty will start another witchcraft story, “Sue’s Daily Dozen”, which will be the last witch serial she will ever run.

Everyone in Pam’s class is vying for the ten places on the French trip. Even the class larrikins Fred and Terry are, but only once they find out it will mean missing the last week of term. Those two will do anything to get out of some lessons – even swotting up French and crawling to the French teacher. But then Pam notices that something seems to be bothering her friend Tracy…

Shona finds out she is now the girl the world forgot: a radio broadcast announces that she has been presumed dead and the search for her has been called off. Tantalisingly, it does not inform her whether her parents survived or not. At least Shona finds the island is kitted out for survival, with a source of fresh water and an abandoned croft, and she’s got other company on the island – a talking crow.

In “Tears of a Clown”, Kathy’s respite from the bullying is over. The bullying is back now, and it’s worse than ever. Then the upcoming sports day gives Kathy new hope to prove her running talent. But considering her luck in proving it so far, she might be wise not to set her hopes too high. And what about spiteful Sandra, the bully who keeps thwarting Kathy’s efforts to prove her talent?

Tansy and the gang from Jubilee Street go off to apprehend some smugglers – only to find they were just actors for a television show. Fortunately their interference makes the scene even better, so it will be retained and they will see themselves on television next week.

Jemma’s strange problem with rain gets her withdrawn from the school tennis team. And now it’s about to land her in big trouble with her teacher!

Sir Roger’s bragging about how brave he is, but just how brave is he really? He apprehends some burglars, but it’s due more to hijinks and dumb luck than courage.

The Gypsy Rose story is yet another recycled John Armstrong Strange Story from Tammy. Gail Hawkins goes on holiday with her uncle and aunt. She is plagued by a constantly passing lorry, but no lorry has been allowed on that road since one caused a fatal accident some years back. And it is a French lorry, just like the one that caused the accident…but there can’t be such things as ghost lorries, surely?

Jinty and Penny 30 August 1980

Jinty cover 30 August 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Black Rory’s Curse (artist John Armstrong) – Gypsy Rose story
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: Happy Days (feature)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes) – final episode
  • Winning Ways #24: A Squat Vault (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend) – final episode
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

On the cover we see Betty, the sports mistress from the future serial “Life’s a Ball for Nadine”, supervising the high jump. Oh, just kidding! But the sports mistress does bear a striking resemblance to Betty.

In the letter column there is a letter from one reader saying she cuts out the “Winning Ways” and gives them to her P.E. teacher, who pins them on the gymnasium wall. Benita Brown must have been so chuffed.

Both “Blind Faith” and “Minnow” finish this issue. Clare has to forfeit her win because she entered under false pretences, but she has made her point about Cromwell being able to jump despite his blindness, so he’s safe now. Minna has to do a life-or-death swim to shore to get away from her kidnappers, which is a real test for a girl who’s only recently learned to swim. Her escape can be viewed on the Peter Wilkes page in the panel gallery.

Their replacements next week are “Girl the World Forgot” and a new Phil Townsend sports story, “Child of the Rain”, which, come to think of it, was Jinty’s one and only tennis story. “Girl the World Forgot” is a castaway story, something that Jinty has not used since her earliest days with “Desert Island Daisy“, but it clearly takes the theme seriously, while Daisy used it for laughs.

Spiteful Sandra is at her worst this week to make sure Kathy stays “the clown”, and it makes this episode a really cruel one. Under cover of pretend kindness, she tricks Kathy into eating too much food to stop her demonstrating her running talent at the sports centre. And just look at the monstrous amounts of food she’s coercing poor Kathy to eat. Talk about gavage!

Pam guesses who has taken her witch ball and resorts to some sneakiness to get it back – while tricking the thief into making a fool of herself and cheer up her depressed gran into the bargain.

This week Tansy discovers just how superstitious the residents of Jubilee Street are. Although she herself remains a sceptic, she eventually decides to bone up on superstitions for luck: “better safe than sorry!”

Sir Roger thinks modern people don’t know how to make others suffer through torture these days. But after a trip to the funfair and trying out its rides, he changes his mind.

This week’s Gypsy Rose story is another recycled Strange Story, which originally appeared in June. It treats Jinty readers to some John Armstrong artwork. The old maxim “you can’t take it with you” is put to the test with Black Rory, a robber baron who was so greedy that not even death would make him part with his ill-gotten loot; he had himself buried in full armour in a stone room with all his riches. It looks like being beyond the grave is not stopping his greed either, because his spirit is taking possession of generous Carly and making her insatiably greedy. And then he disappears from the stone room altogether…to spread even more greed…?

Angela’s off to a boarding school, and Carrie goes along to ensure her bungling cousin stays there. But it all backfires in the end and they’re still stuck with Angela.

Jinty and Penny 2 August 1980

Jinty 2 August 1980

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jinty and Penny 4 October 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

Stories in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Girl the World Forgot (artist and writer Veronica Weir)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • ‘A Call for Help’ – Gypsy Rose story (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Behind the Screen: Return of the Saint
  • Sue’s Daily Dozen (artist José Casanovas) – first episode
  • Winning Ways 27: Tennis – the Forehand Drive (writer Benita Brown)
  • Child of the Rain (artist Phil Townsend)

Pam’s friend Tracie is all of a tizzy – she’s terrified of her mum walking out on the family. The obvious question is, why would she do that to them? It’s a serious worry: her mum is increasingly fed up with her home life and actively threatens to leave them. Of course it’s causing Tracie no end of worries on a daily basis but it also means there is no way she wants to come on the class trip to France. Pam’s cheerful mother thinks it’ll never come to that point, but when Tracie gets home after school one day and finds that her mother has packed a bag and got on the 3 o’clock bus it seems like quite a different matter!

Shona is the “Girl the World Forgot”, trying to survive on a deserted Scottish island. Some seals give her a pleasant surprise and she forgets her worries in swimming with them. But when the night comes and she is alone in the croft she has found, she seems not to be alone after all…

Kathy is trying hard to prove herself as a runner to her classmates and her teachers, but bad luck and the bullying nature of the horrible Sandra Simkins mean everything is against her. Even the obstacle race is a shameful experience for her – so bad that she vows to run away. At least her speed in running will help here there!

The Gypsy Rose story is clearly drawn specially for Jinty as it’s by Terry Aspin throughout in a matching style. Kay’s little sister Jenny has an imaginary friend called Mary who rings her on the toy phone – but one night the toy phone really does ring and Mary pleads for help because the hospital she is in is burning down! It turns out to be a hospital for toys, very fittingly. Gypsy Rose introduces the story and rounds it off at the end, rather than being one of the characters in the story itself as she sometimes is – but her appearance outside the burned toy factory in the last two panels makes it clear that she inhabits the same world as the stories she tells, that is, they are really real as far as she is concerned.

In the first episode of “Sue’s Daily Dozen” Sue Baker is feeling left-out as the only newcomer to the village. In the house that her dad is busy doing up, she finds a mysterious set of items that help her to integrate into village life – an old cooking pot, a ‘Daily Dozen’ book, and a spoon. Suspiciously witchy-sounding? But the first recipe, of some little cakes, turn out smashingly – but they do seem to be causing people who eat them to act a little… oddly.

Jemma West learns yoga from her serendipitous guest but when the rain comes down again she still can’t control herself enough, and she loses a big chance.

Jinty and Penny 9 August 1980

Cover art by Mario Capaldi

Stories in this issue:

  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Tears of a Clown (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Gypsy Rose, ‘The Magic Carpet’
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Behind the Screen: “Fun Factory”
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways 21: The Forward Roll (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

Pam has a stroke of luck: she finds a ‘witch ball’ in a jumble sale and suddenly she feels like things are going her way. Coincidence, or something more?

It is early days in the new story, “Tears of a Clown”. Kathy Clowne has had her name put down for cross-country running, done as a joke by her cruel bully Sandra because everyone expects she will be hopeless at it. And even Kathy’s mum is pretty sceptical. Surprisingly, Kathy turns out to be much faster than anyone thought she’d be, but she has an accident and her glasses land in a pond and no-one stops to help her find them. Of course the officials think she joined the race without permission in order to make the school a laughing stock – but at least Kathy now knows that she enjoys cross-country running, and what’s more is good at it too.

The Gypsy Rose story is a reprint from an earlier title: Gypsy Rose just introduces the story and different artwork is used for that panel and the end panel as for the main story art. I don’t recognize this artist offhand but it is certainly a style I have seen before. The story is about a poor laundry maid in old Baghdad, who buys a carpet that is reputed to be magic. She ends up adopted by a Sultan as a friend to his daughter, so it must have worked!

The form that you send in with your letters is currently also showing the issue number (this is listed as Jinty and Penny 316) which it didn’t always.

Carrie Black has a cunning plan to turn Angela into a witch. First she has to turn her evil, so that she won’t mind being trained as a witch. Er – totally foolproof plan, I don’t think! The ring of Queen Nefratti will do the trick, if Carrie can pinch it from the museum.

Minna has to hide the newspaper article that mentions her – photo and all – from her mother. Of course she can’t do that for long, and her mother resignedly says that ‘I think the damage may already be done’. There are still plenty of mysteries ahead, the writer needn’t drag out the suspense of Minna hiding her swimming from her mother any longer.

The last story is “Blind Faith”. Angie is helping Clare and Cromwell live in hiding; Angie’s father finds them and can’t decide what to do, because he can see that his daughter is happy, for the first time in a very long time. I guess he decides not to give them up to the authorities, just yet – and so the two girls and the horse can continue to practice jumping. But what good will it do in the end?

Jinty and Penny 26 July 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Romany’s Reading – Gypsy Rose story (artist Jim Baikie)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Behind the Screen: John Craven’s Newsround
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Winning Ways 19 – Gymnastics: the Bridge or Crab (writer Benita Brown)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

This is rather a browned copy of the issue, though to be fair the colouring of the cover image also has a beige background which helps give that impression.

Pam is dealing with a tricky situation: her schoolmate Hazel has been shoplifting and all the class has had a share in the stolen goods – will the blame rebound on them too? And – what drove Hazel to do it? Her home life seems far from happy, given the wee glimpse of her parents that we see.

There is a half-page advert for “Tears of a Clown” which starts in the next week’s issue: a hard-hitting tale of some cruel bullying of a misfit girl. It feels a slightly ‘in between’ issue in some ways – we had the last episode of “The Venetian Looking-Glass” in the previous week, and the episode of “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” is the one which is shortened by half a page to fit in the advert. The Gypsy Rose story is a substantial four-pager by Jim Baikie: a girl who helps an old gypsy woman is rewarded by being given a fortune reading. She will be in an accident but will be rescued by a ship. Surprisingly this turns out to happen while she is stranded in a desert – she is rescued by a camel, which of course is also called ‘the ship of the desert’.

Both the Gypsy Rose story and the episode of “A Spell of Trouble” have a fairly large first panel and only 6 panels on the first page: the page layout is far from being a straightforward grid, too. I wonder if that means that Jinty was experimenting with less conventional comics storytelling at this point? Not that episodes of “Concrete Surfer” some two years earlier, for instance, hadn’t also challenged the more staid conventions too, but it is relatively noticeable when there are two stories doing this one after the other. The Blacks are given an ultimatum: no non-witches can live with a witch family, under pain of losing their magic powers – so Carrie and her mum have to turn Angela into a witch, quick sharp!

The feature on TV programs is this week covering the very popular “John Craven’s Newsround”. Interestingly, they explain that there was only about 25% overlap with the main news of the day – the majority of the news stories were written specifically for the children’s show.

In “Minnow”, Minna remembers more about her mysterious past that her mother refuses to talk about – her friends tease her by splashing her with waves but this is her trigger for panicking – in her panic she remembers drowning and seeing faces surrounding her in a mist. Next week she is to be furthered threatened, by strangers at the pool!

Cromwell the blind horse is being given up to the police, but he and Clare are rescued by the blind daughter of the farmer who caught them…

Jinty and Penny 12 July 1980

Cover artist: Mario Capaldi

  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Dark Tower – Gypsy Rose story (artist unidentified)
  • A Spell of Trouble (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Behind the Screen – All Creatures Great and Small (feature) – first episode
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Winning Ways 17 – The Long Jump (writer Benita Brown)
  • Minnow (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Blind Faith (artist Phil Townsend)

Mario Capaldi’s action-oriented covers are always a sight to behold. This diver looks almost unrealistically excited, and certainly very enthusiastic to be jumping off that very high platform!

Pam and friends find out that one of the people in her class is probably a shop-lifter, giving people stolen items so as to buy friendship. What will happen next? We are promised disaster to follow Pam’s attempts to help.

The Gypsy Rose story is a reprint, with a very badly bodged image of Gypsy Rose drawn over that of the original story teller. The rest of the story is a slightly old-fashioned spooky story: a girl is kidnapped to get her to reveal the whereabouts of her scientist father, and stranded in a dark tower where no one will find her. A ghost and a locket are the means of her rescue.

Angela White threatens to turn things upside down in the household of Carrie Black, trainee witch. This light-hearted tale has a witchy family with a clumsy outsider foisted on them – Angela is a distant cousin and must be given a home. Unlike in some stories, neither the Blacks nor the Whites are cruel or malicious, but it will take a long time nevertheless for them to get along with each other.

In the letters page one reader writes in to ask for more science fiction stories, because she enjoyed “The Human Zoo” and “The Forbidden Garden” so much. More power to you, Jennifer Murray of Manchester!

This is the penultimate episode of “The Venetian Looking Glass”. Lucy Craven is totally under the power of the evil spirit – she thought she was defeating it by breaking the mirror, but the three pieces of the mirror turn out to have three times the power! Lucy runs down the corridor of the castle and takes her evil ancestor’s revenge by setting it alight to burn. Will her cousin Rosalind be able to stop her or to put out the flames?

“You’ve just tuned in to the first of our occasional series on your favourite TV programmes” – with lots about telly success All Creatures Great and Small. Much of it is interviews with Christopher Timothy, who played James Herriot, but there is a nice photo with Peter Davidson who played Tristam and who is now probably rather more famous as one of the actors who played Dr Who.

Minna is sneaking around behind her mother’s back, to find a signature that she can copy onto the form for joining the swimming club she is set on. She finds a mysterious photo that shows her parents dressed as swimming champions – and later she finds an olympic medal in her mother’s handbag! Minna has a mystery in her past, all right – and it comes out again in the swimming club when she has a sudden flashback of waves thundering and crashing – and the sea drowning her like it did her father!

Clare finds some shelter to keep her and Cromwell out of the night, and even sets up some jumps to start to train Cromwell again. But a raging bull might put paid to all of that…

Winner Loses All! (1979)

Sample Images

winner-loses-all-2awinner-loses-all-2bwinner-loses-all-2cwinner-loses-all-2d

Published: Misty 4 August 1979 to 24 November 1979

Episodes: 17

Artist: Mario Capaldi

Writer: Unknown

Translations/reprints: none known

Plot

Sandy Morton’s father is the despair of her. Once he had been an equestrian champion, including an Olympic champion. But he has never been the same since his wife died in a crash five years back because he keeps irrationally blaming himself for her death. As a result he has sunk into chronic alcoholism. He is now on the verge of being fired from his stable hand’s job at Hornby Riding School for being constantly drunk. This would also get them turned out of the house (even if it isn’t much of one) that goes with his job.

Sandy is desperate to find a way to stop Dad drinking and restore him to his old self. She also has dreams of following in his footsteps and become an equestrian champion, but that looks hopeless now because of the downward spiral her father has fallen into. The snobby rich girl Jocasta Forsyth-Major at the riding school really loves to rub her nose in that, and that Sandy can’t be part of the Worthing Cup competition the school is training for.

When Sandy finds the old sign of the now-ruined Black Horse Inn with the black horse on it, she wishes aloud the horse was real and she could have one like him.

Bookie Mr Dayville from the betting shop has overheard her. Dayville says he can give her everything her heart desires: her father restored to what he was, a decent home, the Worthing Cup, a horse of her own, become an equestrian champion. There is just one small price to pay for it all – Sandy’s soul!

Oh no, it’s no joke, dear Sandy. Moments later, Dayville is proving his true identity as the Devil himself. Sandy will come to suspect Dayville uses his position at the betting shop to tempt more people into his pacts, and she will wonder just how normal the village really is with all these secret Devil pacts that must be going on. As the story progresses, she will find out more about just how right she is.

In due course Dayville says almost everyone ends up in Hell anyway, so why not get some benefits out of it? He also reveals that the population of Hell is divided into two categories. The first are people who were truly evil in life and so are blessed with demonic form in Hell and the Devil treats them like pampered pets. The second are good, noble souls like Sandy who just make up the numbers and the Devil probably treats them like second class citizens. Gee, what does it take to get to Heaven then? But the story never goes into religion, the Bible or Jesus Christ.

Winner Loses All fave panel
Some facts about Hell, from the Devil himself. From “Winner Loses All!”, part 6, Misty 1979.

Right now Sandy won’t have any dealings with the Devil, but he isn’t taking “no” for an answer. He’s going to tempt her with a free trial. So when Sandy arrives home she finds her father transformed to his old self, Dayville offering to sell him a black stallion (named Satan, of course) for Sandy, and the black horse has vanished from the inn sign. But next morning it’s all back to normal, with Sandy’s drunken father lying on the floor. Sandy has to hide him behind the sofa before Mrs Hornby sees him drunk again and gives him the sack.

Temptation is not the only weapon in Dayville’s armoury. He turns the screw with emotional blackmail, telling Sandy how the booze is going to slowly kill Dad until he dies, and she could have saved him. Finally, when Jocasta threatens to tell on Mr Morton for drunkenness, Sandy panics so much that she caves in and accepts Dayville’s bargain. All signed with her own blood in the Devil’s book of contracts, of course.

So now Dad is transformed, no longer drinking and eager to turn their lives around, and Mrs Hornby is impressed. But with the Devil being behind it, there has to be a sting in the tail. Sure enough, we see it when we learn that the transformed Dad still blames himself for his wife’s death, which was the real root of his alcoholism.

The deal also includes an upcoming Olympic gold for Sandy and the black horse on the inn sign come to life (though as a living painting, not a real flesh-and-blood horse) for her to ride under the name of Satan. Dayville will claim her soul after she wins her Olympic gold – which will be in one year’s time at the 1980 Games! It also means Sandy and Satan have to be up to Olympic standard in a year, and they are still only novices.

There are some surprises. For example, Jocasta tries to spite Sandy by having her father buy Hornby Riding School, with the dismissal of Mr Morton as part of the deal. But Jocasta’s father also has a pact with Dayville (so that’s why Jocasta’s family is so rich!), so it’s an easy matter for him to persuade Forsyth-Major to withdraw his offer.

Though alive, Satan is not a real horse, and his fate is still bound to the old inn sign. So when the sign gets run over and snapped, Dad sees Satan’s legs break. Sandy finds the damaged sign and holding it together makes Satan whole again. The vet is bemused at this and rumours start that Dad imagined the broken legs out of drunkenness. When Dayville hears, he threatens to kill Satan to prevent discovery of Satan’s secret. To save Satan, Sandy is forced into another bargain with Dayville: if anyone finds out the truth about Satan, Dayville will claim Sandy’s soul instantly.

This almost happens when Dad and the vet take Satan to run secret tests because Dad wants vindication from the rumour that the booze made him imagine those broken legs. Sandy manages to stop them, but Dad gets the wrong impression that Sandy does not care about him (what a cruel irony!) and is deeply hurt. Dayville is ecstatic because he feeds on such negative emotions and misery.

By now Sandy realises that it’s going to be nothing but torment, torment, torment all the way from Dayville from now on, long before she reaches Hell. And she soon finds out she is not the only one he means to torment.

Cheating just has to be part of the Devil’s design to make her an equestrian champion: he’s got all his demons nobbling the competition by scaring and tormenting their horses, and she is the only one who can see them. Well, he never specified how he was going to make you a champion when he drew up the contract, did he, Sandy? As a result of this, Sandy wins the Worthing Cup by default and gets no joy out of winning it. Dayville also pulls the strings on another contracted person, Sir Geoffrey Ricketts, to get Sandy entered in an international event.

The vet takes the sign away for cleaning, which causes Satan’s legs to break again when the weak piece comes off. Sandy has to run the gauntlet with the demons, who don’t want her to get the sign back before the vet gets too close to Satan and find out his secret. Surprisingly, Dayville lends a hand by mending the sign, so Satan gallops away “from a very perplexed vet” and virtually apologises for his demons, saying they got a bit over-enthusiastic. However, the vet is still suspicious of Satan and the sign, and arranges for a test to be done on Satan when he performs at Ricketts’ show.

At the Ricketts show Dayville has the demons get up to their usual tricks to spook the competition out of Sandy’s running. Sandy tries to plead with Dayville to stop this, but it’s no use; after all, he is the Devil. And there is a bonus that has Dayville laughing even more – Dad has overheard them!

Soon Dad is informed about Sandy’s pact with the Devil (but not the reason for it) and shown the demons that are tormenting the horses. Thinking Sandy did it for her own Olympic ambitions, he is outraged and says she’s no daughter of his. Sandy nobly chooses the estrangement with Dad over having him know the real reason for the pact and blame himself. However, Dad works it out for himself when he goes for a drink but finds something is stopping him getting a single drop of alcohol past his lips.

Once Dad realises the full truth, he does something that takes even Dayville by surprise: he offers to let Dayville take his soul instead of Sandy’s. As Dad is willing to give up his soul immediately, Dayville considers it a better deal and happily accepts. As part of the deal, Dayville makes Satan a real horse – which puts paid to the test the vet arranged for him, and in the nick of time – and Sandy his legal owner. Moments later, Dad suddenly dies of a heart attack.

Sandy braves her grief in order to go into a spectacular and clear round (while bowling Dayville clean over!). Jocasta is so impressed with Sandy’s courage that she repents her unsavoury attitude towards her. The demons have stopped interfering with the other horses, so Sandy wins fair and square. She changes Satan’s name to “Phoenix” as she quite understandably can’t stand his old name. At Dad’s grave, Sandy vows that she and Phoenix will win the gold at the 1980 Olympics in his memory.

Winner Loses All fave panel
That’s the Devil she’s bowling over! Yes, THE Devil! From “Winner Loses All!”, final episode, Misty 1979.

Thoughts

This story is regarded as Misty’s jewel in the crown and one of the best-ever serials in the history of girls’ comics. It deserves such recognition, for it is bold enough to use the Devil himself as the heavy and pushes the boundaries like no other serial ever has in terms of scares, torture, misery and courage, not to mention Satanism and demons that would scare the living daylights out of kids. It doesn’t even end happily although Sandy was saved from Hell. Even by Misty standards it’s extremely strong stuff. It’s a wonder this story didn’t have parents up in arms in Parliament, especially ones who were Christian fundamentalists.

Sandy Morton must be the most tortured heroine in the history of girls’ comics. Even before Dayville gets to work on her, she’s in the pits of misery with her alcoholic father dragging her down into a despairing downward spiral along with him. She sees no future at all, much less any hope of becoming an equestrian champion like the Dad she used to know.

The story then takes the “wish fulfilment with strings attached” route, with the Devil himself offering to grant Sandy’s wishes in exchange for his usual fee. But you can’t expect the wishes to bring happiness when the Devil is granting them. And that is precisely the Devil’s design, as Sandy soon discovers. While granting her wishes, he uses them as a means to torture her emotionally and psychologically every step of the way to The Pit. He uses loopholes in the contract to torment her even further. For example, his idea of making Sandy an equestrian champion is to cheat her through to victory by using his demons to nobble the competition by scaring and torturing their horses. He makes her watch in horror as his demons torment the horses. He knows she does not want to win this way and will not enjoy it when she does win. That’s the whole idea, and he’s loving every minute of it!

The difficulties in keeping her secrets from her father adds to the torment and the Devil’s delight when it causes misunderstandings with her father and they become estranged. Even Satan, Sandy’s only comfort and friend against all her misery, is being used to add to the torment when Dayville forces her into the clause that he can claim her soul instantly if anyone finds out the truth about him.

Even when Sandy’s soul is saved from Dayville he still torments her. As she looks down at her father’s grave, she knows he is now down in Hell in her place, swelling the ranks of noble souls who are just there to make up the numbers. And on top of everything else, she’s now an orphan, and only has Phoenix to accompany her in the world. All she has left to live for is win the Olympic gold in her father’s memory.

The depiction of the Devil in human form as Dayville is brilliant. It makes a change from the usual horn-headed, goat-footed figure with the red cape and trident (except when he gives Sandy glimpses of his real form). His position as bookie is a most crafty and insidious way to tempt people. Maybe Misty is making a statement about the evils of gambling? It is also quite funny to think of the Devil having a day job in the human world.

There are also dashes of humour about Dayville that make him oddly endearing at times. For example, when Sandy turns him down initially he says he’ll give her a free trial, for he has to move with the times. (Nice to know the Devil isn’t a stick in the mud!) When Sandy signs Dayville’s book of contracts he says he is so pleased she is able to sign her own name instead of making thumbprints as people used to do in more illiterate times, and he appreciates the value of education. And while Dayville is always finding ways to use his contract to torment Sandy, he never actually lies to her or goes back on his word. He always remains within the boundaries of honesty. Yes, the Devil isn’t called cunning for nothing, is he?

Dayville’s comment about the two divisions of souls in Hell is disturbing. If the idea of Hell is to punish wrongdoing, what are noble souls doing there? He never says why or how they ended up there. Did they foolishly enter contracts with the Devil too, or was it for something they failed to do – like not believing in Christ, maybe? Yikes, that’s beginning to sound like something out of a Jack Chick tract. But as stated above, the story never even mentions Christianity, much less reveal what role it could play against the Devil’s contract with Sandy. There isn’t a priest, Bible or prayer in sight.

Tammy’s 5th Birthday Issue 7 February 1976

tammy-cover-7-february-1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Sarah in the Shadows – first episode (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Return of the Silver Mare – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Lights Out for Lucinda – last episode (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Aviator – first episode (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • A Monumental Detective – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
  • A Lead Through Twilight – first episode (artist Douglas Perry)

It is now 46 years since Tammy was first launched, on 6 February 1971. The first Tammy and Tammy’s 10th birthday issue have already been covered on this blog, so we will commemorate the anniversary with Tammy’s 5th birthday issue.

The Cover Girls are the first to honour the occasion, in their usual humorous style. Let’s hope they managed to sort out that little glitch with the birthday cake. Or maybe the Tammy team saw the funny side, just as the readers did.

As soon as we open the cover we see the first of Tammy’s “birthday gifts” to us, which is the first episode of “Sarah in the Shadows”. Tammy is celebrating her 5th with five new stories, two of which start this week, two next week, and the fifth the week after that. In Victorian times Sarah is thrown out into the street after her unfortunate uncle is thrown into debtor’s prison. All she has to survive on is her gift for paper cutouts and shadow play. The other birthday gift story, “A Lead Through Twilight”, is the last story in the issue (talk about bookends!). Carol Trent is losing her sight but won’t speak up about it or seek treatment because she is terrified her sourpuss uncle will send her away. But can she seriously expect to get away with hiding the fact that she’s going blind? And if the uncle finds out, will he do what Carol fears? Carol befriends a dog, Twilight, who could be her guide dog, but there is a definite mystery about him.

The birthday gift stories starting in the next issue are “The Fairground of Fear” (Diane Gabbot’s first serial for Tammy) and “Sit It Out, Sheri” (which will give John Armstrong a change from Bella). To make way for them, “Lights Out for Lucinda” is being finished off with a double episode. Lucinda has discovered the reason for the bizarre town of Blackmarket where everyone is being drugged into thinking it is still World War II and being forced to live that way. This peculiar ruse is all so the commander can provide a cheap workforce that are being paid 1940s rates instead of modern ones – to none other than Lucinda’s father! Fortunately for Lucinda it turns out he was a dupe and then a victim of blackmail before he finally manages to help put things right.

The last “birthday gift” story, starting 21 February, is a Hugh Thornton-Jones story, “Claire’s Airs and Graces”. Claire pretends to come from a posh background because of the snobby girls at her new school. This was the only Thornton-Jones serial in Tammy; his artwork was otherwise confined to Wee Sue episodes and Strange Stories.

It looks like the Storyteller is celebrating too because he is presenting two Strange Stories this week. Molly apparently is celebrating with a new story, but the title really should say “aviatrix”, not “aviator”. Although Bessie’s caption says “Bessie celebrates our birthday in her own special way”, her story has no bearing whatsoever on the celebrations or even on birthdays. She’s trying to help catch bank robbers but has forgotten the licence plate number of their vehicle. The police are trying to jog her memory but of course she is more interested in eating. Wee Sue’s story also has nothing to do with the celebrations. It’s all hijinks when Miss Bigger gets herself locked in a ball-and-chain because she disregarded a “do not touch” sign: “I’m a teacher. It doesn’t apply to teachers.” Silly woman!

Of course there is a competition to mark the occasion too, but this won’t be until next week.