Tag Archives: mergers

Mandy #1269, 11 May 1991 – last Mandy published

Last Mandy cover

Cover artist: Claude Berridge

  • The Greys and the Greens – final episode (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Best Friends! – final episode
  • Pippa’s Paper Round – final episode
  • Freda Who? – final episode
  • Gwen’s Goats – final episode
  • Selfish Susan – final episode (artist Dudley Wynne)
  • Glenda the Guide
  • Angel – final episode (artist Dudley Wynne)

This was the last-ever issue of Mandy. After a long run that began on 21 January 1967, Mandy and her sister comic Judy both ended so they would amalgamate into a whole new comic, Mandy & Judy (later M&J), instead of one incorporating and absorbing the other, as was so often the case with mergers.

Mandy’s cover story of the week was usually a series of misadventures that played on a single word or phrase, such as knots, stars, melting, music, ups and downs, and guesswork. This sometimes had a happy ending, sometimes not. But in this case it is meeting up with Judy, the cover girl from the comic she will amalgamate with next week. Judy moves in next door to Mandy, and the two girls come together when Mandy’s dog Patch goes missing and it’s Judy who finds him. This is the last time Claude Berridge drew the Mandy cover stories as he had done for years, and the last time Norman Lee drew Judy’s cover story. Next week Guy Peeters takes over for both Mandy and Judy in their new two-in-one comic.

As this is Mandy’s final issue, her stories come to an end. The only exception is “Glenda the Guide”, which carried on in Mandy & Judy but didn’t last long. This was a humour strip about a blundering girl guide who is always trying to win badges, but her efforts always lead to failure and loads of laughs for the readers.

In the other stories, Lindy Grey is always getting into trouble by copying her favourite soap, “Life with the Greens”. Now it’s her birthday, she decides not to copy it to be sure of a happy birthday. Ironically, Lindy’s birthday copies the soap all by itself and nothing goes wrong! Then the soap finishes, but Lindy is eager to watch and copy its replacement because the star is also called Lindy.

The two girls in “Best Friends!” are anything but. They hate each other but keep being shoved together because their mothers are friends. Then an emergency brings the two girls together when their mothers come down with food poisoning, and they are surprised to learn that their mothers started off as enemies too.

Pippa Roberts has all sorts of adventures on her paper round. This time it’s helping an old man who refuses to go into a home. Pippa’s solution is for a neighbour to help him with housework in exchange for him helping her with her garden. Brilliant!

“Freda Who?” is one of two Mandy reprints. Karen Wilkinson is puzzled by new girl Freda, who seems to be oddly clueless about things. Now it is revealed that Freda comes from the 23rd century, where warfare has rendered England virtually uninhabitable. Freda’s father sent her on a one-way time travel into the 20th century to save her life. This reveal must have had readers in tears.

Gwen is taking five goats across the country to Melbury Market as a publicity stunt for her mother’s health food shop. In the final episode she finally gets to Melbury and gets all the publicity she could want, plus a welcome lift to get her goats home.

Susan Smith has been faking deafness to continue getting favoured treatment after the genuine deafness from an illness wore off. But of course it all has to unravel in the end, which is what the whole of the final episode is all about. A new girl, Sonia, who had the same illness, has gotten suspicious of Susan. After several attempts, Sonia eventually succeeds in exposing Susan’s deceit to the other girls. Susan puts on the bravado, saying what fools she’s made of them, it’s been great fun, and she’s come out the winner. But she soon finds out she is no winner because nobody ever trusts her again.

It is fitting that the last-ever Mandy ends on the final episode of the most popular serial she ever ran: “Angel”. A wealthy Victorian woman, Angela Hamilton, is diagnosed with an incurable illness. She goes into the London slums to dedicate her remaining time to caring for the needy as “Miss Angel”. This was Angel’s second reprint in the regular Mandy comic, and the reprint in Lucky Charm makes it three. Angel was not reprinted in the Mandy & Judy merger (probably too close to the last reprint in Mandy). But as the lineup for Mandy & Judy explains, she did carry on in the amalgamation with “The Diary of Angel”.

 

Mandy 1Mandy 2

Advertisements

Story length through Jinty’s life

I have created a new page listing the stories in Jinty by publication date. This seemed like an interesting and useful addition to the list of stories in alphabetical order that has been in place on the blog since we started. As part of the information on that new page it seemed sensible to count the number of episodes for each story, too (where possible) – luckily for me, the Catawiki data that I was using to compile this information gave me the ability to include that for almost all stories. As I put together the list, I got the impression that in the last year of Jinty‘s publication, the story length was getting shorter and shorter: so I pulled together some stats on it.

For each year below, there are some stories I excluded from the statistics, either because I didn’t have a complete count of all the episodes (for instance where a story had started in Lindy or Penny before their merger with Jinty), or because they were by their nature long-running humour strips with no specific start or end point. I’ll give a list of the excluded stories and their running lengths further down this post.

  • For 1974, the mean story length is just under 16 episodes and the mode (most usual) story length is 13 episodes
  • For 1975, the mean is just under 18 episodes and the mode is 16 episodes
  • For 1976, the mean is just under 15 episodes and the mode is 19 episodes
  • For 1977, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 11
  • For 1978, the mean is just over 16 episodes and the mode is 18
  • For 1979, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1980, the mean is 11.5 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1981, the mean is 11 episodes and the mode is 10

We can see that the two averages do go up and down over the run of Jinty. Having said that, the drop-off in episode length in 1980 and 1981 does look like a real change, despite that context of background variation. (I’m not going to do any full-on statistical analysis with standard deviations and so on though!) Both average figures are down in those two years, because there are fewer long stories pushing up the mean as well as a general trend to the slightly shorter length of 10 – 12 episodes.

Which stories did I exclude from the analytics, and why?

  • The humour strips with no specific story arc: “Dora Dogsbody” (94 episodes), “Do-it-Yourself Dot” (62 episodes), “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” (112 episodes), “The Snobs and the Scruffs” (12 episodes), “Desert Island Daisy” (9 episodes), “Bird-Girl Brenda” (27 episodes), “The Hostess with the Mostess” (19 episodes), “Bet Gets The Bird!” (11 episodes), “Alley Cat” (163 episodes), “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” (111 episodes), “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” (27 episodes), “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (96 episodes).
  • “Merry at Misery House” (66 episodes) is not a humour strip but like those above, it has no specific overall story arc, no obvious beginning or end that is worked towards throughout its run. I have therefore excluded that too. The same goes for “Pam of Pond Hill” which ran to a mighty 126 episodes in Jinty and then on into Tammy of course.
  • The stories that I have incomplete episode information about: “Finleg the Fox”, “Penny Crayon”, “Hettie High-and-Mighty”, “Gypsy Rose” (these stories are not catalogued on Catawiki as a group), “Rinty n Jinty”, “Seulah the Seal”, “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, and “Snoopa”. Various of those would be excluded even if I had complete episode numbers, of course.
    • Edited to add: further information has been given in the comments below. “Finleg” and “Hettie” ran for 7 episodes in Lindy, and “Tansy” ran for 45 episodes in Penny. “Seulah” ran for 11 episodes in Penny, and then started a new story in Jinty & Penny, which I hadn’t really realised. The two Seulah stories were more like separate arcs in a bigger story than self-contained stories in themselves. Many thanks to Marc for this information! I will add them into the spreadsheet and see if it makes any difference to the years in question.
    • “Snoopa” ran for 45 episodes in Penny, which Mistyfan confirms below (many thanks). As a gag strip, this would not be included in the year-on-year statistics in any case.

Longest run of an individual story? “Alley Cat” has all the others beat, at 163 episodes; runners-up are “Pam of Pond Hill” at 126 episodes, and then “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” and “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” neck and neck at 112 and 111 episodes respectively. However, if you exclude these and look at the length of the ‘normal’ stories, then the top three are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (36 episodes), “Fran of the Floods” (35 episodes), and “Always Together…” (29 episodes). (Phil Townsend does particularly well for long-running stories, as “Daddy’s Darling” clocks in at 24 episodes and “Song of the Fir Tree” at 22 episodes.)

At the other end of things are some short stories. There are only two single-episode stories: “Holly and the Ivy” and “Mimi Seeks a Mistress”. “Freda’s Fortune” is the only two episode story. “Mimi” was a reprinted story, printed towards the end of 1980; possibly “Holly” and “Freda” were intended for publication in annuals or summer specials and then used as filler.

There are a few 3 or 4 episode stories: “The Birds”, “The Changeling”, “Casey, Come Back!”, and “The Tale of the Panto Cat”. This is also an odd length for a story – long enough to allow for a bit of development, but short enough to feel a bit abruptly cut off when you get to the end. Of these four, I’d say that “The Birds” is the one I find uses its length most successfully, though “Panto” works pretty well as a seasonal short. The slightly-longer “Her Guardian Angel” (5 episodes) likewise uses its length reasonably well to give us a seasonal amusement.  Some other shorter stories, such as “Badgered Belinda” (7 episodes), do read like they have probably been cut down from an originally-intended standard length of 10 – 12 episodes.

The spreadsheet with this information is available on request – please comment and I will be happy to email it to you if you want.

Lindy 20 September 1975

 

Image

  • Hettie High and Mighty! – first episode (unknown artist (Merry))
  • The Pointing Finger (artist Jesus Redondo)
  • Poor Law Polly (artist Roy Newby)
  • Defiant Daisy (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • Pavement Patsy (artist Miguel Quesada)
  • Finleg the Fox – first episode (artist Barrie Mitchell)
  • Penny Crayon (artist unknown)
  • The Tin-Mine Ponies – last episode (artist Manuel Cuyàs)
  • Hard Days for Hilda (artist Dudley Wynne; writer Terence Magee)

Lindy was the first of two comics to merge with Jinty. She was one of the many short-lived comics which did not survive past the first year and got swallowed by mergers very quickly. But Lindy was short-lived even by the standards of a short-lived girls’ comic; she lasted only 20 issues while most short-lived girls’ comics were usually cancelled around the 30th issue or so.

The merge came on 8 November 1975. This issue of Lindy is notable for the first episodes of “Hettie High and Mighty!” and “Finleg the Fox”, the two Lindy serials which would conclude in the merger. Unlike Penny in 1980, Lindy contributed little to Jinty because she lacked regulars to carry on after her serials concluded. Not even her resident cartoon, “Penny Crayon”, lasted long in the merger. But it is possible that  Lindy‘s scripts and writers had more influence on the merger because it featured several historic period stories such as “Bound for Botany Bay“. And Lindy seemed to have a stronger emphasis on such stories than Jinty, with serials like “Nina Nimble Fingers”, “Poor Law Polly” and “Hard Days for Hilda”. Lindy also brought artist Roy Newby to Jinty; he had illustrated period stories for Lindy and would do the same for the merger, including “Bound for Botany Bay”.

Jinty & Penny 12 April 1980

On 12 April 1980, Penny became the second comic to merge with Jinty. The first had been Lindy in 1975. Penny was the more successful of the two mergers because she had more regulars to bring over whereas Lindy had only serials. Lindy‘s resident cartoon, Penny Crayon, did not last long in the Jinty & Lindy merger. During her seven year run, Jinty went through only two mergers while her sister comic, Tammy, went through six in thirteen years.

Discussion of the final issue of Penny can be found here.

Penny‘s most lasting additions to Jinty were Tansy of Jubilee Street and Snoopa, who would make their presence felt in the Tammy & Jinty merger as well. Snoopa was the most enduring of all, perhaps because he was drawn by Joe Collins. This made him easy to incorporate into Edie and Miss T, the Joe Collins cartoon running in Tammy. The cartoon became The Crazyees, which would last until Princess (second series) merged with Tammy in 1984.

Image

  • Pam of Pond Hill (Jinty) – Bob Harvey
  • Spirit of the Lake (Jinty) – Phil Townsend
  • Seulah the Seal (Penny) – Veronica Weir
  • Tearaway Trisha (Jinty) – Andrew Wilson
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (Jinty) – Phil Gascoine
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street (Penny) – Ken Houghton
  • Toni on Trial (Jinty) – Terry Aspin
  • White Water (Jinty) – Jim Baikie
  • Snoopa (Penny cartoon) – Joe Collins

Final Jinty 21 November 1981

On 21 November 1981 the final Jinty was published.

Inside: Exciting News For All Girls Who LIke A Good Read!

Whether Jinty readers would really have been thrilled or excited by the news might well have been another matter. The Tammy & Jinty merger published two letters from former Jinty readers who weren’t.

The last seven issues could be considered a countdown to the merger, with a reprint of the seven-part series on Monday’s Child is Fair of Face, Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace etc, short filler stories and Gaye’s attempts to farewell Sir Roger end in disappointment because he failed to pass the test to the House of Ghosts. She does not realise he deliberately failed his test because he thought she miss him too much. But in the last issue, Gaye finds out what Sir Roger did and, when she wangles him another another tryout, she makes sure he passes. Only one long serial, The Bow Street Runner, began, and would conclude in the Tammy & Jinty merger.

Two stories, Worlds Apart and (probably) Dracula’s Daughter, suffered rushed endings, evidently to clear the decks for the seven-issue countdown. Worlds Apart was the greater casualty of this; the final of the six dream worlds it explored was clearly cut too short. That world was only allowed one and a half episodes while the others had four or five. The result was an unsatisfactory exploration of the final world in the name of a rushed conclusion. Dracula’s Daughter gives the impression it may have been cut a bit short as well, but fortunately not so drastically that you would notice too much.

We also have two bookends in this issue. The first is Phil Gascoine, the only artist whose work lasted from the first issue (Gail’s Indian Necklace) to the final one (Badgered Belinda). The second is Tansy of Jubilee Street, who reminisces on her very first story in the very first issue of Penny (which merged with Jinty),  where she loses her diary and gets into all sorts of scrapes trying to find it. In the final Jinty, Tansy finds her diary has disappeared again. We get flashbacks of what happened the first time, and watch Tansy as she gets into new scrapes in her search for it, and horrible thoughts of what people will find out if they should read it. Much to her relief, Tansy finds her mother just put the diary away for safekeeping.

Image

(Cover artist: Mario Capaldi)

  • Pam of Pond Hill – continues in merger (artist Bob Harvey)
  • The Magic Tambourine: Gypsy Rose story – Gypsy Rose continues in merger (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Tansy of Jubilee Street – ends, but returns in the Old Friends slot in merger – (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Sunday’s Child (end of series)
  • Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost – ends (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • A Window on the Past – Gypsy Rose story (artist Hugo D’Adderio)
  • Badgered Belinda – ends (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Fancy Meeting You! (text story)
  • The Bow Street Runner – continues in merger (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)

[Edited by Comixminx: I thought readers might also be interested to see the double-page advert that ran in this final issue for the merged title.]