Tag Archives: Miss Make-Believe

Jinty 29 September 1979

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Stories in this issue:

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes) – final episode
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist ‘Merry’)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters) – final episode

Almost Human” Xenia is happy that the lightning strike from last episode has drained enough of her life force that she does not kill earth creatures that she touches – just as well, as a kindly couple take her to the local hospital to have her burned hands treated. But it’s not only her extraordinary strength that still marks her out as an alien: she is also not able to be x-rayed, which raises enough suspicions in the minds of the medical staff that Xenia needs to run away again – this time by jumping out of a window and down several stories! She is still super-powered enough to be able to this easily, though in future episodes this will not be the case.

In “Village of Fame“, developments are afoot. Mr Grand has had all the schoolgirls in Sue’s class hypnotised, apart from snob Angela Grenfield; Sue and ex-spy Mandy are pretending they were also caught by the hypnotist. The fact he missed one girl to his knowledge is infuriating Mr Grand, who clearly has something up his sleeve to make his serial more exciting. The pacing is neat though – the weeks are shown going by with nothing happening, until finally some lever is pulled to get Angela out of the way. Come Monday morning, only the hypnotised girls are in the class: cue the permanent replacement teacher arriving, in the form of… Marvo the hypnotist, looking as sinister as you like!

It’s the last episode of “Terry and Mike”, the girl assistant who is lauded as the person who gets all her best ideas at just the right moments. The master criminal gets away, having been revealed as the person they least expected (he was dressed up as unassuming Cornelius Mumble, the caretaker), but the detective duo managed to free all the kidnapped entertainers and rescue the necklace that was the point of the whole caper. (The villain was reenacting the night of a show when thief Jed Adams hid the stolen necklace, just before some scenery fell on him and made him lose his memory – the idea being that re-staging the night would trigger his memory, as indeed it did.) Next week we are promised the new story “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”, drawn by the same artist.

Waves of Fear” has Clare’s claustrophobia kicking in to such a degree that she runs out of her school assembly and even bites a teacher in order to get free of him as he attempts to prevent her! In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, Tamsin has smuggled a swimming costume out of the house despite her gran’s bag-checking habits. Sadly her silver comb gets mislaid in the changing room (a spot of minor bullying by classmates) and she loses her nerve as the time comes to swim. More bullying in the pool itself doesn’t help. At least by the end she has found her comb again, which encourages her to try again next time… if there is a next time.

It’s also the last episode of “Pandora’s Box”, where we’ve seen the conceited Pandora become softer-hearted as she realises how much she loves her enchanted cat, Scruffy. To save his life (he became ill while helping her cast a spell), she has to give up her heart’s desire – her part in the London musical ‘Alice in Jazzland’. Interestingly, although a lot of the imagery around Pandora and her aunt is that of stereotypical black magic – devilish statues in a circle, for instance – the spell to cure Scruffy is based around the sun, which is life. Pandora and her aunt are portrayed perhaps more like Wiccans than evil witches: they may use their magic for their own advancement but it is not clearly black or white in itself. Pandora does indeed lose her part in ‘Alice’ – and refuses to be just an understudy (more fool her in her unprofessional attitude). But actually that is the last flash of the old Pandora that we see – prompted by Scruffy, she gets her next part through proper hard work and determination, in much more the spirit that will see her have a career in show biz. Good for her! Next week we will see a different kind of pig-headedness in this slot – Bev Barton in “Black Sheep of the Bartons”, drawn by the same artist and written by Alison Christie.

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Jinty 10 November 1979

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It is the theme that provides the contrast between the two panels on this cover. One is dark and spooky and the other is cute and appealing, although tinged with apprehension as we are not sure if those cute doggy eyes will melt Julie’s heart.

After being drawn by a filler artist and then briefly disappearing from Jinty, “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” are back, with their regular artist.

The tension to the climax builds in “Almost Human”. Xenia is not recharging her life force because it will make her touch deadly again, but it is taking its toll. She is too tired to wake up when her mother calls with vital news. But we are told that next week someone from Xenia’s past will call with news of her home planet, so it must be to do with that. But is the news good or bad?

In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, Tamsin is on her way to Redruthan, so the mystery is finally unravelling. But so is Gran’s health, and Tamsin has left her behind when Gran needs her.

Clare finally gets what she needs in “Waves of Fear” – someone to support her and offer understanding, not be over-judgemental and harsh, and stick up for her against the bullying. Unfortunately Clare doesn’t get the same thing from anyone in authority, not even her parents, because they think she’s a coward like the rest of the people who hate her. So she has no protection from the trick Jean pulls in this issue to get her expelled. And it looks like it’s going to succeed, unfortunately. But even if it does, surely it can’t last for long. Sooner or later the truth will out. It always does in girls’ comics.

“The Black Sheep of the Bartons” takes one step closer to being expelled in this issue as well. The headmistress is furious that Bev failed her exams because she was sneaking off to judo instead of swotting! If Bev doesn’t turn around fast she could be out on her ear. But will she?

In “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”, Julie is finally getting close to Buttons II. But naughty Buttons chews up the rosettes Julie won with Buttons I. This could set things back in the next issue….

And in “Village of Fame”, spoilt Angela finds out that it’s no good running away if you can’t do basics like fixing up food because everything’s always been done for you. But there’s one silver lining – Angela knows a secret passage that can help Mandy and Sue to get one up on the villains. And it gives us the nice spooky panel for the cover.

Jinty 3 November 1979

JInty cover 8

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • Hallowe’en Crossword
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Competition pages
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Pony Parade Poster part 1
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Jinty Fashion Contest – more winners
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)

Jinty’s new competition and part 1 of her four-part pony poster knock all serials or Halloween/Guy Fawkes celebrations off the cover in this issue. The only thing honouring Halloween is the crossword; there are no regulars strips (Jinx from St Jonah’s, Fran’ll Fix It or even Bizzie Bet and the Easies) that could be used to commemorate Halloween or Guy Fawkes. There is no Gypsy Rose either to bring us a spooky story to celebrate Halloween at least. Even Alley Cat is up to business as usual.

And what drama in the stories have been pushed off the cover this week? Xenia, the “Almost Human”, finds herself in a life-or-death dilemma. She discovers that the lightning strike is draining her life force. She will die if she does not recharge herself with her medikit. But if she does, her touch will be deadly to Earth life again!

In “Village of Fame”, spoilt Angela is causing even more problems for our heroines because she wants revenge on her grandfather and blackmails them into helping her with it. Worse, Mr Grand announces that he is going to produce evidence that his TV serial is not harmful for the village of Fame. That can mean only one thing – something harmful! And from the sound of it, it’s going to be the climax of the story as well.

Julie begins to take to Buttons II after the dog runs away, but she feels disloyal to Buttons I.

In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, the mystery of Redruthan begins to unravel slightly, while Gran suddenly falls ill. We are told that Tamsin is off to Redruthan next week, so another climax is clearly approaching.

In “Waves of Fear”, Clare the outcast finally finds a friend and some respite from her ordeal in the form of orienteering. But Clare’s enemies are putting on the pressure to get her expelled, and spiteful Jean has a plan to do just that.

“The Black Sheep of the Bartons” finally does something right – she uses her judo to foil some burglars out to steal the school trophies. This becomes the only thing standing between her and expulsion. But what with Bev bunking off to judo when she should be swotting for exams and still needing to change her selfish attitude, expulsion may only be a matter of time. So we have two girls in danger of expulsion in the same issue! We shall be following their stories to see if that happens.

Jinty 20 October 1979

Jinty cover 7

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Great Fashion Contest! The Winners are Here! (competition results)
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons  (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Hedgehog Cake (feature)
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)

As the cover shows, Xenia tries her hand at horse riding and the results are not smooth. Xenia also adjusts a telescope so she can see her home world. But this means she has given herself away to the astronomy family she is staying with. She takes off, not hearing their shouts that they are the best people to help her. Oh well, let’s see if they will help later in the story.

In “Waves of Fear“, Clare’s parents are definitely not the best people to help her. She has escaped certain death in the cave, but even this does not cut any ice with them. They’re treating her more harshly than ever instead of hugging her and saying, “Oh, it’s a miracle, thank God you’re all right.” The headmistress isn’t much better; she calls the bullies who were responsible for nearly killing Clare “poor girls”! However, we get a hint that the person who is the best one to help Clare has finally shown up – a woman who saw the terrified state Clare was in when she fled the cave and was deeply concerned. Unfortunately, we are also warned that things will get even worse for Clare next week.  Will this new character be able to help Clare enough against it?

The school staff in “My Heart Belongs to Buttons” aren’t any more professional than Clare’s headmistress. They put Julie in a lower form because her schoolwork has deteriorated since her dog’s death. They know about Julie being in grief, but they don’t show her any sympathy or understanding: “Excuses can’t make up for slack and lazy behaviour. You’ve let us all down, Julie.”

“The Black Sheep of the Bartons” discovers judo and her vocation in life. But her irresponsible behaviour has caused her parents to take a hostile attitude to her judo. Not the best of starts, and Bev can’t see that it’s her own fault for being so selfish and not thinking of others more.

In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, Tamsin confronts her gran and father over the way she has been forced into plaits, unnecessary glasses and hand-me-down clothes. But it just seems to make things worse – gran confiscates all the mirrors in the house. But of course gran has reckoned without the comb, and now it is dropping more clues about the mystery of Tamsin’s origins.

“Village of Fame” is now being told that they’re being visited by flying saucers. Sue finds out that Grand and Marvo are setting the stage for faking a UFO abduction, but how can she stop them? She has lost her only ally, Mandy, because her uncle has sent her back to London.

 

Jinty 13 October 1979

Jinty cover 5

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons – (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Gwen’s Quiz Show (feature)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Can You Put Down Miss Know-All? (Quiz)
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons – (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Autumn Leaves Brooch (feature)

“Full of gripping fiction of all kinds!” says the cover, and it starts off with a disturbing imminent image of child abuse – Gran is about to cut off Tamsin’s hair. Fortunately Dad has gotten home on shore leave in the nick of time and stops her. Tamsin finds out he knows the reason for Gran’s conduct, but he won’t tell her. Meanwhile, Tamsin goes into open rebellion against her Gran by smashing the glasses Gran forces her to wear now she has realised they are just plain glass. The mystery is deepening in all directions. And we are told it is going to get even deeper next week when Tamsin confronts her gran.

In “Waves of Fear”, Clare’s parents have become so harsh with her that they say they don’t have a daughter anymore. Their words seem more prophetic than they realise because in this episode it looks like they are about to lose Clare altogether. Not knowing what else to do, Clare heads back to the cave to understand her panic. But she becomes overwhelmed by it again, and then by the bullies at school, who throw her into the cave pool. But they didn’t know there was an extremely powerful current below, and now it looks like Clare is going to drown. More gripping stuff here too!

It’s part two of “The Black Sheep of the Bartons”. Bev finds that the academy is not bringing her the freedom she expected – the school has its rules too, and they’re even more maddening for Bev than her parents’ rules. She’s up in rebellion against them, happy to be the black sheep of the school, and is oblivious to the fact that she is putting herself on the road to expulsion. Something needs to happen, and the blurb for the next issue tells us it’s going to be judo. Will judo save Bev from expulsion? And in part two of “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”, Julie is having a hard time with the new dog. Clearly it has been too soon and the new dog has reopened Julie’s grief.

In “Village of Fame”, Mandy begins to transcend her selfishness and agrees to help Sue. But the baddies are keeping one step ahead of them and have destroyed a vital piece of evidence. Next week we are told that Mandy is going to disappear. Yikes! How far is Mandy’s crooked uncle going to go there?

We have a very interesting quiz in this issue – do you know enough to take on Miss Know-All? You know, the sanctimonious know-all who is constantly showing off his/her knowledge and putting everyone else down with it? This quiz certainly tests your general knowledge, and don’t we wish we could put down a know-all? But they’re not easy because they always like to come up with some new knowledge to show off with.

Jinty 6 October 1979

 

Jinty cover 4

 

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons – first episode (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Jinty Meets a Puppy-Walker – feature
  • Are You in Good Shape? Quiz
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons – first episode (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)

This issue of Jinty begins two new stories, “Black Sheep of the Bartons” and “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”. The first is about Bev Barton, a rebel without a cause who styles herself as the black sheep of the family. She hates living on her parents’ ‘boring’ farm, chafes under their rules, and wants more freedom. She thinks the academy is the answer to her quest for freedom and is now taking the scholarship exam for it. Boy, is she going to find out!  This story was written by Alison Christie. Christie has not claimed authorship of the other new story, “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”, but it ought to be one of her stories, because it’s a tear-jerker story about a girl who is not coping with loss of her dog well, and she keeps rejecting the new dog.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to notice Xenia’s strange powers in “Almost Human”, and policemen are among those taking an interest – uh, oh…. She manages to save a boy’s life without touching him, but is on the run again and the interest in her is intensifying.

Clare’s “Waves of Fear” are getting worse and worse, as Clare discovers when she desperately tries to visit Rachel in hospital, but the waves of fear drive her off. And it’s not just the waves of fear that are getting worse – so are the trouble at school and the hatred against Clare because everyone thinks it’s cowardice and they treat her like a criminal. People are giving her funny glances in the street now and refusing to serve her in the market. Even Clare’s parents are part of the crowd; Clare gets nothing but harshness from them and the final panel has Dad saying, “I don’t think we’ve got a daughter anymore.” What does that mean – they’ve disowned her or something? As if that wasn’t bad enough, it looks like worse is to follow next week, and we are told that this will take the form of a “cruel reward” for Clare.

In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, Gran isn’t much better than Clare’s parents – she finds Tamsin combing her golden hair and goes so wild that she’s about to cut Tamsin’s hair off!

In “Village of Fame“, Marvo’s hypnotic powers over the class has them throwing a hockey match, and nobody is listening to Sue when she tries to tell them what is going on. This is the price she is paying for spinning so many tall tales in the past. Mandy, the only other person to know what is going on, is currently not willing to help. Something has to change her mind because she looks like the only hope Sue has right now.

Jinty has used Hugh Thornton-Jones as a filler artist before; he took over two of her serials originally drawn by Mario Capaldi. Here he takes over from Richard Neillands for “Bizzie Bet and the Easies”. But in a couple of months he will start a Jinty story of his very own – “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” – and will draw it right up to Jinty’s final issue in 1981.

Story theme: the Magical Companion / Non-human companion

Stories of magic and the supernatural often include a companion who helps, guides, prods, or sometimes rather forcibly plonks the protagonist in the middle of adventure. The companion in question has his, her, or its own agenda and in that, it has some similarities to the evil object which takes over people’s lives: but unlike the evil object story, the magical guide does not coerce or remove free will. Generally speaking, the agenda of the companion is at least morally neutral, if not positively on the side of the protagonist’s best interests. The journey towards a happy ending, though, is not in itself happy all along: often the life of the main character is made decidedly more uncomfortable as the story unfolds.

Normally the companion is clearly magical, maybe right from the start: sometimes she (rarely he) or it seems outwardly normal at first but is found in the thick of things too often for it to be a coincidence. This perhaps is particularly the case where the companion is an animal, such as one of the three(!) examples of magnificent white horses that help protagonists in various ways.

Core examples

The example I think is one of Jinty‘s best for this theme is “Guardian of White Horse Hill”. Janey Summers is an orphan, with foster parents who she is hoping will go on to adopt her. However, life with her new family is not easy, partly because of mean snobbish girls in the local area, partly because of trauma she hasn’t yet got over (badly handled by the adults in question, as usual), and partly because, well, she sees a white horse that no-one else can see. Obviously people start questioning her sanity as well as her temperament, but the horse in question turns out to be Celtic horse goddess Epona. Epona takes Janey back in time more than once, to the Celtic settlement originally located where the modern village is. In the historical time, Janey finds herself in the body of a young priestess facing the peril of a Roman invasion; in the modern time of the story, the village is threatened by a road which is to be built through the village itself. At the priestess’s behest, the Celtic villagers saved themselves by a non-violent path, namely digging a white horse on the hillside; the earth left over from all the digging is swept into the path of the invaders by torrential rain. In parallel in modern times, the path that the villagers were going to take – giving up and giving in – is derailed by Epona, who through Janey’s actions reveals the historical white horse carved on the hill. The villagers are able to declare this a site of special interest and hold off the road-building that way.

Even before Epona takes Janey back in time, she clearly reveals her magic to the reader: no-one else can see the horse apart from Janey, and when she gets on the back of the horse she is invisible to those around her. Ultimately Epona’s actions are in Janey’s interest too: by saving the village, the livelihoods of Janey’s foster parents are secured, but also Janey’s role in bringing that salvation helps to secure her wish to have real, loving parents again. There are uncomfortable moments for Janey along the way: for instance when Epona makes her dismount (so that she can then be seen by anyone who can spot her) just before a big village meeting. Even more so, you could point to the basic fact that making yourself visible to just one person is in itself asking to lead them into trouble – and Epona, magic though she is, is not a talking horse and does not explain herself.

Clear examples of this story theme in Jinty are:

  • “The Valley of Shining Mist” (1975) has a mysterious woman in a mysterious cottage in a mysterious valley – only when the mist fills the valley can the protagonist see the cottage as anything but an old ruin. Debbie is taught music by the woman in the cottage, but more than that, she also learns love and acceptance as Mrs Maynard helps her to change her life.
  • Corn Dolly in “Golden Dolly, Death Dust!” (1975-76), who guides and protects the protagonists in their battles against the evil witch Miss Marvell.
  • The eponymous horse in “Horse From The Sea” (1976) seems initially like a normal (magnificent, unbridled, appearing-out-of-the-blue) white horse, but a tale is recounted part-way through the story that makes it clear that this is the same mysterious horse that throughout centuries has defended the heir of the local estate from danger.
  • The mysterious Malincha in “Sceptre of the Toltecs” (1976-77) is golden-eyed, and inhumanly strong and smart. She needs the help of protagonist Jenny Marlow to fulfill her quest; you could perhaps consider Malincha to be the protagonist herself, but she is so characterless and mysterious that it is hard to see her in that role.
  • In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag” (1976-79), the magical companion is another inanimate object: well, I say inanimate – the bag in question is given expression by the creases in the leather, giving her a cheeky look. This one is played for laughs too, and as an ongoing humour strip there is less of a clear agenda on the part of Henrietta the hand-bag as there is less of an overall story. Henrietta often helps Sue and gets her out of a pickle, but equally she often lands her in one too.
  • In “Daughter of Dreams” (1979), Sally Carter is a wall-flower until she makes up an imaginary friend, Pauline Starr. Her imagination is so strong she can see her new friend clearly – so clearly in fact that Pauline comes to life! Pauline helps to shake up Sally’s life, first of all by getting her to do more lively things so she can make more friends, and then in the sequel, “Miss Make-believe” (1979), defeating crooks in a stately house caper.
  • Karen finds a ghostly skating instructor in the “Spirit of the Lake” (1979-80): appearing to her as an elegant woman, the spirit is friendly and helpful to Karen in a situation where the girl is otherwise not shown much love or friendship. The skating spirit seems to have little agenda of her own other than to help Karen become a skating champion.
  • “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (1979-81) has another ghostly companion but is an ongoing humour strip like “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag” (and indeed is drawn by the same artist too).
  • “Sue’s Daily Dozen” (1980) has an inanimate object as the magical companion, making it perhaps a slight stretch from the main theme of the category. Sue finds a book in the old cottage that she has moved into with her sister: the recipes in the book turn out to be more like magic spells, but very positive and homely ones intended to spread positive effects in the local community: sweets turn out to bring the childhood sense of fun back, and a love potion reconciles a quarreling couple. None of the spells are dramatically and clearly magic until the end of the story: the ambiguity of whether the odd effects are coincidental is maintained for quite a while, which is nice. In the end the book is reunited with the cauldron that Granny Hayden had also used, and both items disappear off to be found in the future by another lucky girl.
  • Gabbi is the magical companion in “Her Guardian Angel” (1980-81); literally a guardian angel, this played-for-laughs story has her defending her charge from all sorts of things that are not in fact dangerous. Gabbi has her own agenda: she has to pass a test to earn her wings, and earthbound Roz must therefore temper her normal way of being in order to help this angel who has become a friend.

Not in Jinty: Mistyfan has pointed out the Tracy story Rhoda’s Robot, in which the companion is not magical in origin, but a robot. (It’s a little arguable in my mind as to whether the robot really should be counted as non-magical as she doesn’t behave anything like a ‘realistic’ robot, but still.)

Edge cases

As with the other themes, you can see examples that don’t fit quite as clearly in the category but still have a lot of overlap with it.

  • “Wild Horse Summer” (1974) has (yet another) magnificent wild white horse which changes the protagonist’s life, but this horse really does seem to be a real-life horse who behaves reasonably realistically.
  • “The Zodiac Prince” (1978) in question is definitely magical; he is more protagonist than companion.
  • “Paula’s Puppets” (1978) is a little harder to categorise; I’d say it was a better match with the Evil Object / Supernatural Object theme as the puppets have a less clear agenda of their own, if any.
  • In “Pandora’s Box” (1979) Pandora has a little black magical cat, Scruffy, but he acts like a typical witch’s familiar, not as a magical guide.
  • “Sea-Sister” (1979) has a ghostly/magical character who again is more protagonist than guide or companion.

Related but different

  • There are other stories with animal friends or antagonists – cats, dogs, horses, birds and so forth in stories such as “The Big Cat”, “The Birds”, “Blind Faith”, “The Disappearing Dolphin”, “Finleg the Fox”, “Friends of the Forest”. As with “Wild Horse Summer”, these are animals that are given a generally realistic treatment.
  • Evil object / supernatural object, discussed separately.
  • Mysterious helper: a story type where someone is mysteriously helping the main character, but in a naturalistic way. The particular example in Jinty would be “Diving Belle”, where the protagonist gets training in diving by a female instructor who appears mysteriously and does seem to have more-than-natural knowledge of what is needed (what with being a gypsy, as obviously psychic powers come with that). Nevertheless she is a human and interacts with the main character in a human way.
  • Wish fulfilment: this can be magical/supernatural in nature (“Dance Into Darkness”) or through more naturalistic methods (“Jackie’s Two Lives”, “Kerry In The Clouds”). There is a trigger for the protagonist to have her wish fulfilled but that is not someone who accompanies her throughout the story guiding her.

Other thoughts

Bringing a magical companion into an otherwise ordinary girl’s life is always going to be a popular way to power a story; any reader could hold out a hope that just such a force could enter her own life and help her out with her difficulties. I guess it also makes sense that the writer can’t have the magical companion make things too straightforward for the protagonist as it’d be boring otherwise; the magical companion must therefore challenge or complicate the main character’s life as much as improving it.

Jinty 17 November 1979

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Another of my favourite Jinty covers, drawn by Jim Baikie. The creepiness of the theme is brilliantly induced by the use of complementary colours with the orange and yellow mesmeric circles around Marvo’s head and the blue background, and the cross-hatching on Sue’s face.

It is, of course from Village of Fame. The story now reaches its penultimate episode, with Marvo using mass hypnotism to mesmerise the whole village into believing that Mr Grand’s TV serial is good for them. Worst of all, Sue Parker, the girl who has opposed Grand all along, is falling under the spell as well. Something needs to happen fast in the next episode!

Almost Human is on its penultimate episode as well. Xenia’s mother has been trying to tell her something important but can’t get through. Then it happens with one of the moons of Xenia’s home planet suddenly exploding! Xenia is distraught, but is it all what it seems?

Combing Her Golden Hair is approaching its climax, with Tamsin running off to Redruthan, her birthplace. We know that soon Tamsin is going to discover what Gran has been keeping from her all these years. Waves of Fear is approaching its climax too, what with Clare’s latest bout of panic getting her expelled thanks to nasty Jean. Priscilla Heath, the only adult who has not been judgemental to Clare, now begins to realise Clare needs serious help. The trouble is, nobody else does. As usual, Clare’s parents react with anger and harshness because they are working on the assumption that she is a coward and delinquent. And in Black Sheep of the Bartons, Bev Barton is in more trouble with her parents as well – and on Christmas Day!

Jinty 24 November 1979

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  • Almost Human – final episode (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • Village of Fame – final episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Combing her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe – final episode (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons (artist Guy Peeters)

This is one of my favourite Jinty covers. It is so hard to take your eyes off it. Its composition is simple, but is the stuff of fairy tales. It is of course from Combing Her Golden Hair. Tamsin has reached Redruthan and is beginning to decipher the mystery surrounding her birth and the reasons for her gran’s strict ways that border on the bizarre and even abusive at times.  We are promised that next week Tamsin will discover the strangest secret of all. And judging by the way the story has been building up all along, we have a sneaky suspicion as to what – or rather, who – that will be.

In this issue we see the end of three stories: Almost Human, Village of Fame and Miss Make-Believe. Combing Her Golden Hair and Waves of Fear look like they are also approaching their conclusions because their climaxes are building up fast. That means we will see more new stories coming soon after the new lineup that starts next week. In Waves of Fear, Clare is finally pushed too far and runs away (it had to happen). And it’s still not enough for her enemies. Her parents still think they have an out-of-control daughter whom they just rant and rave at while arch-enemy Jean, who is responsible for Clare’s expulsion, is now trying to frame her for vandalism at the orienteering club. Meanwhile, Tamsin finds a mirror that matches her comb, so the mystery of the comb is about to unravel.

When several stories end at once, it is often a sign that the next issue is going to be big and exciting. And it is. Next issue (which I unfortunately do not have), Jinty starts her sports pages. And to kick her sports pages off, Jinty starts two sport-themed stories: White Water and Toni on Trial.

And what is a glumitt? It’s a cross between a glove and a mitt, and there are instructions on how to make one on the back cover. One of the things that Jinty teaches us how to make in the issues that lead up to Christmas. And it starts on the centre pages, where we are given tips for touching up our Christmas gifts.

Jinty 27 October 1979

Jinty 27 October 1979

Another beautiful Phil Townsend cover, from one of my favourite stories: “Combing Her Golden Hair”. There were a number of striking covers from this story, in fact. Tamsin lives with her strict gran, who is so strict we are led to think in terms of a slave story or emotional abuse as in “Mark of the Witch!“. However, spookier and stranger things are going on; the controlling or slave element is seen not just in the relations with the adult in the story but also with the silver comb that Tamsin has found.

In “Almost Human“, Xenia is enjoying being able to integrate with human society but is getting weaker physically, so the end of the story is heading towards us…

A story forgotten from the story-list is “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”, a realistic story of training a puppy to be a guide dog. Julie is heart-broken when her old dog Buttons died; her parents suggest that they become puppy-walkers for the Guide Dogs For the Blind Association. Julie finds it very hard to see another dog, even an engaging puppy, in her beloved Buttons’ place. Of course in the end her heart will be melted – but this puppy isn’t to stay with them, she has to go on to her new blind owner…

Another couple of realistic stories in this issue are “Waves of Fear” (bullying and claustrophobia handled sensitively by the writer and pretty badly by all the adults in the story) and “Black Sheep of the Bartons”. The latter is a sports story featuring the unusual sport of judo. Not totally realistic, of course: it also has the trope of hair colour enforcing outcome, in that Bev is the only family member who has black hair and both feels and is treated differently accordingly. I mean what, do they think she’s an illegitimate child or something?

Stories in this issue:

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • My Heart Belongs to Buttons (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Waves of Fear (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Miss Make-Believe (unknown artist ‘Merry’)
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons (artist Guy Peeters)