Tag Archives: My Heart Belongs to Buttons

Peter Wilkes

Sample Images

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Peter Wilkes came on board in Jinty in 1978 with “Sea-Sister”. He drew seven stories for Jinty, and made his presence felt strongly in 1981, right up until the last issue, because he was the artist who took over from Ken Hougton for “Tansy of Jubilee Street”. His work on Tansy is enjoyable, although his style did not quite match the zaniness needed to bring Tansy off in the way that Houghton could.

Wilkes has a very pleasing style that can fit several genres, including school, sport and animals. He seems to be strong on dog stories and drew two for Jinty (“The Four-Footed Friends” and “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”). Wilkes also has a knack for fantasy at times, especially if it has a dash of humour in it, as “Her Guardian Angel” does.

Wilkes also drew for Tammy (“Rowena of the Doves”) and Misty (“Master Stroke”, “Poor Jenny”, “Hold Tight, Please!”), but is best remembered for his work on “The Comp” in Bunty. As with Tansy, Wilkes was the second artist on that strip. He also worked in other DCT titles, and a (not complete) listing of his stories in those titles can be found at http://girlscomicsofyesterday.com/tag/peter-wilkes/

Peter Wilkes Jinty stories

 

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Jinty 8 December 1979

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Here we have a competition with “40 gay Gypsy dolls” to win (hmm, how times have changed over the use of the word ‘gay’). And it is an issue big on stories finishing or approaching their conclusions, so the decks are being cleared for the Christmas/New Year lineup.

The ending to “Combing Her Golden Hair” takes you completely by surprise because it’s not what you expect from stories about abusive guardians and salvation from magical objects. Next week Jinty’s most enduring regular, “Pam of Pond Hill” starts.

In the penultimate episode of “Waves of Fear”, Clare is now on the brink of suicide (strong stuff for a girls’ comic to hint at!), unaware that her luck is finally beginning to change. Once Rachel weasels the truth about Clare’s expulsion from that horrible Jean, people in authority finally begin to realise that Clare’s uncharacteristic behaviour is due to a mental illness, not cowardice or delinquency. But by the time they finally catch up to Clare, the search for her has led to Rachel facing another accident in the very same cave where the trouble started. So it’s all going to end where it began next week.

“My Heart Belongs to Buttons” is also on its penultimate episode, and it’s ironic. Julie, who has rejected Buttons II for so long, now can’t bear the thought of letting him go!

Black Sheep of the Bartons” is at its climax too, with Bev finally realising how selfish she has been when her thoughtless conduct leads to her sister Ruth going off in search of her, and now Ruth’s life is in danger.

Jinty starts her Christmas story “Tale of the Panto Cat”. Daisy Green Youth Club is planning their Christmas special, but bossy-boots Verna is spoiling everything, including Christmas, by taking over everything, from what they are to do for their special to the (dreadful) lines they are given. And everything Verna does is geared towards putting herself in the spotlight as the star of the show.

In “Toni on Trial”, Toni finally finds out what the mystery is about her late mother – she was accused of stealing a sports trophy. Now Toni is being tarred with the same brush by everyone in town, and it’s interfering with her running career. And the person wielding the biggest brush seems to be the sports coach, Miss Rogers. She tells Toni her mother was “nothing but a common thief” – and right in front of all the other athletes!

Bridie has vowed “White Water” will ride again, but runs into her first obstacle –her embittered mother, who is burning Dad’s sailing books.

Girl Picture Library

Girls’ picture libraries. The monthly Commando-style digests where girls could read a complete 64-page story every month as a supplement to their regular weekly comic. Thrillers, humour, drama, horror, supernatural, heart-breakers, fantasy or science fiction stories were told in a once-a-month, one-volume complete story.

The picture libraries also provided stories about favourite regulars such as The Four Marys, Wee Slavey and The Comp. Occasionally there were variations in the formula, such as a story being told over two picture libraries, or a picture library featuring several short stories instead of one complete one. One example was “Scream!” (not to be confused with the IPC comic of the same name), which told five scarey stories to make you scream.

Picture libraries were a long-running staple of four of DCT’s titles: Bunty, Judy, Mandy and Debbie. The Bunty picture libraries lasted 455 issues. This is not surprising as Bunty herself is the longest-running girls’ title in history. The Mandy books finished at the same time as the Bunty ones, but at 277 books. Judy produced 375 books and Debbie 197 books. Towards the end of the run reprints appeared although original stories continued.

In IPC the girls’ picture library had a more unusual and uneven history. June and Princess Tina were the only titles to produce any long-running ones. In fact, the June picture library eventually recycled the old Princess logo to become the wordy title, “June and School Friend and Princess Library Picture Library“. Maybe this was why “Picture Library” was dropped on the cover at some point after #458, though the spine continued to say “June and School Friend and Princess Picture Library” to the end of its run.

Tammy and Jinty were never given any picture libraries although they lasted the longest after June. Yet the photo-story comic, Girl (series 2) was given her own picture library. This lasted for just 30 books. Miniscule compared with the rich histories of the June picture library and its counterparts from DCT. But what gives Girl Picture Library its place on this blog is that although some of the libraries were original material, many of them also reprinted material from Jinty and Tammy.

Most of the reprints appeared under revised titles, some of which were awful and showed little thinking. For example, “Vision of Vanity Fayre” from Tammy was reprinted in Girl Picture Library #2 under the the extremely lame title of “Dear Diary”. Strangely, the last three Girl picture libraries reprinted Tammy stories under their original titles.

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There were some oddities and even downright sloppiness in the run, which may indicate what sort of budget or editorship that the series was running to. For example, the cover of #16 (reprint of “My Heart Belongs to Buttons”) changes the appearance of the heroine. Readers must have been surprised or irritated when they opened the issue and found the brunette heroine inside bearing no resemblance to the girl on the cover. And the girl who appears on the cover of #25 (reprint of “Shadow on the Fen”, above) has the wrong hair colour – she is blond on the cover but is a brunette in the story. The witchfinder too looks different – he looks younger and has a fuller face than the craggly gaunt face rendered by Douglas Perry. Still, it is a beautiful, haunting cover.

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A more striking oddity was “Sue’s Daily Dozen” being reprinted over two volumes: “Spellbound” and “Bewitched”. But there was no indication in “Spellbound” to say “to be continued”. Readers must have wondered why the story suddenly stopped abruptly. The remaining pages are devoted to “Tiny Tina”, which is Wee Sue under a revised title. “Cathy’s Casebook” also appears in two volumes: “Cathy’s Crusade” and “Dr Cathy”. But the reprint is even odder in that “Dr Cathy” does not come immediately after “Cathy’s Crusade” – “The Old Mill” is in between them.

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Naturally, some material and panels had to be cut or modified to make the reprints fit into 64-page pocket size volumes. For example, “Moments of Terror”, which reprints “Waves of Fear”, deletes Priscilla Heath and the orienteering club sequences. Both of these played a key role in the resolution of the story in its original run – realising that the panic Clare Harvey had while her friend was drowning in a cave was a claustrophobia attack and not the cowardice that has made her the most hated girl in town. The revelation is now made by Clare’s mother after Rachel tells her about the trick Jean pulled – playing on Clare’s claustrophobia – to get her expelled.

On the other hand, the editing also mercifully reduces some of Clare’s ordeal; for example, the hostility Clare receives from the townsfolk has been removed completely. Some of the bullying at school and the harsh treatment Clare gets from her parents has been deleted as well. The editing is pretty seamless, but there is one glitch: when Clare is pushed to the brink of suicide, she thinks the business at the club was the last straw. With the orienteering club deleted, readers must immediately have wondered “what club?” or “what’s missing here?”. They would know it’s been reprinted from somewhere else because there was always a caption saying “previously published” for the reprint material.

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Cutting out material also had the unfortunate effect of removing key turning points in some plots. For example, the reprint of “Thursday’s Child” removes the scene where an evil flag forces a man to nearly saw his own hand off. Yes, it’s gruesome. But in the original run it was what made the villainess, Julie, who had been using the flag’s power to conduct a revenge campaign against her future mother, Thursday, come to her senses and realise the flag had to be destroyed.

Below is a list of the Girl Picture Libraries, along with their original titles and appearances. The only one that has not been identified is “Penny’s Best Friend” in #8. It could be that this was an original story as not all the Girl Picture Libraries carried reprints, but I need to confirm this.

  1. Patty’s World – original
  2. Dear Diary – Vision of Vanity Fayre from Tammy
  3. Patty’s World – original
  4. The Dolphin Mystery – The Disappearing Dolphin from Jinty
  5. Cathy’s Crusade – Part 1 of Cathy’s Casebook from Jinty
  6. The Old Mill – original
  7. Dr Cathy – Part 2 of Cathy’s Casebook from Jinty
  8. Penny’s Best Friend – ?
  9. Circus Waif – Wild Rose from Jinty
  10. Stormy Seas – original
  11. Moments of Terror – Waves of Fear from Jinty
  12. The Shadow – Mike and Terry from Jinty
  13. Princess Wanted! – The Perfect Princess from Jinty
  14. The Black Sheep – Black Sheep of the Bartons from Jinty
  15. I’ll Never Sing Again! – Nothing to Sing About from Jinty
  16. A Second Chance – My Heart Belongs to Buttons from Jinty
  17. Winner-Loser! – No Medals for Marie from Jinty
  18. Spellbound! – Part 1 of Sue’s Daily Dozen from Jinty, plus A Wee Sue story from Tammy reprinted as Tiny Tina
  19. Bewitched! – Part 2 of Sue’s Daily Dozen from Jinty, plus a Strange Story, “A Monumental Detective” reprinted as “The Crook Catchers”
  20. The Inheritance – Race for a Fortune from Jinty
  21. The Fortune-Teller – Cursed to be a Coward! Jinty
  22. Tina’s Temper – Temper, Temper, Tina! from Tammy
  23. Fame and Fortune – Make the Headlines, Hannah! from Tammy
  24. Wonder Girl – Betta to Lose from Tammy
  25. The Witchfinder – Shadow on the Fen from Jinty
  26. Sweet and Sour – The Sweet and Sour Rivals from Jinty
  27. Carol in Camelot – Carol in Camelot St from Tammy
  28. The Happiest Days – Tammy
  29. Thursday’s Child – Tammy
  30. A Girl Called Midnight – Tammy

Female writers in a girls’ genre

This is my 100th post! To celebrate, a thinky piece of the sort I particularly enjoy having the space to do here on this blog. Comments and further information very welcome indeed, as ever, but especially useful for this sort of wider coverage article.

For a genre based around a female readership, you could be forgiven for thinking there were hardly any women involved in producing British girls comics. In 1998 I first started writing about Jinty, and looking back at that article (published in feminist ‘by women for people’ zine GirlFrenzy), the few names mentioned were of men: Jim Baikie, Casanovas, Pat Mills. These were the only creators I recognized from having seen them, their work, or their commentary in the fairly male world of British mainstream comics.

Some years later I met Pat Mills in person, and he subsequently attended the Oxford-based comics festival CAPTION2004, during which I interviewed him about his editorial and authorial role in Jinty, Misty, and Tammy. Some more creator names were added to the pot, but really only two female names stood out – those of Mavis Miller and of Pat Davidson, of which Pat Davidson was the only name of a writer. (I was by then aware of Trini Tinture’s work, too.) Additionally, I’d also managed to ask Phil Gascoine who wrote “Fran of the Floods”, but he could remember no names, just that it was a female writer.

As recently as early last year, therefore, there was so little information readily available that it was still possible for Adi Tantimedh’s post on Bleeding Cool to attribute the authorship of the vast majority of stories in girls comics to Pat Mills or to ‘the creators of Judge Dredd and 2000AD’. (He subsequently corrected the article text to read ‘his fair share of the series in Jinty were written by Pat Mills.’) This isn’t helped by the fact that when in that interview Pat M did give us Pat Davidson’s name, it was linked to a fairly sweeping assessment of women writers: “Generally, it was male writers in this field. I think Pat Davidson is the only woman I can think of who genuinely had a better touch in the way she did this, she wrote far more from the heart, the rest of us were 23-year-old guys killing ourselves laughing as we wrote this stuff, but she wrote from the heart, and it was quite genuine.”

We’re now in a position where we can bring together more information so that we can bring a more nuanced analysis to bear. Alison Christie is now known to have written not only a great swathe of Jinty stories, but also to have written many stories for other titles before, afterwards, and simultaneously (very literally!). We also have heard that Veronica Weir wrote at least one story for Jinty. (We also know that one of the writers was Len Wenn, then only a few years away from his retirement age and hence also quite far from the demographic highlighted by Mills.) Generally we now know what could have been guessed before, which is that creating comics was quite a good profession for women at the time: drawing or writing comics is something that a young mother can do from home! We also know that the same people worked for a range of comics; we could have guessed that from the artists, but a writer can be working on more than one script at the same time more easily than an artist can, so they are if anything more likely to be working for multiple titles.

To try to get a view on the historical context, we can note that there are a couple of titles that ran credits for at least some of their time. Girl was the first title to be dedicated to a readership of girls: it ran from 1951-64 and included creator credits (I don’t know whether the credits continued throughout the whole run though). Towards the other end of the main period of publication of girls’ comics, Tammy also ran creator credits for a little while from the middle of 1982. I haven’t got access to any very complete information about the stories and creators in Girl, but looking at the Wikipedia page for it I found a couple of names I’m unfamiliar with – Ruth Adam and Betty Roland, who wrote a number of stories between them. These included the nursing strip “Susan of St Bride’s” and the adventure strip “Angela Air Hostess” respectively, both of which were popular stories featuring resourceful, independent female characters. Looking at Catawiki’s entries on Girl would take more time to do properly than I currently have available, but I note that a sample issue from 1955 picked randomly includes these two female writers plus two others (Valerie Hastings and Mollie Black).

Of more immediate applicability to the subject of this blog, the women who wrote for Tammy may well have done so for Jinty too; luckily for me, there is more information available to me on who did what there, as co-writer Mistyfan has kindly sent me an index of Tammy stories. We can therefore look in some detail at the comics stories running in Tammy during the second half of 1982, where we find:

  • “Bella” written by both Malcolm Shaw and by Primrose Cumming
  • “The Button Box”: created by Alison Christie, specific individual episodes written by Ian Mennell or Linda Stephenson
  • “Nanny Young” written by Tom Newland and Maureen Spurgeon
  • “Rae Rules OK”written by Gerry Finley-Day
  • “Come Back Bindi” written by Jenny McDade
  • “Saving Grace” written by Ian Mennell
  • “A Gran for the Gregorys” written by Alison Christie
  • “Slave of the Clock” written by Jay Over
  • “Tomorrow Town” written by Benita Brown
  • “Cross on Court” written by Gerry Findley-Day
  • “Cuckoo In the Nest” written by Ian Mennell
  • “Romy’s Return” written by Charles Herring
  • Out of the 12 complete stories on the Tammy index I am referring to, two seem to be uncredited while three were written by Roy Preston, four by Maureen Spurgeon, one by Chris Harris, one by Ray Austin and one by Barry Clements

That’s fairly evenly spread; there are more male writers than female overall but not by that much. A count by number of pages printed might show a different picture, but then I also haven’t included the writers of text stories (in particular Anne Digby). We can also have a quick look at the Catawiki entry for an individual issue from the time (I chose issue 600) which lists stories by Benita Brown, Anne Digby, and Maureen Spurgeon – I assume that the Anne Digby is an illustrated text story rather than a comic. Another issue, 609, has more stories by female writers: two stories by Maureen Spurgeon, one by Alison Christie, and one by Primrose Cumming. In the absence of a concerted effort to count the number of pages written by women over a few representative issues (any volunteers?) I’d estimate that some 15% – 40% of the comic at a time might have been written by women: under half of the content for sure, but a substantial section.

Clearly we only have two very solid data points here – Girl in the 50s and 60s, and Tammy in the early 80s – but the fact they corroborate each other is strongly suggestive that yes, over the decades of comics published for a readership of girls, female writers have always been present, and in reasonable numbers rather than as the odd exceptional talent. They have written popular stories both in their own right and as jobbing writers taking on someone else’s initial creation. Can we say anything else about that, for instance about what sort of stories they wrote? Now that is rather more difficult, because we have to factor in individual preferences of writers. Alison Christie is clearly a writer of heart-tugging stories, so we can attribute a female writer to a number of stories in that style. That doesn’t mean that other female writers have the same preferences: Benita Brown is credited as the writer of a science fiction story, and Veronica Weir’s one known outing as writer was on a story with spooky overtones but mostly concerned with loneliness and survival. I don’t know the Tammy stories list above well enough to say what themes they represent, but in the list of Jinty stories we just don’t know enough about who wrote what to say anything much more concrete.

Likewise, can we say anything much to compare how well the stories worked with the gender of the author – could we say that the stories made by young men killing themselves laughing were better or more effective than those by women or indeed by older men such as Len Wenn? One difficulty is that in judging effectiveness or memorability, individual reader preferences will come strongly into play – my own list of top stories is skewed to the spooky, mystical, and science fictional and away from the heart-tuggers. Mostly though I think we just don’t know enough about who wrote what, in Jinty at least, to be able to say whether the the most popular, longest-running, most memorable, or otherwise most effective stories tended overall to be written by one group of writers versus another. We have examples written by women (“Stefa’s Heart of Stone”) and by young men (“Land of No Tears”, “The Robot Who Cried”), but the vast majority still lie in the camp of ‘unknown writer’.

Writing this post has sparked off other thoughts that felt a bit tangential to the main point of this piece; I will follow up with more on ‘What makes a story work’ (and indeed how can we tell that it does work).

Edited in Aug 2015 to add: subsequent discussion on the Comics UK Forum leads me to add another known female writer to the list of names acquired to date: Jenny Butterworth, writer of the long-running series “The Happy Days” in Princess Tina (amongst other stories).

Edited in December 2015 to add: we now know that “Fran of the Floods” was not written by a female writer; it can be attributed to Alan Davidson per his wife’s recent comments. At the time of writing, Davidson was a family man who also did not fall in the category of “23 year old guy killing himself laughing” at what he was writing.

Edited in January 2016 to add: Anne Digby has sent in an interview with information about writing comic stories for titles such as Tammy. It is noteworthy that she did not only produce text stories for this title, but also comics adaptations of her previously-published novels.

Edited in March 2016 to add: Phoenix on the Comics UK forum scanned and uploaded a snippet from the Guardian of a letter from one Mary Hooper, writer for Jackie in particular, but perhaps also for other titles?

Edited in January 2017 to add: clarification that Alison Christie (Fitt) created “The Button Box” and was the main writer on the story, though some individual stories were farmed out by editor Wilf Prigmore to Ian Mennell and to Linda Stephenson.

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.

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

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  • 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

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  • 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 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.

Jinty 17 November 1979

Jinty cover.jpg

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!