Tag Archives: Mystery of Martine

Jinty and Lindy 1 January 1977

Jinty cover 1 January 1977

Contents in this issue:

Jinty’s New Year issue for 1977 was bang on New Year’s Day. Jinty says “make it a great New Year – with us!” Indeed, in my opinion 1977 was the year Jinty hit her stride. In 1977 she cast off the Lindy logo that had stayed with her throughout 1976. But what really defined 1977 as the year Jinty hit her stride was fully establishing her trademark science fiction and jauntiness with strips like the quirky “Fran’ll Fix It!” and her “smash hit” story of 1977, “Land of No Tears”. In the same year, Jinty added her resident spooky storyteller, Gypsy Rose. It was also in 1977 that Jinty added Guy Peeters and the unknown Concrete Surfer to her team, who would go on to draw some of her biggest classics.

Oddly, although Gypsy Rose did not appear in Jinty until 29 January 1977, there is a horoscope in this issue saying, “Gypsy Rose looks at the stars”. Readers must have been wondering, “Who the heck is Gypsy Rose?” The horoscope appears on the same page as the blurb for a new story, “Mark of the Witch!”, so perhaps it was meant as a foreshadowing for Gypsy Rose too. If so, it is an odd one, because it gives no hint of who Gypsy Rose is supposed to be. Is it the pen name of the astrologer who writes the horoscope or something?

The cover itself is a beautiful one, with its ingenious use of blues, yellows and reds. The white space lightens things up and does not make the cover too heavy. The seasons look a bit mixed. Mandy’s water-skiing panel hints at summer, while the holly the poor old druid is about to sit on implies winter. The rock Gertie puts the holly on makes it reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, which further adds to the winter theme. While Mandy and Gertie look happy on the cover, we get the opposite with Ruth and Ayesha, who are on the wrong end of a farmer’s gun.

Of course we have New Year features. There is a page where pop stars like Paul McCartney and Paul Nicholas list their resolutions for 1977. In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” Henrietta mishears the word “resolution” as “revolution” and enchants everyone at school into a revolution instead of making resolutions. Alley Cat starts off New Year doing what he does best – annoying the Muchloots. In this case it’s raiding their larder for a New Year feast. Gertie triggers a series of events that establishes Stonehenge – its purpose being a tourist attraction – and its opening has New Year celebrations included.

Now, on to the other stories:

“Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud” is the first of Jinty’s stories to end in 1977, with the mixed-up identities of the skivvy and the high-class girl being sorted out once they finally find each other. This also marks the end of Jinty’s serials with 19th century settings, which had been introduced when Lindy merged into Jinty way back in November 1975. Its replacement next week is Phil Townsend’s first 1977 story, “Mark of the Witch!

So far there is no end for Hetty King’s ordeal. Hetty is lumbered with looking after Jo, but Jo hates Hetty because she wrongly blames Hetty for her sister’s death. Hetty manages to secure a job as a temporary PE teacher at her new locality after Jo’s hatred forced her out of her old one, but she faces an uphill battle to win respect from the pupils. And how long before Jo’s hatred interferes with everything?

Mandy applies makeup to adopt a new persona, “Bubbles”, and goes water-skiing. But really – wearing a wig while water-skiing? No wonder the episode ends with Mandy’s secret in danger.

Martine’s odd behaviour is getting worse and worse. Tessa can’t figure out what the hell is going on, except that Martine seems to be acting like the crazed woman she plays onstage.

As already mentioned on the cover, Ruth and Ayesha have a scary moment with a farmer. Fortunately he turns friendly after Ayesha saves his life. But then a shoplifter makes Ruth the scapegoat for her crimes, taking advantage of the prejudice against gypsies.

In “Is This Your Story?”, Lynn Carter feels her family don’t appreciate her and she envies her friend Mary for being an only child. But when both girls end up in hospital, right next to each other, Lynn learns that some people may not be as enviable as she thinks and she draws closer to her family.

In “Sceptre of the Toltecs”, both Clare and a class bully begin to suspect that Malincha, the mystery girl from Mexico, has strange powers. The blurb for next week says there will be more evidence of this.

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Jinty and Lindy 29 January 1977

Stories in this issue:

  • The Ring of Death – first Gypsy Rose tale (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Cándido Ruiz Pueyo / Emilia Prieto)
  • Starsky and Hutch, the best of mates! (feature)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Freda, False Friend (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)

This issue gives us the first of a long line of Gypsy Rose stories – a spooky storyteller series which gives the Jinty editors the flexibility of commissioning a number of different artists and writers and running the resulting stories as they suit best. Most of the stories include Gypsy Rose as an active participant in the tale and helping to resolve the mystery; but later on a number of spooky stories from other titles had a panel of Gypsy Rose art pasted over the other storyteller so that it could be rebranded as a Jinty-style story. I have uploaded “The Ring of Death” into the Gypsy Rose summary post, so do head over to that to read it. You will notice some art that is repeated in subsequent Gypsy Rose stories, such as the image of her seated figure, displaying her patchwork skirt to best advantage.

Malincha’s wicked uncle Telqotl is plotting ways to trap her and to steal the golden sceptre. The two girls manage to give him the slip at the museum but they are soon trapped in a department store and he has managed to put out all the lights by mystic means!

Mandy Mason, the humble caretaker at an elegant beauty salon, ends up going to a posh safari park by accident and has a chance to turn herself into Raquel, the fearless white huntress. But at the end of this episode she is trapped in a cage with two adult lions running towards her as she holds a cub in her arms! Audrey Fawley draws lovely human figures but sadly the lions just look like round bouncy creatures who aren’t very convincing to my eyes.

It is also the first episode of “Freda, False Friend”. Freda’s father is a police officer; he seems to have suddenly got a promotion as the family move to a posh big house and start driving in a swanky new car. It all turns out to be a ruse though – he wants her to make friends with Gail, the girl next door, because the police have suspicions about Gail’s father. Very unpleasantly for Freda, she is being made into a spy against her will!

In “The Big Cat” Ruth saves a stag from being hunted by the local staghounds, but for her pains she is driven off from the village that she has been working in. It was a very unfriendly village, with people who hated to see strangers come along, but still it was a depressing thing to have happen.

Martine is claiming that the ballet school is her house, even though it was sold to Miss Bond some time previously. The worry of what is happening to her sister causes Tessa’s ballet dancing to suffer, and her relationships with her classmates are also suffering. But the most dangerous thing is the chance it gives her jealous rival, to score over her!

Emma Fielding is torn between believing in Alice’s attempts to be friends, and her father’s bitter denouncing of those attempts as just charity. The spiteful local girls look like they want to make it all go wrong for Emma, too.

Jinty & Lindy 15 January 1977

jinty-lindy-cover-15-january-1977

Stories in this issue

 

I have just acquired this issue. The pages are loose, so it is possible something is missing in the middle, though I see nothing noticeably missing in the issue. If anyone sees anything missing in the list above, please let me know.

In “Go On, Hate Me!”, Hetty gets Jo out of two big scrapes, but the little hatemonger does not appreciate it one bit. She still hates Hetty as much as ever and now she’s turned other girls against her. However, we are told that all the hatred is going to bring an act of love next week. It sounds the end of the story then, and things are finally going to change for Hetty, thank goodness.

“Is This YOUR Story?” changes its title to “Could This Be YOU?” for some reason. The story is about a girl who is picked on because she is tall. When the teasing finally gets too much for her, a teacher comes up with a clever plan to help her use her height to her advantage and beat the bullies.

“Made-Up Mandy” also comes up with a plan to beat the bullies at her old school, who have bullied a friend out of the lead in the school play. She plays “ghost” to teach the bullies a lesson – but now she is in danger of being found out.

However, there is no respite from the bullying for poor Emma in “Mark of the Witch!”, despite Alice’s help to get her accepted at the riding club. No matter what she does, Emma is always “Black Emma” the bad lot in the eyes of the other kids.

There are no bullies in this week’s episode of “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”. However, there is a vain girl in serious need of a lesson, and Henrietta is always ready to oblige.

“The Big Cat” is in big trouble – she got trapped in a warehouse that was being demolished. Ruth manages to get her out, but she’s injured.

“The Mystery of “Martine” is deepening, with Martine’s inexplicable behaviour growing even more troubling for her sister Tessa.

In “Sceptre of the Toltecs”, Malincha is giving guarded explanations for why her evil uncle is after her; she says she can’t reveal everything without consulting her father. That’s a bit annoying, especially as it looks like the evil uncle has now arrived.

Gertie Grit lands in the future this week instead of a period in Earth’s history. She helps out a dog that doesn’t want to be part of a space programme.

 

 

Jinty & Lindy 22 January 1977

Jinty 77

One of the most colourful and striking Jinty covers in my opinion, and it’s another of my favourites. On the cover, Henrietta is making it plain to Sue that she does not like Sue putting an umbrella into her while Emma stops a runaway horse but gets no thanks. As far as the villagers are concerned, she is a “bad ‘un” and that’s that. Only Alice is friendly and in this issue she offers her hand of friendship again. Will Emma take it next week?

Two stories end in this issue. Hetty reaches breaking point and snaps from all the hatred she is receiving. But Jo sees the consequences of the hatred against Hetty that she fermented and learns the value of forgiveness – not to mention getting her facts straight. Druid Caractacus finally catches up with Gertie, but she is pleased to see him because she is in a spot of bother. Next week we will see the start of one of Jinty’s most enduring and popular features – “Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic“. Also starting next issue is “Freda, False Friend”, Phil Gascoine’s first Jinty story for 1977.

The origin of the Sceptre of the Toltecs is revealed, so the story is heading for its climax now. Made-Up Mandy has played “ghost” to help a friend, but narrowly missed being caught. And now she’s set on going on safari, although her nasty employer Miss Agate won’t allow it. So we have a pretty good suspicion that Mandy will be headed back to the make-up kit for another disguise next week. Whatever has possessed Martine is still causing trouble and  it’s all Tessa can do to concentrate on ballet so she can get into the City Ballet Company.

 

 

Stories translated into Dutch

Following up on the previous post on European Translations, Sleuth from Catawiki has kindly sent me a list she has prepared of Jinty stories which were translated into Dutch. (See also some comments from her in that post, about Dutch translations.) They were mostly published in the weekly comic Tina and/or in the reprint album format Tina Topstrip. The list below shows the original title, followed by the title in the Dutch translation, with a literal translation in [square brackets] where appropriate, and then the details of the publication that the translation appeared in. It is ordered by date of original publication.

  • Gwen’s Stolen Glory (1974): De droom van een ander [Someone else’s dream] (in: Tina Club 1975-2)
  • Dora Dogsbody (1974-76): Hilda Hondemoppie (in: Tina 1974)
  • Gail’s Indian Necklace (1974): Anak-Har-Li [the name of the Indian deity on the necklace] (in: Tina Club 1975-01)
  • Always Together (1974): Voor altijd samen (in: Tina 1985/86)
  • Wild Horse Summer (1974): De zomer van het witte paard [White Horse Summer] (in: Tina 1976, Tina Topstrip 15 (1980))
  • Left-Out Linda (1974): Linda (in: Tina 1975/76)
  • Wenna the Witch (1974): Wenna de heks (in: Tina 1976, Tina Topstrip 34, 1981)
  • Slave of the Mirror (1975): De spiegel met de slangen [The Snakes Mirror] (in: Tina 1976)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (1975): Als kat en muis [Like cat and mouse] (in: Tina 1985)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (1975): Tineke – Strijd om de Lankman-trofee [Tineke – Fighting for the Lankman Trophy] (in: Tina 1975/76, Tina Topstrip 18 (1980)).
  • The Valley of the Shining Mist (1975): Het dal van de glanzende nevel (in: Tina 1977)
  • Barracuda Bay (1975): Susan Stevens – Barracudabaai (in: Tina 1971); reprint from June & School Friend 1970.
  • The Haunting of Hazel: Hazel en haar berggeest [Hazel and her Mountain Ghost] (in: Tina 1976/77, Tina Topstrip 27 (1981))
  • For Peter’s Sake! (1976): De opdracht van Josefien [Josephine’s Assignment] (in: Tina Boelboek 5 (1985))
  • The Slave of Form 3B (1976): In de ban van Isabel [Under Isabel’s Spell] (in: Groot Tina Zomerboek 1984-2)
  • Then there were 3 … (1976): Toen waren er nog maar drie (in: Groot Tina Lenteboek 1982-1
  • Horse from the Sea (1976): De legende van het witte paard [The Legend of the White Horse] (in: Tina 1985)
  • Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl! (1976): Freule Frederique [Lady Frederique] (in: Tina 1979)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (1976): Steffie’s hart van steen (in: Tina 1986). Reprint in Tammy 1984
  • Girl in a Bubble (1976): Gevangen in een luchtbel [Prisoner in a Bubble] (in: Tina 1977, Tina Topstrip 29, 1981).
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (1977): De scepter van de Tolteken (in: Tina 1978; Tina Topstrip 44, 1982)
  • The Mystery of Martine (1976-77): De dubbelrol van Martine [Martine’s Double Role] (in: Tina 1978).
  • Mark of the Witch! (1977): Het teken van de heks (in: Tina 1982/83)
  • Freda, False Friend (1977): Frieda, de valse vriendin (in: Tina 1978/79)
  • Spell of the Spinning Wheel (1977): De betovering van het spinnewiel (in: Tina 1978; Tina Topstrip 42, 1982)
  • The Darkening Journey (1977): Samen door het duister [Through the Darkness Together] (in: Tina 1981/82)
  • Creepy Crawley (1977): In de macht/ban van een broche [Under the Spell of a Brooch] (In: Tina 1979; Tina Topstrip 60, 1984)
  • Kerry in the Clouds (1977): Klaartje in de wolken (in: Tina 1978)
  • The Robot Who Cried (1977): Robot L4A ontsnapt! [Robot Elvira Gets Away] (in: Tina 1985/86).
  • Curtain of Silence (1977): Achter het stille gordijn [Behind the Silent Curtain] (in: Tina 1978/79, Tina Topstrip 52, 1983)
  • Fran’ll Fix it! (1977; 1978-79): short story 3/4; Annabel versiert ‘t wel [Annabel will fix it]; episodes in Tina from 1983 till 1994; there were also “Dutch” episodes written by Bas van der Horst and drawn by Comos, and there is an episode in 1994 written by Ian Mennell and drawn by Comos.
  • Who’s That in My Mirror? (1977): Het spookbeeld in de spiegel [The Ghost in the Mirror] (in: Tina 1980)
  • Cursed to be a Coward! (1977): Zoals de waarzegster voorspelde [Like the Fortune-Teller Predicted] (in: Tina 1979, Tina Topstrip 49, 1983)
  • Destiny Brown (1977): De vreemde visioenen van Seventa Smit [Seventa Smit’s Strange Visions] (in: Tina 1980)
  • The Goose Girl (1977): not translated directly but the storyline was probably used for Maartje, het ganzenmeisje [Marge, the Goose Girl] in Tina 1979, art by Piet Wijn; Tina Topstrip 40, 1982).
  • Stage Fright! (1977): De gevangene van Valckensteyn [Prisoner of Valckensteyn/Falconstone] (in: Tina 1981)
  • Guardian of White Horse Hill (1977): Epona, wachter van de paardenvallei [Epona, Guardian of the Horse Valley] (in: Tina 1978; Tina Topstrip 37, 1982)
  • Land of No Tears (1977-78): Wereld zonder tranen [World of No Tears] (in: Groot Tina Lenteboek 1983-1)
  • Come into My Parlour (1977-78): Kom maar in mijn web [Just Come into My Web] (in: Groot Tina Boek 1981-3)
  • Race for a Fortune (1977-78): Om het fortuin van oom Archibald [Race for Uncle Archibald’s Fortune] (in: Tina 1980)
  • Concrete Surfer (1977-78): Ik heb altijd m’n skateboard nog! [At least I’ve still got my skateboard] (in: Tina 1980)
  • Paula’s Puppets (1978): De poppen van Petra [Petra’s Puppets] (in: Tina 1979, Tina Topstrip 54, 1983). Perhaps they changed the name because there was a Stewardess Paula strip in Tina at the time.
  • Slave of the Swan (1978): De wraak van de Zwaan [Revenge of the Swan] (in: Tina 1980)
  • The Birds (1978): De vogels (in: Groot Tina Boek 1978 winter).
  • Clancy on Trial (1978): Nancy op proef [Nancy on Trial – the name Clancy is highly unusual in the Netherlands] (in: Tina 1979)
  • Wild Rose (1978): Waar hoor ik thuis? [Where do I belong?] (in: Tina 1980)
  • 7 Steps to the Sisterhood (1978): Gevaar loert op Lansdael [Danger at Lansdael] (in: Tina 1980)
  • The Human Zoo (1978): Als beesten in een kooi [Like Animals in a Cage] (in: Tina 1986). Reprint in Tammy 1982.
  • No Cheers for Cherry (1978): Geen applaus voor Sandra [No Applause for Sandra] (in: Groot Tina Zomerboek 1983-2)
  • The Girl Who Never Was (1979): De verbanning van Irma Ijsinga [Irma Ijsinga’s Banishment] (in: Tina 1981)
  • Sea-Sister (1979): Gevangene van de zee [Prisoner of the Sea] (in: Tina 1989)
  • The Forbidden Garden (1979): De verboden tuin (in: Tina 1982/83). Reprint in Tammy 1984
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (1979): Dina Doe douwt door [Dinah Do Pushes Through] (just one episode, in: Groot Tina Lenteboek 1982-1).
  • Almost Human (1979): De verloren planeet [The Lost Planet] (in: Tina 1984)
  • Village of Fame (1979): Het dorp waar nooit ‘ns iets gebeurde [The Village Where Nothing Ever Happened] (in: Tina 1982)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (1979): Kirsten, kam je gouden lokken [Kirsten, Comb Your Golden Locks] (in: Tina 1981, Tina Topstrip 64, 1985: Kam je gouden lokken)
  • Waves of Fear (1979): In een golf van angst [In a Wave of Fear] (in: Tina 1983)
  • White Water (1979-80): Wild Water [Wild Water] (in: Tina 1984)
  • When Statues Walk… (1979-80): De wachters van Thor [Thor’s Guardians] (in: Tina 1981/82, Tina Topstrip 71, 1985)
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (1980): Het gezicht in de spiegel [The Face in the Mirror] (in: Tina 1983)
  • Seulah the Seal (1979-80): Sjoela de zeehond (in: Tina 1980/81, little booklets in black and white that came as a free gift, stapled in the middle of a Tina).
  • A Spell of Trouble (1980): Anne Tanne Toverheks [Anne Tanne Sorceress, a sort of nursery rhyme name] (in: Tina 1984/85)
  • Girl the World Forgot (1980): Door iedereen vergeten [Forgotten by everyone] (in: Tina 1987)
  • The Ghost Dancer (1981): Dansen in het maanlicht [Dancing in the Moonlight] (in: Tina 1983)
  • Holiday Hideaway (1981): Wie niet weg is, is gezien [If you’re not gone, you’re seen – a sentence children use in hide-and-seek] (in: Tina 1982)
  • Freda’s Fortune (1981): Could be: Fortuin voor Floortje [A Fortune for Florrie] (in: Groot Tina Herfstboek 1983-3)
  • Airgirl Emma’s Adventure (reprint from June 1969, in Jinty Holiday Special 1975): Short story 16; Emma zoekt het hogerop [Emma takes it higher up] (in: Tina 1970)

Various of the stories translated in Tina were also reprinted in the Indonesian title Nina (of course Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, making for a clear link). These will be listed on a new reference page for Translations into Indonesian.

This long list enables us to see how very popular some creators were – for instance, a large number of Jim Baikie and Phil Gascoine stories are included (though not all, by any means). Of course, these were also the most prolific of Jinty artists too.

Many stories were translated very shortly after initial publication, and then reprinted in album form some time later. There was also a ‘second round’ of translation work done after Jinty ceased publication, to go back and pick some of the earlier stories that had not been selected earlier. This was the case with “Always Together” and “The Kat and Mouse Game”, for instance.

Many but by no means all of the story titles were translated fairly literally or exactly, though the main character’s name was almost invariably exchanged for another one. Some titles ended up particularly poetical or neat in translation: “A Spell of Trouble” and “Holiday Hideaway” perhaps benefit most from their translated titles. Of course, there are also some losers: I think “The Human Zoo” and “The Girl Who Never Was” ended up with less resonant titles through the process.

A wide range of stories were translated: spooky stories, humour stories, science fiction, adventure, sports stories. There are some omissions that I’m surprised by, though of course the editors had to pick and choose from so much that was available. “Fran of the Floods” was probably too long (see Marc’s comment about the length of stories selected for translation). No Gypsy Rose stories were selected – maybe they didn’t want a storyteller, ‘grab-bag’ approach? I am however quite surprised at the omission of the excellent “Children of Edenford” (1979). Could it have been too subversive a story, with its underlying theme of adults undermining their position of trust by hypnotizing children in order to control their moral development? The similarly-themed “Prisoner of the Bell” was also not translated. Of course this is rather a guess! At the end of the day I’m sure there were just more stories to choose from than there were spaces for publication.

For reference, I also include a complete list of stories published in the album format Tina Topstrip (71 albums in total). This gives us a view of how many of the reprinted stories deemed worthy of collection came from which original title. Note that some of the stories in this album format were themselves originally written in Dutch as they are credited to a Dutch writer. (NB I will add this to the new page created for Translations into Dutch)

  1. Becky Never Saw The Ball
  2. Twinkle, Twinkle, Daisy Star
  3. Wee Sue
  4. Het geheim van oom Robert (original story in Dutch)
  5. Kimmy op de modetoer (original title unknown)
  6. Marcella het circuskind (original title unknown)
  7. Moses and Me
  8. Peggy en Jeroen (Patty’s World story)
  9. Anja – Dorp in gevaar (original title unknown)
  10. Het lied van de rivier (Patty and the Big Silver Bull Band story, original in Dutch)
  11. Sonja en de mysterieuze zwemcoach (I suspect this is a translation as no writer is given)
  12. De man in het koetshuis (original story in Dutch)
  13. Linda’s verdriet (original title unknown, from Tammy)
  14. Het circus komt (original story in Dutch)
  15. Wild Horse Summer
  16. Noortje (original story in Dutch)
  17. Ruzie om Jeroen (Patty’s World story)
  18. Tricia’s Tragedy
  19. Het lied van de angst (Patty and the Big Silver Bull Band story, original in Dutch)
  20. Silver Is A Star (from Sandie)

Story theme: Evil influence/supernatural influence

This is the first in a new category of post, covering the various story themes seen in Jinty in more detail. As we will see, the story themes are often not clear-cut; many themes overlap or become fuzzy at the edges when investigated further. Nevertheless, definite strands can be traced.

There is a long-running story theme in girls’ comics based around someone or something (normally an object) influencing the protagonist to do things she normally wouldn’t do, in a way that is supernatural or unnatural. The influencing object usually has its own agenda, and in service of this it often ends up taking away the protagonist’s free will, and perhaps even her memory, such are the extremes that are gone to. The object (or, sometimes, person) is often evil, though sometimes it can be just driven by its own underlying requirements, which the protagonist must serve in order to resolve the situation.

Core examples

Probably the purest form of this story theme in Jinty can be found in the spooky story “Spell of the Spinning Wheel” (1977). Rowan Lindsay pricks her finger on the spinning wheel that her mother has just bought and finds that she is made to fall fast asleep every time she hears a humming sound – like the sound of the wheel when it is being used, but also the hum of a hairdryer, a car, and so on. The spinning wheel is entirely malicious: its agenda seems simply to spoil Rowan’s running career and indeed her life. When Rowan tries to give it away or destroy it to save herself, it responds dramatically by trying to make her go over a cliff, drown in a river, or get knocked down by a car; certainly it’s not possible to just tamely pass it on. In the end it must be destroyed by cleansing fire, but this can only happen once the whole family is united in determination to remove its malign influence: the heroine does not have enough power to get rid of it by herself. (In this story this works partly through the wheel’s power and partly through the mother’s disbelief: although the father is soon persuaded of the spinning wheel’s malice, the mother is turned against her family and refuses to co-operate with them until finally the wheel goes a step too far and shows her its true colours.)

Clear examples of this story theme in Jinty are:

  • Gail’s Indian Necklace (1974): Gail acquires a mysterious necklace made of wooden beads in a jumble sale: it originally came from India. Initially it grants some desires that are unspoken, or socially wrong: she cannot afford a bicycle and so the necklace makes her steal one, or she wants her aunt out of the way and the aunt gets knocked over by a car. The necklace has a specific agenda, to be returned to its original location; once Gail complies she is free of its influence and is even rewarded by it.
  • Slave of the Mirror (1975): Mia Blake finds an old mirror in her house and it makes her turn against her sister. The mirror possesses her and makes her destroy things in the house, sabotaging her sister’s attempt to run a boarding house. It turns out to be haunted by the ghost of a Spanish serving-girl who was ill-treated by a previous owner of the house; her spirit is set to rest and the possession stops.
  • Spell of the Spinning Wheel (1977): see above.
  • Creepy Crawley (1977): Jean Crawley comes across an old scarab brooch in a shop; it comes with the promise that it can help her defeat her rival. She doesn’t stay around long enough to listen to the associated warning she would have been given: once it gives her her wish it will go on to further its own ends, up to and including a reign of insects! Very soon she is unable to give up the brooch or gainsay it in any way; the defeat of the evil object has to be done by a friend of Jean’s, and by the rival herself, who has to be persuaded into forgiveness to break the spell.
  • Come Into My Parlour (1978): Jody Sinclair is made to wear a cat’s-paw necklace by an evil witch, who uses it to get revenge on the descendents of a judge who hanged her wicked ancestor. At first she is made to do things against her will as if she were a puppet, but her inconvenient conscience is eventually eliminated by changing her personality entirely. In the end she is only freed when the house that the witch has been living in is burned down, with the witch inside.
  • Paula’s Puppets (1978): Paula finds some mysterious wax puppets and finds they act like voodoo dolls, and she can make things happen to whoever she makes the puppets resemble. At first the bitter Paula uses them to exact revenge, but eventually she realises she can use them to help her father. (Here, protagonist Paula is the active force behind the influencing object, which differs from usual in this story theme.)
  • The Venetian Looking Glass (1980): the protagonist finds a hand mirror which starts to control her life and wreak its revenge, ultimately being revealed as due to an angry ghost. As with other stories above, the spirit can only be laid to rest with the help of a wider group of people than just the enthralled protagonist, and forgiveness plays an important part too.
  • A number of Gypsy Rose stories also include this story theme, with a more diverse set of evil or haunted objects such as a handkerchief and a tambourine.

Edge cases

Of course, there are always fuzzy edges around definitions, with examples that don’t match the story theme quite as obviously. Looking at these less clear-cut cases can help to challenge our definitions.

  • The Haunting of Form 2B” (1974) has a whole class being haunted by a ghostly teacher. The schoolgirls are taken over mentally by objects given to them by the ghost, but it’s quite a number of varied objects that are influencing them rather than a specific one or two.
  • In “The Haunting of Hazel” (1975) the protagonist is strongly influenced by a ghostly ancestor, but it feels more like a standard ghost story than a case of possession.
  • In “The Mystery of Martine” (1976-77), the source of the possession is not very clearly delineated: is it the bangles that Martine clanks together, or is it the script written by the playwright, or is it all perhaps in Martine’s mind?
  • Sometimes the object is not that clearly evil, or has an influence without appearing almost anthropomorphic. Tamsin Tregorren finds a silver comb that belonged to her mother in “Combing Her Golden Hair” (1979) and the comb shows her visions and leads her to frolic in the water like a dolphin despite never having learned to swim. Eventually she is brought to the sea where she meets her mother, who is a mermaid, and who wants her to come and live in the sea too. The comb serves the agenda of the mother, who is not evil (and though she is portrayed as selfishly not caring whether or not Tamsin would be able to survive in the same environment, this is never actually proven one way or another).
  • In “Child of the Rain” (1980), Gemma West is strongly affected by the rain after a trip to the Amazon rainforest; it is found that some bark from a tree was left in her leg after an accident in the forest, and it is that that is affecting her, rather than any evil object or tennis-mad spirit .
  • In “Who’s That In My Mirror” (1977), the special mirror in question does not remove Magda’s free will, though it does seem to tempt her to worse and more selfish actions than she would have done alone. It’s also not entirely clear at the end whether perhaps the mirror might be intended as an ultimately moral force, to make her repent of her selfish deeds?

Related but different

Further away again from my core definition sit some related themes:

  • Hypnotism and brainwashing are the keys to “The Slave of Form 3B“, “Prisoner of the Bell”,  “Children of Edenford“, and “Jackie’s Two Lives”: the active agents are people, working in ways that aren’t actually strictly realistic but can’t be classed as supernatural.
  • Wish fulfillment: “Dance Into Darkness” has the protagonist forced to dance whenever music plays, with her free will eroded by the curse she takes on. It could be classed along the same double-edged gift that tempts Jean Crawley, but it feels more like irony than evil. And of course a wish fulfillment story can also be purely mundane, such as in “Food for Fagin” and “Freda’s Fortune”.
  • Not to be confused with: a magical companion, who persuades or helps rather than forcing or tempting. Stories with such a companion include “Guardian of White Horse Hill”, “Her Guardian Angel”, “Daughter of Dreams”. The companion may leave the protagonist in a sticky situation but she is not compelled or possessed.

Other thoughts

It’s an old-fashioned sort of story theme, in many ways. The magical objects in question are typically very gendered – mirrors, necklaces, a brooch, a spinning wheel. It feels like a trope from old stories or fairy tales, continued on in girls’ comics as a morality tale. The girl who is affected by the evil object often picks it up initially for the wrong reasons, or is in places she’s not supposed to be: the object promises revenge or oneupmanship, and the seeds of the main character’s undoing are sown because they are heading in the morally wrong direction from the start.

Jinty and Lindy 8 January 1977

Jinty and Lindy 8 January 1977

The striking aspect of this issue has got to be the cover artwork from “Mark of the Witch!“, which begins this week. This story shows emotional abuse happening generation after generation, though the abuse is not purely limited to being within the family: it’s perpetuated by the protagonist’s grim, tough father but also indulged in by the whole village. There is a telling panel where she avoids the father with palpable relief on her face – treading on eggshells, indeed.

Stories in this issue:

  • Go On, Hate Me! (artist Keith Robson, writer Len Wenn)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Emilia Prieto)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh-Thornton Jones)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Alley Cat
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Mark of the Witch! (artist Phil Townsend)

Jinty and Lindy 25 December 1976

Jinty and Lindy 25 December 1976

Short or even complete stories did feature in Jinty every so often: Mistyfan has noted previously that this tended to happen around Christmas and New Year, presumably to fill in gaps and give a seasonal feel. The first story in this issue is a creepy one but, unusually, is not associated with a spooky story-teller: in “Holly anad the Ivy”, prickly protagonist Holly moves into an ivy-covered cottage and finds that the plant has a will of its own.

I am a bit puzzled about the artist on “Sceptre of the Toltecs”. The attribution that I have received on this story is that the artist is the Spaniard Cándido Ruiz Pueyo, and indeed looking at his entry on the Lambiek Comiclopedia this seems very plausible.

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Sceptre of the Toltecs pg 1 signature

The signature on the strip itself, though, clearly says ‘Prieto’, which is a reasonably common surname in Spanish (though on a quick google seems more associated with Mexico than with Spain itself). The handwriting on the signature closely matches Pueyo’s signature, as does small details like the way the shoes are drawn, so I am satisfied this is almost certainly the same person using a pseudonym. But why? (Or of course, why not?)

Update: David Roach has confirmed that this artist is Emilia Prieto – substantiated by a portfolio sample from the time.

It must be said there are greater questions about “Sceptre of the Toltecs” than the attribution of the artist. This is another case where the research underlying this story are what you might call minimal! The mysterious girl from Mexico is called ‘Malincha’ which she claims is a common name ‘where she comes from’ – but in fact any reader who has a connection to Mexico will think of ‘La Malinche‘, which will give more of the impression of treachery and colonialism than anything else.

Stories in this issue:

  • Holly and the Ivy (complete story: artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Sceptre of the Toltecs (artist Cándido Ruiz Pueyo Emilia Prieto)
  • Made-Up Mandy (artist Audrey Fawley)
  • The Big Cat (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Go On, Hate Me! (artist Keith Robson)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

The Mystery of Martine (1976-77)

Sample images

Martine 1

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Martine 2

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Martine 3

Publication:18 December 1976-26 February 1977

Reprint: Jinty annual 1983

Artist:Trini Tinturé

Summary

Sisters Tessa and Martine Freeman are pursuing promising careers in the arts; Tessa is preparing for a ballet audition at a ballet company while Martine has landed the starring role in Nigel Ropley’s drama, “The Demon Within”. Unfortunately this is where the trouble begins and it creates the titular mystery that is never really solved.

Martine is playing the role of Vivien, a crazed, grasping, demented woman who has an obsession about getting her old house back from its current owner. She stops at nothing, “as if some demon was inside her” and increasingly acts in a manner that suggests she is possessed. Whenever Martine, onstage playing Vivien, hatches some sinister machination to take back the house, she clicks her bangles in a manner that sounds sinister, even off stage. The play climaxes with Vivien burning down the house when she decides she cannot get it back – with her enemy inside. Even when she is arrested, she still looks triumphant. The play is also triumphant, but Tessa soon finds that Martine still acts like Vivien, even off stage. The same facial expressions, vocal expressions, bangles, clothes – as if she is becoming Vivien in real life.

And there is a disturbing parallel with Vivien’s situation – Tessa’s current ballet school used to be the Freemans’ home. Now Martine is becoming obsessed with getting that house back Vivien-style. She starts hanging around the ballet school, clicking those bangles and staring at the house in the sinister manner of Vivien. She starts regarding the ballet teacher, Miss Bond, in the same manner that Vivien regards the woman who took over her house. At home, Martine starts behaving like Vivien to Tessa and other people, which is truly frightening. It also causes trouble with the other tenants in the apartment block. It doesn’t happen all the time – she usually returns to normal, but then she starts acting like Vivien again. Tessa is astonished when Martine agrees to pay her ballet fees, but she soon finds that this is a Vivien plot – it was a ploy to get into the ballet school and start harassing Miss Bond.

In the midst of all this trouble, Tessa still has to keep practising for her audition. Amazingly, she still manages to keep up with it. But of course there has to be a jealous rival out to make trouble, and in this case her name is Julie Worral. Julie starts causing trouble when Martine leaves a nasty note to Miss Bond “You are in my house. Get out or face the consequences”. Miss Bond throws the note in the bin and tells Tessa her concerns about how this will affect her dancing. If it proves detrimental to Tessa passing the audition, Julie is the next choice for it. They do not realise Julie has overheard.

Martine’s harassment of Miss Bond gets worse. She removes Miss Bond’s furniture and tries to move her new purchases of furniture into the house. Tessa has the furniture taken to their flat, but this gets the Freemans threatened with eviction. Tessa tries to get Martine removed from the play, but Martine convinces Nigel that Tessa is just jealous. Meanwhile, Julie retrieves the nasty note and tries to use it to blackmail Tessa into backing out of the audition. And then Tessa remembers that Vivien burned down the house she could not reclaim and realises that this is what Martine will do.

Sure enough, Martine is heading to the ballet school with a petrol can. However, an accidental fire (caused by Julie) starts instead and Martine is found unconscious on the lawn. The reason – Nigel noticed things and came to realise that Tessa was right. However, he decided that the solution was to rewrite the ending of the play. The new ending has Vivien’s personality changing from evil to good (and also makes for a far better play). The moment Nigel finished it, Martine says she felt Vivien go out of her and she was herself again, and then she just passed out. They are still not sure how it happened and conclude they never will know. But everything is sorted out happily, of course. The play, with its revised ending, goes to London where it is a huge success while Tessa passes the audition. Both sisters can now look forward to being stars.

Thoughts

This is an evil influence story, but with two major differences from the formula. First, it is never revealed just what the influence was or what caused it. This is a complete deviation from the standard formula, where it is always obvious what the evil influence is – at least, to the reader. The victim may start off knowing what it is herself as well, as in Jinty’s “Slave of the Mirror”. Or the victim does not realise what is going on until something – or an astute someone – tips her off, as in “Prisoner of the Bell”, also from Jinty. Either way, the reader is usually informed as to what it is that is taking hold of the protagonist in the first episode. Yet in this case, the reader is kept in the dark. Readers must have expected that everything will be explained by the final episode. But no – right up to the end it remains just as much a mystery to the reader as it is to the protagonists – and becomes a double pun on the “Mystery” in the title. Instead, readers are left to draw their own conclusions. Was it some kind of psychological cause? Was Martine getting so wrapped up in the role of Vivien that life started to imitate art, so to speak? Or was there truly some supernatural force at work? Indeed, there are hints of demons and possession in the play, and Nigel’s solution to the problem sounds ominously like exorcism. The mystery of it all makes it even more frightening because we do not understand what it is exactly that is making Martine act like Vivien.

Second, the evil influence story usually focuses on the point of view of the victim of the influence. We see her thoughts as she falls under the influence and her reactions to it: confusion, terror, bewilderment, desperation, torture, trying to make sense of it all and finding ways to deal with it. But here the story is told from the POV of the sister who is watching it all from a terrified, bewildered and desperate standpoint. We never get Martine’s point of view or thought bubbles that tell us what is going on in her head. And because we do not see this, we do not have the insight that can shed light on just what is happening to Martine. Nor can we see just what she is planning when Vivien takes over, so we have no idea just how or when she will strike. So we are all the more worried and frightened when Martine lurks around the school with that Vivien look and clicking those bangles. So having the POV from the sister rather than the victim makes the story even more frightening and helps to preserve the “mystery”.

Comix minx has commented on how Tinturé “seems particularly good at brunettes with snapping glares”. This is perfect for the facial expressions of the seemingly possessed, demented, crazed Viviene/Martine, such as where she sits on a chair, clicking her bangles, and her face is “terribly transformed!” There is even a wild look about her flowing black hair that further enhances her terrifying Vivien look and must have sent shudders up the spines of readers.