Stories in this issue: (Cover artist: Mario Capaldi)
Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
Diving Belle (artist Phil Gascoine)
Best Foot Forward – text story (artist Mario Capaldi)
Whispers In The Wind: Gypsy Rose story (artist Antonio Borrell)
Just The Job: Television Make-up Artists (feature)
Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (Hugh Thornton-Jones)
What Do You Make of It? (personality quiz)
Tansy of Jubilee Street (Ken Houghton)
Fancy Free (artist Phil Townsend)
Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)
This week’s issue has a free gift: two packets of ‘Sarah Kay’ stickers. It means that my copy of Jinty & Penny has a fairly big tear in the front cover where it was attached, but luckily the scan doesn’t show it all that badly.
Pam is upset: her friend Steve has been working together with her to make a magazine by and for their year at school, but it has been vandalised by mysterious person or persons unknown. Pam is worried that it might have been Goofy: it turns out not to have been, but her nemesis Jill Cook has been spreading rumours and Goof is in turn upset with Pam.
Belle McBane is “Diving Belle” – a story that to me feels a little old-fashioned and shoehorned in. Belle is being instructed in diving by a mysterious gypsy woman, who urges her not to lose time in getting better and better at diving. But why?
Text story “Best Foot Forward” is an ‘ugly duckling’ type ballet story – the main character has a jealous rival who tries to nobble her so that she has no chance of success in the audition for a dance school. Of course, talent wins out in the end.
“Whispers in the Wind” is a Gypsy Rose story that looks to have been reprinted from an earlier title – I don’t know the artist. Wendy Price stays in a haunted hotel room and helps to clear the reputation of a ghostly maid, who has proved that she is not a thief after all.
The feature on make-up artists is quite interesting and informative – it is part of a series on jobs that readers might be interested in doing when they are grown-up.
Personality quizzes were a staple of my childhood and early secondary school. This one has the quite nice twist that as you answer questions about what you would do in certain circumstances, you fill in a section of the picture with the specified colour. If you answer more pink answers then you will end up with a flower coloured in, or similarly a brown wren or a blue fish.
“Fancy Free!” is a Philip Townsend strip, about a troubled and angry girl who has few friends apart from wild birds, and a fellow bird enthusiast.
The last few pages include a reprint of an early episode of “Angela’s Angels“, one of the stories published seven years previously in the first issues of Jinty when it was a new title. With a reprinted serial, a reprinted Gypsy Rose story, a two-page letters section, and a text story this issue of Jinty feels to me slightly thin – perhaps a sign of the approaching merger with Tammy in November of the same year. There are only 20 pages of comics included, though to be fair the features are pretty good and the text story is quite readable.
We have a very beautiful, striking cover from Audrey Fawley. Instead of advertising a story, it advertises the beauty treatment feature on the centre pages.
“Alice in a Strange Land” is forced to take the mixture to make her forget her past life. Now that may not have been much of a life, but it’s better than being a slave in the strange land in South America. Then Alice has a flashback of her old life, so the drug clearly isn’t all that perfect.
Meanwhile, Patti and Jilly find a way to break through the headmistress’s strange power to turn her pupils into goody-goody automatons of perfection. So now they’ve turned on the school sprinkler system to flush it out of everyone!
It’s the last episode of “Prisoner of the Bell”. It looks like grandmother has finally won and turned Susie into the prisoner of the bell completely. But it all backfires on grandmother at the worst possible moment and could get Susie killed! There is no blurb saying what will replace this story, so we just have to wait and see.
The dreadful cleaning job Laika has been blackmailed into is taking its toll on her (and giving her a taste of what it is like to work in the dreaded Industrial Zone where her father will be forced to work in later on). She can barely drag herself back home, she flops at her school test because of her horrible job, and still no water for her plants. And now vicious dogs that have been dumped in the Forbidden Zone are threatening to eat her up!
Ann leads a protest demonstration at school. But as with all her other attempts at emulating Mary, it all goes pear-shaped and Ann ends up in Coventry just as she is planning a party.
Another party is threatened too, in “The Four-Footed Friends”. It’s Riley’s birthday, but that’s not stopping spoilsport Mrs Marshall from keeping him away from his friend Winston. However, they score one over Mrs Marshall and it’s a happy birthday for Riley.
Gatecrashers have wrecked yet another party in this issue, in “Daughter of Dreams”. It gets even worse when imaginary friend Pauline suggests a conga dance, which backfires. But Pauline is determined to put things right…
This issue also advertises the first issue of Penny, a title destined merge with Jinty the following year. Penny had more impact on Jinty than Lindy, the previous title to merge with Jinty.
I have created a new page listing the stories in Jintyby publication date. This seemed like an interesting and useful addition to the list of stories in alphabetical order that has been in place on the blog since we started. As part of the information on that new page it seemed sensible to count the number of episodes for each story, too (where possible) – luckily for me, the Catawiki data that I was using to compile this information gave me the ability to include that for almost all stories. As I put together the list, I got the impression that in the last year of Jinty‘s publication, the story length was getting shorter and shorter: so I pulled together some stats on it.
For each year below, there are some stories I excluded from the statistics, either because I didn’t have a complete count of all the episodes (for instance where a story had started in Lindy or Penny before their merger with Jinty), or because they were by their nature long-running humour strips with no specific start or end point. I’ll give a list of the excluded stories and their running lengths further down this post.
For 1974, the mean story length is just under 16 episodes and the mode (most usual) story length is 13 episodes
For 1975, the mean is just under 18 episodes and the mode is 16 episodes
For 1976, the mean is just under 15 episodes and the mode is 19 episodes
For 1977, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 11
For 1978, the mean is just over 16 episodes and the mode is 18
For 1979, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 12
For 1980, the mean is 11.5 episodes and the mode is 12
For 1981, the mean is 11 episodes and the mode is 10
We can see that the two averages do go up and down over the run of Jinty. Having said that, the drop-off in episode length in 1980 and 1981 does look like a real change, despite that context of background variation. (I’m not going to do any full-on statistical analysis with standard deviations and so on though!) Both average figures are down in those two years, because there are fewer long stories pushing up the mean as well as a general trend to the slightly shorter length of 10 – 12 episodes.
Which stories did I exclude from the analytics, and why?
The humour strips with no specific story arc: “Dora Dogsbody” (94 episodes), “Do-it-Yourself Dot” (62 episodes), “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” (112 episodes), “The Snobs and the Scruffs” (12 episodes), “Desert Island Daisy” (9 episodes), “Bird-Girl Brenda” (27 episodes), “The Hostess with the Mostess” (19 episodes), “Bet Gets The Bird!” (11 episodes), “Alley Cat” (163 episodes), “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” (111 episodes), “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” (27 episodes), “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (96 episodes).
“Merry at Misery House” (66 episodes) is not a humour strip but like those above, it has no specific overall story arc, no obvious beginning or end that is worked towards throughout its run. I have therefore excluded that too. The same goes for “Pam of Pond Hill” which ran to a mighty 126 episodes in Jinty and then on into Tammy of course.
The stories that I have incomplete episode information about: “Finleg the Fox”, “Penny Crayon”, “Hettie High-and-Mighty”, “Gypsy Rose” (these stories are not catalogued on Catawiki as a group), “Rinty n Jinty”, “Seulah the Seal”, “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, and “Snoopa”. Various of those would be excluded even if I had complete episode numbers, of course.
Edited to add: further information has been given in the comments below. “Finleg” and “Hettie” ran for 7 episodes in Lindy, and “Tansy” ran for 45 episodes in Penny. “Seulah” ran for 11 episodes in Penny, and then started a new story in Jinty & Penny, which I hadn’t really realised. The two Seulah stories were more like separate arcs in a bigger story than self-contained stories in themselves. Many thanks to Marc for this information! I will add them into the spreadsheet and see if it makes any difference to the years in question.
“Snoopa” ran for 45 episodes in Penny, which Mistyfan confirms below (many thanks). As a gag strip, this would not be included in the year-on-year statistics in any case.
Longest run of an individual story? “Alley Cat” has all the others beat, at 163 episodes; runners-up are “Pam of Pond Hill” at 126 episodes, and then “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” and “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” neck and neck at 112 and 111 episodes respectively. However, if you exclude these and look at the length of the ‘normal’ stories, then the top three are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (36 episodes), “Fran of the Floods” (35 episodes), and “Always Together…” (29 episodes). (Phil Townsend does particularly well for long-running stories, as “Daddy’s Darling” clocks in at 24 episodes and “Song of the Fir Tree” at 22 episodes.)
At the other end of things are some short stories. There are only two single-episode stories: “Holly and the Ivy” and “Mimi Seeks a Mistress”. “Freda’s Fortune” is the only two episode story. “Mimi” was a reprinted story, printed towards the end of 1980; possibly “Holly” and “Freda” were intended for publication in annuals or summer specials and then used as filler.
There are a few 3 or 4 episode stories: “The Birds”, “The Changeling”, “Casey, Come Back!”, and “The Tale of the Panto Cat”. This is also an odd length for a story – long enough to allow for a bit of development, but short enough to feel a bit abruptly cut off when you get to the end. Of these four, I’d say that “The Birds” is the one I find uses its length most successfully, though “Panto” works pretty well as a seasonal short. The slightly-longer “Her Guardian Angel” (5 episodes) likewise uses its length reasonably well to give us a seasonal amusement. Some other shorter stories, such as “Badgered Belinda” (7 episodes), do read like they have probably been cut down from an originally-intended standard length of 10 – 12 episodes.
The spreadsheet with this information is available on request – please comment and I will be happy to email it to you if you want.
This is the 250th post on this blog! After a slow season in the run up to Christmas, we have been blazing away. How better to celebrate than with another creator interview?
Keith Robson contacted us via a comment on this site: “I drew ‘The Birds’ so can tell you that the writer was ‘Buster’ editor Len (Lennox) Wenn. Before going freelance in 1975 I was a staffer so Len and I were old friends. Len also wrote ‘Go On, Hate Me’ and many other Jinty serials.” He kindly agreed to answer a few questions for this blog, illuminating various aspects of the life of a freelancer and staffer at the time and subsequently.
Keith Robson stories in Jinty (see also the Catawiki list of his stories and the Lambiek Comiclopedia entry):
Can You Beat Sharp-eyed Sharon? – spot-the-clue feature in a Summer Special and the Jinty Annual 1979
1 Can you please outline your career in British comics? For instance, how did you start, which titles did you write for, how long did you draw comics for? I have read Dez Skinn’s article about IPC Fleetway when you both worked there, and of course in your original comment on this site you said that you started as a freelancer in 1975, but it would be great to know what led you to go freelance (it seems to have been a step taken by a lot of in house staff?).
I got my start in October 1968 in D.C.Thomson’s Meadowside art department in Dundee. This was a wonderful training ground where I learned far more than I ever did in Art College! There were over 50 artists, letterers and layout people at the disposal of all the Thomson publications so almost anything could land on your desk to be drawn, quickly and accurately. In those early days I drew lots of text story illustrations for the boys’ comics – Rover, Victor, Hotspur etc. Pat Mills and John Wagner were there at the time though I never got to know them, and they left before I did.
The Spanish and Italian artists used by the girls’ comics did beautiful work, but they could never get British things like policemen, buses, taxis, pillar boxes etc. right, so a typical job would be Anglicising pages for Jackie or Romeo. (I also appeared in Romeo, as did many young Thomson staffers, photographed to illustrate readers’ letters and problems!) More often though, 39 pages of an old girls’ serial would land on my desk to be updated- all the hairstyles updated, skirts shortened, blazer badges changed and so on. Thus acres of magnificent artwork passed through my hands, and once in a while there would be the opportunity to actually draw some pages. My first girls’ stories were for Diana starting with a serial on the back page (in full colour!) called ‘Little Donkey’. Assorted other Diana features and annual pages followed but the bread and butter work of the art department was repairs and alterations. In all, I spent two and a half happy years in Meadowside learning from some wonderful mentors, but really wanting to draw my own weekly pages and not seeing too much future for that in the Thomson Art Dept.
In the summer of 1971 I was down in London (hoping to find an agent) and found myself passing the offices of IPC Magazines with a folder of artwork under my arm and the number of an ex-Thomson staffer now in Look and Learn… An hour later after a hilarious interview with legendary managing editor Jack Le Grand I emerged back on Farringdon Street with a staff job (and some freelance work on Look and Learn)!
I returned to Dundee, packed my bags, bade a cordial farewell to D.C.Thomson, and a fortnight later joined Buster working with editor Lenn Wenn and sub editor Dez Skinn. (A week later we were all on strike!)
A daily visitor to the Buster office was Mavis Miller, and old friend of Lenn’s (they started at Fleetway together) and we often all went to lunch. I acquired an agent (Dan Kelleher of Temple/Rogers) and started doing freelance for assorted publishers, all kinds of work with a view to saving enough for a deposit on my own flat. Through the good offices of Dan and Pat Kelleher, (and since I had parted amicably from D.C.Thomson), I began drawing for the Sparky – a series called ‘Mr. Bubbles’.
Friends in Dundee alerted me to a suitable flat for sale in Newport-on-Tay (across the river from Dundee) I was able to get a mortgage, and a few months later took the plunge, moved back north and went freelance, working for both Thomsons and IPC.
2 Which stories did you draw, in Jinty and on other titles? On my list of Jinty stories that you drew, I have “Jassy’s Wand of Power”, “Go On, Hate Me!”, “The Goose Girl”, “The Birds”, and various Gypsy Rose stories. Of the stories you drew, do you have favourites or perhaps ones you now recall with a bit of a shudder? Did you know ever know who wrote “Jassy” for instance, or the Gypsy Rose stories you drew? We know from Veronica Weir that there was at least one case of an artist who wrote their own story; did you ever do that, or did you know of other cases where that happened at all?
It was through Pat Kelleher and knowing Mavis Miller that I got my first Jinty serial – “Jassy’s Wand of Power’’ – which I really enjoyed. They never told me know who wrote anything, I only knew the stories written by Lenn Wenn, so I can’t tell you who did those Gypsy Rose stories – except for the one I wrote myself. This was one of the first scripts I ever had accepted. A girl encounters a photographer with a Victorian camera at a ruined castle. She later realises he must be a ghost and that she has taped his voice on her new cassette recorder! However when she plays it back there’s nothing. The twist comes when she does some research in the library and discovers a 100 year old photo – of herself! [This story is reprinted below]
I didn’t find out that Alison Fitt had written “The Goose Girl” until 2006 when we met at the launch of ‘Time Tram Dundee’, a ‘Horrible History’-type book I illustrated that was written by Alison’s son Matthew.
3 In your time doing these comics are there any kinds of stories that you would have liked to draw that you didn’t get the chance to?
I enjoyed all the stories I did for Jinty, and I always tried to put in as much background detail as I could. I would love the opportunity to redraw any of them again now (I cringe when I see some of the stuff I did in those days!). I especially liked stories with a distinctive setting and lots of atmosphere. I can remember “Save Old Smokey” the train story that Alison mentioned. I would have loved to have been asked to draw that one as I love steam trains! Deadlines were often a bit of a struggle, and in order to stay on schedule with “The Goose Girl” I had to take my pages with me on holiday, and it was while drawing an episode in a caravan in Anstruther that the news came that Elvis had died (16 August 1977).
4 We are always keen to know who worked on the various stories, as explicit creator credit was very rare. You have already helped muchly with your crediting of Len Wenn as writer on “Hate Me!” and “The Birds”, and via Alison Christie we now know that she was the writer on “The Goose Girl”. Do you know names of other people who worked on Jinty and related girls’ comics?
After Jinty, I also did a serial for Penny called ‘The Blue Island Mystery’; again I was never told who the writer was, also a ‘spot the clue’ type detective feature called “Sharp-eyed Sharon” for the Summer Special [there were also two examples of it in the 1979 Annual]. My final girls’ serial was for D.C.Thomson in Mandy, which had been taken over by former Sparky editor, Iain Chisholm (shortly before he died). This was “Diana’s Dark Secret” – Blind Diana unexpectedly regains her sight in episode one, but because she fears they’ll take away Goldie, her beloved guide dog she continues (riddled by guilt) to fake blindness. Only the dog knows…
After Mandy, Thomsons moved me onto Topper (drawing “The Whizzers from Oz”) and Starblazer doing science fantasy covers, then on to their final two boys’ papers, Spike and Champ. When they folded I worked on school textbooks for Oliver and Boyd in Edinburgh, then over ten years on the Dandy writing and drawing “Black Bob”, and “Jonah” and “General Jumbo” for Beano. There was a brief return to girls’ type stories in the Dandy with a short-lived parody written tongue-in-cheek by Thomson staffer Duncan Leith called “Wendy’s Wicked Stepladder”.
5 In his article, Dez attributes the decline of comics to a contempt for the reader (and maybe also the creator?) that was down to a purely commercial vision – printing using old-fashioned presses, resizing artwork in a destructive fashion, and so on. Pat Mills also thinks similarly, talking of the hatch-match-dispatch process angrily. Of course the rise of competing claims on kids’ time and pocket money (computer games, tv) could also be held to blame. Where do you stand on this? Do you think the decline of the British comics industry was an avoidable misfortune, or inevitable in a changing world?
I feel it was very short-sighted that the comics were allowed to slide into decline. For sure, the rise of other media certainly played its part, but the publishers were always reluctant to invest when sales dropped, especially IPC with its hatch, match, and despatch policy. They never had much respect for the amazing pool of talent that they had at their disposal, and certainly never gave anyone credit. Payments hardly increased in the latter years, and our work was never returned. There was a constant anxiety that the comic might fold (they never told you that the end was coming) and there might be no more work…
Letterpress printing never did justice to the artwork and maybe, just maybe if they had gone upmarket into full colour and printed on decent paper, giving creators a name check they might have got a bit more attention and survived. Of course there was always a snobbery towards comics in this country, devalued and disparaged at the time by teachers, librarians etc. who thought they were just throwaway rubbish that would rot children’s brains.
Nowadays teachers are delighted to see children reading comics (reading anything!) and appreciate the creativity that goes into them. Thanks largely to ‘Time Tram Dundee’, I decided to qualify as a teacher and now have a whole new career (which I love!) going into schools and working with children to create and draw their own comics.
It surprises me that no-one has considered publishing some of those serials as graphic novels (suitably updated and with colour). I’ve worked with Alison Fitt on several projects and we’ve recently collaborated on a 72 page graphic novel ‘Nora Thumberland, Heroine of Hadrian’s Wall’ (yet to find a publisher) which 30 years ago could well have have been a Jinty serial…
Many thanks again to Keith for this great interview!
“Gypsy Rose: A Picture From The Past” published Jinty 3 December 1977
Lately we have been posting samples of the Mario Capaldi covers that appeared in the last two years of Jinty. I have been wondering why Jinty made the change to Capaldi covers, and the odd issues of Penny I have suggest that the Jinty & Penny merger may have been a key factor. In the later part of her run, Penny also switched to Capaldi covers such as this one.
The Penny Capaldi covers here are clearly aimed at a younger audience than the Jinty ones. The girls on the covers are younger than the girls who appear on the Jinty sports covers, and emphasis is on cute animal scenes. Former Penny readers must have felt grown-up to be getting the more sophisticated sports covers in the merger.
Interestingly, “Seulah the Seal” has become just plain “Seulah” in this issue. However, it is back to “Seulah the Seal” when he goes into the merger.
Publication: (Snoopa) 29 April 1979-21 November 1981; (Crayzees) 28 November 1981-31 March 1984
Artist: Joe Collins
(Snoopa’s third appearance in Penny. He comments on the free gift that came with her third issue.)
Snoopa was a regular cartoon in Penny. He was with Penny from her first issue and proved his durability by going not through one merger but two. Of course Snoopa had the advantage of being drawn by the popular Joe Collins, which enabled him to be absorbed into the other Joe Collins cartoon in Tammy. More on that in a moment.
(Snoopa, 1 December 1979. Joe Collins is clearly more comfortable with Snoopa, whose appearance looks more developed than in his early days in Penny. And here, Penny makes one of her appearances in Snoopa.)
Snoopa was a mouse who (presumably) is a resident of Penny’s house. I do not have the first Snoopa to verify that he did in fact live in Penny’s house, but Penny herself is seen in several of his cartoons. Interestingly, Penny’s face is drawn in a style that aims at realism rather than the cartoony style that Collins uses in his typical drawings of people (see Crayzees below).
Update:I have now viewed the first Snoopa cartoon, in which Snoopa mistakes the plastic cheese gift that came with the first Penny for real cheese and breaks his teeth on it. Penny takes pity on him. It still does not fully confirm that Snoopa lived in Penny’s house, but it can be safely assumed that he did.
Many of Snoopa’s gags centre on food because Snoopa has a big appetite and is often pilfering food. This leads to another running gag – weight loss schemes that have varying degrees of success. Other gags focus on him running the gauntlet with the resident cat with his pilfered food or getting into other scrapes with it.
(Snoopa’s first appearance in the Jinty & Penny merger, 12 April 1980.)
And Snoopa continued with his gags in the Jinty and Penny merger. Together with Tansy of Jubilee Street, he was the longest-running Penny feature in Jinty.
On 28 November 1981 Jinty merged with Tammy, and Snoopa merged with the Joe Collins cartoon in Tammy. Originally “Edie the Ed’s Niece”, it became “Edie and Miss T” when Misty merged with Tammy, which brought Misty’s Joe Collins cartoon, Miss T the witch, to the merger. When Snoopa joined, the Joe Collins cartoon became “Crayzees”. In my opinion, “Crazyees” was an even better cartoon than when its respective characters had their own strips. The amalgamation of three gag strips into one meant more characters, and they were very diverse characters. This made scope for more variety, situations, interactions, and a more diverse range of gags that ranged from fantastical (with Miss T being a witch) to gags that centre more on the animals in the strip, such as Miss T’s cat’s birthday.
To celebrate their merger, Edie, Miss T and Snoopa moved into a new house in Crayzee Street – presumably to give the name to their combined strip. Snoopa brings the key to the new house and declares, “I’m Snoopa from Jinty!” This upset one former Penny reader who said Snoopa was properly from Penny. She also complained about Penny‘s gradual disappearance in the merger. But that, sadly, is the way mergers go, and Snoopa did come over to Tammy from Jinty after all. In any case, as Snoopa is moving into a new house, that means he is leaving behind the one he shared with Penny in his own strip – and with it, his Penny roots.
Edie took an instant dislike to Snoopa because he was a mouse, and she never seemed to overcome it. But Miss T’s cat falls head over heels in love with Snoopa – which is really ironic considering that Snoopa had a cat for an enemy in his old cartoon. Snoopa found it increasingly unbearable to have the cat mooning over him and took refuge in his mouse hole. The cat pined, so Miss T’s solution was to make Snoopa the size of a human. The size of a human?!? Oh, well, this is called “Crazyees” after all. Snoopa’s new size displeased Edie, but it made Snoopa and the cat happy.
Crayzees lasted until Princess (series 2) merged with Tammy in 1984 and was replaced with Princess’s Joe Collins cartoon, “Sadie in Waiting”. Personally, I missed “Crazyees” but I guess there was room for only one Joe Collins cartoon in a merger.
(Snoopa, Edie and Miss T come together to form Crayzees. Tammy & Jinty, 28 November 1981.)
Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
The Ghost Dancer – first episode (artist Phil Townsend)
Her Guardian Angel – final episode (artist Peter Wilkes)
Sue’s Daily Dozen – final episode (artist José Casanovas)
Land of No Tears – reprint (writer Pat Mills, artist Guy Peeters)
Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
Tansy of Jubilee Street (artist Ken Hougton)
No Medals for Marie – first episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
Life’s a Ball for Nadine (artist Mario Capaldi)
This was Jinty‘s New Year issue for 1981. As Jinty was cancelled later that year, 1981 probably was not all that happy for her. But in the meantime, Jinty had promised in her Christmas issue “that we’re kicking the [new] year off in style!” – and she does with the return of her “smash hit story from 1977” – Land of No Tears. This was brought back as a result of Pam’s Poll in 1980. Other new stories for the New Year were Phil Gascoine’s first Jinty story for 1981, “No Medals for Marie”, and what would be Jinty‘s last ballet story, “The Ghost Dancer”. This is the only story where I have seen Phil Townsend draw ballet, and he certainly proved with this one that he could draw ballet beautifully. If there are any other stories where Townsend drew ballet, I would like to know about them.
Readers expected more new material with the end of Jinty‘s 1980 Christmas story, “Her Guardian Angel” and “Sue’s Daily Dozen”. They are promised that Gypsy Rose will be back the following week. And being New Year, there is emphasis on New Year themes. This takes the form of Pam, Sir Roger and Tansy working on their respective New Year resolutions. Predictably, this has hilarious and unexpected results. Lastly, Jinty has a page of magic tricks for readers to do over the Christmas holidays.
The Sweet and Sour Rivals (artist Carlos Cruz) – first episode
Worlds Apart (artist Guy Peeters)
This is the last Jinty to feature the Penny logo. It would return, but be reduced to a smaller size, before being dropped shortly before the merger with Tammy. In this issue, Jinty commemorates the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981. So the issue is big on the wedding theme. The text story, “With Best Wishes”, brings us a story based on the royal wedding. For this reason, the text story is on the first page of this issue, which is very unusual for a text story. Jinty also has a competition to honour the wedding, with Kodak cameras as top prizes, and the back cover gives instructions for making party pieces for your own royal wedding celebration. And there is “Happy Ever After”, a feature telling us about the things to use to wish for happiness and good luck in a marriage.
Good luck is lacking in Gypsy Rose’s wedding themed story, “The Veiled Threat”. Liz is getting married, and her Aunt Vicky tells Liz how her mother forced her to marry a man for money although she couldn’t stand him and protested loudly at the wedding. When Liz wears Aunt Vicky’s veil (and there seems to be a black cloud hanging over it), she starts acting the same way Aunt Vicky did at her wedding. Is it wedding nerves or the veil? In the end, Liz gets happily married – without the veil. (By the way, this was a reprint of another Strange Story, and I have the original to prove it.)
Tansy of Jubilee Street also celebrates, with the family and friends determined to go to London to see the wedding. But they run into transport problems, including being diddled with a gypsy wagon – which they end up pulling themselves after the horse collapses. But everything works out even better than Tansy imagined when they catch the attention of a television crew.
“The Sweet and Sour Rivals” starts. It is one of the more rare stories that features ethnicity, because it stars a Chinese girl. Also starting is “Holiday Hideaway”, about a family who hide in the house and pretend to be on holiday, just because Dad is too embarrassed to let the neighbours know they can’t afford the real thing after his business failed.
The Haunted Circus – Gypsy Rose story (artist Carlos Freixas)
Toni on Trial (artist Terry Aspin)
White Water (artist Jim Baikie)
When Statues Walk… (artist Phil Gascoine)
I bring you the cover of Jinty 1 March 1980 because it is one of my favourite Jinty covers. Gothic horror, in the form of the bat, vampire and skeleton (from The Ghost House in the circus story), was something seldom seen on a Jinty cover. But it does appear here, which makes it all the more striking.
The Gypsy Rose story featured on the cover is, I suspect, a reprint of a Strange Story because of the paste-ups of Gypsy Rose at the opening and close of the story. A circus is plagued by a series of strange events – the work of a joker, or a the ghost of Marvello, who had sworn revenge on them if they ever returned to the place where he had been killed? In the end, the hitherto sceptical circus owner does not know what to think, but gives the order to move on anyway.
In “Pam of Pond Hill”, Marty Michaels finally receives treatment for hurting her back and not telling anyone about it because she had sustained the injury while using the school trampoline without permission or supervision. But she unwittingly causes further trouble by deflecting the blame onto her sister Trina, which causes her to run away from home. Though everything ends happily, it is a stern lesson about honesty and facing the consequences for your mistakes. This is the final episode of the current Pam story, and a new one will begin next week. We are warned that it will feature mutiny because of school dinners.
“The Perfect Princess”, a story often regarded as one of Jinty‘s worst, concludes in this issue, and the ending is quite amusing. We are promised that two new stories will begin next week. They are “Tearaway Trisha” and “The Venetian Looking Glass”. Incidentally, the latter is drawn by Phil Gascoine, who is still drawing “When Statues Walk” for Jinty. So Gascoine is drawing two stories simultaneously in Jinty – again. However, “When Statues Walk” has climaxed, with the evil Hel escaping her prison by switching bodies with Laura Ashbourne. So Gascoine does not have much further to go with it.
Meanwhile, Toni’s trials intensify in “Toni on Trial”, the relationship between Bridie and her mother takes a downturn in “White Water”, and the mystery of the “Spirit of the Lake” deepens as Karen ponders on who her mysterious coach is.
And what’s the exciting news the cover was talking about? In addition to two new stories, the next issue will feature “Wildflower Wonderland”, the start of a pullout on wildflowers. What they are, where to find them, their folklore, pressing them, poutpourri – and more!
This issue of Penny marks the beginning of “Seulah the Seal” (posted above). The cover seems to have an error – isn’t a baby seal supposed to be called a pup? Seulah is the Penny serial that would conclude in the Jinty & Penny merger on 5 June 1980. Seulah must have been hugely popular if his serial lasted six months. Seulah is drawn by Veronica Weir, whose artwork would carry over to Jinty with the merger and illustrate the Jinty classic, “Girl the World Forgot“.
The issue also tells you something about the context behind the merger. When Penny began, she was printed on more expensive paper, similar to that of Girl (series 2). But by this time Penny was printed on cheaper newsprint, the same type of newsprint used for comics like Jinty, and so resembled Jinty more closely in appearance. The same shift in newsprint would appear again in Princess (series 2), which merged with Tammy in 1984. A shift to cheaper newsprint is a sign of cost-cutting, which implies that Penny was in trouble and not meeting costs of the earlier, more expensive production.
Penny gives the impression she was targeting a slightly younger audience than Jinty, what with her name, fairly lightweight fare and adaptations of popular children’s books, such as Heidi and the Secret Seven. Tansy of Jubilee Street was the best match for the merger, because the zany humour of Tansy suited the flavour of Jinty. One of Penny‘s most striking features was Blunder Girl, a parody of Wonder Woman. Blunder Girl was drawn by J. Edward Oliver, an artist more frequently seen in Buster. Sadly, Blunder Girl did not make it into the merger.
The Deliverers (artist Rodrigo Comos)
Sad Sal and Smiley Sue (artist S.D. Duggan) – does not make it to merger
Heidi – adaptation (artist Trini Tinturé)
Seulah the Seal – carries on in mergerr (artist Veronica Weir)
Snoopa (artist Joe Collins) – carries on in merger
Secret Seven Adventure – adapted from Enid Blyton series (artist John Armstrong)