Tag Archives: Pony story

Jinty 28 September 1974

Jinty cover 28 September 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Pony Parade: Loser Takes All! [text story]
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

I thought I would go back to the earliest issues I have and pick up from where I left off previously – a year ago and more now, when I was last looking at issues from this very early stage of Jinty.

Previously I’ve been a little harsh on the Jinx stories of this run, as they don’t feature the lovely Mario Capaldi art of other times. Mike White still does a very good serviceable job though, and it is very readable story-wise. This episode is relatively stand-alone: Katie has become convinced she has hypnotic powers, predictable hijinks ensue! I think the previous episode leads into her conviction about her powers so it’s not entirely self-contained, but reads absolutely fine without necessarily having that lead-in to hand.

“Always Together” is in full flight: the young Harvey family, who have vowed to always stay together despite being orphans, are being treated as gypsies even though they aren’t really. That’s bad when they are chased after by prejudiced bullies, but good when the Salvation Army looks after them and tries to help. It is their own wits and talents that are needed to get them out of their rough sleeping situation though – eldest girl Jill uses her artistic ability to try to earn money for the family.

“Wenna the Witch”, drawn by Carlos Freixas, continues the is-she isn’t-she theme of the earlier episodes – is Wenna a witch or just massively unlucky? And in “Jackie’s Two Lives“, the protagonist feels very lucky, with the riches and glamour that Mrs Mandell offers her, but we know that it will turn into something rather more sinister, especially as Mrs Mandell comes to Jackie’s mum and dad to offer – a proposition.

“Left-Out Linda” is one of those stories where the main character is emotionally screwed up and confused, meaning that she makes all sorts of bad choices. It can be quite excruciating to read, but the denouement of this story (still some way away here) is well done and much more psychologically realistic than many are. At this point however Linda is still screwing up massively, in a way that potentially has big financial repercussions for her family.

There’s plenty of misery in “Merry at Misery House” – all the inmates have caught some sort of very contagious disease – and even one of the warders is thrown into the same spartan quarantine, too! Merry is the only one left standing, and has her work cut out for her – but also, as she thinks, “If they can be so heartless to Miss Ball – what hope is there for the rest of us?”

“Wild Horse Summer” is so beautifully drawn. Can anyone identify the artist?

Wild Horse Summer pg 1
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Wild Horse Summer pg 2
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Wild Horse Summer pg 3
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Freda’s Fortune (1981)

Sample Images

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Publication: 26 September 1981-3 October 1981

Reprint: Tammy Holiday Special 1985

Artist: Trini Tinturé
Writer: Unknown

Summary

Freda Potter and her parents have just moved to Ashdown in the country and Dad has opened a supermarket. Freda is delighted with the move, but money is tight until Dad’s business takes off. Freda has always wanted a pony, but her family cannot afford it.

While out on a walk to meet some local girls, Freda has an unpleasant encounter with a girl rider who is “Ashdown’s prize snob, Susan Hamlin.” Freda then befriends Roz Hunt and they go to the gymkhana. Roz warns that Susan will show off there.

At the gymkhana there is a raffle going. Stung by Susan’s taunts, Freda buys a ticket although it will mean going broke. But Freda gets the last laugh when hers is the winning ticket. And the prize is – a pony! His name is Fortune.

Susan is furious and sees Freda as a potential rival, especially after seeing how well Freda is riding him for a beginner, and bare-backed too. She gets even more furious when she sees Fortune and Freda are soon showing a natural talent at show-jumping.

But then the problems of keeping Fortune arise, especially with the family’s tight budget. Freda soon discovers that Susan is out to undermine her in finding a grazing field and tack. Freda manages to find a field for Fortune with Roz’s help but it is only temporary, and Susan buys the tack Freda was after. Feeling beaten, she decides to return Fortune to Susan. Susan tells Freda that her father only donated Fortune because he was useless and unsuitable for their stables, and will be put down. Freda is not having that and takes Fortune away. As Freda goes, Susan is gleeful at sorting out a rival.

Freda decides on a broader search for a field. She helps save a farmer’s bull and in return he lets Fortune graze on his field. Another favour with an elderly lady gets Freda some tack and a hard hat. Freda is also finding that riding Fortune is great advertising for her dad’s business.

But then another trick from Susan has Freda and Fortune thrown off the field. And by the time the next gymkhana arrives, Freda thinks it will be her first and last event as she cannot find a place to keep him. Then she meets Mr Hamlin and tells him about his putting Fortune down because he thought he was not fit for his stables. Mr Hamlin is furious, saying he would not put a useless pony up for a raffle. They then realise the trick Susan has pulled.

Mr Hamlin is all for banning Susan from participating in the event as a punishment. Susan is tears. Freda begins to think, and wonders if Susan acted as she did because she thought she would let her father, the owner of the poshest stables in the district, down if she allowed a newcomer to become her rival. So she persuades Mr Hamlin to let Susan stay so they can settle their rivalry in a fair competition. Mr Hamlin agrees, and tells Freda that she can keep Fortune at his stables. So that problem is solved.

Susan apologises to Freda as she makes her way to the event. But she must have been affected by the upsets, because she does not do as well as usual. Freda does not win either, but it is her first event. Afterwards, Susan says she is no longer bothered about losing, and she no longer acts snobbishly either. She and Freda become friendly rivals and train together.

Thoughts

This was Trini Tinturé’s last story for Jinty. And it is clearly one of the filler stories that Jinty put in to fill her last seven issues. It is a two-parter that is run at six-page spreads. Six page spreads are often hailed as a special treat for readers, and indeed readers would have loved six-pagers. But was the story run at this pace as a special treat or because there was pressure to finish it faster than usual? Under normal circumstances it would have been a four-parter with the usual number of pages. Or it could even have been spun out into more episodes, and it does have the potential for that. There are clear characters and situations that could have had more development. Why was this story not given more weeks to run to help fill the closing issues of Jinty? Was there no room for it, as the editor had to find spaces for “Pam of Pond Hill”, “The Bow Street Runner” and “Badgered Belinda”? Or was there some other reason the editor did not take Freda further?

Horse rival stories (or two riders feuding over the same horse) are an old favourite in girls’ comics. Often there is spite and dirty tricks from a jealous rival, who may end up changing for the better, as Susan did, or getting their comeuppance. And of course readers always love pony stories, which must have made “Blind Faith” (a show-jumping horse who is blind to boot!) and “Horse from the Sea” popular. Sadly, Freda is really not up there with Jinty’s better-remembered stories. The story is not as developed as it could have been because of its extremely short run. It reflects the situation with the other serials that Jinty ran in her final issues – okay stories that served their purpose and would keep readers entertained, but they were meant as fillers or bridges to the merger. There is a feel about the last seven issues that there was a drop in energy and quality – understandable with a comic whose cancellation was fast approaching. But it is hardly the sort of atmosphere to produce classics.

While Freda lasted, readers would have enjoyed her story because it pushed a lot of buttons to make a serial popular: ponies and riding, jealous rivals, determination and courage to beat the odds which always seem to stack up, and a competition to see how it resolves. Freda suddenly feeling sorry for Susan and gaining psychological insight into her bad behaviour feels a bit quick and slick, and is somewhat irritating and unconvincing. But the outcome of the gymkhana is impressive. Neither girl wins it, which is a refreshing change from trite endings where the heroine wins the match because she was determined and in the right. Readers must have been a bit sad that Freda did not last longer and were wishing they could have seen more of her.