Tag Archives: Rose Among The Thornes

Jinty & Lindy 30 October 1976

Jinty 30 Oct 1976

Stories in this issue:

  • Jassy’s Wand of Power (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Alley Cat
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones) – last episode
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

“Jassy’s Wand of Power” is the lead story on this issue; it takes up the front cover and runs to three and a half pages, oddly enough – but then there are only 3 panels on this front cover so I guess that means it is the equivalent of about three ordinary pages. It’s nice having a page of comics on the cover, really draws you in. In this episode, Jassy is starting to raise people’s awareness of the dangerous industrial process that Sir Harmer Jeffreys has been using. They still have to manage to get further away from him without either getting caught – and at the end of the episode they have to face a hungry and thirsty lion too!

Stefa is continuing in the grip of her grief – she is cooking her own food as her dad has forbidden her mother to cook for her until she comes to her senses. There is nearly a deadly chip pan fire as a result, and it is Stefa’s classmate who saves her. No gratitude results of course as this is the classmate who has an eerie likeness to Stefa’s dead friend.

Hugh Thornton-Jones has two stories in this issue – he has taken on the art duties for “Champion in Hiding” from Mario Capaldi, and he has also drawn the last episode that Katie Jinks appears in. In this story, Katie is chasing a wee black kitten that you’d think woud be a lucky cat – but who brings disaster to all whose path she crosses! Of course in the end the little kitten is given to Katie, who is very happy to have a kitten jinx in her life.

“Girl In A Bubble” has the sinster Miss Vaal finding her experimental subject Helen out of the bubble – but escape is not possible as Helen’s friend Linda is threatened by Miss Vaal unless she returns meekly to the bubble. Of course Linda goes and tells someone in charge, but Miss Vaal has a plan to deal with that without letting Helen escape again…

Story theme: Sports

Many apologies for the long break in between posts. Life has got hectic and the run-up to Christmas didn’t help!

Jinty and Penny cover 7 February 1981

Stories featuring sports are very prevalent across the range of girls’ comics titles. This clearly taps into both the day-to-day experiences of many or most schoolgirls (playing on their hockey or netball teams) and into aspirational ideals (winning regional or national contests, going on to have a career in their chosen sport, excelling at unusual sports). At one end of this theme, many many stories will have some element of sports included, simply as a part of the protagonist’s daily life; I don’t count these as “sports stories” per se. At the other end of the spectrum, there are stories that are clearly mostly about the pursuit of excellence in the protagonist’s chosen sport, with a sprinkling of some complicating factor to spice the story up, such as peer rivalry. And in between there are stories where the sports element are strongly included but given a reasonably equal weighting with other elements.

To me, therefore, a “sports story” needs to feature the sport in question as the main story element, or with equal weight with the other elements. Often the story positively teaches us various details of that sport in a didactic way, as if part of the expectation is that readers might have their interest sparked by that story and go on to take it up themselves. The protagonist is someone who takes seriously the idea of practice, learning, improvement in their chosen area: they are not just naturally gifted without trying at all, and part of the drive of the story is about their drive to improve or to excel.

It seems obvious, but it also needs to be a sport not an art: as you would expect, there are plenty of ballet stories, and these are excluded from my categorisation. Ballet has its rivalries but it is not a competition with winners and losers, except in artificial ways that the writer might set up (for instance in “The Kat and Mouse Game”, the ‘winner’ gains a contract with an influential ballet impresario).

Finally, it is worth remembering Jinty also had a strong focus on sports in ways that lay outside of the stories themselves: for a period of time there was a specific sports section in the comic, with articles about specific sports, improvement hints and tips (such as how to win at a bully-off in hockey), and interviews with sports women and men. Over and above this, there was a lengthy period where Mario Capaldi drew cover images illustrating a very wide range of sports – netball and rounders, yes, but also archery, bob-sledding, ski-jumping… These are not sports stories, but form part of the context in which the sports-themed stories need to be read.

Core examples

There are so many strong sports stories that it is hard to choose a single one as a core example. A wide range of sports are represented: ones that a schoolgirl might well have direct experience of such as hockey, gymnastics, running; and more unusual ones like judo, water-skiing, and figure skating.

“White Water” (1979-80), drawn by Jim Baikie and included in the sports section that Jinty ran for a year or so from late 1979, is a classic example of a story that includes teachable elements as well as dramatic ones. Bridie is in a sailing accident with her father, who is killed: her grieving mother moves them away from the sea and into an industrial city that depresses Bridie mightily. As well as grieving for her father, she also has a gammy leg that was badly hurt in the accident, so Bridie is pretty fed up; but she then finds out about a local canoe club. She is determined to learn canoeing, especially once she is told about sea or white-water canoeing. Along the way there are rivalries and misunderstandings – her mother hates the idea of Bridie doing anything at all like sailing, and the existing star of the canoe club doesn’t like the challenge represented by this bright (and sometimes tetchy) new member. But the story includes lots of information about canoeing techniques, certainly enough to either help interest a reader in the sport, or even to help someone already learning it.

You can see below the wide range of sports represented in Jinty.

  • Prisoners of Paradise Island (1974) – hockey
  • Hettie High and Mighty (1975) – hockey
  • Ping-Pong Paula (1975) – table tennis
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (1975) – swimming
  • Miss No-Name (1976) – athletics
  • Go On, Hate Me! (1976-77) – athletics, particularly running
  • Battle of the Wills (1977) – gymnastics and ballet.
  • Concrete Surfer (1977) – skateboarding
  • Cursed to be a Coward! (1977) – swimming
  • Curtain of Silence (1977) – cycling
  • Spell of the Spinning Wheel (1977) – cross-country running
  • Darling Clementine (1978) – water-skiing
  • Wild Rose (1978) – gymnastics
  • Black Sheep of the Bartons (1979) – judo
  • Prisoner of the Bell (1979) – gymnastics
  • Waves of Fear (1979) – swimming/hockey/orienteering
  • Toni on Trial (1979-80) – athletics
  • White Water (1979-80) – sailing/canoeing (see above for details)
  • Blind Faith (1980) – showjumping
  • Tears of a Clown (1980) – long-distance running
  • Child of the Rain (1980) – tennis
  • Minnow (1980) – swimming
  • Spirit of the Lake (1980) – figure-skating
  • Tearaway Trisha (1980) – cycling
  • The Bow Street Runner (1981) – long-distance running
  • Diving Belle (1981) – high-diving
  • Life’s A Ball for Nadine (1981) – netball (and disco dancing, competitively)

 

Edge cases

As ever, there are clearly-related stories that don’t quite fit in the main theme. Sports are such a pervasive trope in the life of Jinty and other girls’ comics precisely because they were an important part of many girls’ school lives. Of course they also made up a big part of other popular fiction read by girls; it becomes a reinforcing theme that is always available for use.

  • Jackie’s Two Lives (1974-75) – features a mentally disturbed woman grieving over her late daughter and trying to recreate her in another girl, but also features horse riding and show-jumping
  • Wanda Whiter than White (1975-6) – the main story theme is constant trouble with an interfering, tale-telling girl, but also features horse riding and show-jumping
  • Champion In Hiding (1976) – the champion in question is a sheepdog, trained to win at dog trials
  • Rose Among the Thornes (1976) – the main story theme is family rivalry, but there are sections where Rose is involved in running races in her local village
  • Stage Fright! (1977) – includes some realistic elements of sailing
  • Land of No Tears (1977-78) – gymnastics and swimming as part of the futuristic competition to find the most perfect schoolgirl
  • The Changeling (1978) – main character loves horseriding and this is used as part of the abusive family/wishfulfilment story
  • Knight and Day (1978) – really a story about an abusive family but includes a family rivalry based around swimming and competitive diving
  • Paula’s Puppets (1978) – a story of magical objects and group strife, but includes elements of athletics (running)
  • Combing Her Golden Hair (1979) – a strange comb has the protagonist rebelling against her strict grandmother, whose rules include a ban on swimming
  • Freda’s Fortune (1981) – mostly wish-fulfilment gone wrong, with horseriding
  • Holiday Hideaway (1981) – protagonist has gymnastic skills
  • Worlds Apart (1981) – each dream-like parallel world featured a society built around an individual’s interests, and this included a sporty girl’s world

 

Other thoughts

This is probably one of the most pervasive themes you could possibly have in a girls’ comic; no doubt those who are expert in other comics titles will be able to mention many more examples of stories and of unusual sports featured in them. Reviewing the list above, I am surprised not so much by the number of stories as of the range of sports included. Of course the sports that girls played on a regular basis at school – hockey, swimming, athletics, netball, running – would feature in the girls’ comics. Even then, the weighting of specific sports doesn’t seem entirely even, mind you – in Jinty there was only one netball story compared to two or three hockey stories, and a few athletics stories. There is a noticeable absence of lacrosse stories despite the fact they are a staple of girls school prose fiction (I am sure they must be included in some other comics titles). I also don’t recall any rounders stories, which was a very typical summer sport for girls to play.

I am sure that other titles included some aspirational sports such as figure-skating or show-jumping as Jinty did, and the inclusion of some ordinary if less usual sports such as orienteering doesn’t seem unlikely either. However, the fact that skate-boarding, table-tennis, and judo were included as part of the range of stories shows, I think, that Jinty wanted to push the boat out and include elements that were not just a bit unusual, but also modern, fresh, and popular in the wider world: elements that were not marked as ‘élite’ and expensive.

Jim Baikie

Jim Baikie (1940-2017) was one of the longest-running Jinty artists. While he was not in the very first issue, his starting story (“Left-Out Linda” in 1974) was done fairly early on in his career (he started in 1966); after he and Jinty parted ways, he went on to become well-known in his 2000AD work as well as in American comics. In recent years some news items have been posted on his Facebook page, where the news of his death was also posted by his family. (See also his Comiclopedia page.)

From Jinty 7 May 1977

From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)
From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)
From Jinty 7 May 1977
(click thru)

My trajectory as a comics reader is such that pretty much alone amongst Jinty artists, Baikie is someone whose subsequent work I came across again and again. As well as reading Jinty, I also read American comics (primarily Marvel), and later on I read 2000AD as so many of my university peers did.  The short-lived comic Crisis was a must-read too, and that included an ongoing story drawn by Baikie (“The New Statesmen”). I don’t remember quite when I identified him as having been the artist on the memorable “The Forbidden Garden”, but I remember how it felt: excitement, surprise, and a mental ‘click’ as two disparate parts of my comics-reading life came together.

He drew a number of different kinds of story in Jinty: ones about troubled family relationships, spooky stories, a science fiction strip, a humour strip. The first great swathe of stories are nicely done, but nothing outstandingly different: they are well-observed and good to read, but only “Face The Music, Flo!” and “Ping-Pong Paula” made much impression on my memory at the time. “Spell of the Spinning Wheel” moves up a gear while still being an evil object story matching other ones (“Creepy Crawley” ran at precisely the same time, making it a great time for fans of spooky stories).

For me, both “The Forbidden Garden” and, rather differently, “Fran’ll Fix It!”, represent the peaks he reached in Jinty. Both are fairly unique within the set of stories he drew in this title: one science fiction story, one humour strip. We have previously seen a lot of repetition of a given writer & artist combination – Terence Magee stories being drawn again and again by the ‘Merry’ unknown artist – and I could well imagine that in the list below, ‘Linda’, ‘Kat’, ‘Flo’, and so many other stories might be written by a popular Jinty writer who produced a number of similar stories along the same themes. But ‘Fran’, in particular, strikes me as something that a writer-artist – or more precisely, a cartoonist – could well have produced. There are so many sight-gags in the background, such a zany feel to the whole story, that I am very tempted to think that Baikie is likely to have written the whole lot as well as drawn it – or at the very least, had a large creative hand in it.

We now know that there was at least one case of an artist writing their own strip, as Veronica Weir is known to have done this on “Girl The World Forgot“. Baikie is also known to have written his own material at subsequent points in his career, too (he wrote sequels to the Alan Moore science fiction strip “Skizz” amongst others). Might he even have written “The Forbidden Garden” as well? This striking story has a soulless future dystopia where the soil is poisoned and the people are oppressed, barely one step up from being robots: echoes of the Megacity that Baikie’s future colleagues were simultaneously creating in 2000AD. It could be said to parallel the other Jinty science fiction stories, but it doesn’t feel particularly close to any of them. This is probably my wishful thinking, though.

Leaving aside this speculation, you don’t have to think much about it to see why he was such a well-loved artist. The Gypsy Rose four-page story above has beautiful, energetic composition: the girl’s running foot in the first panel, the echo of the tree root in the forked lightning just below, the girl’s face forming the bottom section of the third page. It’s full of dynamism and individuality. Likewise, although he drew 14 stories plus various Gypsy Roses over the years, his characters are all clearly identifiable without blurring into each other. As one small example, ‘Linda’ and ‘Flo’ have similar hairstyles (though one dark, one blonde) – but their facial expressions are distinctively their own. There is no danger of mistaking one for the other, even if separated from their story context – but that’s something for a follow-up article sometime. (How did long-running artists manage to avoid visual repetition, indeed?)

List of Jinty stories attributable to Jim Baikie:

Edited to add: Baikie also appeared in other IPC girls’ comics.

  • Our Big BIG Secret! (Sandie, 1972)

Jinty & Lindy 2 October 1976

Jinty cover 5.jpg 001

  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Jassy’s Wand of Power (artist Keith Robson)
  • Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl! final episode (artist José Casanovas)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Hougton)

This is one of the first Jintys I came across when I was younger. The image of Miss Vaal pulling the flower out of Helen’s hair and then punishing her by putting her in total darkness for two days without food really stuck with me, as did the premise of a girl in a bubble. I have just come into another copy of the issue with a collection of new Jintys I have just acquired, so I am familiarising myself with the issue properly. By the way, you will be pleased to know Helen does not suffer two days of hunger and darkness; she escapes again, and this time she plucks up the courage to let herself out of the bubble. The trouble is, Miss Vaal will not like that; she is already trying to discourage Helen from leaving the bubble by breaking her spirit.

Hugh Thornton-Jones has a double chore now because he has taken over from two Mario Capaldi stories, “The Jinx from St Jonah’s” and “Champion in Hiding”. You have to wonder why Capaldi stopped drawing these strips.

This issue sees the final episode of “Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl”. Has Shirl learned not to be so snobby? You would not think so by the way she is enjoying the high life. But maybe her father is in for a surprise.

Stefa’s heart of stone causes even more trouble for her parents, what with causing Dad to lose his job and take a lower paying job, and the family having to move into a cheap council house. This does not move her stony heart, but we can still see there are chinks in it. Stefa is desperate to get away from her school and Ruth Graham, who is a constant reminder that her grief for Joy is unresolved. Stefa cannot bear to be parted from her statue, the closest thing she has to a friend now. And although she expresses no shame or apology at costing her father his “grotty old job”, we suspect she really is covering up a guilty conscience. After all, in the previous episode Stefa was nagged by guilt over how much she was hurting her parents and had a sleepless night.

Jassy is developing her water divining powers, only to discover they mean trouble for her. There is a law against psychics after a one prophesised there would be no drought for many years. Furthermore, there are greedy people out to take advantage of Jassy’s power. Daisy is still too much of a lady to take the skivvy treatment she is getting lying down. She tries to speak out against the treatment she is getting from the other servants, but this only has the servants turn on her for snitching. Now her life is even more unbearable, and even the boot boy despises her. Rose manages to foil the Thornes who try to sabotage her pole vault, but gets damaged hands from having to make do with a rough pole.

Jinty & Lindy 18 September 1976

 

Jinty cover 3

  • Girl in a Bubble – first episode (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Alley Cat
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Horse from the Sea (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl! (artist José Casanovas)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (Ken Houghton)

This issue marks the first episode of one of Jinty’s most insidious and disturbing stories, “Girl in a Bubble”. Helen Ryan has been incarcerated in a sterile bubble for four years, under the care of Miss Vaal, after she was diagnosed as having no resistance to germs. But there is something mysterious about all this. In all that time, Helen’s parents have never come to see her. And what’s with that black book Miss Vaal keeps writing in?

It gets even more suspicious when Helen demands to be let out and have some company. Miss Vaal pays off some kids to come and torment Helen in order to put her off company – hmm, now why would she do that? In any case, it backfires when one of the kids, Linda, regrets it and comes back to encourage Helen to come out. But what awaits Helen outside the bubble? And what will Miss Vaal do if she finds out?

Meanwhile, “Horse from the Sea” has reached its penultimate episode. Tracey has discovered she is the true heir to the Penrose estate, but the nasty relatives tie her up, and make plans to kill her and put the blame on her beloved Brightmane. Tracey escapes with the help of Brightmane and Janice. But raising help strikes problems with the phone dead and Janice still not strong enough to walk far.

The reverse situations of “Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud” are now firmly established, what with Maud drugged and on board the ship to the finishing school and Daisy now at Park Square mansion in Maud’s place. Daisy is forced to do work she has no idea how to do or get beaten. At the end of the day, she is furious at all the drudgery and physical abuse she has taken and resolves to make them pay. But she finds that will be harder than she thought when she finds herself locked in the attic room where servants sleep.

In “Sisters at War”, Sue has to put the war on hold. She and Sylvia have been wrongly accused of a crime and she enlists the aid of a reporter to help sort things out. But the true criminal has gotten wind of it and now Mum comes in – all roughed up!

Another mum is having a bad time in this issue too; Stefa’s mum is on the verge of a breakdown because of Stefa’s stony behaviour and takes a short break. Meanwhile, Stefa gets an invitation to Ruth’s party but worms her way out of it by pretending to be ill. Dad falls for it and takes time off work to look after her – something he is going to regret .

Rose foils another plot from the Thornes but falls asleep at the same time because they gave her a drugged drink. Next time, don’t consume anything the Thornes offer! In “Champion in Hiding”, the class launches a campaign to save Firefly, but it strikes problems, including Aunt Shirl making nasty threats against Mitzi. This forces Mitzi and Firefly to go on the run.

Instead of shining shoes and losing her snobbishness, Shirl is soaking up the high life in a sheikh’s palace. But not for long, thanks to Alice’s pea shooter! Soon it is Alice soaking up the high life instead and has a feeling that things are going to happen now that Shirl is a sheikess. And “Alice is too right, as you’ll find out in next week’s hilarious story!”

 

Jinty & Lindy 23 October 1976

Jinty Cover 23 October 1976 

  • Jassy’s Wand of Power (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

Human sacrifice on a Jinty cover is disturbing, even though we can see Jassy is striving to save the boy (and succeeds). The boy is blind, which makes it even more horrifying. It makes for a striking cover to feature on this blog. “Jassy’s Wand of Power” would have been better to keep the explanation that it is set in an alternate Britain that is more superstitious so readers who joined the story would know. But it didn’t, so some readers must have been been puzzled as to why Britain is suddenly reverting to human sacrifice, witchcraft and water diviners, even if it is in a drought crisis.

Witchcraft also features in Gertie Grit, where Gertie gets a job with a witch. She ends up causing the Vesuvius eruption and the destruction of Pompeii when she makes a miscalculation with some magic powder. Gertie is forced to make another hasty exit to another time period, and for once she learns a lesson: “You can’t learn magic spells in five minutes!”

This week’s “Is This Your Story?” features Clare who makes herself the centre of attention and the envy of her classmates with her clothes. They don’t realise the clothes are not Clare’s – she helps herself to her sisters’ wardrobes to impress everyone with her appearance. The sisters resort to drastic measures to teach Clare a lesson – they lock up their wardrobes and Clare’s, so the hitherto smartly dressed Clare has to go to school in her mum’s dress! Everyone gets a huge laugh, but Clare takes it in part and sees the funny side too. This is what sees her through her dressing down, so to speak, as well as learning her lesson.

Last week Stefa softened and cried when her mother had a bad accident. But then she regretted it, seeing it as weakness when she should have stayed firm with her stony heart. This week, silly Stefa resolves to harden up even more. So poor Mum is in for a shock when she comes home from the hospital. Dad reaches his limit and decides to give Stefa a taste of her own medicine by telling her she must buy and cook her own food. Stefa welcomes it, as it will widen the rift between them. But in the next issue, Stefa finds it turning into another test for her stony heart as she is a lousy cook! But will this teach her the lesson she so badly needs to learn?

Rose foils another plot from the Thornes, but falls out with her friend Elaine. The girl in the bubble is on the run from Miss Vaal, but she and Linda dodge the police to sneak back and find out what exactly Miss Vaal is up to. They find Miss Vaal’s black book, but what will it reveal? Daisy’s plan to escape by chimney  has to be put on hold when the family go on holiday and take the servants with them. It’s no holiday for Daisy, who still has to cope with hard work and bullying, but she is hopeful for a chance to escape her servitude on holiday. Will she succeed or be forced to go back to her chimney plan? Uncle Jason is in hospital, but this brings no peace between the Sisters at War. In Champion in Hiding, Mitzi’s mother is in hospital too, and nasty Aunt Shirley is taking advantage of it to sabotage Mitzi’s training for the dog championship.

 

Jinty and Lindy 11 September 1976

Jinty and Lindy 11 September 1976

None of the stories in this issue are missing from the story list, but there is still plenty to comment on. This issue gives us the last episode of the science fiction classic, “Fran of the Floods” – all ends happily for our protagonists, but the creators are careful to show that not everyone came out of the catastrophe unscathed. Elsewhere in the issue, I note that Hugh Thornton-Jones is deputising for Mario Capaldi not once but twice – he has taken over as regular artist on the last few episodes of “Jinx”, and also as the artist on “Champion in Hiding”. José Casanovas gives us humorous character Snobby Shirl who has to work as a shoeshine girl for, er, a number of no doubt very good reasons. And finally, Mistyfan has just written about “Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud” – an unlikely ‘Prince and the pauper’ tale that has real strengths showing through the formula.

Stories in this issue:

  • Rose Among The Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Fran of the Floods (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Champion In Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Horse From The Sea (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sisters At War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl! (artist José Casanovas)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)

Jinty and Lindy 20 November 1976

Image

  • Go On, Hate Me! – first episode (artist Keith Robson)
  • Gertie Grit the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rose among the Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! – first episode (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • The Big Cat – first episode (artist Ana Rodrigues)
  • Girl in a Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Is This Your Story? (artist John Richardson)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Alley Cat

This issue marks the debut of one of Jinty‘s most popular humour strips, “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” This strip would run for three years, arguably longer than The Jinx from St Jonah’s and Dora Dogsbody. Sue sees a handbag (brought back from the mysterious Orient) at a jumble sale and just has to have it. It seems that the handbag, which Sue names Henrietta, seems to be grinning at Sue, but Sue has no inkling of what she has bought just yet. But we do when a thief snatches the bag with the takings. He takes a comb out of the bag and when he uses it, he is astonished to find his hair growing to monstrous proportions and then wrapping around a pole. He ends up begging a policeman to arrest him. Sue takes back her bag, not noticing its mischievous grin. An interesting approach to the first episode, where we’re not told everything at once, but we have been given enough to have us eager for the next episode.

Two other stories start, “Go On, Hate Me!” and “The Big Cat”. The panel of happy running girls on the cover is a stark contrast to its title “Go On, Hate Me!” and belies the ugly campaign of hate that will start against Hetty Blake in subsequent episodes. Ruth Lee in “The Big Cat” is the target of a campaign as well, one that sees the council evict her gypsy camp. Ruth burns her caravan gypsy-style and sets out on a journey. Readers will see how it explains her dying gran’s prophecy: “Take care of the big cat and she’ll bring you luck and happiness at last.” What big cat? We get a hint that we will find out in the next episode when we read the blurb for it: “‘That’s Ayesha…and she’s untameable! A killer!'”

“Rose among the Thornes” is reaching its climax, with an unexpected twist that could backfire on the Thornes. A canister fell from a plane and wrecked gran’s cottage, which gives them the excuse to pull it down. But they don’t realise the canister contains a dangerous toxic chemical and it is leaking! Rose is on her way to warn them, and it is the race of her life.

Stefa gets even more daft with her heart of stone. Dad threatens to get rid of her statue, so Stefa runs away – with the statue on a wheelbarrow! You just have to laugh, and of course Stefa can’t get far when she is carrying a statue along.

Jinty & Lindy 4 September 1976

Image

  • Rose among the Thornes – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Fran of the Floods (Phil Gascoine)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Horse from the Sea (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl! (artist José Casanovas)
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud – first episode (artist Ken Houghton)

The Lindy logo is still on the Jinty cover. This is the only thing left from Lindy, which had little to offer to the merger except Penny Crayon. But Penny has gone and Alley Cat is the regular cartoon now.

“Fran of the Floods”, which began in January, is still going. But the floods have abated and we are promised the conclusion with the next issue. That means this story has run for 10 months, which makes it one of Jinty’s longest serials.

“Champion in Hiding” has changed artists. It started with Mario Capaldi but is now being drawn by Hugh Thornton-Jones. Thornton-Jones took over from Capaldi for a while with Katie Jinx too during 1976.

Meanwhile, Stefa discovers her heart is not as stony as she thought when she discovers that there is a girl in her class who is a dead ringer for her late friend Joy! But she still has not woken up to the error of her ways. Neither has Snobby Shirl, who still hasn’t learned humility. However, Shirl is becoming less selfish when she sets out to rescue her friend Alice, who has been taken prisoner by a sheikh. But Shirl discovers that she may be shining shoes at last when the sheikh sets her to clean a row of them that is a mile long!

Another snob starts to learn humility the hard way too, in the new story “Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud”. This story comes from the tradition in girls’ comics of a rich girl and Victorian maid who swop places (and happen to bear a physical resemblance to each other, so the switch goes unnoticed or disbelieved). In this case, the swop occurs by accident rather than voluntarily or through trickery. And Lady Daisy De Vere, a rich, snobby girl who looks down on servants and the other half, is going to find out just how hard their lives are – the hard way. Meanwhile, Maud the servant girl finds herself going to a finishing school in Daisy’s place.

And another new story, “Rose among the Thornes”, we see Rose Smith start her crusade against her greedy relatives, the Thornes, whose development plans threaten people’s homes, including her gran’s. The Thornes have made a good start already, by tricking gran into signing over the cottage to them.

 

Jinty and Lindy 16 October 1976

Jinty and Lindy 16 October 1976

Jinty has gone back to having story pages on the front cover. Science fiction story “Girl In a Bubble” is the cover story for its first few episodes, but not exclusively; the apocalyptic “Jassy’s Wand of Power” also has the cover slot for a few episodes. (More realistic story “Go On, Hate Me!” gets a few cover spots subsequently too, so it’s not only sf in the top slot.)

“Girl In A Bubble” pits the sinister Miss Vaal against Helen Ryan, who she has been keeping in a bubble for … research purposes? To my mind one of the most striking aspects of this story is the Phil Gascoine artwork, where he is experimenting with a slightly ratty line compared to his usual smooth ones. (Only a touch mind you, he’s not going the whole Gary Panter.) “Jassy’s Wand of Power” is the other science fiction-influenced story in the issue: I find it in some ways more intriguing. There is a Great Drought that has struck the world (or just the UK?), psychic powers are outlawed, and the titular character is in both demand and danger as a real water diviner. Feudalism is on the rise, as in so many apocalyptic scenarios, which makes for some very effective cliff-hangers.

Girls comics were never short of conventional morality; “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” is a tear-jerker that can be seen as a warning against obsessional, too-close friendship, but more directly there is also a sort of comics equivalent of an agony-aunt feature: “Is This Your Story?”. This is the first episode of what they call “An emotional, true-to-life series” exploring problem stories that could hit very close to home for the girl readers. In this one, Peggy’s pet dog, Punch, is killed by a driver; she is cold towards the replacement puppy bought by her parents, until the very moment she is about to take it back to the kennels. “It was as sudden and complete as that. The touch of a small paw, the questioning, trustful eyes… and from that moment they were inseparable!”

Stories in this issue:

  • Girl in A Bubble (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Pat Mills)
  • Gertie Grit, the Hateful Brit! (artist Paul White)
  • Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Is This Your Story?
  • Rose Among The Thornes (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Champion in Hiding (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
  • Sisters at War! (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Jassy’s Wand of Power (artist Keith Robson)
  • Alley Cat
  • Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud