Contents 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 Cándido Ruiz Pueyo/Emilia Prieto)
- The Stars’ New Year Resolutions (feature)
- 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 (artist Rob Lee)
- Is This Your Story?
- Daisy Drudge and Milady Maud – final episode (artist Ken Houghton)
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.