Stories in this issue:
- Dance into Darkness (artist Christine Ellingham
unknown artist Concrete Surfer)
- Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
- Somewhere over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
- Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
- Knight and Day
- The Zodiac Prince (artist Trini Tinturé)
- Clancy on Trial (artist Ron Lumsden)
- Slave of the Swan (artist Guy Peeters)
- Cathy’s Casebook (artist Terry Aspin)
The cover image isn’t taken from an image inside this week’s episode of “Dance Into Darkness” – I am not sure without checking whether it is actually from next week’s episode, though I think it must be. It makes a fine spooky, gothic cover, and I love the little black cats winding their way around Della’s ankles.
Della Benson is starting to find out where her mysterious dancing skills have come from – along with her love of the dark and of the creatures of the night, such as the cats. What secret does the strange lady and her daughter hold?
Dorrie and Max run away from the grim chidren’s homes they have been placed in – they have found out that there is a place called “Rainbow’s End”, in Scotland, and they think it must be a sign that they will find their happiness there. It’s a rainy start, but they feel sure they can manage the long trek north.
“Knight and Day” is one of the grimmest, most realistic stories ever printed in Jinty. Pat Day was fostered to a loving couple but when her mother tried to get her back then she had to go – even though it all turned out to be a scam. Her mother and stepfather are abusive and uncaring, and Pat’s new stepsister is a bully and a thief.
“The Zodiac Prince” is a rare strip featuring a male lead character – though you could argue that his friend and sidekick Shrimp is the real lead, in some ways. It’s a light-hearted romp but it is coming to an end – this is the penultimate episode and Shrimp is nearly due to find out who the Prince really is and where he comes from.
In “Clancy on Trial”, Clancy has enrolled herself in the local comprehensive school, to force her grandfather to see that she can live as independent a life as possible without relying on him and his money. The schoolkids are not that friendly though.
“Slave of the Swan” is a pretty nasty slave story – Katrina Vale has lost her memory and is being very badly treated by Miss Kachinsky, who hated Katrina’s mother with great passion. Katrina is now in great danger as Miss Kachinsky tries to cover her tracks!
“Cathy’s Casebook” has doctor’s daughter Cathy cure Diana of her nerves when riding a particular horse she’d started to get afraid of. Next on Cathy’s list is wild runaway Denis. Will she find out what ails him, too?
Following my recent post on “The Mighty One”, where Steve MacManus mentioned the fact that editors of the time often thought in terms of stories filling a certain number of panels / frames / pictures, I thought I would count up the number of panels in a sample issue of Misty and one of Jinty, for comparison. (If I can also do the same for a typical issue of 2000AD from the time then I will, but right now it’s hard for me to dig out my old copies of other titles.)
Of the stories in this issue, this is how the panel count breaks down:
- Dance Into Darkness – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 9 panels (25 panels)
- Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels (17 panels)
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow – pg 1 7 panels, pg 2 10 panels, pg 3 7 panels (24 panels)
- Alley Cat – pg 1 12 panels (12 panels)
- Knight and Day – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 8 panels (25 panels)
- The Zodiac Prince – pg 1 8 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (26 panels)
- Clancy on Trial – pg 1 6 panels, pg 2 10 panels, pg 3 10 panels (26 panels)
- Slave of the Swan – pg 1 7 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (25 panels)
- Cathy’s Casebook – pg 1 6 panels, pg 2 9 panels, pg 3 9 panels (24 panels)
- = 24 pages of comics, 9 stories. Minimum number of panels = 6, max = 10 on a serial or 12 on a gag strip
I know this is not a huge sample to use, but I have compared to the issue of Misty with the same cover date of 8 July 1978
- The Four Faces of Eve… – pg 1 3 panels, pg 2 6 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 10 panels (serial) (25 panels)
- Nightmare – ‘Master-Stroke’ pg 1 3 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 2 panels (complete story) (20 panels)
- Journey Into Fear – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 7 panels, pg 3 8 panels, pg 4 6 panels (serial) (25 panels)
- Wrong Station – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 7 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 7 panels (complete) (25 panels)
- Beasts – ‘Where There’s a Will…’ – pg 1 4 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 7 panels, pg 4 7 panels (complete) (26 panels)
- The Black Widow – pg 1 2 panels, pg 2 8 panels, pg 3 8 panels, pg 4 8 panels (serial) (26 panels)
- = 24 pages of comics, 6 stories. Minimum number of panels = 2, max = 10
All the stories in Misty, whether they are serials or complete stories, are 4 pages long rather than just 3. There are fewer stories but it adds up to the same number of pages of comics. Each story has pretty much the same number of panels whether it is a 3 page Jinty story or a 4 page Misty one (though in Jinty the single page gag strip and the two page complete stories are certainly shorter in panel count). And the pattern in Misty is pretty striking and consistent, in this issue at least – the first page of each story has a considerably reduced panel count (so that the panels that are left can be large and visually striking) whereas subsequent pages are only very slightly shorter than a typical Jinty page in terms of the average number of panels used (and therefore the size of each one).