Tag Archives: Wild Horse Summer

Pat Mills: Interview

Pat Mills is someone who has already contributed lots to our knowledge of girls comics of this era, but even so there are still some gaps in our knowledge of what he wrote, and always plenty more questions to be asked. With thanks to him for his contributions now and in the past, here is a brief email interview.

1) In previous discussions you’ve identified the following stories in girls’ comics as having been written by you. Are there any stories missing from that list that you can remember? Some other stories have been attributed to you – also listed below – which you’ve either specifically said you didn’t write, or which haven’t been included in those previous discussions. It would be great to clarify this once and for all, if we can.

Known stories (Jinty)

You have also said before that you wrote a horse story, without identifying which one it was. Might it be “Horse from the Sea”? Or perhaps “Wild Horse Summer“?

Pat Mills: No. Doesn’t ring a bell. It’s possible I did the horse story for Tammy, but it wasn’t very good.

Tammy

  • Ella on Easy Street?
  • Glenda’s Glossy Pages?

Pat Mills: Charles Herring wrote Ella which I hugely admire. I wrote Glenda. Also – Aunt Aggie, School for Snobs, and Granny’s Town, but not all episodes.

Misty

  • Moonchild
  • Roots (Nightmare)
  • Red Knee – White Terror! (Beasts)

Pat Mills: Think “Red Knee” was mine if it was the spider story. Also “Hush Hush Sweet Rachel” – art by Feito.

And some Jinty stories you didn’t write but which are often attributed to you: “Knight and Day” (now confirmed as not yours), “The Human Zoo” (I think this is thought to be Malcolm Shaw’s), “Wanda Whiter Than White“, “Guardian of White Horse Hill” (you’ve previously thought this is likely to be Malcolm’s too).

Pat Mills: No, none of those are mine.

2) I appreciate that it’s harder to remember which stories were written by other people, if you even knew these details at the time. If there are any stories that you know the writers of, we are always up for adding to our store of attributions! We know that co-workers of yours such as John Wagner, Gerry Finley-Day, Malcolm Shaw, Charles Herring wrote for girls comics, in case that helps to trigger any memories. Did you also perhaps know Jay Over, Ian Mennell, Benita Brown, Maureen Spurgeon? (Some of those names are listed in the era when Tammy printed creator credits between 1982 and 1984, meaning we do have some story credits already in hand for that time.)

Pat Mills: Charles Herring was great – Ella and similar stories.  Pat and Alan Davidson wrote stories like Little Miss Nothing – Sandie and the equivalent in Tammy. They were top writers and that style of ‘Cinderella” story was hugely popular, but I don’t think they ever worked for Mavis. [In fact we do know that Alan Davidson wrote for Jinty, though Pat Davidson did not.]

John Wagner created and wrote “Jeanie and her Uncle Meanie” for Sandie, I think.  John was an editor on Sandie, but Gerry was the founding editor.

I wrote “Captives of Madam Karma” in Sandie.

John Wagner and I wrote “School of No Escape” in Sandie. (That was not bad) And “The Incredible Miss Birch” for Sandie. (Not our finest hour!) And I must have written at least one other story of this kind for Sandie.

I also wrote “Sugar Jones” and other stories for Pink, and “9 to 4” for Girl.

3) In Steve MacManus’ new book on his time in IPC / Fleetway, he talks about stories being measured in terms of the number of panels in the story: so for instance at one point he refers to a ‘twenty-two picture episode’ and at other points to a ‘thirty-picture script’. Is this something that you too remember from your time at IPC Fleetway? Did it happen at DCThomson too? I was interested in this because it seemed like a surprising way to think about comics, rather than in terms of page count.

Pat Mills: Yes. Steve is spot on. It’s a big subject. A thirty picture story in girls comics would theoretically deliver a lot of story. But it would be crammed and old fashioned. So I changed all that on 2000AD with less images on the page and started to apply it to Misty.

4) You’ve talked before about girls comics working differently from boys comics, and Steve MacManus recalls you saying that in a girls story the heroine would beat a bully, ride in a gymkhana, and still get back home in time to make her motherless family a hearty tea. Clearly girls comics were very full of plot! And you were a big part of rewriting a bunch of boys stories to make them fit the girls comics model more closely. Can you talk in a bit more detail about how this worked, in other words, what the mechanism was, more exactly? Is it a case of using fewer action sequences, more surprise reveals, lots of scene changes…?

Pat Mills: The big principle of girls comics that I applied to boys comics was “emotion”. Sometimes this worked well, but it needed applying in a different way. More “cool”, perhaps. Some girls principles didn’t adapt well:  jealousy for instance. Girls loved stories involving jealousy – boys didn’t. Hence “Green’s Grudge War” in Action wasn’t a hit.  Similarly, mystery stories work well in girls comics, boys didn’t give a damn about mystery. Hence my “Terror Beyond the Bamboo Curtain” in Battle, boys didn’t care what the terror was. It wasn’t a failure, but not the hit we hoped for.

However, where girls comics scored ENORMOUSLY was in having realistic stories that didn’t talk down to the reader. My “Charley’s War” is really a girls comic in disguise. Its popularity lies in it applying girls comic principles NOT boys comic principles – e.g. emotion is allowable in the context of World War One.

I was never that sold on “girls adventure” where there wasn’t a strong “kitchen sink”/Grange Hill factor. I think when Jinty went in for science fiction adventure it led the field, but not so sure about regular adventure which could seem “old school” – to me, at least. This was a factor everyone battled with on girls and boys comics, avoiding “old school” and creating stories that were “cool”.  Thus I would describe “Cat Girl” in Sally as uncool and old fashioned. Some of the Misty stories fell into that category – historical stories, for example.

Many thanks again to Pat Mills for his time, and for his memories and thoughts on this.

Wild Horse Summer (1974)

Sample images

Wild Horse Summer pg 1

Wild Horse Summer pg 2
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Wild Horse Summer pg 3
click thru

Publication: 3 August 1974 – 30 November 1974 (18 episodes)
Artist: Unknown (same as Gwen’s Stolen Glory)
Writer: Unknown (but see Thoughts)

Translation/reprints: Translated into Dutch as ‘De zomer van het witte paard’ (in: Tina 1976, Tina Topstrip 15 (1980)). Translated into Indonesian as ‘Elvira misteri kuda putih’

Synopsis

We first meet Daphne in the orphanage that she has been consigned to since the death of her parents in the car crash that also left her unable to speak. She clearly loves all sorts of animals – she finds some field mice and her immediate thought is that they are really sweet and she wonders if she could tame them as pets. She herself is pretty wild though – when the cook finds the mice and is about to splifficate them, Daphne’s resort is to attack and bite the poor woman. Well, she can’t argue rationally with anyone, but additionally everyone in the orphanage seems to have written Daphne off as a daftie who has strange ideas and is not to be trusted.

Nor does anyone in the orphanage empathise with her in other ways. Even when she writes it down as a heartfelt plea, she is not allowed to miss the road journey to the farm that is proposed as a holiday trip – even though such a journey is bound to bring back memories of the day her parents were killed.

At the farm however she makes friends with a wild horse. Unfortunately this is a horse that everyone has been told to keep away from, as it’s ‘best left alone’ – rather like Daphne herself, I suppose. Again and again the misunderstanding by the authorities who are looking after this girl are clearly signalled – she is still shocked after the journey but the matron thinks she is avoiding doing her share, or mooning about. And the matron doesn’t really do her job properly in other ways – in telling the other girls not to go near the wild horse she doesn’t check that Daphne had heard or understood, which could have been a fatal error. She also asks her daughter Eileen, arrived to share the holiday, to befriend Daphne – and Eileen clearly shares her mother’s lack of tact, talking loudly to Daphne as if she was stupid rather than simply unable to speak.

The matron continues in this vein, taking Daphne into town by car despite her clear fear of this mode of travel; Daphne rebels and walks back by herself, but this backfires when she gets lost in the moorland with night coming on. The white horse that everyone else was warned about comes to comfort and help her, and she is charmed and delighted by the mare rather than being frightened (because she didn’t hear or listen to the earlier warning). Daphne is led back to the farm by the horse and manages to make more time to spend together after that – each lonely creature being the other’s only friend. Of course it doesn’t take long for the other kids to find out – they throw stones at the horse they believe to be dangerous, and of course Daphne can’t speak to tell them that she is friends with the mare.

The matron is fed up of Daphne sneaking off and assigns her daughter Eileen to make friends with the girl and to keep an eye on her – not that Daphne is fooled. Especially as Eileen thinks she is so clever, training to be a nurse and having an interesting case to study right in front of her! Daphne rebels, cheekily writing in Eileen’s set of notes that she needs to take ‘more care … over simple spelling.. very untidy writing…’. After initial crossness, Eileen laughs heartily and takes Daphne more seriously, opening up the possibility of real friendship between the two – but of course Daphne still has the secret of the horse to keep.

It’s not a secret for ever – Eileen finds the bridle that Daphne has been using to ride the mare, and has a dilemma of her own. If she gives away the secret then she knows Daphne will never forgive her, and if she doesn’t, then she’s afraid the white mare may turn dangerous and even kill Daphne one day. What should she do? The secret is clearly not going to last for long. Eileen tells Daphne her fears, which is at least rather more grown-up than just telling the authorities – and the warning seems to be borne out when the mare throws Daphne for no very obvious reason. Is the horse turning wild and unsteady again?

The story of the horse and the girl are clear parallels – the reason the horse seemed wild and unreliable was because of the bad experiences she had that led her to grow wild in the first place. Daphne’s hair style had reminded the horse of that time, which is why she was thrown. But the two couldn’t stay away from each other for long. When they next met they rode together for joy – into dangerous bog! Daphne is saved by the mare’s actions and wants to save her in turn – which means revealing the secret. Unfortunately, it is to the last person in the area who will take it well – she has to tell Jem, the farmhand who bears the most of a grudge against the mare, from when she broke his arm in a frenzy. He thinks the mare is dangerous and vicious, and is more likely to kill her than save her!

Because Daphne is willing to go into the bog after the horse, and drown alongside the mare if need be, Jed is forced to save the horse – but takes his gun out later to kill her after all, now he knows where she is. Of course Daphne can’t leave it like that, so she sneaks out after midnight to save the mare, which she does by hiding her in an abandoned mine – little knowing that this is just another danger. This time it is a danger for Daphne herself, who falls down a hole and cannot even scream to let people know she is there. The mare knows, but how can she bring help? Only by exposing herself to danger, which she does – she brings the farmer and Eileen to rescue Daphne. Many people in the farm now realise the horse is not dangerous after all, and are willing to rehabilitate it – but not Jed (as can be seen in the penultimate episode above). He drives the horse away and shoots at it, to make it seem as if the horse went wild again and needed a mercy-killing – but Daphne gets in the way and is shot instead.

Of course this is the denouement that leads to great remorse on Jed’s part – he carries Daphne into the farmhouse where she is nursed back to health, and leaves the farm in disgrace thereafter. The shock of the injury gives Daphne her voice back (in that way that happens in comics) and everything else ends happily – the mare will be kept by the farmer, Daphne will be understood by the people surrounding her, Eileen nurses her back to health, and the mare is given a fitting new name (Hope). In the last two panels, similarly to the sort of vindication seen at the end of “Slave of Form 3B“, Eileen even offers Daphne a bright new future – “Being dumb has given you a lot of patience and understanding, Daphne. You’d make a wonderful nurse! Mum says when you’re old enough, you could train along with me!” “Oh Eileen! I’d love to!”

Thoughts

The unknown artist (who also worked on “Gwen’s Stolen Glory”) does a lovely job once again. These were the only two Jinty stories that s/he drew: if anyone knows of any stories by this artist in other story papers, please do let me know. Many of the episodes are very clear and open in feel, with a lot of white space used for hair and other details that might well be completed in darker textures by other artists. This artist reserves that for scenes like the one in the sample pages – taking place by night, and with potentially deadly outcomes. It makes for a story drawn with a lot of nuance and variety.

The writer is also unknown. We understand that often the same writer and artist were paired up repeatedly, and Alan Davidson is known to have written “Gwen’s Stolen Glory” – could he therefore have written this story too? Hopefully his wife Pat would be able to confirm or deny this at some point, but against this suggestion we should set the point that “Jackie’s Two Lives” ran at the same time as this story. It was not unknown for writers to have two or even more stories running at the same time, but nor was it that usual.

Pat Mills is also known to have written at least one horse story in Jinty, and he has declined to specify which one (giving the impression that he was a bit unimpressed in retrospect with that particular story). This is actually a rather good story – tight and dramatic, if more low-key than some other Jinty stories with supernatural goings-on or scenery-chewing villains. It’s not the sort of thing that I would expect Pat Mills to have any particular reason to disown – the protagonist is hard-done-by by the authorities and has to make her own way in life. She takes no guff, and this is not a particularly daft story or over-the-top in any way. It could still be the missing Mills horse story, but I take leave to doubt it.

Jinty 30 November 1974

Jinty cover 30 November 1974
Jinty cover 30 November 1974.
  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer – last episode
  • Calling All Overseas Readers! – competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

In this issue, Jinty addresses a common gripe from overseas readers – not being able to enter Jinty competitions (because they were several months behind British readers as Jinty was brought out by ship). Jinty has started a competition especially for overseas readers.

Katie’s still out sleuthing to clear her father’s name. But her latest suspects look like real thugs! On the other hand, maybe we should feel sorry for them with the Jinx on their tail.

It is the final episode of “Wild Horse Summer”. Jed’s hatred for the white mare has been asking for serious repercussions from the beginning, and now he gets it – he has accidentally hit Daphne while trying to shoot the mare! He is so upset that he packs his bags. But his action also has positive results that wrap up the story. Its replacement next week is Jinty’s first Trini Tinturé story, “Prisoners of Paradise Island”.

Riches again lure Jackie to carry on with Mrs Mandell as her fake daughter, despite all the warning signs that this woman is clearly mentally unbalanced and danger is imminent. She turns her back on her own family even more now – and not even Mum’s birthday turns her around again.

A stray dog is alleviating the misery at Misery House for the girls, who have adopted him as a pet. But the prison authorities are not having that and are out to crush it. Miss Ball tries to shoot the dog, and then she and fink Adolfa try to slip him some poisoned meat.

Mouse just seems to be getting even more gullible at readily she falls for Kat’s tricks. Kat has tricked Mouse into being her nursemaid, and then she gives Mouse bad advice in order to trick her into dancing badly for an exam.

Ma Siddons wants to put a dog down because she thinks it is savage. When the previous owner from the circus tries to put her straight, she doesn’t listen, so it’s up to Dora’s quick wits to save the dog.

In “Always Together”, a bad accident with fire has given Beth a fear of it, which means the children have to find another way to keep warm in freezing weather. And then a new headmaster bans Johnny and other gypsies from the school because he hates gypsies. Jeepers, aren’t there laws against such discrimination?

“The Slave of the Mirror” has thrown the mirror over the cliff, but it pops back again to force her to cause more trouble at Scully House. Now it’s making her steal money, and she’ll be in even more hot water if she’s caught next week.

Jinty 23 November 1974

Jinty cover 23 November 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St. Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer (artist and writer unknown)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

Katie Jinks is trying to help her dad with his interview for a new job, but of course jinxes it all over the place! The real problem though is that her dad’s reputation has been blackened by the way he lost his last job, leaving Katie furious and desperate to clear his name.

Jackie Lester is finding out more and more how Mrs Mandell will drive her cruelly and without regard for safety. In Misery House, stray dog Mr Nobody is looking out for Merry’s safety but will that work for long, or will he be destroyed, as per the Warden’s orders?

New girl Leticia is about as soppy as you can get, and a soft target for Kat’s mean-spirited domination over her. This story reminds me quite a lot of “Slave of Form 3B”, but without the hypnotism. Kat’s wangling gets Mouse moved out of the hostel where she’s supposed to stay (and where other people might find out about Kat’s emotional hold over the shyer girl) and into staying at Kat’s own home.

Revenge-crazed Jed sets it up to look like the Wild Horse has escaped from her barn, even though it’s the middle of a thunderstorm – but Daphne has seen what’s going on, and gone with her beloved white horse. In the darkness, Jed’s shot doesn’t hit the horse, but the girl! He is filled with remorse, but the mare doesn’t know that, and this may be the turning point that may turn her wild in earnest… We are promised the final episode next week.

The homeless family in “Always Together…” go from bad to worse luck. They are not dragged back to the children’s home, but Jilly’s hurt her arm badly and can’t earn money, and Beth goes too close to the fire and sets herself alight!

 

Jinty 16 November 1974

Jinty cover 16 November 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St. Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez, writer Alan Davidson)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie) – first episode
  • Wild Horse Summer  (artist and writer unknown)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • The Hostess With the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

The cover story with Katie Jinks has a humorous start (with a prat-fall as usual), but moves quickly into a more thrilling story-line than we usually expect from Katie. Her father is home from sea, but with a secret – he was fired from his job because he was suspected of smuggling! Katie vows to help get him started in a new life, but you can also bet that she’ll end up trying to find out what really happened, too.

Jackie is turning her back further against her real family, while being ensnared more and more by Mrs Mandell. And more mysteries – how can Monsieur Charelle, the famous couturier, say that her measurements have hardly changed since the last time he saw her, two years ago?

Merry and co at Misery House have discovered that their mystery visitor isn’t a ghost, but a dog that has sneaked in! He’s lovely company for them, but of course the warden won’t be happy.

This issue sees the start of another rivalry / slavery story – “The Kat and Mouse Game”. Leticia has just joined ballet school Barton Grange, and spiteful bossy Kat has got her claws into her already, getting her to do chores and listen only to her and no one else. And of course even though Leticia – or Mouse, as Kat nicknames her – will have her chances of success at the school spoiled, too.

“Wild Horse Summer” is at a dramatic point – Daphne is stuck down an old mine shaft, an dependent on the wild horse to go for help. Of course the wild horse is torn between her love for Daphne and her fear of humans, but in the end she is instrumental in rescuing Daphne. It sounds like wonderful news for the girl, who will surely be allowed to keep the horse after all that – but farmhand Jed is still crazy with hatred for the white mare!

The kids in “Always Together…” are sleeping in a remote cave on the moors but still trying to do normal things, like taking part in a school concert. But one of the attendees to the concert is a Mr Giles, who knows they are runaways and may drag them back to the children’s home if he spots them… always a cliffhanger in this story.

Mia Blake is still thinking that she can stop being the Slave of the Mirror if she throws it away – but it will not break or free her from the spell of driving away all guests at the house run by Mia’s sister.

Jinty 9 November 1974

Jinty cover 19741109

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie) – last episode
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas) – first episode
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

I should have posted this one earlier in the month as a timely Guy Fawkes story, but never mind – Katie makes a sparkling guy herself, as she points out! She tries to help some local kids raise money for some fireworks and a bonfire, but in the end her jinxing gets the kids into a posh local bonfire party in an unexpected way. This is a one-off story but next week another serialised story arc will start up, about Katie’s sailor father returning from sea.

In “Jackie’s Two Lives”, Jackie Lester has promised to come along to her mother’s birthday get-together, but we know that she will make some excuse to get out of it. The alternative life that Mrs Mandell is offering her is just too tempting – this week it involves a flight to Paris to have a dress made for her… And the mystery deepens, as the couturier says he has been making clothes for Mrs Mandell’s daughter since she was a small child!

Merry is once more seeing the Warders of Misery House setting the inmates against each other. New joiner Violet initially lies to get Merry into trouble, leading Miss Ball to identify her as a potential monitor – but the stratagem applied by the wardens to get Viola to commit to them once and for all is a step too far, and Viola joins Merry’s pack in the end.

It’s the last episode of “Left-Out Linda”, and she is working hard – and hand-in-hand with her stepfather’s mother (‘Gran’ to you). It’s really nice to see the protagonist getting appropriate support to clear up the mess she has made – even if she still has to do a lot of the work herself, of course. It all ends happily, with Linda having the second chance she has come to want, and to deserve.

Daphne, who can’t talk, is trapped down a mine shaft; her only hope is the wild horse she has befriended. Will the white mare help to rescue her, next week?

“Always Together…” has the three Harvey kids struggling to avoid detection – this time by persuading some scouts that the cave they are living in is nothing but a ‘leaky hole’. The next challenge is that brother Johnny has to tackle his jealousy of boys who live in a real house; some neat psychology by eldest sister Jilly has things working more smoothly. It seems as if their lives can go along this track for a while, but will they get derailed some time?

It is the first episode of “Slave of the Mirror”, drawn by the stylish Freixas. Mia Blake is trapped by the mysterious mirror before she gets much further than the first page of the story; but then, she is already grumpy and resentful at being ‘a glorified skivvy’ in her sister’s boarding house, which hardly helps.

Jinty 3 August 1974

Cover 19740803

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Always Together… (writer Alison Christie, artist Phil Townsend)
  • Gwen’s Stolen Glory last episode
  • Make-Believe Mandy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Gail’s Indian Necklace (artist Phil Gascoine) last episode
  • Wild Horse Summer first episode
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy)

Katie Jinks and friends are investigating mysterious gleams in the water near where they are camping, and find traces of frogmen’s footprints; but as they try to investigate further they are stymied and come to believe that it is all down to Katie’s  foolishness. Katie knows she is right, and follows the frogmen down into the depths – only to get trapped, with her air running out!

The Harvey children need to stick together, when their widowed mother fails to come home from work one day. Eldest child Jill – only 15 or so – tries to hold it all together, even in the wake of a body being found in the river. Her younger brother Johnny understands the situation at least somewhat, but Beth, the baby of the family, heartbreakingly doesn’t really understand what’s happening and says that Jill can pretend to be mummy until her real mummy comes back… In the meantime, they have to find somewhere to live, meaning that they return back to their old digs despite the fact that the houses are ready to be pulled down.

“Gwen’s Stolen Glory” comes to an end, dramatically: by climbing down the cliff in front of Judith, Gwen has triggered Judith’s memory. The shock of its return makes Judith fall down the cliff though, so it is not an identical repeat of the first time – in fact it repeats itself the other way round, as Gwen helps Judith to climb back up the cliff, to safety. The astounding fact of having managed to be brave for once leads Gwen to be able to confess – first to her parents, and then to the whole school. Everything is forgiven and forgotten.

In “Make-Believe Mandy”, she is told by the mysterious Miss Madden that she passed her second test despite disobeying instructions – by proving that her compassion is greater than her self-interest. But Mandy is also downcast to hear that her sister Dinah is also to be tested alongside her. Will she now take Mandy’s one chance of happiness from her?

Merry is trying to cheer up her pals at Misery House by using scraps of material to put on a variety concert – but bully Adolfa is about to put the twist on shrinking girl Lily. Will she give the game away? Find out next week…

It’s the last episode of “Gail’s Indian Necklace”, too. She’s in a tight spot, literally, but the Indian god helps her to get to the point of putting the necklace back where it belongs, even to the extent of working on the security guards’ minds so that they open the special glass case that the god-statue is kept behind… and even helps her escape in the end too. To prove that the god isn’t all bad, she even gets a new bicycle as a reward – the very thing that kicked off the whole story in the first place. Not sure that it’s enough of a reward for all that she has been through, but hey!

“Wild Horse Summer” starts this week, drawn by the same artist as has just finished “Gwen”. Daphne has been in a tragic car accident in which her parents were killed, and she has lost her voice and is in an orphanage as a result. The ‘wild’ in the title refers to her, really; because she can’t speak and is frankly still traumatised, she resorts to violence when threatened. Not that her carers are really all that caring; they put her in a coach to go on a trip despite her still being badly affected mentally by the car crash she was in. At the end of the episode, she has arrived in the countryside; the only thing the orphanage kids are warned of is a horse on the moor that they need to leave alone – because it too is wild. Chances of Daphne leaving alone? Not very high…

Jinty 2 November 1974

Jinty 2 November 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas) – last episode
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

In “Merry at Misery House”, Merry is going out of her way to help new reformatory inmate Violet Smith, who in turn has gone out of her way to be unpleasant to all the other inmates… Merry is trying hard to prove that solidarity is the best way of dealing with the reformatory life, but will she be proved wrong by hard-nut Violet?

“Left-Out Linda” wasn’t a story I remembered from my original reading of Jinty as a kid, but the final few episodes of it work really well, in that unusually the resolution (the saving of spoiled, thoughtless Linda) is developed over a few weeks rather than given in just a few panels. Unlike in most stories of this ilk, Linda has a grown-up who is sufficiently practical and sensible that she can help her work through the problems caused by her own foolishness. Good for Mrs Grant, the mother of Linda’s exasperated step-father! As I mentioned previously, this story does end up exonerating the step-father more than I would like to see, but it is just so refreshing to see someone who is actually helping the protagonist fix her solution. It didn’t happen very often, did it? I have scanned the pages from this episode for you to enjoy, too; below. It is the last episode of “Wenna the Witch”, which stuck in my mind more than most of the other stories from this time, despite a fairly silly story-line in many ways. I think I must have remembered the lovely Carlos Freixas artwork…

Left Out Linda pg 1
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Left Out Linda pg 2
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Left Out Linda pg 3
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Jinty 19 October 1974

Jinty cover 19 October 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • The Hostess with the Mostest (artist Stanley Houghton)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Bird-Girl Brenda (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas)

The surprisingly-serious Jinx story ends with a pratfall, returning to its normal style. Jealous rival Bettina has been unmasked and Katie has been crowned swimming champ – before crowning others with the cup as she falls over!

In “Left-Out Linda”, the writer ups the ante – Linda’s new stepfather is so angry with her that he slaps her, saying that’s what she would have got sooner if he’d been her father all along! Quite rightly, the mother kicks the new husband out as a result. Also understandably, the mother is pretty cut-up about her new relationship going to the dogs and is not exactly happy with Linda either. Not a bad message all round really, though as the mother and step-father do end up back together again in the end, the domestic violence message is perhaps somewhat diluted subsequently.

Jinty 12 October 1974

Jinty 12 October 1974

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx From St Jonah’s (artist Mike White)
  • Jackie’s Two Lives (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee)
  • Left-Out Linda (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Angela’s Angels (artist Leo Davy) – last episode
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Wild Horse Summer
  • Always Together… (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Wenna the Witch (artist Carlos Freixas)

A new Katie Jinks story started in the previous issue, all about her swimming ability – yes, klutzy Katie is also a swimming champion, which helps round out her character a bit. Poor girl, she also has a secret enemy, turning her reputation for clumsiness against her. Things all start looking much less humorous in this normally-silly strip.

In “Angela’s Angels”, tea-girl Crystal has been identified as the jealous enemy who played mean tricks on Jo – but a good turn that nurse Sharon does to wheelchair-bound tennis star Neil turns out well for both Neil and Crystal! And at this ‘all’s well that ends well’ point, the story ends – “Gosh, it’s hard work training to be a nurse, and we’ve got a long way to go yet – but it’s so rewarding!”