On this day, 8 October 1977: Jinty
On this day, 8 October 1977 … I’m always interested to see the first episode of new stories. There werelot of them in girls’ papers such as Jinty and Tammy because they generally had a number of serials running at any one time, all starting and ending at different times. But this Jinty cover, highlighting the beginning of Guardian of White Horse Hill and the return to the comic of a new run of Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic, is particularly striking. I think it’s possibly because there is more white on the cover than was normal in Jinty around this time – its covers were usually quite colour-dense – which makes the central image stand out, and also because the two new stories seem especially representative of the mystery and sorrow that were so characteristic of many of Jinty’s best stories.
Guardian of White Horse Hill opens with a fairly horrific tragedy. Young Janey is rescued from a burning home in which both her parents perish. The story then moves on a few years and we find Janey being placed with foster parents but unwilling to let go of the teddy bear which is her only remaining link to her parents. She struggles to settle in her new home, and events take a supernatural turn during her first night when she finds a beautiful white horse outside her bedroom window. Details on future episodes from the story, including the revelation that the horse is an incarnation of Celtic goddess Epona, can be found on the A Resource on Jinty website.
Rather like Tharg’s Future Shocks in 2000AD (or, rather, pre-dating the Future Shocks), Gypsy Rose’s Tales of Mystery and Magic was a long-running, occasional series of one-off stories. Unlike Tharg, however, Gypsy Rose – a young, Romany woman with headscarf, large earrings and a crystal ball – often appeared in her own stories, not as the protagonist but providing a touchpoint between our world and the supernatural realm. In this week’s story, ‘Flight Home’, an airline hostess receives a vision of an Indian boy, one of her regular passengers, stepping out of a plane in flight. A trip to Gypsy Rose reveals the boy missed the flight after being nearly killed in a fire at his school, but he had been so determined to be on the plane that his spirit had been aboard. Mistyfan has written a good description of Gypsy Rose stories here.
Finally, apologies to all for the show-through that makes some of the scans below difficult to read; I’m not sure whether the comics were like this at the time or whether it’s an effect of ageing.