On this day, 28 March 1981: Jinty and Penny
On this day, 28 March 1981 … I’ve enjoyed reading this issue of Jinty although I’m sad to see that it comes fairly late in the comic’s run. Jinty would be merged into Tammy before the end of the year, leaving the combined comic as IPC’s the last girl standing (depending whether you consider Girl and Dreamer to be comics or magazines). I’m sure there were unarguable commercial reasons for this but it’s a shame because the scripting and art seem to me to be as good as ever.
Obviously I’m not the target reader for this comic so it’s hard to say what was considered good and what not so in its day, but looking at it now there are two strips in particular that I think are great value. Pam of Pond Hill (the latest instalment of one of Jinty’s longest-running serials) and the first episode of a new story, Fancy Free!, are both engaging stories with really lovely artwork. Bob Harvey on Pam and Phil Townsend on Fancy both draw with a clear, confident line and create individual characters with bold, unique personalities that draw one into the story.
In Pam of Pond Hill, Pam and her school magazine colleague Steve visit a rundown rival school with a plan to interview some of the pupils about why they hate Pond Hill so much, but get caught and incriminated by some condescending comments of their own on Steve’s tape recorder. This reminds me of a time I thought it would be a bright idea to run a survey in my class of who was the most unpopular – I wrote up the results in a little notebook and took it to the tough lad who came out on top, with a speech prepared about how we should all be a bit kinder and more companionable. That conversation drew a crowd of roughly half the school and I just about made it out in a better state than my little notebook.
Fancy Free! also starts off in a school setting although the ending of this instalment suggests it’s going to move out onto the moors as the protagonist Fancy Cole decides to run away from a misfit life. Like Grange Hill, or Crowe Street Comp in Eagle, a soapy school-based storyline will always appeal to me, school being where all the dramas of my real life played out for so many years. Fancy, descibed as ‘the most difficult pupil at Stockbotham Comprehensive’, and soon revealed to have a troubled home life, appears first as cocky and a bully yet I feel immediately sympathetic towards her, a mark of great storytelling.