On this day, 16 April 1977: Jinty
On this day, 16 April 1977 ... This issue of Jinty, published nearly three years into the comic's seven-and-a-half-year run, saw the final episode of one story, Made-up Mandy, and the opening episode of a brand new one, Kerry in the Clouds. There's a point of similarity between the two, in that the protagonists of both have a liking for passing themselves off as other people. 'Mandy Mason was the humble caretaker in an elegant beauty salon but, with her secret skill at make-up, she could transform herself into anyone she chose.' And 'Kerry Langland loved wearing dressing up clothes and pretending she was a great actress. That was one of the reasons why people called her "Kerry in the Clouds"!'
Thereafter the two stories are rather different in tone. Made-up Mandy has a slightly lighter heart; although Mandy is bullied, Cinderella-style, by the snobby salon manageress, there's a fun and fantastical element to her adventures as she genuinely is able to disguise herself as other women with a few. Kerry in the Clouds, however, appears to have a grittier, more kitchen sink feel as we realise Kerry's dreams of glamour are a method of escape from the grim realities of life on the top floor of a run-down council flat.
Elsewhere in this issue there's an ad for another new story, The Robot who Cried, which looks full of promise. Ongoing serial Creepy Crawley tells of a girl whose Ancient Egyptian scarab brooch aids her fight for popularity against a rival 'top girl' at school. And The Darkening Journey follows the travels of a guide dog, Thumper (whose own eyesight is deteriorating), and his friend, a rook, in search of Thumper's owner, a blind girl. It's an achingly sad premise but Jose Casanovas' art (which will be familiar to readers of early 2000AD) gives the story a bit of bounce and humour.
Overall, with its rich mix of serials – funny and sad, challenging and surprising, and highly respectful of the intelligence and imagination of its readers – this is another good example of what makes Jinty such an engaging read today. And I would love to know how the winner of the ‘Win a Week in Japan with Flintlock!’ competition got on – blimey, what a prize for 1977!
Thanks as ever to Jenni Scott of the brilliant and comprehensive A Resource on Jinty website for the creator attributions. Jenni is on the panel (along with Dr Mel Gibson and David Roach) of ‘Women Making Girls’ Comics’, part of House of Illustration’s Comix Creatrix exhibition, in London later today, discussing some of the unheralded creators of British girls comics of the 1970s and 1980s. Short notice, I know, but if you’re interested in any of the girls comics featured on this blog then I think the event would be fascinating to sit in on.