On this day, 22 May 1971: June and School Friend
On this day, 22 May 1971 … I haven’t mention June on the blog before, and don’t know a huge amount about it. I’ve found it a tricky one to collect, not least because searching for ‘June’ on eBay, even within the category of British comics, tends to bring up huge search results containing every comic carrying the word June in its cover date! But I was pleased to pick up a few issues recently, including this one featuring a traumatic scene from Gymnast Jinty on the cover, by Jim Baikie. The distraught young woman is Louise Dayton, a friend of Jinty (pictured in the background) whose dreams of becoming a successful tennis player have been shattered by a wrist injury suffered in a car crash. Gymnast Jinty appears to be one of the comic’s lead stories, and I wondered whether the lead character, a school gym teacher, had any connection to Jinty the comic (especially as June ended in June 1974, only a month after Jinty launched). Jenni Scott of the Jinty Resources blog tells me that there was no direct connection but helpfully points out that Jinty’s first editor, Mavis Miller, had been editor of June so it’s possible there was some inspiration in the naming of the new comic.
June really had its heyday in the 1960s, running for thirteen years after launching in March 1961, incorporating the classic School Friend in 1965. And I would say there’s a prevalent sixties look to the design and artwork of this issue from 1971. Not being a designer I can’t quite identify what it is, but something to do with the linework, not to mention the fashions and hair, seems to be of that decade. There are stories of the same vibe that we see in later Jintys and Tammys – as well as the sport-themed Gymnast Jinty, there is Wild Girl of the Hills (about a gypsy girl who lives wild in the Scottish Highlands, The Grays Fight Back! (about a family pulling together after the dad is injured in an accident and the mum is hospitalised through overwork), Call Me Cupid! (about two friends who open a marriage bureau), and ‘Katy’s Kite’ (a one-off in a series of tales told by an introductory narrator – like Misty or Jinty’s Gypsy Rose, although The Storyteller is in this case a man). Mixed in with these are stories that I would guess are aimed at a slightly younger reader – Oh, Tinker!, and Lucky’s Living Doll. The latter strip probably sat nicely with the manufacturers of Sindy dolls who provided patronage of the comic in return for the character of Sindy having her own serial, Sindy and her Friends in Mystery at the Villa Rosaria, and ‘Sindy Club’ news page.