The eagerly awaited Tammy & Jinty Special 2019 has arrived! Since acquiring the IPC back catalogue, Rebellion has been steadily releasing reprints of old favourites and also seem eager to try out some new material for these characters too. We’ve already had horror and humour specials, and is nice to see girls comics getting attention as well. Similar to the Cor!! Buster and Scream!Misty specials, although this is titled as Tammy & Jinty, they are not restricting themselves to just characters that appeared in those comics, but taking a look at the whole catalogue. The name Tammy & Jinty most likely was chosen as the most recognisable and adding Sally, Sandie etc. wouldn’t make for the most catchy title!
There are 9 stories in total in this special and we’ve got a mixture of old and new characters here. Returning favourites are: Justine Messenger of Justice, Maisie’s Magic Eye and Bella at the Bar, although they may not be quite as you remember them. Justine and Maisie origins are retold with how they got their powers. Justine (who first appeared in Sally with the title “The Justice of Justine”) has a few changes to her origins, such as the Greek Goddess Athena now being the one who gives Justine her magical items, and each of these items are tied to a Greek God – the winged sandals of Hermes, the golden bow of Hypnos and spyglass of Odysseus. Justine’s first job as a hero is to stop a Minotaur and at the same time she is trying to navigate her everyday problems,such as her difficulty talking to boys. This story seems ripe for continuation, especially with the good set up the story uses with Pandora’s box.
Bella at the Bar of course is so synonymous with John Armstrong work, that it would be hard to live up to and I think they’ve down the right thing with not trying to imitate his work and instead have a new, more stylised version. Cardinali’s art might not be to everyone’s taste, but it does well in capturing the energetic movements of Bella and I think Rachael Ball has succeeded in getting the tone of Bella right, as I could hear Bella’s voice clear in my head. It did feel things wrapped up a bit quickly but that is often the case with the limited space in Summer Specials (as was the case in the past too). Again Bella is another character that seems to have lots more stories to tell.
Another not so new character, is Rocky of the Rovers, sister of the famous footballer, Roy Race. The new updated Roy of the Rovers seems to be doing well, and this story shows Rocky stepping out of her brother’s shadow. The character has also recently had an online serial Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019 which coincides with this years Fifa Women’s World Cup, which means any new fans, will have some other material to check out. The last five stories are all new characters for the book, and there is the wonderful mixture that you would expect in a girls comic, with cursed objects, sci-fi, sport, ghosts, time-travel and lonely schoolgirls. Of these, the two standouts for me were, The Enigma Variation and Duckface, though the others Affirmative Action, In the Cold Dark, and Speed Demons are all solid stories in their own right too (I would like to see more of the roller derby team from Speed Demons). Duckface is a classic moral story, with a good message of not judging someone, the difficulty of loneliness, and to be careful about what you write about someone on the internet. This seems a very relevant story for young girls today and it is charmingly told, and it really worked as a short complete story. The Enigma Variation was an unexpected delight as a tribute to Alan Turing and the codebreakers of World War II and also featuring a smart protagonist, Beck and gorgeous art by Dani.
Rounding off this special, we get some words from the creators, and they really have put a lot of work and heart into this, it can be a daunting task especially when reviving characters people know and love, and I think they have done a good job. There is of course nostalgia value to these, (and some people may not be happy about how their old favourites have been re-imagined) but more importantly this should appeal to young girls today. If we are to see more of these specials it needs a new audience and I’ll be very interested to see how they react to it. I certainly would love to see these new stories continue.
The special will be available in selected shops from 27th June or can be purchased from the 2000AD website: https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/catalogue?edition=print
UPDATE: Also worth a listen to hear from some of the creators behind this special, check out interviews here: https://soundcloud.com/2000-ad/the-tammy-jinty-special