1972 (Holland) Edit
British produced strips don't just live and breathe, even reprinted, within their native shores. A number are syndicated, and can turn up in the most surprising places.
Syndication is the process where existing strips are 'sold' - either by a single large payment, or by royalties, a percent of the total sales of each instalment - to another company who then has rights of distribution. A great many newspaper strips are published by this method, with Syndication International, a division of the Mirror Group, being one of the largest and well known. Alan Fennell,
the original editor of 'Look-In', appeared to have connections with Holland, and his material had a habit of being translated into Dutch for publication there. One of his earliest strips, 'Supercar' for 'TV Comic', appeared as 'De Vliegende Auto' (The Flying Car) in the comic 'Sjors' from late 1961. His superior comics 'TV Century 21' and 'Lady Penelope' were the source for the Dutch equivalent 'TV2000', running from late 1966 until the end of 1969 in a variety of formats, and also 'Stingray' and 'Zero X', which saw print in 'Prins Valiant', alongside the classic Hal Foster strip which gave the comic its name, through Dutch supermarket chain Vivo. Later, in the 1990s, his 'Thunderbirds The Comic' had a Dutch (as well as French and Flemish) editions.
In its first editorial, written by Lisette Crevels, she acknowledged 'There are many strips in Jamin Junior, because we know that you and almost all your friends are mad about them'. And indeed the strip content, with a couple of notable exceptions, was all derived from the first two years of 'Look-In'. Issue 1 featured 'Dubbel-Dekkers' (On The Buses), 'Please Sir!', 'De Vrijbuiters' (Freewheelers), 'Time Slip' (as two words) and 'Plunderaars bij Duivelsoog' (Wreckers at Dead Eye), with 'De Jaminnetjes', a curiously confectionery based (and likewise syndicated, by Italy's Fratelli Spada) strip on the back. Also from 'Look-In' were Colin Willock's 'Survival' features, while the remainder of each 24 page issue consisted of features and fiction for purely Dutch programmes, such as 'Snippers' (a news feature), a 'Sport ABC', 'De Gabbers' and puppet show 'Onkruidzaaiers in Fabeltjes-Land', with the most prominent being 'Floris', starring a very young Rutger Hauer in the title role. Although printed on matt paper 'Jamin Junior' could,
unlike 'Look-In', have full colour on every page but while used for the mastheads of 'Please Sir!', 'De Vrijbuiters' and 'Plunderaars bij Duivelsoog', the strips remained in black and white. This changed from issue 5, with 'Please Sir!' and - replacing 'Plunderaars bij Duivelsoog' after an issue's gap, starting in issue 8 - 'Catweazle' both being specially coloured. With artwork too complex for this, 'De Vrijbuiters' had a yellow overlay from issue 7. The only other non-'Look-In' strip, 'Zorro' (possibly reprints from the American Dell comics), joined 'Jamin Junior' from issue 15, replacing 'De Gabbers', with 'Follyfoot' beginning the issue after. This line-up remained until the
publication's end. The quality of reproduction, notably on the full colour strips such as 'On The Buses', 'Timeslip', and 'Follyfoot', was often superior to its 'Look-In' counterparts, sometimes including the whole artwork that normally bled off the page edge.
Only a small number of covers had their origins in 'Look-In' though, with the first 'Jamin Junior' using the photo of John Alderton as Bernard Hedges in 'Please Sir!', from issue 30 for 1971. Issues 6, 7, 14 and 16 use the same photos as issues 31, 7, 41 and 27 (also 1971) of 'Look-In' respectively, while issue 3 uses a different photo of Geoffrey Bayldon as Catweazle, and issue 22 features Wendy Padbury and Adrian Wright on location in Holland for series six of 'Freewheelers'. The others were incredibly diverse, ranging from Pippi Langkous (Pippi Longstocking, which was on Dutch TV) in issue 4, Floris (8), Zorro (15), Laurel & Hardy (18), and Bonanza (23).
A number of features on the British strip or TV related content would appear through the publication's 26 issue run: 'Catweazle' in issue 2, 'De Versierders' (The Persuaders) (4), 'On the Buses' (6), 'Please Sir!' (8), 'De Vrijboiters' (Freewheelers) (22), 'Doctor in Charge' (24), and 'Follyfoot' in issue 25. Other TV related and general features included Barbapapa in issue 2, Pippi Langkous (10), the Olympics (12), Madame Tussaud (14), Laurel & Hardy (18), and 'De Mounties' (another Dutch show) in issue 19. All bar one are credited to Thera Esling who, like editor Lisette Crevels, appears to be untraceable after 35 years.
One can only ponder on the initial deal that led to 'Jamin Junior' having such a high degree of 'Look-In' material, but it was obviously finite. Issue 15 saw the price rise from 25 cent to 30, and the final editorial by Lisette implied the title could continue only if there was a significant further increase. It can be speculated that, with all the colour 'Timeslip' strips run, there would have to be a another reshuffle in content - the continuing black and white strip would possibly have to be coloured at further cost, as would 'Doctor in Charge' which, as its feature appearance in issue 24 suggested, may have been a further addition. On top of that, distribution of 'Jamin Junior' was limited to towns which had a store - originally mainly in the Rotterdam area of Holland - so while sales may have been good, they would never have been as high or profitable as a mainstream publication. In conclusion, 'Jamin Junior' was a superb foreign take on the format, and worthy successor to the magazine era of 'TV2000', in the same way 'Look-In' was to 'TV21', and it is a shame it did not run longer.
Article by Shaqui Le Vesconte with thanks to Marcia Meere-Kat, Theo de Klerk and Ronald Kroon.