I’d never have thought that I’d be reviewing a serial from UK girls’ comic Jinty in 2020, but here I am! In 1978, Jinty was a popular weekly, and girls liked to read about titular heroines that overcame obstacles (usually nasy relatives and school bullies) to triumph in the end.
“Concrete Surfer” was thrust upon Jinty’s readership in January 1978, about a year after the skateboarding craze hit the UK. It was still going strong, though, making the strip topical. Writer Pat Mills was teamed with artist Christine Ellingham for six months, allowing them to build a story that was quite compelling.
The story concerns Jean, a teen whose parents emigrated to Autralia and basically failed at their new life, sending their daughter back to stay with her Aunt, Uncle and do-no-wrong cousin Carol. Naturally, these three cause Jean much misery, and she keeps herself sane by indulging in her love of skateboarding. Jean manages to get other girls interested in the sort, even setting up a school club, but it wouldn’t be any fun is there weren’t numerous people mucking it up for her at every turn.
“Concrete Surfer” is a great little read, clocking in at 70 pages which includes an annual story as well. Ellingham’s art is typical of the time, delivering clear, disctinct characters and decent skateboarding scenes that don’t feel forced. Jean is a likeable protagonist, and the ongoing question of whether cousin Carol is evil or misunderstood is played out very well. Fans of 70s UK serial stories will find a lot to enjoy here, and it’s one that will always be fun to return to for a re read every so often.