Merry Christmas Pals! I’m not entirely sure who drew Lily Pop, busting with Christmas cheer, on this week’s festive cover, which maintains the tradition of the snow-bedecked masthead. Louise looks to me like the work of Frank McDiarmid, but Lily and Cheeky don't seem quite 'Frank' to my eyes.
Cheeky Weekly reaches its third Christmas, although this is only the second festive issue because last year’s failed to appear due to industrial troubles. As with the previous issue, several of the elements included this week were in fact prepared over a year ago. A while back I examined the edits which were necessary in order to incorporate the artwork a year later than intended, so I’ll be linking to those posts as we progress through the yuletide fun, beginning with Sunday, which was actually originally drawn as a Thursday page.
As mentioned in the above link. It’s not Speed Squad who follow ‘Sunday’, it’s young Charlie Counter and his battery-powered buddy. Charlie helps Dad clear the front path by rolling a snowball, but said frozen agglomeration goes rogue and fetches up in the local park. A bully gets covered in the white stuff just as the judging of the snowman contest (prize; a big box of chocs) commences. You’ve read enough comic strips to guess how the chilly tale concludes.
|Art: Terry Bave|
I suspect that the Calculator Kid strip that Terry Bave drew for the 1978 Christmas Cheeky weekly was eventually used in the 1980 Cheeky Annual - see the Wednesday link below. If I'm right then this week's strip is new and not held over.
There’s a distinct lack of festive fun on Paddywack’s page (maybe no readers sent in Chrimbo gags), after which it’s Monday (originally Sunday).
Instead of being followed by 6 Million Dollar Gran, it’s Mustapha who’s up next, having a Christmas Eve encounter with Santa, who is evidently on the little-known maritime leg of his annual deliveries. Our ever-generous middle eastern pal gives away all his toys to the giftless island-dwellers, and there’s a heartwarming conclusion to the story as the dilemma facing Mustapha’s pals is resolved.
|Art: Joe McCaffrey|
There follows a reprinted adventure for Soggy the Sea Monster, which touches on the festive season only tangentially. More in a Christmas mood is Elephant on the Run, wherein The Man in the Plastic Mac, out shopping with his wife for a turkey, notices elephant tracks in the snow. Hunting down the errant pachyderm, TMITPM is dismayed to see his leathern-skinned quarry hopping on a waiting bus. Elephant's implacable pursuer launches his shopping bag, containing the turkey, at his fleeing foe...
|Art: Robert Nixon|
...the large-eared fugitive, having set the bus in motion by inadvertent trunkular engagement with the bell-ringing mechanism, avails himself of the frozen bird and a Slap Up Festive Feed (SUFF) ensues.
Christmas really kicks in with a bumper 3 Cheeky’s Week pages devoted to our toothy pal’s December 25th, culminating in a full-page SUFF for Cheeky and pals.
Cheeky’s Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue of Christmas Jokes provides a whole-box-of-crackers-worth of festive funnies, after which it’s Boxing Day.
Tub has a rather tedious adventure at the Chistmas circus during which his jumper changes from white to pink for no apparent reason. Surprisingly, there’s no SUFF conclusion.
Pages 17 and 18 are the location of Cheeky’s Christmas card to readers, signed by the toothy funster, some of his pals and the Cheeky Weekly production team including Frank McDiarmid, writer Willie (Gordon) Cook and editor Bob Paynter. I realise Snail can’t hold a pen, but he could have ‘slithered’ a message, and he had over a year in which to add his greeting.
|Cheeky and Louise are wearing the same hats as on the cover|
Art: Frank McDiarmid
Six Million Dollar Gran is enduring a Christmas heatwave, but the local mountains (where is this supposed to be set?) provide the synthetic senior citizen with plenty of frozen flakes with which to cool down the town.
|Art: Ian Knox|
Cheeky is still consuming turkey on Thursday.
Why, Dad, Why’s SUFF begins with son considering it a dull affair due to the rather stuffy guests, then degenerates into a food fight but all ends happily.
|Art: John Geering|
There’s a yuletide filler on page 23 in the form of Cheeky’s Christmas Quiz, following which is a reprint episode of The Gang (originally appearing under The Double Deckers title). Last week’s Gang story was a Christmas one, which I suspect was the only genuine festive Double Deckers tale in the strip’s original run. Thus this week’s adventure has had some of the dialogue altered to refer to a Christmas party – the original probably concerned just a generic party (a reference to Disco Kid has also been added). Tiger’s references to her soft toy, Tiger have been changed to ‘my toy’.
Turkey is still on the menu on Friday.
Then mean-spirited Mr Scroonge plots to spoil the kids’ Christmas party by luring Disaster Des past the venue. A pity the old miser didn't appear again – a nice character design by Mike Lacey.
|Mr Scroonge is so mean he won't even give away a 'humbug'|
Art: Mike Lacey
|Art: Robert Nixon|
...using their showbiz wiles, the kids relocate the food to their hut and a SUFF is enjoyed by all (except teacher).
We don't have to wait until 3pm for Cheeky's Christmas message on the Chit-Chat page...
Following which we reach the end of Cheeky’s Week.
Snail heads out into the snowy garden to see what his wildlife pals got for Christmas, bringing this super celebration issue to a conclusion.
We say goodbye to a number of Cheeky's pals in this issue, namely Crunching Chris, Flash Harry, Libby, Snoozin' Susan and Spiv. The members of Speed Squad also make their final appearance in Cheeky's Week. They actually ceased to appear in Cheeky's Week back in the 23 June 1979 issue, but this week's artwork was of course prepared some months before that date.
Frank McDiarmid does his usual excellent work this week, providing 13 festive fun-packed Cheeky's Week elements, plus the Christmas card. Here's looking forward to Cheeky Weekly's Christmas 1980 edition (irony).
|Cheeky Weekly||Cover Date: 29-Dec-1979, Issue 112 of 117|
|1||Cover Feature 'Christmas Issue' 2 of 2 - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|2||Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|3||Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave|
|4||Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton|
|5||Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|6||Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey|
|7||Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey|
|8||Soggy the Sea Monster reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Robert Nixon|
|9||Elephant On The Run - Art Robert Nixon|
|10||Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|11||Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|12||Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|13||Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue 'Christmas Jokes'|
|14||Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue 'Christmas Jokes'|
|15||Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|16||Tub - Art Nigel Edwards|
|17||Christmas Card (single appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (single art on feature)|
|18||Christmas Card (single appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (single art on feature)|
|19||6 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox|
|20||Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|21||Why, Dad, Why? - Art John K. Geering|
|22||Ad: IPC 'Shoot' 9 of 13 Ad: 'Penny' 1 of 3|
|23||Christmas Quiz (single appearance)|
|24||The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray|
|25||The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray|
|26||Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|27||Disaster Des - Art Mike Lacey|
|28||Stage School - Art Robert Nixon|
|30||Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|31||Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid|
|32||Snail of the Century - Art Frank McDiarmid|