Post updated 14 June 2016 - artwork credit changed from Mike Lacey to Jimmy Hansen.
Rolling on the crest of the late 70s skateboard craze, the Skateboard Squad consisted of Skipper aka Skip (male), Skatie (female) and Wipe-Out (canine, male). When trouble loomed, the Squad would mount their trusty boards and roar off to right wrongs, foil robberies (on one occasion retrieving the Cheeky editor's wages, a huge sack of money) and generally do good. The only person for whom they seemed to have no regard was Cheeky, who was run over on several occasions as the intrepid team raced to their latest adventure. In the Squad's story in the comic dated 11 March 1978, Cheeky was run over again in the final panel.
The stories quite often took place in Krazy Town park, where the team would deal with spoilsport parkies, bullies, and stranded cats. There were also a number of stories set on farms, not an environment one would consider conducive to skateboarding.
In the third issue of Cheeky Weekly we meet a gang who are apparently the Squad's arch enemies, the Roller Skate Mob. However the Mob only makes one more appearance, in the comic dated 07 January 1978.
The conclusion to the story in the comic dated 03 June 1978 reveals that Skipper and Skatie are siblings, as they return home to their mum.
Skateboard Squad had quite a number of crossovers with characters from Cheeky's Week. Prior to the meeting with Cheeky on 11 March 1978 referred to above, on 04 February 1978 the Vicar, Cheeky and 6 Million Dollar Gran had been seen in the crowd as the Squad gave a demonstration of their boarding skills at the new sports centre. The decision to include Gran in the crowd is debatable since in Cheeky's world Gran is a fictional character from a TV show. On 01 April 1978 the Squad race to save a runaway pram, finding that it's occupied by Baby Burpo. In the Squad page in the 13 May 1978 comic, the team encounter Manhole Man, Baker's Boy, the goalie cat and Snail. 24 June 1978's adventure sees the Squad meet Spiv, Libby, Louise, Jogging Jeremy, Six-Gun Sam, Bump-Bump Bernie, Cheeky and Burpo. On 16 September 1978 they meet Cheeky once more, returning to help pick up his newspapers after colliding with the toothy funster on the preceding page. The comic dated 07 October 1978 sees the Squad introduce a skateboard into Jogging Jeremy's fitness regime. Snail makes cameo appearances in the following two episodes, the second of which also features Farmer Giles. The 13 January 1979 instalment has a new year theme as the squad resolve to do good turns for Sid the Street-Sweeper, Louise and Cheeky. Sadly, the good deeds fail to please the recipients, except for Louise who is seen clinging lovingly to Cheeky's leg in the final panel. Constable Chuckle takes into custody the thief the Squad have just captured, at the end of the 03 March 1979 story, and he appears again on 17 March 1979. Teacher lets Skipper off the lines he'd been set, as a reward for the team's good deed in the Squad's final story, in the issue dated 12 May 1979.
An unsettlingly evil-looking Squad are featured on the Pin-Up Pal poster in the 31 March 1979 issue.
|14 January 1978|
|06 January 1979|
I suspect that the Squad page printed in the 17 February 1979 issue was originally intended for the aborted Christmas 1978 comic, which failed to appear due to a strike. I would guess that the reference to the infants' 'annual party' was changed from 'Christmas party'.
The first Skateboard Squad story had no introductory caption or title panel. The remaining episodes up to and including 16 September 1978 commence with an above-story caption reading either 'Here comes the Skateboard Squad' or 'Watch the Skateboard Squad in action' (the strip in 19 August 1978's 60-years-into-the-future issue had a caption reading 'Here comes the 1978 Skateboard Squad' since the terrific trio of 2038 were unlikely to still be propelling themselves around Krazy Town on boards), but in the 23 September 1978 comic, a conventional title frame appears in the first panel of the top row of frames. Limiting the title of the strip to a single panel meant that the name had to be printed as Skate Board Squad. Subsequent stories had a title across the top of the page showing the Squad trailing a banner, allowing the strip name to be printed as Skateboard Squad. The move to replace the introductory caption with more conventional title frames was probably made in order to render the strips more easily used as reprints.
The Squad's canine component, Wipe-Out, seemed to develop the ability to speak in the 18 November 1978 issue of the toothy funster's comic, seemingly unnoticed by his companions (his previous utterances being limited to sundry woofs, growls or on one occasion a few words to a fellow pooch in 'dog language'). The only other instance of Wipe-Out's mongrel verbosity came during the Squad's Star Guest appearance in Whizzer and Chips dated 14 April 1979, in the course of which our mutt mate conversed with his companions.
All 76 episodes of the Squad's adventures were drawn by Jimmy Hansen. In the issue dated 04 February 1978, their adventure covered two thirds of a second page, but all the other Squad episodes were single-pagers. The strip most regularly followed the Sunday page, but migrated to the page after Thursday as it headed toward the end of its run.
From Cheeky Weekly's first issue to that dated 23 September 1978, Skateboard Squad followed Cheeky's Sunday page. During this 50-issue run the Squad would, with one exception, make an introductory appearance in the final panel of the Sunday page, where they were seen zooming off to their latest adventure and bowling Cheeky off his feet in the process. The one instance from this period on which the terrific trio didn't make an appearance on the page preceding their story occurred in the 31 December 1977 Christmas issue, as the Skateboard Squad tale began with them at home opening their presents (skateboards, naturally).
With effect from the 30 September 1978 revamp issue, and as a result of the upheaval caused by the introduction of the Mystery Comic section, the Squad's page moved so that it followed the Tuesday page. However, as of the following week the introductions were dropped until the 09 December 1978 issue. This issue was reduced to 28 pages as a consequence of industrial action and although Cheeky introduced the Squad on page 17, the following page actually contained Disaster Des and the Squad appeared on page 19. Maybe the resumption of the introductions following a 9-week break was due to reader feedback.
Cheeky Weekly then failed to be published for 3 weeks, and on its return, and until the final Squad story in the 12 May 1979 comic, Skateboard Squad relocated to the page after Thursday (with a couple of exceptions) and most of the introductory panels of this period showed the Squad experimenting with some ingenious method of warning the populace of their approach.
Obviously sensing that the boarding craze had passed its peak, Cheeky Weekly's generously remunerated editor retired the Skateboard Squad after their appearance in the 12 May 1979 issue. However, following a two week break, Skipper, Skatie and Wipe-Out were back in their new incarnation, the Speed Squad.
|Feature||First Appearance||Final Appearance||Total Issues||Total Issues Missed In Run||Page History|
|Issues Missed In Run|
|Feature||Artist||Number of Issues||First Appearance||Final Appearance|
|Skateboard Squad||Jimmy Hansen||76||22-Oct-1977||12-May-1979|
Count of pages preceding feature