Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!

Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!
Cheeky Weekly ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

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Sunday 23 January 2011

The features - Why ,Dad, Why?

For almost the first year of Cheeky Weekly, the Friday feature regularly saw Cheeky seeking out a copy of The Mystery Comic, in order to read the Mustapha Million strip.  Initially, Mustapha's was the only strip from the Mystery Comic that appeared in Cheeky Weekly.  However, when Cheeky Weekly underwent a revamp in the 30 September 1978 issue, the whole of The Mystery Comic (assuming it was a rather thin offering at only 8 pages) took up residence in the centre pages.  Why, Dad, Why? was one of the features in the mysterious publication.  The concept of The Mystery Comic continued until the issue dated 30 June 1979, after which the characters who had previously been confined within the centre section (including Why, Dad, Why?) were assimilated into Cheeky Weekly.

Why, Dad, Why? clocked up 52 appearances in Cheeky Weekly, and survived until the final issue.

The title of Why, Dad, Why? explains all - infuriatingly inquisitive son asks long-suffering father a question and comic chaos ensues, often involving dad in a painful mishap.  Neither father nor son was named in the strip. The story would often end with Dad pursuing Son, intent on violent retribution.

WDW was a rehash of a strip that had earlier appeared in IPC stablemate, Whizzer and Chips.  In the same way that Cheeky Weekly's James Bold feature re-used old Maxwell Hawke scripts from Buster, but with new artwork, Why, Dad, Why? used scripts from the earlier version of WDW, but redrawn by John K. Geering.  The original series was illustrated by Manny Curtis. Bruce has put up an example of the original WDW from Whizzer and Chips on his Comic Archive (UPDATE - that link is now dead so I have included Bruce's scan below).  I thought it might be interesting to compare that original strip with how it was re-interpreted in Cheeky Weekly dated 01 September 1979, just over 8 years after the original version appeared...

Thanks to Bruce for this scan

John Geering totally restyled Dad and Son, who had appeared rather nondescript in the original strips.  In the new version, Son sported rather striking headgear. 

The Mystery Comic spanned pages 13 to 20 of Cheeky Weekly, and WDW was most frequently to be found on page 14, but in the 12 May 1979 issue, Dad and Son made it onto The Mystery Comic's cover.  When the Mystery Comic idea was dropped, the characters who had previously been confined within the centre section were freed to roam the comic, and WDW was then most often to be found on pages 21 or 27 (appearing 7 times on each).  The final issue of Cheeky Weekly, dated 02 February 1980, saw Why, Dad, Why? appear on page 3, the closest it ever got to the front of the comic (although Dad and Son did appear on the cover of the 11 November 1978 issue, promoting their strip inside).

The scripts were above average in terms of ingenuity and humorous content, so it's easy to see why the editor chose to re-use them.  John Geering's artwork certainly brought out all the amusement potential, with poor Dad's physical (and mental) torments depicted in wince-making detail.

The title of the strip appeared across the top of the page, with Son's face appearing to the left of the title, and Dad's to the right, except on 14 July 1979, 28 July 1979, 04 August 1979, 08 September 1979, 22 December 1979, 29 December 1979 and 19 January 1980 when the positions were reversed.  However, the depictions of the two protagonists changed each week, with a variety of expressions on view.  The title over the strip in the comic dated 21 April 1979 showed Son and Dad as cap-wearing eggs in egg-cups, to match the Easter-themed story.

In the final panel of the story dated 24 February 1979 we learn that The Two Ronnies are Son's favourite stars.

The story dated 28 July 1979 shows a poster which reads 'Read Cheeky Weekly'.  Had it appeared in an issue in which The Mystery Comic concept was still current, this could have introduced another reality conundrum, since it would mean that Cheeky Weekly was available in Cheeky's universe.  If this was so, Cheeky and his pals would not only be able to read about themselves, but it would mean that The Mystery Comic, as well as being a stand-alone publication, was also available in Cheeky Weekly, and why therefore were the Cheeky's Week characters seeking out The Mystery Comic when they could get it in Cheeky Weekly?  One reason, of course, was that there was no price on The Mystery Comic cover, so presumably it was free.  However, as mentioned above, this is all somewhat academic as by the time the strip which advertised Cheeky Weekly within it was published, the Mystery Comic concept had been dropped.

All the WDW strips were single-pagers, of which 6 were in full colour.

Dad gleefully contemplates administering a mallet to Son's cranium on the Pin-Up Pal poster in the 10 March 1979 issue.

Why, Dad, Why? made Star Guest appearances in Whoopee! dated 05 May 1979 and Whizzer and Chips dated 12 May 1979.

Comparison of original Why, Dad, Why? in Whizzer and Chips, and the re-drawn versions in the Cheeky titles.

FeatureFirst AppearanceFinal AppearanceTotal IssuesTotal Issues Missed In RunPage History
Why, Dad, Why?30-Sep-7802-Feb-8052163,10,12,13,14,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,26,27,28,32

Issues Missed In Run

UPDATE 10 January 2012: In the table below, Why, Dad, Why's appearances in The Mystery Comic are counted separately where indicated in the Feature column.

Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Why, Dad, Why? Mystery ComicJohn K. Geering2830-Sep-197830-Jun-1979
Why, Dad, Why? John K. Geering2414-Jul-197902-Feb-1980

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