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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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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The features - The Mystery Comic

As we have seen, Cheeky Weekly used framing devices as a way of incorporating certain strips within Cheeky's Week; James Bold's early adventures were presented as chapters of a novel which Cheeky read each issue, and episodes of the final Bold series were watched on the big screen by Cheeky and his pals during their Saturday morning trips to the cinema. The Mystery Comic was another framing device to introduce a new batch of features as from September 1978.

From the first issue of Cheeky Weekly, readers had been intrigued by Cheeky's weekly search for a copy of The Mystery Comic, a publication which was evidently not sold in the newsagents of Cheeky's neighbourhood.  In those early days, the toothy funster sought out a copy of the mysterious publication with the intention of reading only Mustapha Million's adventure, so no other strips from The Mystery Comic appeared in Cheeky Weekly.

However, our grinning pal's comic underwent a major revamp in the issue dated 30 September 1978, and from this date the whole of The Mystery Comic appeared in the centre pages of Cheeky Weekly.  This comic-within-a-comic format had been used by IPC a number of times before, most famously in the long-running Whizzer and Chips (and Cheeky Weekly itself would become a comic within Whoopee! after it merged into that title).  Unlike Whizzer and Chips, Cheeky Weekly didn't invite readers to extract the title located at the centre from within the main comic, neither was there any rivalry between the characters from the host and guest comic as there was in Whizzer and Chips, where 'raids' from one comic into the other happened on a regular basis - from Cheeky's viewpoint the characters in The Mystery Comic (with the exception of the lead characters from Elephant On The Run - see below) were presumably fictional, so raids were impossible.

The first Mystery Comic consisted of 5 new features;
  • Mystery Boy (a reprint of the Who Is Sandy? strip from Whizzer and Chips, 1971)
  • Elephant on the Run (usually a 2-page strip in The Mystery Comic, except for issues dated 16 June 1979 and 30 June 1979, when it was a single page)
The other Mystery Comic strip was existing feature Mustapha Million which, for the duration of The Mystery Comic's run, relocated within its pages.

FeatureTotal Mystery Comic appearances
Disaster Des30
Elephant On The Run34
Mustapha Million34
Mystery Boy37
Why, Dad, Why?28

The Mystery Comic appeared as a conceptual grouping of features in 37 issues of Cheeky Weekly.  On the cover of the issue of Cheeky Weekly in which The Mystery Comic made its debut, was a headline which read "At Last!  The Mystery Comic is to be seen inside. ALL OF IT!", so it was evidently a rather thin offering at only 8 pages.  However, only 14 issues contained 8 pages of features in the Mystery Comic, which coincidentally was the same number of issues containing a 7-feature-page Mystery Comic.  7 issues had a 6-feature-page Mystery Comic and 2 issues (19 May 1979 and 16 June 1979) had Mystery Comics with only 5 pages of features, the lowest number of features to appear in the mysterious publication.  The reduced Mystery Comic page count was due to adverts, or cut-out features relating to Cheeky Weekly intruding into The Mystery Comic's pages.  For example, the cover of Cheeky Weekly dated 19 May 1979 tells readers that part one of the Spotter Book of Town and Around is inside, yet the pages of the book are printed within The Mystery Comic, although the mysterious publication's cover makes no mention of it.

The first Mystery Comic cover to appear in Cheeky Weekly

The cover of the first Mystery Comic incorporated a snake into the S in the comic's title.  The title appeared over a background, consisting of numerous faces, drawn by Ed McHenry.  Over its run, The Mystery Comic featured 5 title-and-background designs, which repeated at random over the weeks.  Accompanying the snake version of the logo was a background including King Kong, Elsie Tanner (from TV's Coronation Street), the Mona Lisa, Frankenstein's monster and Sherlock Holmes.  The second background had a food theme and featured anthropomorphised ice cream cones, lollies, chocolate bars and fruit.  In this version of the cover, the letter O in the word comic was represented by a ring doughnut out of which a bite had been taken  The third variant showed a rather threatening bunch of creepy-crawlies, with the second C of the word comic being substituted by a caterpillar, while the fourth showed a horde of musical instruments, in which the O of comic is represented by a drum skin with a beater resting on it (I think).  The fifth version had a science fiction motif, depicting among others Buck Rogers, Chewbacca, Tom Baker as Doctor Who and Mr Spock.  This version of the cover featured a cratered planet or moon in place of the O in comic.

I've never been able to work out what relevance the snake in the comic's title has to the background characters on that version of the cover.

The snake cover appeared 8 times, the food and creepies appeared 6 times each, music 9 times, and sci-fi on 5 occasions.  The snake and sci-fi backgrounds both surrounded the cover strip, while the remainder of the backgrounds were limited to the top of the page.

Tub was the cover star of 34 issues of The Mystery Comic, with Disaster Des occupying the cover twice, and Why, Dad, Why? featuring on the cover on one occasion.  Only the covers featuring Tub included the Ed McHenry backgrounds, the others had less elaborate backgrounds, or no background at all, and a different title design.
Mystery Comic cover featuring Disaster Des

The Mystery Comic covers weren't dated or numbered, neither was a price shown.  It seems that in Cheeky's universe The Mystery Comic was free, which would explain the low page count.

Most frequently The Mystery Comic was to be found commencing on page 13 and spanning 8 pages.  However, on occasion the mysterious publication was shunted forward within Cheeky Weekly.  The closest it got to the front of the host comic was in Cheeky Weekly dated 09 December 1978, one of the issues which was reduced to 28 pages due to an industrial dispute, when The Mystery Comic commenced on page 9.

The 02 December 1978 Cheeky Weekly (another reduced issue) was the only issue in which the cover of the Mystery Comic was situated on an even-numbered page (10), which is another reason why removing the mysterious publication from within its host was never advocated.

Elements from Cheeky Weekly would quite often appear in The Mystery Comic.  For example in The Mystery Comic dated 02 December 1978, the 'Big 4 Comics Saint Competition' appeared on the page after Tub.  In the 09 December 1978 issue (as mentioned above, a truncated Cheeky Weekly), the Thursday element of Cheeky's Week and the Smurfs competition intruded into The Mystery Comic, as both features followed Elephant On The Run but preceded Disaster Des.

The concept of The Mystery Comic came to an end in Cheeky Weekly dated 30 June 1979 in which Cheeky announced that the enigmatic funny paper was so popular that he had decided to incorporate it into his own comic, and thus the Mystery Comic title page was not seen again.  However all the strips from The Mystery Comic continued to appear in Cheeky Weekly, but they were no longer confined to the pages around the centre of the comic.

In the table below, where the cover of TMC is located on an odd-numbered page and the total number of TMC pages is odd, the procedure I wrote to gather the data extends the end of TMC to one page after the final TMC feature in that particular issue, to make an even number of pages.  For example in TMC in Cheeky Weekly dated 07 April 1979, the procedure considers page 22 of the host comic (featuring an ad) to be the final page of TMC that week.

Issue Date Mystery Comic Contents (Cheeky Weekly page numbers shown) Total Pages Missing Features
30-Sep-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
07-Oct-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
14-Oct-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
21-Oct-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Ad: Weetabix/20-Disaster Des8
28-Oct-197813-Tub/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: IPC/15-Ad: IPC/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8Why, Dad, Why?
04-Nov-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
11-Nov-197813-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
18-Nov-197813-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mystery Boy/19-Ad: Trebor/20-Why, Dad, Why?8Disaster Des
25-Nov-197813-Tub/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: Woodcraft Village/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8Why, Dad, Why?
02-Dec-197810-Tub/11-Ad: Big Four Saint Competition/12-Mustapha Million/13-Mustapha Million/14-Elephant On The Run/15-Elephant On The Run/16-Mystery Boy/17-Disaster Des8Why, Dad, Why?
09-Dec-19789-Tub/10-Why, Dad, Why?/11-Mystery Boy/12-Mustapha Million/13-Mustapha Million/14-Elephant On The Run/15-Elephant On The Run/16-Smurfs competition/16-Ad: IPC/17-Thursday/18-Disaster Des10
06-Jan-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
13-Jan-197913-Disaster Des/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Snap Game/17-Snap Game/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Mystery Boy8Tub/Why, Dad, Why?
20-Jan-197913-Disaster Des/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Snap Game/17-Snap Game/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Mystery Boy8Tub/Why, Dad, Why?
27-Jan-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Snap Game/17-Snap Game/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Disaster Des8Mustapha Million
03-Feb-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Snap Game/17-Snap Game/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8Elephant On The Run
10-Feb-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Mustapha Million/17-Mustapha Million/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Disaster Des8
17-Feb-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Mustapha Million/17-Mustapha Million/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Disaster Des8
24-Feb-197913-Tub/14-Disaster Des/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Why, Dad, Why?8
03-Mar-197913-Tub/14-Why, Dad, Why?/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Disaster Des8
10-Mar-197913-Tub/14-Disaster Des/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Why, Dad, Why?8
17-Mar-197913-Tub/14-Disaster Des spot the difference/15-Mystery Boy/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Why, Dad, Why?8Disaster Des
24-Mar-197913-Tub/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: IPC/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Why, Dad, Why?8Disaster Des
31-Mar-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Why, Dad, Why?/17-Cheeky's Jersey Pattern/18-Cheeky's Jersey Pattern/19-Disaster Des/20-Mystery Boy8Elephant On The Run
07-Apr-197911-Tub/12-Elephant On The Run/13-Elephant On The Run/14-Star Guest/15-Tease Break/15-Ad: IPC/16-Top Ten Poster/17-Top Ten Poster/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Mystery Boy/21-Disaster Des/22-Ad: WH Smith12Why, Dad, Why?
14-Apr-197911-Tub/12-Elephant On The Run/13-Elephant On The Run/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: IPC/15-Ad: IPC/16-Top Ten Poster/17-Top Ten Poster/18-Disaster Des/19-Star Guest/20-Mustapha Million/21-Mustapha Million/22-Ad: KP12Why, Dad, Why?
21-Apr-197911-Tub/12-Elephant On The Run/13-Elephant On The Run/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: IPC/15-Ad: IPC/16-Top Ten Poster/17-Top Ten Poster/18-Why, Dad, Why?/19-Ad: Palitoy/20-Mustapha Million/21-Mustapha Million/22-Ad: WH Smith12Disaster Des
28-Apr-197911-Tub/12-Elephant On The Run/13-Elephant On The Run/14-Star Guest/15-Ad: IPC/15-Ad: IPC/16-Top Ten Poster/17-Top Ten Poster/18-Ad: IPC/19-Why, Dad, Why?/20-Disaster Des/21-Mystery Boy/22-Ad: Palitoy12Mustapha Million
05-May-197913-Tub/14-Mystery Boy/15-Ad: IPC/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mustapha Million/19-Mustapha Million/20-Why, Dad, Why?8Disaster Des
12-May-197913-Why, Dad, Why?/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Disaster Des/17-Star Guest/18-Elephant On The Run/19-Elephant On The Run/20-Mystery Boy8Tub
19-May-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Ad: Trebor/17-The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun/18-The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun/19-Mystery Boy/20-Disaster Des8Elephant On The Run/Why, Dad, Why?
26-May-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Star Guest/19-Mystery Boy/20-Why, Dad, Why?8Disaster Des
02-Jun-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mystery Boy6Disaster Des/Why, Dad, Why?
09-Jun-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mystery Boy/19-Why, Dad, Why?/20-Disaster Des8
16-Jun-197913-Tub/14-Elephant On The Run/15-Star Guest/16-Why, Dad, Why?/17-Cheeky Hustle/18-Cheeky Hustle/19-Mystery Boy/20-Disaster Des8Mustapha Million
23-Jun-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Elephant On The Run/18-Mystery Boy/19-Why, Dad, Why?/20-Disaster Des8
30-Jun-197913-Tub/14-Mustapha Million/15-Mustapha Million/16-Elephant On The Run/17-Disaster Des/18-Mystery Boy/19-Ad: The Stickits/20-Why, Dad, Why?8

Cheeky's weekly scouring of Krazy Town for his copy of The Mystery Comic usually ended with one of his pals handing the toothy funster a copy of the mysterious publication.  The source of the comic always remained unknown as Cheeky never asked his pals where they got it.  During the period that Mustapha Million was the only Mystery Comic strip printed in Cheeky Weekly, Cheeky sought out a copy on Fridays (issues 22 October 1977 to 24 June 1978) or Thursday (issues 01 July 1978 to 23 September 1978), but for the duration of the full Mystery Comic's run, Cheeky went in search of it on Wednesday. This shunt forward in the week was obviously due to the need to get The Mystery Comic into the centre of Cheeky Weekly.

In the issue of Cheeky Weekly in which the full Mystery Comic made its debut, Cheeky visited the printers to get hold of what he told us was the "one and only copy", and in the 09 June 1979 comic Lily Pop told Cheeky she had found "this week's only copy" of TMC.  The fact that, in Cheeky's universe, only one copy of each issue exists probably explains why no price is shown on the cover.  In the 10 February 1979 issue Cheeky tells us that the Mystery Comic can't be found in shops, although on more than one occasion Cheeky found a copy of TMC in Granny Gumdrop's shop (admittedly not for sale).

In Cheeky Weekly dated 12 May 1979, The Mystery Comic is dropped by either The Elephant or Man in the Plastic Mac from Elephant On The Run, as they dash past Cheeky's Dad.

All of the main characters from The Mystery Comic appeared on Pin-Up Pal posters in Cheeky Weekly, with the exception of Mystery Boy.  Mustapha Million's poster appearance pre-dates the debut of the full Mystery Comic.

FeatureCover DateSubjectArtist
Pin-up pal 05-NOV-77 Mustapha Million Reg Parlett
Pin-up pal 06-JAN-79 The Elephant Robert Nixon
Pin-up pal 20-JAN-79 Disaster Des Mike Lacey
Pin-up pal 03-FEB-79 Tub Nigel Edwards
Pin-up pal 10-MAR-79 Why Dad Why John Geering

The Mystery Comic, or characters appearing therein, made it to Cheeky Weekly's main cover feature on 9 occasions, with Mystery Boy and Mustapha Million getting the cover treatment twice each.

Date Cover elements
21-Jan-78Cover Feature 'Mustapha Million' 1 of 2 - Art Reg Parlett\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
30-Sep-78Cover Feature 'Mystery Comic'\Cheeky's Week (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
07-Oct-78Cover Feature 'Mystery Boy' 1 of 2 \Cheeky's Week - Art Mike Lacey
14-Oct-78Cover Feature 'The Elephant' - Art Robert Nixon\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
04-Nov-78Cover Feature 'Mustapha Million' 2 of 2 - Art Reg Parlett\Cheeky's Week - Art Mike Lacey
11-Nov-78Cover Feature 'Why Dad Why' - Art John K. Geering\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
25-Nov-78Cover Feature 'Disaster Des' - Art Mike Lacey\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
27-Jan-79Cover Feature 'Tub' - Art Nigel Edwards\Cheeky's Week - Art Mike Lacey
10-Feb-79Cover Feature 'Mystery Boy' 2 of 2 \Cheeky's Week - Art Barrie Appleby

In Cheeky Weekly dated 19 August 1978, Crystal Belle gives Cheeky a glimpse into his life in the year 2038.  On Thursday in that issue, the toothy funster of 2038 visits the library to peruse their bound volumes of The Mystery Comic.

The Mystery Comic exists in Cheeky's universe, but is evidently not included in the Cheeky's universe version of Cheeky Weekly, since in the toothy funster's world only one copy of TMC is printed each week. Therefore, the version of Cheeky Weekly available in Cheeky's universe either must have had a different feature on the page where Mustapha Million appears in the version of Cheeky Weekly available in our universe from the first issue until the comic dated 23 September 1978, and also must have either had partially different content or been reduced in page count from 32 to 24 pages when TMC began being printed in full in Cheeky Weekly dated 30 September 1978.

This reference to the first Mystery Comic (which of course
Cheeky Weekly readers never saw) was rather ironically
printed in Cheeky Weekly dated 30 June 1979, the final
issue to include the perplexing publication as a grouping
of strips in the centre pages.
Art: Dick Millington, who appears to be basing his
rendition of the toothy funster in the leftmost panel
on the rather distinctive pose depicted by
Frank McDiarmid in the 21 April 1979 issue.

In Cheeky Weekly dated 12 May 1979, Cheeky's Dad is seen holding a copy of TMC. The Why, Dad, Why? strip is shown on the back cover, yet it was actually on the front cover in the version of TMC that was printed in our universe.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Robert Nixon's Cheeky

Ever wondered what Cheeky and pals would look like if rendered by the hand of Robert Nixon, another of the great British humour comic artists?  Well, Whoopee! dated 03 January 1981, published just under a year after Cheeky Weekly had merged into it, included a calendar drawn by Robert.  Featured on the calendar along with stalwarts of Whoopee! was the toothy funster and some of his chums.

It was customary that, following a comic merge, the comic which had been absorbed into the more successful title would get 'second billing' on the cover for a period of time. The issue that contained this calendar doesn't contain any reference to the merged comic on the front page, although the preceding and following issues did mention Cheeky on their covers.  The final issue of Whoopee! to include a reference to Cheeky on the front cover was that dated 25 July 1981.  I suspect that's the reason why the calendar above is called the Whoopee! calendar, rather than Whoopee! and Cheeky - it was known at this stage that by the end of the year the Cheeky billing would be dropped.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 29 July 1978

Things return to something like normal this week, after the disruption to the regular contents due to the presence of mini comics in the 4 previous issues.  Gran boogies on down in the main cover pic, the second time she has been the star of the cover feature.  Meanwhile the cinema commissionaire, whose dialogue is usually restricted to the phrase "The doors are…", before he's trampled by hordes of kids on Saturday morning, gets to be Cheeky's stooge in What a Cheek.

The kids of Krazy Town are enjoying the first week of the summer holidays this issue, so because there's no school on Monday, Cheeky doesn't need a ruse to stay up on Sunday night to watch 6 Million Dollar Gran.  As we saw on the cover, in this week's Saturday Night Fever-inspired episode, Gran goes to the cinema to watch Friday Night Frenzy, but her over-enthusiastic dancing along to the soundtrack results in her being ejected from the building.  However, our favourite synthetic senior citizen then foils a security van heist and recovers the cinema's takings, after which she's allowed to watch (and dance along to) the film as many times as she likes.

Podgy pedagogue Teacher is enjoying being free of Cheeky so much that he appears on 5 Cheeky's Week pages this issue, even getting hold of The Mystery Comic before Cheeky can lay his hands on it.

On Wednesday Cheeky is dismayed to find that Burpo's cousins are back (the last time we saw them was in the 06 May 1978 issue), so the toothy funster regales the belligerent babies with a Creepy Sleepy Tale concerning a giant snake.  Or at least he starts reading the story to a room full of Burpo-alikes in their cots, but in the Wednesday conclusion only Burpo himself is depicted.  Creepy Sleepy Tale is back in full colour for the first time since 24 July, the full colour internal feature pages having been shared between the mini comics and Calculator Kid in the intervening issues.

For the last 3 issues Mustapha Million was reduced to a single page each week, but he's back to the normal 2 page tale this week.

For the first time since its debut on 01 July 1978, the Calculator Kid strip is in black and white.  Charlie Counter and his calculating colleague enjoyed the spare colour page that was available because one colour feature page was devoted to the mini comics in the last four issues, but as mentioned above, the two colour pages have now been reallocated to Creepy Sleepy tale.

On Saturday Cheeky has his first encounter with the time-travelling phone box, which whisks the toothy funster back to 1492 for a brief meeting with Christopher Columbus.

In the final panel of the Saturday strip, Teacher ominously tells Cheeky and his pals, "I'm going to get my revenge on you lot for all you've made me suffer in school - by behaving even worse than the worst of you! Hee! Hee!".

Rounding off the comic is the Pin-Up Pal feature, returning after being absent since the comic dated 17 June 1978, and depicting Bump-Bump Bernie, bandaged head-to-foot, on crutches and about to make contact with a banana skin.

This issue's Cheeky's Week consists of 11 pure Frank McDiarmid elements, plus the Wednesday conclusion by Frank McDiarmid pencils.  There is a joke running through the background in the internal Frank McDiarmid pages this week, featuring a sleepwalker wandering (often in precarious circumstances) in his pyjamas around Krazy Town.  Pure Frank art is also on display in the Pin-Up Pal poster.

The Old Comic feature is absent, as it has been for the last 3 issues, but will return one more time.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 29-Jul-1978, Issue 41 of 117
1Cover Feature '6 Million Dollar Gran' 2 of 3 - Art Ian Knox\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Ad: Rotaplane (final appearance)
9Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
10Joke-Box Jury
11Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
12Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
13Ad: Weetabix
14What's New, Kids
15Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known\Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
18Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
19Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
20Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
21Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
23Ad: Peter Pan Playthings
24Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
25Ad: Trebor 'Double Agents' 1 of 6
26Tweety and Sylvester 'Crime and Punishment'
27Tweety and Sylvester 'Crime and Punishment'
28Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid
29James Bold 'Island of Fear' 5 of 6 - Art Mike White
30James Bold 'Island of Fear' 5 of 6 - Art Mike White
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid\Ad: IPC 'Whoopee' 2 of 9
32Pin-up pal 'Bump-Bump Bernie' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 29-Jul-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid11
Frank McDiarmid pencils1

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Revamp 1

Something of a minor revamp occurred in June/July 1978, but it took place around the disruption to the normal contents of Cheeky Weekly resulting from the mini comics promotion in July, so let's have a closer look at the changes which occurred in this period.

The features that came to an end were;

Home Movie, which reached its final showing in the 08 June 1978 issue.

Space Family Robinson, who had returned to Earth in the comic dated 24 June 1978, the issue before the 4-week mini comics promotion began.

Suddenly, which also came to an end on 24 June 1978.  This feature was of course related to the James Bold strip, but as the framing device for Bold's final adventure commencing on 01 July 1978 was a film serial rather than a novel, there was no further requirement for the newsagent-based Suddenly feature.

New features commencing were;

Calculator Kid, which started on 01 July 1978.

Paddywack, which started on 08 July 1978.

You might have noticed that the losses amount to 4 pages worth of features (since Space Family Robinson was a 2-page-a-week feature), yet the replacements amount to 2 pages only (at least at this stage - Paddywack did extend to 2 pages in 6 later issues).  The reason for the apparent shortfall is explained by the number of one-off features that were vying for space among the 32 pages in the comic;

17 June 1978 - Father's Day Messages and Skateboard competition, each occupying a full page.

24 June 1978 - Tennis competition (full page again).

...followed by 4 weeks of mini comics, during which an ad for the upcoming 5 Papers competition took up a whole page in the 15 July issue, followed by a whole page for the competition itself in the following issue.  Also, the number of full-page paid-for ads (i.e. not IPC ads) reached its all-time Cheeky Weekly peak in the issues dated 08 and 15 July 1978, with 4 such ads appearing in each issue.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Profile - Mechanic

Mechanic first appeared in Cheeky Weekly issue 1, when the toothy funster passed the local automobile workshop on his way to the cinema and spotted a pair of legs protruding from beneath a car.  Cheeky posed a car-related riddle to which the legs provided a reply, but in all subsequent encounters Mechanic provided the feed line to which Cheeky would reply with a pun based on the name of a car model or a mode of transport.  Mechanic was usually depicted under a car, but occasionally he would have his head beneath the bonnet - Mike Lacey was the artist who most regularly drew him this way.

Mechanic appeared in 100 issues of Cheeky Weekly, making his final foray into the comic in the penultimate issue.

The first time we saw Mechanic in an upright position was in the 21 January 1978 issue, where Cheeky passed him in the newsagent, but the comical car-repairer's face was hidden behind a newspaper.

Cheeky joined Mechanic under the car in the 15 April 1978 issue, as the toothy funster tried to avoid Do-Good Dora's collecting tin.

In the 17 June 1978 comic it was Mechanic's turn to feature throughout Cheeky's Week, as he and Cheeky traded a succession of car gags, and on 3 occasions in this issue Cheeky joined mechanic under the car.  On Saturday we saw Mechanic pushing his new car (he'd spent all his money on the car so had no funds to fuel it), but once again his face was obscured.  It was in the same issue that we learned Mechanic's name was Mick, but this was the only occasion on which he was referred to by name.

The 12 August 1978 issue saw Cheeky and his mum and dad go on holiday in a barge, and that week the toothy funster met Mechanic on the canal as he worked on the engine of a boat.

On Monday in the 13 January 1979 comic we saw Mechanic under Cheeky's dining table, where he had been since Cheeky's new year party the previous night.

We first saw Mechanic's face in the issue dated 28 July 1979.  Mechanic's mug was on display again in the comic dated 29 December 1979, in which Cheeky mistakenly remarked that we were seeing the car-repairer's face for the first time.  To be fair to Cheeky, I believe that the page in question was prepared for one of the issues that failed to appear in December 1978 due to industrial action, so had it appeared when originally planned, Cheeky would have been correct.

28 July 1978
29 December 1979

Mechanic was back under Cheeky's dining table during the toothy funster's new year party in the issue dated 05 January 1980.

Mechanic was the subject of 12 May 1979's Burpo Special, and he made it onto the cover of the comic dated 04 August 1979.  Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue Of Mechanic Jokes was featured in the 15 December 1979 issue.

Named as Mick
Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance

Missing From Issues

Mechanic - Number of appearances by Element
Element Number of Appearances
Sunday evening6
Ash Wednesday1
Cover Feature1
Easter Monday1
Easter Sunday1
The Burpo Special1

Mechanic - Number of appearances by Page
Page Number of Appearances

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
MechanicFrank McDiarmid49
MechanicMike Lacey28
MechanicFrank McDiarmid pencils17
MechanicBarrie Appleby7
MechanicDick Millington4
MechanicUnknown Cheeky Artist 13
MechanicJim Watson1
MechanicNot known1

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 22 July 1978

We're now in the final week of IPC's summer '78 mini comics promotion, but unlike the 3 previous issues, this week's guest title, Mickey Mouse, isn't the subject of the main cover feature.  While the guest comic is mentioned in the above-title banner, the cover leads with this week's competition to win Peter Pan Playthings toys.  Cheeky is helping Constable Chuckle with his enquiries in the What A Cheek strip, during the course of which the toothy funster's skin goes from pallid yellow to sunburn red.  Pure Frank McDiarmid art appears on What a Cheek for the first time since the issue dated 24 June 1978.

Barrie Appleby gets Cheeky's Week off to a start on Sunday, when The Skateboard Squad seem to delight in knocking our toothy hero off his feet.  I'd always assumed their collisions with Cheeky were a result of over-enthusiasm, but there seems to be an element of malice this week - note Skatie's evil leer.

On Sunday evening Cheeky announces that he's determined to get a ball past Goalie Cat, even if it takes all week.  As we know, Cheeky always kicks a tin can at Goalie Cat, not a ball, and it looks to me as though a ball was originally drawn in Goalie Cat's paw in this panel, but someone has drawn a can over it.

Mike Lacey does the art on this week's 6 Million Dollar Gran episode, standing in for regular artist Ian Knox for the second and final time.  As with the 2 previous issues, Gran's adventure is reduced to 2 pages from the usual 3.

Details of the cover-announced '5 Papers' competition are given on page 7.  The word 'papers' seems a rather archaic way of referring to what most kids of the time called comics.  The 'papers' concerned are Cheeky Weekly (of course), Buster, Whizzer and Chips, Whoopee! and Mickey Mouse.  Readers are asked to count the number of overlapping circles in a panel, write the total on a coupon and post it off.  They're also reminded that the coupon is available in the other 'papers', so why not buy an extra comic for another chance to win?  Aaah, but are there the same number of circles in all the comics?.  There is £3000.00 of prizes, consisting of outdoor toys manufactured by Peter Pan Playthings, one of which is the Streaker which I discussed here.

On Monday Cheeky has his final sneaky read of a mini comic in class as he conceals this week's miniature version of Mickey Mouse inside his text book.

There's an epidemic of people turning into scarecrows in this week's Creepy Sleepy Tale.  CST is printed in glorious black and white as it has been for the last 3 weeks due to one of the available colour feature pages being devoted to the mini comic, leaving a single colour page which has been allocated to lucky Calculator Kid.

Joe McCaffrey is back doing the art on Mustapha Million this week, the third time he has stood in for original artist Reg Parlett.

By Saturday, Cheeky still hasn't managed to get a shot past Goalie Cat, who turns up with his moggie mates, and the gang of footie-mad felines proceed to kick tin cans, old boots and footballs at our toothy hero.

Barrie Appleby delivers the bulk of the Cheeky's Week elements in this issue, doing the art on a total of 11 elements.  Pure Frank McDiarmid art features on What a Cheek only.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 22-Jul-1978, Issue 40 of 117
1Cover Feature '5 Papers competition'\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Barrie Appleby
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Barrie Appleby
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Mike Lacey
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Mike Lacey
75 Papers Competition (single appearance)
8Monday - Art Barrie Appleby
9Mickey Mouse Mini Comic (single appearance)
10Mickey Mouse Mini Comic (single appearance)
11Mickey Mouse Mini Comic (single appearance)
12Mickey Mouse Mini Comic (single appearance)
13Tuesday - Art Barrie Appleby
14Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
15Joke-Box Jury\Ad: IPC 'Whoopee Holiday Special' 2 of 2
16Wednesday - Art Barrie Appleby
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known
18Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known\Wednesday - Art Barrie Appleby
19Ad: Gold Spinner (final appearance)
20Thursday - Art Barrie Appleby
21Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
22Ad: IPC 'Cheeky Summer Special' 3 of 6 \Ad: Bassett's (first appearance)
23Friday - Art Barrie Appleby
24Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
25Saturday - Art Barrie Appleby
26Ad: Birds Eye Mousse (final appearance)
27Tweety and Sylvester 'Getting his Goat'
28Interval - Art Barrie Appleby
29James Bold 'Island of Fear' 4 of 6 - Art Mike White
30James Bold 'Island of Fear' 4 of 6 - Art Mike White
31Saturday - Art Barrie Appleby
32Ad: Bubbly (first appearance)
Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 22-Jul-1978
Artist Elements
Barrie Appleby11
Frank McDiarmid1

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Ads - Green Cross Code

Being born in the mid-1950s, I'm of the generation whose early instruction on how to negotiate a safe course across the road came in the form of public information films on TV, starring one Tufty Fluffytail.  Tufty the squirrel had a pal called Willy Weasel who was prone to run into the road without checking for traffic, and suffering consequential trauma to his ice cream cone.  These ads were probably considered shockingly explicit for young TV viewers of the time, so in the example below the moment of impact is mercifully obscured by the ice cream van.

The simplistic advice offered by the Tufty films (such as 'always take mummy with you') was clearly due for an overhaul by the mid 1970s, so step forward Green Cross Man, bold road-safety superhero for the late 20th century.  Played on TV by Dave 'Darth' Prowse, the Green Cross Man was an attempt to make the subject of road safety cool and exciting.  In the example below Dave's lines have been overdubbed by another actor but unlike Dave's appearances in the Star Wars series, later Green Cross films did use Dave's voice.

As well as appearing during teatime TV, Green Cross Man also appeared in comics, and during Cheeky Weekly's run, Green Cross ads were run on 4 occasions.  In 1978 a single page ad entitled Sarah and Tim Learn the Green Cross code appeared twice.  The Green Cross Man in these ads was clearly based on Dave Prowse, and also featured was an unnamed Green Cross sidekick, who I don't recall seeing in any of the TV campaigns.

A double-page Green Cross ad entitled Football Crazy appeared twice the following year, and once again the carriageway crossing crusader's appearance was based on Prowse.  As was the case with the TV campaign, the comic Green Cross ads warned kids that the street-safety superhero wouldn't be there when they crossed the road (presumably to avoid kids hurling themselves into traffic in the hope of summoning the green guardian). All the ads were printed in full colour.


Advertiser Department of Transport


Issue DatePagePage TypeAdvertiserSubject
24-Jun-197824NormalDepartment of TransportSarah and Tim Learn the Green Cross code
15-Jul-197816NormalDepartment of TransportSarah and Tim Learn the Green Cross code
14-Jul-197916NormalDepartment of TransportGreen Cross Code - Football Crazy
14-Jul-197917NormalDepartment of TransportGreen Cross Code - Football Crazy
01-Sep-19798NormalDepartment of TransportGreen Cross Code - Football Crazy
01-Sep-19799NormalDepartment of TransportGreen Cross Code - Football Crazy

Friday, 5 August 2011

The pages - page 10

Page 10 was home to synthetic senior citizen 6 Million Dollar Gran in the first 2 issues of Cheeky weekly, but in issue 3 Tuesday took Gran's place in that location.  However, Gran was back on page 10 in the 12 November 1977 issue, and remained there up to and including the 24 December 1977 comic.  The following week James Bold occupied page 10, and our steel-nerved ghost hunter remained there for a further 3 weeks, until his run of adventures on page 10 was interrupted by an appearance of the Suddenly feature in the issue dated 18 January 1978.

Not to be deterred, Bold was back on page 10 for another 5 weeks up to the 04 March 1978 comic, in which the concluding episode of Bold's adventure, The Ghost Highwayman appeared on page 10.  The following week Bold was absent from the comic (taking a well-deserved holiday after the stressful events of his previous adventure, presumably), so Suddenly was back on page 10.

Indefatigable Bold was back investigating the creepy goings-on in and around the Tower of Terror, on page 10 from 18 March 1978 up to the final episode on 22 April 1978, whereafter page 10 hosted our hero as he plunged headlong into the terrifying events of The Frightened Village from 29 April 1978 to 24 June 1978.  This was the last time Bold appeared on page 10, as his final adventure, Island of Fear, appeared as a Saturday morning picture show and therefore moved towards the rear of the comic.

From 01 July 1978 to 22 July 1978, IPC was running a mini comics promotion across their humour titles, so for those four weeks page 10 was host to miniature replica pages of Whizzer and Chips, Buster, Whoopee! and Mickey Mouse.

The week after the mini comic promotion ended, Joke-Box Jury made its page 10 debut, and for the 3 weeks following, the Tuesday element of Cheeky's week moved into page 10.

In the 26 August 1978 issue, page 10 was host to the first appearance of the short-lived filler strip, Teacher's Teasers, but Tuesday was back on page 10 in the following issue.  Page 10 in the comic dated 09 September 1978 contained an ad for that week's Whizzer and Chips, in which Sid Burgon depicted W&C rival gangleaders Sid and Shiner battling each other on a Clash of the Robots game, which was the prize in their comic's competition.

Tuesday was then back for 1 week, after which page 10 hosted  2 ads; one for the Cor!! Annual 1979, and a rather unusual ad for Whizzer and Chips which focuses solely on that week's episode of The Buytonic Boy, in which BB met up with Wondrous Girl (a Wonder Woman spoof).

Tuesday was then back for another 2 weeks, after which Skateboard Squad moved in for 2 weeks, before Tuesday returned for a further 2 week run.

This ping-ponging continued as Skateboard Squad moved back in for 2 weeks, but in the pattern was broken when Tuesday regained hold of page 10 for 1 week only, and in the 02 December 1978 issue, relinquished possession of page 10 to our chubby chum, Tub.

However, Tub's hold on page 10 proved tenuous, and he never returned to this location in the comic.  Instead, in the following week's issue, Why, Dad, Why made its only page 10 appearance, after which Paddywack caused chaos on page 10 for 5 weeks.

On 10 February 1978, Tuesday was back, but only for 1 week as Paddywack returned for a 7-week run.  This was followed by a run of 4 Wednesdays on page 10, but on 05 May 1979, Paddywack returned to page 10 to begin a run of 3 weeks.

In the 26 May 1979 issue, page 10 saw the rebirth of The Skateboard Squad in their new guise of Speed Squad.  True to their new name, Speed Squad rapidly moved elsewhere in the comic and never returned to page 10, allowing Paddywack back in for a further 5 weeks, his final run in this location.

The Gang (a retitled reprint of the Double Deckers strip from Whizzer and Chips) made their debut In Cheeky Weekly on page 10 in the issue dated 07 July 1979.  They returned to page 10 for the final time the following week, after which page 10 was host to a half-page Joke-Box Jury and an ad for Whoopee! Summer Special.

Joke-Box Jury occupied the whole of page 10 in the comic dated 28 July 1979, but then the young showbiz wannabes of Stage School moved in (the only time they graced page 10). From 11 August 1979 to 01 September 1979, Joke-Box Jury was back on page 10, but the following week, Tuesday was back for the first time in 32 weeks.  Tuesday returned again the following week, but in the 22 September 1979 issue, Joke-Box Jury was back on page 10 for the last time.

Tuesday, the feature to appear on page 10 most frequently, enjoyed its last run on page 10 from 29 September to the final issue dated 02 February 1980.

Count of Elements (or distinct combinations thereof) appearing on Page 10

James Bold 2/215
James Bold 1/29
6 Million Dollar Gran 3/35
6 Million Dollar Gran 2/34
Skateboard Squad4
Joke-Box Jury3
Joke-Box Jury 1/23
Paddywack 1/22
The Gang 1/22
Advertisement: IPC1
Advertisement: IPC\Advertisement: IPC1
Buster mini comic 2/4 2/41
Joke-Box Jury 2/21
Joke-Box Jury\Advertisement: IPC1
Mickey Mouse Mini Comic 2/41
Speed Squad 1/21
Stage School 1/21
Teacher's Teasers 1/21
Tuesday 1/21
Tuesday 1/31
Whizzer and Chips mini comic 2/4 2/41
Whoopee mini comic 2/4 2/41
Why, Dad, Why?1

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 15 July 1978

As we hit week 3 of IPC's humour-title mini comic promotion, Whoopee! is this week's guest comic, and Cheeky is on the cover, pointing in not-quite-the-right-direction.  Below, Barrie Appleby provides the What a Cheek art for the second week running as Cheeky's Dad, making his fourth What a Cheek appearance, suffers car trouble.

On Sunday evening Cheeky leaves a dummy in his bed to fool mum, and heads over to Six-Gun Sam's house to watch 6 Million Dollar Gran on TV.  In the Gran strip, the robotic pensioner stands in on the paper round of her adopted grandson, Pete Potts, who's feeling a bit poorly.

Flash Harry is this week's 'throughout Cheeky's Week' character, as he tries to get a snap that will win the most unusual photo of the week competition.  Unfortunately, Harry just misses some excellent photo-opportunities.  For example, on Tuesday an un-bandaged Bump-Bump Bernie hoves into view.  Harry tells Bernie to take a couple of steps back so that he's nicely framed, but Bernie falls down an open manhole.  Someone really should get in touch with Health and Safety about Manhole Man's habit of leaving his aperture uncovered.

On Monday it's Teacher's turn to read the mini comic in class, as he snatches it from Cheeky who was hoping to have a sneaky read after being made to stand in the corner.

On page 15 is news of a super 5-papers competition next week, with 1500 outdoor-type toys to be won.  Readers are urged to order their copy of next week's issue now, and a coupon to fill in and hand to their newsagent is helpfully provided.

In an ad on the following page, the Green Cross Man and an un-named younger character in a smaller version of GCM's uniform (Green Cross Boy?) who remains silent throughout, teach Sara and Tim to cross the road safely by using the Green Cross Code.  Unlike the subjects of some Green Cross ads, Sara and Tim do not have a near-miss due to transgressing the laws of the road prior to the appearance of our highway hero, the story just starts with all interested parties standing at the kerb.  Personally, I think the campaign would have been more effective if Lily Pop had been dishing out the advice.

Tom Paterson draws this week's Creepy Sleepy Tale, the only time he ever drew this strip, and a nice job he does, too.

Mustapha Million is reduced to a single page again this week, but Reg Parlett is back on the art after Joe McCaffrey deputised last week.  Baby Burpo makes a guest appearance in the Calculator Kid strip.

Comical clairvoyant Crystal Belle joins the roster of Cheeky's pals this week.

Mike Lacey provides the bulk of the Cheeky's Week art, turning in 10 elements, with Frank McDiarmid pencils and Barrie Appleby giving us their Wednesday conclusion and What a Cheek respectively.  I would guess that the absence of pure Frank McDiarmid art in this issue and last week's is because at the time this issued was being prepared Frank was working on the 1978 Cheeky Summer Special.


Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 15-Jul-1978, Issue 39 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Whoopee! mini comic' - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Barrie Appleby
2Sunday - Art Mike Lacey
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Mike Lacey
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
7Ad: Palitoy (first appearance) 'Pippa' 1 of 4
8Monday - Art Mike Lacey
9Whoopee mini comic (single appearance) 'Frankie Stein' - Art Not known 'Sweeny Toddler' - Art Paul Ailey
10Whoopee mini comic (single appearance) 'Sweeny Toddler' - Art Paul Ailey 'Frankie Stein' - Art Not known
11Whoopee mini comic (single appearance) 'Supermum' - Art Jack Clayton 'Claws' - Art Artie Jackson
12Whoopee mini comic (single appearance) 'Bumpkin Billionaires' - Art Ed McHenry
13Tuesday - Art Mike Lacey
14Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
15Ad: IPC '5 Papers competition next week'
16Ad: Green Cross Code
17Wednesday - Art Mike Lacey
18Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Tom Paterson
19Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Tom Paterson\Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
20Thursday - Art Mike Lacey
21Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
22Ad: Birds Eye Mousse
23Friday - Art Mike Lacey
24Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
25Saturday - Art Mike Lacey
26Ad: IPC 'Cheeky Summer Special' 2 of 6 Ad:  'Whoopee Holiday Special' 1 of 2
27Tweety and Sylvester 'Midnight Stroll'
28Interval - Art Mike Lacey
29James Bold 'Island of Fear' 3 of 6  - Art Mike White
30James Bold 'Island of Fear' 3 of 6  - Art Mike White
31Saturday - Art Mike Lacey\Ad: IPC 'Mini Comics promotion' 3 of 3
32Ad: Wall's (final appearance) 'lollies'

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 15-Jul-1978


Mike Lacey10
Frank McDiarmid pencils1
Barrie Appleby1