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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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Monday 2 July 2012

The features - Tub

From our health-conscious, early 21st century viewpoint, the depiction of overweight characters as figures of fun will be seen by many as highly inappropriate. There were no such concerns in the comics of the 1970s; IPC's reluctant calorie counters The Slimms had been featuring in their titles since the early 70s. The Cheeky Weekly editor evidently felt there was scope for another corpulent comic character, so enter our chubby chum Tub in Cheeky Weekly's revamp issue dated 30 September 1978.

Tub's first, front garden-wrecking appearance
was on the first Mystery Comic cover
to be printed in the toothy funster's comic.
Tub's immense weight was usually the focus of his stories - sometimes it proved a hindrance to him (or quite often, his father) but on occasion it could bring benefits. Tub's dad and unnamed dog were the strip's co-stars. Dad would often attempt to enlist his overweight offspring in various weight-reducing schemes but to no avail. Our podgy pal was usually depicted wearing shorts, and a t-shirt with the number 1 printed on it.

The grand tradition of Cheeky Weekly plots featuring a villain nabbing the takings (cf Skateboard Squad (twice) and 6 Million Dollar Gran) extended to the rotund rascal. In his 25 November 1978 escapade, Tub inadvertently foiled a miscreant's attempt to make off with the fares from the bus company's office. The corpulent cove became wedged in the door frame, thus barring the pilferer's escape route. The large-bellied layabout also foiled an attempt at shoplifting after sitting on and squashing the thief's getaway motorbike in the 16 June 1979 comic, and thwarted a football trophy theft in the comic dated 19 January 1980.

Tub found a copy of Cheeky Weekly on his lawn in the issue dated 05 May 1979, meaning that the Mystery Comic and Cheeky Weekly occupied two overlapping, nested realities, with each comic existing in the other's universe.

Fellow Mystery Comic star Disaster Des made a cameo appearance in the final panel of Tub's tale dated 19 May 1979.

The concept of the Mystery Comic came to an end in Cheeky Weekly dated 30 June 1979. All the characters who featured in the perplexing publication continued to appear in the toothy funster's comic, but were no longer grouped together in the centre pages. Tub clocked up 34 appearances in the 37-issue run of The Mystery Comic, being bumped from the 13 and 20 January 1979 issues by the snap game in the centre pages, and from the 12 May 1979 comic when a Star Guest feature intruded upon the Mystery Comic. All of Tub's Mystery Comic appearances were on that comic's front cover.

In the post-Mystery-Comic era, Tub appeared in a further 26 issues. The first 14 Tub strips to appear in the immediate post-MC period were half-pagers. As of 17 November 1979, Tub gained truly full-page status for the first time - his Mystery Comic cover appearances had included the comic's title, as well as various amounts of artwork surrounding his strip, as in the example above. From the same date a rather unappealing new title panel was introduced in which the title character's name was spelled out in a conglomeration of sundry foodstuffs and a rather guilty-looking Tub was seen surrounded by the remnants of a furtive feast.

Tub's first post-Mystery Comic strip
The first true full-page Tub
Tub was one of the guests at Pete and Pauline Potts' party in the 6 Million Dollar Gran strip in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979.

43 Tub strips featured spot colour (always black, white and red). The circus-based Christmas 1979 Tub strip was the only one to be printed in Cheeky Weekly in full colour (or at least as full as IPC's rudimentary printing of the time would allow), and it appears that during the course of the story, Tub's jersey was afflicted by a mutant strain of Cheeky Weekly Inconsistent Hair Colour Syndrome.
All concerned are somewhat lacking
in Christmas spirit.
Cheeky Weekly 29 December 1979
For me, this was one of Cheeky Weekly's less enjoyable features. Tub is a rather unappealing character and the weight-related jokes soon pall. The succession of bullies, thieves and rascals with which the titular character had to contend, and Tub's unpleasant dad regularly threatening our podgy pal with physical violence, gave the series a rather uncomfortable feel (particularly noticeable in the surprisingly nasty Christmas 1979 story). Presumably this opinion was shared by a significant number of Cheeky Weekly readers as, while Tub survived to the final issue of Cheeky Weekly (missing only 5 issues between the demise of the Mystery Comic and the end of Cheeky Weekly's run), his was not among the strips which transferred to Whoopee! post-merge. Nevertheless, the big-boned buffoon clocked up a creditable 60 issue stint.

A slap-up feed is seen heading towards our portly pal's capacious gob, having been propelled from the far end of the seesaw on which he's perched, on the Pin-Up Pal poster in Cheeky Weekly dated 03 February 1979, drawn by Nigel Edwards, who did the artwork on all the Tub strips. Tub made an appearance in his pyjamas on the main cover picture of Cheeky Weekly's 27 January 1979 issue, in an image lifted from one of the panels of the adventure that would appear on 10 February 1979, two weeks later.

UPDATE 09 November 2013: I was surprised to learn on the Kazoop blog that a Tub strip appeared in the Shiver and Shake Annual 1983 - our portly pal also featured in the same year's Cheeky Annual. Tub's guest appearance in the S&S Annual appears to be a new strip, not a reprint.

Tub in the Cheeky Weekly Index

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
Tub Mystery ComicNigel Edwards3430-Sep-197830-Jun-1979
Tub Nigel Edwards2607-Jul-197902-Feb-1980

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