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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*** CHEEKY WEEKLY, KRAZY, WHOOPEE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS ARE ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ***

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 20 January 1979

The second part of the cut-out snap game gets main billing on this week's cover. This promotion of the second part of the game is obviously intended as a reminder for those readers who bought last week's comic, since parts 2 to 4 will be useless to those who didn't buy the issue containing part 1.

In the Cheeky's Week…Sunday cover strip, an icy incident befalls Jogging Jeremy as he attempts a daring 'on-the-move' method of taking delivery of his Sunday paper.

The wintry theme continues inside, as we discover Krazy Town is suffering a cold snap. Spiv, always keen to exploit a sales opportunity, is peddling ready-made snowballs. Ten pence for 50 sounds a pretty good deal to me, although our toothy pal is less than impressed. Spiv is certainly impressed by Cheeky's well-aimed icy projectile as it impacts his kisser.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

This week's snowy 6 Million Dollar Gran episode is reduced from the usual 3 pages to 2, possibly due to the presence in the comic of Steve Bell's maze (see below). In Gran's story there's a great panel showing the results of the Potts kids inviting all their pals to join them on their sledge. From an early 21st century multi-cultural viewpoint it's noticeable that all the faces are white but, to be fair, it would probably have been difficult to depict darker faces at this small size.

Art: Ian Knox
As is often the case, Gran foils a robbery during the course of the story, and earns a huge sack of cash as a reward. The generous synthetic senior citizen decides to buy sledges for all the kids, but by the final panel her magnanimity proves to have backfired, as not only does she still have to tow all the kids, but all their sledges as well.


This week's Calculator Kid story continues the snowy theme, and is a story that may possibly have been altered from a Christmas to a post-Christmas setting, if my theory here is correct. This would appear to be the first of two such altered strips in this issue - see below.

Page 8 is the location of a rather odd inclusion in this issue - it's a maze drawn by Steve Bell. Now there's no doubting that the artwork is very accomplished, but the way it's been used here has a distinct whiff of 'filler' about it (it's the first of 3 mazes by Steve that will feature in 3 consecutive issues). If this page had been produced specifically for Cheeky Weekly, surely it would have been based on characters from Cheeky's Week. It's not clear why this page was inserted at the cost of a page to Cheeky Weekly regular, Gran. The image of Cheeky looks like to me as though it's been pasted in.


For the second consecutive week, Tub and Why, Dad, Why? are absent from The Mystery Comic due to the presence of the snap game in the centre pages. Also for the second week running, and for the final time, Disaster Des is promoted to The Mystery Comic's cover.

On page 21, Cheeky gives us an update on current state of polling for the Cheeky Weekly Top Ten Personality Chart. The toothy funster first solicited votes on this topic in the 18 November 1978 issue. The most popular personalities will be featured on an upcoming poster.


Cheeky's final comment above is a reference to a catchphrase used by the host of TV's Opportunity Knocks talent show, Hughie Green (see below at 1:47). The show had finished its ITV run the previous year, but would be revived by the BBC in the late 1980s.



While preparing this post I realised that this week's Disaster Des story could well be another strip that was originally intended for either the pre-Christmas or Christmas issues 1978 of Cheeky Weekly, both of which failed to be published due to industrial action. I have therefore updated my earlier post here to suggest that the Des strip was, like this week's Calculator Kid story, possibly altered to remove Christmas references.

The jobseeking Jolly Jack Tar is a reference to the 1979
decommissioning of Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal.
Art: Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's icy week comes to an end on Saturday with a climactic snowball fight in which Louise seems to be the main target.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The comic reaches its customary (since 06 January, anyway) Pin-Up Pal conclusion on the back page. This week's poster features Disaster Des and is drawn by Des' usual artist, Mike Lacey - the first time Mike's work has featured in the Pin-Up Pal series.

The editor's edict that 'only one artist (or combination thereof in the case of Frank McDiarmid pencils) shall provide the Cheeky's Week elements in any issue, and furthermore, every other issue shall contain a Cheeky's Week featuring pure Frank McDiarmid art only' that seems to have been in effect since 30 September 1978's revamp issue (see analysis here), got disrupted somewhat as the comic emerged from the industrial troubles of December '78. As a result, this is the second consecutive all-pure-Frank issue (but no complaints from me, there), as Mr McD provides us with 10 crisp and frosty Cheeky's Week elements.

The snowy theme carries through the entire Cheeky's Week, but not all strips participate in the frosty frolics - Paddywack, Disaster Des, Elephant On The Run, the Eagle Eye and Mystery Boy reprints and The Burpo Special are all conspicuously lacking any sign of parky precipitation.

So was there any real-life snow in Britain in January 1979? This site suggests that London experienced heavy snow on 2 dates.


Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 20-Jan-1979, Issue 63 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature 'Friends of Cheeky Snap Game' 2 of 2 - Art Frank McDiarmid\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
5Ad: IPC 'Tiger' 7 of 10 Ad: 'Shoot' 8 of 13
6Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
7Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
8Goonburger Maze (single appearance) - Art Steve Bell (single art on feature)
9Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
10Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
11Ad: IPC 'Roy of the Rovers' 8 of 8 \Ad: Shreddies (final appearance)
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
14Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 14 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
15Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 14 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
16Snap Game
17Snap Game
18Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 14 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
19Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 14 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
20Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 14 of 37
21Silly Snaps
22Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
23Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
24Joke-Box Jury
25Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
26Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
27Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
28Chit-Chat
29The Burpo Special 'Cheeky's Dad' - Art Frank McDiarmid
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32Pin-up pal 'Disaster Des' - Art Mike Lacey (first art on feature)

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 20-Jan-1979
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid10

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Wacky look at Cheeky Classics

Over at the Wacky Comics Blog, George has posted some examples of the vintage comic pages that featured in early issues of Cheeky Weekly. As this feature wasn't given a name when it appeared in the toothy funster's comic, I referred to it as the Old Comic feature when I did a post about it a couple of years ago. George has dubbed the series Cheeky's Classic Comics, which is actually a much better title.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Cut-Out Features - More Joke Strips

Starts Today!

In this new series of posts I'm going to focus on the cut-out features that appeared during Cheeky Weekly's run (but not including the Pin-Up Pal posters which I've already covered here, and anyway, although the posters were clearly designed to be removed from the comic, readers weren't instructed to do so, which is the main criterion for features that will be included in this series).

The first feature in Cheeky Weekly which included an invitation to excise it from the comic was the 'More Joke Strips' printed in the 12 November 1977 issue. The first cut-out feature can be seen here.

'More Joke Strips,' featured in the 12 November 1977 issue, were designed to supplement the strips printed as part of the Friend Of Cheeky Fun Wallets which were the free gift in Cheeky's Weekly's second issue, published a week earlier.


Whereas there were 4 different Fun Wallets, each with a separate set of jokes, the gags printed on the 'More Joke Strips' pages were of course the same in every copy of Cheeky Weekly.  Approaching another Friend of Cheeky in the playground armed with this latest batch of jokes was therefore likely to be futile since both parties would know all the punchlines.



I would imagine that trying to slide the flimsy newsprint into the slightly more substantial card from which the Fun Wallet was constructed could prove problematic, and if successful, I doubt the additional joke strips would survive much more than a couple retractions and insertions before disintegrating.

The artwork at the top of the second page is a cut-and-paste assemblage culled from a panel on page 31 of the previous week's issue, in which the Fun Wallets were given away.

Art: Frank McDiarmid
Also lost to posterity - as well as the strips themselves, what collateral damage would result from removal of the feature in question? In order for the joke strips to function, the gags and punchlines had to be printed on each side of a single sheet of paper so, providing readers carefully cut around the jokes as per the instructions, no other elements would be lost from the comic.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The features - Mystery Boy

Despite having witnessed Cheeky scouring Krazy Town for a copy of The Mystery Comic each week since Cheeky Weekly began publication in October 1977, until the 30 September 1978 issue we had only ever seen one character from said perplexing publication - Mustapha Million.

The aforementioned 30 September 1978 comic was the first of a run of 37 issues of Cheeky Weekly in which the whole of The Mystery Comic occupied its centre pages. Among the Mystery Comic strips in that issue was Mystery Boy.

Mystery Boy was the only serial story to be printed in The Mystery Comic during its run in Cheeky Weekly. It was therefore fortunate for readers of the toothy funster's title that the first full edition of The Mystery Comic to be printed in Cheeky Weekly contained Mystery Boy's initial episode.

Chronologically the seventh Cheeky Weekly feature to consist of material reprinted from IPC's vaults (not counting the various one-, two- and three-offs included in the Old Comic series), and the second to be sourced from the company's long-running title Whizzer and Chips (the earlier W&C reprint was Archie's Angels), Mystery Boy had originally appeared under the title 'Who Is Sandy?', commencing in W&C's 02 January 1971 issue.

Mystery Boy was set early in World War II. Although the war had ended 33 years earlier, when Cheeky Weekly began re-running Sandy's adventures, a comic story with a wartime backdrop was not unusual. The second global conflict was a prominent element in British popular culture as the 1970s drew to their turbulent conclusion. In a Britain beset by industrial strife, it would seem that a significant proportion of the adult public were nostalgic for a period perceived to be one where 'we all pulled together'. TV schedules were peppered with dramas (and a perennial comedy featuring the Local Defence Volunteers/Home Guard) set in WWII.. Kids as always enjoyed action stories, and thus many late 70s comics still featured tales of valour set on land, sea and in the air during the 1939-45 war.

This is how the saga of Mystery Boy began (or was re-run for readers who caught it the first time round)...


The second episode finds our young hero gripping onto a suitcase as it is propelled along the fast-flowing river. His mother and sister are among the survivors of the crash, but fail to see our hero as he is swept away.

Two days later, Mystery Boy's unconscious form drifts onto a sand-bank at the river's mouth, where he is discovered by a pair of fishermen. When he's been revived, our hero realises he has lost his memory. Inspired by the location in which they found him, the fishermen decide to name the unknown lad Sandy. The young amnesiac determines that he will find out who he is and from where he came.

An incident-packed tale unfolds over the following 50 episodes, as Sandy eventually remembers the name of the street in which he lived, but is dismayed on arrival to find it has been destroyed in a bombing raid. Scrambling among the rubble he discovers a smashed frame containing a photograph of a woman he recognises and suspects may be his mother. This clue leads him to Cornwall. Along the way Sandy is befriended by a stray mongrel dog who he names Corker. As he journeys west, Sandy sees a German bomber shot down and is taken hostage by the two surviving aircrew. Sandy eventually escapes his German captors, who are taken into custody by British soldiers. News of Sandy's action in assisting the capture of the bomber crew reaches a British officer, who orders that our hero be tracked down. Sandy, whose sole intention is to find his family, decides that he will evade the military and the police, fearing he will be detained and prevented from finding his parents.


As the quest continues, Corker's owner reclaims the dog (whose real name, it turns out, is the rather unimaginative 'Rover'), leaving a miserable Sandy to continue the journey alone. However, it's not long before Corker runs away from his original owner and is reunited with our young hero. Seeing how happy Corker is with Sandy, the dog's owner lets Sandy keep him.


Mystery Boy, who is evidently something of a jinx when it comes to aircraft, witnesses another bomber crash. This time it's a British bomber limping home after an encounter with the Luftwaffe. Sandy alerts a policeman to the location of the British aircrew, then continues his journey.

Sandy's four-legged chum is injured during the pair's foiling of an armed robbery, but makes a full recovery.

Having travelled all the way from London to Glasgow via the not insignificant detour to Cornwall, Sandy locates the lady he has been told was the one in the photo. Sadly, it turns out she is someone entirely different. At this point it becomes clear that Sandy, who we cannot fault in terms of tenacity and pluck, may be somewhat lacking when it comes to IQ, as the lady points out that the back of Sandy's precious photo has the address of the photographer printed on it. Whereas most people would at this point succumb to the lure of a good meal and comfy bed, gladly handing themselves in to the authorities, indefatigable Sandy and his equally determined canine companion set off for the photographer's Blackpool address.


Further mishaps befall our young hero as he attempts to track down the photographer - he is directed into an abandoned mineshaft by an unbelievably irresponsible mine-worker, and plummets into the inky depths. After surviving this latest trauma, Sandy finds his way on to a British motor-torpedo boat just as it leaves port to engage with a German convoy. Needless to say, the torpedo boat is struck by enemy fire, casting Sandy and Corker into the English Channel, and the pair are washed up on a French beach.

On his arrival back on British shores (thanks to a sympathetic French boat-owner, willing to risk the wrath of occupying German forces), Sandy is apprehended by British troops patrolling the seafront and ends up being fostered by a rather unpleasant couple. By now, readers are becoming all too familiar with Sandy's unending streak of bad luck, so it comes as no surprise when his foster home is bombed. However, some good results from our hero's latest predicament, as a press photographer takes a snap of Sandy and Corker as they are pulled from the rubble. The picture features prominently on many of the following morning's newspapers (although why Sandy should be singled out for this treatment from among the thousands of families bombed out of their homes remains unclear).

Now read on...


All 52 Mystery Boy episodes were single-pagers; 48 were in black and white, and 4 featured red spot colour. The story was present in all issues of Cheeky Weekly from 30 September 1978 to 13 October 1979 inclusive, but The Mystery Comic section came to an end in Cheeky Weekly's 30 June 1979 issue, so subsequent Mystery Boy episodes were, like all the erstwhile Mystery Comic features, no longer gathered around the centre of the host title but instead assimilated into Cheeky Weekly's pages. Our fugitive pal was one of two amnesiacs to feature in the Mystery Comic/Cheeky Weekly, the other being Elephant On The Run (unlike 'Sandy', Elephant's memory sadly remained unrecovered).

A jarring transition between the episodes dated 04 and 11 November 1978, wherein the latter instalment picks up from a point that is different to the former's cliff-hanger, suggests that an instalment was edited out of the Cheeky Weekly reprint run.

Presumably the original title of the strip was changed to tie it in with The Mystery Comic.

Title banner from first episode of the story's original run.
Whizzer and Chips, 02 January 1971
Mystery Boy was promoted on Cheeky Weekly's covers dated 07 October 1978 (in which the second MB instalment appeared) and 10 February 1979. On both occasions, the image used on the cover was sourced from the artwork of the episode appearing within the comic.

I don't know who drew the strip, but there are some nice depictions of cars and aircraft of the period.

Mystery Boy in the Cheeky Weekly Index


Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Mystery Boy30-Sep-7813-Oct-7952011,14,15,16,18,19,20,21,26

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 13 January 1979 - The Deferred New Year Issue

The comic is still suffering fall-out from the industrial dispute that halted publication for 3 weeks in December 1978 - had printing not been interrupted, the previous week's issue would have been the edition welcoming in 1979. However, for reasons explained here, the 09 January 1979 issue was a 'standby' issue and therefore was devoid of any reference to the turn of the year.

This edition, with its new year references, had obviously been prepared some weeks prior to its eventual publication (it was probably completed before the industrial troubles at the printers escalated into an all-out strike). The Cheeky Weekly editor evidently felt that the new year festivities were fresh enough in reader's memories to get away with publishing Cheeky Weekly's New Year issue in the second week of 1979. The alternative option - to hold over this New Year issue until 1980 came around (in the same way that some of the material intended for the aborted Christmas 1978 issue was held over until the following festive season) - was evidently felt to be less attractive.

However, I would guess that, had this New Year issue been published a week earlier as originally scheduled, the cover would have made mention of the turn of the year, as did the covers of the comics dated 07 January 1978 and 05 January 1980. To run this issue with a mention of the New Year on the cover was possibly deemed unwise in case casual comic readers browsing the newsagents' shelves assumed it must be unsold stock from the previous week's edition.

This week's cover leads with news of the commencement of yet another cut-out game (the most recent being the Crack-a-Joke game which concluded in the 23 September 1978 issue). This time readers are invited to snip out and retain the first instalment of the Friends of Cheeky Snap Game, which will be running for the following three issues as well. The decision to print the announcement in light green ink on a pale blue background is a questionable one.

Meanwhile at the foot of the cover, the toothy funster is unconcerned by such matters, as in the Cheeky's Week…Sunday strip, he and his parents are preparing for their imminent New Year bash .

The party gets into full swing on page 2, where Cheeky's dad is blackmailed by luscious Lily Pop into allowing our grinning pal stay up to enjoy the festivities.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The party continues onto page 3, where we witness the extremely rare sight of Uncle Hamish after being relieved of some cash. We might have guessed that Spiv would be the one to achieve this awesome feat.

The slogan on Hamish's badge is a reference to the
independence campaign by The Scottish National Party.
Art: Frank McDiarmid
Cheeky's dad is rewarded with a smackeroo from lovely Lily (much to Cheeky's mum's annoyance) as the clock strikes twelve.

Art: Frank McDiarmid
A caption above the first page of this week's new-year themed 6 Million Dollar Gran story explains "There was a special edition of Cheeky's favourite programme on Monday…". This is fortunate for readers, since on the front page we joined Cheeky on Sunday evening, and as from the 30 September 1978 revamp issue, Gran's TV programme had been moved to a Sunday afternoon slot (because the Sunday evening element of Cheeky's week had ceased the previous week). There is a curious moment in this week's Gran episode where she says "A happy new year, readers". Surely she meant "viewers"?

Art: Nigel Edwards

After a new-year's-resolution-based Calculator Kid story, Tuesday sees Cheeky encountering several of his pals whose resolutions are causing much hilarity.

This week's Mystery Comic is the first to be without Tub on the cover (or anywhere else, as he's absent this week, seemingly a casualty, along with Why,Dad, Why? of the intrusion of the snap game into the Mystery Comic's centre pages). Instead Disaster Des gets promoted to the perplexing publication's front page for the first of only two occasions. This week Des exports his particular brand of mayhem to South America, inadvertently foiling a revolution in the process.

Readers of The Mystery Comic who are unaware of Cheeky Weekly must be mightily puzzled by the snap game occupying the centre of their comic, featuring as it does a selection of characters entirely unknown to them. As a result of the snap game, which is printed in colour, this week's episode of Elephant On The Run, in which Elephant and The Man in the Plastic Mac have an encounter at a new year's party, is in black and white

This week's Skateboard Squad strip includes some nice crossovers with characters from Cheeky's Week.

Art: Mike Lacey
The belated new year issue rounds off with a Pin-Up Pal poster featuring noisy nosher Crunching Chris.

There's pure Frank McDiarmid art on all 11 Cheeky's Week elements this week (we have come to expect all-pure-FM work on Cheeky's Week in celebration issues), plus Frank does the honours on the back cover poster.


Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 13-Jan-1979, Issue 62 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature 'Friends of Cheeky Snap Game' 1 of 2 - Art Frank McDiarmid\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
7Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
8Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
9Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
10Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
11Ad: Shreddies (first appearance)\Ad: IPC 'Collecting promo' 2 of 2
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
14Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
15Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
16Snap Game (first appearance)
17Snap Game (first appearance)
18Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
19Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
20Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 13 of 37
21Ad: IPC 'Roy of the Rovers' 7 of 8 Ad: 'Tiger' 6 of 10
22Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
23Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
24Joke-Box Jury
25Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
26Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
27Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
28Chit-Chat
29The Burpo Special 'Dr Braincell' - Art Frank McDiarmid
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32Pin-up pal 'Crunching Chris' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 13-Jan-1979
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid11

Monday, 5 November 2012

J Edward Oliver's Cheeky

Calculator Kid was among the strips from Cheeky Weekly still going strong in Whoopee! 3 years after the toothy funster's comic merged into it. In fact, commencing in Whoopee! dated 27 November 1982, Charlie and Calc began appearing in a spin-off feature, Calculator Corner, which sprang from the fertile mind of comics genius and puzzlemeister, Jack Edward Oliver.

Early Calculator Corner strips included a cameo from one of Whoopee!'s comical crew, and in the 12 February 1983 issue, Jack gave us his version of the toothy funster (who at this stage was still hanging on in Whoopee! by the skin of his not inconsiderable teeth).


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Mustapha Million at Reg Parlett's 80th Birthday Party

Irmantas has posted the special Buster strip which celebrated Reg Parlett's 80th birthday. All the guests surrounding a rather glum-looking Reg at his birthday bash are characters he drew during his long career in comics. Peering round the pile of birthday cakes is a certain middle-eastern moneybags who will be familiar to Cheeky Weekly readers.