Comic merges of this kind, where the most popular strips from a title whose circulation had fallen to unsustainable levels were shoehorned into a more successful comic, were a common occurrence in the early 1980s. Initially the cover of the amalgamated comic would carry the stronger comic's title above the name of the comic it had absorbed, but usually the secondary title would eventually be quietly dropped from the cover in readiness for any further merges that may ensue (assuming the comic was not itself absorbed into another title).
The final issue of Whoopee! to include a reference on the front cover to the Cheeky title was that dated 25 July 1981.
Veteran Whoopee! readers were therefore probably not surprised to learn at the end of June 1983 that their comic was about to consume another IPC funny paper, Wow!
|All the Cheeky Weekly characters that survived|
the merge into Whoopee! had continued to feature
in the combined comic, and all made the transition
into Whoopee and Wow!
However, in the move, some fared better than others.
Wow!'s publication history spanned issues dated 05 June 1982 to 25 June 1983, a life just half as long as that of Cheeky Weekly. This was probably a symptom of the increasingly harsh economic realities that confronted British comics as the 80s progressed; any under-performing titles were culled much more swiftly.
As mentioned earlier, when a merge occurred it was necessary for each title to drop their less popular strips in order to accommodate the best-performing features in the combined comic. Remarkably, however, all the strips that had transferred from Cheeky Weekly in its merge into Whoopee! also survived the absorption of Wow!
The first combined issue of Whoopee and Wow!, dated 02 July 1983, included the following strips that had originated in Cheeky Weekly;
- Stage School (still a 2-page feature and now promoted to pages 2 and 3)
- 6 Million Dollar Gran (now undergoing her second reboot in a strip titled Gran's Gang, but reduced from 2 pages to 1)
- Paddywack (a single row, 3-panel strip)
- Cheeky (ignominiously reduced to a single row on the Quick Strips page. Cheeky's strip had initially been 4 pages per week at the time of the merge with Whoopee! but had slowly been reduced until it was one page a week just prior to the merge with Wow!)
- Mustapha Million (still a 2-pager but demoted from pages 2 and 3 to 28 and 29)
- Calculator Kid (remaining a single pager)
Representatives of all the ex-Cheeky Weekly strips could be found on the cover of the first combined Whoopee and Wow!, heading from the Whoopee Office towards a somewhat meagre celebratory feast considering the number of guests. Cheeky's peripheral position on the cover accurately reflected the reduced circumstances in which he now found himself.
Joining the combined comic from Wow! was Frank McDiarmid's 2-pages-per-week Boy Boss.
Evidently IPC felt an abundance of exclamation marks on its comic covers was something to be avoided, so Whoopee! lost the ! it had sported since its inception.