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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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Thursday, 21 February 2013

The ads - Buster

Compared to IPC's long-lived Buster, Cheeky Weekly was a mere blip in the annals of comic history. Whereas the toothy funster's own comic managed a (by comparison) paltry 117 issues before expiring, Buster first appeared in newsagents in May 1960 and was published for almost 40 years, existing just long enough to stagger across the threshold of the new millennium as the last surviving IPC funny paper. Named after its cloth-capped cover star (introduced as being the son of Reg Smythe's Andy Capp, although direct references to this fact in the comic were limited to a few early issues), Buster over its long history absorbed many lesser IPC titles as their readerships dwindled to unsustainable levels.

Cheeky Weekly's 18 February 1978 issue was the first to feature an ad for Buster (which at that time still carried the title of its most recent acquisition as of November 1976, Monster Fun). This ad alerted prospective readers to a promotion in the following week's issue in conjunction with the manufacturers of Corona soft drinks. Corona themselves were concurrently running a series of animated TV ads featuring the punning strapline 'Every Bubble's passed its Fizzical', and the free stickers on offer to Buster readers in the upcoming issue tied into Corona's marketing campaign.

Seeking to retain any surge in Buster's readership resulting from kids who weren't normally readers buying the comic just to get their hands on the free stickers, the same Buster issue would include the first part of yet another of IPC's interminable line of cut-out-and-collect games. Enthusiasts wishing to complete a set of Match 'Em cards, and crucially obtain the all-important instructions, were obligated to buy the comic for the next 4 weeks. A pic of the titular character is featured in the ad, rather crudely pasted in. Why is he holding a pencil?

A variation on the same ad appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 25 February 1978, reminding readers of the toothy funster's comic that the stickers and Match 'Em game were in that week's Buster & MF. The cut-and-paste Buster, his pencil now cropped, returns in the ad.

Cheeky Weekly's next encounter with a Buster ad came in the 04 March 1978 comic, by which time Buster was halfway through its cut out game. This ad would therefore have had little appeal to readers who missed the first part of the game, and indeed the text is clearly aimed at encouraging those who saved part 1 to continue to the end (and, the publishers no doubt hoped, beyond). Some examples of the cards are shown, featuring faces of Buster & MF stalwarts Plunk, Big Brother (from the Big Brother is Watching You strip), Kid Kong, and Tony Broke (from Ivor Lott and Tony Broke). I can't identify the character whose face appears in the third box from the left in the top row. The torsos and legs on display were mixed up to demonstrate the fun to be had with the game. Young Master Capp is missing from the ad entirely.

With admirable/irritating persistence, IPC inserted another ad highlighting the Match 'Em promotion in the following Cheeky Weekly, reminding readers that the third part of the game was in that week's copy of Buster. A further 6 cards were shown, this time featuring Faceache, then there's a character who I suspect is supposed to be Little Brother from the Big Brother… strip, followed by The Leopard from Lime Street (Billy Farmer's feline alter-ego), Ray (of X-Ray Specs), The Ghostly Leg (surely the most bizarre strip of the entire Fleetway/IPC line) and Kid (of Kid Gloves). All the characters seem to have been paired with their correct legs (or leg in the case of the spectral lower limb). Buster himself is again absent.

IPC clearly saw the Match 'Em promotion as a high-profile affair, because Cheeky Weekly dated 18 March 1978 carried an ad for it in the fifth consecutive issue. Admittedly the cut-out game, which was by then in its final week, gets a smaller mention as, under the banner 'Buster Rules OK' (a reference to the inclusion of the Match 'Em rules this week), the ad concentrates on selling the strips and features which appear each week. Buster is present in the ad, which is dominated by a large pic of false-teeth wearing shark, Gums.

There followed a break from Buster ads, until Cheeky Weekly dated 03 June 1978 carried a plug for the Buster Holiday Fun Special. A pasted-in Buster and the Special's cover shared the ad with some text detailing the fun and thrills to be had in return for 30p. Although the weekly Buster still carried the Monster Fun title on its cover at this time, the Holiday Fun Special makes no mention of the other comic. The same ad appeared in the following 2 issues of Cheeky Weekly.

One might have expected there to be an advertisement as Christmas approached for the 1979 Buster Book, which was published in autumn 1978, but none appeared. While most IPC comics had hardback versions published in the run-up to the festive period, for many years Buster's annual Christmas offering had soft cardboard covers, and all were called Buster Book rather than Buster Annual.

Unlike the previous year's Buster Holiday Fun Special, 1979's Buster and Monster Fun Spring Special, which was advertised in Cheeky Weekly dated 14 April 1979, not only mentioned the title of the 'absorbee', but gave it greater emphasis than the host comic. I've never seen a copy of this special, so I can't comment on what might have made it, according to the blurb, 'unusual'. Probably it featured predominantly Monster Fun characters - the ad text and pics of Kid Kong and the skeleton from Terror TV suggest this may have been the case. As we have come to expect, a pasted-in Buster was also on display in this ad. A different image of Tin Teacher has been overlaid on the special's cover - the actual cover can be seen among the specials here. There was a 10p price hike since the previous year. The same ad returned in the following 2 issues of Cheeky Weekly.

My assumption about the Monster Fun bias of the aforementioned special would seem to be confirmed by the ad for Buster Holiday Special in the 02 June 1979 issue of Cheeky Weekly. There's no mention of Monster Fun on its cover, although MF's Kid Kong shared the front page with Buster, and another survivor from MF, Gums, was included in the ad, utilising the same image that appeared in the ad dated 18 March 1978. Like the advert for the Buster and Monster Fun Spring Special, this ad appeared in 3 consecutive issues of Cheeky Weekly.

The 1980 Buster Book was first advertised in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979. Under the strapline 'Take off with Buster!' (a reference to the events depicted on the Book's cover) a pasted image of Capp junior on roller skates has been used as presumably the staff member compiling the ad was unable to locate another image of Buster on skis. The ad also ran in Cheeky Weekly the following week.

Adverts Subject Buster
Issue Date Page Page Type Advertiser Subject
03-Jun-197818NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
10-Jun-197821NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
17-Jun-19788NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
14-Apr-197915NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
21-Apr-19795NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
28-Apr-197915NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
02-Jun-197921NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
09-Jun-197929NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
16-Jun-197922NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
06-Oct-197927NormalIPCBuster Book
13-Oct-197927NormalIPCBuster Book


  1. Thanks for another well-researched and nicely written post! As for Buster specials, after Monster Fun merged into Buster, not one but two Buster Holiday Specials were published every summer – one was BUSTER and the other – BUSTER AND MONSTER FUN. This continued thougthout the eighties and into the nineties – the last pair that I have is from 1993 but there were more in the later years too. Lots of the covers can be found in the Specials gallery at Comics UK.
    A BUSTER and MF special was also published in 1978, strange it was not advertised in Cheeky.

  2. Why is he holding a pencil?

    It looks like it was taken from the Buster's Diary masthead

  3. I loved Buster and Monster Fun special..introduced me to lots of new characters a s akid of the 80's...great times..