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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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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Mr. Hill - Bob or Gordon?

Some time back, when I was preparing this Other Cheeky Artists post, I needed to find the artist's first name. I recognised his style, which I mainly associate with the Super Store strip from Whizzer and Chips (although more relevant to this blog was his work on The Krazy Gang which he took over from Ian Knox in issue 48 of Krazy and continued to draw after Krazy folded and the strip transferred into Whizzer and Chips), and knew his surname was Hill because he sometimes signed his work as 'Mr. Hill'. I did a search and found this page, which suggests his first name was Bob, as does this.

However, I have subsequently seen him referred to as Gordon Hill by a number of people who are far more knowledgeable than I am in the field of British humour comics. Here are a couple of examples;

Peter Gray, whose blog is one of my go-to sources of British comic artist info has this;

http://petergraycartoonsandcomics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/happy-easter-from-whizzer-and-chips.html

(note the Mr.Hill signature on the Krazy Gang poster in the above link)

George over at Wacky Comics posted this, and it looks as though, despite having a wealth of knowledge of British artists, George was originally also confused about the name of the artist in question - see the comment from Andy Boal, whose knowledge of British comic artists is extensive, at the foot of the page...

http://www.wackycomics.com/2013/02/this-week-in-1978-whizzer-and-chips.html

Yet Lew Stringer who is without doubt one of the most knowledgeable members of the British comic community refers to the artist as Bob here;

http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/this-week-in-1989-buster.html

And just to confuse things further, Peter Gray also has this...

http://petergraycartoonsandcomics.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Bob%20Hill

Does anybody know definitively which is the correct first name of the Super Store/Krazy Gang Mr Hill?

UPDATE: Many thanks to Irmantas who has confirmed in his comment below that according to Denis Gifford, this artist's name was Bob Hill.

Having revived fond memories in the course of investigating this comic conundrum, I thought I'd treat myself to a look at the very first Super Store strip (I hope readers of this blog will allow me to go a little off-topic here), and I embarked on a trawl through my Whizzer and Chips collection to locate it. I'd forgotten that Super Store was one of the winners of Whizzer and Chips' Comedy Choice feature, in which six new strips were tried out in the issues dated 29 May to 03 July 1976, and at the end of the series readers were invited to rank the prospective features in order of preference. This wasn't the first time this idea had been used in IPC's comics.

W&C's editor engendered a friendly rivalry between those readers who preferred the contents of Whizzer (who were dubbed Whizz-Kids) and those whose tastes gravitated more towards the features in Chips (Chip-ites). It wasn't revealed when the voting coupon was printed that two strips were going to get a regular slot in the comic. The winners were announced in Whizzer and Chips dated 11 September 1976. Chip-ites who had listed Super Store as their top strip would have been disappointed to find the following week their strip of choice had been allocated to the Whizzer section.

It was never revealed which of the two winners garnered the most points.

Art on all the Super Store strips below is by 'Mr' Hill.

The first appearance of Super Store,
Whizzer and Chips 12 June 1976

Whizzer and Chips 10 July 1976

Whizzer and Chips 11 September 1976

Super Store's first appearance in its own right.
Whizzer and Chips 18 September 1976

Aside from the artwork, it's hard to see the appeal of the strip in that first Super Store appearance on 12 June 1976 - the tone of the story differs quite markedly from those I remember from later in the run. Certainly the 'store which sells everything' element of classic Super Store is present, but the other appealing aspect of the later strips - the fact that nothing retailed at more than a few pence - is absent. While the bogus customer is certainly out to cause a bit of mischief, does he really deserve having £300.00 (the equivalent of almost £2000.00 today) extracted forcibly, not to mention the physical assault? Maybe readers wanted to see more sham shoppers get their comeuppance but, as if to atone for the brutal treatment of their first visitor, Uncle Rich and Willoughby give away an entire castle to another cocky customer in the first episode of the series proper, despite the price being just 10p (61p in today's money).

20 comments:

  1. What are the odds that I'm wrong and it's Bob not Gordon? The correct printed answer was in the issue before "Comic Operator Robot" started in Whizzer and Chips in the late 80s.

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    1. Do you mean that they printed Mr Hill's full name in that issue? I'm not sure how far into the 80s my Whizzer and Chips collection extends. Maybe I'll have to excavate them.

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    2. I've just checked and I have all the W&Cs from the 1980s so I'm going to begin working backwards through them. I don't remember anything called Comic Operator Robot but by then W&C was past its best and there was a lot of forgettable stuff.

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    3. In my trawl backwards through the 80s I've found the last episode of a feature called The Amazing Cocoa! - Computer Comic Artist (and Walter), which I'm assuming is what you referred to. It ended in the 03 September 1988 issue. I'm not surprised I don't remember it - it's terrible. Hopefully it didn't last long so I don't have too many more issues to go through.

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    4. Cocoa started in W&C dated 16 April 1988. What you're probably thinking of was a half-page ad in the previous week's comic trailing the new feature, which said 'Starting next week, the high-tec electronic rival to Sid Burgon...' and it went on to mention 14 more artists, none of whom were Mr Hill.

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  2. Bill Hill isn't that the artist in Sparky drawing L Cars..

    I'm sure its Gordon Hill...
    for a long time I thought his signature was Mc Hill not Mr!! lol

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reply Peter - I think, in view of Irmantas' comment below, that I'm going to stick with Bob Hill unless someone can persuade me otherwise.

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  3. Denis Gifford's Encyclopedia of Comic Characters says Super Store was by Bob Hill.

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    1. That sounds pretty conclusive to me - thanks for the reply.

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  4. My memory is obviously defective. When Lew says different about that sort of detail, he's probably right. :)

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    Replies
    1. Memory is a funny old thing - I know mine has tricked me on a few occasions.

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  5. I saw both Super Store and The Magic of Films make their premiere W&C appearances in the British Library last week. As you suggest, it's slightly jarring to see Uncle Rich asking £300 something when he and Willoughby would be literally redefining the term ‘giveaway price’ soon enough. I was a bit surprised that Magic of Films made it in as it doesn't seem to offer much that Pete’s Pockets didn't . Who’s the artist BTW?

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    1. Some years ago I worked near the British Library and spent many a lunchtime in there looking round the public exhibitions (and sometimes using their restaurant - on one occasion when the restaurant was full I wandered into the staff canteen by mistake and got a subsidised lunch!). However I always assumed that one couldn't just wander in to the place where they keep all the publications without some sort of authorisation, so I never tried.

      Magic of Films is drawn by Nigel Edwards.

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  6. You’d have needed a reader’s pass of some sort. A lot of the comics have come down from the Newspaper Library in Colindale which closed in 2013 and was, alas, pulled down only a handful of months ago. Anyway some of them went to Boston Spa and others to St Pancras; the distinction was based on how popular items were, in terms of how often something had been read. Thus Whoopee is Boston Spa and W&C is in St Pancras, to give only two examples. All can be called up however, as I plan to tomorrow: Whoopee and Sparky are on their way south! A man of good taste, that’s me – but you couldn’t pay me to call up the execrable Bog Paper!

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  7. Please could you show the other comedy choices sometime...also are you on facebook you can see all my new comic posts there?

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    1. Yes, I'll have to delve into my W&C collection at some point. I tried following the link from your blog to your facebook page, but it won't let me view your page without creating a facebook account which I don't really want to do. Bit of a problem...

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  8. I've put up some highlights from facebook fansite..

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    1. I've just been looking at them - some excellent stuff.

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    2. I'll try and do some highlight posts..

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