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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 11 September 2017

The Features - Ringer Dinger and Soggy the Sea Monster

Cheeky Weekly, from its first issue, included reprints (not an unusual situation in comics of the time), but initially some imagination was used in the way those recycled strips were selected and framed within Cheeky's universe. For example Bam Splat and Blooie and Cocky Doodle, sourced from early 60s issues of IPC's mighty Buster, were used to represent the animated cartoons watched by Cheeky and his pals during their weekly outing to the Saturday morning picture show. The feature I refer to as Old Comic, showcasing even more venerable selections from IPC's inherited archive of funnies, was presented as Cheeky's choices from his dad's trunk full of comics in the loft. The James Bold stories, initially incorporated into Cheeky's universe by presenting them as a series of books read by the toothy funster (and later viewed by him on the big screen) were 'partial reprints' in that scripts written for Maxwell Hawke, again from Buster, were re-drawn for Cheeky Weekly.

As mentioned before, the use of reprints was standard practice in British comics of the time and it's entirely understandable that the Cheeky Weekly editor would seek to manage his budget by resorting to past successes to economically fill out a few pages of the toothy funster's comic. The majority of readers would be unaware that they were reading strips that had been enjoyed by earlier comic fans (except, of course, in the case of Old Comic where the whole point of the feature was to make readers aware of the vintage nature of the selections). However, over time the framing devices which made each issue of the comic a cohesive narrative were dropped, and whereas formerly reprints were used in a creative way that enhanced Cheeky Weekly's unique nature, towards the end of the comic's life seemingly random old strips were brought out of retirement to cheaply fill some space in what appeared to be a more cynical fashion.

Ringer Dinger, originally appearing in Whizzer and Chips in 1970 1971 (thanks to Stephen Archer for correcting me), began his Cheeky Weekly run of recycled telephonic tales in the issue dated 06 October 1979. However, loyal Friends of Cheeky would have been familiar with the character and his cordless companion as 4 reprinted escapades had featured in the 1979 Cheeky Annual which went on sale in late 1978. The strip was another of Terry Bave's kid-with-technology creations (see also Trevor's Treasure Tracker from Whoopee! and of course, Cheeky Weekly's own Calculator Kid). In this case young Dinger, the possessor of a magic telephone, could request assistance by dialing up whatever he required, inevitably resulting in the customary comic calamity

Dinger's Cheeky Weekly debut,
issue dated 06 October 1979
Art: Terry Bave
Note banner referencing Dinger's appearance in
the first Cheeky Annual.
I wonder if Dad's speech balloon in the final panel
was also blank when this strip was originally printed.
Update: See Stephen Archer's interesting comment below.

Ringer Dinger appeared in 2 further issues of Cheeky Weekly - the penultimate and final issues. One wonders why - if the telephonic tyke was such a 'favourite' as claimed in the banner above his Cheeky Weekly debut - he was absent for such a long period before his return in the final 2 issues*, being replaced in the intervening period by another reprint, this time featuring the aquatic adventures of a lovable leviathan.

Soggy the Sea Monster, retrieved from the dusty archives of Shiver and Shake, enjoyed his first watery Cheeky Weekly outing in the issue dated 17 October 1979. I'll let Irmantas apprise you of the salient details of Soggy's initial run (or should that be swim?), and summarise here the mirthful monster's reappearances in the toothy funster's comic some 6 years after he originally surfaced.

Soggy's Cheeky Weekly episodes commenced with one of the 2 strips from the original run that were drawn by Terry Bave. Like Ringer Dinger, Soggy had appeared in the 1979 Cheeky Annual, but unlike our dog-and-bone wielding pal, the silly sea serpent didn't get an above-strip banner advising readers that they may have seen him before.

Cheeky Weekly 17 October 1979
Art: Terry Bave

Whereas Dinger notched up a paltry 3 outings in his Cheeky Weekly reincarnation, Soggy's appearances in the toothy funster's comic amounted to a slightly more respectable 12, with both Dinger and Soggy appearing in the comic's final 2 issues.

*It's highly likely that by the time of the commencement of Ringer Dinger's Cheeky Weekly run, the decision had already been made to cancel the comic. It's therefore possible that, even if Dinger had engendered favourable feedback from his appearance in the previous year's annual, the editor decided that rather than squandering the strips in a comic under sentence of death, he would hold back his stock of RD strips to use in forthcoming Cheeky Annuals and Summer Specials, the publication  of which would continue for some years after the weekly comic had folded.

Ringer Dinger in the Cheeky Weekly Index

Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Ringer Dinger06-Oct-7902-Feb-803157,11,28

Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Ringer Dinger Terry Bave306-Oct-197902-Feb-1980

Date Page Feature Page Feature
06-OCT-79 28 Ringer Dinger
17-NOV-79 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
24-NOV-79 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
01-DEC-79 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
08-DEC-79 4 Soggy the Sea Monster
15-DEC-79 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
22-DEC-79 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
29-DEC-79 8 Soggy the Sea Monster
05-JAN-80 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
12-JAN-80 12 Soggy the Sea Monster
19-JAN-80 11 Soggy the Sea Monster
26-JAN-80 7 Ringer Dinger 12 Soggy the Sea Monster
02-FEB-80 11 Ringer Dinger 17 Soggy the Sea Monster

Soggy the Sea Monster in the Cheeky Weekly Index
Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Soggy the Sea Monster17-Nov-7902-Feb-801204,8,11,12,17

Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Soggy the Sea Monster Terry Bave117-Nov-197917-Nov-1979
Soggy the Sea Monster Robert Nixon1124-Nov-197902-Feb-1980


  1. Replies
    1. Maybe somebody will develop a Ringer Dinger app for Android.

  2. I can confidently state that Ringer's dad would've said, "It's all daft to me," as he said this at the end of most or all of his W&C appearances. Why it was felt necessary to remove this statement of befuddlement here, however tidily, I have no idea.

    1. You're right - I've looked through a further 19 reprinted episodes of Ringer Dinger (the final 2 in Cheeky Weekly and the remainder from the Cheeky Specials) and with one exception they all feature Dad in the final panel making reference to the daftness of the situation. We have already seen some inexplicable tweaks to reprinted strips in the Whizzer and Chips Cheeky Raids posts (for example here). Maybe some art assistants felt they needed to make edits to justify their continued employment. But why did they leave Dad's ghostly, transparent speech balloon? Daft.

  3. The most I can tell is that the line at the bottom of the balloon pointing northeast’s thicker than the rest, telling us there WAS a removal. The balloon’s bigger than usual, so dad might have said, “Let’s hope things aren’t as daft next week,” or something. This’d validate the removal as the strip wasn’t in Cheeky Weekly for long. I’ve already started to look through Whizzer & Chips at the British Library; the strip wasn’t around in 1970, so there’s an assertion of yours to eliminate for a start.

    1. It'd be great if you could find the original version of this particular RD strip. My reference for the Ringer Dinger original publication year was page 84 of Terry Bave's autobiography, where there's a pic of Ringer Dinger with a caption below reading 'Ringer Dinger - Whizzer and Chips 1970'. However, on the previous page it says 'For the 1971 New Year we created...Ringer Dinger' so I evidently chose the wrong year. Thanks for flagging up the error - now changed.

  4. "Dinger's dafter than ever!" - 11/9/71. Also, the first speech bubble says, "Our conkers are out early this year! I'll have no one to play against!" This kept it more in line with the current time of year when it was reprinted 8 years later.

    1. Thanks for tracking down the original strip. I suppose the '..than ever' closing comment was felt inappropriate for Cheeky Weekly fans who hadn't read the previous year's annual, since they'd likely have never seen Dinger before so had no levels of daftness with which to compare. A bit sloppy to leave the speech balloon outline, though.

  5. Yes, I thought that: it suggested continuousness that didn't really exist for Dinger's Cheeky Weekly readers. Funny your post should've been written exactly 46 years later.