|Paddywack Art: Jack Clayton|
I like Jack Clayton's depiction of the laughing party guests in the final panel.
The remaining survivors from Cheeky Weekly at this point were Charlie Counter and his battery-powered buddy, Calc. UK television viewers in 1981 had a choice of three channels (Channel 4 would launch in November 1982), most homes had only one TV and less than one in ten households had a video recorder. Thus the Christmas day televisual dilemma looming chez Counter was a familiar one to comic readers of the time.
|Art: Terry Bave|
I found this to be a rather sad ending as the Counter family withdrew to separate rooms on Christmas evening, but no doubt they all gathered again once their respective programmes had finished. Terry Bave furnishes his customary Christmas embellishments. Always good to see Charlie's dad's extraordinary moustache.
If I may, I'll close this look back at the Christmas 1981 edition of Whoopee! with a couple of non-Cheeky related strips. Actually, the first does in fact have a link to the toothy funster, since it's drawn by the mighty Frank McDiarmid. The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk first appeared (as far as I know but see my observation later) in the debut issue of Whizzer and Chips in 1969, drawn by Frank. You can see that strip on Peter Gray's blog. To me, it seems that there's evidence of re-sizing of artwork on those Whizzer and Chips pages, so I'm wondering if that strip was in fact a reprint. Anyway, Wikipedia tells us that Willie's Whizzer and Chips adventures ended in that comic's 26 December 1970 issue. However, Frank brought Willie out of retirement to begin a new run of adventures in Whoopee! dated 12 September 1981, and Peter posted the first of that new series here.
Here's the lad with the magic glasses as he appeared in Whoopee! dated 26 December 1981...
|Art: Frank McDiarmid|
Frank's less cartoony style in evidence here works very well with this kind of story. As Peter mentions on his blog, the Bunk strips made use of spot colour to denote the fantasy sequences where readers shared the world that young Willie was experiencing through his glasses.
Coincidentally, Lew Stringer recently posted a similar 'owner of enchanted eyewear' character's Christmas episode, namely Billy Binns and his Wonderful Specs, from Boys World in 1963. 'Bins' is of course slang for spectacles; I've seen speculation that it's short for binoculars, or that it's Cockney rhyming slang based on the phrase 'bins and receptacles' which I can only imagine was a term used in relation to refuse collections in days gone by.
My final selection from this festive Whoopee! is the back cover's Smiler story. If you remember from the first part of my look at the issue in question, Shiner featured on the cover, so this page nicely rounds off the issue. I always enjoy Nick Baker's artwork, and on his strips featuring the ever-smiling little lad there's the bonus of the descriptions of the various 'beams' issuing from the hero's gob as the story progresses. We join the family just as they've polished off their festive slap-up feed...
|Art: Nick Baker|