Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!


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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*** CHEEKY WEEKLY, KRAZY, WHOOPEE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS ARE ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ***

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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Whoopee - 1984, the year of the big issue (marginally boring opening section - feel free to skip)

As I near the end of my examination of Cheeky Weekly, I am now preparing for the next phase of this blog, which will be following the fortunes of that select band of strips that transferred into Whoopee following the cancellation of  Cheeky's comic.

You're probably aware that I built a database to record all the Cheeky Weekly data, and I use this to do various analyses about the comic. The database idea developed from my decision about nine years ago to scan all my issues of Cheeky Weekly as a kind of backup to the physical copies should anything happen to them. I began the Cheeky scanning process on 30 November 2009, with the aim of completing 2 issues per day, and finished on 07 March 2010. This process encompassed all 117 issues of the weekly comic (the summer/holiday specials being scanned between 13 and 22 August 2010), but not the annuals as I didn't want to damage them.

As I scanned each image I included in the filename the contents of that particular page, and the artist information. As I looked at the growing 'Cheeky Scans' folder on my laptop, I realised all that data could be mined and yield some interesting (to me, anyway) information, such as the number of strips drawn by a particular artist. I therefore developed a structured way of recording in the file name all the various nuggets of info about each page.

Initially my intention was to search through the filenames using Windows File Explorer to satisfy my curiosity about the comic's history, but I soon encountered the limitations of this approach. A further idea then emerged which was to design and build a database to accommodate the information, allowing much deeper analysis of the data. So I built the database then created some procedures that would read through all the filenames in the Cheeky Scans folder and distribute the data into the various database tables.

The Cheeky Weekly data was loaded, some more procedures written to do the analysis and generate the tables that you will be only too familiar with on this blog, and I tentatively entered the blogosphere with this humble offering on 26 June 2010.

But that wasn't the end of the scanning - 06 December 2013 saw me hunched once again over a steaming scanner and commencing to work through my Whoopee collection, which commences from the first Whoopee/Cheeky merged edition. This scanning project was more onerous than the Cheeky one, as there were 264 editions of Whoopee between its absorption of the toothy funster's comic and its own demise. The Whoopee scans were completed on 24 July 2015, and as I write this I realise I didn't scan the Whoopee specials, and I'm not even sure if I have them in my collection - will have to investigate.

In recent weeks my preparations for the Whoopee phase of this blog have involved doing some loads of the Whoopee data into a test instance of my comics database. I encountered some errors resulting from typos in the data (not surprising when you consider that the data relates to 8,462 Whoopee pages) which have now been corrected, but I'm pleased to say that my code for doing the data loads was found to be entirely bulletproof.

Now that figure of 8,462 Whoopee pages brings me to the real subject of this post. The mathematicians among you will of course be shouting 'Whoopee was a 32 page comic, and 8462/32 = 264.4375, so explain yourself at once, Mr Niblet'.  And indeed I was also puzzled as to how .4375 of a Whoopee could exist. Had I, in a frenzy of scanning, somehow entered duplicates of some pages? A quick delve into the data revealed that there were in the period in question 4 issues of Whoopee which exceeded the normal 32 pages;

Art: Tom Paterson


The first was 25 August 1984's 36-pager, which contained a 4-page flyer (or 'Extra 4-Page Pull-Out' as it styled itself) in its centre pages for football mag Shoot! which was evidently getting a big promotional push for the 1984/85 season.











Tom again


The next 32+ issue was the same year's 15 September edition which contained a new version of the flyer, still describing itself as an extra 4-page pull-out, which was a little fraudulent as the comic that week amounted to 34 pages and thus readers were actually 2 pages down on the deal.








Toy Boy: Terry Bave
Sweeny: Tom Paterson



The next issue to exceed 32 pages was 29 September 1984, which contained a 4-page flyer among its 36 pages, the design cheekily referencing The Sun newspaper.





You brainy readers will have calculated that the supposed 50 titles (although the first page of the flyer promises full details of 50 titles, only 30 are detailed - 29 pictured plus mention of David Bellamy who may have had an annual devoted to him although Wikipedia doesn't mention it in his bibliography) and million annuals equates to 20,000 of each, but maybe IPC weighted their print runs towards those they expected to be popular so, for example, there may have been fewer 321 Annuals than Buster (I know which I'd rather read, and the less said about the Jim'll Fix It annual the better). And why no mention of the mighty Whizzer and Chips and, for that matter, Whoopee? Pleasing, though, to see the Cheeky Annual listed second, after IPC's humour heavyweight, Buster.

Tom Paterson


Whoopee's final 36-page issue was that dated 20 October 1984, which contained a 4-page flyer for IPC's computer mag, Big K. Wikipedia tells us that the mag launched in April 1984 and survived for only a year (maybe not surprising for a publication whose name sounds more like a breakfast cereal than a hip guide to the latest tech).









Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Whizzer and Chips - The Cheeky Raids part 34

New readers start here... After Cheeky Weekly folded and was incorporated into Whoopee as of February 1980 six strips that had originated in the toothy funster's title survived the merge and continued to appear in the amalgamated comic. Whoopee itself foundered in March 1985 and was merged into Whizzer and Chips. Three of the surviving Cheeky Weekly strips successfully negotiated this second merge and went on to appear in the newly combined publication, rather inelegantly titled 'Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee'. The survivors were Mustapha Million, Calculator Kid and (appearing only twice) Stage School. Cheeky continued to appear, but as a member of The Krazy Gang, who had moved into W&C when Krazy, the comic in which the Gang originated, expired in April 1978. However, the Krazy Gang's Whizzer and Chips run ended in the issue dated 08 February 1986. Calculator Kid survived a little longer, his run of reprints coming to an end in the 26 July 1986 edition and leaving Mustapha Million as the sole Cheeky Weekly survivor.

Well, this is something we haven't seen in a while - Mustapha is the raider rather than the victim in Whizzer and Chips dated 25 April 1987. But can you spot him on his daring sortie into dangerous (at least as the story commences) Whizzer territory?

Art: Terry Bave
I like the tiger's GROWL and its
expression in the final panel


Our middle-eastern mate had previously raided Odd-Ball in the 13 December 1986 edition, having earlier been the victim of the rubbery rapscallion in the 19 October 1985, 25 January 1986 and 14 February 1987 issues.


Whizzer and Chips Cover Date Raider Raided
06 April 1985Mustapha MillionSuper Steve
04 May 1985Bloggs (Store Wars)Mustapha Million
11 May 1985JokerThe Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
18 May 1985Calculator Kid & CalcOdd-Ball
01 June 1985
Animalad
Mustapha Million
The Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
Boy Boss
08 June 1985Odd-BallCalculator Kid
06 July 1985Toy BoyCalculator Kid
13 July 1985Pa BumpkinThe Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
27 July 1985JokerMustapha Million
24 August 1985CheekySid's Snake
14 September 1985
Odd-Ball
Calculator Kid
Calculator Kid
Store Wars
05 October 1985Mustapha MillionAnimalad
19 October 1985Odd-BallMustapha Million
23 November 1985
Sweeny Toddler
Sweeny Toddler
Sweeny Toddler
Calculator Kid
The Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
Mustapha Million
18 January 1986Mustapha MillionSuper Steve
25 January 1986
Odd-Ball
Cheeky
Mustapha Million
Odd-Ball
08 February 1986
The Krazy Gang ends this issue
AnimaladMustapha Million
15 February 1986Lazy BonesCalculator Kid
15 March 1986Odd-BallCalculator Kid
29 March 1986Calculator KidMaster P Brain
05 April 1986Bumpkin BillionairesMustapha Million
12 April 1986AnimaladCalculator Kid
31 May 1986Lazy BonesCalculator Kid
07 June 1986Mustapha MillionJoker
28 June 1986Sweet ToothMustapha Million
26 July 1986
Calculator Kid ends this issue
No Cheeky-related raid this issueNo Cheeky-related raid this issue
16 August 1986Mustapha MillionJoker
23 August 1986Sweet ToothMustapha Million
18 October 1986Winnie the Royal NagMustapha Million
06 December 1986Toy BoyMustapha Million
13 December 1986Mustapha MillionOdd-Ball
17 January 1987SidMustapha Million
14 February 1987Odd-BallMustapha Million
11 April 1987Pa BumpkinMustapha Million
25 April 1987Mustapha MillionOdd-Ball

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Comic Scene

Issue number 2 of Comic Scene, due out on 01 September, looks as if it will be focusing on humour comics, with Cheeky Weekly getting a mention on the cover (and no, I don't think that is a sellotaped-on Friend of Cheeky badge free gift!). There doesn't seem to be an option to pre-order a digital copy at the moment.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Cheeky Weekly cover date 05 January 1980

Art: Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky bounds boldly into the new decade, despite  there being an indication inside our favourite comic that it will not survive very long into the 80s. Nevertheless, Cheeky and pals are putting on a buoyant display for the cover, although Jogging Jeremy (the subject of this issue's Comedy Catalogue) can’t even match the athleticism of Snail.















New Year’s Day 1980 is on a Tuesday, so Cheeky’s Sunday is set 48 hours before the commencement of the leap year, and includes the farewell appearance of Sid the Street-Sweeper.

Frank again


Charlie Counter, lacking funds as is often the case, is unable to watch the New Year match (the ‘wanting to get into football ground’ scenario being a stock comic plot). Thanks to Calc’s plan involving footballs stuck in a tree, Charlie ends the strip enjoying the match from the comfort of the Director’s box.

Art: Terry Bave

 
Elephant and The Man in the Plastic Mac are considering their respective and contradictory new year resolutions, but by the end of the story both have abandoned their plans and the status remains very much quo.

Art: Robert Nixon
 
We’re treated to a 2-page Monday, which commences with the Cheeky clan gathered around the clock chiming midnight, so strictly speaking it’s Tuesday. Regular Hogmanay reveller Uncle Hamish (see the new year festivities of 1978 and 1979) is in attendance, and can any party be a success without the presence of luscious Lily Pop?


Art: Frank McDiarmid


The second ‘Monday’ page sees Cheeky’s party in full swing, following which there is further resolution rumination as Sir contemplates his new year educational strategy.

Art: Robert Nixon

On the (proper) Tuesday page a post-party toothy funster is out and about.

More Frank

 
The Soggy the Sea Monster reprint finds the likeable leviathan encountering a party on a yacht, but whether the story was originally written with a new year theme, or the ‘Happy New Year’ in the final panel was added specifically for its reuse here, remains unclear.

Mustapha
is contemplating the new year. His pals are concerned when they see him bulldozing the playground, but are relieved when they learn his plan is to replace everything with brand new equipment – part of his scheme to change things for the new decade (although he sticks with a traditional slap-up feed conclusion). 

Art: Joe McCaffrey


 
The Gang attend a new year fancy dress party in their reprint adventure.

Travelling north of the border to enjoy Hogmanay, 6 Million Dollar Gran and the Potts family meet another of their Caledonian relatives, Uncle Hector, (we’d previously met their Uncle Hamish McPotts – not to be confused with Cheeky’s uncle – in the 28 October 1978 edition). To complicate things further, Gran meets yet another Hamish, claiming him to be a cousin (presumably of the Potts rather than her own, since she's a robot), at the conclusion of this week’s tale.


Art: Ian Knox


On the Chit-Chat page, Cheeky’s cryptic reference to exciting things to come, and the absence of the solicitation for readers' contributions that has appeared on all previous outings of this feature, suggests that the comic may have a limited future.


 
The toothy funster’s Saturday amble around Krazy Town allows him to quiz his pals on the progress of their new year resolutions, before Cheeky's slithering sidekick leaves his grinning companion indoors struggling to write his own resolutions, and heads into the back garden for another Snail of the Century.

Making their final Cheeky’s Week appearences this issue (along with Sid the Street Sweeper) are Herman, Goalie Cat, Gunga Jim, and Willie Brushiton.

A pleasingly all-Frank McDiarmid Cheeky's Week issue gets the year off to a promising start.


Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 05-Jan-1980, Issue 113 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature 'Happy Leap Year' - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
4Joke-Box Jury
5Elephant On The Run - Art Robert Nixon
6Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
7Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
8Stage School - Art Robert Nixon
9Stage School - Art Robert Nixon
10Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
11Soggy the Sea Monster reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Robert Nixon
12Disaster Des - Art Mike Lacey
13Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue 'Jogging Jeremy Jokes'
14Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue 'Jogging Jeremy Jokes'
15Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
16Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
17Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
18The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray
19The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray
20Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
21Tub - Art Nigel Edwards
22Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
23Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
246 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
256 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
26Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
27Ad: IPC 'Mickey Mouse' 14 of 18 Ad: 'Penny' 2 of 3
28Speed Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
29Chit-Chat
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32Snail of the Century - Art Frank McDiarmid

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Profile - Zoot Soot

From our 21st century perspective, with domestic heating available at the flick of a switch or click on a screen, it’s hard to imagine a time when the mere act of raising the temperature in the living area to a comfortable level involved lugging lumps of crumbly black carbon into the room, piling them in the fireplace and igniting them with the aid of bits of wood and scrunched up newspaper. After enjoying an all-too-brief cosy period, the grate would have to be cleared out and the dusty residue disposed of before the whole process was repeated. Making its way up the chimney as a result of the combustion process, in addition to all sorts of pollutants, was soot; a fine black powder which accumulated on the brickwork. Apparently a serious coating of soot in a chimney could result in the dust catching fire, although possibly this was a rumour put about by chimney sweeps, who were employed by fireplace users to ensure a clean and healthy flue.

I’m not sure how many kids of the late 1970s would have encountered a chimney sweep in real life. I suspect many would have been aware of Dick Van Dyke’s cockneytastic portrayal of Edwardian sweep Bert in Disney’s supercalorific (all those spoonsful of sugar) fantasy blockbuster titled, as Dick/Bert would have it, ‘Moiry Porpins’.

A considerable number of Krazy Town residents were clearly still reliant on coal for their heating, as chimney sweep Zoot Soot joined the Cheeky’s Week cast as of the 12 May 1979 edition of the toothy funster’s comic.

Cheeky's first brush with Zoot
Art: Mike Lacey

Zoot (whose name references the natty 1940s apparel), appears to have avoided the early uncertainty over his appearance which afflicted Ah Sew as well as Messrs Chips and Mutton, since the character design used by Mike Lacey above is also in evidence on the sweep’s second outing, drawn by Frank McDiarmid, and the third, by Jimmy Hansen.

Zoot's second appearance
Art: Frank McDiarmid


In the comic dated 07 July 1979 readers were introduced to the cheery chimney champion’s offspring. Sadly, the adolescent assortment was never seen again.


Frank again



Ursula gets fired
More Frank

Cheeky's grate chum was among the Krazy Town folk selected to appear alongside a mega-sized rendition of the toothy funster on the Giant Cheeky Poster.

Change was sweeping the country
Mike Lacey


Zoot’s final Cheeky Weekly appearance was as a non-speaking participant in the 19 January 1980 edition, in which Ursula dreamily reported on Crystal Belle’s prediction for the new year.

Farewell to the flue-fixing funnyman
Frank McDiarmid


The silly soot-shifter appeared in 14 issues of Cheeky Weekly, but never graced the Cheeky's strips in Krazy.



Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Zoot Soot1412-May-197919-Jan-1980

Count of elements by artist



Character Artist Total Elements
Zoot SootFrank McDiarmid7
Zoot SootMike Lacey4
Zoot SootFrank McDiarmid pencils2
Zoot SootJimmy Hansen1

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Profile – Mr Mutton

Unsuitable for vegetarians it undoubtedly was, but meat-based humour appeared on the comedy menu as from Cheeky Weekly dated 15 September 1979, wherein the toothy funster had his first encounter with Krazy Town’s retailer of animal components, Mr Mutton.

Mutton's first appearance
Art: Mike Lacey
 
Mike Lacey’s artwork from Mutton’s first appearance was re-used on the veal vendor’s second outing, in the issue dated 22 September 1979. The rest of the page featured Frank McDiarmid's pencils, and the pasted-in art suggests to me that Frank hadn't seen Mike Lacey's design for the new character when he drew the set.

Art: Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils
 
Mutton’s third appearance a week later, penciled and inked by Frank McDiarmid, wasn’t in fact an appearance – only his voice was heard/read. My guess is that there was still uncertainty as to the character design at the time that the page was drawn, resulting in this off-panel interjection. I have previously speculated on what seem to have been similar issues relating to the early visuals of Ah Sew and Mr Chips.


Frank McDiarmid

Frank gave us a splendid, full-length depiction when the silly sausage seller made his next outing in the 13 October 1979 edition.

Frank again
 
Next it was the turn of Jimmy Hansen to delineate the humorous hawker of ham, Jimmy seemingly taking inspiration for the butcher's stance from Frank’s rendition above.


Jimmy Hansen

Mike Lacey also adopted the leaning-out-of-shop-doorway pose in the 03 November 1979 comic.

Mike Lacey

 
Frank then treated us to a chipper, chopper-wielding Mutton.

Frank
Lena Zavaroni
 
Prior to the issue dated 24 November 1979, the steak seller had been limited to single-panel appearances, but in said issue he was seen in 2 panels, although shocked into silence in the second due to spectral presence in the minced beef.

Frank

Mike Lacey returned to draw Mr Mutton in the 01 December 1979 comic, using again the leaning-out-of-doorway pose. A week later Frank took his pencil to the meaty mirthster, showing him behind his counter, and in the 15 December 1979 edition Frank drew the second 2-panel Mutton gag, giving us a rare (but well done) view of the rear of the butcher’s establishment. The third and final 2-panel offal drollery occurred in the 19 January 1980 comic, and a week later Mutton made his farewell Cheeky Weekly appearance in the penultimate issue dated 26 January 1980.

Mike Lacey
After this, Cheeky Weekly readers heard nothing more
from Mutton. Not a sausage.

The perky purveyor of pork featured in 15 editions of the toothy funster's comic.


Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Mr Mutton1515-Sep-197926-Jan-1980

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
Mr MuttonFrank McDiarmid8
Mr MuttonMike Lacey5*
Mr MuttonJimmy Hansen1
Mr MuttonFrank McDiarmid pencils1*

*When I created my comic database, I designed it to assign artists by element per page only, not by individual panel. Although it can assign more than one artist at element level (see for example Laugh and Learn), it can't accurately reflect instances such as Mutton's second appearance where in one panel the artist was Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils, while the rest of the element has been assigned to just Frank McDiarmid pencils - if I assigned the art on this element to Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils, all characters within the element would inherit the same dual (strictly speaking triple in this case due to the FMcD/Pencils attribution) art credit. Instances of more than one artist working on a single panel are extremely rare so adverse impact on the data as things stand is negligible. Maybe a way of recording this unusual circumstance will get addressed if I ever get round to designing comic database version 2.0. Anyway, you may consider that Mike Lacey should be credited with 6 Mutton appearances, although it could be argued that since one of those 6 actually re-used previously published artwork, 5 is in fact the correct number. Whatever your view, there were in truth no depictions of Mutton by the artwork team I refer to as Frank McDiarmid pencils.