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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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Thursday, 9 January 2020

The Whoopee Years - Snail

Readers of Krazy first saw Cheeky’s slithering sidekick in issue number 6 of that comic, dated 20 November 1976. Snail appeared only intermittently at first, but after a few weeks the toothy funster was rarely seen without his shell-bearing companion (except for Cheeky’s appearances in the Krazy Gang strips where Snail was never on view, probably because he was wary of being eaten by the gang parrot, Blue).

Snail followed when Cheeky secured his own comic, eventually graduating to his own, one page a week feature, and when Cheeky Weekly folded the toothy funster's constant companion faithfully accompanied him into the pages of Whoopee!

The mirthful mollusc featured on the cover of the first combined Whoopee! and Cheeky, and continued to appear in our grinning pal’s strips for the duration of his Whoopee! (and Whoopee) career. However Snail also had his own features following the merge. The first of these was a weekly untitled single row of panels (two panels per gag except for the 03 May 1980 issue where the joke was delivered across 3 panels) which appeared below What a Cheek on the Cheeky Section front cover. This series began in the third combined issue of Whoopee! and Cheeky, and subsequently appeared every week (with the exception of 15 March 1980 when the Cheeky Section cover heralded the toothy funster’s new, movie-based series) until the Cheeky Section concept was dropped after the issue dated 04 October 1980.

The first untitled strip featuring Snail - 23 February 1980. Art: Frank McDiarmid

I had previously assigned the artwork credits for all these untitled Snail strips to Frank McDiarmid, but looking at them again, it seems to me that Frank only drew them up to and including the 22 March 1980 issue. I think subsequent strips may have been drawn by the person who rendered the ET Challenge results page, and various 'place a regular order' ads, who was presumably a staff artist.

29 March 1980 - not Frank?

The untitled Snail strips harked back to Snail of the Century in Cheeky Weekly; both featured wildlife witticisms as the gastropod gagster swapped jokes with various garden creatures (although unlike in SotC, Cheeky never appeared in the untitled Snail strip). I felt Snail wasn't really a strong enough character to front his former whole page strip in the toothy funster's comic, and that he was much better suited to the single-row-of-panels format. The first 21 untitled strips were printed in colour, but the remaining 6 episodes were printed in red ink (possibly the lack of a title had confused some readers and it may be that the crimson printing was introduced to clarify the boundary between the colour What a Cheek and Snail's gags).

The final issue to include a Cheeky Section was that dated 04 October 1980, and Snail's untitled vehicle ended in the same edition. A week later Cheeky's pages were revamped and the inimitable invertebrate's appearances were for almost a year confined to the initial run of the Cheeky feature. However, as of a further remodelling of Cheeky's contributions in the 12 September 1981 edition, the toothy funster's slimy stooge was once again allocated his own feature, this time entitled Cheeky's Snail (rather prosaic, but at least it was a title). Snail's new strip was located in the centre pages, sharing that prime location with a variety of other Cheeky-related offerings. Once again fauna funnies were to the fore as gags were traded with various scuttling, crawling and flying garden residents.


First appearance of the Cheeky's Snail strip
Art: Frank McDiarmid

All 17 Cheeky's Snail strips were drawn by Frank McDiarmid, and printed in black and white with red spot colour. Following the strip's final appearance in Whoopee! dated 02 January 1982, Snail was once again restricted to appearances alongside Cheeky in the toothy funster's features. Our grinning chum's inseparable sidekick accompanied him in his last Whoopee appearance in the final issue dated 30 March 1985. A week later Whoopee was merged into Whizzer and Chips, but Cheeky's solo strips didn't transfer into the newly combined comic. However our toothy pal had been appearing in Whizzer and Chips as a member of the Krazy Gang since Krazy had folded in 1978, and continued to appear in that role after the Whoopee merge, but I don't recall ever seeing Snail in the Krazy Gang's Whizzer and Chips run.

4 comments:

  1. I daresay there were occasionally snails in the Krazy Gang, but I haven’t the time to check as it’d amount to well over nine years’ worth of strips, especially as I don’t believe Snail will be among them. Sorry.

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    1. No need to apologise. Like yourself, I'm pretty sure there were no Snails (or indeed snails) in the Whizzer and Chips Krazy Gang run - there definitely weren't any in their Krazy strips.

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  2. You misconstrued. I said there might be the occasional snail to be found but quite certainly not Snail. I remember from schooldays creating collages of IPC characters using only scissors, A4 and Pritt Stick (might’ve been Copydex). When I literally cut and pasted Cheeky I used a picture of him and Snail from Whoopee or The Best of, knowing full well there wasn't one in the Krazy Gang to be had. Takes me back – pasting in Joker holding up his logo with his flat hand, except in my artistic endeavour it was Max’s screen from The Thirteenth Floor. Ah yes, jumpers for goalposts…

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    1. Ah, I see. I originally felt that there were no snails, celebrity or otherwise, in the W&C run of the Krazy Gang but I haven't scrutinised all the strips, and I see now what you mean - there may have been a story about the gang holding a snail race or somesuch so I may well be wrong. I like the idea of your Joker/Max mashup!

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