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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, 14 December 2021

Excavating The Cave Kids

 

First episode of original run -
Buster 03 June 1967
Art: Leo Baxendale


Many thanks to Stephen Archer who has been researching the original 1967-68 run of The Cave Kids in Buster. This is relevant to the world of Cheeky, as the strip was resurrected to help fill the Cheeky Holiday Special of 1980, and went on to feature in a total of 6 Cheeky Annuals and Specials.

The original Buster run spanned the following issues (thanks once again to Stephen for this data)...

Title Cover Date Feature Synopsis
Buster 03-Jun-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s homework
Buster 10-Jun-1967 The Cave Kids The sabretooth tribe attack
Buster 17-Jun-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky holes the school wall
Buster 24-Jun-1967 The Cave Kids The greedy mammoth
Buster 01-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids The cheeky young mammoth
Buster 08-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s tiddlywinks
Buster 15-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids Follow-my-leader
Buster 22-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids The lost football
Buster 29-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s switchback railway
Buster 05-Aug-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky and the croc
Buster 12-Aug-1967 The Cave Kids Unfair play by Bill Boulder
Buster 19-Aug-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky takes a dip
Buster 26-Aug-1967 The Cave Kids Egg trouble
Buster 02-Sep-1967 The Cave Kids The greedy pterodactyl
Buster 09-Sep-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s dad’s car
Buster 16-Sep-1967 The Cave Kids Big Bad Boulder raids
Buster 23-Sep-1967 The Cave Kids The pole-vaulting contest
Buster 30-Sep-1967 The Cave Kids Chiefy vs. the greedy mammoth
Buster 07-Oct-1967 The Cave Kids Bob-a-job week
Buster 14-Oct-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s stony letter
Buster 21-Oct-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s weapons
Buster 28-Oct-1967 The Cave Kids The sleeping mammoth
Buster 04-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s conker
Buster 11-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids The nesting pterodactyls
Buster 18-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s roller-skates
Buster 25-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids Bill Boulder the delivery boy
Buster 02-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids The stampeding dinosaurs
Buster 09-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids The marauding mammoth
Buster 16-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s old toys have to go
Buster 23-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s sledge
Buster 30-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s New Year resolutions
Buster 06-Jan-1968 The Cave Kids Rocky learns to fly
Buster 13-Jan-1968 The Cave Kids Rocky’s snowball

It seems the 33-episode original run of the Kids was brought to an end due to the need to accommodate incoming features from Buster's failed stablemate Giggle as of the 20 January 1968 merge issue.

It's not inconceivable that some readers of the 24 Cave Kids episodes that were selected for reprint in the Cheeky titles some 13 years after those adventures originally appeared, were the children of parents who, as youngsters themselves, had enjoyed the strips on their original outing...

Published Title Feature Episodes
Apr-1980 Cheeky Holiday Special The Cave Kids 3
Sep-1980 Cheeky Annual 1981 The Cave Kids 4
Jun-1981 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids 4
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids 5
Jul-1982 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids 3
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids 5


TOTAL 24

The individual reprinted episodes are listed below. Based on evidence uncovered while examining various reprints used in the Cheeky titles, it would seem that publisher IPC had a policy of discarding the first episode when selecting strips for reprint, and of ignoring the original publication order when recycling stand-alone episodes of this type. The original Cave Kids strips were all single-pagers, but in the 1983 Cheeky Annual, the final Cheeky title to include the neolithic nippers, the editor, clearly keen to wring out the maximum budgetary benefit of employing recycled material, specified that 4 episodes were to be expanded to fill 2 pages each.

Published Title Feature Artist Episode Start Page Reprint Elements Reprint Origin Origin Date
Apr-1980 Cheeky Holiday Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 24 1 Buster 05-Aug-1967
Apr-1980 Cheeky Holiday Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 38 1 Buster 15-Jul-1967
Apr-1980 Cheeky Holiday Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 52 1 Buster 24-Jun-1967
Sep-1980 Cheeky Annual 1981 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 9 1 Buster 29-Jul-1967
Sep-1980 Cheeky Annual 1981 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 45 1 Buster 02-Sep-1967
Sep-1980 Cheeky Annual 1981 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 64 1 Buster 23-Sep-1967
Sep-1980 Cheeky Annual 1981 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 121 1 Buster 16-Sep-1967
Jun-1981 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 16 1 Buster 28-Oct-1967
Jun-1981 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 25 1 Buster 06-Jan-1968
Jun-1981 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 53 1 Buster 16-Dec-1967
Jun-1981 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 64 1 Buster 30-Sep-1967
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 8 1 Buster 26-Aug-1967
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 17 1 Buster 23-Dec-1967
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 43 1 Buster 21-Oct-1967
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 88 1 Buster 19-Aug-1967
Aug-1981 Cheeky Annual 1982 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 110 1 Buster 12-Aug-1967
Jul-1982 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids
20 1 Buster 14-Oct-1967
Jul-1982 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Stan McMurtry 43 1 Buster 02-Dec-1967
Jul-1982 Cheeky Summer Special The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 49 1 Buster 17-Jun-1967
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 10 2 Buster 10-Jun-1967
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 34 2 Buster 18-Nov-1967
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 58 2 Buster 04-Nov-1967
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 85 1 Buster 09-Sep-1967
Aug-1982 Cheeky Annual 1983 The Cave Kids Leo Baxendale 98 2 Buster 08-Jul-1967

 

I must admit that the alterations to the original Cave Kids artwork were much more sensitively achieved than a lot of the resizing evident across IPC's Annuals and Specials...

Original

Cheeky Annual 1983

Further evidence of a respect for the original material on the part of the compilers of this Annual is the fact that the reprint which was not expanded to 2 pages is the strip presented as being drawn by Rocky himself, which can be seen here, and would probably have lost the border had the artwork been resized.

Below are the episodes from the original run that were not reprinted in the Cheeky titles. The editor's reason for not using these strips is hard to guess. It's clearly not the case that it was felt Cheeky fans were becoming bored with Paleolithic pranks, since another stone-age-set strip retrieved from IPC's repository of former fun folk would feature in the next Cheeky Annual, dated 1984, as would a feature depicting an ancestor of the toothy funster himself in a prehistoric predicament. A similarly baffling reluctance to reprint the entire original run of strips emerged from Stephen Archer's research into Ringer Dinger.

Buster 03-Jun-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s homework
Buster 01-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids The cheeky young mammoth
Buster 22-Jul-1967 The Cave Kids The lost football
Buster 07-Oct-1967 The Cave Kids Bob-a-job week
Buster 11-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids The nesting pterodactyls
Buster 25-Nov-1967 The Cave Kids Bill Boulder the delivery boy
Buster 09-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids The marauding mammoth
Buster 30-Dec-1967 The Cave Kids Rocky’s New Year resolutions
Buster 13-Jan-1968 The Cave Kids Rocky’s snowball

Reprints were an inevitable hazard of IPC Annuals, but I'm sure there are few comic fans who would complain about the recycling of material by the great Leo Baxendale .

Which brings me to one piece of unfinished business regarding The Cave Kids' Cheeky outings - only one of the 3 episodes reprinted in the 1982 Cheeky Summer Special was by Leo. I was unable to identify the illustrators of the other 2 strips, but Andy Boal kindly identified one of them (the stampeding dinosaurs episode originating from 02 December 1967), from which I posted a sample here, as Stan McMurtry (thanks, Andy!). Because I didn't post the whole of the other non-Baxendale strip ('Rocky’s stony letter' from 14 October 1967), Andy was unsure about who the artist might be. I'll post the whole thing now in the hope that someone may be able to identify the illustrator.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this; I didn't expect there to be anything LIKE 75% of the total amount reprinted. It's possible Leo's faultless artwork (and indeed good name in the comic business) attracted readers annually: I see no reason why they shouldn't have written to IPC asking for more, even if there were no longer a Cheeky Weekly office. Similarly, I used to look forward to the annual mishaps of Wilfred the World’s Worst Wizard in Cor!! Annuals, with the difference these were all original strips. Never wrote in to request them, though…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't familiar with WTWWW, but Irmantas has of course documented the strip's run so I've been able to educate myself.

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