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 Index
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index 
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Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement


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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Whoopee! and Cheeky - the first combined issue; 09 February 1980

We learn from the cover of the first Whoopee! and Cheeky that our toothy pal and his ex-Cheeky Weekly co-survivors will be ensconced in a 16 page comic-within-comic in the centre of the host title, a rather unusual way of absorbing one comic into another (the customary fate of an underperforming title was its 'merge' into a more successful comic). Most 'merges' resulted in the features from the failed comic being interspersed among the pages of the host title. Cheeky Weekly wasn't so much merged into Whoopee!, rather the toothy funster's title was embraced by the elder comic.

Whizzer and Chips had most famously employed the two-comics-in-one format since 1969, but the idea had also been used in Shiver and Shake, and of course Cheeky Weekly itself adopted the concept during the period in which the Mystery Comic occupied its centre pages (although adding an additional metatextual spin not present in the above examples by having the Mystery Comic being a title read by the Cheeky Weekly characters).

Since the focus of this blog is on Cheeky and his pals, I'll home straight in on that very first Cheeky section. On the section's front page, our toothy pal is, unusually, sporting a blue and black jumper instead of his familiar red and black apparel (the new sweater was probably given to him by the Whoopee! editor as a bit of a sweetener). This is another use of an image that I refer to as the 'standard Cheeky face' which was first seen in the debut issue of Cheeky Weekly and on several subsequent occasions. The office cleaner has clearly been complaining about having to dust the boxes of  Friend of Cheeky badges left in the corner of what was the Cheeky Weekly office. Snail makes his presence felt, as he did on the Whoopee! cover.

The Curtain rises on Stage School with a brief résumé of the strip's premise for the benefit of Whoopee! readers, before the cravat-wearing showbiz teacher (who was rarely seen in Cheeky Weekly) sets a tough exam assignment. The title panel that appeared in the last few months of the strip's Cheeky Weekly run has been retained.

Art: Robert Nixon

Stage School's 2-pager is followed by a page carrying the details of the proper-front-page-announced competition to win a Friscodisco battery-powered record player.

Erstwhile Cheeky Weekly readers may be a bit surprised to see a page of Paddywack gags over the page, as the bumbling buffoon wasn't included among the band of characters shown to be transferring to their new home in last week's final issue of our grinning pal's comic. Readers are still being invited to submit their Paddywack gags (the editor clearly hoping to mine a previously-untapped source of gags in the shape of Whoopee! readers who, because the dithering dolt wasn't included in the Cheeky mini comic that appeared in their funny paper, were hitherto unaware that such a thing as a 'Paddywack type joke' even existed), although the cash reward for successful contributors has been reduced from Cheeky Weekly's £2 to a single quid BUT with a bonus Whoopee! Cushion prize which I'm sure is worth a pound of anyone's money.

Art: Jack Clayton

Next up is 6 Million Dollar Gran, or rather $6000,000 Gran as she has now been styled. Pauline Potts informs Whoopee! readers that the titular OAP is a 'bionic robot granny'. Well, at least this oxymoronic statement  does acknowledge Gran's robotic origin.

Art: Ian Knox

The next 2 pages of Cheeky's section are devoted to the first instalment of the cut-out Fib card game, IPC, as ever, never missing an opportunity to encourage readers to attack their comics with scissors. The cards feature characters from the newly-combined comic, so Cheeky, Mustapha Million, Snail, Gran and Calculator Kid rub shoulders with the likes of Whoopee! stalwarts Frankie Stein and Lolly Pop. Readers excising the game from within the Cheeky section would be losing the second of Gran's pages and the first of Cheeky's.

Cheeky, seemingly unaware that he risks being glued to a cornflake packet then sliced into pieces, does the introductions in his whopping 4-page segment, titled It's Cheeky!. Well, obviously 4 pages is a bit of a comedown compared to the coverage he had in Cheeky Weekly, but it's a good number of pages to be allocated post-merge (the opinions of long-time Whoopee! readers who find their favourite strips jettisoned to make way for what they may well consider to be 'all this Cheeky rubbish' would no doubt differ). The monochrome printing means we can't tell whether the toothy funster is wearing his new blue/black jumper. Mike Lacey does his usual superb job, but it's a pity Frank McDiarmid wasn't on hand to furnish the inaugural artwork for Cheeky's Whoopee! era. I suspect Frank either took a well-deserved break for a week, or was busy building up a stock of Cheeky strips for future use.

Art: Mike Lacey

Like Gran, Mustapha has undergone a title revision which now reads Mu$tapha Mi££i(coin image)n - he was previously titled Mustapha Mi££ion although I rarely referred to him as such. Joe McCaffrey clearly used Reg Parlett's artwork on the first Mustapha episode as a reference for the 3-panel back-story.

Rounding off the Cheeky section is Calculator Kid. It's remarkably fortunate for Whoopee! readers that just as the story starts, Charlie and Calc encounter a newcomer to the area (modelling rather alarming, baggy tartan trews), giving young Master Counter and his battery-powered buddy the opportunity to explain the strip's set-up. Whereas in Cheeky Weekly the feature had a title panel located at the left hand side of the first row of pictures, Charlie and Calc now have a banner-style title, although using the same image as before.

Art: Terry Bave
Long-time readers of the host title may have already been aware of Cheeky, Gran and Mustapha if they had read the aforementioned Cheeky mini comic that appeared in their 08 July 1978 edition.

Other than the '2 Famous Comics in One' banner on Whoopee!'s front page and the Cheeky/Posh Claude gag, there is no mention of the 'merge' in this week's issue - not even a 'welcome to our new readers'-type message on the letters page.

There is, however, this ominous announcement...

Monday, 11 March 2019

Whizzer and Chips - The Cheeky Raids part 38

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.

A month after being raided by Lazy Bones, Mustapha Million was approaching the end of his summer holiday, and enjoying a brief stopover at the Disneyland-esque (and reminiscent of Walley World as featured in the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation) Wishy World, when he was again subject to an unwelcome intrusion by one of those pesky Whizz-kids. Can you spot the miscreant in the story below? If your answer is 'nay', scroll down to discover the identity of the interloper.

Whizzer and Chips 22 August 1987
Art: Barry Glennard

Yes, it's that mischievous mare, Winnie the Royal Nag, who was the first to coin the annoying phrase which was adopted by many of the subsequent gloating raiders of Mustapha's strip (I can't bring myself to type the offending slogan, so please see her previous raid on our middle eastern mate here). Mercifully, she didn't say it this time.

More raiding fun soon!

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
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
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
Mustapha Million
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
20 June 1987Toy BoyMustapha Million
27 June 1987Mustapha MillionMemory Banks
25 July 1987Lazy BonesMustapha Million
22 August 1987Winnie the Royal NagMustapha Million

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Cheeky Weekly: Year 3 in Review

Although Cheeky Weekly embarked on its third year as of the 20 October 1979 edition, it of course failed to survive until its third birthday, expiring with the issue dated 02 February 1980 (after which it underwent the customary 'merge', in this case into Whoopee!).

However, the fact that year three was incomplete doesn't mean we shouldn't have our customary rummage around in the data to see what changes affected the comic as its demise approached.

There was one newcomer feature, although that may a bit of a misnomer since Soggy was in fact a reprint.  To his credit, the silly sea serpent appeared in every issue from the date of his Cheeky Weekly commencement on 17 November 1979 to the final issue.

Changes between: Issues 20-Oct-1979 and 02-Feb-1980
Category Detail Start End
Newcomer after 20-Oct-1979, still running as of 02-Feb-1980Soggy the Sea Monster17-Nov-197902-Feb-1980

Everything else running in the comic as of 20 October 1979 obviously expired either in the final issue or before (if we assume even those few strips who transferred into Whoopee! to have expired, at least in their initial incarnation). Photo-filler-feature Silly Snaps was the first to cash in its chips, making it no further than that very same 20 October issue. Another filler, this time of the quiz variety namely Tease Break was the next feature to kick the proverbial metallic water receptacle, clattering out in the 03 November 1979 comic. Next for the chop was advertorial feature What's New, Kids, disappearing after its 17 November 1979 airing (coincidentally the same issue in which Soggy squelched up for the first time). 26 January 1980 was a fateful issue for Paddywack as that was the final time he and his wellies would trouble Cheeky Weekly readers yet, despite being absent from the final issue, our perplexing pal would surprise everyone by turning up unannounced for the first combined issue of Whoopee! and Cheeky (whether he was actually invited to take part or was too slow to realise that he had been cancelled remains a matter of considerable debate to this day - well, in Niblet Towers it is).

The features that marched on to the final issue are shown below with an End Date of 02 February 1980. Not all of that dogged band would survive the merge. The 'daily' aspect of the Cheeky strips would not be carried over into the combined comic (although a strip named Cheeky's Week would begin in September 1981, which condensed 7 days of puns into a single feature), so none of the seven daily pages would resurface.

Changes between: Issues 20-Oct-1979 and 02-Feb-1980
Category Detail Start End
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Mustapha Million22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-19806 Million Dollar Gran22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980What's New, Kids22-Oct-197717-Nov-1979
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Cover Feature22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Friday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Monday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Saturday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Sunday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Thursday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Tuesday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Wednesday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Joke-Box Jury10-Dec-197702-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Calculator Kid01-Jul-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Paddywack08-Jul-197826-Jan-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Silly Snaps02-Sep-197820-Oct-1979
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Why, Dad, Why?30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Elephant On The Run30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Tub30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Disaster Des30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Chit-Chat09-Dec-197802-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Tease Break17-Feb-197903-Nov-1979
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Speed Squad26-May-197902-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Stage School07-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980The Gang07-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Snail of the Century14-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Started on or before 20-Oct-1979 but departed on or before 02-Feb-1980Ringer Dinger06-Oct-197902-Feb-1980

Turning to the matter of reprints, I decided to look back over the whole of Cheeky Weekly's history as I haven't previously done an overview of the comic's 'second-time-around' content. Recycled material had featured in the comic from the first issue, some being presented in an open way (Old Comic, which sourced vintage strips from a number of titles), while all other material from the vaults was slipped in surreptitiously (e.g. Bam Splat and Blooie and Cocky Doodle, both of which originated in Buster) to the extent of having their titles changed in some instances. Cocky doodled his last in the 04 March 1978 edition, and the frenzied Bamming, Splatting and Blooieing was concluded on 17 June of the same year. The Cheeky Weekly office boy/girl was despatched to the basement to retrieve a Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? strip from the dusty Cor!! vaults for the 24 June 1978 edition. Cheeky's Old Comic selections drew to a close on 26 August 1978.

Archie's Angels were resurrected from Whizzer and Chips on 12 August 1978, concluding on 16 September 1978, which was the same issue in which the obscure Hickory Dickory Doc was reprinted from Cor!! (maybe the office junior found this curiosity in the basement when down there a few weeks earlier).

Sonny Storm from Cor!! then took up the role of the 'reprinted adventure strip', but fulfilled that function in only a single issue, that dated 23 September 1978.

The 30 September 1978 edition saw a return of Granny and her lupine adversary as the second and final Who's Afraid...etc was given a repeat run. In the same issue World War II evacuee Mystery Boy (originally titled Who is Sandy? on its 1971 debut outing in Whizzer and Chips) began his epic adventure, which would last for over a year. The week after the wartime saga commenced, another adventure reprint was summoned from the dingy catacombs of IPC - The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure - the first strip to be sourced for Cheeky Weekly from Shiver and Shake.

The 14 October 1978 issue of the toothy funster's comic included a one-off reprint of Ghouldilocks from Jag, and on 06 January 1979 another Shiver and Shake resurrectee, Eagle Eye, began. The exceptionally observant schoolboy wrapped up his adventure in the 24 February 1979 edition, and a week later a further feature was plucked from the Shiver and Shake files, Menace of the Alpha Man, which was to be the final adventure strip to commence in Cheeky Weekly. The alphabetical threat was brought to an end on 30 June 1979, leaving Mystery Boy as the sole remaining adventure story.

The Double Deckers strip from Whizzer and Chips was dusted down, given a bit of a visual tarting up, retitled The Gang and foisted on unsuspecting Cheeky Weekly readers by IPC management as of 07 July 1979. I don't know what IPC felt Cheeky Weekly readers had done to deserve this. The Gang wasn't an adventure strip, but it certainly wasn't funny.

The telephonic tales involving young Ringer Dinger were next to be salvaged from the back of the Whizzer and Chips filing cabinets, commencing in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979 (although Dinger was only called upon to appear 3 times in the weekly comic). The final reprint, Soggy the Sea Monster, sourced once again from Shiver and Shake, commenced on 17 November 1979 but unlike Dinger's rather lackadaisical attitude to attendance Soggy, as mentioned above, showed up every week thereafter until Cheeky Weekly was cancelled.

I haven't mentioned above the Cheeky Weekly strips that re-used old scripts but with new artwork (the various James Bold series and Why, Dad, Why?) since these are not true reprints.

It's possible that the strips based on Warner Brothers cartoon characters (used to represent the supporting features in the Saturday morning picture show sequences) were reprints but I have no information on this so they are not included in the reprint figures below. Nor are the strips which reused old scripts as mentioned above.

We can see that reprints by month started out at 8% of the total features, then dropped away slightly until a very dramatic drop to 1% in July 1978. This was because only 1 reprint appeared in the whole of  that month, due to the disruptive presence of the 4-week mini comics promotion in the July '78 issues.

As of August 1978 the percentage of reprints rises, and afterwards gets back to the more regular level of 8 or 9% for the remainder of the comic's run, although February 1980 shows a jump to 13% - there was of course only one issue in that month, the final edition, and the highest-ever reprint percentage is due to the presence of sporadic contributor Ringer Dinger, in addition to regular reprints Soggy and The Gang, in that comic.

Reprints by Month 22-OCT-77 to 02-FEB-80
Month Total Features Reprint Features % Reprints Reprint Sources
OCT-19775148Buster 2, Film Fun 1, Knockout 1
NOV-197710088Buster 4, Chips 1, Jingles 1, Sun Weekly 1, Tiger 1
DEC-197712276Buster 2, Film Fun 2, Radio Fun 1, TV Fun 1, Tip Top 1
JAN-19789944Chips 1, School Friend 1, Swift 1, Tip Top 1
FEB-19789966Buster 2, Chips 1, Comet 1, TV Fun 2
MAR-197810166Buster 2, Chips 1, Knockout 1, Swift 1, Tiger 1
APR-197812465Buster 1, Chips 1, Knockout 2, School Friend 1, Tip Top 1
MAY-19789833Chips 1, Film Fun 1, Knockout 1
JUN-19789666Buster 1, Chips 1, Cor!! 1, The Jester 1, Tiger 1, Wonder 1
JUL-197810911Knockout 1
AUG-19789344Whizzer and Chips 4
SEP-197811876Cor!! 3, Whizzer and Chips 4
OCT-19789799Jag 1, Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
NOV-19789688Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
DEC-19784736Shiver and Shake 1, Whizzer and Chips 2
JAN-197910288Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
FEB-197910388Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
MAR-1979120108Shiver and Shake 5, Whizzer and Chips 5
APR-19799489Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
MAY-19798989Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
JUN-1979113109Shiver and Shake 5, Whizzer and Chips 5
JUL-19799389Whizzer and Chips 8
AUG-19799489Whizzer and Chips 8
SEP-1979113109Whizzer and Chips 10
OCT-19799477Whizzer and Chips 7
NOV-19799366Shiver and Shake 2, Whizzer and Chips 4
DEC-1979121108Shiver and Shake 5, Whizzer and Chips 5
JAN-198094910Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 5
FEB-198023313Shiver and Shake 1, Whizzer and Chips 2

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Cheeky Weekly cover date 02 February 1980 – the final issue.

What’s going on? Well, from our perspective all these years later we of course know what our toothy pal doesn’t as the issue commences – this is to be the final edition of our favourite comic and as of next week a select band of Cheeky Weekly survivors will move into sister title Whoopee! At one time this news would have been heralded with a ‘Great News Inside Pals!’ banner on the front page but, as comic readers had become wise to the fact that merges weren’t in fact ‘great’, by the 1980s new strategies for imparting the bad news were being employed. On this occasion an air of intrigue and mystery is created, and even Cheeky himself doesn’t know what fate awaits him. Crystal Belle describes the forthcoming announcement as ‘tremendous’. The definitions provided by an online dictionary reveal how clever the scriptwriter is in their choice of adjective.


Extremely large in amount, extent, or degree; enormous

Marvelous; wonderful

Capable of making one tremble; terrible

Art: Frank McDiarmid

As this is the final Cheeky Weekly, I’m going to focus on the final panels of all this week’s non-Cheeky strips.
First up, Why, Dad, Why? concludes with Dad in detention. This feature, which used scripts originally written for Whizzer and Chips, but with new artwork, will not be among the Cheeky Weekly strips transferring into Whoopee!, although the inter-generational antagonism will resurface in the 1980 Cheeky Holiday Special and Annuals dated 1981 and 1982.

Art: John Geering
Disaster Des has two adventures this week, the second following directly from the first on consecutive pages. Possibly the Cheeky Weekly editor had commissioned one strip too many but, not wishing to waste his moolah since Des would not be transferring into Whoopee!, crammed both into the final issue. The second story ends with the juvenile jinx in fancy dress as a Victorian chimney sweep at the Mayor’s costume ball, while the assembly rooms disintegrate around the civic dignitary. Des would return in the Cheeky Specials dated 1980, ‘81 and ‘82, and also all the remaining Annuals, cover-dated from 1981 to 1985

Art: Mike Lacey

The Stage School kids hasten, with a 'Titter' and 'Chortle', to their showbiz class having avoided a threatened whacking. This is not the last we’ll see of the young entertainers as they’ll survive the upcoming merge and will also give performances in the 1980 and ‘81 Cheeky Specials and Annuals dated ‘81 to ‘85.

Art: Barry Glennard
An offensive stereotype appears in this week's Ringer Dinger story. In the late 70s this kind of portrayal was regularly encountered in the media. Fortunately the shocking image is absent from the final panel which I'm able to present here. The Ringer Dinger reprints from Whizzer and Chips will not carry over into Whoopee!, although the teeny telephone tearaway will dial-in appearances in the Cheeky Specials dated 1980 and 1981 and the Annuals dated ‘81 and ‘82.

Art: Terry Bave
Snail of the Century is displaced from its usual back-cover location, but retains its regular Snail-wryly-observing-goings-on-in-the-Cheeky-household conclusion. An untitled, cut-down version of Snail of the Century will transfer into Whoopee! and some months after that comes to an end the mirthful mollusc will be lucky enough to secure another strip all to himself. Cheeky’s slithering sidekick will of course continue to accompany his toothy mate in the Cheeky strips in their new home. However fans of SotC will be able to enjoy Snail on the Beach (a holiday version of the strip) in the 1980 Holiday Special, followed by A Snail’s Tale and Snail Abroad in the 1981 and 1982 Summer Specials respectively. The 1981 Annual will feature a Snail of the Century, while those dated 1982 and ‘83 will each include Smile-along-a-Snail (SotCs in all but name), and Snail Down Under (another SotC variant) will appear in the Annual for 1985.

Frank again

Elephant secures employment as a butler this week and ends the Elephant on the Run strip having yet again seen off The Man in the Plastic Mac. At the end of the final episode we’re none the wiser as to why our elephant pal is being pursued, and since the peripatetic pachyderm will not survive the imminent merge, we remain puzzled to this day - the one further strip that appeared in the 1980 Cheeky Holiday Special provided no further enlightenment.

Art: Robert Nixon
This week’s footwear-focused Calculator Kid tale ends with Charlie having received a free pair of trainers thanks to the silicon-chip stratagems of his number-crunching pal. Charlie and Calc will be among the Cheeky Weekly survivors continuing in Whoopee!, and fans of the pair will be able to enjoy more of their adventures in the Cheeky Specials from 1980 to 1982, and in each of the Annuals from 1981 to 1985.

Art: Terry Bave
Soggy the Sea Monster who, like Charlie and Calc is benefiting from the colour printing available on the centre pages, doesn’t actually appear in the final panel of his tale, in which the lovable leviathan teaches a lesson to a pair of inconsiderate water sport enthusiasts. Soggy, whose Cheeky Weekly run consisted of reprints from Shiver and Shake, will not continue into Whoopee!, but will make a bumper 5 aquatic forays into the 1980 Holiday Special and enjoy a single adventure in 1982’s Summer Special, plus appearances in the Annuals from ‘81 to ‘83.

Art: Robert Nixon
The Gang (a retitled reprint of the Double Deckers from Whizzer and Chips) subject us to a tedious tale involving a paper chase (another of those things that only ever occur in comics, never in real life). Fortunately, this underwhelming feature will fail to make it into Whoopee!, although it will return to haunt the Cheeky 1980 Holiday Special and the 1981 Annual. The strip that brought the original Double Decker run to a conclusion had actually been reprinted in Cheeky Weekly dated 28 July 1979 – see Raven’s comment here.

Art: Robert MacGillivray
Tub is rewarded for his inadvertent cat rescue, something which pleases his usually-irascible dad. Our portly pal will not lend his weight to the band of Cheeky Weekly folk making the transition to their new home, but will return in 1981’s Summer Special and Annuals from 1981 to 1984. The corpulent cove will also make a surprise appearance in the 1983 Shiver and Shake Annual. How did that happen?

Art: Nigel Edwards
Mustapha Million challenges a bully to a fight, but by offering his opponent access to the considerable range of gym equipment and fitness facilities available in Mustapha Mansion, at the time of the contest the bully is exhausted. Thus wily Mustapha wins by knocking his opponent down with a feather (not a wet fish as the illustration below might suggest). Mustapha will transfer into Whoopee! and will in fact become the longest-surviving Cheeky Weekly character, withstanding several merges and appearing regularly (although for a period in reprints) until the final issue of Whizzer and Chips in 1990 - somewhat longer than the single year his father originally intended him to spend in the UK. Our middle-eastern mate will also appear in the Cheeky Specials from 1980 to ‘82 and Annuals from ‘81 to ‘85.

Art: Joe McCaffrey

Cheeky Weekly’s next-longest-lived character, sharing the seven-figure titular reference with Mustapha, is 6 Million Dollar Gran, although the synthetic senior citizen underwent three rebrandings during her post-Cheeky Weekly career, ending up as the leader of a group of old age pensioners in a strip tiltled Gran’s Gang, a feature that survived until the final issue of Whoopee (which by then had been shorn of its exclamation mark) dated 30 March 1985. In her final Cheeky Weekly outing, Gran overcomes multiple difficulties while attempting to feed the local ducks. The aged automaton will have further adventures in the Cheeky Specials of 1980 and 1981 (in the 1981 Special her strip will be titled $6000,000 Gran to match the change in title that came into effect when she transferred to Whoopee!), and the Annuals from ‘81 to ‘85 (strips titled 6 Million Dollar Gran, $6000,000 Gran, Gran, Granny and Granny respectively; In Whoopee! Her strip was retitled Robot Granny in May 1981, and Gran’s Gang in July 1983).

Art: Nigel Edwards
Gag references professional cockney geezer Arfur Mullard

Speed Squad set up their own rally course but a driver mistakes it for the real thing and the plucky trio avert a disaster by guiding him out. Our high-velocity chums won’t survive the merge, but will enjoy accelerated adventures in the Cheeky Specials of 1980 and ‘81, and the Annuals from 1981 to ‘84.

Art: Jimmy Hansen
Cheeky drops the bombshell on the Chit-Chat page...

 ...The Cheeky's Chit-Chat feature will not be forgotten next week as the Whoopee! letters page will become known as Whoopee Chit-Chat, although letters will in future be addressed to 'the editor' rather than the toothy funster. The writers of letters printed in Whoopee! and Cheeky will continue to receive the same £2.00 award as did correspondents to Cheeky Weekly's letters page, but they will not receive the additional reward of a Cheeky badge (the Cheeky office obviously had a few boxes of Cheeky badges cluttering up the place at the end of the comic's run, as readers of the first issue of the combined title will be invited to write in to claim a free badge, 2000 of which will be up for grabs in return for an SAE). However, readers having a letter printed in Whoopee! and Cheeky will, in addition to their cash award, receive a Whoopee! whoopee cushion.

The lucky band of characters who have been selected for transfer to Whoopee! are revealed on Saturday (except Paddywack who is absent from this final issue but will return in the merged comic).

More Frank

A competition is announced on the back cover, giving readers of the merged comic a chance to win a FriscoDisco junior DJ unit as an inducement for fans of the toothy funster’s title to transfer their loyalties to Whoopee! and Cheeky. And don't forget, after explaining to your parent or guardian that your favourite comic has been subsumed into another title, to hand the completed regular order coupon to your newsagent.

It's great that Frank McDiarmid delivered all the Cheeky's Week artwork for this final issue - it's only fitting since his work was such a major part of the comic's success. And didn't he do a great job of drawing the Whoopee! characters? Excellent work from him, as ever. A very big THANK YOU Frank for your hard work throughout the comic's life and for all the laughs.

Well, it's sad of course that our favourite comic has come to an end, but wasn't it a great run? In terms of the number of issues, it's nowhere near the venerable Buster or Beano, yet Cheeky Weekly's 117 editions is more than some comics were able to manage before expiring. But what counts, as we know, is quality, not quantity, and quality was in evidence throughout Cheeky Weekly's run. Frank McDiarmid stamped his personality on the Cheeky pages, and his wild, zany artwork and comments scattered around the sets just made the pages zing with irrepressible humour. The scripts by Willie (Gordon) Cook were imaginative, and the vast array of appealing, eccentric characters strolling the streets of Krazy Town elevated what could have been merely a succession of corny gags into a highly enjoyable romp through an often surreal version of late 70s Britain.

As we know, Cheeky Weekly emerged from Krazy, and inherited its progenitor title's iconoclastic approach to British humour comics. On its debut Cheeky Weekly had 2 main characteristics that set it apart from its predecessors; it was based around a single character who featured in multiple strips each week, and all the non-Cheeky strips were 'framed'  by those containing the toothy funster and his pals. The extra care that had to be taken with the planning and placement of the features and their introductory sequences within the Cheeky strips made it evident that this comic was intended as something rather different from the grab-bag of unrelated comic pages of the typical humour/adventure titles of the time, and no doubt we have to thank IPC's group editor Bob Paynter for making all this possible. Sadly over time the framing devices were dropped, as were the adventure strips, but in its heyday there was no title to touch Cheeky Weekly.

And as well as the framing devices, further trouble was taken to give us several special issues, such as the Skateboard, Disco and (one of my favourites) the 60-years-into-the-future editions. Then the metafictional Mystery Comic was introduced to make things even more interesting.

The toothy funster's title is mostly remembered today for its Cheeky content, and rightly so, but let's not forget that among the pages of our grinning pal's weekly gagfests were some cracking strips;

Art: Reg Parlett

As mentioned in relation to Ringer Dinger above, derogatory stereotypes presented as 'entertainment' were sadly common in British society in the Cheeky years, to the extent that it wasn't uncommon for them to appear in children's comics. However, what was to become the comic's longest-survived creation was quite the reverse - a visitor who was generous, kind and eager to learn about and contribute to a culture other than his own - Mustapha Million. Mustapha showed us all how a diverse society benefits everyone. Much kudos to the enlightened creators of this lovely strip. How could it fail to be anything but a delight when the responsibility for illustrating the positive basic premise was entrusted to the mighty Reg Parlett. I firmly believe that Reg did some of his best work on young Master Million.

Art: Ian Knox

Ian Knox's artwork on 6 Million Dollar Gran was another highlight - his often-grotesque visuals and cleverly-rendered humorous action scenes perfectly suited the immensely-powerful-(what-seems-to-be)-little-old-lady scenario and some clever scripts keep the fun bubbling along nicely. I'm even almost willing to forgive the frequent references to Gran's 'bionic' attributes!

Art: Robert Nixon

For me, Elephant on the Run was probably the stand-out non-Cheeky feature. I love the utter daftness of it all, and Robert Nixon's depiction of the slapstick events is superb. So what if there was no proper conclusion? Maybe it's better we never found out why our tusker pal was on the lam.

Disaster Des, Stage School, I could go on; Cheeky Weekly had more than its fair share of excellent content. But let's not get too downhearted about the demise of our favourite comic, we've still got plenty of Cheeky-and-pals fun coming up in Whoopee! and Cheeky.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 02-Feb-1980, Issue 117 of 117
1Cover Feature (final appearance) 'What's Going On?' - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
2Sunday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
3Why, Dad, Why? (final appearance) - Art John K. Geering (final art on feature)
4Joke-Box Jury (final appearance)\Ad: IPC (final appearance) 'Mickey Mouse' 18 of 18
5Monday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
6Disaster Des (final appearance) - Art Mike Lacey (final art on feature)
7Disaster Des (final appearance) - Art Mike Lacey (final art on feature)
8Stage School (final appearance) - Art Barry Glennard (final art on feature)
9Stage School (final appearance) - Art Barry Glennard (final art on feature)
10Tuesday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
11Ringer Dinger (final appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Terry Bave (final art on feature)
12Snail of the Century (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
13Ad: Weetabix (final appearance) 'DC Comics promotion' 2 of 2
14Elephant On The Run (final appearance) - Art Robert Nixon (final art on feature)
15Wednesday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
16Calculator Kid (final appearance) - Art Terry Bave (final art on feature)
17Soggy the Sea Monster (final appearance) reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Robert Nixon (final art on feature)
18The Gang (final appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray (final art on feature)
19The Gang (final appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray (final art on feature)
20Thursday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
21Tub (final appearance) - Art Nigel Edwards (final art on feature)
22Mustapha Million (final appearance) - Art Joe McCaffrey (final art on feature)
23Mustapha Million (final appearance) - Art Joe McCaffrey (final art on feature)
246 Million Dollar Gran (final appearance) - Art Nigel Edwards (final art on feature)
256 Million Dollar Gran (final appearance) - Art Nigel Edwards (final art on feature)
26Friday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
27Ad: IPC (final appearance) 'Tiger' 10 of 10 Ad: 'Shoot' 13 of 13
28Speed Squad (final appearance) - Art Jimmy Hansen (final art on feature)
29Chit-Chat (final appearance)
30Saturday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
31Saturday (final appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (final art on feature)
32Ad: IPC (final appearance) 'DJ Unit competition in Whoopee and Cheeky'

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Frank's week in 1974

Irmantas has begun what I'm sure will be a fascinating series examining a particular artist's output in a single week from years gone by. In this post Frank McDiarmid comes under the spotlight, although as Irmantas observes, in the week in question Frank was positively underemployed compared to his heroic output during the Cheeky Weekly years.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Profile - Posh Claude's Mum and Dad

Was Claude truly posh?

Cheeky's pompous pal's mum first appeared in the 24 December 1977 comic...

Art: Dick Millington

The above scene doesn't really clarify our uncertainty over Claude's background, but the next appearance by his mum, in the 01 April 1978 edition does suggest that his family has money (unless it was an April Fool gag)...

Art: Frank McDiarmid pencils

However, Claude's dad's first appearance, in the comic dated 03 February 1979, seemed to indicate that the snooty schoolboy's background was more humble than he claimed...

Art: Mike Lacey

But when he next appeared, in the 01 September 1979 issue, Claude seemed to have a different, more affluent dad (this was also the final appearance of Mummikins)...

Mike again

Yet in his final appearance, in the comic dated 03 November 1979, Claude's pater, assuming it was the one featured in the above strip, seemed to have suffered a reversal of fortune (but maybe it was the original dad again)...

More Mike

Maybe Claude had a stepfather?

None of Claude's three parents appeared in the Cheeky pages in Krazy.

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Posh Claude's Mum324-Dec-197701-Sep-1979

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Posh Claude's Dad303-Feb-197903-Nov-1979

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Cheeky Special 2019!

...Well, not quite, but it seems that Lew Stringer has included our toothy pal in his intro that will appear in the forthcoming Cor!! and Buster Special. Nice touch. Clearly, Cheeky never appeared in either of the vintage comics in question but Lew is of course aware of this so the intro probably features a selection of IPC characters from across their titles. But maybe the contents aren't restricted to strips that appeared in Cor!! and Buster. The cover, by Neil Googe, includes Hit Kid who certainly never appeared in Cor!! and I would imagine if he appeared in Buster it was in the form of reprints from Krazy.