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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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Cheeky Weekly Index - Cheeky Annuals and Specials Index
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index
Features by Number of Appearances
Cheeky Weekly Timeline
Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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Sunday 21 November 2010

The Pages - Page 1

Starts today, Pals!

In this series of posts, I'll be looking at the contents of a particular page throughout Cheeky Weekly's history.  I thought it logical to start with page 1 (aka the cover).

The feature to appear most regularly on the cover was What a Cheek, which appeared 41 times between the first issue and the issue dated 23 September 1978.  What a Cheek was a 3-panel gag feature located at the bottom of the page (apart from the 04 March 1978 cover which had it appearing vertically down the right of the page), and it left a large area beneath the comic title.  This area was used to promote features appearing inside the comic, sometimes a strip or character, sometimes a competition, cut-out booklet or poster.  The first issue to be without a What a Cheek strip was the Christmas issue dated 31 December 1977, which featured a special festive cover.

The following issue dated 07 January 1978 also had no What a Cheek, this time the whole cover was given over to promoting the first part of the Cheeky Spotter Book Of Fun.

What a Cheek was missing again from the 28 January 1978 issue. The main part of that week's cover promoted the '4 Comics Competition' inside, and What a Cheek's traditional place at the bottom of the page was taken by a banner directing readers to the 'super news' on page 30 of a special skateboard issue to appear the following week.  That subsequent issue, dated 04 February 1978, also did away with What a Cheek, replacing it this time with a 3-panel strip entitled Sunday.  In that strip, Cheeky introduced the skateboard theme, so despite being a 3-panel strip, it didn't conform to the What a Cheek gag format.

On 17 June 1978 skateboards again bumped What a Cheek, as the cover promoted a '6 Skateboard Sets to be Won' competition, and also the Father's Day messages inside.

There was no What a Cheek again on 19 August 1978, as the cover contained a teaser for that week's forty-years-into-the future issue, and WaC was missing yet again on 09 September 1978 as the cover was promoting the 'win money' features, Joke-Box Jury and Paddywack.

A Marx Toys competition promo meant that What a Cheek was absent from the cover of the 16 September 1978 comic.

The following week's issue, dated 23 September 1978, was the last to feature What a Cheek, as the cover (and indeed the contents of the comic) underwent a revamp on 30 September 1978.  That issue introduced a new title for the cover strip, although the format was essentially the same, at least initially.  The new title for the strip was Cheeky's Week….Sunday (aka Cheeky's Week in my data) and this feature appeared on the cover of 36 issues, up to and including 30 June 1979.

Unlike What a Cheek, which remained a 3-panel strip throughout its life, Cheeky's Week eventually increased the number of panels to fill the whole of the cover beneath the title.  The first issue to feature a whole-cover Cheeky's Week was dated 10 March 1979, although it still featured 3 panels, albeit bigger than those used previously.  The two subsequent issues also featured whole-cover CWs (both 4-panel), but the 07 April 1979 issue reverted to a 3-panel bottom-of-the-page strip, as the majority of the cover promoted the pull-out poster which started that week.  From the following week until its final appearance on 30 June 1979, Cheeky's Week reverted to whole page, multi-panel strips.

Cheeky's Week missed only one issue; the cover of the 31 March 1979 comic dispensed with Cheeky's Week and devoted the front page to publicising the knitting pattern for Cheeky's jersey which featured inside.

Another reboot of the comic occurred on 07 July 1979.  This latest restyling did away with cover strips, instead presenting an untitled single panel joke, although quite often the joke shared the front page with promotions of various descriptions.  Manhole Man was the most frequently featured stooge to appear in the new-style jokes, gracing 8 covers.  Gunga Jim featured on 5 covers, and Doctor Braincell on 3.  Evidently by the penultimate issue dated 26 January 1980, the writer had exhausted his ideas for jokes with the Cheeky's Week characters, as the cover sees Cheeky in a jungle setting, sharing a gag with Tarzan.

The run of single-panel cover gags was interrupted only by 18 August 1979's cover which promoted the first part of the giant Cheeky poster.

The cover of the final issue featured Cheeky asking 'What's going on?'.  What WAS going on was of course the imminent merge with Whoopee!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Profile - Bump-Bump Bernie

Bernie was an accident waiting to happen.  Unfortunately for him, the wait wasn't very long.  Often heralded by the sound after which he was named, Bernie would appear with bandages around various parts of his anatomy.  Cheeky would then ask his mangled mate how he sustained such damage, and Bernie's reply explained how a seemingly innocuous event had resulted in the injury on display.

The 15 July 1978 and 02 September 1978 issues presented the unusual sight of an un-bandaged Bernie.  On the former occasion Bernie subsequently fell down a manhole, but on the latter Bernie, trying to engineer an accident in order to miss school and crossing a black cat, spilling salt and walking under a ladder, remained unscathed.

 In the comic dated 05 August 1978, Bernie's explanation of his accident was so animated that his flailing arms caused him to launch skyward.

Bernie was afflicted by Cheeky Weekly's recurring inconsistent hair colour issue, being variously depicted with ginger, blonde and on one occasion black locks.  He featured in 2 Burpo Specials, but not as the headline character.  The first was with Manhole Man on 26 May 1979 (another example of a bandage-free Bernie), and the second featured Crystal Belle on 23 June 1979.

Bernie made it onto Cheeky Weekly's cover in 7 issues, each time in the Cheeky's Week feature.  He was also a guest in the Skateboard Squad strip on 24 June 1978.

Bernie was featured on the Pin-up Pal poster in the 29 July 1978 issue, where his hair colour was hidden by head-to-toe bandages.

Black-haired Bernie
Cheeky's bruised buddy made his debut in Krazy dated 30 October 1976, where readers learned he was the brother of Big Strong Sam\Steve. However he didn't return to the pages of that comic until the 18 February 1978 issue, thereafter making only 2 further Krazy appearances.

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Bump-Bump Bernie11322-Oct-197702-Feb-1980

Missing From Issues

Bump-Bump Bernie - Number of appearances by Element
Element Number of Appearances
Cheeky's Week7
Sunday evening6
Cover Feature3
Boxing Day2
The Burpo Special2

Bump-Bump Bernie - Number of appearances by Page
Page Number of Appearances

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
Bump-Bump BernieFrank McDiarmid69
Bump-Bump BernieMike Lacey26
Bump-Bump BernieFrank McDiarmid pencils24
Bump-Bump BernieBarrie Appleby10
Bump-Bump BernieUnknown Cheeky Artist 15
Bump-Bump BernieJim Watson4
Bump-Bump BernieDick Millington4
Bump-Bump BernieBob Hill1

Saturday 13 November 2010

Cheeky's Week artist roundup

Most recent update:03 May 2018 - The page 30 conclusion to Saturday in the 17 December 1977 issue (consisting of 2 cut-and-paste panels) had not previously been reflected in the figures below.

Updated 19 June 2016 - a total of 18 Cheeky's Week elements that were previously attributed to Mike Lacey have been credited to Jimmy Hansen, who wasn't previously listed here.

Updated 14 February 2016 as a result of reassigning 2 episodes of Snail of the Century from Frank McDiarmid to Barrie Appleby.

Updated 26 May 2013 as a result of reassigning The Burpo Special, Cheeky Weekly 10 March 1979, from Frank McDiarmid to Barrie Appleby.

Updated 10 May 2012 as the artist credit Frank McDiarmid pencils 2 has now been reclassified as Unkown Cheeky Artist 1.

Each page of Cheeky Weekly is made up of one or more elements. These elements may be features (e.g. Mustapha Million, Joke-Box Jury, James Bold, Interval) or adverts (e.g. ads for other IPC titles, 'coming next issue' ads or ads for Star Wars toys). A single issue can contain the same element on more than one page, such as the Wednesday feature which, when the Creepy Sleepy Tale was in the comic (itself a two-element feature), appeared as one whole page, plus a three-panel strip at the bottom of the page containing the second Creepy Sleepy Tale element.

There were a total of 1251 Cheeky's Week elements in Cheeky Weekly's run. I have assigned some sort of artwork credit to each of these elements, so I'm now in a position to do an analysis of the elements by artist classification and feature. As I have discussed in my Other Cheeky Artists posts, one of these classifications identifies what I believe to be a penciller/inker collaboration. There is also a Not Known category and a cut-and-paste category.

In his interview in Crikey! issue 12, Frank McDiarmid says that he drew two thirds of Cheeky (by this I assume he meant two thirds of the Cheeky's Week strips). We can see by the figures below that the total Cheeky's Week elements I have attributed to Frank McDiarmid and Frank McDiarmid pencils  amounts to 835. This is in fact just over two thirds of the 1251 Cheeky's Week elements (66.74% to be precise), and confirms that Frank provided the pencils for the FMP artwork. Thanks again to Lew Stringer and RobFilth over at the Comics UK forum who originally suggested that Frank may have had an inker working with him to ease the burden of generating such a large number of pages every week.

In addition to his work on the Cheeky's Week features listed below, Frank also drew 32 Pin-Up Pal poster pages and 60 Cover Features, as well as 44 Cheeky-related pages in Krazy comic in the period between the first issue of Cheeky Weekly dated 22 October 1977 and the final issue of Krazy dated 15 April 1978. He also supplied pages for the Cheeky Specials and Annuals. During Cheeky Weekly's run, Frank was of course drawing Roger the Dodger in the Beano.

Please note that Cheeky's Pal Puzzle is not listed separately in this analysis as it's actually part of the Saturday feature so is included in that category.

Count of Elements by ArtistBarrie ApplebyBob HillCut and PasteDick MillingtonFrank McDiarmidFrank McDiarmid pencilsJim WatsonJimmy HansenMike LaceyNot KnownUnknown Cheeky Artist 1Total
Ash Wednesday


Boxing Day


Cheeky's Week2



Christmas Card


Christmas Day


Christmas Dinner


Christmas Morning


Easter Monday


Easter Saturday


Easter Sunday


Good Friday




New Year's Eve


Saturday - April Fool's Day


Shrove Tuesday


Snail of the Century2




Sunday evening5


The Burpo Special1





Wednesday (conclusion)11


What a Cheek2



Thursday 11 November 2010

Cheeky Weekly cover date 14 January 1978

It's not hard to guess the answer to Cheeky's question on this week's cover.

Proving that no joke is too hoary for use, even on the front cover, the What A Cheek strip shamelessly gives another outing to a venerable gag.

Can you spot the Humphrey on the Sunday page?  Those seeking enlightenment may find the Unigate ads here instructive.

On Sunday evening, as Cheeky returns home to watch 6 Million Dollar Gran, we see the first appearance of the 'Save a comic - buy Krazy' slogan (Krazy's demise was mere weeks ahead).  In Gran's adventure, she rescues a coachload of school kids who have been buried in an avalanche.

On the What's New Kids page, Cheeky is advertising The Morecambe and Wise Comic Book by Denis Gifford and Terry Wakefield.  Straining to read what's on the cover of the book, there seem to be references to famous comic characters - Ally Sloper's topper, Kate's keyhole, Lord Snooty's collar, etc.

A mad motorcyclist makes several appearances in the Cheeky's Week strips in this issue, tearing across the background.  He is eventually revealed to be one Evil Karneevil.  There's possibly an Emerson, Lake and Palmer reference there.

Like last week's Mustapha Million tale, this week's is reduced from the normal two pages to one.  This is also the first Mustapha tale to be drawn by Joe McCaffrey, and sees our wealthy hero discover that the local playground is as dilapidated and broken-down as the attendant.  Big-hearted (and walleted) Mustapha provides a spanking new playground.

There is evidently some sort of mix-up in compiling the elements of this week's comic.  On the Interval page, just as the titles for this week's Space Family Robinson episode appear, one of Cheeky's pals says that in last week's episode Mrs Robinson vanished.  However, we can clearly see she's present in the first panel of the ensuing episode, and actually it's at the end of this week's instalment that she disappears.  Nevertheless there's some nice artwork in this instalment, as the Robinsons encounter those frigid fiends, the Icemen.


The comic rounds off with two more sections of the spotter book.

All the Cheeky's Week art this issue is by Unknown Cheeky Artist 1, the first time this artist's work has featured in the comic.

We say farewell (and in one case, hello as well) to 2 minor characters from Cheeky's Week this issue.  The short-sighted dustman makes his fourth and final appearance - I suspect it was felt the comic had room for only one refuse-disposal-related character, and Sid the Street-Sweeper prevailed.  Mad Scientist, who had featured in the 'Ello It's Cheeky strip in Krazy, makes his first appearance during the Interval, but is never seen in the comic again.

Also bowing out is the Doug's Doodle gag feature, although aspiring artist Doodle Doug will return.

The Tweety feature makes what is mercifully its only appearance in the comic's run.  I'm not sure why Sylvester isn't credited in the title, as he is present in the story.  The bad news is that we will be forced to endure 28 episodes of Tweety and Sylvester in the coming weeks.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 14-Jan-1978, Issue 13 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Lily and Ursula' - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
2Sunday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
3Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
4Sunday evening - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Monday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
9James Bold 'The Ghost Highwayman' 2 of 9 - Art Mike White
10James Bold 'The Ghost Highwayman' 2 of 9 - Art Mike White
11Suddenly - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
12Tuesday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
13Old Comic reprint from School Friend 'Dilly Dreem' 1 of 2
14What's New, Kids
15Wednesday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds\Wednesday (conclusion) - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
18Joke-Box Jury
19Thursday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
20Home Movie 'Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp' - Art Jack Clayton
21Friday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
22Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey (first art on feature)
23Ad: IPC 'Roy of the Rovers' 3 of 8 Ad: 'Spotter Books promo' 2 of 2
24Doug's Doodle (final appearance) - Art Artie Jackson (final art on feature)\Saturday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
25Tweety (single appearance)
26Tweety (single appearance)
27Interval - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (first art on feature)
28Space Family Robinson 'March of the Icemen' - Art John Richardson
29Space Family Robinson 'March of the Icemen' - Art John Richardson
30Ad: IPC 'Shoot' 3 of 13
31The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun - Art Jim Petrie
32The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun - Art Jim Petrie

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 14-Jan-1978
Artist Elements
Unknown Cheeky Artist 112

Saturday 6 November 2010

Profile - Manhole Man

Known by some (apparently) as Oi!, due to his habit of prefixing his riddles with said exclamation, Manhole Man would literally pop up when Cheeky was nearby, deliver his 'What do you get if you cross a X with a Y?' feed line (wearing the manhole cover as a kind of metallic flat cap), and swiftly return to his subterranean lair.

Manhole Man's first appearance in Cheeky Weekly, on the Sunday page in the first issue, was not in fact from a manhole, but through a hole in his front door.  In the 18 February 1978 comic, Manhole Man surfaces in the cinema, and on 29 April 1978 and 08 July 1978 we get a Manhole Man's-eye-view of the world.

Manhole Man made a number of appearances on Cheeky Weekly's cover - he appeared in 16 Cheeky's Week cover strips, and was the first character to appear on the cover alongside Cheeky when the comic's 'new look' was introduced in the 07 July 1979 issue.  The new look dispensed with cover strips, instead featuring gags which took up the whole of the front page (promotions permitting), and Manhole Man went on to feature on a total of 8 new look covers, plus an appearance on 18 August 1979's cover which dispensed with the joke to feature the first part of the giant Cheeky poster inside.

Manhole Man was the subject of 26 May 1979's Burpo Special, and he had a cameo role in the Skateboard Squad strip in the 13 May 1978 issue.

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Manhole Man10722-Oct-197702-Feb-1980

Missing From Issues

Manhole Man - Number of appearances by Element
Element Number of Appearances
Cheeky's Week16
Cover Feature12
Sunday evening5
Christmas Morning1
Easter Sunday1
The Burpo Special1

Manhole Man - Number of appearances by Page
Page Number of Appearances

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
Manhole ManFrank McDiarmid71
Manhole ManMike Lacey20
Manhole ManFrank McDiarmid pencils17
Manhole ManBarrie Appleby9
Manhole ManUnknown Cheeky Artist 18
Manhole ManDick Millington2
Manhole ManNot known1

Wednesday 3 November 2010

The Other Cheeky Artists - Not Known

To my eyes, this artist's work appears on only 5 Cheeky's Week pages, all in the 22 September 1979 issue. My feeling is that there is no Frank McDiarmid input on display here, and as I can't identify the artist, I have allocated these pages an artwork credit of Not Known. As always, any suggestions as to the originator will be gratefully received.

 Not Known's Cheeky's Week Pages in Cheeky Weekly

Cover Date

Monday 1 November 2010

The features - James Bold, 'The Ghost Highwayman'

Cheeky started reading the second James Bold adventure, The Ghost Highwayman, in the 07 January 1978 issue of Cheeky Weekly.  The venue for his Bold reading switched from his bed, where he read the previous novel, to the Newsagents, where for the duration of this Bold tale, Cheeky would sneak a free read each week before being ejected from the shop at a point of peak excitement in the narrative.

Although the title of the second Bold tale was given in the final instament of the previous tale, it was not mentioned again until the issue dated 14 January 1978, where Cheeky held the cover of the book towards us, and although the title is partly obscured by his hand, we could make a guess as to what it is.  A more explicit reference to the title of the novel was made on the cover of the issue dated 25 February 1978, which seems rather late to be promoting this particular Bold tale, as it ended the following week.

Bold's glamorous 'assistant', Angel O'Mercy is back for this second adventure, which begins one night on Gallows Hill…

Angel fires at the apparition, and Bold enters to find that the ghostly figure has departed by another door, taking Angel's purse.  As the intrepid duo make to follow the highwayman, they are met by Goole who, Bold observes, is wearing boots similar to those worn by the apparition.

Returning to his room, Bold rests in a chair, a wise move as an hour later his bed tips over which, had he been slumbering therein, would have pitched him into a pit containing sharpened stakes.  Knotting some sheets together, he climbs down into a passage leading off the pit, but is clubbed into unconsciousness.  Meanwhile a secret panel opens in Angel's room and she is abducted.

Bold wakes in a locked room, but finds the bars at the windows are loose and climbs onto a ledge, from which he sees Goole and Igor in another part of the building.  Goole is carrying a gun and planning to check on his captives.  Leaping through the window to surprise the suspicious pair, Bold locks them in the room from which he has just escaped, and frees Angel.  At that moment the highwayman appears, but immediately leaves, locking the door as he goes.  Our heroes then become aware that the ceiling of the room in which they are trapped is descending, threatening to crush them.  Frantically checking the walls, Angel discovers a secret panel through which she and Bold escape.

Emerging into another room, Bold and Angel are surprised to discover Goole and Igor tied to chairs.  Goole explains that he agreed to look after the manor for the ghost, but attempted to rob Bold and Angel himself, disguised as the highwayman.  On discovering this, the ghost had bound Goole and Igor, pending, presumably, some fiendish retribution.  Bold, ever the trusting soul, releases the creepy couple who vow never to return.  Just as Goole leaves, he directs Bold to a particular stone in the fireplace that, when pressed, opens the entrance to a hidden chamber, in the middle of which stands a large pyramid-like structure.  Atop the pyramid is a bed in which lays the ghost!

As they approach the apparition, a trap door opens, hurling Bold and Angel into a pit.  Bold lifts Angel so that she can grab the edge of the pit and pull herself out.  On escaping from the pit, Angel realises the ghost has vacated the bed, and decides to run from the chamber in an attempt to lead the highwayman away from Bold who is still trapped in the pit.

Having locked the ghost in the belfry, Angel returns to help Bold out of the pit.  The pair then hear a voice from within a locked room and on breaking in find an old man in chains.  The man reveals he is Caleb Croke, whose family own Gallows Hill Manor.  The ghost imprisoned him to make him reveal the location of the family treasure.  Croke refused to divulge its whereabouts, but the ghost did find a plan of all the secret passages in the building.

Croke tells our heroes that the treasure is hidden in a maze underneath the house, so the three enter the maze to check if the treasure is safe.  As they approach the hiding-place, the ghost emerges from a secret panel, grabs the old man, and returns from whence he came.

The comic now switches to spelling the old man's surname as Croak, as Bold decides that trying to chase the ghost through the secret passages would result in them getting lost.  He therefore presses on to find the treasure.

Suddenly Bold and Angel are attacked by three panthers.  Bold races up a staircase in order to lure them away.  As the lead panther strikes, a trapdoor opens, hurling Bold and the big cat down another staircase.  Meanwhile, Angel becomes aware that a suit of armour nearby is not empty.  It must be the ghost!  She attempts to run, but stumbles.  However, Bold, who has presumably escaped while the attacking panther was stunned after its fall, appears and the sinister figure escapes.  What became of the other panthers is not clear.

Bold then reveals that the passenger liner 'New York' docked at Southampton this afternoon, and he expects that the ghost will rob passengers travelling to London on the nearby Southampton-London road.  The astute ghost-hunter is entirely correct, as just at that moment the ghost highwayman is waylaying a car and relieving the wealthy American occupants of their cash.

Bold and Angel follow the ghost as it enters a concealed cave, but are distracted by cries for help.  Locating the source of the frantic screams, they discover Caleb Croke (yes, they've now gone back to the original spelling) in a dungeon, up to his neck in water and in danger of drowning as water continues to pour in from a pipe.  Bold releases the old man from his bonds and hauls him to safety.  Croke reveals that the ghost has found the treasure and is preparing to depart.

Bold sees the highwayman escaping on his horse, but mounts another steed from the manor's stables and sets off in pursuit.  As the chase reaches the road, a coach driver is so shocked to see the ghost highwayman that his vehicle veers across the road as the spectre passes by.  Determined that nothing will delay him, Bold, evidently a skilled horseman, urges his mount to jump the coach.  The highwayman turns and fires his pistol.

Now read on…
Well, what a turn up.  Did any of you guess that it wasn't actually a ghost before the final page?  I think the fact that our heroes discovered the 'highwayman' in bed, might have given them a clue.  Or maybe they thought it was a very tired ghost.  Bold again displays the trusting side of his nature when he lets Goole and Igor go, minutes after he saw them set off with a gun to search for Angel and himself.  It must be admitted that he is a good judge of character, as after releasing them, the pair troubled Bold no more.

The final episode of The Ghost Highwayman appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 04 March 1978, the ninth instalment of this tale.

We have seen evidence that the first James Bold story, Fangs of Fear, was based on a script originally written for the Maxwell Hawke feature in Buster.  The Ghost Highwayman was presumably based on Maxwell Hawke and The Ghost of Gallows Hill Manor, (Buster 11th Feb - 29th April 1961).  Assuming the original story had an unbroken run, it spanned 12 comics, while the Bold version concluded in 9 weeks.

For more info see the Buster Comic website.

I can't identify the artist who drew this Bold story.  If anyone can id the artist, please get in touch. UPDATE 02 November 2010 - My thanks to Shaqui Le Vesconte and Tony Ingram over at the Comics UK Forum for identifying the artist as Mike White.

For a summary of all the James Bold tales, see here.