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.

Quick links...
Basic Stats
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

Thanks for reading the blog.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Goodbye Krazy

In the same week that Cheeky Weekly number 26 hit the newsagents, readers of Krazy comic, in which the Cheeky character had originated, learned that the current issue was to be the last, and as from next week Krazy would merge into one of IPC's long-running titles, Whizzer and Chips.  Merges were the customary fate of comics whose sales figures had fallen below viable levels.  By merging the most popular strips from the failed title with an existing, more successful comic, the publishers hoped to deliver a circulation boost to the established title, in the form of the erstwhile readers of the defunct comic.

Krazy, which launched on 16 October 1976, almost exactly a year before Cheeky Weekly appeared, was a bold attempt to try something new; a melding of the traditional British humour comic with a less rigid, Mad Magazine-influenced style.  In Krazy, one-off humorous features appeared alongside the standard weekly strips, so that readers were never entirely sure what each issue would contain.  Some found this approach refreshing, but maybe it was too unsettling for those who preferred a comic consisting of the same strips every week.

Launching spin-off title Cheeky Weekly may in fact have hastened Krazy's demise.  Not all comic readers had access to unlimited budgets, and a significant number of those who had up until then read Krazy may have opted to drop Cheeky's progenitor title in order to fund their purchase of Cheeky Weekly.

Ironically, Cheeky made a reference to Krazy comic on the Tuesday page of Cheeky Weekly issue 26, which shared the same cover date as the final Krazy.  Krazy's precarious state would have been obvious to readers of Cheeky Weekly, as in the issues dated 14 January 1978 and 25 March 1978 the slogan 'Save a comic - buy Krazy' had been seen in the Cheeky's Week strips.  Presumably the decision to bring Krazy to an end had already been made by that stage.  The demise of  their comic would not have been a surprise to Krazy readers, either, as the cover of Krazy's 11 March 1978 issue, had read 'Save this comic, buy it'.

Cheeky had featured in 2 regular strips in Krazy; his own 'Ello, It's Cheeky feature, and The Krazy Gang where he appeared as a member of the titular group.  The Krazy Gang (with Cheeky) survived the merge and continued to appear in Whizzer and Chips.  'Ello, It's Cheeky did not continue after the merge, except in the sense that its format continued in the Cheeky's Week strips in Cheeky Weekly.  An intermittent Krazy series that began under the title Cheeky's Pal eventually evolved into The Burpo Special, a feature that was resurrected in the pages of Cheeky Weekly some 8 months after Krazy's cancellation.

In Krazy's final 'Ello, It's Cheeky strip, the toothy funster introduced his pals from Cheeky Weekly and invited readers to join him in his own comic, thereby risking a split in readership as some decided to move to Cheeky Weekly, while others opted to follow their Krazy pals into Whizzer and Chips.

In addition to the work he did in Cheeky Weekly, the prolific Frank McDiarmid had produced a total of 44 Cheeky-related pages in Krazy since Cheeky Weekly's launch, including the final 'Ello, It's Cheeky strip.  As with his Cheeky's Week work in Cheeky Weekly, Frank's terrific workload was eased by other artists on the Cheeky-related strips in Krazy.  The other artists' Cheeky output in Krazy since Cheeky Weekly started breaks down as follows; Barrie Appleby 7 pages, Dick Millington 18, Jim Petrie 4, Jim Watson 25, and there is one artist whose name I don't know, who drew the Bird Spotting page (a Cheeky-related feature) in Krazy dated 25 February 1978.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 15 April 1978

Cheeky and Snail are looking understandably nervous on the cover this week, as Krazy Town cowboy Six-Gun Sam seems to have obtained real guns and live ammo, and is shootin' the whole place up.  This is a nice piece of art by Frank McDiarmid, but I take issue with the 'Crump' sound effect, which I associate with heavy artillery rather than a pair of Colt 45s.  I'm not too sure about 'Zap' in this context either.

This is the second consecutive issue to make a feature of the comic title (see the title cosy on last week's cover).

There is no above-title caption on the cover this issue, and Cheeky appears to be at Krazy Town harbour in this week's What A Cheek (does Krazy Town have a harbour?).

Cheeky meets cover star Six-Gun Sam on Sunday, but mercifully our comical cowpoke keeps his shootin' irons holstered.

Supporter of good causes Do-Good Dora is on Cheeky's trail with her collecting tin all week.  Cheeky determinedly dodges her each time.

I like the skewed art, thumbprints and Frank's notes about the 'nutty artist' on the Suddenly page.

On Saturday, prominence is given to Walter Wurx's 'looward lunge'.

 Soppy Louise is the subject of this week's Pin-Up Pal poster on the back cover.  She's depicted carving 'Louise luvs Cheeky' high on a tree trunk, while Cheeky hacks desperately at the base with an axe.

There are a pleasing 9 pure Frank McDiarmid Cheeky's week elements this week (plus Frank turns in the main cover illo and the poster).  The remaining 4 Cheeky's Week elements are by Frank McDiarmid pencils.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 15-Apr-1978, Issue 26 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Six-Gun Sam' - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
9James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 5 of 6 - Art Mike White
10James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 5 of 6 - Art Mike White
11Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
12Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Old Comic reprint from Chips 'Sammy Sprockett' reprint from Chips 'Sally Sunshine'
14Ad: WH Smith (first appearance)
15Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds\Wednesday (conclusion) - Art Frank McDiarmid
18Joke-Box Jury\Ad: IPC 'Whizzer and Chips' 1 of 6
19Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
20Home Movie 'Treasure Island' - Art Jack Clayton
21Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
22Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
23Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
24Ad: IPC 'Look and Learn' 6 of 16
25Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
26Road Runner 'The Cool Caper'
27Road Runner 'The Cool Caper'
28Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
29Space Family Robinson 'The Cave'
30Space Family Robinson 'The Cave'
31Bam Splat and Blooie reprint from Buster\Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32Pin-up pal 'Louise' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 15-Apr-1978

Frank McDiarmid9
Frank McDiarmid pencils4

Saturday 23 April 2011

The features - Calculator Kid

Although not a full-blown revamp, there was a certain amount of upheaval in Cheeky Weekly's 01 July 1978 issue.  The 2-page-a-week Space Family Robinson series had come to an end in the previous issue, as had the Suddenly element of Cheeky's Week.  The Tuesday feature was absent from the 01 July 1978 issue (although it would return the following week), and there was less advertising than there had been the week before.

Moving into some of the pages thus vacated was a Whizzer and Chips mini comic, one of IPC's sporadic mini comic promotions which would see Buster, Whoopee! and Mickey Mouse mini comics appearing in Cheeky Weekly in the ensuing weeks.  Making its debut in the same issue was the Calculator Kid feature.

In the second part of his series 'A Line In Chuckles', which was published in the summer 1986 issue of British comic fanzine Golden Fun (see also Terry's more recent autobiography), Calculator Kid artist Terry Bave says his new Cheeky Weekly strip was originally to be about a boy and his transistor radio.  After further consideration, this idea was changed to feature a boy and his CB radio.  Bob Paynter, publisher Fleetway's Group Editor, looked at both ideas and suggested that a calculator might be more topical.  It's hard to believe now, but in a late 70s world where mobile phones were still considered by most to be in the realms of science fiction, a piece of handheld technology such as a calculator was pretty exciting stuff.  Especially when you discovered you could get it to spell out the word BOOBIES.

Young Charlie Counter was given a calculator as a birthday present in the first Calculator Kid strip.  Charlie, the Calculator Kid of the strip's title, was delighted with his gift, and even more so when he realised it not only had the power of speech, but his new plastic pal was electronically prescient, able to calculate the best course of action in any situation and confidently telling Charlie, in a slightly scary way, "I am never wrong".

The 16 September 1978 story is typical of the series; Calculator advises Charlie to take a hot water bottle out with him, despite it being a sweltering day.  Charlie is subject to the ridicule of passing kids as he walks the sunny streets clutching his heated rubber bottle.  After being rewarded with a free cornet for warming the ice cream seller's frozen digits with his hotty, Charlie is advised by Calculator not to dispose of the now-cold water, which comes in handy when Charlie encounters a motorist whose radiator has run dry.  Grateful motorist, radiator now brimming, further rewards Charlie, in cash this time.  Calculator now advises Charlie to use the free air compressor in a filling station to inflate the hot water bottle in order that nearby fractious baby can bounce on it.  Cue further cash from happy baby's happy mum.  The strip ends with Calculator's rather smug catchphrase, "As calculated!"

Charlie crossed over into Cheeky's Week, appearing with the toothy funster on the page preceding the Calculator Kid feature in 38 issues, much in the way the Skateboard Squad's strips were often introduced by their appearance with Cheeky before their story commenced.  Crossovers with Cheeky's Week also happened in the other direction, as Snail and Baby Burpo appeared in the 15 July 1978 Calculator Kid story, and Snail went on to appear again in the 05 August 1978 and 09 December 1978 stories. Charlie and Calc were among the guests at Pete and Pauline Potts' party in the 6 Million Dollar Gran strip in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979.

A school-based Calculator Kid episode in the comic dated 03 February 1979 suggests that Charlie attends the same school as Cheeky when, in a scene set in the boys' washroom, writing on the wall reads 'Cheeky was here'.

All 78 Calculator Kid strips were single-pagers (occasionally less than a full page) drawn by Terry Bave.  Charlie and Calculator were the subject of the Pin-Up Pal poster in the 16 September 1978 issue, but that was drawn by Frank McDiarmid.  The first and last Cheeky Weekly Calculator Kid strips were in colour, as were 8 others.  The strip was absent from only 3 issues during its run from 01 July 1978 to 02 February 1980.

Calculator Kid's title panel, showing Charlie gazing lovingly at his number-crunching mate, remained essentially unchanged throughout its run, although the colouring of the background circle varied when the strip was printed in colour, and in the strip printed in the 29 December 1979 issue, the title was embellished with snow and holly.

Calculator Kid made its debut on page 24, and it hovered around that position until 09 December 1978, when it jumped to page 4.  It then slipped back slightly, and most frequently occupied page 7 until 07 July 1979 when it moved up to page 3, where it remained, with 4 exceptions, until the penultimate issue, dated 26 January 1980.  In the final issue of Cheeky Weekly, Calculator Kid was on page 16.

Calculator Kid was one of the features that survived the merge, and his adventures continued in Whoopee! and Cheeky.  At least one Cheeky Weekly strip was reprinted as Carlito Y Su Calculadora in Spanish publication Zipi y Zape in 1984.  The sample page from Zipi y Zape shown here was originally printed in Cheeky Weekly dated 04 November 1978, in black and white.  Calculator Kid reprints also appeared in The Best of Whoopee!

A profile of Charlie Counter and Calculator can be seen here.

Calculator Kid - The Whoopee Years

FeatureFirst AppearanceFinal AppearanceTotal IssuesTotal Issues Missed In RunPage History
Calculator Kid01-Jul-7802-Feb-807833,4,7,8,9,16,17,18,20,21,22,23,24

Issues Missed In Run

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Profile - Granny Gumdrop

Notorious knitter Granny Gumdrop made her Cheeky Weekly debut in the first issue, and also appeared in the last comic of the run, clocking up appearances in 91 editions.

Most frequently seen on the Saturday page, Granny was the owner of a sweet shop packed with tooth-rotting confectionary, but it was her propensity for knitting 'cosies' that fascinated Cheeky.  The first cosy which Granny showed Cheeky in the second Cheeky Weekly, was for a telephone, but over the weeks Granny's nimble needles turned out ever more outlandish woolly coverings.  These included an octopus cosy, a cosy for her shop and a Mount Everest cosy.  Perhaps the most memorable was the Mike Lacey cosy in the issue dated 01 September 1979.

Over the weeks we learned that Granny's Initial was M (despite the note soliciting suggestions, no readers' ideas of what her name might be were ever printed), and she had a cat called Tired Tom.

The comic with the most appearances by Granny was that dated 31 March 1979, in which she appeared on 3 pages.  This issue had a knitting theme, as it contained a knitting pattern for Cheeky's jersey, and Granny was frantically turning out jerseys for all of Cheeky's pals (even Calculator Kid's number-crunching electronic sidekick got a jumper).  She was knitting at such a furious rate that giant balls of wool were delivered to her by lorry.  This issue was the second time that the old girl had knitted a Mystery Comic cosy, the first being 22 April 1978.

That wasn't the only time that Granny produced duplicate woolly coverings - she also knitted two Yikky-Boo cosies, (20 May 1978 and 12 May 1979), and three Granny Gumdrop cosies, on 11 November 1978 (admittedly this was by accident when a knitting experiment went disastrously awry), 07 January 1978 and 25 August 1979.

The crazy cosy-creator featured on the Pin-Up Pal page in the 20 May 1978 issue, whereon she was depicted knitting a cosy of indeterminate purpose.

Granny G appeared on the front cover twice, once on the front of the 08 April 1978 comic having knitted a comic title cosy, and again in the Cheeky's Week strip dated 17 March 1979 when she sat on her pin-cushion (if she'd knitted a cosy for it she might have found the experience less painful).

The back page of 14 October 1978's issue included a puzzle in which readers were challenged to unravel the words on Granny's wool to find the name of one of Cheeky's pals.

In the final issue of Cheeky Weekly, Granny Gumdrop proudly displays her latest purchase, a knitting machine.
Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Granny Gumdrop9122-Oct-197702-Feb-1980

Missing From Issues

Granny Gumdrop - Number of appearances by Element
Element Number of Appearances
Cover Feature2
Cheeky's Week1
Easter Monday1

Granny Gumdrop - Number of appearances by Page
Page Number of Appearances

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
Granny GumdropFrank McDiarmid45
Granny GumdropMike Lacey18
Granny GumdropFrank McDiarmid pencils16
Granny GumdropBarrie Appleby8
Granny GumdropUnknown Cheeky Artist 15
Granny GumdropJim Watson5
Granny GumdropDick Millington3
Granny GumdropBob Hill1
Granny GumdropNot known1

Saturday 16 April 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 08 April 1978

Krazy Town's nutty knitter, Granny Gumdrop, gets the cover treatment this week, proudly displaying her latest creation, the comic title cosy.  Cheeky's in a musical mood in the What A Cheek strip.

This issue Petula, Cheeky's animal-obsessed pal, appears throughout the week with a mischievous talking minah bird (I thought it was spelled mynah, myself).  Despite Granny Gumdrop encasing the fowl in a minah bird cosy, it causes trouble as it's been taught some questionable phrases by its previous owner.

Thufferin' thuccotash!  Is that really Sylvester on the Sunday evening page?

On the Friday page this week, Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 depicts Cheeky holding a copy of The Mystery Comic, on which the back page seems to be advertising Krazy comic.  In my Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 post, I speculated on whether this artist had a link to Krazy - this artwork may provide further evidence of that.


Inside the mysterious publication Cheeky reads Mustapha Million's story, in which a pal of the middle-eastern moneybags is invited to attend Mustapha's school, conducted from on board a Concorde.  This contradicts last week's Mustapha story in which, after a journey involving glider, speedboat and powered skateboard, our wealthy chum arrived at a conventional, earthbound classroom.

There is just one pure Frank McDiarmid Cheeky's Week element this week; What A Cheek (although Frank also provides the Pin-Up Pal poster of Sid the Street-Sweeper).  Barrie Appleby delivers 5 Cheeky's Week elements, Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 provides 4, Jim Watson turns in 2, and we get 1 from Frank McDiarmid pencils.

There are no debuts or departures among Cheeky's pals this week.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 08-Apr-1978, Issue 25 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Granny Gumdrop' - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Barrie Appleby (first art on feature)
3Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
4Sunday evening - Art Barrie Appleby (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
8What's New, Kids
9Monday - Art Barrie Appleby (first art on feature)
10James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 4 of 6 - Art Mike White
11James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 4 of 6 - Art Mike White
12Suddenly - Art Barrie Appleby (first art on feature)
13Tuesday - Art Barrie Appleby (first art on feature)
14Old Comic reprint from Tip Top 'Happy Family' reprint from Tip Top 'Merry Moments at Sunnyside School' 2 of 2
15Wednesday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (final art on feature)
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds\Wednesday (conclusion) - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
18Joke-Box Jury
19Thursday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (final art on feature)
20Home Movie 'A Bridge To Fear' - Art Jack Clayton
21Friday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (final art on feature)
22Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
23Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
24Ad: IPC 'Mickey Mouse' 4 of 18 Ad: 'Look and Learn' 5 of 16
25Saturday - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 (final art on feature)
26Tweety and Sylvester 'A Gift For Granny'
27Tweety and Sylvester 'A Gift For Granny'
28Interval - Art Jim Watson
29Space Family Robinson 'The Worm'
30Space Family Robinson 'The Worm'
31Saturday - Art Jim Watson (first art on feature)
32Pin-up pal 'Sid the Street Sweeper' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 08-Apr-1978
Artist Elements
Barrie Appleby5
Unknown Cheeky Artist 14
Jim Watson2
Frank McDiarmid pencils1
Frank McDiarmid1

Wednesday 13 April 2011

The One-Offs - Hymn and Her

Here are a pair of young scallywags who probably thought they were onto a good thing when they appeared in the first issue of Cheeky Weekly. Little did Hymn and Her realise that they were to be used for this joke only and would never appear again.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Profile - Cheeky's Mum

Cheeky's mum had not appeared in Krazy when she made her debut in Cheeky Weekly issue 2, dated 29 October 1977. To say that she 'appeared' in that issue may be a bit of an overstatement, as no more than her right arm was seen that week. Readers had to wait another 2 issues to gaze upon the face of Cheeky's mater. On that occasion Cheeky accompanied her to the hairdressing salon, as he knew that The Mystery Comic was to be found there.

Cheeky's Mum's debut
Art: Frank McDiarmid

Initially, Cheeky's mum's main role was to appear on Sunday evening to tell our toothy hero that he must get to bed as it's school tomorrow, and no, he can't stay up to watch 6 Million Dollar Gran. Cheeky, of course, was always able to employ an artful ruse in order to secure a seat in front of his favourite TV show.

Frank again

In the 18 March 1978 issue, Mum is seen on the Suddenly page, in the car and glaring at Dad, who is one of the drivers jamming on his brakes to get a good look at lovely Lily Pop as she escorts Cheeky across the road and into school.

In the 12 August 1978 issue, we see Mum in her usual Sunday evening spot, but also on Friday as she drives dad and Cheeky home from their boating holiday.

With the introduction of the entire Mystery Comic to the centre pages of Cheeky Weekly as from the 30 September 1978 issue, the Sunday evening feature was dropped to make room for the new content.  Mum's next few appearances would be on the Sunday page, but the 'Cheeky using sneaky deception to watch 6 Million Dollar Gran' sequence was dropped since, as Cheeky explained, the show had been moved to a mid-day slot.  Instead we saw Mum briefly as the toothy funster rushed in to switch on the TV.

Cheeky's Saturday morning visit to the cinema was featured in the comic for the last time in the 02 December 1978 issue, and in subsequent issues we got to see, in a 2-page feature, what happened to our hero on Saturday afternoons. In the first of the Saturday afternoon strips on 09 December 1978, the final panel of the 2nd page showed Cheeky heading home to enjoy his mum's fish and chips which were, according to our toothy hero, 'The best in town'.

This fish-and-chip-themed final panel became a permanent fixture (with 2 exceptions) of Cheeky's Saturdays from 10 March 1979 to 30 June 1979 (although it wasn't always his mum's chips he ended up scoffing - in the 19 May 1979 issue Cheeky went to the chip shop and was delighted to find luscious Lily Pop was serving).

Chips were back on the menu for a last time in the 08 September 1979 issue.  How did we get on to the subject of chips, anyway?

Cheeky's mum featured 7 times in the Snail of the Century strip, usually as Snail returned home after his tour round the garden, and it was in this feature that Mum made her final Cheeky Weekly appearance, in the comic dated 12 January 1980, having appeared in a total of 59 issues.

Ma Cheeky's hair colour changed a number of times over the weeks.  On most occasions we can put that down to visits to the hairdresser, but on the back cover of the 31 December 1977 issue we see the Cheeky family eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first guest at their new year party.  The following issue dated 07 January 1978 commences where the previous issue left off, but in the few seconds of 'comic time' that elapsed between the issues, Cheeky's mum's barnet has changed from black to blonde.  I'm afraid we have no option but to ascribe this event to another case of CWIHCS (Cheeky Weekly Inconsistent Hair Colour Syndrome), particularly since a caption on the 31 December 1977 page suggests that Mum had just been to the hairdresser's.

Cheeky's mum made it onto the cover 5 times, once in the main illustration on the cover of the 01 April 1978 issue, 3 times in What a Cheek strips, and once in that strip's replacement, Cheeky's Week.

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Cheeky's Mum5912-Nov-197712-Jan-1980

Saturday 9 April 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 01 April 1978

The special Easter issue was an annual treat in many of the humour comics of the 70s.  Though it was some way behind the Christmas edition in terms of the excitement it would generate among its readership, the Easter comic was a welcome departure from ordinary issues, as there would be an Easter theme (not in a religious sense - it would usually feature stories involving eggs, of the Easter variety or otherwise) running through all the humour strips.

For example, Krazy comic had chosen to make its 25 March 1978 edition the Easter issue (the following week's Krazy was the April Fool issue).  In the Krazy Easter issue, Cheeky had enjoyed 3 pages of egg-related fun in his 'Ello it's Cheeky strip, and the Krazy Gang (of which Cheeky was a member) had a page-and-a-half Easter adventure.  9 other Krazy strips had featured Easter-related stories.

However, despite the above-title banner proclaiming 'Fun from Easter to April Fool's Day!', there are only two pages of Easter antics inside this week's Cheeky Weekly.  This is partly due to the 'days of the week' nature of the Cheeky features, which logically limited Easter humour to the Easter Sunday and Easter Monday pages.  However, the Skateboard Squad's adventure takes place on Sunday yet contains no Easter reference.  6 Million Dollar Gran, being a TV show broadcast on Sunday could also have had an Easter theme, but none is present.  At this point in Cheeky Weekly's run, the only strip that we get to see from the Mystery Comic is Mustapha Million's but, assuming the mysterious publication conforms to British comic norms, this week's edition could have been an Easter special.  Sadly, the opportunity to base a story on Mustapha's first encounter with Easter traditions was not grasped and instead we get to see our affluent chum's method of getting to school, involving glider, motorboat and powered skateboard.

The main illustration on this week's front page does feature an Easter theme, with Cheeky's mum on the cover for a second week running.  What a Cheek's joke set in a bank runs vertically down the page, but is not Easter-related, and it can't be an April Fool joke, since 1st April 1978 was a Saturday, and banks didn't open on Saturdays at that time.

On Easter Sunday Frank McDiarmid's drawing of the monster that hatches in panel 3 seems reminiscent of John Tenniel's Jabberwock in Alice Through The Looking Glass (to my eyes, anyway).

This week Skateboard Squad engage in the high-speed pursuit of a runaway pram, only to find that the occupant is Baby Burpo, and 6 Million Dollar Gran is on a mission to deliver water to a Foreign Legion outpost.

Bunny girl Lily Pop delivers Cheeky to school when he emerges from the newsagent.  Cheeky entered the newsagents on the Easter Monday page, so unless he was reading James Bold overnight, wouldn't the school be closed for the bank holiday?

On Saturday, Cheeky is subject to the April Fool jokes of his pals.

The comic rounds off with a Pin-Up Pal poster of Auntie Daisy the school meals lady preparing a seething concoction from which life seems to be evolving.

Unlike the previous 7 issues, there is no 'Cheeky's pal featured throughout the week' in this comic.

Comical copper Constable Chuckle makes his Krazy Town debut this week, appearing on Sunday evening and Easter Monday.  Unlike some of Cheeky's Cheeky Weekly pals, he hadn't previously appeared in Krazy.

Pity they didn't select an Easter strip from the archives

There are 5 pure Frank McDiarmid Cheeky's Week elements this issue (Frank also does the honours on the main cover illustration and the Pin-Up Pal poster), and Frank McDiarmid pencils provide the same number, with Jim Watson delivering 2, and Unknown Cheeky Artist 1 contributing a single element.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 01-Apr-1978, Issue 24 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Manhole Man' 1 of 7 - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Easter Sunday (single appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (single art on feature)
3Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Joke-Box Jury
9Easter Monday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (first art on feature)
10James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 3 of 6 - Art Mike White
11James Bold 'Tower of Terror' 3 of 6 - Art Mike White
12Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Old Comic reprint from Knockout 'Beaver Patrol' 1 of 2
14Ad: IPC 'Monster Fun Holiday Special' 2 of 2 Ad: 'Look and Learn' 4 of 16
15Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Keith Reynolds\Wednesday (conclusion) - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1
18What's New, Kids\Ad: IPC 'Mickey Mouse' 3 of 18
19Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
20Home Movie 'The Trojan Horsebox' - Art Jack Clayton
21Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
22Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
23Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
24Saturday - April Fool's Day (single appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils (single art on feature)
25Saturday - April Fool's Day (single appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils (single art on feature)
26Road Runner 'The Plant Plot'
27Road Runner 'The Plant Plot'
28Interval - Art Jim Watson (first art on feature)
29Space Family Robinson 'Eruption'
30Space Family Robinson 'Eruption'
31Saturday - April Fool's Day (single appearance) - Art Jim Watson (single art on feature)
32Pin-up pal 'Auntie Daisy' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 01-Apr-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid5
Frank McDiarmid pencils5
Jim Watson2
Unknown Cheeky Artist 11

Tuesday 5 April 2011

The One-Offs - Mad Scientist

Starts today!!

Over the weeks there were many anonymous stooges who shared a joke with Cheeky and were never seen again. Certain of these stooges, however, were introduced in such a way that one expected them to become regular characters.

We have already seen one such; Don the Dustman, who appeared in a single issue only. The fact that, unlike most single-appearance stooges in the comic, he was given a name, led one to expect that he would join the gang of Cheeky Weekly regulars, but this was not to be.

These characters will be the subject of this new series of posts.

This time we focus on Mad Scientist, who in fact was a recurring character in the 'Ello it's Cheeky strip in Krazy, where he had featured in 9 issues by the time of his Cheeky Weekly appearance during the interval in the 14 January 1978 issue. Even his mum, dad and little brother had appeared in Cheeky Weekly's companion title. Yet for some reason he was never featured in Cheeky Weekly again.

Sunday 3 April 2011

The pages - page 6

Up to now when we've taken a look at the contents of a particular page throughout Cheeky Weekly's run, we've discovered that the position of features in the first 2 comics were somewhat different to the later issues.  This was due to the presence on page 2 of a welcome from Cheeky, which was absent from all the subsequent editions.  However, in the case of page 6 we find that James Bold's first adventure, Fangs of Fear, occupied this position from the first issue up to and including that dated 24 December 1977.  Nevertheless, the welcome-page-displacement-effect meant that in the first 2 Cheeky Weeklys, page 6 hosted the first part of Bold's 2-page instalment, and thereafter, in the issues up to 24 December 1977, page 2 of Bold's adventure was on page 6.

There was some disruption to what had become the established page order in the Christmas 1977 issue dated 31 December 1977, resulting from extended coverage of Cheeky's festive antics.  Thus 6 Million Dollar Gran occupied page 6, while the final episode of Fangs of Fear was moved further back in the comic.

Gran's adventures then became the regular subject on page 6, all the way up to the comic dated 30 September 1978, when Cheeky appeared in a half page feature on page 6, to ask "Hoi! What did you get up to today?"

The toothy funster's enquiry resulted from the revamp which Cheeky Weekly underwent in this issue.  The main change was the appearance of The Mystery Comic in the centre pages, but the Cheeky's Week features were redesigned to include a brief diary section at the foot of each page, captioned 'What did YOU do today?', with space for readers to record any significant events in their day.  In the half-page feature mentioned above, Cheeky explains the purpose of this new area of the page.  The remainder of page 6 carries an ad for the 1979 Knockout Annual.

The following week, two ads occupied page 6; one for Soccer Monthly, and the second for the first combined issue of 2000AD and Starlord.

An ad appeared on page 6 again in the following week's issue dated 14 October 1978, this time for Bryant & May's Woodcraft Village construction kits.  Bryant & May were of course manufacturers of matches.  From the drawings of the completed models featured in the ad, it seems that the company had ideas of expanding their business by producing a series of construction kits which used matchsticks as the basic building material. The pictures show completed models of a church, windmill and village shops - hardly the stuff to set the pulses racing of the Star Wars generation.  I presume one of the production lines at their factory was dedicated to this project and had the 'add flammable head' switch firmly in the 'off' position.  I'd hate to think what would happen if the lines got mixed up - smokers desperate for a drag would open their boxes of matches and try to strike headless sticks, and kids would find their carefully-constructed rustic idyll becoming a disaster area as it erupted into flames. The connection between toys and matches is an uneasy one today, as I'm sure it was in the late 70s.

Page 6 in the 21 October 1978 issue was the home of the Monday feature that week, but in the following issue 2 IPC ads were featured in that location; one for that year's Cor!! Comic Annual, and one for IPC's educational mag, Look and Learn.

The next week, a half-page Joke-Box Jury shared page 6 with a Shredded Wheat ad featuring Johnny Morris, of TV's Animal Magic fame, announcing that special packs of the cereal carried tokens which could be sent in to raise money for the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals.  If that wasn't incentive enough, consumers of the wheaty breakfast comestible could win one of 200 cassette radios by posting off their coupons.

Page 6 had become dominated by ads at this point, as in the 11 November 1978 comic it featured an ad for the first Cheeky Annual, plus an ad, presumably aimed at those for whom the idea of matchstick modelling was entirely too risky, inviting them to enter the less flammable world of Lego.

Page 6 in the next issue featured an ad for retailer John Menzies, making their bid to attract custom in the run up to Christmas by spotlighting 5 board games, which could be purchased at reduced prices in their stores.  Unlike a certain supplier of ignition material to the smokers of this fair land, Menzies had fully bought in to the late 70's zeitgeist, heading their ad 'Star Toys At John Menzies', cleverly using the familiar Star Wars typeface against a black background.

On page 6 the following week Lego was back, coupled this time with an ad for the Krazy Annual.

The furious bout of hard selling on page 6 came to an end in the 02 December 1978 issue when the Laugh and Learn feature came to rest in this location.

The following week, the Tuesday page appeared on page 6, while the next week it was the turn of page 6 to host the Monday page again.

The 13 January 1979 issue saw 6 Million Dollar Gran back on page 6, before Monday returned for another 3 weeks.  This brings us to the comic dated 10 February 1979, when the reader participation feature Joke-Box Jury was to be found on the 6th page.

Monday was then featured on page 6 for the next 20 issues, but 6 Million Dollar Gran was back on 07 July 1979, and for the following 2 weeks as well.

Gran was evicted from page 6 for the next 3 weeks, by What's New Kids, Joke-Box Jury and What's New Kids, respectively.  The synthetic senior citizen made a comeback for a further 2 weeks before being deposed by the aspiring performers of Stage School on 01 September 1979.

Resilient Gran was then firmly back in charge of page 6 for another 7 weeks, until the Monday feature returned.

Ads were back on the page 6 agenda in the 03 November 1979 issue when another Cor!! Comic Annual ad (this time for the 1980 offering) joined with an ad for Pop-A-Points (a range of coloured pens, as far as I can tell) to fill the page.

6 Million Dollar Gran then made one last appearance on page 6, after which our tiny showbiz chums of Stage School took over the page from 17 November 1979 until 22 December 1979.

In a surprise move, middle-eastern moneybags Mustapha Million took control of page 6 in the 29 December 1979 comic, but he was ousted in the next two issues by Monday and Joke-Box Jury respectively, before returning to page 6 for a final time on 19 January 1980.

The following week Monday returned to page 6 for the last time, and in the final issue dated 02 February 1980, Disaster Des was featured on page 6 in the first page of a 2-page set, although each page had a separate story .  Presumably the editor found an unused DD page, and as Des was not going to survive the merge with Whoopee!, there was nowhere else to use it.
Count of Elements (or distinct combinations thereof) appearing on Page 6

Elements Total
6 Million Dollar Gran 2/330
6 Million Dollar Gran 3/311
James Bold 2/28
6 Million Dollar Gran 2/27
Stage School 1/26
6 Million Dollar Gran 1/22
6 Million Dollar Gran 1/32
Advertisement: IPC\Advertisement: IPC2
Advertisement: Lego\Advertisement: IPC2
James Bold 1/22
Joke-Box Jury2
Mustapha Million 1/22
What's New, Kids2
6 Million Dollar Gran1
Advertisement: IPC\Hoi! What do you get up to all week1
Advertisement: John Menzies1
Advertisement: Pop-A-Points\Advertisement: IPC1
Advertisement: Shredded Wheat\Joke-Box Jury1
Advertisement: Woodcraft Village1
Disaster Des 1/21
Easter Monday1
Joke-Box Jury 1/21
Laugh and Learn 1/2 1/21
Monday 1/21
Stage School1