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.

Monday 30 April 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 04 November 1978

Mustapha Million gets the cover treatment for the second and final time this issue, as readers are asked to consider the question What's it like to be rich? Judging by the accompanying picture, the main drawback is the need to have a wheelbarrow instead of a wallet to transport one's cash. This cover pic is based on a panel from Mustapha's story inside, and it's the last time we'll see work from the mighty Reg Parlett on the Cheeky Weekly cover. I suspect Reg would have done a better cover illustration if he'd been asked to create one specially for the front page, but presumably the Cheeky Weekly editor couldn't fund that. Below Mustapha's massive moolah, Cheeky has a subterranean snigger with Manhole Man, and engages in medical mirth with Doctor Braincell in the Cheeky's Week…Sunday gag strip.

6 Million Dollar Gran runs away to join the circus this week, but in the process of demonstrating her skills to the ring-master, the synthetic senior citizen demolishes the big top. Usual artist Ian Knox is back after a two week break.

On the cover of The Mystery Comic, our portly pal Tub is subject to gymnastic jeers before enjoying football flattery.

This week's Calculator Kid episode was among the IPC strips that were later reprinted in Spanish comic Zipi y Zape. This week's strip was reprinted in the November 1984 issue of that title, in colour, and a certain amount of resizing was in evidence as the strip's Spanish title, Carlitos Y Su Calculadora, wouldn't fit in the original title panel. I found the Zipi y Zape page here.  On the same thread is a reprinted Rent-a-Ghost page (from Buster), which has also been resized to make the panels slightly taller, so it seems Zipi y Zape had a different page width:height ratio to the IPC comics in which these strips originally appeared, making resizing inevitable. Gracias to Senor Ogro and Investigador Malfendi for posting the scans.

In the reprint, the reference to Cheeky Weekly in the first panel on the second row has understandably been changed to mention Zipi y Zape. However, el cocodrilo is struck dumb in the first panel of the final row. Maybe there is no Spanish word for GNNF!

On Thursday, Willie Brushiton introduces a venerable joke, but it's surprising that the culprit is Baby Burpo with his water pistol - I would have expected the perpetrator to be Walter Wurx, but maybe that would have made the joke too rude.

The ingenious Commissionaire takes a tip from Bubblegum Boy to avoid being trampled by the usual horde of cinema-goers on Saturday. Bubblegum boy first took to the air in Krazy comic dated 08 January 1977, so it's clear that his time aloft has affected his ability to calculate the period that he has been airborne.

This is the second issue to feature an all Mike Lacey Cheeky's Week (the first being 07 October 1978 which, like this issue, had 10 Cheeky's Week elements).

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 04-Nov-1978, Issue 55 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Mustapha Million' 2 of 2 - Art Reg Parlett (final art on feature)\Cheeky's Week - Art Mike Lacey
2Sunday - Art Mike Lacey
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
6Joke-Box Jury\Ad: Shredded Wheat (first appearance)
7Monday - Art Mike Lacey
8Laugh and Learn - Art Brian Walker - Art Barrie Appleby
9Laugh and Learn - Art Brian Walker - Art Barrie Appleby
10Tuesday - Art Mike Lacey
11Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
12Wednesday - Art Mike Lacey
13Tub 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
14Why, Dad, Why? 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 28 - Art John K. Geering
15Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 37 - Art John Richardson
16Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
17Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
18Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
19Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
20Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 6 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
21Thursday - Art Mike Lacey
22Ad: IPC 'Knockout Annual' 2 of 3 Ad: 'Soccer Monthly' 4 of 5
23Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
24Ad: Kellogg's (final appearance)
25Friday - Art Mike Lacey
26Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
27Saturday - Art Mike Lacey
28Tweety and Sylvester 'Hang It All'
29Interval - Art Mike Lacey
30The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
31The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
32Saturday - Art Mike Lacey\Cheeky's Pal Puzzle 'Sherlock' - Art Mike Lacey

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 04-Nov-1978
Artist Elements
Mike Lacey10

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Profile - Elephant and The Man In The Plastic Mac

Elephant and The Man In The Plastic Mac were among that elite band of characters who on occasion crossed over into Cheeky's Week, despite their usual adventures appearing outside of the Cheeky's Week framework. Calculator Kid and The Skateboard Squad, whose adventures took place in the toothy funster's universe but in their own strips, were regular guests in Cheeky's Week. However, some crossovers were harder to rationalise, such as Paddywack, who at first appeared to be a fictional character drawn by Doodle Doug, but then made a single appearance in Cheeky's universe, and 6 Million Dollar Gran who from Cheeky's viewpoint was a character in a TV programme, yet seemed to appear in Krazy Town on two occasions (more of which below).

Elephant and The Man In The Plastic Mac are the protagonist/antagonist from the Elephant On The Run strip, which initially appeared to be a work of fiction in Cheeky's Universe, since the framing device set it within the pages of The Mystery Comic.

This assumption was challenged in Cheeky Weekly dated 12 May 1979, when Elephant and his plastic-clad pursuer were fleetingly seen racing through the Wednesday page. Evidently, Cheeky's Dad had picked up a copy of The Mystery Comic which they had dropped, and the final panel of the Wednesday feature, featuring our toothy pal's parent holding a copy of the mysterious publication, introduced that week's issue of TMC, which commenced on the following page. The pair also made the transition into 6 Million Dollar Gran's universe when they were among the guests at Pete and Pauline Potts' party in the Gran strip in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Frank McDiarmid's The Robot Maker

Irmantas has posted an item about The Robot Maker which appeared in Cor!! This is a strip that I wasn't aware of, and it's always good to find some unknown (to me) work by Frank McDiarmid.

Friday 20 April 2012

Frank McDiarmid's Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk

Peter Gray has just posted Frank McDiarmid's first Willie Bunk strip from the debut issue of Whizzer and Chips, 1969. The same strip can also be seen on George Shiers' Whizzer and Chips blog.

I've always wondered if Willie Bunk was inspired by TV's spectacle-wearing super-spy puppet, Joe 90, who made his debut in 1968.

UPDATE: Peter has posted the first strip of the new Willie Bunk series that Frank drew in Whoopee! starting in 1981, when the Cheeky strip in that comic was reduced from 4 to 2 pages.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Avast behind - it's Cheeky!

Our toothy pal considers a life on the ocean wave on the cover of the 1982 Cheeky Summer Special, which Bruce is taking a look at here.

Double the fun - two comics in one!

George Shiers, who writes the excellent Wacky Comics blog, has another blog that's devoted to one of IPC's most successful titles, Whizzer and Chips. W&C wasn't the first comic to feature a 2-comics-in-one gimmick, nor was it the last (among those filching the idea was Cheeky Weekly which featured The Mystery Comic in the centre pages for a while), but it was, as far as I'm aware, the longest-running.

Whizz-kids, Chip-ites and anyone who's interested in Britain's great comic heritage should head over for a look at the Whizzer and Chips blog.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

The features - Elephant On The Run

A traumatic circus accident plunges an innocent performer into an amnesiac nightmare, in which he is relentlessly pursued by a mysterious stranger without knowing the reason. Wasn't that the plot of a classic Hitchcock film? No, this was the delightfully daft feature Elephant On The Run, which ran for 63 episodes in Cheeky Weekly. As the strip's title intimates, the hero was of the jumbo variety, and we first met him in the revamp issue dated 30 September 1978...

Episode 2...

This second episode set the pattern for many of the subsequent instalments, in which our pachyderm pal donned a series of daft disguises or took on unlikely jobs which led him into various scrapes, with his persistent pursuer not far behind. Over the weeks, the jumbo fugitive appeared as a wrestler, beefeater at the Tower of London, footballer and astronaut, among other equally incongruous roles. The dogged chap in the waterproof windcheater would initially be fooled by Elephant's disguise, failing to recognise our trunk-bearing hero behind a seemingly feeble masquerade. Realisation of Elephant's true identity often dawned when the grey-skinned fugitive inadvertently revealed his trunk. The Man In The Plastic Mac (TMITPM) always suffered some (often painful) setback after apprehending the fleeing tusker, allowing our hero to escape, still puzzling over why he was being pursued. Elephant never asked any of the people he encountered, who were also fooled by his flimsy disguises and who must have been aware of what seemed to be a national press and poster campaign to detain him, why he was wanted.

Despite telling us in the first episode that cannot recall who he is, Elephant doesn't seem to notice that, according to a wanted poster in the comic dated 28 October 1978, his name is Walter. Adopting the guise of a portrait painter in his 05 May 1979 adventure, Elephant advertises his services as "Walter Van Tusk - Artist". In the issue dated 29 September 1979, the son of a vet for whom Elephant is working refers to our grey-skinned hero as Uncle Walt.

The story that appeared in the 04 November 1978 issue enlightens us further on Elephant's circus career. Scowlo the Clown, an erstwhile colleague of our amnesiac hero, tells TMITPM that whenever the fleeing jumbo hears the tune Elephant Capers played on the banjo, he is compelled to perform a tap dance. Hastily learning to play the melody, TMITPM travels the country plucking his banjo at random passers-by. Despite his frantic twangings eventually unmasking our jumbo chum, who is working as a bricklayer, Elephant of course escapes.

There are further circus scrapes in the 20 January 1979 issue, when Elephant gets a job as a knife-thrower. Naturally TMITPM is by chance in the front row of the big top audience but after a tussle on the high wire our jumbo pal flees to safety. Elephant meets an old showbiz pal, retired magician The Great Mysto, in the comic dated 10 November 1979, and gets a job in Barkums Circus during the 26 January 1980 story.

Elephant's flight from TMITPM takes him across the sea, as in the 27 January 1979 issue we find him masquerading as an italian barber in a skiing resort.

Good-hearted Elephant rescues TMITPM from a number of perilous situations, including digging him out of the snow after he is buried by an avalanche in the 27 January 1979 issue, and safely depositing him in a tree while parachuting to earth after a failed rocket launch in the comic dated 17 March 1979.

A Cheeky Weekly reader is featured in the 28 April 1979 story, and conceals Elephant from TMITPM, telling the peripatetic pachyderm "Well, if they caught you there wouldn't be a story next week, would there?" Two more readers of the toothy funster's comic attempt to misdirect TMITPM in the story dated 21 July 1979.

The 11 November 1978 episode ends with a caption reading 'Next Week - The Tyre Trap!' This was the only episode to feature a coming-next-week teaser. Most episodes ended with a caption saying 'And so the chase continues'.

The story printed in the comic dated 17 February 1979 seems to have been prepared for the Christmas 1978 issue, which failed to appear due to industrial action. It looks to me as though references to the weekend have been substituted where, presumably, Christmas was originally mentioned, and I'd guess that the standard British comic Christmas artefacts (tree, decorations, presents etc) have been removed from the final panel, and Elephant's 'Merry Christmas' has been changed.

For 'weekend' read 'Christmas'?
 I suspect Elephant's original final word balloon ended with a 'Happy Christmas'
In the 24 February 1979 story we meet TMITPM's son (who we first encountered in the 20 January 1979 issue) and wife, in a story that includes a guest appearance by boxer Henry 'Couper'. The plastic-coated pest's wife is also seen in the 09 June, 27 October and 29 December 1979 comics. TMITPM's son appeared again in the 08 December 1979 comic.

The 22 September 1979 story reveals that TMITPM's name is Herbert, when he's seen driving a car with a female passenger who doesn't appear to be his wife.

In the 13 October 1979 issue, Elephant suffers further memory loss when he's hit on the head by a horseshoe. A subsequent bonk on the noggin restores his memory to the state it was immediately before the horseshoe struck, i.e. he remembers he's the wanted elephant and that he's being chased by TMITPM, but it appears the reason he's wanted still eludes our tusker pal.

Elephant visits his rich cousin Sniffy during the 15 December 1979 adventure, so by this time the fugitive has presumably regained his memory of his identity, but he doesn't ask Sniffy why he is being pursued. In the 05 January 1980 story, TMITPM makes a new year resolution to stop chasing Elephant, who is seen resolving to hand himself in to his relentless pursuer. Of course, at the end of the episode, the two protagonists tear up their resolutions.

Elephant On The Run didn't survive the merge with Whoopee! when Cheeky Weekly was cancelled, probably because the strip had started to become rather tired towards the end of its (pardon the pun) run. The final instalment didn't explain the mystery surrounding TMITPM's pursuit of Elephant, it was just a standard episode with Elephant fleeing at the end as usual. A further and rather weak episode, set in a holiday camp, appeared in 1980's Cheeky Holiday Special, but again it was just a chase with no attempt at a resolution of the outstanding questions. The final appearance of the be-trunked fugitive occurred a few months later in the Cheeky Annual 1981, in which our grey-skinned chum was involved in a Christmas caper, but the mystery surrounding our hero's plight was again not addressed. Maybe the scriptwriter never actually had an answer, and that could be another reason why the feature was dropped when Cheeky Weekly ceased publication. I suspect any explanation would have proved a disappointment so it was probably wise to bring the strip to an end without any attempt to tidy up the unanswered issues, leaving us to speculate. One possibility is that Elephant was the heir to a fortune, but this seems unlikely given that TMITPM restrains our large-eared hero with handcuffs, leg-irons and ropes on a number of occasions, not the actions of someone bringing good news.

The daft premise and some clever scripts exhibiting a keen sense of the ridiculous elevate most Elephant On The Run episodes above the standard of the average comic strip, with many laughs along the way. The chase element imparted momentum to the stories, and Robert Nixon did some lovely, fun-filled art.

Elephant On The Run made its debut as one of the features in The Mystery Comic. The Mystery Comic concept came to an end in the 30 June 1979 issue, but Elephant On The Run continued until the final issue of Cheeky Weekly. 34 episodes of the feature appeared as part of The Mystery Comic, and of these, apart from the issues dated 16 and 30 June 1979 which were single pages, all were 2-page episodes. 23 episodes were in full colour, 3 had spot colour (black, white and red) and the 21 April 1979 instalment was in black and white except for the title which was printed in red.

29 Elephant On The Run episodes appeared after The Mystery Comic idea was dropped. The first 2 post-Mystery Comic episodes were 2-pagers, but subsequently the strip became a single page only (possibly a sign that the writer was running out of ideas), except for the 06 October 1979 and 12 January 1980 episodes, which were 2-page sets. 7 of the stories during this period were printed in colour, the remainder being in black and white.

The first 2 episodes were the only ones to carry the episode numbers under the title.

Robert Nixon was the original artist on the strip and drew all 34 episodes during the Mystery Comic run. Robert drew 24 of the post-Mystery Comic strips, with Vic Neill providing 4, and Barry Glennard 1, during the same period.

Elephant On The Run was the subject of the main cover illustration on Cheeky Weekly dated 14 October 1978. The picture was actually a blown-up panel from the EOTR strip which appeared the previous week.

In the first 7 episodes, Elephant had what appeared to be sawn-off tusks (or possibly teeth) visible in his lower jaw when his mouth was wide open, but these were not present in the later stories. He did sport false fangs in his upper jaw in the 02 June 1979 story when he convinced TMITPM that he was the vampire tusker, Dracuphant. In the comic dated 08 September 1979, our hero's disguise consisted of a set of false mastodon tusks. Tusks weren't in evidence when the grey-skinned fugitive was the subject of the Pin-Up Pal poster in the 06 January 1979 comic.

The chase crossed over from The Mystery Comic into Cheeky's universe when Elephant and TMITPM fleetingly appeared within the Cheeky Weekly section of the 12 May 1979 issue, dropping a copy of the mysterious publication as they went. Our elephant pal and his plastic-mac-wearing nemesis appeared to have entered into a temporary truce as they were among the guests at Pete and Pauline Potts' party in the 6 Million Dollar Gran strip in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979.

Elephant On The Run in the Cheeky Weekly Index

Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Elephant On The Run30-Sep-7802-Feb-806355,9,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,22,23,32

Issues Missed In Run

Mystery Comic30-Sep-7830-Jun-79
Cheeky Weekly07-Jul-7902-Feb-80

Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Elephant On The Run Mystery ComicRobert Nixon3430-Sep-197830-Jun-1979
Elephant On The Run Robert Nixon2407-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Elephant On The Run Barry Glennard111-Aug-197911-Aug-1979
Elephant On The Run Vic Neill406-Oct-197912-Jan-1980

Pages per Issue Number of Issues

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 28 October 1978

Brett Mason and his young nephew and niece confront their terrifying spectral nemesis in this issue's main cover pic, as The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure is given a boost. The artwork used on the cover to promote the feature is based on a panel from the story inside. Meanwhile, Cheeky indulges in banter with Spiv and Manhole Man in the cover strip.

Nigel Edwards stands in for usual artist Ian Knox on the 6 Million Dollar Gran strip, for the second week running. This week Gran meets Uncle Hamish. No, not Cheeky's Uncle Hamish, this is Major Hamish McPotts from the Scots branch of the family. Gran replaces Hamish in the parade after she accidentally concusses him with the ceremonial baton.

Snail and Cheeky's bucolic buddy Farmer Giles make guest appearances in this week's Skateboard Squad story.

Frank McDiarmid does some cracking work in this issue.
In this page, Margaret Thatcher (leader of the Conservatives)
makes reference to Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan.

The mighty Reg Parlett is back doing the artwork on Mustapha Million this week. Joe McCaffrey drew the strip in the last 3 issues.

On Friday, Flash Harry has an encounter with Scots actress Molly Weir.
At the time Molly was appearing in a series of TV advertisements for Flash floor cleaner

The Paddywack strip is reduced to a single row of panels this week, as it was in the last issue.  Those readers who fancy their skills on spot the difference competitions will eagerly scan the remainder of the page on which Paddywack's strip appears; it contains lists of winners of the Skateboard and Tennis competitions, which appeared in the 17 June 1978 and 24 June 1978 issues respectively. Of course, not a little luck is also required to secure one of the prizes on offer, as winners are selected from the correct entries, although entrants in the skateboard competition were also required to contribute an amusing caption for the spot the difference pic.

On Saturday, the cinema commissionaire wishes every week could be an anniversary issue like last week's, when he didn't get trampled. In fact, he didn't appear at all in last week's issue. Could he be the person inside Presto's rabbit suit?

I like the Cheeky silhouette
and the way his teeth extend over the edge of the frame.
All the Cheeky's Week features this week are pure Frank McDiarmid art, and Frank's on top form.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 28-Oct-1978, Issue 54 of 117
1Cover Feature 'The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure' - Art Eric Bradbury (first art on feature)\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
6Ad: IPC 'Cor Annual' 2 of 5 Ad: 'Look and Learn' 12 of 16
7Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
8Joke-Box Jury
9Ad: Trebor 'Chews Music Centre Competition & Free Jeans Badges' 3 of 3
10Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
11Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Tub 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
14Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 37 - Art John Richardson
15Ad: IPC 'Shiver and Shake Annual' 1 of 2 Ad: 'Whoopee Guy Fawkes mask' 1 of 3
16Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
17Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
18Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
19Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
20Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 5 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
21Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
23Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
24Ad: Pirelli (first appearance) 'Hanna-Barbera slippers' 1 of 2
25Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton\Winners of Skateboard and Tennis competitions (single appearance)
26Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
27Tweety and Sylvester 'Surprise Package'
28Tweety and Sylvester 'Surprise Package'
29Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid
30The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
31The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
32Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid\Cheeky's Pal Puzzle 'Baby Burpo' 1 of 2 - Art Frank McDiarmid

Please note that Cheeky's Pal Puzzle, although shown above as a feature, was actually part of the Saturday feature, so is not counted as a separate Cheeky's Week element below.

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 28-Oct-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid10

Sunday 8 April 2012

The One-Offs - Presto the Magic Rabbit

Most named characters who appeared in only one issue of Cheeky Weekly (and thereby qualify for inclusion in this series of One-Offs posts) were limited to a single page, and quite often a single panel. Presto the Magic Rabbit is unique in being a one-off who featured throughout Cheeky's Week, and even got his own feature in the comic.

Presto, a giant rabbit (or possibly someone in a giant rabbit suit), was hired by Cheeky's pals to put on a special magic show during the cinema interval in the first birthday issue of Cheeky Weekly, dated 21 October 1978. The show appeared as a feature entitled Hey Presto! Magic Show, and Presto was depicted performing a series of carrot-driven conjuring tricks.

Presto had in fact arrived in Krazy Town a week early, and there followed several inadvertent encounters with the toothy funster in the days preceding the magic show. In a scenario reminiscent of 1950 film, Harvey, Cheeky's pals pretended not to see the big bunny. This caused our hero to doubt his sanity but to his relief, the truth was revealed on Saturday.

After the magic show, Presto set a word-search challenge for Cheeky Weekly readers, on the back cover's Cheeky's Pal Puzzle. This colour appearance of the conjuring cottontail revealed that he was brown of hue, whereas he had appeared to be white when depicted on the internal pages.

After setting the puzzle, Presto apparently left Krazy Town (possibly in a puff of smoke and with a wave of a magic carrot), as he never appeared in the comic again.

There is a possibility that Presto was in fact the Cinema Commissionaire in a rabbit suit - see here.

Friday 6 April 2012

The features - Cheeky's Pal Puzzle

Cheeky's Pal Puzzle is a title I have given to a series that appeared in Cheeky Weekly for 10 weeks in late 1978. It wasn't really a feature in its own right, but appeared as part of the Saturday feature. However, I feel it's deserving of a mention in my quest to document the contents of the comic so consequently I'm treating it as a feature here.

Puzzle features had appeared in comics for many years, possibly in order that comic publishers could claim there was some educational/intellectually-stimulating content in their output. Sometimes puzzle features had a distinct whiff of 'filler' about them, while others boasted excellent artwork and ingenious posers. Puzzle features are of course distinct from competitions, where a prize is on offer.

Cheeky Weekly's first dabble in the world of brain-boggling came in issue number 45, when Teacher's Teasers began a 3-issue run that came to an end in the 26 August 1978 comic.

Cheeky's Pal Puzzle can be seen as a refinement of the Teacher's Teasers concept as, instead of being introduced by Cheeky's dandruff-ridden nemesis, the Cheeky's Pal Puzzles were hosted by a variety of Cheeky's pals.  However, Cheeky's Pal Puzzle was limited to one brain-teaser each week, whereas Teacher's Teasers had included several synapse-straining challenges per issue. The effort made to integrate the puzzles into Cheeky's Week certainly raised the series above the level of mere filler.

The appearance of the first Cheeky's Pal Puzzle coincided with Cheeky Weekly's major revamp in the 30 September 1978 issue, and consisted of a follow-the-lines-to-reveal-the-answer-type poser, a staple of puzzle pages through the years. This puzzle was set by Herman.

The following week's Cheeky's Pal Puzzle was posed by school gardener Dan-Dan the Lavender Man, who asked readers to use their pencils to divide a flower bed into 4 sections, each containing 15 blooms.

Next up was Granny Gumdrop, and readers were asked to unravel the words on her balls of wool to discover what she was knitting and for which of Cheeky's pals her woolly creations were intended.

This brings us to Cheeky Weekly's first birthday issue, when the Cheeky's Pal Puzzle, this time a word search to reveal names of some of Cheeky's Pals, was presented by Presto The Magic Rabbit, a character who appeared only in this issue.

Baby Burpo was the host of the next puzzle - a good, old-fashioned teaser of the spot-which-of-the-pictures-are-the-same variety.

In the next Cheeky's Pal Puzzle, we were tasked with guiding Disco Kid to the disco via a route which would secure him 12 discs along the way.

In the issue dated 25 November 1978, the Cheeky's Pal Puzzle was related to an incident which occurred on the Interval page, where Burpo had launched a custard pie at super-sized cinema snack seller, Ursula, and blamed the toothy funster. In a similar type of teaser to that involving Disco Kid, Cheeky asked readers to guide him home by a route that would take him past Ursula, who was seeking retribution for the custardy assault, the least number of times.

Burpo was the instigator of the puzzle again the following week, as he stuck pins in a number of wax effigies. Readers were asked to match each doll to one of a group of Cheeky's pals, who were seen responding to the voodoo prangs. This was to be the last Cheeky's Pal Puzzle, in the issue dated 02 December 1978 which was reduced to 28 pages from the normal 32, due to industrial action. Burpo was the only character to host two Cheeky's Pal Puzzles.

The canny Cheeky Weekly editor usually made sure that the puzzle answers were given in the following week's issue, thus luring keen brain-busters back into the newsagent 7 days later to shell out a further 9p to find out if their answers were correct. The answers weren't always given on the back page of the following issue; in the 21 October 1978 comic the solution to Granny Gumdrop's puzzle appeared on page 24, and the answer to the Disco Kid puzzle was given on page 25 of the following issue. Fortunately, in the reduced-page issue dated 02 December 1978, the answer to the previous puzzle wasn't among the items that had been dropped from the truncated comic, and was given on page 20. In the second 28-page issue, the solution to the final Cheeky's Pal Puzzle could be found on page 24.

All the Cheeky's Pal Puzzles appeared on the back page and all were in colour, although the Sherlock 'find the magnifying glasses' puzzle was printed in blue and white on an otherwise full-colour page, presumably because the somewhat basic colour printing in the comic wouldn't cope well with the intricacies of the line drawing.

After Cheeky's Pal Puzzle came to an end, the Pin-Up Pal posters resumed their place on the back cover until 31 March 1979, when The Burpo Special moved onto the back page. As of 14 July 1979 until the final issue, Snail of the Century became the most regular occupant of page 32.

Puzzles returned to the comic in the form of a feature named Tease Break, which commenced in the issue dated 17 February 1979. Three mazes drawn by Steve Bell appeared in Cheeky Weekly in early 1979.

Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle30-Sep-7802-Dec-7810028,32

Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle HermanFrank McDiarmid130-Sep-197830-Sep-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Dan-Dan The Lavender ManMike Lacey107-Oct-197807-Oct-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Granny GumdropFrank McDiarmid114-Oct-197814-Oct-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle PrestoFrank McDiarmid pencils121-Oct-197821-Oct-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Baby BurpoFrank McDiarmid128-Oct-197828-Oct-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle SherlockMike Lacey104-Nov-197804-Nov-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Sid the Street SweeperFrank McDiarmid111-Nov-197811-Nov-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Disco KidFrank McDiarmid pencils118-Nov-197818-Nov-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle UrsulaFrank McDiarmid125-Nov-197825-Nov-1978
Cheeky's Pal Puzzle Baby BurpoMike Lacey102-Dec-197802-Dec-1978

Thursday 5 April 2012

Frank McDiarmid's Gasworks Gang

Irmantas has posted an item about Frank McDiarmid's Gasworks Gang from Cor!! including some interesting sample strips, one of which features Frank's self-portrait.