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.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

An Ace Page Turner

Artwork by Ron Turner was seen in Cheeky Weekly's Archie's Angels, and in the Malice in Wonderland strip in the first Cheeky Summer Special. I'm far from being an expert on Ron's work - all I know is that I very much like what I've seen of his art.

Some of Ron's strips from the 1950s have recently been published by John Lawrence in Space Ace Volume 1. These sci-fi tales, taken from Lone Star Magazine and the Lone Star Annuals, originally appeared in black and white but in this collection have been coloured by John Ridgeway. As the title implies, the volume depicts daring pilot Space Ace hurtling into intergalactic action as he attempts to thwart the evil designs of an assortment of alien and human opponents.

The artwork is of course excellent, and the colouring really enhances Ron's work, lending the stories a cinematic appearance which deserves to be savoured in detail once each of the tales have been read.

This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of Turner collections. Ordering details (and examples of some of the internal art) can be found on the Bear Alley blog here.

A couple more interesting Ron Turner links; Irmantas has just posted an example of a Ron Turner humour strip which is a delightful revelation to me. I must admit that for the first couple of pages I couldn't see Ron's work, but as the story progresses the Turner hand becomes more apparent, and it's a cracking set, demonstrating the artist's adaptability. A delicious collection of Ron's cover art can be seen here.

Thursday 21 February 2013

The ads - Buster

Compared to IPC's long-lived Buster, Cheeky Weekly was a mere blip in the annals of comic history. Whereas the toothy funster's own comic managed a (by comparison) paltry 117 issues before expiring, Buster first appeared in newsagents in May 1960 and was published for almost 40 years, existing just long enough to stagger across the threshold of the new millennium as the last surviving IPC funny paper. Named after its cloth-capped cover star (introduced as being the son of Reg Smythe's Andy Capp, although direct references to this fact in the comic were limited to a few early issues), Buster over its long history absorbed many lesser IPC titles as their readerships dwindled to unsustainable levels.

Cheeky Weekly's 18 February 1978 issue was the first to feature an ad for Buster (which at that time still carried the title of its most recent acquisition as of November 1976, Monster Fun). This ad alerted prospective readers to a promotion in the following week's issue in conjunction with the manufacturers of Corona soft drinks. Corona themselves were concurrently running a series of animated TV ads featuring the punning strapline 'Every Bubble's passed its Fizzical', and the free stickers on offer to Buster readers in the upcoming issue tied into Corona's marketing campaign.

Seeking to retain any surge in Buster's readership resulting from kids who weren't normally readers buying the comic just to get their hands on the free stickers, the same Buster issue would include the first part of yet another of IPC's interminable line of cut-out-and-collect games. Enthusiasts wishing to complete a set of Match 'Em cards, and crucially obtain the all-important instructions, were obligated to buy the comic for the next 4 weeks. A pic of the titular character is featured in the ad, rather crudely pasted in. Why is he holding a pencil?

A variation on the same ad appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 25 February 1978, reminding readers of the toothy funster's comic that the stickers and Match 'Em game were in that week's Buster & MF. The cut-and-paste Buster, his pencil now cropped, returns in the ad.

Cheeky Weekly's next encounter with a Buster ad came in the 04 March 1978 comic, by which time Buster was halfway through its cut out game. This ad would therefore have had little appeal to readers who missed the first part of the game, and indeed the text is clearly aimed at encouraging those who saved part 1 to continue to the end (and, the publishers no doubt hoped, beyond). Some examples of the cards are shown, featuring faces of Buster & MF stalwarts Plunk, Big Brother (from the Big Brother is Watching You strip), Kid Kong, and Tony Broke (from Ivor Lott and Tony Broke). I can't identify the character whose face appears in the third box from the left in the top row. The torsos and legs on display were mixed up to demonstrate the fun to be had with the game. Young Master Capp is missing from the ad entirely.

With admirable/irritating persistence, IPC inserted another ad highlighting the Match 'Em promotion in the following Cheeky Weekly, reminding readers that the third part of the game was in that week's copy of Buster. A further 6 cards were shown, this time featuring Faceache, then there's a character who I suspect is supposed to be Little Brother from the Big Brother… strip, followed by The Leopard from Lime Street (Billy Farmer's feline alter-ego), Ray (of X-Ray Specs), The Ghostly Leg (surely the most bizarre strip of the entire Fleetway/IPC line) and Kid (of Kid Gloves). All the characters seem to have been paired with their correct legs (or leg in the case of the spectral lower limb). Buster himself is again absent.

IPC clearly saw the Match 'Em promotion as a high-profile affair, because Cheeky Weekly dated 18 March 1978 carried an ad for it in the fifth consecutive issue. Admittedly the cut-out game, which was by then in its final week, gets a smaller mention as, under the banner 'Buster Rules OK' (a reference to the inclusion of the Match 'Em rules this week), the ad concentrates on selling the strips and features which appear each week. Buster is present in the ad, which is dominated by a large pic of false-teeth wearing shark, Gums.

There followed a break from Buster ads, until Cheeky Weekly dated 03 June 1978 carried a plug for the Buster Holiday Fun Special. A pasted-in Buster and the Special's cover shared the ad with some text detailing the fun and thrills to be had in return for 30p. Although the weekly Buster still carried the Monster Fun title on its cover at this time, the Holiday Fun Special makes no mention of the other comic. The same ad appeared in the following 2 issues of Cheeky Weekly.

One might have expected there to be an advertisement as Christmas approached for the 1979 Buster Book, which was published in autumn 1978, but none appeared. While most IPC comics had hardback versions published in the run-up to the festive period, for many years Buster's annual Christmas offering had soft cardboard covers, and all were called Buster Book rather than Buster Annual.

Unlike the previous year's Buster Holiday Fun Special, 1979's Buster and Monster Fun Spring Special, which was advertised in Cheeky Weekly dated 14 April 1979, not only mentioned the title of the 'absorbee', but gave it greater emphasis than the host comic. I've never seen a copy of this special, so I can't comment on what might have made it, according to the blurb, 'unusual'. Probably it featured predominantly Monster Fun characters - the ad text and pics of Kid Kong and the skeleton from Terror TV suggest this may have been the case. As we have come to expect, a pasted-in Buster was also on display in this ad. A different image of Tin Teacher has been overlaid on the special's cover - the actual cover can be seen among the specials here. There was a 10p price hike since the previous year. The same ad returned in the following 2 issues of Cheeky Weekly.

My assumption about the Monster Fun bias of the aforementioned special would seem to be confirmed by the ad for Buster Holiday Special in the 02 June 1979 issue of Cheeky Weekly. There's no mention of Monster Fun on its cover, although MF's Kid Kong shared the front page with Buster, and another survivor from MF, Gums, was included in the ad, utilising the same image that appeared in the ad dated 18 March 1978. Like the advert for the Buster and Monster Fun Spring Special, this ad appeared in 3 consecutive issues of Cheeky Weekly.

The 1980 Buster Book was first advertised in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 October 1979. Under the strapline 'Take off with Buster!' (a reference to the events depicted on the Book's cover) a pasted image of Capp junior on roller skates has been used as presumably the staff member compiling the ad was unable to locate another image of Buster on skis. The ad also ran in Cheeky Weekly the following week.

Adverts Subject Buster
Issue Date Page Page Type Advertiser Subject
03-Jun-197818NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
10-Jun-197821NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
17-Jun-19788NormalIPCBuster Holiday Fun Special
14-Apr-197915NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
21-Apr-19795NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
28-Apr-197915NormalIPCBuster and Monster Fun Spring Special
02-Jun-197921NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
09-Jun-197929NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
16-Jun-197922NormalIPCBuster Holiday Special
06-Oct-197927NormalIPCBuster Book
13-Oct-197927NormalIPCBuster Book

Friday 15 February 2013

A Cheeky auction

Any Cheeky fans with 120 quid or thereabouts rattling around in their wallets may be interested in one of the items listed in the latest Comic Book Auctions Ltd catalogue - it's the IPC promotional material sent out to newsagents prior to publication of the first Cheeky Weekly. The publishers were understandably keen to have their new comic well-represented on newsagents' counters across the country on publication day. By distributing a sample of the first issue together with the first 2 free gifts, IPC hoped to demonstrate to owners of shops selling their titles that not only was the new arrival packed with laughs, thrills and chills, but early issues would bear added inducements in the form of freebies to lure kids into becoming regular purchasers. I don't have this nice item of Cheeky memorabilia, but I don't intend bidding for it

SOR = Sale or Return
Am I the only one to find Cheeky's message rather sinister?

At one time it was possible to locate scans of  the promotional version of Cheeky Weekly number 1 (which varied somewhat from the issue that was eventually published) by searching for 'Cheeky dummy issue'.

Cheeky Weekly wasn't the only comic to receive this treatment - included in the same auction is an earlier promotional pack that heralded the arrival of another comic from the IPC stable, Whoopee!, and a later one relating to adventure title Tornado.

Thanks to George over at Wacky Comics for blogging about the auction.

Monday 11 February 2013

Cheeky Weekly cover date 10 February 1979

After last week's larger-than-normal-page-size issue, this week's comic reverts to its usual dimensions. Like the previous issue, the paper is of a marginally better quality than normal, with a slight sheen that's not usually evident.

Watery peril threatens Mystery Boy on Cheeky Weekly's front cover for a second time (see also 07 October 1978) and, as in his previous cover appearance, the artwork is lifted from a panel of the story inside. Cheeky and Baby Burpo share liquorice laughs in the Cheeky's Week…Sunday cover strip, before Yikky-Boo's customary exclamation brings the front page fun to a cacophonous conclusion.

For some reason the Sunday element on page 2 is missing the What did YOU do today? diary section that usually occupies the foot of the page. This is the first time Barrie Appleby has drawn an internal Cheeky's Week page since the 26 August 1978 issue and, as What did YOU do today? was introduced in the comic dated 30 September 1978, it may be that Barrie wasn't aware of the need to leave space for it. The presence of Cheeky's ugly mug at the bottom of the page meant WDYDT couldn't be shoehorned in. However, WDYDT is present where expected on all other Cheeky's Week pages this issue.

Art: Barrie Appleby

Joke-Box Jury enjoys a bumper 2-page spread, with the usual mix of old, bad and (from a 21st Century perspective) inappropriate material provided by readers who have won £2 for getting their funnies (and not-so-funnies) into print. The panel of judges seem untroubled by the dubious quality of some of the gags on offer.

Caution: some of the 'humour' on display here may offend.
I present it as a document of less enlightened times.

Also anticipating a £2 boost to their pocket money are the 3 readers whose winning witticisms appear on Paddywack's page. The jokes here aren't offensive, but the Paddywack character clearly exhibits national stereotyping that wouldn't be acceptable today.

Art: Jack Clayton

There's more questionable 'humour' as Cheeky meets Uncle Hamish on Wednesday...

Art: Barrie Appleby
Jokes of this type, while shocking to our 21st century sensibilities, were common in the media and in the playgrounds and workplaces of Britain of the late 1970s.

The Tub story on the Mystery Comic's cover is the source of the main pic on Cheeky Weekly issue 64's front page that 2 weeks ago left readers confused as to its relevance.

Reg Parlett and Joe McCaffrey continue to divide the artwork duties on Mustapha Million between themselves - this week Reg does the honours after a 4 week absence, providing the inks for what appears as a curious, partially-coloured strip. I suspect that the colouring was done this way as it was felt that to colour all the cards in the card shop would have overwhelmed the rest of the artwork. Maybe it would have been easier to colour this week's Elephant On The Run instead.

It's not just the readers of Cheeky Weekly who can provide bad jokes, as the final panel of Mustapha's story proves...

This week's Burpo Special focuses on dire dinner-lady Auntie Daisy's shortcomings in the culinary field. Burpo interviews diners as they emerge, reeling, from the school canteen. Even Yikky-Boo can only manage a feeble Yukky-Boo in reply.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

After the Saturday elements bring Cheeky's Week to a close (with the toothy funster and pals biking around Krazy Town), the comic rounds off with another back-page Pin-Up Pal. This time the poster features Baker's Boy, in a rather basic rendition.

Barrie Appleby provides 9 Cheeky's Week elements in this issue (this is the first time he's drawn the Cheeky's Week…Sunday cover strip), with Frank McDiarmid delivering a single Cheeky's Week element (The Burpo Special) plus the back cover poster (which I don't include as a Cheeky's Week element). This is the second consecutive week to break the rule of 'Cheeky's Week elements are to be drawn by only one artist (or artist/penciller team) in each issue', that seems to have been established as of the 30 September 1978 revamp issue (apart from 06 January 1979's standby issue which was probably compiled in a hurry).

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 10-Feb-1979, Issue 66 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Mystery Boy' 2 of 2 - Art John Richardson (final art on feature)\Cheeky's Week - Art Barrie Appleby (first art on feature)
2Sunday - Art Barrie Appleby
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
6Joke-Box Jury
7Joke-Box Jury
8Monday - Art Barrie Appleby
9Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
10Tuesday - Art Barrie Appleby
11Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
12Wednesday - Art Barrie Appleby
13Tub 'Mystery Comic' 15 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
14Why, Dad, Why? 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 28 - Art John K. Geering
15Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 17 of 37 - Art John Richardson
16Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 16 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
17Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 16 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
18Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 16 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
19Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 16 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
20Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 16 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
21Your chance to vote\Ad: IPC 'Mickey Mouse' 10 of 18
22What's New, Kids
23Thursday - Art Barrie Appleby
24Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
25Friday - Art Barrie Appleby
26Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
27Eagle Eye reprint from Shiver and Shake
29The Burpo Special 'Auntie Daisy' - Art Frank McDiarmid
30Saturday - Art Barrie Appleby
31Saturday - Art Barrie Appleby
32Pin-up pal 'Baker's Boy' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 10-Feb-1979
Artist Elements
Barrie Appleby9
Frank McDiarmid1