Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!

Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!
Cheeky Weekly ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

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

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Tuesday 25 August 2015

Whizzer and Chips - The Cheeky Raids part 10

New readers start here... After Cheeky Weekly folded and was incorporated into Whoopee as of February 1980 six strips that had originated in the toothy funster's title survived the merge and continued to appear in the amalgamated comic. Whoopee itself foundered in March 1985 and was merged into Whizzer and Chips. Three of the surviving Cheeky Weekly strips successfully negotiated this second merge and went on to appear in the newly combined publication, rather inelegantly titled 'Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee'. The survivors were Mustapha Million, Calculator Kid and (appearing only twice) Stage School. Cheeky continued to appear, but as a member of The Krazy Gang, who had moved into W&C when Krazy, the comic in which the Gang originated, expired in April 1978.

Whizzer and Chips had a long tradition of sending characters from the Chips section into Whizzer and vice versa. These cross-comic forays were known as 'raids'. In this series of posts I'm chronicling the raids involving the ex-Cheeky Weekly characters who made the transition into Whizzer and Chips, all of whom were allocated to the Chips section. For the purposes of this series, although this particular manifestation of the toothy funster didn't directly descend from Cheeky Weekly, I'm including Cheeky's Krazy Gang appearances as those of an 'ex-Cheeky Weekly character'.

Late Summer 1985 - it's time for sun, sea and snake as chief Whizz-kid Sid and his reptilian associate head to the coast. But who is the interloper? Scroll down for the answer should you require it - this is a blatant incursion.

Whizzer and Chips 24 August 1985
Art: Mike Lacey

Whizzer and Chips 31 August 1985
The Chip-ites section also included an enquiry
about the Mustapha Million artists

This sortie into the pages of Whizzer was perpetrated by an uncharacteristically glum-looking Cheeky, clearly not enjoying his aquatic raiding experience. The depiction of our toothy chum looks to me to be the work of Bob Hill, who was of course drawing Cheeky as a member of the Krazy Gang at the time. My first suspicion was that the image was copied-and-pasted from a Gang strip, but I looked back through a year's worth of KG stories and was unable to find the pic in question. I therefore assume that Bob was asked to draw this bare-chested version of our usually-grinning pal specifically for the purposes of this raid.

Ex-Cheeky Weekly characters had by this time perpetrated 4 raids during the subject period while suffering 7.

Whizzer and Chips Cover Date Raider Raided
06 April 1985Mustapha MillionSuper Steve
04 May 1985Bloggs (Store Wars)Mustapha Million
11 May 1985JokerThe Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
18 May 1985Calculator Kid & CalcOdd-Ball
01 June 1985
Mustapha Million
The Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
Boy Boss
08 June 1985Odd-BallCalculator Kid
06 July 1985Toy BoyCalculator Kid
13 July 1985Pa BumpkinThe Krazy Gang (Cheeky)
27 July 1985JokerMustapha Million
24 August 1985CheekySid's Snake

Sunday 23 August 2015

Cor!! what a poser!

I recently picked up these Cor!! annuals at a charity shop (well at 50p each it seemed impolite not to buy them), and it set me musing on a Cor!! curiosity...

...why did the Cor!! annuals start bearing the words 'comic annual' on their covers as of the 1976 edition? IPC's other annuals weren't called 'Whizzer and Chips Comic Annual' or 'Whoopee! Comic Annual'.

As has been documented elsewhere, the titular exclamation originated in days gone by when folk under duress sought a euphemistic substitute for the word God.

However, as time went on the word came to be employed as an expression of delight, such as 'Cor! What a lovely ice cream!' (which is the sense in which IPC intended its use, I suspect). But cor also became closely associated with unwanted male appreciation of the female form. Although such frank expressions are considered unacceptable today, back in less enlightened times it wasn't unusual to hear wolf-whistles and shouts of cor! as females progressed along UK streets. The exclamation was also used in this way by leering characters in TV and film comedy.

My guess is IPC were concerned that, given the salacious connotations of its chosen title (emphasised by the double exclamation marks), some may have purchased the Cor!! annual expecting it to contain racy cartoon humour of the kind that featured in contemporaneous publication Funny Half Hour, which Lew Stringer mentioned in a recent post. I suspect IPC hoped to reduce the number of disappointed adult punters by including the 'Comic Annual' tag on the cover.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Artist's Wives

We're all familiar with strips including an artist self-portrait - always good fun although some depictions are more accurate than others, I suspect. Irmantas did a good series of posts on this subject a while back.

A subset of this category is the 'artist-and-wife self portrait'. Here's Mr and Mrs (Bob) Hill appearing in a Krazy Gang story from Whizzer and Chips, 15 September 1984.

Whereas in some artist self portrait stories the relationship between the character and their illustrator is quite relaxed, it would appear that Bob is undergoing some sort of breakdown as he clearly didn't expect to encounter the gang in 'real life'. I like the panel where Bob flees in terror, while the gang look on in surprise and Mrs Hill is shown to be up to her elbows in domestic chores. The bottle on the table would appear to be significant but the meaning of 'KG' eludes me.

UPDATE: The answer to the KG riddle has been supplied by Peter and Andy in the comments below (kicks self for missing it - ooyah!).

There's further fun to be had with the 'Merry Christmas, Dear' on the toolbox, reinforcing the fact that life in the Hill household is less than idyllic from the female perspective (wonder if Bob wrote the script himself?). By the end of the strip, Bob appears to have surrendered to his psychotic delusion and is settled in the Krazy Gang's world.

The only other husband and wife comic portraits of which I'm aware are those featuring Terry and Shiela Bave, covered by Irmantas here. However if anyone knows of any others, please get in touch.

No doubt you spotted the raid perpetrated on the above strip by a Jim Watson version of Bloggs from the Store Wars strip. Good job Bob didn't see that, I don't know what it would have done to him.

UPDATE 2: Peter has sent a link to a Krazy Gang strip which opens another category, 'stories containing caricatures of real people but who are they?'.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

We care that you care

Whizzer and Chips 17 November 1984. The Krazy Gang have been running in the comic since Krazy folded back in 1978.  It's now over 4 years since Cheeky Weekly's demise. A Cheeky strip is still appearing in Whoopee, but it's been reduced to a single row of panels.

This week's Gang script requires artist Bob Hill to depict some of the gang's parents.

A lesser wielder of the pen would just bung in some generic parent types in respect of Cheeky's mum and dad. But oh no, Bob gives us proper likenesses of Cheeky's progenitors.

Bob, we salute you and your fellow artists who show in these little ways that you actually care about your readers.

Whizzer and Chips 17 November 1984

...here's the same week's Cheeky strip from Whoopee, showing the definitive version of Cheeky's mum from the pen of Frank McDiarmid ...

Whoopee 17 November 1984

...and here's Dad's first proper appearance, in Cheeky Weekly's debut issue dated 22 October 1977 (Dad first appeared in a single panel in Krazy dated 23 October 1976, but that was at a distance and in silhouette, although his flat cap was in evidence)...

Cheeky Weekly 22 October 1977
Art: Frank McDiarmid

In case anyone's confused (and I certainly am), this post is not part of the Whizzer and Chips - The Cheeky Raids series, as the issue of W&C from which the first image above was extracted predates the merge of Whoopee into W&C, the starting point for that series. So although Sid raided the strip above, I'm not going to mention it.

There will be more Bob Hill funnies soon.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Cheeky Weekly Star Guest appearances in other comics - Conclusion

The 1979 run of IPC's trans-comic promotional tool, Star Guest, spanned 18 weeks. During this period, features from Cheeky Weekly made visits to Whizzer and Chips and Whoopee! on alternate weeks, as has been documented in earlier posts in this Star Guest series.

It has to be said that, when reviewing the whole run of Cheeky Weekly Star Guest appearances in the other titles, the decisions on the distribution of the strips between Cheeky Weekly's companion comics, the choice of features, and the weeks in which they were placed seem to be rather ill-considered, not to say chaotic.

Let's work through those features chosen to appear as Star Guests, in alphabetical order;

Calculator Kid appeared twice, both times in Whizzer and Chips! On the occasion of his 23 June 1979 outing to Whiz-kid and Chip-ite territory, Charlie and Calc were absent from the same week's issue of Cheeky Weekly! (not a little disappointing for any W&C readers who, having enjoyed Calc in their comic, returned to the newsagent and bought the same week's Cheeky Weekly expecting to partake of more fun with Charlie and his electronic pal).

Cheeky appeared 5 times; 3 times in Whoopee! and twice in Whizzer and Chips. As is only fitting, Cheeky was the most frequent Star Guest envoy to the other titles. The reason for the Whoopee! bias is unclear. One visit to each of the companion comics was composed of panels that had previously appeared in Cheeky Weekly, but with new gags. This allowed readers unfamiliar with the toothy funster's title to enjoy some Frank McDiarmid artwork. Frank was no doubt too busy to take on any Star Guest assignments, so Barrie Appleby provided his usual high standard of work on 3 Cheeky strips. Sadly, as each Star Guest appearance was limited to a single page, it wasn't possible to give a flavour of the weekly nature of Cheeky's adventures, The fact that there was no hint of the framing devices which were Cheeky Weekly's unique selling point was somewhat irrelevant as those devices were dispensed with by the time Star Guest concluded.

Disaster Des appeared once in Whizzer and Chips,and once in Whoopee! In the week of his Whoopee! appearance he was absent from Cheeky Weekly!

Elephant On The Run appeared once (in Whoopee!) and that week the feature was absent from Cheeky Weekly!

Mustapha Million appeared twice in Whoopee! and once in Whizzer and Chips. On his second Whoopee! visit, Mustapha's story exhibited an uncomfortable similarity to the premise of the Bumpkin Billionaires, established stars of that comic.

Skateboard Squad appeared once (in Whizzer and Chips) and that week the feature was absent from Cheeky Weekly!

The Burpo Special appeared once (in Whoopee!).

The Gang appeared once (in Whizzer and Chips - which was rather an odd choice in which to locate it since the strip was a reprint from that very comic!). The Gang had begun being reprinted in Cheeky Weekly just 2 weeks before they were pressed into Star Guest service, so clearly there had been no time for the Cheeky editorial team to assess reader appreciation of the strip before it was selected. Cheeky Weekly had so many other original features on which the editor would have had feedback and would have made superior ambassadors so the reasoning which led to the inclusion of The Gang is hard to understand.

Why, Dad, Why? appeared once in Whizzer and Chips, and once in Whoopee!

One might imagine that the features chosen to represent Cheeky Weekly during Star Guest would be those considered by the editor to be most popular with readers of the toothy funster's comic, but the inclusion of The Gang, together with the general haphazard nature of the promotion (for example Calculator Kid appearing twice in Whizzer and Chips, but not in Whoopee!), makes me wonder whether any such consideration was made during the selection of candidates.

This sorry collection of doubtful choices and lack of co-ordination just reinforces my impression that IPC management had all but given up on Cheeky Weekly by this stage and were running the comic down in preparation for the customary merge into another title. I must stress that I have no doubt that the creative team were still striving to give readers the best possible entertainment, but it seems to me that support from the top brass was falling away.

But into which of the other IPC titles of the time would the toothy funster's comic be subsumed?

When the 1979 run of Star Guest ended there were four IPC humour/adventure titles that could have provided a home for Cheeky Weekly refugees. In addition to the aforementioned Whizzer and Chips and Whoopee! were two other IPC humour/adventure comics; the publisher's longest-running title in the field, Buster, and their newest entrant in the same market, Jackpot. You may ask why Buster didn't feature in this Star Guest promotion. Well, for reasons unknown (to me, anyway), Buster seems to have habitually exempted itself from all runs of Star Guest of which I'm aware. Jackpot was absent from this Star Guest run (as host and guest) because it commenced publication in May 1979, part-way through the promotion, and was the subject of its own publicity campaign within the IPC comics. It was never the case (as far as I'm aware) that a comic merged into a title whose launch date was later than its own, so that ruled out Jackpot from becoming host to Cheeky Weekly's survivors. Whizzer and Chips had welcomed the remnants from Krazy when that title folded in April 1978, in the process inheriting Cheeky in his role as a member of The Krazy Gang. Maybe it was felt that to merge Cheeky Weekly into a Whizzer and Chips already boasting the toothy funster would increase the goofy-teeth-quotient to unacceptable levels. As we know, when Cheeky Weekly ceased publication in February 1980 it merged into Whoopee!

There has long been speculation in certain quarters of British comics fandom that some titles were launched with the intention of building a following and then merging the newer title into a more established one. This would deliver a circulation boost to the senior comic as a proportion of the erstwhile readers of the defunct title chose to follow the surviving characters when they moved into their new home. Any new Cheeky Weekly readers recruited by the Star Guest promotion from among the existing followers of Whoopee! would, if they continued to maintain their weekly Whoopee! habit, fail to deliver any sort of circulation boost to Whoopee! when Cheeky Weekly met its untimely end, since they were already buying Whoopee! Readers with limited pocket money who liked what they saw of Cheeky and Co. during Star Guest may have opted to drop Whoopee! in favour of Cheeky Weekly, thus depleting the circulation figures of their original title of choice. Even when the merge came, it's unlikely all those new Cheeky fans would re-adopt Whoopee!

Maybe at the end of this Star Guest run IPC had not yet decided into which comic Cheeky Weekly would be merged. Nonetheless, IPC reduced the promotion's effectiveness as a means of boosting circulations in the long term by not including Buster in its run.

With the exception of the two reconstituted-Frank McDiarmid-art-with-new-gags pages, and The Gang's cut-down-to-one-page-from-two reprinted strip, all the Cheeky Weekly Star Guest pages in Whizzer and Chips and Whoopee! were new and never appeared in Cheeky Weekly.

Thanks once again to Irmantas for supplying the scans of the Cheeky Weekly Star Guests in Whoopee! that I have used during this series.

Date   ComicStar GuestArtistFeature included in Cheeky Weekly
that week?
31-Mar-1979Whizzer and ChipsCalculator KidTerry BaveYes
07-Apr-1979Whoopee!The Burpo Special - Hid KidFrank McDiarmidYes. And Hid Kid appears (insofar as he ever appears) on Sunday
14-Apr-1979Whizzer and ChipsSkateboard SquadMike LaceyNo
21-Apr-1979Whoopee!Disaster DesMike LaceyNo
28-Apr-1979Whizzer and ChipsCheekyBarrie ApplebyYes
05-May-1979Whoopee!Why,Dad, Why?John GeeringYes
12-May-1979Whizzer and ChipsWhy,Dad, Why?John GeeringYes
19-May-1979Whoopee!Elephant On The RunRobert NixonNo
26-May-1979Whizzer and ChipsMustapha MillionJoe McCaffreyYes
02-Jun-1979Whoopee!CheekyBarrie ApplebyYes
09-Jun-1979Whizzer and ChipsDisaster DesMike LaceyYes
16-Jun-1979Whoopee!CheekyBarrie ApplebyYes
23-Jun-1979Whizzer and ChipsCalculator KidTerry BaveNo
30-Jun-1979Whoopee!Mustapha MillionJoe McCaffreyYes
07-Jul-1979Whizzer and ChipsCheekyFrank McDiarmid (page composed of art previously published in Cheeky Weekly)Yes
14-Jul-1979Whoopee!CheekyFrank McDiarmid (page composed of art previously published in Cheeky Weekly)Yes
21-Jul-1979Whizzer and ChipsThe GangRobert MacGillivray (page reprinted from Whizzer and Chips)Yes
28-Jul-1979Whoopee!Mustapha MillionJoe McCaffreyYes