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

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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

2 comments:

  1. While there were three main titles (always Buster, Whizzer and Chips, and Whoopee, and yes I do think that Whoopee was run to stick around rather than Shiver and Shake), mergers were more or less on rotation.

    Curiously Whizzer and Chips seemed to miss alternate turns, suggesting that it was doing better than Buster in general. Certainly it was always going to be safe from the Cheeky merger as it had taken the previous merger, Krazy.

    Just counting from the time that Whizzer and Chips came out, allowing for Buster probably being intended to absorb Film Fun and Radio Fun from the beginning, and thus being the only destination for The Big One and Giggle:

    1971: Jet -> Buster
    1973: Knockout -> Whizzer and Chips
    1974: Cor -> Buster
    1974: Shiver & Shake -> Whoopee
    1976: Monster Fun -> Buster
    1978: Krazy -> Whizzer and Chips
    1980: Cheeky -> Whoopee
    1982: Jackpot -> Buster
    1983: Wow -> Whoopee
    1984: School Fun -> Buster
    1985: Whoopee -> Whizzer and Chips
    1987: Nipper -> Buster
    1988: Oink -> Buster
    1989: Scouse Mouse -> Whizzer and Chips
    1990: Whizzer and Chips -> Buster

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that, Andy - fascinating - I'd never taken an overview of the merges like this.

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