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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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Thursday, 4 February 2016

The features – Snail of the Century

Snail had been Cheeky's faithful (but silent) slimy sidekick since issue 6 of Krazy in November 1976, but over two and a half years later our mollusc mate was elevated to become the star of his very own feature. Snail of the Century was the last original strip to commence in Cheeky Weekly, making its debut in the edition dated 14 July 1979 and completing the comic's 'new look' which had been initiated a week earlier.

First appearance of Snail of the Century
Cheeky Weekly 14 July 1979
Art: Frank McDiarmid

 
The strip (the title being a play on Parsonstastic TV quiz show of the time, Sale of the Century) was a spin-off from the Cheeky's Week pages and Snail thus joined Baby Burpo to become the only characters from Cheeky's supporting cast to make it into their own regular strips (The Burpo Special in the case of the notorious nappy-wearer). Additionally, both Snail's and Burpo's own features bore titles referencing TV shows of the era.

Despite the much earlier competition in which readers were invited to send in suggestions for Snail's name, none of the winning entries published in the 22 April 1978 edition were ever used in either Cheeky's Week or Snail of the Century (seemingly not the first time IPC had neglected to use a name supplied by a reader).

Frank again
 
Although the strip was clearly set in Cheeky's universe, there was no introduction within the CW strips, since Cheeky Weekly's framing devices had been dropped as of the aforementioned 'new look' issue dated 14 July 1979. However, there was framing within each SotC episode, as at the beginning of every story the inimitable invertebrate would observe Cheeky's current preoccupation before slithering out into the garden to meet his back yard buddies. The end of each episode saw Snail return indoors to view the latest state of affairs in the Cheeky household. Snail, Cheeky, his parents, Baby Burpo and school gardener Dan-Dan the Lavender Man were the only characters from the Cheeky's Week pages to feature in SotC, and none of the SotC supporting cast appeared in Cheeky's Week.

Most memorable among the SotC characters was Weevil Knievel (whose surname underwent a number of different spellings in the early weeks of the feature), the motorcycle stunt rider. The mini motorcyclist (a spoof of course on Evel Knievel) either appeared or was mentioned in every SotC episode.

 
Snail's nephew appeared just once
 
Snail of the Century was missing from just 3 issues after its commencement, appearing in 27 editions in total. The feature was most often to be found on Cheeky Weekly's back cover, benefiting from the colour printing available in that location on 25 occasions. Frank McDiarmid drew 25 episodes, with Barrie Appleby supplying 2.

Missed opportunity for a gag -
surely Snail's fave disc is Me Shell by The Beatles

I mentioned above that Snail of the Century was a spin-off from Cheeky's Week, but really it was more like a knock-off. It attempted to relocate Cheeky's pun-fests to the back garden, but sadly Snail, while a great sidekick, didn't really have the personality to front a strip on his own. Having no arms or legs and only a rudimentary face meant the star of the strip was visually a little dull. Nor were the mirthful mollusc's mates as engaging a bunch as Cheeky's pals. Not being a fan of anything with more than 4 legs or lacking a backbone, the strip never really appealed to me.

Snail of the Century in the Cheeky Weekly Index

 
Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Snail of the Century14-Jul-7902-Feb-8027312,23,32


Issues Missed In Run
04-Aug-79
22-Sep-79
10-Nov-79


Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Snail of the Century Frank McDiarmid2514-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Snail of the Century Barrie Appleby213-Oct-197920-Oct-1979


Preceding Page Count
Saturday 2/225
Ringer Dinger1
Joke-Box Jury1


Pages per Issue Number of Issues
127

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Gasp - how shocking! I thought it was thumb ;)

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  2. Didn’t you mean you aren’t a fan of creatures with LESS than four legs? Or do octopi, spiders etc. do it for you? Takes all sorts, I suppose…

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    Replies
    1. Ha! What I meant was I don't like anything with more than four legs. Why would any creature need more than a leg at each corner? Even mighty elephants can manage perfectly well with four legs - any more is just being greedy! And all that wavy antenna business is just...urgh!

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