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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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Cheeky Weekly Index Updated 13 October 2017
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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Cheeky Weekly: Year 2 in Review

Those of you who follow my issue summaries series of posts will be aware that the most recent entry looked at the final issue of Cheeky Weekly's second year, so now is an appropriate time to examine the changes that occurred in the comic between its first anniversary issue and the end of year 2, and compare them with the changes documented in my Cheeky Weekly: Year 1 in Review post.

Cheeky Weekly's second year was of course marred by the December 1978 printer's strike that affected a number of IPC's titles and resulted in two issues of the toothy funster's comic having a reduced page count, plus the loss of 3 issues including what would have been the Christmas edition (although most if not all of the festive funnies intended for that issue did eventually appear in one form or another).

Cheeky Weekly was unique among British comics in being built around a single character whose strip was interspersed throughout each issue. But in addition to enjoying the toothy funster's gag-cracking progress through a whole week, readers experienced another unique aspect of the comic as all the non-Cheeky strips were framed by those Cheeky's Week pages. Thus the adventure strips were introduced as books Cheeky read or films he watched at the cinema, and the humour strips were presented as programmes he watched on TV or home movies made by his pals, among other conceits.

Aside from the loss of individual strips and the introduction of replacements, which is of course commonplace in comics as editors strive to hone the contents in pursuit of maximum circulation, the major change to occur in Cheeky Weekly's second year was the final elimination of the framing devices, a process that had begun in year 1, as documented here.

The comic also underwent a third revamp during year 2, with the Mystery Comic section ceasing to appear in the centre pages as of the 07 July 1979 'New Look' issue. All the strips that had previously been contained within the Mystery Comic section continued to appear, but were distributed throughout the comic rather than huddling at the mid-point of each issue.

Comparison of features: Issues 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979

 Survivors 

Category Detail Start End
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Mustapha Million22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)6 Million Dollar Gran22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)What's New, Kids22-Oct-197717-Nov-1979
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Cover Feature22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Friday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Monday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Saturday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Sunday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Thursday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Tuesday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Wednesday22-Oct-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Joke-Box Jury10-Dec-197702-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Calculator Kid01-Jul-197802-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Paddywack08-Jul-197826-Jan-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Silly Snaps02-Sep-197820-Oct-1979
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Why, Dad, Why?30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Elephant On The Run30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Tub30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Mystery Boy30-Sep-197813-Oct-1979
Survivor (started before 21-Oct-1978 and still running as of 13-Oct-1979)Disaster Des30-Sep-197802-Feb-1980


Calculator Kid and Paddywack join the Survivors this year, having been categorised as Newcomers in the Year 1 review. Also joining the survivors are the 5 strips that were introduced when the Mystery Comic took up occupancy in the center of the comic as of the 30 September 1978 issue (again these were classified an Newcomers at the end of year 1). However, one of those 5, Mystery Boy, only just scrapes in as a year 2 survivor, since its final episode appeared in the 13 October 1979 comic. Since Mystery Boy was not replaced by another story in the adventure vein, it seems that during year 2 a decision was taken to transform Cheeky Weekly into a funnies-only comic.


Survivors - Conclusion

There were in total 19 strips running as of the end of year 1 which survived to reach the end of year 2. This compares to 12 survivors at the end of year 1. This more stable line-up may suggest that at the end of year 2, the Cheeky Weekly Editor was happier with the comic's contents than he had been just 12 months into the title's run.

Newcomers
 
Category Detail Start End
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Chit-Chat09-Dec-197802-Feb-1980
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Tease Break17-Feb-197903-Nov-1979
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Speed Squad26-May-197902-Feb-1980
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Stage School07-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979The Gang07-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Snail of the Century14-Jul-197902-Feb-1980
Newcomer after 21-Oct-1978, still running as of 13-Oct-1979Ringer Dinger06-Oct-197902-Feb-1980

Cheeky Weekly was surprisingly late in adding a readers' letters page to its line-up - Chit-Chat didn't commence until issue number 60. It subsequently became a permanent fixture. Snail of the Century was the last original feature to join the roster of Cheeky Weekly chucklemakers, all the subsequent strip debuts within Cheeky Weekly were reprints. Speed Squad were of course Skateboard Squad in all but name and vehicular specificity. Stage School was an engaging, fun feature that not only continued into year 3 but was among the strips that transferred to Whoopee! when the toothy funster's title came a cropper. The Gang was a poor choice of reprint that didn't do Cheeky Weekly any favours. Ringer Dinger was a reprint functioning as an intermittent filler.

Newcomers - Conclusion

12 Newcomers (i.e. strips that began after the first issue) were listed at the end of year 1, compared to the 7 above for year 2 (but since there were more survivors in year 2, it's to be expected that there would be a commensurate dip in newcomers).

Gone but not Forgotten

Category Detail Start End
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Skateboard Squad22-Oct-197712-May-1979
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Pin-up pal22-Oct-197731-Mar-1979
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Interval22-Oct-197702-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Tweety and Sylvester21-Jan-197802-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Easter Monday01-Apr-197821-Apr-1979
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Smurfs competition09-Sep-197809-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Cheeky's Week30-Sep-197830-Jun-1979
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Cheeky's Pal Puzzle30-Sep-197802-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Mystery Boy30-Sep-197813-Oct-1979
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure07-Oct-197802-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Laugh and Learn07-Oct-197809-Dec-1978
Started on or before 21-Oct-1978 but departed on or before 13-Oct-1979Hey Presto! Magic Show21-Oct-197821-Oct-1978

Cheeky's Pal Puzzle (my own title for a feature that was not given a name in the comic) was as the name implies a feature of the brain-teaser variety but, rather than being a generic filler as such items often were, it was given a Cheeky Weekly twist in that it was incorporated into the Saturday strip. Cheeky's Week in the table above refers to to cover strip of that name rather than the concept of Cheeky's 7 days of jolly japes. Hey Presto! Magic Show was a one-off special strip to celebrate the comic's first birthday. The short-lived Laugh and Learn's interesting collaboration between Barrie Appleby and Brian Walker was possibly a little too educational for readers' tastes. Skateboard Squad of course arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes of their former plastic-wheeled conveyances to become Speed Squad. The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure was a reprinted tale of piratical pursuit. Mystery Boy appears in this category as his final episode appeared in the 13 October 1979 issue.
Gone but not Forgotten - Conclusion

13 features were dropped during year 1, but we again see a more stable comic reflected in year 2's tally of just 7 ejectees (one of which was a one-off special never intended, as far as we know, to be a series).


Arrived and departed 


Category Detail Start End
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Hey Presto! Magic Show21-Oct-197821-Oct-1978
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Winners of Skateboard and Tennis competitions28-Oct-197828-Oct-1978
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Who's your Super-Star18-Nov-197818-Nov-1978
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Feature Omitted02-Dec-197802-Dec-1978
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Big Four Saint Competition02-Dec-197802-Dec-1978
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979The Burpo Special09-Dec-197830-Jun-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Eagle Eye06-Jan-197924-Feb-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Chutes Away competition winners06-Jan-197906-Jan-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Snap Game13-Jan-197903-Feb-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Goonburger Maze20-Jan-197920-Jan-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Spaghetti Junction maze27-Jan-197927-Jan-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Your chance to vote27-Jan-197917-Feb-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Train Track Maze03-Feb-197903-Feb-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Menace of the Alpha Man03-Mar-197930-Jun-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Ash Wednesday03-Mar-197903-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Shrove Tuesday03-Mar-197903-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Disaster Des spot the difference17-Mar-197917-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Saint competition results24-Mar-197924-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Smurfs competition results24-Mar-197924-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Star Guest31-Mar-197928-Jul-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Cheeky's Jersey Pattern31-Mar-197931-Mar-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Top Ten Poster07-Apr-197928-Apr-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Top Ten Poster instructions07-Apr-197928-Apr-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Easter Saturday14-Apr-197914-Apr-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Good Friday14-Apr-197914-Apr-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Poster instructions21-Apr-197908-Sep-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Cheeky Spotter Book of Town and Around19-May-197909-Jun-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Cheeky Hustle16-Jun-197916-Jun-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Who Is The Alpha Man16-Jun-197916-Jun-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979My favourite Cheeky pals04-Aug-197904-Aug-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Alpha Man competition results18-Aug-197918-Aug-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979Giant Cheeky Poster18-Aug-197908-Sep-1979
Started and Finished Between 21-Oct-1978 and 13-Oct-1979James Bond competition08-Sep-197908-Sep-1979

The above is a bit of a rag-bag category which mops up everything that started and finished within year 2,  including cut-out features, competitions and fillers of various descriptions. However, focusing on 'proper' features reveals that Eagle Eye, Menace of the Alpha Man and The Burpo Special all started and ended within year 2. Of those four, The Burpo Special was the only original material, and it's hard to see why such a memorable feature was dropped. The strip's premise of focusing on a different member of the massive Cheeky supporting cast each week would seem to give it almost unlimited potential. A grievous loss to the comic, considering it was sacrificed, as of the aforementioned 'New Look' issue, in favour of dreary reprint The Gang.

Special mention must go to Star Guest, a promotional campaign that ran across IPC's humour line in spring/summer 1979.



Reprints by Month 21-OCT-78 to 13-OCT-79

 

Month Total Features Reprint Features % Reprints Reprint Sources
OCT-19784848Jag 1, Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
NOV-19789688Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
DEC-19784736Shiver and Shake 1, Whizzer and Chips 2
JAN-197910288Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
FEB-197910388Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
MAR-1979120108Shiver and Shake 5, Whizzer and Chips 5
APR-19799489Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
MAY-19798989Shiver and Shake 4, Whizzer and Chips 4
JUN-1979113109Shiver and Shake 5, Whizzer and Chips 5
JUL-19799389Whizzer and Chips 8
AUG-19799489Whizzer and Chips 8
SEP-1979113109Whizzer and Chips 10
OCT-197948510Whizzer and Chips 7


Year 2 saw a steady increase in the use of reprint material from 8 to 10 per cent (barring December 1978 which was no doubt skewed by the truncated/lost issues).

Year 2 - Conclusion

By the end of its second year Cheeky Weekly had suffered a significant loss. The elimination of all the framing devices had shorn the title of one of its unique properties and consequently, as of July 1979's New Look issue, the comic felt a little less special. The cull of framing devices had of course resulted in the concept of the Mystery Comic being dropped (although all the strips from that section continued), but the comic-within-a-comic idea was not a new one, nor would this be the final example of such a construct - indeed the Cheeky Weekly survivors who escaped the wreck of the toothy funster's title would find themselves ensconced in a Cheeky comic within Whoopee! However Cheeky Weekly, on the point of embarking on its third year, retained one aspect that differentiated it from competitor titles on the newsagents' counters - the depiction of Cheeky's progress through a week of gags. Those Cheeky pages were still packed with energy and Frank McDiarmid's work continued to delight. In addition to the toothy funster's week-long joke marathons, the roster of non-Cheeky fun strips running at this time was, with the odd exception, a pretty strong one.  To what extent the year 2 changes were made in preparation for the comic's eventual termination is open to speculation.

Diminished, yes, but not mortally so, Cheeky Weekly marched on into year 3.

2 comments:

  1. shame they got rid of the week theme...and Cheeky interacting through the comic..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Cheeky's Week pages continued to the end of the comic's run.

      Delete