Unsuitable for vegetarians it undoubtedly was, but meat-based humour appeared on the comedy menu as from Cheeky Weekly dated 15 September 1979, wherein the toothy funster had his first encounter with Krazy Town’s retailer of animal components, Mr Mutton.
|Mutton's first appearance|
Art: Mike Lacey
Mike Lacey’s artwork from Mutton’s first appearance was re-used on the veal vendor’s second outing, in the issue dated 22 September 1979. The rest of the page featured Frank McDiarmid's pencils, and the pasted-in art suggests to me that Frank hadn't seen Mike Lacey's design for the new character when he drew the set.
|Art: Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils|
Mutton’s third appearance a week later, penciled and inked by Frank McDiarmid, wasn’t in fact an appearance – only his voice was heard/read. My guess is that there was still uncertainty as to the character design at the time that the page was drawn, resulting in this off-panel interjection. I have previously speculated on what seem to have been similar issues relating to the early visuals of Ah Sew and Mr Chips.
Frank gave us a splendid, full-length depiction when the silly sausage seller made his next outing in the 13 October 1979 edition.
Next it was the turn of Jimmy Hansen to delineate the humorous hawker of ham, Jimmy seemingly taking inspiration for the butcher's stance from Frank’s rendition above.
Mike Lacey also adopted the leaning-out-of-shop-doorway pose in the 03 November 1979 comic.
Frank then treated us to a chipper, chopper-wielding Mutton.
Prior to the issue dated 24 November 1979, the steak seller had been limited to single-panel appearances, but in said issue he was seen in 2 panels, although shocked into silence in the second due to spectral presence in the minced beef.
Mike Lacey returned to draw Mr Mutton in the 01 December 1979 comic, using again the leaning-out-of-doorway pose. A week later Frank took his pencil to the meaty mirthster, showing him behind his counter, and in the 15 December 1979 edition Frank drew the second 2-panel Mutton gag, giving us a rare (but well done) view of the rear of the butcher’s establishment. The third and final 2-panel offal drollery occurred in the 19 January 1980 comic, and a week later Mutton made his farewell Cheeky Weekly appearance in the penultimate issue dated 26 January 1980.
After this, Cheeky Weekly readers heard nothing more
from Mutton. Not a sausage.
The perky purveyor of pork featured in 15 editions of the toothy funster's comic.
|Character||Total Issues||First Appearance||Final Appearance|
Count of elements by artist
|Mr Mutton||Frank McDiarmid||8|
|Mr Mutton||Mike Lacey||5*|
|Mr Mutton||Jimmy Hansen||1|
|Mr Mutton||Frank McDiarmid pencils||1*|
*When I created my comic database, I designed it to assign artists by element per page only, not by individual panel. Although it can assign more than one artist at element level (see for example Laugh and Learn), it can't accurately reflect instances such as Mutton's second appearance where in one panel the artist was Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils, while the rest of the element has been assigned to just Frank McDiarmid pencils - if I assigned the art on this element to Mike Lacey and Frank McDiarmid pencils, all characters within the element would inherit the same dual (strictly speaking triple in this case due to the FMcD/Pencils attribution) art credit. Instances of more than one artist working on a single panel are extremely rare so adverse impact on the data as things stand is negligible. Maybe a way of recording this unusual circumstance will get addressed if I ever get round to designing comic database version 2.0. Anyway, you may consider that Mike Lacey should be credited with 6 Mutton appearances, although it could be argued that since one of those 6 actually re-used previously published artwork, 5 is in fact the correct number. Whatever your view, there were in truth no depictions of Mutton by the artwork team I refer to as Frank McDiarmid pencils.