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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, 27 May 2020

The Whoopee Years - Mustapha Million

The first combined issue of Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 09 February 1980 saw Mustapha Million join 2 existing Whoopee! strips focusing on matters pecuniary, giving readers the opportunity to compare 3 different attitudes to wealth;

The Bumpkin Billionaires -

  • Had a lot of money, didn’t want it, couldn’t get rid of it.

Lolly Pop -

  • Had a lot of money, didn’t want to spend any, wanted more.

Mustapha Million -

  • Had a lot of money, keen to spend it on treating his pals.

It seems to me that the protagonists inhabiting the first two features mentioned above could have easily reached an accommodation which would have suited both parties, but this opportunity was never, as far as I know, explored.

The Whoopee! stories featuring young Master Million, who was occasionally referred to as the richest boy in the world, maintained the pattern established during his 114-issue Cheeky Weekly run. He continued to lavish considerable funds in efforts to cheer up his pals, and scripts would also often revolve around Mustapha’s misunderstanding of English terms (for example confusing ‘barbecue’ with ‘barber queue’ - 21 August 1982). However, life for Mustapha wasn’t one of unalloyed altruism and leisure, as he regularly and unsuccessfully tried to evade his tutor who was keen to see that our middle eastern mate didn’t neglect the education which was the reason for his presence in the UK. James, Mustapha’s chauffeur, was another recurring participant in the stories, and our moneyed mate’s heavy-set, scimitar-wielding bodyguards regularly featured. Mustapha’s pal Jimmy, who veteran readers of the strip would remember from Cheeky Weekly, was often in evidence, although artist Joe McCaffrey didn’t give him a particularly distinct appearance among the three identically-dressed, blonde-haired kids who were most regularly seen as our hero’s chums. Jimmy was the one with the quiff (the others had curly and spiky hair respectively), although on occasion there was confusion over names. The first panel in the selection below shows the most frequent, quiffed version of Jimmy.

Art: Joe McCaffrey, as is all the art in this post unless noted otherwise


We can forgive Bob Hill for taking his best shot at Jimmy

Publisher IPC never missed an excuse to include a cut-out promotional inducement in their titles, so it was no surprise to see the first part of a card game in the inaugural Whoopee! and Cheeky. The FIB game presented readers with sets of cards (or at least they would be converted into cards by those following the instructions to ‘paste all the cards you’ve collected over the past three weeks, and the playing board, to thin card… then cut out the FIB cards separately’) showing a selection of stars from both constituents of the newly-combined publication. The cards featuring Mustapha showed the youthful philanthropist grinning atop a pile of cash.

IPC stalwart Mike Lacey deputised for Joe McCaffrey in the 19 April 1980 edition, the only time he provided Mustapha artwork during the strip's Whoopee run.

A scene from 28 April 1980’s Mustapha tale, showing the affable arab delivering newspapers from his chauffeur-driven limousine, appeared on the front cover of that week’s issue. Our generous pal returned to the cover of the 27 December 1980 edition, where he was depicted giving Santa a ride on a magic carpet. Mustapha’s story in the same issue commenced with his pals yearning for a white Christmas, followed by an environmentally-unfriendly solution involving spraying the sooty effluvium from factory chimneys with white paint then distributing the resultant toxic concoction across the town. This was also the first strip of the Whoopee run to feature Mustapha’s pet hippo, Frisky, who was first seen in Cheeky Weekly dated 24 March 1979.




Our benevolent buddy’s strip in the 04 April 1981 comic was one of the features in that issue into which a hot cross bun intruded. This comestible invasion was the result of a competition, also running in that week’s Buster, Whizzer and Chips and Jackpot, whereby readers were challenged to count the number of spicy baked goods scattered through the comic. All the correct entries, which had to be accompanied by a special token printed in the issue, would be put into a ‘lucky dip’ and the sender of the answer drawn from the ‘barrel’ would receive a whacking £100 prize. This promotion was mounted ahead of that year’s Easter issue, dated 25 April 1981, in which Mustapha rather uncharacteristically caused his pals great anxiety by secretly buying up the town’s entire stock of Easter eggs. The scallywag then led the kids on an egg hunt, at the end revealing his stock of hundreds of the seasonal treats, and inviting all the town’s youngsters to sate their chocolate cravings on his cache of ovoid confectionary.



Following his Christmas 1980 front cover appearance on a magic carpet, Mustapha was again seen aboard the mythic Arabian airborne floor covering on a centre-page poster in the 11 July 1981 edition. There was a surprising dearth of posters (normally a staple of IPC output) in Whoopee’s post-Cheeky-Weekly-merge era. Only three such bedroom-wall enhancements appeared during that time – in addition to the subject of this post, the Bumpkin Billionaires and Toy Boy shared, in separate issues, the ultimate centre-page accolade. The 3 features selected as the poster subjects were the most popular, as voted by readers of the comic, with young Master Million gaining the top spot in the poll! In his story in the same issue as his poster appearance, our charitable chum bought what was described as a magic carpet from a disreputable market trader. The rug did eventually take to the air after Mustapha had it fitted with a hover motor.

Maybe Mustapha's tutor should have spent more time on his pupil's spelling lessons.

Naive Mustapha fell victim to the same confidence trickster in the 09 January 1982 story, our affluent chum believing he had bought London’s Tower Bridge, which he intended to ship home to his family in his unspecified ‘homeland’ (clearly echoing the real-life relocation of London Bridge). Realising he’d been scammed, Mustapha and his pals pursued the fraudster who took refuge in an old castle which, rather fortuitously, was for sale. A swift monetary transaction with the rightful owner of the ancient pile saw Mustapha immediately arrange the dismantling of the castle which was soon reconstructed in the desert, with the crafty crook still incarcerated in the dungeon.

Bob Hill drew Mustapha's adventure in the comic dated 06 November 1982, and continued to provide the art for the strip for the following 6 weeks, after which Joe resumed the artwork duties.

Mustapha was host of the Quizmaster puzzle feature in the comic dated 12 March 1983. Artist Roy Mitchell included a brain-teaser featuring 4 of Mustapha’s pals, which only added to the confusion over their names since Jimmy appeared to have been re-named Billy.

Roy Mitchell

Another Whoopee brain-teaser featured our generous pal on two occasions during 1983 - his erstwhile Cheeky Weekly colleagues Charlie and Calc invited him to participate in their spin-off series Calculator Corner in the 05 February and 23 April issues.

Jack Oliver


Mustapha's title banner was given an overhaul in the 02 July 1983 edition, the first to incorporate companion title Wow! For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the feature’s premise, Mustapha was given some expository dialogue explaining his back story.

The Tower Bridge fraudster whom we had last seen in a dungeon in Mustapha’s homeland returned in the 24 December 1983 episode, although neither Mustapha nor the villain acknowledged their earlier meetings. This time the titular tyke was persuaded to buy Tower Bridge (again!), Big Ben (actually what is now known as Elizabeth Tower), Nelson’s Column, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch and the Eros statue from Piccadilly Circus. The crafty criminal was apprehended by the police, but not before gullible Mustapha had moved all his ‘purchases’ to his desert home. The question of their return to the UK was not addressed.

There was a reversal of the ‘relocating old buildings’ plotline in Mustapha’s 17 March 1984 escapade when, due to his misunderstanding the phrase ‘country seat’, which he thought meant something like a garden bench, our pecunious pal inadvertently bought a castle, which was delivered to him in pieces. Ever generous, he donated the reconstructed ancient edifice to his pals so they could use it as a gang hut.

The Whoopee editor resorted to the IPC archives for Mustapha’s outing in the comic dated 07 April 1984, choosing to reprint Reg Parlett’s Mustapha Million story originally presented in Cheeky Weekly dated 26 August 1978, although the reprint substituted the original title banner with the one in use in Whoopee at the time, and squared-off the original rounded speech balloons to match the Whoopee house style. All the subsequent MM stories to appear in Whoopee were reprints sourced from Cheeky Weekly and in one instance Whizzer and Chips (Mustapha's Star Guest promotional outing from that title's 26 May 1979 issue). The reprints ran for 50 issues, 34 of which featured art by Reg Parlett, with 15 reprints of Joe McCaffrey's work, and one by John Geering.

In his interview here, Joe McCaffrey says he eventually left IPC to move into animation work, so that is probably why the reprint run began.

I was rather surprised at the seemingly random order of the choices of reprint material, having assumed that the editor would have selected a run of reprints in the order in which they were originally published, with the exception of any seasonal (Christmas, Easter, snow-based) stories which would not have been appropriate for other times of year. The reprint sources are shown in the table below. I imagined that the artwork submitted to Cheeky Weekly would have been carefully filed in order of publication after being processed for printing, but maybe that wasn't the case and the artwork was retrieved from a less than fastidiously collated archive.

On six occasions the reprinted stories were reduced from their original 2-page format to a single page. Mustapha's 2-page feature from Cheeky Weekly dated 18 March 1978 was actually 2 separate stories so little editing was required when preparing them for single page reprints in Whoopee dated 02 June and 04 August 1984 (a reference to Wings' no-longer-topical 1977 Christmas hit Mull of Kintyre was removed from the reprint). A similar thing happened when our moneyed mate's adventure from Cheeky Weekly dated 08 April 1978 was split in two and reprinted in the Whoopees of 12 May and 08 December 1984. Half of Mustapha's strip from the first issue of Cheeky Weekly was reprinted as a single page adventure in Whoopee dated 01 December 1984, jettisoning the original first page which recounted how our young hero inadvertently discovered oil and his subsequent trip to the UK for educational purposes, and excising the second panel of the first page to allow space for the first to be repositioned which in turn enabled insertion of a new title panel. Because some of the reprints were selected from the Cheeky Weekly era when Mustapha’s adventures were presented as contents of the metafictional Mystery Comic, the legend ‘Here’s what Cheeky read...’ was removed when the strip was presented again in the 80’s, and the original title banner design was replaced. The squaring-off of speech balloons in the Mustapha reprints was eventually abandoned as of the 08 December 1984 edition, and the original title banners appeared in the final four Mustapha reprints.

The table below shows the original title and date sources for all the reprinted episodes. In my comics database, the content of a comic page is represented by one or more 'elements', which may be features or adverts, occupying the whole or part of the page. The column Elements below shows the number of elements comprising the episode's reprint appearance. Origin Elements shows how many elements constituted the strip's original publication.

Title Feature Artist Cover Date Elements Origin Title Origin Feature Origin Date Origin Elements
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 07-APR-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 26-AUG-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 14-APR-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 12-AUG-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 21-APR-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 01-APR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 28-APR-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 11-MAR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 05-MAY-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 04-MAR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 12-MAY-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 08-APR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 19-MAY-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 08-JUL-78 1
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 26-MAY-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 14-JAN-78 1
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 02-JUN-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 18-MAR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 09-JUN-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 18-FEB-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 16-JUN-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 25-FEB-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 30-JUN-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 19-NOV-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 14-JUL-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 17-DEC-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 21-JUL-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 02-SEP-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 28-JUL-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 12-NOV-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 04-AUG-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 18-MAR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 11-AUG-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 10-DEC-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 18-AUG-84 1 Whizzer and Chips with Krazy Star Guest 26-MAY-79 1
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 25-AUG-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 22-JUL-78 1
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 01-SEP-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 07-OCT-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 08-SEP-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 29-OCT-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 15-SEP-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 23-SEP-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 22-SEP-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 02-DEC-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 29-SEP-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 11-NOV-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 06-OCT-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 30-SEP-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 13-OCT-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 28-OCT-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 20-OCT-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 25-NOV-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 27-OCT-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 15-JUL-78 1
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 03-NOV-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 04-NOV-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 10-NOV-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 09-DEC-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 17-NOV-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 18-NOV-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 24-NOV-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 17-FEB-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 01-DEC-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 22-OCT-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 08-DEC-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 08-APR-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 15-DEC-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 10-FEB-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 22-DEC-84 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 21-JAN-78 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 29-DEC-84 1 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 24-DEC-77 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 05-JAN-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 05-JAN-80 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 12-JAN-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 10-NOV-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 19-JAN-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 17-NOV-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 26-JAN-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 12-JAN-80 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 02-FEB-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 01-DEC-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 09-FEB-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 24-NOV-79 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 16-FEB-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 26-JAN-80 2
Whoopee and Wow! Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 23-FEB-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 08-DEC-79 2
Whoopee Mustapha Million John K. Geering 02-MAR-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 03-NOV-79 2
Whoopee Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 09-MAR-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 02-FEB-80 2
Whoopee Mustapha Million Joe McCaffrey 16-MAR-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 15-DEC-79 2
Whoopee Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 23-MAR-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 22-APR-78 2
Whoopee Mustapha Million Reg Parlett 30-MAR-85 2 Cheeky Weekly Mustapha Million 03-JUN-78 2

Whoopee eventually fell victim to the shrinking comics market, and its 30 March 1985 issue was the last. Mustapha was among the plucky band of Whoopee survivors who decamped to Whizzer and Chips the following week, where he began a series of new adventures drawn by Barry Glennard, and later by Frank McDiarmid. Clearly the character was popular throughout his Whoopee run, although I must admit that reading through successive stories while doing the research for this post (and clearly that's not how the creators envisaged the tales being consumed, and certainly not by readers of my advanced years) Mustapha seems to learn very little about British life as the years go by, and comes across as somewhat dim. For example in the 28 January 1984 episode, he still doesn't know what a snowman is, despite having seen one as far back as Cheeky Weekly dated 21 January 1978. However, maybe a wily Mustapha, reluctant to return to his home country, just acted a bit thick in order to prolong his education in the UK. In his first Cheeky Weekly appearance Mustapha's father told our wealthy pal that he would spend a year in Britain, but actually his sojourn here lasted, across Cheeky Weekly, Whoopee and Whizzer and Chips, for 12 years if we discount the year of reprints (when the second MM strip from Cheeky Weekly was reprinted in Whoopee dated 08 September 1984, the two panels recapping Mustapha's back story were included, but whereas in the original he said as he began his journey to the UK, 'Bye bye homeland and friends - for a year', in the reprint the text was altered to read 'for a while'. The issue of his extended stay had been raised in Cheeky Weekly dated 24 March 1979.

Mustapha's strip was absent from just 3 of the 264 issues of Whoopee published from the date of its absorption of Cheeky Weekly until its demise (only one of those issues he missed was before the strip went to reprint - 10 March 1984 - the other issues from which MM was absent were during the reprint run - 23 June and 07 July 1984) although, as mentioned above, the final 50 of those appearances were reprints of previously published material. Of the episodes published before the reprints commenced, Joe McCaffrey drew 203, Bob Hill 7 and Mike Lacey 1.