Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!

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.

Quick links...
Basic Stats
Cheeky Weekly Index - Cheeky Annuals and Specials Index
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index
Features by Number of Appearances
Cheeky Weekly Timeline
Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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Monday 23 January 2023

Cheeky Gets Shirty

Maybe the middle of winter isn't the best time to launch a range of T-shirts, but those thinking ahead and seeking stylish clothing in which to be seen on the beach may like to consider the Cheeky garb available here. Apparently these shirts have been produced with the agreement of Rebellion (I haven't ordered one myself so I can't assess the quality), and the shirt featuring our toothy chum and pals is just one of a range based on iconic IPC comics.

Cheeky's membership of the eponymous Gang, in addition to the strip in which he starred, more than entitles him of course to appear on the Krazy T-shirt as well, and I'm pleased to say that his goofy mug is indeed among the fizzogs (not all of whom are eligible to grace a Krazy shirt) on display.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 6 - 1985

By the mid 1980s, readers of British comics had become well acquainted with the inexorable destiny of new titles, which would see a comic launched then, after an existence of variable duration, the newcomer would be cancelled and 'merged' into a more successful funny paper. Such was the case with Cheeky Weekly which, having logged a respectable 117 issues, was subsumed into Whoopee! as of February 1980. However, it was the custom that Annuals and Specials relating to a cancelled title would continue to be published after the demise of the weekly from which they sprang. Inevitably though, as new titles embarked on the 'launch/flourish/decline/cancel/merge/post-merge-Annuals & Specials' pathway, it was necessary to eventually bring those posthumous Annuals and Specials based on older cancelled titles to a halt, in order to avoid flooding newsagents with publications relating to comics of which younger readers would have no knowledge.

The final Cheeky Special was published in 1982, although the Cheeky Annuals continued beyond that date.

As 1985 dawned, Whoopee found itself, due to the diminishing market for comics, entering its own terminal phase, and was amalgamated with Whizzer and Chips as of April that year. Sadly, Cheeky as a solo star failed to make the transition into W&C, although he was already making weekly appearances there in the ensemble piece known as The Krazy Gang, but his former Cheeky Weekly colleagues Calculator Kid and Mustapha Million were among the Whoopee survivors welcomed aboard by chief Chip-ite Shiner (the Stage School kids evidently found their transfer onto the Whizzer and Chips payroll traumatic in the extreme, expiring as they did after just 2 appearances under the sporadic  'School Rounds' rotating roster of scholastically-focused features).

Fans of Cheeky would have been anxiously scanning the autumn 1985 issues of Whizzer and Chips for adverts containing news of a Cheeky Annual, but no such announcement was to be found, and it transpired that the Cheeky Annual published in 1984 (cover-dated 1985) was in fact the final one.

So by this point in comics history, the situation which pertained in the years examined in earlier parts of this series of posts had changed - the Cheeky Annuals and Specials had ceased, and the weekly Whoopee had been terminated.  Under these circumstances would IPC's policy of not featuring any Cheeky-related material in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials (aside from one cameo) be revised?

As usual with this series, I'll start by listing the ads for Annuals and Specials to appear during the year in question. Due to the aforementioned demise of Whoopee, the data below is extracted from Whizzer and Chips which, in honour of its April absorption, styled itself 'Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee' until the issue dated 12 October 1985. Actually my database query also encompasses the final issues of Whoopee published in the first quarter of 1985 and there were of course no Annual ads in those editions, but neither were there any ads for Specials.

Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 13-Apr-1985 IPC Whoopee Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 20-Apr-1985 IPC Whoopee Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 11-May-1985 IPC Tammy Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 18-May-1985 IPC Tammy Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 15-Jun-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 22-Jun-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Holiday Special
Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee 12-Oct-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Annual
Whizzer and Chips 19-Oct-1985 IPC Annuals
Whizzer and Chips 26-Oct-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Annual
Whizzer and Chips 02-Nov-1985 IPC Annuals
Whizzer and Chips 09-Nov-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Annual
Whizzer and Chips 16-Nov-1985 IPC Annuals
Whizzer and Chips 23-Nov-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Annual
Whizzer and Chips 30-Nov-1985 IPC Whizzer and Chips Annual
Whizzer and Chips 07-Dec-1985 IPC Annuals
Whizzer and Chips 14-Dec-1985 IPC Annuals
Whizzer and Chips 21-Dec-1985 IPC Annuals

Total Annual and Special Ads by Year

Figures from Whoopee Feb '80 - Apr '85, Whizzer and Chips thereafter

Year Annual Special Total Ads
1980 13 18 31
1981 16 22 38
1982 17 9 26
1983 9 8 17
1984 16 3 19
1985 11 6 17


Whoopee Holiday Special 1985


The toddler terror torments trapped tubsters on this cover by Mike Lacey. I am a little uneasy with the inconsistent eyelines of some of the hungry horde, who seem to be looking past Sweeny. I wonder whether the image of the demon baby was originally smaller (or maybe... there was another character originally in the scene?), and the editor had it enlarged, thus disrupting the gaze of the dieters. The final popularity poll result to be published before Whoopee ceased to have a weekly presence on newsagents' shelves was printed in the issue dated 09 March 1985, and revealed that Sweeny had garnered most reader votes, thus it's not surprising that he was chosen to front the Special.

There are no appearances by any Cheeky-related characters in this Special. Among the obligatory reprints with which IPC would pad out Specials and Annuals are 2 episodes of a feature which has always bothered me. Why, if it's 'Orrible, is the titular supernatural aperture not described as an 'Ole? To call the strip 'Orrible Hole is annoyingly inconsistent.


Art: Reg Parlett, with alterations
by an unknown 'Orrible 'And

Whoopee Annual 1986

Mike Lacey is on hand again to illustrate this cover, whereon the terrifying tyke subjects poor old Santa to a spot of watery (I'm hoping the antagonist hasn't resorted to his potty as a source of ammunition) blackmail. Fortunately all the gazes, including those of Sweeny's parents, observing the grim grotto goings-on from a safe distance, are directed as they should be so I can relax and focus on the contents of the Annual.

And, my friends, we've hit the (if you don't mind me mixing my comic metaphors) jackpot with this Annual as there most definitely, IS some Cheeky-related (and not just related) material nestling within.

It's a delight to turn to pages 66 and 67 and be reacquainted with our toothy chum, although it's actually Snail who gets top billing. Great to see that Frank McDiarmid is the artist, too. This strip follows the template of Snail of the Century, Cheeky's mollusc mate's starring vehicle from Cheeky Weekly.



Calculator Kid who, as mentioned above, had relocated into Whizzer and Chips following the termination of Whoopee, also appears in this Annual. The young owner of the sentient mathematical aid has a cameo role, along with his electronic associate, in Jack Oliver's It's Puzzle Time, on page 95. Also appearing during the quiz are Sir and Jo-Jo the trainee clown from Stage School, whose second and final appearance in Whizzer and Chips occurred in the issue dated 13 July 1985.


But that's not all, we're lucky enough to get a second segment of slithering silliness as Snail (and grinning pal) return on pages 98 and 99 for a (literal) flight of fancy...IN COLOUR!



Lovely to see more work by Frank McDiarmid, which includes a glimpse of Cheeky's mum and dad. It's a little sad that Cheeky isn't actually the star of these strips, and that he doesn't get to deliver any of his trademark corny jokes, but we know that the toothy funster was never a favourite of Whoopee readers. The editor of this Annual was canny in commissioning these new strips based on the Snail of the Century format in which Cheeky appeared at the beginning and end of each episode, thus allowing long-time fans of the grinning gagster to spend some time with their punning pal.

Will there be more Cheeky appearances in the 1986 Whoopee Special and Annual? Join me soon to find out.