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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 28 June 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 11 - 1990

1990 was a sad year for Whizz-kids and Chip-ites (plus those regular readers of the 2 conjoined comics who felt no particular allegiance to either Whizzer supremo Sid or Chips chief Shiner), as the weekly version of  'two-in-one' title Whizzer and Chips was brought to an end in October of that year. Or at least Whizzer and Chips ceased to have an independent weekly newsagent presence after its 27 October 1990 issue, though it was of course 'merged', as was the custom in the comics trade, with a stablemate considered to be more vital by its publishers. However, by this late stage Fleetway Publications didn't have much choice but to merge Whizzer and Chips into Buster, since that was the only other humour title they were publishing at the time.

Cheeky Weekly had of course been dragged into this spiral of collapsing comics back in 1980 when it was absorbed into Whoopee!, which was in turn assimilated by the mighty Whizzer and Chips.

The final surviving member of the innovative band of characters who made their 1977 debut in Cheeky Weekly was the kindly Mustapha Million who continued to occupy a weekly slot into the very last edition of Whizzer and Chips. I know little about the contents of Buster after Whizzer and Chips was amalgamated into it, so it may be that some Cheeky funny folk did on occasion turn up there in reprints (makes mental note to do some research when time allows).

In the spring of 1990 few Whizzer and Chips readers would have suspected that their favourite title had but months to live as they perused the ad for '3 Special Specials' which appeared on page 11 of the comic dated 14 April. Humour title Whoopee is sandwiched between the gritty Battle Holiday Special, the cover of which would appear to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the soccertastic Roy of the Rovers Holiday Special featuring a cover image of a determined Roy Race no doubt streaking goalward and, in a thoroughly wholesome way, keeping his studs well clear of his felled opponent's knee.This was the only time the 1990 Whoopee Holiday Special was advertised in Whizzer and Chips.


Whoopee Holiday Special 1990

Yet another seaside Sweeny scene graces this year's cover. I'm guessing the artwork is by Graham Exton who as far as I can tell drew the inimitable infant in all the 1990 editions of Whizzer and Chips.

Page 3 of this Special presents our first encounter with some fondly-remembered Cheeky folk, as the editor chooses to reprint a Quick Strips page which originally featured in Whoopee and Wow! dated 05 May 1984. It's sad to be reminded of the ignominious end suffered by Cheeky as his career declined and eventually concluded when Whoopee was cancelled. This brief glimpse of a constricted Cheeky is unlikely to have 1990 readers unfamiliar with the character, and who have never experienced the joy of an expansive toothy funster punfest, clamouring for more appearances by our grinning pal. Paddywack was of course a fellow former Cheeky Weekly star, though his relegation to the Quick Strips page was less humiliating than that of Cheeky's since Paddywack had spent time in the single-row-of-panels format on several prior occasions. Paddywack is drawn by Jack Clayton, Jim Barker is the Bleep artist, Cheeky is depicted by Cheekmeister Frank McDiarmid and the Here Is The News artwork is supplied by Ed McHenry.

More reprinted Cheeky-related fun is apparent on page 21 in the form of a Gran's Gang adventure sourced from the 14 April 1984 edition of Whoopee and Wow! By that time in her curious comic career, Gran's former robotic nature was no longer referred to, so none of her erstwhile superhuman feats are on display in this tale to puzzle young readers who have not previously encountered the elderly lead character.

Art: Ian Knox


We're treated to a new, colour Mustapha Million episode on pages 48 and 49. The notion of Mustapha running out of money, an occurrence his pals recall during the course of this tale, seems a highly unlikely eventuality. Certainly our generous chum could temporarily exhaust his immediate supplies of cash, but surely a helicopter-drop of replacement moolah is just a phone call away to one with Mustapha's resources.

Mustapha's is the final appearance by a Cheeky-related character in this Special.

I can't pretend that I'm not disappointed there are just 4 panels of Cheeky in this year's Whoopee Special, following last year's 4 full pages of (albeit reprinted) toothy funster material. Stage School and Calculator Kid are absent this year. On the plus side we enjoyed a new Mustapha Million episode drawn by Frank McDiarmid.

Join me soon when my search for Cheeky-related characters will arrive at 1991, which saw the publication of the final Whoopee Annual, as well as a Holiday Special. Will Cheeky funny folk be present in both publications?