In the twelve preceding instalments of this series in which my aim is to identify any appearances of Cheeky and/or related characters in the Whoopee Specials or Annuals published since the absorption of Cheeky Weekly into the weekly Whoopee in 1980, I have been able to identify advertisements for those Specials/Annuals in weekly issues of either Whoopee, Whizzer and Chips or Buster published in the years in question. However, with regard to the year currently under investigation, 1992, I was surprised to find that there were no ads for that year's Whoopee Holiday Special in any of the issues of Buster published that year. The Buster Holiday Special of 1992 was advertised in Buster on 8 occasions, and the Buster and Monster Fun Holiday Special received 6 promotions, yet for some reason the Whoopee Special was ignored. It could be that publishers Fleetway Editions felt that sales of Whoopee Specials would accrue as a result of prospective readers or their parents seeing the Whoopee Specials alongside the Buster Specials on newsagents' shelves. Whoopee had ceased to exist as an independent weekly title back in 1985 following its merge into Whizzer and Chips, so few Buster readers in 1992 would remember Whoopee from its heyday. However, unless they were running it as a The Producers-style-scheme designed to lose money, Fleetway Editions must have expected the 1992 Whoopee Holiday Special to achieve a reasonable level of sales. In the original version of my previous post (which I have since updated), I erroneously claimed that the 1992 Whoopee Holiday Special was the final one, but I have since discovered that a Whoopee Special was published in 1993, so it would seem that despite not devoting any advertising to it, Fleetway Editions were satisfied with sales of the 1992 Special (or the losses resulting from it if my earlier wild speculation was anywhere near the truth).
The Whoopee Annual published in 1991, carrying on its cover the year 1992 as was the tradition, was the final yearly hardback collection of Whoopee fun.
Whoopee Holiday Special 1992
With a menacing Splort! and Shlup!, front cover favourite Sweeny Toddler threatens to distribute a hippo potty mess in this scatalogical and zoological scene drawn by Jimmy Hansen, presaging events in the teeny terror's story on page 2.
Mountaineering mayhem ensues on pages 4 and 5 as a Robot Granny escapade is reprinted from the pages of Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 11 July 1981. It would seem that Fleetway Editions have a different policy on the lettering on display in reprints than that of former owners of the IPC archives, as the text in this adventure has not been refurbished as it was in all the Cheeky-related reprints in last year's Special produced under the auspices of Fleetway Publications.
|Art: Ian Knox
Mustapha Million features in a new adventure drawn by Frank McDiarmid on pages 8 and 9. I'm a little disappointed that no Boilk! (a favourite of mine among comic onomatopoeiae) is in evidence during the gastric plight of Mustapha and pals at the conclusion of the tale.
Frank also draws the single-page and mercifully excrement-free Sweeny Toddler episode on page 23, and additionally a Bumpkin Billionaires adventure spanning pages 31 to 34 in which the reluctantly wealthy protagonists encourage criminals to steal their cash. This brings the miscreants to the attention of the police, and if I mention the words 'cash rewards' those of you familiar with the typical Bumpkins storyline can probably deduce the tale's conclusion.
I'm guessing the the two sets by Frank which I describe in the paragraph above are new, but there is more work by the mighty Mr M on pages 41 and 42 in the form of a Boy Boss episode which I imagine is a reprint.
This Special is proving to be a treat for fans of Frank McDiarmid as more of his work is in evidence on pages 43 to 46 which contain a reprinted Cheeky episode that originally appeared in Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 27 June 1981. On its original outing the first page boasted red spot colour.
There's yet more work by Frank on pages 48 and 49 with another new Mustapha Million episode, and among the affable Arab's chums is a rather familiar-looking lad. Those goofy teeth, the sticky-up hair and the striped jersey - yes, it's definitely Cheeky! In addition there are some nods to Cheeky's strips of yore in the feline form of (what I choose to believe is) Granny Gumdrop's cat, Tired Tom, the cloud hovering above Mustapha's Pals, and Mustapha's appearance via a manhole (the latter 2 elements referencing Gloomy Glad and Manhole Man respectively).
There is no further Cheeky-related material in this Special.
It's great to see a new appearance of Cheeky, even if it is in a supporting role. Frank McDiarmid had previously teased Cheeky fans in the Mustapha Million episode in Whizzer and Chips dated 22 October 1988 with a character displaying similarities to our toothy pal, but in this Mustapha story it's undoubtedly Cheeky among the cast. Our grinning chum also features in a 4-page reprint, so will there be a strong Cheeky presence in the Whoopee Holiday Special of 1993? Join me soon when I'll be finding out.