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.

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Basic Stats
Cheeky Weekly Index
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index
Features by Number of Appearances
Issue Summaries posted to date
Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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*** CHEEKY WEEKLY, KRAZY, WHOOPEE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS ARE ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ***

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

The features - supporting features

From the first issue of Cheeky Weekly to the issue dated 02 December 1978, Cheeky would go to the cinema on Saturdays. The programme included a supporting feature before the interval and main feature. The majority of the strips that represented the supporting cartoon feature were based on Warner Brothers' characters. Presumably these Warner pages were reprinted from American comics.

 

A seemingly random collection of IPC reprints were also used to fill the cartoon spot.


Feature
Reprint from
Number of issues
Tweety and Sylvester28
Bam Splat and BlooieBuster9
Road Runner9
Cocky DoodleBuster5
Wile E Coyote5
Daffy Duck4
Henery Hawk3
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad WolfCor!!2
Hey Presto! Magic Show1
Hickory Dickory DocCor!!1
Tweety1
GhouldilocksShiver and Shake1

Hickory Dickory Doc. apparently originally appeared in Cor!! as one of a number of try-out strips which were voted on by readers.  It didn't win. See Peter Gray's blog.


In the 21 October 1978 issue, the cartoon was replaced by a magic show to celebrate Cheeky Weekly's first birthday. This issue was the only one to feature the Presto character, who appeared throughout the week, inducing paranoia in Cheeky as the other characters claimed not to see the giant rabbit.  Little did Cheeky know that his pals were planning the upcoming magic show.

 

In the 30 September 1978 issue a Tweety and Sylvester 2-pager replaced the main feature.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Cheeky Weekly cover date 05 Nov 1977 - issue summary


































Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 05-Nov-1977, Issue 3 of 117
PageDetails
1What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
5James Bold 'Fangs of Fear' 3 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
6James Bold 'Fangs of Fear' 3 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
7Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
86 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
96 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
10Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
11Old Comic reprint from Sun Weekly 'Deed-a-Day Danny' 1 of 2
12Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid\Doug's Doodle - Art Terry Bave
13Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
14Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Brown
15Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Brown\Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
16Pin-up pal 'Mustapha Million' - Art Reg Parlett
17Pin-up pal 'Mustapha Million' - Art Reg Parlett
18Ad: Timex (first appearance)
19Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
20Home Movie 'The Mummy's Curse' - Art Jack Clayton
21Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
23Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
24What's New, Kids
25Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
26Bam Splat and Blooie reprint from Buster\Cocky Doodle reprint from Buster
27Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid
28Space Family Robinson 'Escape' 1 of 3
29Space Family Robinson 'Escape' 1 of 3
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
31Skateboard booklet (first appearance) - Art Peter Maddocks
32Skateboard booklet (first appearance) - Art Peter Maddocks

Cheeky Weekly cover date 05 Nov 1977


The cover of the third issue carries the badge, but gives prominence to the first part of the cut-out skateboard booklet, a ploy to keep kids buying future issues even though there are no more freebies on offer.

The booklet adds to the skateboard content of the comic, which already features the weekly Skateboard Squad strip, to capitalise on the current craze.  A few issues into the future we will see a week where the skateboard theme runs throughout Cheeky's pages.









Back at the third issue, the Skateboard Squad are battling their arch-enemies, the Roller Skate Mob.  After some skateboard vs roller skate rivalry, the squad emerge predictably triumphant.

The booklet means this issue's 6 Million Dollar Gran story is reduced from the usual three pages to two.

The Friday feature sees the first appearance of Libby, the defender of weak females. Later in the day, Cheeky finds the Mystery Comic is in Doctor McCornplaster's waiting room (Cheeky Weekly's resident GP, Doctor Braincell, will be introduced in the 11 March 1978 issue).  The search for the Mystery Comic is the regular Friday framing device for presenting Mustapha Million's story, which is the only feature from the mysterious publication which we see until the 'new look' is introduced almost a year into Cheeky Weekly's run.

The title of this week's Space Family Robinson episode is 'Escape', the first of three episodes of the Robinson saga to share this title.  The Robinsons obviously do a lot of escaping.

Page 30 sees readers being invited to cut out a coupon they will need in order to enter 'a super competition' in the sixth issue - another attempt to prevent the kids spending their 8p elsewhere in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Friend of Cheeky badge

The free gifts in the first two issues of Cheeky Weekly were cardboard, self-assembly affairs secreted within the pages of the comic, requiring that the purchaser verified the presence of the expected freebie before handing over the cover price and vacating the shop.

However, the third issue had its gift sellotaped blatantly on the cover - the Friend of Cheeky badge.  The cover-borne gift had the advantage over two-dimensional inserts in that it was immediately apparent if the gift was missing, but a pile of comics with cover-mounted freebies meant the stack of issues on the newsagent's counter was unstable.  The consequent risk of scrunched-up covers necessitated a search for a copy with as near pristine a front page as was possible.  After a number of such searches by excited readers, scrunchment was almost inevitable, so an early trip to the shops was advisable on cover-mounted gift days.

There then followed the dilemma of how to release the badge/spud gun/space spinner from captivity without damage to the comic.  By cutting the tape on either side, the gift could be removed, leaving two strips of sticky tape adhering to the cover.  After about twenty years, the tape fell off, leaving a slightly dark and semi-transparent patch on the paper.

There's not really much to say about this gift.  It was a metal badge with a proper pin on the back.  Nice.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Feature summary - James Bold

REVISED 12 September 2010, as I have now discovered the title of the fourth Bold novel - see here.

REVISED 02 November 2010 - My thanks to Shaqui Le Vesconte and Tony Ingram over at the Comics UK forum for identifying the artist on The Ghost Highwayman as Mike White.

REVISED 26 March 2011 - I've assigned the artwork on Tower of Terror to Mike White. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

REVISED 20 May 2011 - I've assigned the artwork on The Frightened Village to Mike White. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

REVISED (and hopefully, completed) 29 July 2011 - I've assigned the artwork on Island of Fear to Mike White. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.



Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
James Bold22-Oct-7705-Aug-784115,6,7,8,9,10,11,29,30,31


Issues Missed In Run
11-Mar-78






Story Title
Start

End
Fangs of Fear22-Oct-7731-Dec-77
The Ghost Highwayman07-Jan-7804-Mar-78
Tower of Terror18-Mar-7822-Apr-78
The Frightened Village29-Apr-7824-Jun-78
Island of Fear01-Jul-7805-Aug-78







Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
James Bold Fangs of FearMassimo Belardinelli422-Oct-197712-Nov-1977
James Bold Fangs of FearLopez719-Nov-197731-Dec-1977
James Bold The Ghost HighwaymanMike White907-Jan-197804-Mar-1978
James Bold Tower of TerrorMike White618-Mar-197822-Apr-1978
James Bold The Frightened VillageMike White929-Apr-197824-Jun-1978
James Bold Island of FearMike White601-Jul-197805-Aug-1978






Preceding Page Count
Monday23
Sunday evening10
Interval6
Christmas Day1
Easter Monday1


Pages per Issue Number of Issues
241

Monday, 19 July 2010

The features - James Bold 'Fangs of Fear'

The James Bold feature was an adventure serial, and from the character's name one might have expected an 007-inspired espionage tale, but James Bold was in fact 'an investigator of the supernatural' and 'steel-nerved ghost-hunter'.

Bold's first adventure was Fangs of Fear...


In subsequent instalments, a couple of creepy characters turn up at the mansion; Casper Cringe, who claims to be interested in buying the property, and one-legged caretaker Hercules Harbottle.

Bold recruits the pair to join the search, but the nefarious duo capture Bold and Angel, at which point a humanoid wolf-creature appears, but rather surprisingly it flees instead of attacking, and Cringe disappears as well.

Harbottle then explains that he only captured Angel because he is worried he'll lose his job when Carol inherits the mansion. Bold sees that Harbottle is telling the truth, and again accepts Harbottle's help in the search.

The adventurers then find a giant conservatory, stocked with immense flora (and, it soon transpires, fauna) from 'the unknown jungles of darkest Africa'. Another encounter with the wolf-thing ensues. Just as Bold is about to confront the creature with his rapier, a giant gorilla emerges from the undergrowth. It becomes apparent that the oversized ape is under the control of the wolf-creature, who directs it to crush Bold, causing our hero to drop his blade.

Despite a valiant attempt by Angel to shoot the supersized simian, the gorilla carries Bold up an enormous tree. Near the top of the tree, the ape pauses to tend to its bullet wound, at which point Bold grabs a vine and, Tarzan-style, swings out and back, dislodging the gorilla from its perch.

Returning to the ground, Bold finds Casper Cringe roped to a tree. Cringe tells Bold the Wolf captured him, and Bold ejects him from the premises, confidently (and accurately) predicting he won't be seen again.

Harbottle then leads Bold and Angel to the first of twelve bedchambers which must be searched. Angel finds Carol in bed in the first room, but immediately Angel's lantern goes out, and on reigniting it, she finds the girl is gone. Bold spots a pair of eyes peering through a painting on the wall, and stabs through the canvas with his rapier. A man emerges, who reveals himself to be Ted Tremble, clerk to Silas Scroll, the lawyer dealing with Sir Charles' estate. Luckily, the force of Bold's rapier thrust was deflected by Tremble's wallet.

There follows another confrontation with the wolf, who unleashes a giant crocodile to attack Angel after she falls into a lake under the mansion. Bold dives into the water and dispatches the reptile with his knife.

Deciding to take the initiative and lure the wolf-creature into the open for a showdown, Bold, alone and unarmed, shouts a challenge to the beast. Suddenly overcome by noxious fumes, Bold regains consciousness inside a cage, with the wolf-creature seated at a table nearby and holding Carol Masters captive. Carol tells Bold that the wolf is Silas Scroll, and that he is trying to force her to sign the Grange over to him. The wolf then takes Carol and leaves Bold alone in the chamber, but using 'every ounce of his tremendous strength', Bold forces open the door of the rusty cage.

Just as Bold returns to the main hall of the mansion, Silas Scroll arrives. Bold accuses him of being the Wolf, but Scroll explains his office was raided by the Wolf, who was searching for Sir Charles' will. Unable to find the will, the Wolf took Scroll's signet ring. Carol Masters saw the creature wearing the ring and therefore assumed it was really Scroll. Bold recruits Scroll to join the search for Carol.

The group then discover a locked room in which movement can be heard. Bold Hurls himself the at the door.

Now read on...

Bold demonstrates two surprising attributes in this tale. He seems to have an extremely trusting nature, repeatedly accepting help from those he considered enemies only minutes before. However, events proved he was right to do so, and possibly his brushes with the supernatural (assuming there were real supernatural elements in previous cases) have given him an insight into the psyche of those he meets. However it's hard to excuse his his recklessness in stabbing the figure behind the painting before knowing who it was.

A comment by John Gilheany on Peter Gray's blog points out that this tale seems to be a rehashed script that originally appeared as a Maxwell Hawke story, 'Maxwell Hawke in The House of a Thousand Secrets' in Buster from 29 October 1960 to 04 February 1961. The storyline and location name, as well as the supporting character names, in the sample pages posted on Peter's blog are identical to the giant ape sequence and final page in Cheeky Weekly, though the artwork is different.  The ending of the Maxwell Hawke version of the story is as unsatisfying as the Bold version, as neither explain why Tremain went to all that trouble.

Assuming there were no breaks in the story as it originally ran, the Buster version ran for 15 weeks, while Fangs of Fear spanned 11 issues.

I believe the first four instalments of Fangs of Fear in Cheeky Weekly were drawn by Massimo Belardinelli, but I don't know who drew the remainder. In fact, I don't know who drew any of the subsequent James Bold stories. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Also, if anyone knows whether the later Bold stories are based on other Maxwell Hawke scripts, please get in touch.

This James Bold tale fitted into Cheeky's week as a novel he read in bed on Sunday evenings. Each episode ended with some misfortune plunging Cheeky into darkness; his Mum switching the light out, the batteries in his torch failing and other similar mishaps.

I'll be looking at the other James Bold serials in later posts.

REVISED 02 November 2010 - Please see here for the James Bold feature summary.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Profile - Snail


Snail was Cheeky's constant companion, accompanying him throughout the week, even into the cinema. A particularly fleet-footed gastropod (or fleet-podded gastrofoot), Snail would often be seen at Cheeky's feet in one panel, and atop the toothy funster's head the next. This head-borne method of travel benefitted Snail as he expended less energy while keeping up with his pal, and explains the slicked-down look of Cheeky's hairstyle.

The relationship between the two was rather odd, as Cheeky rarely acknowledged Snail's existence.  One such occasion took place in the 14 October 1978 issue, when Snail became love-struck on meeting an attractive female Snail.

The strip creators didn't give Snail the power of speech with humans, but readers could see his molluscy speech and thought balloons. He often became annoyed when the artist left him out of a few panels.




At moments of extreme stress, Snail would exit his shell at speed. Initially, these scenes were censored to avoid readers being confronted with a naked Snail, but occasionally a more liberal approach was in evidence and such occurrences were illustrated without editorial interference.




Some months into the comic's run, a competition was held to name the snail, although none of the winning suggestions were ever used in the strips.

11 February 1978


22 April 1978




















Evidently a popular character, Snail eventually secured his own page in the comic, a feature entitled Snail of the Century. The title was a pun on TV's Norwich-based 'quiz of the week', Sale of the Century. In the strip, Snail was able to converse with the animal/insect occupants of Cheeky's garden, and the strip was basically the same joke-tastic tomfoolery as the Cheeky strips, but nearer the ground.

Our slithery pal made a number of guest appearances in other strips in the comic - he appeared in The Skateboard Squad strips dated 13 May 1978 and 14 and 21 October 1978, and also in the Calculator Kid strips dated 15 July 1978, 05 August 1978 and 09 December 1978.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Cheeky Weekly cover date 29 Oct 1977 - issue summary


































Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 29-Oct-1977, Issue 2 of 117
PageDetails
1What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Hello again (single appearance)
3Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
4Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
5Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
6James Bold 'Fangs of Fear' 2 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
7James Bold 'Fangs of Fear' 2 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
8Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
96 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
106 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
116 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
12Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Old Comic reprint from Film Fun 'Abbott and Costello' 1 of 2
14Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid\Doug's Doodle - Art Terry Bave
15What's New, Kids
16Pin-up pal 'Gran' - Art Ian Knox
17Pin-up pal 'Gran' - Art Ian Knox
18Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
19Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Brown
20Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Brown\Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
21Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Home Movie 'Airship Over England' - Art Jack Clayton
23Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
24Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
25Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
26Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
27Bam Splat and Blooie (first appearance) reprint from Buster\Cocky Doodle (first appearance) reprint from Buster
28Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid
29Space Family Robinson 'The Chase'
30Space Family Robinson 'The Chase'
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32Ad: Standard Fireworks (single appearance)


This issue sees the first in sporadic runs of Cocky Doodle and Bam Splat and Blooie, both of which were reprinted from Buster comic.

btw, I don't record any page elements of less than half a page, unless that element is a feature (a strip, joke or letters page), so none of those stamp collecting ads will be shown in the issue summaries

Cheeky Weekly cover date 29 Oct 1977

The cover of the second issue again leads with the free gift, showing the colours of the four Fun Wallet variants, although two wallets seem to be almost the same red/orange hue but that's probably due to the shortcomings of the comic printing process. The cover of this issue seems to contain a bit less shading than the first issue - I don't know the technical terms for this kind of thing. Presumably a bit more money was spent on the launch issue's cover than on subsequent ones when 'flatter' colours were evident. Or maybe it's just me.

Does Snail look a bit odd on the cover? He looks a bit shell-shocked. Sorry. The corny jokes are getting to me.

In the What a Cheek strip, Cheeky banters with a bus conductor who I don't think we ever saw again in the comic. The cover strip is by Frank McDiarmid, but he doesn't sign this one.

On page 2 Cheeky welcomes us back to the comic and asks us to tell all our pals about it.

The same page introduces the Fun Phone - readers were invited to call in to the Cheeky office and tell a joke. These jokes (or a least those deemed suitable for publication in a comic) would be printed in the Joke-Box Jury feature, winning the caller £2.00. Those jokes that were a bit too saucy were passed to the Fiesta office upstairs (only joking - it was downstairs).





I wonder who got the job of answering the phone?














This issue's Sunday evening strip sees Cheeky settle down to read his book, which was the framing device to introduce the second instalment of the James Bold strip. In later issues, Cheeky would sneak a free read of the latest James Bold novel in his local newsagent, before being ejected by the shop owner. Bold's final adventure 'Island of Fear' was serialised on the big screen, and would appear in the comic framed by the Saturday pages when Cheeky went to the cinema.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Friend of Cheeky Fun Wallet


























More in in keeping with the joke-fest nature of Cheeky Weekly than the Red Jet Rattler, the free gift in the second issue was the Friend of Cheeky Fun Wallet. This consisted of a self-assembly cardboard sleeve and two cardboard joke strips. The strips were inserted into the wallet in such a way that a feed line could be read in one window, with the hilarious tag line visible through another. The spare joke strip could be stored safely in the wallet while not in use.

There were apparently four different wallet/joke strip combinations given away.

Inside the wallet there is a space for the owner to proudly record their name and address, under which is the legend 'A regular reader of Cheeky Weekly', an attempt to instil in the possessor an obligation to buy the comic in perpetuity.

The wallet also introduces the concept of the Friend of Cheeky (a reader of the comic), which was to be used with the next free gift and on the letters page.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The features - What A Cheek

The What A Cheek strip was a cover feature consisting of a 3 panel gag. Cheeky always delivered the punchline, and the strip usually featured one of the regular characters from the Cheeky pages, but sometimes anonymous stooges appeared.

The feature was absent from some covers when a competition or promotion was publicised, and it didn't appear on the Christmas 1977 issue.

Having appeared since the first issue, What A Cheek was eventually replaced by Cheeky's Week which initially was the same format with a different title, but later expanded to fill the front cover and consequently had more panels.




FEATURE
FIRST APPEARANCE

FINAL APPEARANCE

TOTAL ISSUES

TOTAL ISSUES MISSED IN RUN

PAGE HISTORY
What a Cheek22-OCT-7723-SEP-784181




ISSUES MISSED IN RUN
31-DEC-77
07-JAN-78
28-JAN-78
04-FEB-78
17-JUN-78
19-AUG-78
09-SEP-78
16-SEP-78


Page History in the first table above shows the page numbers occupied by the strip in its run. As this was a cover feature, it only ever appeared on page 1.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Profile - Cheeky


"What's the difference between an LP Record and a skunk?"

"One's a long player, the other's a pong layer!"

Cheeky's jokes didn't really get any better than that, but the readers of Cheeky Weekly didn't expect anything other than awful, corny jokes. It was the sheer number of Cheeky's jokes per issue that charmed us into submission.

With a toothy grin, prominent ears and a slicked-down short-back-and-sides that was surely unfashionable for the late 70s, Cheeky, like so many gawky kids before him, sought popularity by becoming the joker among his peers.

Cheeky would exchange banter with his pals, tradesmen, and authority figures. From vicars to teachers, parachutists to one-man bands, Cheeky was fearless in tackling any feed line he was given.

His creators realised there was a danger of portraying him as an insufferable smart-alec with an answer for any situation, and his vulnerabilities were regularly on display -

Puzzlement when the phone rang just as he passed by the telephone box. He was never lost for a snappy answer to the riddle he was given, but as he put the phone down, he never understood how someone could know he was nearby, not thinking to look up and see the man working on the telegraph pole.

Fear when delivering newspapers to the creepy house when a ghoul of some kind would answer the door.

Embarrassment at his pursuit by Louise, the girl who fancied him even though he would rebuff her with a comic put-down.

Thwarted plans when reading baby Burpo a Creepy Sleepy Tale, planning to frighten the toddler but always scaring himself.

He couldn't even put a shot past the goalie cat waiting in his front garden.


The toothy funster also displayed a rather parsimonious nature (probably inherited from Uncle Hamish), gleefully obtaining free cakes from Baker's Boy, and sneaking into the newsagent for a free read of the latest James Bold novel.

In the great comics tradition, Cheeky never seemed to change his oufit, permanently attired in a hooped jersey with a 'C' on the front. A knitting pattern for the jersey was eventually published in the comic, so that mums could turn out Cheeky lookalikes (although for the full effect, comedy false teeth would be required).

Cheeky was very rarely seen without his mollusc companion, Snail.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Essential reading for all friends of Cheeky


No Cheeky fan should be without a copy of issue 12 of Crikey! ('The Great British Comics Magazine'), which features an interview with the Cheekmeister himself, Frank McDiarmid.

This back issue can be procured by visiting the Crikey! website , and while you're there you should sort yourself out a subscription to the magazine, which is full of stuff of interest to anyone wanting to find out about the past, present and future of British comics.

Cheeky Weekly cover date 22 Oct 1977 - issue summary


































Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 22-Oct-1977, Issue 1 of 117
PageDetails
1What a Cheek (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Hiya I'm Cheeky (single appearance)
3Sunday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
4Skateboard Squad (first appearance) - Art Mike Lacey
5Sunday evening (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
6James Bold (first appearance) 'Fangs of Fear' 1 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
7James Bold (first appearance) 'Fangs of Fear' 1 of 11 - Art Massimo Belardinelli
8Monday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
96 Million Dollar Gran (first appearance) - Art Ian Knox
106 Million Dollar Gran (first appearance) - Art Ian Knox
116 Million Dollar Gran (first appearance) - Art Ian Knox
12Tuesday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Old Comic (first appearance) reprint from Knockout 'Mike'
14Tuesday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid\Doug's Doodle (first appearance) - Art Terry Bave
15What's New, Kids (first appearance)
16Pin-up pal (first appearance) 'Cheeky' - Art Frank McDiarmid
17Pin-up pal (first appearance) 'Cheeky' - Art Frank McDiarmid
18Wednesday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
19Creepy Sleepy Tale (first appearance) - Art Mike Brown
20Creepy Sleepy Tale (first appearance) - Art Mike Brown\Wednesday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
21Thursday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Home Movie (first appearance) 'Hambush at Deadmanz Gulch' - Art Jack Clayton
23Friday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
24Mustapha Million (first appearance) - Art Reg Parlett
25Mustapha Million (first appearance) - Art Reg Parlett
26Saturday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
27Wile E Coyote (first appearance) 'Space Ace Chase'
28Wile E Coyote (first appearance) 'Space Ace Chase'
29Interval (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid
30Space Family Robinson (first appearance) 'The Snatch'
31Space Family Robinson (first appearance) 'The Snatch'
32Saturday (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid\Ad: IPC (first appearance) 'Free Fun Wallet next week'

Cheeky Weekly cover date 22 Oct 1977


Having had our Red Jet Rattler confiscated after hitting dad on the back of the neck with it, we settle down to examine the contents of Cheeky Weekly's first issue.

The cover of course gives prominence to the free gift, but there's also an in-joke for those who had followed Cheeky's adventures in Krazy - the bubblegum boy can be seen floating at the top right of the page. This unfortunate soul had first appeared blowing a gum bubble in the background of a panel in the 'Ello It's Cheeky strip on page 20 of Krazy comic dated 08 January 1977. No-one in the strip noticed as his bubble grew and eventually lifted him off the pavement. Unable to alert his fellow comic characters to his plight, since to open his mouth would result in a groundward plummet, he was fated to remain aloft for the remainder of Cheeky's run in Krazy, where he was regularly seen drifting helplessly above the antics of his pals.

Cheeky's snail also has a prime spot atop the comic title. The latest in a line of comic mollusc sidekicks (presumably popular with artists because they're easy to draw), the snail would eventually get his own page in the comic.

The final element on the cover is the first 'What a Cheek' strip of the comic's run, featuring the type of corny joke that had become Cheeky's trademark. Frank McDiarmid signs the cover strip, stamping his authority on the character and comic.

Page 3 sees the first appearance of the daily Cheeky pages. Cheeky had evolved to look a bit less goofy than he had in the first issue of Krazy.

The final panel of this page demonstrates how the Cheeky strips framed the other stories in the comic. On Sundays, Cheeky would regularly have to jump out of the path of the Skateboard Squad, whose adventure would follow.

I'll look at the other features in future posts.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Red Jet Rattler


So what did those kids who had been whipped into a frenzy by IPC's ad campaign (which may have included a short ad shown on teatime TV) get as they flung 8p of their pocket money across the newsagent's counter?

Well, the first thing most kids would look for is the free gift. In those days there would usually be a gift in each of the first 3 issues of any new comic. How many of us bought the comic just to get the flimsy cardboard/plastic tat lurking within the pages? The publishers obviously hoped that by the third issue those readers lovingly fondling their collection consisting of a plastic spud gun, brown paper banger thing and rude-noise-making balloon would have been sufficiently entranced by the printed comic contents to become readers for life.

In Cheeky Weekly's first issue, the item tumbling from its pages was The Red Jet Rattler, a flimsy, cardboard self-assembly aeroplane that didn't so much fly as whirl from a piece of string. The string, as far as I recall, was not supplied, neither was the penny which was crucial to effective operation. The number of pennies lost as plane separated from string and disappeared into the neighbouring garden would probably make a substantial contribution towards the national debt.

So what was the link between aeroplanes and the contents of the comic? Er, none. At least an attempt was made to link the gift and the comic's contents by having Cheeky grinning daftly from the Red Jet Rattler's cockpit. Surprisingly, the underside of the Rattler reveals it was patented in Britain and the US! Possibly the stealth bomber was a further development of the same design (but without the cardboard Cheeky banner on the tailplane, which would presumably have lessened the stealth effect somewhat).