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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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Monday, 22 April 2013

The Features - Eagle Eye

Cheeky Weekly dated 06 January 1979 was the first issue to appear after the 3 week gap in publication in December 1978. The main cover pic on this issue announced the commencement of a new (to many readers, anyway) adventure serial featuring Eagle Eye. The new strip's schoolboy star was seen on the cover in a variety of poses demonstrating his talent for bird watching, train spotting, peering at shipping on the horizon and taking down vehicle registrations. Hardly the stuff to set pulses racing, but let's reserve judgement until we've read the story.

Turning to the Eagle Eye strip on page 26, readers were treated to a repeat of the scenes printed on the cover (although in black and white) before the story commenced. London lad Tommy Trotter (aka Eagle Eye due to his keen observational skills) is travelling home from school on the bus when he spots a suspicious baker's van. Alighting from the bus, Tommy chases the vehicle on foot and discovers the van is being used by a gang who are staging a bullion robbery. Eagle Eye rips the mask off one of the gang but is kidnapped by the felons. Young Tommy manages to escape and, using his powers of observation, leads the police to the robbers and their haul of gold. Along the way Eagle Eye, armed only with a couple of brooms, fights his way past three of the hardened criminals, and at the climax of the story brings down the lead villain following a tense, armed (apparently) stand-off. How the local constabulary allowed a young boy to approach a firearm-wielding felon was no doubt the subject of a later police inquiry.

Eagle Eye, which ran for eight two-page instalments, coming to a conclusion in Cheeky Weekly dated 24 February 1979, was in fact a reprint from Shiver and Shake, where it had commenced in the issue dated 18 August 1973. In its original format, a prize competition was based around the story, but on its outing in Cheeky Weekly no prizes were on offer, in the same way that the competition element was removed from The Terrible Trail To Taggart's Treasure (another tale exhumed from the Shiver and Shake vaults) when it ran in the toothy funster's comic.

As was the case with the Taggart reprints, the Cheeky Weekly version of Eagle Eye was for some reason re-lettered.

The second page of the first Eagle Eye instalment -
comparison of original and reprint versions.
For some reason the final letter of the van's licence plate
has been changed.
The mystery has been solved - see C_Oliver's replies in the comments section.
Acknowledgements to the scanner of the S&S page.

Not only was Eagle Eye featured on the front of the issue of Cheeky Weekly in which the strip made its debut, but the story also got a boost on the cover of the issue containing the final episode of Tommy Trotter's adventure (although Tommy himself was absent from the cover pic used on that occasion).

At this point in Cheeky Weekly's history The Mystery Comic was occupying the centre pages, and located within it was the adventure serial Mystery Boy. The most recent non-Mystery Comic adventure strip, The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure, had been incorporated into Cheeky's Week as a film serial watched by Cheeky and pals on their regular outing to the Saturday morning picture show. Since the picture show visits had by this time come to an end, another framing device was required for Eagle Eye.

The first Eagle Eye episode was introduced in the final panel of the Friday element of Cheeky's Week, when the toothy funster whipped out his new Eagle Eye book for a surreptitious classroom read, but in the introduction to all the subsequent instalments, Cheeky was seen sneaking a Friday read of Eagle Eye which was being serialised in Teacher's copy of Teachers' Weekly.

The first and second introductory panels
(06 January and 13 January 1979)

I suspect that Eagle Eye was slated to start in one of the issues that failed to appear due to industrial action.

The story proved more exciting than the cover pic which announced its debut suggested (albeit stretching credulity beyond its limit on occasion - but that's common in comics). As there was no associated competition in Cheeky Weekly, readers were left to work out for themselves how the schoolboy hero picked up some of the clues or achieved certain feats, although to be honest the solutions were pretty clearly signposted.

I don't know who the artist was.

Final panel of Cheeky Weekly's final Eagle Eye episode

Eagle Eye in the Cheeky Weekly Index


Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Eagle Eye06-Jan-7924-Feb-798026,27

4 comments:

  1. In the 70s, the final letter on British licence plates advanced by one every year, as a way of indicating the year of the car's manufacture and sale.

    I'm guessing that 'L' at the end of a licence plate was an anachronistic impossibility in 1973, just as 'T' was in 1979, which is what alerted Eagle Eye.

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    Replies
    1. Good thinking - that's probably why they changed the last letter. I think Eagle Eye spotted that the front and rear plates were different.

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    2. If Wikipedia can be trusted, the 'L' suffix indicated a vehicle made in late '72 or early '73 (as Tommy says, "brand new"); a 'T' plate was for 78/79, fitting the year of the reprint.

      But yes, you're right -- here I am worrying about letters, when it's the different front and back *numbers* which give the game away! I'm old enough to have read (and enjoyed) 'Cheeky' when it first appeared -- and am enjoying your detailed blog as well! -- but I wouldn't have won any prizes for observation.

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    3. I must admit I didn't spot the different plates when I first re-read the strip - like you I though the final letter must be the clue, but in the best mystery tradition, it proved to be a red herring. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

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