Anyway, the comic itself had a unique format, built around a week in the life of the eponymous joker. For starters we'd get a strip of Cheeky wandering around his home town (on his way to school usually) and trading jokes and riddles with the residents.
Then Cheeky would provide a segue into another strip. Here for example, Cheeky wanders over to the headquarters of The Skateboard squad to see what they've got for Christmas...
Then Cheeky gets a photo taken with all his family before falling asleep reading a thrilling adventure story. We get to see the story, which is the final chapter of a serial strip about a "brave investigator of the supernatural", a suave, chiselled tough guy with the copyright-baiting name of "James Bold". Here, he finally catches the villain known as "The Wolf" before getting some well-earned rest.
Incidentally, Blogger's spell-check is questioning my use of "Krazy" and "Pongo" but is completely fine with "Snodgrass".
Next Cheeky takes Baby Burpo to see a pantomime (a two-page Snow White parody) before popping round to see the latest "home movie" made by pal Oscar. This leads into a one-page "Charlie Dickens-Type Story" movie pastiche, drawn by Jack Clayton.
The strip in question is probably Cheeky's most enduring character: Mustapha Million. Or, to be true to how the title is spelt Mustapha Mi££ion.
Originally drawn by the great Reg Parlett, Mustapha was a boy from some unnamed middle-Eastern country whose father struck oil and had become incredibly rich. The cliché of the rich oil sheik was big in the late 70s and early 80s. Apparently his dad wanted Mustapha to get a proper British education so sent him here and set him up with a mansion full of servants and unlimited wealth.
So the scene is set for Lord Snooty/Richie Rich type shenanigans which an extra dash of hilarious cultural misunderstandings. Pleasingly, from a 21st century perspective, it is actually very light on racist stereotyping on the part of Mustapha himself and is pretty good fun.
Mustapha was popular enough not only to move to Whoopee! after Cheeky folded but also to move to Whizzer and Chips after Whoopee! went.
The most pleasant surprise in this issue came when Cheeky sneaked off into the attic to look through his dad's old comics, which results in a reprint of a strip from the Christmas 1952 issue of Film Fun!
I fully support the reprinting of old strips in comics and would've found that fascinating as a child too. It was only a couple of years ago The Beano stopped printing old strips and I would welcome the return. Although I am aware I'm not the target audience any more.
Anyway, here we get the Christmassy adventures of Frank Randle, "famous star of Mancunian films", a comedian who, though a massive star in his day, is almost completely forgotten today.
Here, Frank's comic strip avatar gets a job as a department store Father Christmas...
Frank Randle was an interesting chap who, legend has it, pulled all his own teeth out in order to help him pull funny faces. His enormous success lead him a life of hobby-drinking and would often drive his car into walls and policemen would let him off for an autograph. Sadly most of his films, made in and around a former Methodist chapel in Manchester (later the home of the earliest Top of the Popses), no longer exist.
It's also interesting to see how much the style of British humour comics had changed in the 25 years between these two comics. Especially to note how little they've changed (stylistically) in the 37 years since.
Next up: Cheeky goes to the cinema to watch the next thrilling chapter of The Space Family Robinson.
The Beezer's The Space Kids, only with a family instead of a group of friends stranded on an alien planet. This week the family tries its hardest to have a normal Christmas on a world with black snow.
Finally, a week has passed so we leave Cheeky and family on New Year's Eve, where Mum has reminded us of the New Year tradition of welcoming the first visitor with a handshake, "but if it's a lady you have to kiss her!"
Cue several panels of Cheeky fretting about having to kiss one of his regular characters and one of Dad fantasising about kissing the sexy lollypop lady, a thought balloon blotted out by the message "Censored by Mum!"
Bonus: an ad in this issue that may interest fans of 1970s football: