On this day, 22 October 1977: Cheeky
On this day, 22 October 1977 … ‘“Laugh at Life!”, that’s my motto,’ announced Cheeky, at the start of his very own comic. And laugh we still do. There’s something infectiously brilliant about Cheeky. I’ve written before about its problematic aspects but there’s so much energy, so many quick-fire gags, such mischief and optimism and ingenuity, that it remains a joy to turn back to whenever its turn on the ‘On this day’ schedule comes around.
‘There’s never a dull moment, I can tell you – I’ve got people to meet, stories to read and telly and films to see, so tag along … just for a laugh, and let’s get on with the goodies!’ OK, Cheeky! So what have we got in this first issue? Plenty of activity on the streets and doorsteps of Krazy Town, as Cheeky introduces us to characters who would go on to be weekly favourites in just two or three panels at a time: Walter Wurx, Baby Burpo, Lily Pop and Ursula the Usherette – they’re all here, and many more. The huge cast of locals that populated Cheeky’s Week were an important part of the comic’s vibrancy, and to celebrate its birthday I’ve created a special gallery of the many ‘Pin-up Pals’ posters by which they were catalogued.
Cheeky’s strong roster of back-up strips kicks off with Mike Lacey’s Skateboard Squad, Ian Knox’s 6 Million Dollar Gran (which Cheeky watches after school on Mondays), and Reg Parlett’s Mustapha Million (which he reads in the secretive Mystery Comic found each week at a different place in the town). Episodes of Wile E. Coyote and John Richardson’s Space Family Robinson are on show at the Krazy Town picture house, and Cheeky reads chapters of two surprisingly dark books: James Bold in Fangs of Fear (with macabre Massimo Belardinelli art) and a Mike Brown Creepy Sleepy Tale in which Little Miss Muffet’s spider eats his way through a cast of fairy tale favourite characters. What a cheek!