On this day, 9 May 1970: Whizzer and Chips
On this day, 9 May 1970 ... The fair's in town so Slippy takes Sid for a ride, while over in Chips Shiner's plays temporarily on the local bullies' adherence to the 'never hit anyone in glasses' law (what on odd law that is, by the way). I've often wondered whether it's possible to define the difference between a Whizz-kid and a Chip-ite. What drew us as readers to one side or another? Why did they hate each other so much? I have a theory that part of the answer lies in the differences between these two lead strips, both drawn for so many years by the prolific Mike Lacey. Sid and Slippy in Sid's Snake would generally find some cunning, twisty way to get one over on the world (suggesting they, and by extension the Whizz-kids, are the more privileged class, used to getting their way), while Shiner usually fails to succeed in his weekly mission to avoid getting into a scrap (suggesting he, and by extension the Chip-ites, are the more put-upon class, for whom the world never works in their favour). Whizz-kids had a certain swagger, Chip-kids were a bit, well, chippy. I wonder how many of us identified with these, or similar, attributes when choosing which side of the staples we sat.
Today's Whizzer and Chips falls within the first year of the classic comic's 21-year run, and the majority of the stories won't be familiar to people like me who only became readers after its merger with Knockout (and the arrival of W&C stalwarts such as Joker and Fuss Pot). But there are some classics of their own time to enjoy, notably Me and My Shadow (here featuring Smudger’s celebrating his birthday with Whizz-kid pals Sid, Nobby (Odd Ball), Susie (Little Saver) and Minnie), The Champ, Jimmy Jeckle and Master Hide and Minnie's Mixer (all Whizz-kids), and Harry's Haunted House, Super Dad, The Scareys of St Mary's and Hot Rod (all Chip-ites) – the original adversaries of the great Whizzer-Chips divide. In time-honoured tradition, a character from one side has infiltrated a story from the other – can you spot who and where?