On this day, 1 June 1985: Whizzer and Chips including Whoopee!
On this day, 1 June 1985 … The last few days have had a bit of an eighties theme. On Sunday I bemoaned the condescending tone of 1982’s straight-laced Eagle, then on Monday we zipped forward to 1987 where Buster was busting out of its tired old format and yesterday we looked at 1986’s Oink! – IPC’s (successful) attempt to bring Viz-style anarchy to their humour comic range. Today I’m stepping back one more year, to 1985, in which Whizzer and Chips was also undergoing its own revolution of sorts.
Having launched in October 1969 and been taken over by Buster in October 1990, Whizzer and Chips spans the entirety of the 1970s and 1980s – the focus of this blog – with only a tiny overlap at either end, so it’s very interesting to see how it developed over this time. Prior to 1985 the comic followed the fairly consistent formula of ‘two comics in one’ and ‘Whizz-kid versus Chip-ite’, with only occasional changes to its design and refreshings of its line-up following mergers with Knockout and Krazy. In April 1985, however, it incorporated Whoopee! and in the process started to become the wackier, more colourful and more confident comic that would enable it to last another half-decade in a rapidly changing market.
Chips is still the rival comic that can be separated by the usual fingernail-scarring staple-prising (did anybody ever actually do that?), and Sid and Shiner still announce raids into the other’s ranks from their editorial pages, but Sweeny Toddler has become the star of the front cover, which has a more fluid and unpredictable design, and the likes of Lolly Pop, The Bumpkin Billionaires, Boy Boss and Creepy Comix really liven things up inside. Sweeny and pals have bin doin’ a bit o’ weedin’, loike!