Story File: Old Boy
This one’s great fun. Old Boy was a Catweazlesque character designed by the great Brian Walker, and a pupil at Giggleton Apprehensive School in the class of 1975/76 … and in fact in every preceding class since he first attended the school in 1913. Having failed to pass any of his exams, Old Boy remained in apprehensive education until his beard was long and white and home to a little mouse. A cheeky, scheming but good-hearted prankster, weekly instalments of this Whizzer and Chips strip were usually based on Old Boy introducing his long-haired, flares-wearing pals to playground games of his own day (such as spinning a whip top and ‘jingling’), and the ancient wisdom of classrom craftiness. Recurring characters included Old Boy’s cultured but exasperated form teacher Mr Flummox, a fuming headmaster, school thug Willie Thumpem and lollipop man Sam Stoppem – a classmate of Old Boy from the early days whose life in the grown-up world seemed designed to prove that Old Boy was better off having never left school.
Old Boy was a Chip-ite, and a highlight of his run in the comic was the Christmas episode in which his fellow Chip-ites were invited to help out at the Giggleton Apprehensive School Christmas bazaar. I’ll let you try to identify most of the characters from other strips that appear in the festive feast panel below, but will name the ‘two famous Chip-ites from Old Boy’s childhood’ as Weary Willie and Tired Tim, created by Tom Browne for Illustrated Chips (later titled simply Chips, and possibly the title after which Whizzer’s Chips was named) and which ran between 1896 and 1953.