On this day, 6 April 1985: Whoopee joins Whizzer and Chips
On this day, 6 April 1985 ... This is a sadhappy comic. It's sad because it marks the relegation of Whoopee! – at its late 1970s peak, in my opinion, the very best of all IPC's humour comics – to a supporting role, merged into a fellow classic, Whizzer and Chips. And sad too because I think it's a sign of the declining market for this particular brand and style of humour comic that had been so popular among kids for so much of the twentieth century.
But it's happy too because there's loads of fun in these pages, lots of familiar faces and grins and laughter throughout. It's not something I've really considered before but I wonder whether there has ever been any sort of analysis of how many smiles there are pictured in any one of these fun comics, and what sort of therapeutic effect that might have on its young readers. I don't think it need apply just to the kids for whom the comic was created – I found it a tonic to read through as a 46-year-old man, 32 years later! The world needs more of this sort of thing.
The story of this issue is the introduction and division of various favourite Whoopee! strips into the ranks of Whizz-kids and Chip-ites. Whizzer got Toy Boy, Animalad, Boy Boss, The Bumpkin Billionaires and Sweeny Toddler. Chips got Lolly Pop, Book Worm, Calculator Kid, Mustapha Million and Creepy Comix. The process is given some extra spice by a couple of cheeky raids by Whizz-kids and Chip-ites into each other's pages, and Sweeny, the demon baby, making a nuisance of himself throughout – quite literally as a marginal character – until he finally gets his own story on the back page.
Another item of note in this comic is the third telling of The Bumpkin Billionaires’ origin story (or at least, the tale of how they came to be so rich). For interest, I’ve included below the previous two versions of their astronomical lottery win, from the first issue of Whoopee! and then the merger issue of Whoopee! and Shiver and Shake.
This cover date in 1985 was shared by another significant IPC merger – that of Tiger into Eagle – about which I blogged this time last year.