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On this day, 2 July 1983: Whoopee Welcomes Wow!

On this day, 2 July 1983: Whoopee Welcomes Wow!

 Cover artwork: Robert Nixon

Cover artwork: Robert Nixon

Here’s a contender for one of my all-time favourite covers. I wasn’t a reader of either Whoopee! or Wow! at the time of this merger (previewed in last Sunday’s blog post), but I do love a good communal banquet picture and this one, by the brilliant Robert Nixon, is a joy. The banqueting scene is a great tradition in British comics, dating back at least to the days of 1950s Eagle (when Dan Dare, PC49, Harris Tweed, Jeff Arnold, Tommy Walls et al would gather with editor Marcus Morris for a steaming Christmas dinner), and generally symbolises togetherness, prosperity and celebration. It’s ironic when used, as on this occasion, to mark the event of a merger – for many readers an occasion for being screwed over as their favourite title heads down the pan – but it’s still a pleasure to pore over the image, identifying all the characters and seeing who’s up to what. The only thing I’d question about this particular cover is whether there’s enough food to go round. I count four sandwiches, six trifles, eight jammy dodgers , nine fairy cakes, nine sausage rolls, one small cake, a few sausages, a pie and a bottle of pop to feed at least 37 characters. And Snack-man, Ossie and Sweeny Toddler don’t appear to be in sharing moods.

Inside the comic, we find another re-telling of how The Bumpkin Billionaires won their fortune (check out this post for three other versions of this story, two from 1974 and one from 1985). The Creepy Comix lad finds a collectors’ special edition, Boy Boss appears in a comic within a comic, the storyline of 6 Million Dollar Gran takes a change of direction as Gran heads off to start up a new gang of oldies, Cheeky (once owner of his own comic) is reduced to a three-panel line as part of the Quick Strips page, and there’s an unlikely team-up as Whoopee!’s Smiler joins the Kid Comic strip from Wow!

 Stage School: Robert Nixon (artist)

Stage School: Robert Nixon (artist)

 The Bumpkin Billionaires: Mike Lacey (artist)

The Bumpkin Billionaires: Mike Lacey (artist)

 Creepy Comix: Reg Parlett (artist)

Creepy Comix: Reg Parlett (artist)

 Sweeny Toddler: Tom Paterson (artist)

Sweeny Toddler: Tom Paterson (artist)

 Boy Boss: Frank McDiarmid (artist)

Boy Boss: Frank McDiarmid (artist)

 Gran’s Gang: Ian Knox (artist)

Gran’s Gang: Ian Knox (artist)

 Gran’s Gang: Ian Knox (artist)

Gran’s Gang: Ian Knox (artist)

 Spare-part Kit: Trevor Metcalfe (artist)

Spare-part Kit: Trevor Metcalfe (artist)

 Family Trees: Robert Nixon (artist)

Family Trees: Robert Nixon (artist)

 Family Trees: Robert Nixon (artist)

Family Trees: Robert Nixon (artist)

 Kid Comic: Martin Baxendale (artist)

Kid Comic: Martin Baxendale (artist)

 Paddywack: Jack Clayton (artist); Bleep!: Jim Barker (artist); Cheeky: Frank McDiarmid (artist); Here is the News: Ed McHenry (artist)

Paddywack: Jack Clayton (artist); Bleep!: Jim Barker (artist); Cheeky: Frank McDiarmid (artist); Here is the News: Ed McHenry (artist)

 Shipwreck School: Mike Lacey (artist)

Shipwreck School: Mike Lacey (artist)

 Frankie Stein: Robert Nixon (artist)

Frankie Stein: Robert Nixon (artist)

 Mustapha Million: Reg Parlett (artist)

Mustapha Million: Reg Parlett (artist)

 Calculator Kid: Terry Bave (artist)

Calculator Kid: Terry Bave (artist)

 Snack-man: David Mostyn (artist)

Snack-man: David Mostyn (artist)

On this day, 3 July 1982: Buster and Jackpot

On this day, 3 July 1982: Buster and Jackpot

On this day, 1 July 1978: Starlord

On this day, 1 July 1978: Starlord