From the out-set, star strips like The
Evil Eye, The Ghost Train and Scared
made "Whoopee!" a comic to savour.
launched in a small-scale 12.5 x 29cm format,
then, each 40-page weekly cost just 5p.
There was no
cover star either, at first. Instead we
had generic splash
pages advertising the contents, and a smattering
panels presented as a "Jest Joking" selection.
But things changed quickly. After a dozen-or-so
Toy Boy was inaugurated as the comic's first
and by issue twenty the comic's size had increased
more familiar 23.5 x 29cm format. And from there,
the comic never looked back...
"Whoopee!"s success stemmed, for
a large part, on its
luck in the mergers department. Merging
was the scourge
of the comics world. Unsuspecting readers could
time find their favourite weekly suddenly
"Great News Inside!". Seven days later,
their comic would
fold, and just a few hardy strips would
pop-up within another
weekly. In its lifetime, "Whoopee!"
was on the receiving end
of three such mergers, all of which actually
abetted the comic. And two of them - "Shiver
and "Cheeky Weekly" - were given the
a-comic treatment, in the same vein as "Whizzer
as the new additions were bedded in. These
helped the title to shed some dead wood,
some of Fleetway's biggest stars into the
Frankie Stein, Lolly Pop, Cheeky, Paddywack
Million Dollar Gran all entered the comic
via the mergers
door. And others popped up in the line-up
from out of the
blue, from other stablemates. Willy Worry
in "Cor!!", and Me And My Shadow
was pulled across from
"Whizzer & Chips".
And then there was Sweeny
Toddler. Sweeny is now
remembered as a star-turn from "Whoopee!",
but it's often
forgotten that he originated in "Shiver
& Shake", and unlike
his pals whose strips simply merged, Sweeny had
battle his way into the comic via a Pick-a-Strip
On 12th October 1974, Fleetway stablemate
Shake" was folded into "Whoopee!".
It's arrival led to a
a surplus of pretty decent strips, left
over from both titles.
So rather than consigning them to Comic Strip
Fleetway HQ put on a "Pick-a-Strip"
vote. It was a format
they'd used to great effect beforehand,
in the pages of
"Cor!!". Eight strips were presented
to the readership; one
a week for eight weeks. And at the end of
the run, those
readers could send in a voting coupon to
most popular creation. The competing strips
mixture of seven familars, and one newbie:
And the winner was... erm... Sweeny Toddler,
He was thus introduced on a weekly basis
early in 1975...
Let's not forget, "Whoopee!" also
had its fair share of original
Thumpty Dumpty, Mum's
Smiler and Supermum
all originated within the title
over the years... And then there was the
unique talents of
"Dick Doobie". He was the Back-to-Front
Man who popped
up in 1978. Dick's head and body was all
back-to-front... and... hmm... needless to say,
around very long!
And let's not forget that Fleetway HQ also
gave us a canny
number of spin-offs, stemming from previous
elsewhere. "Shiver & Shake" had
those amazing Creepy
Creations from Ken Reid. So "Whoopee!"
got a series of
"Wanted!" posters that later transformed
"Worldwide Weirdies"... Where "Krazy"
"Whoopee!" got Claws... The Ghost
Train and Scream
Inn were combined into The Spooktacular
"Cheeky"s Six Million Dollar Gran
evolved into Robot
Gran, before the old biddy ran off to start
As for "Whoopee!" itself, well,
the comic was with us for
eleven whooping years - the third longest
fun comic run,
as it happens. It eventually became a victim
of its own, when its top strips were incorporated
"Whizzer & Chips" in April
What we have here are just a few examples
of strips and
characters that arrived in "Whoopee!"
via comic mergers,
Shiver & Shake
Blunder Puss Boy
Ghoul Getters Ltd
Six Million Dollar Gran Me
And My Shadow
"Whoopee!" had its fair share
of adventure strips in the 70s,
and several of them enticed us with cash
prizes. Each week,
as the serials unfolded, we'd be presented
with new clues to
solve a crime, or a riddle, or to help
us pinpoint the culprit...
The Lone Ranger
Flight to Fear
What Makes Alfie Run?
Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk
Kids of Class Five