Sunday, 24 July 2016

WELCOME! IT'S TIME TO PIG OUT!


Hello!  Who else remembers this wild and crazy comic from Britain's best creative team?  Criminally, up until a few years ago you'd have been hard pushed to find anything about it online, so as a huge fan I decided to take it upon myself to correct this.  What started out as a fun thing to do in my spare time every fortnight soon took over a huge chunk of my life and I loved every single piggin' minute of it.

Now it's all here for you to enjoy, from the preview issue all the way through to the final one, via specials, books, computer games, mugs, giant pimples, smelly aliens, scary butchers, spoofs of pretty much everything we grew top with, plops, Frank Sidebottom and everything in-between.  Crafted from the minds of the likes of Tony Husband, Mark Rodgers, Lew Stringer, Charlie Brooker, Jeremy Banx, J.T. Dogg, Davy Francis, Kev Sutherland and David Leach amongst many, many others, including special appearances from such talent as Dave Gibbons, John Geering and Kevin O'Neill this was a who's who of British comics.

The blog has proved more popular than I could ever have possibly imagined and I'm so proud of it, but most of all I'm ecstatic Oink! has proven to be so loved by both those of us who grew up with it and new readers alike, if the feedback has been anything to go by.  This treasure trove of classic comedy not only stands up against the test of time but is surprisingly relevant today too.  It's been an absolute blast and the content here isn't going anywhere and will remain as an archive for pig pals old and new, with plenty of strips to enjoy alongside extra content such as input from the people behind the characters and my own personal memories of how this formed an important part of my childhood, and indeed my life.

GET STARTED


Over on the left there you'll see a section called The Whole Hog which I've organised with the oldest posts first, so all you have to do is click on the arrows beside the years, then months and work your way down starting from April 2013 and the Heading Back to the Sty post which started it all off.  From there on all you have to do is laugh, which is something you'll be doing a lot of!

Enjoy the ride!

As for me, I've wrapped up this blog and have moved on to two other writing projects, one centred around the Commodore 64 computer from the 80s and 90s, the other based on the modern Apple Watch and fitness.  The former centres around my other blog Recovering From a Scratch and there you'll find out about how I'm developing my writing further (which I've rediscovered my passion for thanks to Oink!) through contributions to actual published works and a project of my own.  The latter can be found on Instagram for now under the name Watch My Year, in which I'm tracking how my health and fitness changes over a year of use of the Apple Watch, which I aim to write up for iBooks once my conclusions are drawn.

If you'd like to contact me you can do so through either one of those avenues or directly through email at PhilEdBoyce@iCloud.com.

For now, enjoy Oink!  I certainly did and I'm rather envious my read-through has finished while any new blog readers out there get to discover (or rediscover) these hilarious characters and situations and enjoy the brilliant work of some extremely talented individuals, who all came together and created something unique and timeless.  It may have only been with us for three years, but hopefully now it'll always be here to enjoy over and over and entertain new generations.

Fondly remembered and if I have anything to do with it, it'll never be forgotten.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

EVERY HOG HAD ITS DAY


Okay, so you may be wondering what's been happening to a blog which was previously updated on a weekly/fortnightly basis but has been lying dormant this year.  Well, the cold hard truth is Egmont happened.  Or rather, they didn't.

You'll be aware already (as regular readers, of course) that Oink!'s many and varied strips were creator-owned, which was a rare thing in the 80s.  As such, the book I was working on was going to be the story of the editors, writers, artists etc. after the blog had told you all about my own, fan-based journey through the comic.  I'd planned to chat to as many contributors and creators as I could and edit together all their memories, stories and anecdotes into a lovely, random mix.  No chapters, no interview questions, but the end result would feel like a nice long chat with our childhood heroes, interspersed with top quality reprints on top quality paper.  That was the initial dream and the creatives I'd spoken to were all very keen and had given me permission to use their work, but there was a bigger hurdle.

Egmont still own the rights to Oink! as a property, so publishing a book about something they still own will obviously need their permission.  This wouldn't stop one of the comic's cartoonists making and selling new material (or reprinting classics) for their own characters, but it does stop someone from creating a publication specifically about the comic and then selling it.  In addition, while my own tiny scanner was more than up to the job of bringing you laughs-a-plenty with pages from Oink!, for a high quality paid-for book it simply wouldn't suffice.  As advised by editor Patrick Gallagher Egmont still have the original plates used to print the comic and I'd need access to these in order to include the strips in the book.

When I originally started up the blog Egmont's Classic Comics website was pointed out to me and Oink! was given a passing mention on it.  I contacted them to ask for permission to carry on with the blog and they got straight back to me, were extremely friendly, very encouraging and even included a link to here on their site.  But when I contacted them about the book idea a good while back I heard nothing.  I tried again before Christmas last year and several times this year, trying through various means but there's never been a response.

However I'm not alone.  The website hasn't been updated since 5th February 2015 and it seems I'm not the only fan of one of their titles (including the likes of IPC's flagship comics) who isn't getting anywhere with them.  So for the moment I'm afraid the book seems to be dead in the water.  Some people have suggested Kickstarter or going to other smaller publishers, the latter of which I was for doing if Egmont weren't interested, but I'd still need access to those plates and permission before I could publish anything about the property as a whole.  I've seen fan projects completed before permissions were granted such as the 2000AD documentary Future Shock, the Being Frank movie and the superb The Shark is Still Working film on the Jaws Blu Ray which took several years to get released.  So yes, I could start work but there's a reason why I won't be, pig pals: Time.

I've enjoyed this blog immensely and it's reignited that desire within me to write and more importantly has given me the confidence to do so!  I won't go into the reasons how again as I've covered them all before and I'll be forever grateful to this comic for those reasons (as well as introducing a young me to comics in the first place and developing my sense of humour!).  Towards the end of last year I purchased the ultimate retro computer, a Commodore 64, and started to blog about it.  I didn't know where it was going to lead me and it could've been down the road of simply collecting and playing but I knew it'd probably be something creative instead.  A game?  A utility?  A book?  I didn't know but surely it'd be a year or two down the line, as it had been with Oink?  I certainly didn't expect the answer to come to me so quickly and for it be such a natural progression of what came before!



I'm extremely passionate about this little machine and I'm already getting a small bit of writing published in an honest-to-gosh book which is being released this summer and there's other one-off and regular writing jobs centred around the C64 coming up too.  I'm also doing a year-long project on Instagram centred around my Apple Watch and the health gains it could have, to be followed by an eBook.  But most excitedly I'm beginning work now on a brand new writing project which, if successful, could be a huge deal for me!  Based on the Commodore again I'm actually taking a week off from the office job to get cracking with this one and get the ball rolling.

It's a real shame the Oink! book hasn't worked out and I don't want to sound selfish when I get all excited about the future when I've been promising you the book for a while now.  I wish I'd known this would happen long before the end of last year because then I could've kept to the original plan of rounding up this blog with coverage of the remaining specials over Christmas, then I could've wrapped it all up in a big, fat pink bow with the journey complete.  So I feel I should apologise for getting any hopes up, but I can't be any more emphatic about how much I've loved this and how much it's changed me; all those projects above wouldn't be happening without this comic, this blog and the feedback from you all.  So thank you!

Of course the upside of not wrapping things up last year is that I still have those three rare specials to come, so whenever they pop up on eBay I'll be grabbing them and nipping back on here with their juicy contents.  Until then, thanks again to you all and it's brilliant to see the hits continue to rise as more people rediscover (or discover for the first time) this gem in British comics history.  Now I'm off to pig out with Uncle Pigg on his secret desert island... though perhaps it's not too much of a secret where he ended up after all:

Monday, 29 February 2016

MORE BRAND NEW PSYCHO GRAN SOCKS IT TO 'EM!


That's right pig pals, after the success of the first Psycho Gran comic her always-obedient creator David Leach has been busy working away on another one for her, titled Psycho Gran Vs.

Now this isn't the long-awaited second edition of her comic, but a special one-off title featuring glorious pieces of artwork from David and a handful of superb guest artists.  The main attraction are David's own pages naturally, where the little old pensioner takes on a string of superheroes, supervillains, cartoon stars and others, as well as spoofs of popular movies and horror tales.  All in full-colour in David's unique style and (naturally) each sees the little dear getting one up on them all.

With the recent glut of superhero movies to which I'm not a great fan it was hilarious to see them all come a cropper at the hands of one of my favourite childhood comics characters:

Probably the one such hero whose movies I do actually like
so I just had to include this by way of example.

But that's not all.  There's all those guest artists who have come on board to lend their pens to this special, each drawing their own unique take on Psycho Gran and each one is an absolute stonker, from fellow Oink! creatives like Lew Stringer, Davy Francis and Davey Jones and others.  I don't want to ruin the surprises of who got involved, nor indeed of who all 'Gran meets or pastiches because part of the fun is turning the page and being surprised!

So how do you get your hands on this one then?

Well already David is sold out of his own personal copies but you can dash on over to Dead Universe Comics to grab yourself a copy of this brand new 36-page comic by clicking on this link below and having a paltry £3.99 ready:


They also have their own Facebook page if you're that way inclined too:


Also, just to finish off, remember her first issue of her own comic title is still available for digital download from Comixology and you can read more about that by clicking right here.

What are you waiting for, an invitation?  That's not her style, instead I'd say if you wish to remain safe in your homes at night, get clicking!