Sunday, 25 December 2016



29 years ago today this cheery face greeted so many of us on Christmas morning and brought with it so many laughs and fond memories it's remained my favourite childhood book of any kind to this day.  More than that though it reads just as well as an adult, not only ageing well but always appealing to readers of all ages, young and old (of which I'm unfortunately in the latter category these days).  I've covered it before across three posts back in 2014 and you can still access them by clicking on the back cover at the bottom (no pun intended) of this post.  But to celebrate the festive season and the very, very best time of the year I decided to delve back in one more time and bring you eight strips to chuckle at while the rest of the family watch the Queen.

There's some characters here we haven't heard from in a long time on the blog and I've deliberately picked out some of those you may have been missing.  So below we've got fan-favourites Roger Rental, He's Completely Mental (written by Mark Rodgers, drawn by Ian Knox), Horace [Ugly Face] Watkins (from Tony Husband), Mr. Big Nose (Banx) and Hugo the Hungry Hippo (Haldane).

Oink! also took the hand out of the traditional comics, but always lovingly so as the team had grown up as fans obviously.  The Oink! Book 1988 had a very funny mini-comic inside called The Deano which lampooned the fact the Beano and Dandy had reached their 50th anniversary milestone.  I included some of these before in the second post from the annual two Christmases ago, but here now is Desperate Old Man by Tony Husband and drawn very authentically by Ed McHenry when compared to the original comic!

We loved our photo stories and spoofs, so below is the Mark Rodgers-scripted At the Library which was the comic's own version of such educational stories that would've been found in much younger children's magazines and comics.  With photos taken by James Gallagher, it was included in another of the annual's pitch-perfect comedy takes on the mini-comic, Fun-hour.

I've also thrown in The Zits from Dave Fellows, a strip which only ever appeared in this book and which I included the first of in the third part of my previous write-up.  Both were by Dave, who only contributed to some early editions of Oink!, so they were possibly meant as regular characters originally.  Perhaps the decision was made not to include them, or perhaps Dave moved on.  Either way, they made for perfect annual-fodder.  Plus, later in the regular comic's run we'd a certain Pete & his Pimple to take on the mantle of spotty favourite.

Finally at the bottom of the post is Ena Blighty's Five Go Adventuring Yet Again.  These strips (written by Mark with the artwork of Chas Sinclair) spoofed how outdated the Famous Five books actually were and this strip in particular hits a great comedic note at the end of 2016!  I'm sure you'll catch my drift given some of the bigger events of the year!

Enjoy folks!

I hope you've a fantastic day and indeed an awesome Christmas altogether!  I'll be back in the New Year and remember you can click on the back cover of this annual below to be taken right back to my original post of highlights.  There, each of the three write-ups are linked together sequentially too.

Have a good one everyone!

Saturday, 24 December 2016


Merry Christmas Eve to everyone out there!  I hope you're all as happy and excited about the season as I am.  Already I've swapped presents with one of my best friends as is our tradition, received wonderful birthday gifts and enjoyed some birthday and Christmas lunches, dinners and nights out with some friends and my better half .  I do love this time of year and am looking forward to seeing the family tomorrow.

I don't need to tell you how the Christmas editions of our comics were a big part of that anticipation of the holidays when we were kids, am I right?  It's great to see a festive Beano still out there on the shelves every year and today I've plucked out three pages from the two Christmas Oink!s we enjoyed three decades ago.  Yes, I've already covered them before and you can click on their covers at the bottom of this post to read the highlights, but today I've deliberately chosen three children's stories from them.  After all, it's tradition to have some Christmas-themed, sweet and innocent children's tales this time of year.

Well, forget about it.  Being sweet and innocent was never Oink!'s aim, it set out to be different from the rest and, most importantly, to actually be funny!  It had a habit of sending up the more traditional stories we'd have been reading as youngsters and below are three such examples from writer Mark Rodgers and artist Dave Skillen in Xmas in Toytown which does a superb job of imitating kids' books of the day, Tony Husband and Chas Sinclair with the tale with a bang that is The Woodcutter and finally Personby Claret the Know-it-all Parrot makes his one-and-only (unfortunately) appearance in Short John Slither, a pirate adventure for the holidays from writers G&K (sorry, I have no idea who that is) and Viz artist Steve Gibson lends his skills to make it a one-of-a-kind experience.

Thanks to Patrick Gallagher for the help in identifying those responsible for these pages.

Top two from #17, Personby from #43

That's not quite all from The Oink! Blog for Christmas 2016 though.  Tomorrow there'll be some more highlights from the first annual, The Oink! Book 1988, when I'll post up seven more classics including some from favourite characters who we haven't seen anything from in quite some time on the blog!  So when you're stuffed with stuffing come back, settle down with a Schloer and enjoy a good giggle from the annual you received 29 years ago!

In the meantime here's those two issues you can read all about from their previous blog posts:

Saturday, 17 December 2016


Buy a copy or Angel Tom Thug will duff yer up!

What a brilliant stocking filler this could be for the Oink! fan in your life.  Or indeed for yourself!  Lew Stringer is synonymous with the piggy publication thanks to his creations Pete & his Pimple, Tom Thug and Pigswilla amongst a multitude of semi-regulars and one-off strips, as well as writing the scripts for none other than Ham Dare, Pig of the Future.  But as a child he was literally everywhere for a lot of us.  So much so it was strange to come across a comic his work didn't appear in as far as this pig pal is concerned.

Transformers, Action Force, The Real Ghostbusters, Secret Wars... just a few of the titles I'd pick up and find a familiar cartoonist's work inside, though my first exposure was obviously Oink!  But here's a 1980s character I wasn't aware of until this year.  Derek the Troll was created for role-playing magazine Warlock before coasting across to White Dwarf when the former title folded.  Now White Dwarf I've heard of and I know it's a huge deal to the likes of Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer players, but none of that is for me and so this was one of Lew's creations that passed me by.  If you're the same as me never fear, for a wonderful reprint comic has just hit the 'net:

The comic begins with a
never-before-published strip

Trolls are a breed of character in these games which are generally overlooked, grunts in the bigger battles and cannon fodder for the enemy.  But here one takes centre stage as a "likeable troll with obnoxious habits" to quote Lew himself, which sounds like a perfect character for Oink! fans to get behind, doesn't it?  He certainly is and the strips are highly imaginative given the almost limitless scope of the tabletop games universes he's meant to be set in.  Expect groan-worthy puns, plenty of spoofs of the other character types, another of Lew's rhyming strips we liked so much previously on this blog and a cheeky and very funny dig at the White Dwarf readers who wrote in to say they didn't like his inclusion after the cancellation of Warlock.

Originally created for a reader competition for the original magazine, the editors thought he'd make for a great regular character instead.  The first strip which appeared was a half-page story but the original one submitted by Lew was a full page and this is included here for the first time in print alongside the published version and the whole of the nine-issue run.  Also here is a strip created especially for the You are the Hero book in 2013.  My personal favourite?  The one based around those "choose your own ending" adventure books is a brilliant take on those interactive novels with some hilarious consequences for Derek!

But that's not all.

Just as with this year's Brickman Returns comic there's a load of backup material, this time in the form of Rock Solid, an egotistical, self-centred space hero whose ego is a lot more evident than any actual talent.  Lew does explain in this comic how Rock was difficult to write as he was deliberately created to be unlikeable, yet the readers had to enjoy the strip and want to see more.  Lew does a brilliant job of this and handles this balance perfectly.  In the strip below Earth is being invaded by the evil Grots and they've called for help but this was answered by the one person they didn't want, Rock Solid.  This final page of the three-page opener begins after Rock has kicked a military commander out of his way (that's him falling out of the window in the first panel) so he can take centre stage:

Rock Solid, another of Lew's creations I
hadn't read until now

Rock was created for independent comic Swift Sure and all five three-page strips are present here.  It's a fun adventure and a shame he never returned but it's great to discover lost gems like this and it's limited run makes it all the more unique for us now.  Definitely worth it for the enemy leader alone, the gross Lucas Mucus!  A complete contrast to Derek but a perfect fit nevertheless for this fun Lew Stringer comic.

Rounding off the package are two half-page Combat Colin strips (yey!) from the pages of Marvel UK's Transformers, a comic I grew up with and had the pleasure in recent years of collecting and reading right through.  Lew does mention here he'll be collecting all of Colin's adventures from the 80s and early 90s together into an ongoing series of comics in 2017 and that news is just the best way to finish this off for me!:

Now there's a new comic series that'll be simply unmissable!

There you have it folks, don't let this brilliant title slip you by, click here to go to Lew's shop and order up your issue for a measly £3.50.  A bargain no doubt and one any Oink! fan will just love.  Get going folks, you've a comic to buy!

Back here on The Oink! Blog I'll be back on the morning of Christmas Eve (which is this Saturday!) with some children's tales... of a sort.