Tuesday, 23 April 2013


You know something?  I'm actually kind of nervous about this.  Nowhere online is there a full guide to what I'd call my favourite comic of all time.  There's some scans floating about and some fascinating looks into its creation from the cartoonists involved, as well as the Facebook group.  But there's no record - as far as I can tell - of any great depth into the hilarious world of Uncle Pigg, Tom Thug, Weedy Willy, Ham Dare: Pig of the Future et all.  The kind of site I'd love to see doesn't exist, so I've had it in my mind for a couple of years now to put something together myself.

The #1 rule to creating your own site is, after all, to create something you'd like to read yourself!

But it was the discovery of the 2000AD Prog Slog which peaked my interest, where a fan made a mammoth purchase on eBay, paniced (I hear that!!) and basically thought he'd better make all that money stretch as far as possible.  The result was a guide to the first 1000+ issues, with nearly every other one given its own write-up.  There's not as many Oink!s, so doing every single issue should be a breeze right?  Right?

If nothing else it's going to be a laugh!  A couple of years ago I discovered the Oink! Facebook Group and became friends with the person who set it up, Matt, who goes by the moniker 'Unc Pigg' after the comic's "editor".  After Matt decided he needed to concentrate on other matters I kind of took over the running of the group and I loved every minute of it!  I amassed nearly every issue and enjoyed sharing some scans (the Oink! advent calendar being a favourite task of mine) and mingling with some of my heroes - the cartoonists and creators!  My own life though took over and I passed the mantle to Gerry and sent him my entire collection (including my own original copies).

Now here I am, after rediscovering Oink! all over again (again), I decided now was the perfect time for my own 'Prog Slog' and a few weeks ago I was egged on further by none other than Lew 'Pete & His Pimple' Stringer himself, with the idea of reading the issues on the date they were originally released.  Lew didn't know at the time I was planning anything more than collecting them again and reading them, but his idea stuck with me.

I was extremely lucky to get a hold of a selection of mint editions and alongside the blog's actual posts relating to each issue (the front covers and a few of the strips from within each one, folks) I'm hoping to add some extras like my own personal memories of Oink!, details of how my collection is going, as well as some other ideas I'll keep to myself for now.  To start with though...

Thanks to original Oink! creator/editor/cartoonist Tony Husband and Oink! Facebook Group member Tane McManus for sharing these; the original promotional leaflets sent out to help market the brand new upcoming (or should that be upstart) comic to newsagents across the UK.  Oink! was the first comic to give away a free preview issue (more on this in the next post in a few days), as a substitute for the usual television adverts etc. at the time.  It was a trend that would catch on!

The leaflets only gave a few details, tailored more to the business side of things, but it's cool to see how it was being marketed before it hit the shelves.  Definitely pushing the difference between this and other comics, as well as the very original free gifts (a flexi-record?  Hell yeah!) and an attractive S.O.R.  This stands for "sale or return", any unsolds could be returned to IPC for a full refund for wholesalers and retailers.

But this is all still very mysterious.  What does this new comic contain which makes it so different?  Why the big launch promo?  What are we in for?

George Shiers over at the excellent Whizzer and Chips blog was kind enough to send me some images of the adverts and marketing IPC did in their other titles for the upcoming Oink!  The preview issue was given away in the aforementioned Whizzer and Chips as well as Buster and Eagle & Tiger.  Here's notice of a mysterious free gift to come and the 'next issue' ad from inside an issue of Buster, for example:

Up above in the promotional leaflet you'll have seen reference to "blockbuster" adverts for the new title, but what on earth is a blockbuster ad?  Well that'd be a whopping 4-page one, that's what!  Taken from the pages of Buster again, alongside Whizzer & Chips, Eagle & Tiger, Battle, Roy of the Rovers and 2000AD here's evidence that IPC were certainly shouting loud and proud about Oink!  Regular readers of their titles would be in little doubt about its launch!:

Thanks again to George and be sure to check out his own blog too folks.  Also if you're interested in the marketing side of the release of Oink! and even which issue of Buster gave the comic away if you want to chase it down on eBay, you can click here to read all about these aspects of the new comic.

So now you're ready to start your trip into the world of Oink!  If you were an original pig pal then you'll know what to expect and trust me it's just as good as you remember.  If you've never met Uncle Pigg and the rest before you're in for a helluva ride!

So why am I nervous about this blog?

Because I want to do this amazing comic justice that's why!  This isn't going to be some over-analytical blog, or some boring (well, hope not) eejit prattling on.  All I want to do is share the fun of this comic with fans and those who never had the pleasure of reading it.  So come back Friday 26th April for a selection of the strips from the preview issue.  Now I've just got to decide what to include.  This may be funny, but it may not be easy.


Phyll said...

Do you have issue 0 of Oink!? I'm pretty sure i still do. Let me know if you want a scan.

Anonymous said...

Can I be really geeky,boring and annoying, and ask if you'd be able to post a list of publication dates/days and issue dates? I've been trying to work it all out, and as far as I can make out, issues 1-44 were published every other saturday, then 45-61 every friday, then the final few monthly issues every fourth saturday. Am I right?Does anyone else even care? And then there are the summer specials and annuals...oh, don't mind me, I just like to make long boring lists. ;)
Looking forward to the rest of the blog. :)

Phil Boyce said...

Thanks very much for the comments!

Phyll, yeah I've got that issue, just putting together an entry for it that'll appear in the morning (Friday 26th April), but thanks very much.

Bromley, it's not boring at all. You're almost spot on there, it turned weekly at #45 as you say, then it went monthly for its last 6 issues from #63. There were 4 summer specials, a winter special and 2 books (annuals). There was a special 'Smokebusters' edition distributed to some schools in England, the preview issue, a special edition given away in the Crash magazine and after the comic ceased there were 2 "best of" books too. Phew!

As the blog continues I'll be putting an entry up for each issue on the exact date it was originally released if that helps. And in a few days I'm going to put up an Oink! checklist.

Thanks very much for your interest, and I hope you continue to read and interact with the blog, both of you!


George Shiers said...

I've only just discovered this blog, and I'll stick around - it looks great (especially as I only have a few issues myself!)

I've added your site to the side of mine!

Phil Boyce said...

Thanks very much George! I'm having a blast so far so I hope you do too! Had a quick look at your blogs (still at work atm!) I loved Whizzer & Chips as a kid, it was always the comic I'd go for if I was travelling with my parents and there was no new Oink! out in the shops. It felt like 2 comics in one!