Off we go...
Complete with a see-thru flexidisc containing The Oink Song and Oink Rap to play on those record player things we all used to have, Oink! 1 hit the shelves. These two songs would be rereleased later in the comic's run on an actual record along with a third song which is when I first heard them, but for readers coming on board from the first retail issue this was as unique a free gift as any kid was ever likely to get!
Oink!'s cover art would contain some absolute classics, but to begin with the main focus of the cover was on the flexidisc and, more importantly, that bright pink logo that'd bring so much joy to so many kids and adults alike. Arriving on Saturday 3rd May 1986 and priced at 30p (now that makes me feel old!) Oink! came on the same bigger-than-A4 (hence why some covers etc may be slightly clipped by my scanner) glossy paper as the preview, standing out well on the shelves as something brand new and unique.
While the fortnightly comic would start having themes every issue from #3, this first issue's theme could probably be summed up as simply 'the first one'. Although upon reading it now as an adult I'm thinking the theme could be labelled as 'were they trying to see what they could get away with?', as you'll see by the strips I've decided (at length) to include.
Remember the books and TV series The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4?:
With that legendary Ian Jackson artwork married to a Mark Rodgers script, this spoof strip was all about Hadrian Vile who was just that - vile. But brilliantly so. Disgusted by girls, fascinated by bogies and anything at all disgusting, smelly, scary... he was your typical boy some could say! As Oink! progressed so did his age and this was a great start for him. What also got me was the spelling contained within his diary, which today probably isn't as bad to kids brought up on "txt spk" but to us it was hilarious!
That typewriter text, being all over the place like it is must've been so fiddly to put onto the page so well in the days before computer-aided cartooning! The extra effort was appreciated across the board, as Hadrian became a fan favourite and would stay with the comic all the way right through to the final issues.
UPDATE: Well it appears I'm wrong with that last sentence, as at the time of writing this little update I've noticed Hadrian wasn't there all the way to the end which was a shock. Almost though! Keep reading to find out.
But that unofficial theme to this first issue... I literally - no joke - nearly spat my coffee over this issue when I read that last caption. Do they mean - ? They couldn't - ! Did they - ? No of course not, which I realised once I read the bit at the bottom of same caption! Phew...
Back in the first few issues (including the preview) a certain cartoonist who was ubiquitous with some crazy artwork already with the likes of The Beano's Calamity James and the Buster comic, was now being handed scripts by none other than Oink!'s co-creator/editor Mark Rodgers. Can you imagine Tom Paterson with a Rodgers script?! You don't have to:
Did you spot the 'They didn't just do what I think they did, did they?' moment? Read it again if you didn't.
Tom's work is just simply without comparison. I remember Calamity James being my favourite Beano strip as Tom's pages were always chock full of so much detail, it was like discovering lots of little jokes that my child's brain believed were there just for me to discover. Just me. The detail in his Testing Time pages is simply amazing, from the measle to the trademark smelly sock, from the Sam Fox "portrait" to the little hole in the wood next to the "grovel 'ere" sign... it's just my mind isn't it? That's completely coincidental and innocent right? Can anyone who worked on Oink! confirm ha??
Reading my brother's Beanos and then our shared Beano Annuals every Christmas, I'd always go back to Tom's pages time and time again and would either pick up lots of new things, or just enjoy all the little side jokes all over again. Timeless. What a shame he didn't work on Oink! all the way through.
Finally, for this issue, a superhero who you may prefer didn't come to your rescue:
David Haldane contributed quite a few characters to the comic, including some of my faves such as Hugo the (giant) Hungry Hippo and the Torture Twins, who'd crack jokes whilst working away at their victims. Another was Rubbish Man. We didn't get to see Jimmy Bung in his regular day-to-day disguise much but who cared, we all wanted to see what disgusting food stuffs would come out of Rubbishman's body next or what completely random baddie he was going to battle.
This first issue story had him going up against a chicken flying a space craft laying evil eggs of doom across the planet - complete with handily-bleeped (or should that be clucked) swear words. As my post title says, start as you mean to go on and his adventures would simply become ever more random as Oink! continued and he's another character we'll definitely revisit at some stage. Right now though I've got a hankering for a KFC.
Oink! made a big first impression with this issue for all those who hadn't read IPC's preview and there was plenty to come back for. The next Oink! Superstar Poster in the series, the epic Streethogs and Tom Thug's quest to learn to tie the laces of his father's bovver boots would have kids all eagerly anticipating the second edition.
And let's not forget Terry Wogham's star interviews, a photo story series of a real pig interviewing celebrities who we'd handily only ever see from his pig eye level so the comic could get away with only showing their legs and torso. In this issue we saw even less, as it was the turn of The Invisible Man, who also had a drawn cartoon flashback sequence drawn by Marc Riley which included this caption, which I'll end on:
Next issue post 'on sale' Friday 17th May and I'll be back before then with another post as requested by a reader. Hope you're all enjoying this so far!