Friday, 9 August 2013

#8: GIVE THE PIG A BONE


A strange little issue this one, with the team sending away Uncle Pigg on a holiday and leaving the comic in the allegedly capable hands of his skeleton staff.  Which, yes of course are actual skeletons, as we saw last time.  The front cover here, with its slapdash approach and mistakes by the new crew pretty much sums up the issue as a whole, but let me set it up first, with this from the first inside page:


So yes, they're inept and, as far as my memory serves me, would never appear again in the comic, but after what happens to them I'm not surprised!

So this is pretty much the theme here, what happens to Oink! when Uncle Pigg isn't around... and some of the artists really leapt on to this big time.  I've mentioned him before and threw you all towards Twitter to see his first appearance, but if anything can sum up Mr Big Nose by Banx this one has got to be it:


Love it!  Surrealism at its finest.  It's not something you'd often see in kids' comics, but I loved the fortnightly look into this strange, strange world and now as an adult I really appreciate how Banx (and Oink! as a whole) never talked down to the younger readers.  Mr Big Nose was definitely one of my favourites and some of his strips stayed with me all the way through to adulthood, never to be forgotten.  You'll see as we go on just how memorable, because of the complete randomness, some of this really was!

As you saw the artists had their skeletal counterparts in the first strip, but for most of the comic they actually signed their cartoons with these alternative names too, such as Bank/Bonex there.  Davy Francis would sign his work as Bony Hart (after that bastion of 'The Gallery' and Morph, Tony Hart), so we'd see that name on this issue's Cowpat County.  And here's why - a little art lesson from Mark Rodgers, sorry, no I mean Jolly Rodgers and Bony:


To reinforce his point somewhat, the strip below this was about an invisible boy who, yup, we didn't see so Bony didn't have to draw him!

Did you like the first look at the Oink! Superstars Posters?  This issue has the eighth and final one and it's not what you'd expect.  Well okay it's exactly what you'd expect after the front cover gave it away but you get my point.  Next week I'll be putting up another post about the final four posters but here's how this last one came to be:


The Mary Lighthouse poster is also by Ian Jackson and is a great final outing for the series, so come back next week to see them all.  There'd be various random posters throughout Oink!'s run and I'll be sure to post up some of the best as we go along.

!!BLOG INTERRUPTION!!


Oh flip, sorry about that!!

You know I'm reminded of a stand up comedian (I want to say Lee Evans) who said how everyone loves their local butcher, he's always a friendly, trustworthy individual and people will stand and chat while ordering their food... even though moments before he was probably taking great pleasure in butchering up an animal and you've stood there talking to him with blood down his apron.  This, again from Banx, just reminded me of that...

Ahem, anyway.

So we're heading towards the rear of the comic and things surely have to return to normal sooner or later?  But Uncle Pigg's on holiday, Oink! is falling apart, with a big red splodge all over the Harry the Head strip (jam apparently) and even Hadrian Vile's diary being printed in full but upside down!  We need reinforcements, a man on the inside.  And if not a man, a dark smelly poop will do:


This was the character I mentioned last time, a regular and fan favourite who'd never actually get his own strip.  Percy Plop may have been about since day 1 for all we know, but this was the first time we'd been told his name which made him stand out from all the other little sh... helpers.  Percy would become Uncle Pigg's own personal assistant and I even took on the name myself on Facebook a few years back.

This was when I first joined the Facebook Group and decided I'd create an account as Percy when I kind of took over the running of it.  A few months later and the account was shut down, and I received a standard email telling me it'd been reported as not being a real person.  No shit Sherlock.  (Boom boom!)  I tried to explain to FB that I also had a real account, what this one was for and I'd spoken with some of the people behind the comic about using their character, and I also pointed out to FB various examples of people doing the same thing to run other groups.  No personal reply, no customer service, just the same standard email again, while others carried on doing the same thing.  Such a shame, as I thought it'd be fun to have Percy back sharing memories of Oink! but alas it wasn't to be.

But anyway, time to bring this issue back to earth with a bump, right after the aforementioned Hadrian Vile strip:


What an entrance.  But don't go anywhere yet, we're only on page 30 and the final two I've scanned in as well.  With the comic back in the capable trotters of its editor it was time for a little bit of traditional Oink! - the spoof.  Remember Jimbo & the Jet Set?  Were you a fan?  Singing the theme tune now?  Oh dear...:

Writer/artist unknown
With this and the front cover, is it any wonder Oink! appealed to Spitting Image fans - and I mean of all ages!

Now a couple of issues back we saw the legendary Pete and his Pimple by Lew Stringer introduced to an unsuspecting world and I simply assumed he'd be there from then on.  But not yet it would seem.  Again, I don't want to skip forward so we'll keep a beady eye out for his regular strip, but in the meantime let's finish this issue with the back cover and revisit everyone's favourite lout, Tom Thug.

Yes, Lew Stringer's Tom not only took pride of place on the back cover but was also seen for the first time in full glorious colour.  Maybe a sign of just how popular he'd become or maybe just simply down to the fact Oink! got shook up every single issue, either way it's a delight to see Lew's artwork in this form.  While I was also a fan of his Robo Capers, Combat Colin and Blimey! It's Slimer! strips from the Marvel comics, the colouring here in this IPC work had much more depth.  Basically, instead of solid colours we got shades and while I may sound like a complete geek for talking about it, I think it makes a world of difference and gave a real hand-coloured feel to the comics:


And that's your lot again.  Oink! is safe, though Mary Lighthouse certainly isn't, so check back in two weeks to see exactly what's going to happen next, with a brilliant cover too I might add.

Next issue on sale Friday 23rd August, but don't forget I'll be putting up the remaining posters sometime before then.  Bye for now.

9 comments:

George Shiers said...

In the first panel of that Tom Thug strip, is that a streaker in the top right leaning against a conveniently placed bar?

Lew Stringer said...

No, he's wearing clothes George. It's just that the scan has lightened some colours.

Phil, I did hand colour my Oink (and Buster) strips. No Photoshop back then.

The Marvel strips were coloured in the office using a different technique that was more mechanical (using flat colour overlays).

Graham Exton said...

Lew was doing Batman parodies just like Mark and I, only he was doing it much better than we were, so Mark cunningly persuaded him to work for Oink. Heh, heh. I have no idea what that proves.

Ross Murdoch said...

Another entertaining post and comic. The skeleton staff running joke really held this one together. It was a great theme for an issue.
My favourite strip was Horace. His failed date is so sad and the lack of caption in the last panel just makes it even more of a downer. I hope that the competition winner's caption is published in a future issue and that it contains some sort of hope for Horace :)
It is completely bizarre that the whole thing is essentially an advert for the release of Explorers on video. I loved that movie back in the day.

Phil Boyce said...

Oops never realised I hadn't replied to any comments here.

Lew, what I meant (but didn't word it too well) was that it actually felt you'd personally hand-coloured my copy - it was so lush! Part of the charm of the early Transformers and the IPC comics was that beautiful hand-colouring.

STEPHEN ARCHER said...

Reimagining the whole piggy concept to a “bony” one seems a chancy move for a comic so young; Oink had only been around for one calendar week longer than Scream at this point! I realize the whole point was for Boss Bones’ mob to cock everything up and heroic Uncle Pigg to save the day, but to me this was a bold a courageous experiment that really paid off. It exemplifies what I said about not knowing what to expect from one issue to another.

Phil Boyce said...

It worked brilliantly, with pages upside down or supposed jam spilt on others. It made an already anarchic comic even moreso and I think after this the team really went for it! I liken it to one of my very favourite issues, #36 when the theme was 'Oink! Goes Peculiar'.

STEPHEN ARCHER said...

Yes, you can just tell can’t you, that from No 36 onwards somebody said, “We’ll have to toe the party line [equate that to whatever changes from on high as you please] from now on, but let’s do it OUR WAY.” And they tried. But it didn’t last. As you surmise, I wasn’t a lover of the weekly format; No 48 was another example of what I’d call a lazy cover: you need only make a brief comparison with the earlier ones. I’ll wheel out my big grumbles when we come to Oink Monthly. Something to look forward to, eh? BTW you should’ve titled this “Give a hog a bone”!

Phil Boyce said...

Now, now lol, as much as moving to monthly was the final nail in the coffin at the time and I never liked only getting it every four or five weeks, in hindsight there's a lot to love about them nowadays as an adult looking back. They read like monthly summer specials, with many long, multi-page versions of our favourite strips and the anarchy and craziness returns in equal
measure.

That is, after all, what this blog is all about - while reminiscing about what it was like to read them at the time, it's mainly all about what they're like to read now. So knowing in advance we only have six monthlies left they can be enjoyed in their own merit nowadays.

As for #36 onwards there wasn't any interference or "company line" as far as content goes so you've assumed that incorrectly I'm afraid. The change in paper came about, yes, but the reasons behind that are in that issue's post.

The early weekly covers are very simple affairs probably because of the increased rate of publication, the team needing to rush through the first four or five to get ahead of the new weekly deadlines. As mentioned in the posts they were a bit too basic for my tastes, but they served their purpose and I can understand the reasons behind them.