Another brilliant Ian Jackson cover starts off the oddly-themed "revenge" issue, following on from last month's fiasco in the Oink! offices which saw Mary Lighthouse in fear of retaliation from our good ol' editor Uncle Pigg. Like even the most bizarre of covers there's a story behind this one on page 2. Simply put "it was all a dream", with Lighthouse falling asleep in front of a western movie, but it ends with very little doubt that worse was to befall her later in the issue; the final panel sees a 'Splat-O-Pult (c)Uncle Pigg' flinging some swill in her direction, which we'll see the aftermath of later.
First up though, there's one of the three Oink! characters who'd outlast the comic who I haven't introduced to new readers yet:
Originally created by Graham Exton and always drawn by Mike Green, Weedy Willy was exactly as it said on the tin - a complete wimp, scarily thin and, in my head at least, with a very shrill voice. Put down by bullies and forever in love with the out-of-reach Mandy, Willy would constantly come up with ideas on how to win her over. They never worked. There were occasions when we'd see him outwit the thugs, but these were usually not because of his original intentions and more to do with bullies getting what they deserved by something else incidental to his ideas.
Of course, the above strip (written by Mark Rodgers) saw this taken one step further and backfire on Willy!
You've seen some spoof advertisements on the blog so far, but the introduction of an actual brand would take this one step further. Fans of Oink! will have very fond memories of the G.B.H. catalogues, with some taking up two or three pages in later issues, complete with photographs of useless tat which the joke company was selling off for hundreds of pounds through some rather inspired marketing. This would start off with the below, the very first G.B.H. Madvertisement:
|Illustrations by Patrick Gallagher|
I can still remember the day I asked my brother what the initials stood for.
We'll be revisiting their much larger catalogues in later issues, particularly around the Christmas season, but for now why don't we take a break and give our brains a little bit of exercise, as drawn by Ed McHenry:
As we venture forth into Oink!'s run you'll see some of the regular characters reappear. This isn't because there's nothing else to choose from in any particular issue, or that I'm already having to fall back on them. The opposite is true, in that the regulars have such brilliant strips on such a frequent basis I'm sometimes having to make hard decisions to leave them out to make sure there's variety in the scans for each issue.
But this latest from Haldane's Rubbish Man had me in stitches thanks to him (the real him) in the last panel:
While I always remembered Rubbish Man with fondness, he's one of the characters my adult brain seems to appreciate even more. Either that or the memory's going.
And so back to Lighthouse and Pigg. The following is the centre page spread (again as a photograph) and the half-page strips either side of it. It's the Mad Murder Maze from the front cover. We pick up the story from page 2, with the strips drawn by Jackson and the two-page maze by Ralph Shephard:
So did you find your way out? Some of those monsters now remind me of the 'Now That We're Men' ones from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (which is well worth checking out by the way!).
But anyway, on page 31 we'd see Lighthouse make it back to her home (complete with Dun Complainin' name plate on the gate) and, safe at last, she makes herself sausages and bacon for supper and retires with a How To Make Pork Pies book. It looks like for the first time she's got away with it, but just wait 'til you see the back cover below.
First though, back in the 80s He-Man was massive! I mean properly, hugely, massive! The Masters of the Universe toys had spun off into a comic and a TV series (and a rather weird movie) so it was ripe for the spoof treatment. Oink! stepped up to the challenge. More specifically Mark Rodgers and Ralph Shephard stepped up. Ralph seems to be the go-to-guy for these early piss-take strips, but this isn't the one I've already mentioned, that one is still to come, but for now enjoy:
Literally as I've sat here writing this I've just remembered re-enacting that with my actual Masters of the Universe toys as a kid! I used my Masters of the Universe toys, along with an actual banana and, if memory serves me correctly, a ghost from my Real Ghostbusters collection. Oh my word, this has taken me right back!
Okay, I've been sat here reminiscing a bit too long now, gotta get the blog done! This issue we'd also see Tom Thug finally tie his shoelaces. Not from learning how, but by luck when he gets into a panic after Uncle Pigg threatens to transfer him to the Whizzer & Chips comic if he doesn't do so by the end of the page. Naturally, we then see him in the bath with the boots on as he doesn't know how to UNtie them. We also see the silhouette of someone who doesn't think Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins is actually ugly and the Street-Hogs make their umpteenth narrow escape. We'll have more on the 'Hogs very soon, that's a promise.
The final full story for this issue is a text one! A spoof of the old fashioned text and picture stories older comics would've had (early Dandy and Beano for example) it looks so traditional on first glance...:
While it isn't stated on the page, Graham Exton and Patrick Gallagher were able to confirm Mark Rodgers wrote this particular story and it was Patrick himself who drew the pictures.
So that's us for another issue. Almost. In two weeks it's the "Back to School" issue and I'll have some exciting news (I think so anyway) for fans of porky heroes on motorbikes. But first, did Mary Lighthouse escape this issue unscathed after all? The back page tells a different story:
Patrick has again been most helpful and has let me know this was drawn by one of Marc Riley's musical friends, Jon Langford, reknowned artistically in both fields and who became a semi-regular artist for the comic.
Issue 10 on sale Friday 6th September.