It's been a long road lined with technical problems, very frustrating technical problems which stopped me from following the very idea behind this blog in the first place, to update on the date of release of each issue from 27 years ago (see previous two posts for details). But now, I'm back up and running and everyone's favourite Uncle and his pigs are back with a New Year's issue!
Originally due on the blog back on Friday 27th December, here's #18. At last.
I remember as a kid thinking "hogmanay" was another Oink! pun, so used to them was I by this stage. I had to have my parents explain to me when I saw it listed in the TV Times that it wasn't a pun and had nothing at all to do with pigs. I didn't believe them. This cover doesn't ring many bells (not sure who the artist is yet) but it's a fun start to an issue which is brimming with Scottish jokes and strips.
But before we head on to the festivities, it's time to continue with the penultimate episode in the first Ham Dare strip. When we last left him (which, yes, was a while ago now) it looked like he was about to become rat food. Do rats eat pork? Maybe metal ones do. Scripted by Lew Stringer with art by J.T. Dogg, read on:
Ok, now that looks like a certainty doesn't it? He's gone. Where he's been shot several times it looks like there's plenty of crispy pork belly to go around. I needn't tell you to expect the unexpected, that goes without saying (so just ignore it) but you'll see how he got around that one next issue (which you won't even have to wait a fortnight for!).
So every now and again it's nice to take in a bit of culture isn't it? Scotland certainly has a rich history, and even their famous poet Robbie Burns wasn't immune. Nope, as I've said before nothing was sacred, and it certainly wasn't just celebrities who were still alive that we'd see being given a unique makeover, in this instance by Steve Gibson:
After witnessing Rubbish Man take on the Loch 'Mess' Monster (huge lizard with kilt, tattoos and the like) in the centre poster it's once again in the second half of the comic where things pick up and the first target is the Dandy. I say "again" in this instance because there was a Desperate Don strip in the first half. Any readers of the classic comic will know exactly where the inspiration for the next strip comes from and that would be the Dandy's The Jock and the Geordies. It also wouldn't be the last time Oink! would accuse other comics of simply being boring in comparison with itself. Before now we've seen it in issue 12 where even IPC's own Whizzer and Chips felt the brunt of it by one of their own artists! If you haven't read that one yet go check it out. Then come back and check this out, written by Mark Rodgers and drawn with real character by Marc Riley:
We've had a poem, how about a nursery rhyme? Dave Jones brings to us the very first Rotten Rhymes, a series of familar children's stories told with a surprise ending every time. I remember some of the later ones with much fondness, so I was overjoyed to see them begin this early in the run. There must be plenty to look forward to. Plenty along the lines of this:
So yes, poetry and nursery rhymes and with the next two strips we'll cover geography and languages. How Oink! was seen as a bad influence?
The following map is simply fantastic. Take your time to appreciate all the little jokes and references drawn up by Ian Jackson here as Hadrian Vile takes us on a tour of the highlands:
There's too many there to pick a favourite, but this did have me laughing probably much more now than back then, as at age 9 I wasn't really up to speed on Scotland's geography. But that was Oink!, suitable for the kids but like the very best comics of the day it didn't speak down to the little ones so was enjoyed all the more by them and adults alike.
So now on to languages. Well, when I say "language" I actually mean Glaswegian. It's written by the ever-brilliant Mark Rodgers and drawn by Mike Green, and as someone who frequently laughs at the Ulster-Scots "language" when I see it in manuals and contracts these days I particularly enjoyed this:
We're into the final pages and this issue has one more classic to give up for us before it places itself back onto the shelf. Now as far as my memory goes I think the following little character would make a return appearance at least once more in the run, but hopefully more. Remember Lassie the Wonder Dog? Back when we had dogs, kangaroos and even dolphins helping little children trapped down wells. Well surely nothing could be more ripe for a pig makeover than that stable of morning television. Oink! co-creator Tony Husband and artist Chas Sinclair team up here for something rather special and hopefully not a one-off:
The GBH group was now a regular feature within the pages of the comic, providing a rather unique selection of goods and services to buy and for the New Year special they (for once!) bypassed making extortionate amounts of money and instead offered a cookery class in that Scottish delicacy that is sheep's heart, liver, lungs and stomach lining. (As I'm playing catch-up with these issues I'm posting this one up on a Sunday so apologies for that last sentence if you're a bit delicate from the night before):
That's us folks, the first of what will be a rather frequent set of updates to get caught back up and on schedule, so check back very soon for the next issue which has a very obvious theme since it was the first of the New Year back in 1987. After all, what's the usual main topic of mainstream magazines in January every single year?:
See you soon!