Saturday, 29 March 2014

#23: WE GONNA ROCK DOWN TO OiNKTOWN AVENUE

Originally due on the blog on Friday 7th March.


I should explain "Oinktown" was the name given in random strips here and there to the town in which some of them (including the office of Uncle Pigg I presume) were meant to have taken place.  In addition, "Porksmouth" (groan) was the place where Mary Lighthouse resided.  Quite a bit of fun was poked at Porksmouth!

Love the way the logo stands out on this cover but what exactly makes up an all "all-electric" issue of a comic?  Upon first glance I figured this might've been to tie in with the Oink! computer game released back in 1987, but actually that didn't happen until the summer.  Nope, this was simply because this was at a time when electronic entertainment as we now know it was just beginning.  The 1980s saw home computing explode, along with it the birth of the modern day video game market, the introduction of VCRs in homes everywhere and the creation of mobile entertainment devices.

It was an exciting time when we look back at it now and Oink! embraced it all in this issue with its sideways look at all of the above.

It's easy to look back on our youth with rose-tinted glasses but we had great TV didn't we?  The holy trinity of Knight Rider, Airwolf and The A-Team, we'd Transformers and The Real Ghostbusters cartoons, Spitting Image and in the later stages of the 80s a certain Doc Croc and his team on Round the Bend!  Of course.  But that's not to take away from today's television as there's much to enjoy, but one thing I haven't bothered with is 3DTV.  I was late to the HDTV phase but 3D is for the cinema and only for certain movies (and only when done well), I don't want to sit at home with sunglasses on in the winter.  But in a Tomorrow's World kind of way Banx's Burp, the smelly alien from outer space, was well ahead of the crowd and gave us a little preview of what it could've been like if the future had lived up to the 80s predictions:


Turning over the page from Burp and I did a double-take at the following Madvertisement from GBH, as it's scarily similar to a lot of real world adverts for such electrical outlets.  In fact if it was genuine it wouldn't look too out of place today, but back in the late 80s this would've fitted right in and been a brilliant spoof.  GBH must be making some money too as it appears they're beginning to invest in actual technology judging by the design of the advert, when most previous ones were hand written or pasted together.  Ah the early days of DTP:


A brilliant example there, definitely one of the best so far, but the best is most definitely yet to come as Oink! gets more and more adventurous with its rip-off brand.

Now the next page will definitely make some of you feel very old and I can only apologise in advance.  The Red Button service on our digital channels has now fully replaced the old computer systems behind Ceefax (BBC) and Teletext (ITV and Channel 4) and while the majority of us older readers will probably have very fond memories of them, they were already woefully out of date before they were taken off our screens.  But those memories are still there, of staying at my nanny's house most Saturdays and every Sunday morning playing around with Bamboozle, jokes pages, the home computing pages etc. before the Looney Tunes came on the TV.  Ah the days of reloading pages several times before all the text would appear unscrambled, using the Reveal button on the quizzes, the endless waiting as it'd slowly search for the page number you entered, always starting on a number just after the one you wanted so you'd have to wait for it to cycle all the way back round again.  We'd a lot of patience back then.

To those who can share these kinds of memories this Oink! Do-It-Yourself Teletext for readers to cut out and paste onto their television screens will probably be just as nostalgic as it is funny!:


A quick detour now away from all the high tech (yes kids, that above was high tech for us) and back into the land of magic and sorcery instead as we conclude our journey to reclaim The Spectacles of Doom.  If you missed part one you can read it in the previous issue and here we continue with Tony Husband's tale, as drawn by Andy Roper:


After a poster of the most elaborate "remote control" you could think of courtesy of Roger Rental and a little message for children of licence fee dodgers, we come across another full-page, caption-less Ian Jackson masterpiece.  Seriously, later on this year I'm planning on moving out of the big smoke of Belfast and back to my hometown and if I can bag a house with a room I can turn into a study (currently typing from the sofa in my living room) I might just either frame some of these or get them printed on canvases for myself.  They're just that good:


Now I mentioned above some of the TV shows we used to enjoy back in the fashion-free decade our favourite comic was created in, but how good is your knowledge of the medium really?  Well there's no better way to properly and convincingly test your memory than with a completely fair and reasonable Oink! quiz, as ever drawn by Ed McHenry:


So how well did you do?

Now Oink! finished its regular run in 1988 but a couple of years later in 1990 I was in second year of grammar school and a new kid had joined our class from another school.  Because his previous establishment hadn't taught Latin to the first years he had to sit out our Latin classes and was officially meant to use the 35 minutes of each class to "study".  On one occasion I happened to have one of the Oink! Summer Specials with me, one of the ones released after the comic had finished and it contained the next page as a reprint.

A great take on both radio sound effects production and old photographs, the first box (the one to do with sea crashing noises) resulted in an uncontrollable outburst from my friend who was sat behind me in the class.  I'll never forget it.  I'm just glad the teacher, who was an extremely strict old lady, never asked him what it was he found so funny!:


Of course the official meaning of the word which you've probably spotted is "a tube made of fur or other warm material into which the hands are placed for warmth", however the dictionary also lists what it can be used as slang for and, being 12-year old boys at the time, it was of course this which made him burst temporarily!  Kind of sounded like the first half of a very loud, very violent sneeze...

Now, there are certain 80s movies which are simply deemed as classics.  They don't necessarily have to be Oscar-winning melodramas, Bafta-winning plays set in one room, or an adaptation of a novel so large you could only read it with the aid of a coffee table.  I'm talking about Ghostbusters, Labyrinth, Back to the Future, Beverly Hills Cop, Footloose, the 'Burbs, Tron, The Goonies - you get the idea, all brilliant movies which also scream "I WAS MADE IN THE 80S DON'T YOU KNOW!".  Given the theme of this issue there's one movie which is perfectly ripe for Tony Husband's treatment.  With artwork by Chas Sinclair, here's their take on that just-as-classic WarGames!:


Would've made for a much shorter movie, eh?

After a quick plug for the next issue which will be the Time Travel Special and a Public Service Announcement telling kids to look after their teeth by not eating as many sweets because sharks don't and their teeth are always perfect (which results in comical shark goodness and the message that "some teeth can seriously damage your health!!"), we reach the back page and another full-colour closing strip from Lew Stringer.  But it's not a Tom Thug or Pete & his Pimple to see us off this time, but after the shark we've another safety notice for the children with this one-off strip, Music-Mad Jo and her Personal Stereo!:


Could we get an update on this strip please Mr Stringer, warning of the dangers to young 'uns today blaring their 'music' on trains and buses without headphones?  And when I say "danger" I obviously mean from other passengers like me, not passing lorries this time.

Ok, well, I'm off to visit said hometown (my own, not Oinktown) today and I'll be back on the blog with the next and final catch-up issue on Tuesday 1st April.  But before I do I just wanted to say how wonderful it is to see a couple of milestones, with the blog reaching over 15,000 views and the Oink! Facebook group gaining over 700 members.  Definitely been a surge in activity recently and so a big "hello" to all the new readers and members!!

See you in a few days pig pals.

2 comments:

Lew Stringer said...

I'd forgotten all about my Music Mad Jo strip! Some of those rhymes are quite clunky. Mark Rogers suggested the warning at the end of the strip, turning it into a sort of public health ad.

Phil Boyce said...

Something similar for hobbyists in the next issue, you were quite the wordsmith!