Friday, 16 May 2014

#28: IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PIG? OH... YES. YES, IT IS.


Yes, yes, I know, it doesn't look like the summer special and that's because it isn't, at least not yet.  I've been moving home, getting out of the big smoke and coming back to my own hometown where I grew up reading about pigs, pimples, evil butchers and plops.  The whole task of getting moved, decorated and settled has taken somewhat longer than anticipated and to be frank has taken a lot out of me!  So it came to today and the Mac is finally hooked back up again and instead of delaying the next regular issue I'm going ahead with it and the special will be here in a few days.  The first half still went up the week it was released so it still counts!

Back to today's issue and Ron Tiner returns for only the second time as far as this blog is concerned, his first being the superb spoof of The Professionals back in my very first childhood issue, #14.  Here it's Superman's turn to face the 'chop' and become piggy-flavoured in the "fantastic flying issue".  Not only that, but it's also our first free gift issue of the year!

In #7, which was a regular issue but branded as a summer-themed special, we had eight cutout postcards to make up ourselves but here Oink! was giving away actual proper card-based treats to send to friends and family while on holiday.  Yes, they had nothing about where you were on them but, while this may have defeated the purpose for some, it didn't matter to Oink! readers.  Between the middle pages of this and the next two issues we'd be treated to a total of six postcards which were easily removed to send to anyone we cared about.  This issue it was the turn of Banx:

Free postcard #1
Free postcard #2

I wonder how many of us actually used these?  I can remember taking one or two on holiday with me (the Burp one definitely) at some point, whether it was during 1987 itself or not I'm not sure, but I can't remember actually using them.  Did any of you?  They were a neat idea, though would probably be lost on the youngsters of today who just check in on Facebook on every holiday they go on instead.  Why send a nice handwritten card personally to someone when you can click a button and let everyone know in a cold and impersonal way, eh?  Oh, feeling old again...

Back in the Valentine's issue Charlie Brown and chums got the Oink! treatment and while I was never a fan of the actual TV series or comic strips, I was pleased to see the spoof treatment return here... although this time by David Leach, which may go some way to explaining why I was glad to see their return:


You didn't really think it was because I was happy to see Snoopy, did you?!  Psycho Gran should get a medal for that, but it's our next strip where we go properly heroic thanks to a script from Mark Rodgers and artwork by cover star Ron Tiner.  Many 80s movies would "appear" in this comic, some later favourites being RoboChop and the Butcherbusters, but for now Superham takes to the sty (sty/sky, eh?  Eh?  Hello?  Is this thing on?) in a three page strip of preposterous proportions, but unlike Man of Steel you won't have to force yourself to stay awake with this!:


Brilliant twist and a cracker spoof earning him a worthy Oink! cover.

Seeing a large strip like this makes me notice we haven't had any ongoing epic tales in a while but that's all about to change.  Saying nowt for now though.  Instead, I'm going to concentrate on a rather interesting page in this issue where we see the comic stand right up for itself!

Remember back in #7's blog post I told you all about how Tom Johnson's Janice and John strip caused some stores to put Oink! on the top shelf?  Also how this was after only very few people complained?  If you haven't yet, scoot off and read it and then come back.

I really can't stand people who complain about something they normally have no interest in, such as the ones who never watch Top Gear but will always complain about it and try to get it pulled from the air.  The kind of people who, if they don't like something, demand that no one else should like it.  Well this next page made me smile - to see these sorts of people get their comeuppance and in a kids' comic too!  I can't remember this as a child but I think it's great to see.  Oink! always did talk to its young readers on an even level (instead of talking down to them like other comics) and with this next page Oink! really did keep that up, as they explained what had happened and the outcome:


No other comic would've been this brave, or would've believed their audience would understand or be interested.  Another great example of what set it apart and a great outcome to the complaint.  Not that it made a difference with some stubborn shops, but still.  I love that further little wind-up at the bottom, just to stir the pot a little more.

A quick bad pun:


Thanks Tony Husband.

If you're searching eBay for Oink!s and fancy knowing what else is in an issue I'm always willing to rhyme off some other highlights.  You see, that's why I do it, it's not to rub it in that I've been able to read the whole thing.  Lashie (this time) the Wonder Pig returns after his owner falls down another pit and the pig takes to the sky in a hot air balloon, Banx crams in no less than six final gags into the last panel in Burp, the Golden Trough Awards tells the tale of The Birdman of Dartmoor and we get to see how Frank Sidebottom draws Uncle Pigg!

We zoom now towards the end of the issue but a couple of treats still await.  Mark Rodgers and artist Mike Green have come up with a one-off strip (by "Raymond Piggs" - groan) which wouldn't have looked out of place in the Christmas issue either!:


Now, last issue was our pets special and way back in the bygone era of 2013 we had a look at one of my favourite issues to date #6, which was animal-themed.  Two different takes on a similar theme - one for all animals, one for domestic pets and their interactions with us.  Well you may remember #16 was the pop songs issue and in a fortnight's time all music is ripe for the mirth treatment with the music special.  Another take on a similar theme then... is Oink! running out of ideas?  Of course not!  We're a year in and have so much yet to come.

Second part of that Oink! Holiday Special up in a few days and #29 will be on sale on Friday 30th May... but that's not all.  Next month we've something rather special to look forward to.  Something which was released on Thursday 25th June 1987.  I'm not telling you a thing yet so you'll just have to wait to see what it is.  But for now, Mark Rodgers and the talented Mr Lezz see us off on our flights home:

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