Friday, 30 May 2014


I've just uploaded that cover to this post while listening to Forgotten Eighties on Absolute 80s radio and I'm feeling all nostalgic.  I still love 80s music, there's something unique and original about it, an excellent mix of acoustic and 'new' electronic music that was (or rather, still is for me) so fit to bursting with creativity, fun and catchiness, if that sounds right.  What does sound right is this track playing which I've never heard before, even after two and a half decades I'm still discovering class 80s songs and artists.  A bit like how I'm discovering what feels like new strips in Oink!, such is the failure of the ol' grey cells.

So on with the 29th edition and no disrespect intended to any of the hugely talented Oink! crew but there's something special about grabbing the next issue and seeing an Ian Jackson cover, like we're in for a treat or something.  Inside, if you're a fan of the 3-panel, quarter-page strips you are indeed in for such a treat.  But first an apology, Oink! style on the Grunts page:

The "*" led to the bottom of the page, which read "* These highly intelligent fans unfortunately don't win a piggy pride, as they forgot to include their full address!  Tee Hee!"

Before the comic strips we've also got the small matter of the "FREE LPs" given away with this issue.  A free LP?  Yes, that's what it says on the Grunts page, then in very small letters underneath, "Little Postcards".  Last issue Banx provided us with the first two but now the torch is handed over to Lew Stringer and when he's got the chance to draw two proper postcards who else is going to be chosen than these two Oink! stalwarts!:

Free postcard #3
Free postcard #4

Very tempted to use some of these on my next holiday, but hang on that'd mean someone else would have them and not me anymore!  Oh hell no!  Sorry friends and family, you'll have to make do with the usual picture postcards which look nothing like where I'll be because it was taken 10 years ago and never updated.

So yes, the 3-panel strips.  Not only would some strips always appear in this format, but we'd sometimes see regular characters give us a short, sharp gag this way instead of having their usual full page to themselves (like Cowpat County in this issue) and of course it was a brilliant way to have the team hit us with a random one-off character or joke.  Such as this from Simon Thorpe, Wally Wiseacre:

Zootown from Haldane was always in this format (asides the poster as mentioned in #27's post) and always delivered.  These were always some of my favourite characters, despite never actually finding out if the animals were the same ones featured previously or not.  So here's the latest happenings from the town where nobody knows their names:

Finally for this post's mini-classics we've the welcome return of Wilkie's Dead Fred, the friendliest zombie you'll ever meet, who would be one of those that'd appear to be making it into the comic on a 'now-and-again' basis at the mo, though I've fond memories of him being a regular.  Either way, he's still dead good though:

Yes I deliberately fled through those few strips to help give that quick-read feeling they brought, interspersed at random (to us readers anyway) points throughout the pages every fortnight.  Perfect strip action for the attention deficit youth.

A couple of weeks ago I was tinkering about sorting some things out and wondering why they'd bothered to remake The Fog movie.  (It was on TV, it wasn't playing on my mind or anything.)  Whether it's the original or the update you prefer you'll be aware of the kind of fog/mist/smoke-machine-shrouded ghostly figures the story is all about.  Ghost stories are forever banging on about a particular anonymous person walking past one particular point or along a particular corridor etc., at a particular time every night.  You know the sort, all with a particular characteristic like a crying child, a howling dog or a laughing toddler.  They're noisy lots, the undead.

Well here's just such a story.  Sorta.  From Tony Husband and drawn by Les "Lezz" Barton:

That's one of my faves so far and a perfect example of Tony's sense of humour.  With him being one of the three creators/editors behind Oink! itself how could it possibly fail as a comic?  Well if you're a regular reader of the blog you'll know by now (well, by a long time ago hopefully) that it didn't fail.

Jeremy Banx (whoa! Hold on, literally as I type his name my iPad beside me just lit up there to say he's shared something I found on Facebook.  Okay seriously Jeremy, that's a tad freaky.)  Alright, going to try this paragraph again.

Jeremy Banx returns now with a further update (or "re-update") on the whereabouts of the most notorious butcher the UK has ever seen, Jimmy (the Cleaver) Smith, in the latest edition of Butcherwatch.  There was always something incredibly creepy about this character.  A superb creation we all loved to hate, his look was very dark for a humour comic aimed at kids, but he was a great success.  We lapped up his appearances to get equally thrilled and creeped-the-hell out!:

That "He could be in your house" panel definitely falls under the 'creepy' category.  The TV being off, the darkness outside, the silence in the scene is palpable and sent a slight shudder (although an enjoyable one) down my adult spine, never mind whatever it must've done to me as a 9 year old!

Back in the previous musical issue (that'd be #16) there was a competition to win, I quote, "A pop concert in your home".  As I said in that post I'd no idea who the band were.  Called Le Lu Lus I'd never heard of them, even with all of my fantastic 80s musical taste.  Well in this issue we'd finally get to find out in the following photo story featuring the kid who won the "concert" and his poor mum:

It's great to see Oink! doing this for competition winners (just like with the Radio Manchester winners in a previous issue) and involving the readers in such a way.  Wish I'd entered competitions as a child now!  (Well except this one.)  I always filled out the forms but never actually sent anything off.  But anyway, now we get to see Le Lu Lus in the flesh and the memories come flooding back.

No, wait.

Who the hell are they?

Garish clothing, huge sunglasses and most likely miming to the audience.  Nope, doesn't help, that could be any 80s band on Top of the Pops!  Oh well, the mystery remains and by the looks of them I'm not going to be in any hurry to find out.  Poor child.

Before our final pictures what else does the issue contain if you're looking to add it to your collection?  How about a Western photo story called Ghost-Pigs in the Sky, A Yung Person's Gydde to the Orkistra bi Hadrian Vile, another song from Burp (the first was here), loads of 3-panel goodness, the return of Henry the Wonder Dog at last and the totally tremendous Ted the Ted's Top Tips for Trendy Teddy Boys.

Before we finish off though, when the quite excellent RoboCop reboot came out earlier this year Facebook group member Martin Grimley enquired about the RoboChop spoof Oink! did in a much later issue.  He was able to track down the issue and buy it and once again own his cherished memory (then Stuart Mathers had to show off with the framed RoboChop picture he'd received as a gift just last year).  Oink! would do a lot of its own versions of particular movie posters, including a great Ghostbusters one and I can guarantee you'll see them right here.

But in this issue we're treated to the first and, from my memory of those later pages, I'm guessing it'd be Simon Thorpe who'd do them all, or at least the majority.  We'll find out as the blog continues, but for now here's the superb debut of his cinema posters with a great pigged-out version of The Sound of Music, beautifully crafted and taking pride of place on the back cover of this issue:

Brilliant work!


So we're now looking forward to the next regular issue, but back in #18 (and the following issues) the comic asked readers to send in their nominations for the special 1987 Oink! Awards.  At the time I put those posts up I asked the members of the FB group to nominate in the same categories to see what the results would be like today.

Well, in the next issue the 1987 results will be revealed in the Celebrity Special, but in the meantime here's the categories for you to nominate who you think would win in 2014!  Just email me by clicking right here with your choices before Thursday 11th June and we'll see which celebrities will receive the dubious honours below:

That next issue will be on sale on Friday 12th June and don't forget the month also includes another extra special treat!

See ya.

Drawn by Ian Jackson

(Oh and the tune was Love's Glory by Fruits of Passion.)


Anonymous said...

Hi Phil! I'm doing some research on the use of the composer Beethoven in comics, and I've found evidence on other databases that he is a character in this issue of Oink! However, you don't mention his role at all in your post. Could you help shed some light on this? Does he appear and, if so, in what context/situation? Thanks in advance!

Phil Boyce said...

Hi there, yes he had a quarter-page strip to himself from Weedy Willy artist Mike Green. I've just put up a new issue so I'll leave that post up for the weekend and then I'll put up the Beethoven strip for you :)

Phil Boyce said...

Here you go! New post up -