|Cover art by Ian Jackson|
Right, so, what do we have to start off our second full year of the biggest, shiniest and funniest 80s comic there ever was? Pets. Unsurprisingly there's no sight of anybody having a pig as a pet, after all they're now on an equal footing with us in the world of Oink!, but we do have plenty of laughs.
As a kid our family had various pets at different stages, though fish and budgies were the longest lasting ones which left very little opportunity for actual petting, the dog we had made my sister and mum come out in a rash and my mum thought cats were just evil. So when I said "longest lasting" I simply meant ones my family liked having, nothing more. As such going to friends' houses with their cats and dogs I was always down on my hands and knees playing with them as they were a novelty and I have a vague memory of visiting an open farm and being particularly fascinated with the pigs and goats we could pet. But that wasn't going to happen in the house either.
But anyway, I digress (already) and the first treat this fortnight is one of the best GBH madvertisements I've seen yet, drawn by Steve Gibson:
Nice of them to think about you and the jail term you'd be serving while they get away with it, how's that for customer service?
So onwards and upwards, or rather onwards and inwards, as we once again see the adventures of Burp's internal organs. Last time they were falling in love with each other (in, unsurprisingly, the Valentine's issue) but now they're taking their independence to a whole new level in Banx's latest:
Not only do I love the idea of his organs having their own lives, but that it's been going on away from his body for so long the local police know them! Brilliant and it also plays up to the whole idea of one little piece of eyewear being a completely unrealistic disguise. We know this was a glaring flaw in Superman (moreso the films and TV series) and look out for Oink!'s own take on that superhero in the next issue. Not to be missed. Which it won't be, because this is a blog and not a comic so won't exactly sell out or be replaced by the next issue. But anyway.
For some strange reason one of the strips in this issue, called simply Daft Dog is the exact same joke as the Henry the Wonder Dog strip from #13 albeit by a different artist. We've also got Frank Sidebottom's take on the Loch Ness Monster and a fake newspaper front page for Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins being eaten by a shark in the last issue. Zootown also graduates from a quarter-page to 2 full pages this issue for a one-off poster of their pet show.
Back in our Hogmanay issue we met Lashy the Wonder Pig and it made me smile to turn the page in this issue and find him back once more, although with a name change to Laffie the Wonder Pig and in the next issue he's known as Lashie the Wonder Pig. No wonder he's a bit thick (if exceptionally talented), he's probably just constantly very confused at being called different names by his owner, nevermind going through a bit of an identity crisis. Blame Tony Husband, but at least we now know he could be a regular (or semi-regular at least, as even regulars do come and go in this comic), so we'll see if the name changing is an ongoing joke or not. For now, Chas Sinclair brings his story to life once more:
Yes, that's not a coincidence how his owner fell down yet another pit. That's one definite running joke.
Recently here in Northern Ireland there's been a campaign group for dog lovers to come together and put pressure on certain policies in the country, such as no dogs allowed on the local trains, no dogs on certain beaches, no dogs in certain parks etc. The group have made a huge difference and attitudes are changing, but I wonder if it'd have just been a lot simpler to improvise the Davy Francis way:
Davy Francis has shared the origins of this character on the Oink! Facebook group. A character called Eric Plinge was originally created and was to be drawn by Ed McHenry but he became very ill and needed a triple bypass operation. Davy had written a few Plinge scripts for Ed to draw but when he became sick Mark Rodgers asked Davy to draw them instead. As a result they changed the name to Derek Blinge to keep them separate. Thanks for the info Davy.
Recently, not for the first time, on our own Facebook group Oink! has been likened to those bastions of British comedy, Monty Python. Their silly, random and irreverent humour has always struck a cord with me since I was very young. I can remember as a teen my mother hearing me laugh all the way downstairs in the living room from my bedroom three flights up when I encountered the Spanish Inquisition for the first time (the one where the programme ends with them catching a bus and racing to the scene where they're needed to burst in) and as a young child I recall literal tears of laughter as my brother (I assume) watched the scene with the constant fish/face slapping.
I challenge anybody who likes Python to not love this next strip. Dave Jones brings something which in my mind as I read it could be perfectly acted out by Cleese, Idle et all: The Phantom Moose-Napper. Enjoy!:
Well, what do you think, was I right? Personally I just think there's so much to love in that strip and we even got a fish/face slap for good measure. A true Oink! one-off classic right there.
More Jeremy Banx now in the shape of fan-favourite Mr Big Nose. After the joke-packed marathon of the strip above the issue follows it up with a stripped down and to-the-point gag:
Of course that description isn't to take anything away from the strip, it's what Mr Big Nose does best! Yes I've mentioned it before but I still think a collected publication, print or digital, of all of Mr Nose's adventures could be a great seller. Just imagine a big Far Side-type book filled with these and it wouldn't be just us who'd buy it, he'd go down a storm with anybody surely.
Now back in #23 I told you the tale of an old schoolfriend bursting in class over a particular Oink! page. Well, I'd forgotten all about the fact that this wasn't the only time this particular person was caught unawares by Uncle Pigg's inventive staff. It actually did happen on another occasion and the culprit was this Vernon the Vet diary. Vernon was an early character in Oink!, appearing in the very first issues but usually just as a little drawing at the bottom or side of a page with a random tip on how to look after your pets. Obviously these tips were terrible and here he'd finally, after a long absence, have a full page to himself to tell us about a typical week in his job, drawn by Wilkie. No wonder his advice was so awful:
Can you guess which panel had that effect on my friend back in school? Yep, the St Bernard.
I originally didn't know the origins of the 'S.T.' signature in the following strip but thanks to Oink! writing supremo Graham Exton and regular Oink! Blog reader Ben Baker who were able to confirm it's none other than Simon Thorpe, one of the editorial team behind Viz and a long-term contributor to that bastion of British comics. Simon also drew another strip in this issue called Michael and his Magic Fish and his artwork is very distinctive and would feature in Oink! again and again in some beautiful painted works. For now though, this simple little creation Jake's Snake is a fine introduction to his work for the blog:
Also check out Graham's comment attached to this post for a little more detail on Jake's Snake.
This year a new Godzilla film is set to appear on our cinema screens. By all means the trailer I've seen (I try not to watch too many trails as I like to simply go and see a film without seeing too many clips) is very impressive and I'm looking forward to it immensely. However there appears to be one thing missing, a key scene which could really make this movie a classic. Here's Hugo the Hungry Hippo from Haldane to illustrate it for me:
That's us again for a fortnight. Then after that I'll be back with the latter 24 pages of the Oink! Holiday Special! If you haven't read the first half yet you can find it right here. Remember you've a special gameshow filled with celebrity guests and a 3-page Burp strip to look forward to so be sure to check back, or subscribe to email updates, or become a follower, or follow me or the hashtag on Twitter or join us at the Facebook group. Phew. All the details are down the side of the desktop version of the blog (there's a link at the bottom of the mobile version).
So, more Holiday Special fun soon but first there's #28, the "special flying issue" which goes on sale Friday May 16th. Bye for now though.