The man above surrounded by original Oink! artwork is IPC Magazine's Youth Group managing director John Sanders. Oink! was a big, big deal to IPC who saw the comics industry in decline even back in the mid-80s. This just goes to prove wrong those who say today's sales figures are the fault of the talented cartoonists and writers who work on them at present. Even back in the days of fashion faux pas and chatty sarcastic cars, television was seen as direct competition and traditional comics were already beginning to suffer as a result.
As covered in some of the very earliest posts on the blog, for example the Special Preview Issue, Oink! was certainly different from the outset - this was its whole raison d'être after all and it's clear now this wasn't just from Tony, Mark and Patrick's points of view either. IPC saw the potential to reinvigorate the comics market with a fresh title that could possibly reach out to those kids who saw comics as simply too dated at the time.
As John said at the time, "Up until now publishers have relied on the custard pie variety of humour, which I feel has not sufficiently recognised the fact that children are exposed to a great deal more today. Their humour is a lot more sophisticated than it was 25 years ago. It is a lot more outrageous and the butt of their humour has changed."
The best example of the juxtaposition between Oink! and the other comics of the day can be best seen in the comic's own Tom's Toe strips which appeared infrequently and were a direct jab at the more traditional titles. However they were drawn by John Geering, one of the most frequent and respected artists for those other titles, so it's a hilarious comparison! Click here to go to his most recent appearance (and there's a link in that post to the one before that too, definitely worth checking out!).
The quote above is from an article in the retail industry's Consumer Trend Magazine from 21st March 1986 and you can read the full article and the insights of Lew Stringer on the launch in this post on his Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics blog.
So thanks to Lew for sharing this fascinating look into the launch of our favourite title and if you've got a list of blogs to follow make sure you add this for his insights into many varied comics, as well as Lew's own Lew Stringer Comics blog for articles on his own superb work.
Just to finish off, if you're serious about collecting everything Oink! related and that includes not only the free preview issue but also the actual issues of the comics it came with, here's what you're looking for Buster-wise. (No, I've not yet so this is a grab from an eBay auction, but one day I probably will. Even though I don't need to, I know myself too well):