Sunday, 28 September 2014

DAZED? CONFUSED? PERFECT


Yes I'm a little bit behind on posting this up but it was originally meant to be a news story before I decided the blog didn't suit having that sort of thing.  I've got some updates and other posts which I'll be catching up on with you over the course of the next while, starting with a feature on Dazed & Confused magazine's website which you may have missed out on.

Earlier this year, just before the release of Frank in cinemas a journalist by the name of Brook McCord got in touch with me out of the blue.  Yes, it surprised me too!  The magazine's website was putting together a series of articles on the man behind the Frank Sidebottom mask, Chris Sievey, and she was looking for some scans of his work in Oink! to go alongside an interview with one of the comic's editors, Patrick Gallagher.  I was honoured to be asked, felt like a little bit of recognition from outside the world of the comic for all the hard work I'd put in here.  So of course I said I would.

I trawled through all the issues I have and I'm telling you trying to pick out a selection of Chris' work as Frank was a difficult one.  My choices seemed to do the trick though, hopefully showcasing how varied and meticulous his work was.  Brooke kindly gave me a "Courtesy of" credit under each, and Patrick even mentioned the blog (and the amount of people coming to it to read pages from Oink!) as proof of how relevant the comic's humour is today, which of course we pig pals all knew already.

Personally I loved the references back to here, especially from one of the comic's creators, and over the week or so after the article went up online I have to say my stats did jump!  No, I'm not being big-headed (you should know me better than that by now) but I was so happy because it meant more people were rediscovering, or even discovering for the first time, Oink!

Any regular readers here will know Chris' work is second-to-none and he was such a perfectionist in everything he did, Oink! included, that it's great to see his often unknown work in the comic being highlighted in this way.  It's an interesting read, so click on the image below to head off and enjoy:


Also, while you're there check out the other Frank articles they published at the time, including a playlist of songs and more by clicking right here.

Friday, 19 September 2014

#37: FULL OF (FAMILY) FORTUNE


The trend had been started with #36 and this sophomore edition in my own Golden Age of Oink! will hopefully not disappoint you either.  How could it when it starts off with that cover by classic cartoonist Mike Higgs!  Some may know him as the creator of The Cloak many moons ago and if you've been reading your Oink!s alongside the blog you'll know he's appeared in a few of the most recent issues.  However this is the first time his work has appeared on the blog and what a debut it is.  All the covers from this time in the run are fondly remembered and this one is certainly no exception.

Mike had originally created his character The Cloak for Pow comic in the 60s but when IPC took over Odhams range and created two distinct factions (humour and action comics) the comedy Cloak strip was dropped from the action title and never made his way to any other comic at the time.  Such a shame as I've had the chance to read some while doing this research and it's really very, very good.  (The character has guest starred in a few titles since then though.)  Mike worked on Whizzer and Chips with the Space School strip but felt too restricted with the 'safe humour' rules of writing for that comic and so left after a year.  However, fast forward to the 1980s and he definitely liked Oink! and its very different, much more relaxed set of rules.

We have Lew Stringer to thank for bringing Mike to the pages of the world's greatest comic and you can read about one of their collaborations, The Case of the Kidnapped Celebrities from #34, right here on Lew's Blimey! It's another blog about comics site.  Also, while you're there, check out the other posts featuring Mike to see some of those classic Cloak strips too.

A quick look at the issue's free gift before we open it all up - the second set of stickers, which must surely contain the best of the bunch with that Tom Thug one from Lew Stringer:


Only one more set to go and then the next free gift wouldn't be until the very final issue of the comic, believe it or not.  But for now, we're inside this issue and it's a joy to welcome back Cowpat County again, with a groan-enducing story from Davy Francis which really sets the tone here:


What a brilliant setup for the final gag - I bet you didn't see that coming, with the name subtly dropped in the first couple of panels there, surname first.  Definitely seeing a trend in Davy's strips recently with as many background gags squeezed in as possible, with more railway station ones this time just like with Greedy Gorb a couple of issues ago.

Another trend I'm definitely enjoying is the fact Banx is giving us splendid 2-page spreads for his Burp character in these issues.  Not sure how long this particular trend will continue for, but hopefully for as long as possible I say!

When I first started this blog I remembered who my favourite childhood characters were and who I was most looking forward to getting reacquainted with again.  Now Burp (and his pet specimen from Uranus) was fondly remembered and was definitely in the list, that's for sure.  However, nearly a year and a half into the whole thing and it's interesting to see what I've included so far.  I never set out to include any character more than any other - each comic was just taken on its own merits and the highlights I included were ones I felt summed up each issue the best.

Now as my read through has continued I've found myself adding more and more of Burp's pages to the blog and this time round is no different.  There just seems to be something my now-adult brain (in theory anyway) connects with in an even bigger way than my younger self.  Which is brilliant!  There was always that fear when starting this that the comic, or some characters even, wouldn't stack up to the memories - would my recollections have been clouded by rose-tinted glasses, that sort of thing.  So far I haven't been let down by any of my favourites and appreciate a lot of the humour in a different way now, and Burp is a prime example of this.

So without further ado (including a panel I distinctly remember reading as a child and which I included the other day on the blog in that introductory post to these Golden issues) here's Burp's latest 2-page spectacular from Jeremy Banx:


In fact, this issue has lots of great big meaty entertainment to get your teeth into!  Now I haven't included the three pages of cut-out cards (well, they're cards once actually stuck to card) for the Oink! Happy Families game as that'd leave a lot less scope for what I could include and when there's the large multi-page strips on offer that you see here, I just had to include these instead.

As for the thirty-six hand drawn cards from Ed McHenry, as per the usual rules of that game each 'family' is split into four cards and through asking your opponents for specific ones it's a race to see who can complete one family first.  For example, the Vile family has Hadrian the genius, Mr and Mrs Vile parents of the genius, Bowser (the dog) admirer of the genius and Baby Vile sister of the genius.

Wait.  Hold up.  Sister of the genius?  Oh, did I not mention that yet?:


This is the event I alluded to way back in the first anniversary issue when Hadrian's age crept up a year.  It's now quite clear why last issue's Hadrian strip was only a three-panel job with Uncle Pigg eating the diary and the cliffhanger resolution being delayed, as the theme here is obviously perfect for such a tale.

A character's mum becoming pregnant, the ensuing comedy moments, the labour and the birth of a new member of that character's family (that is, the actual birth of a new character!) isn't something most kids' comics would do.  It's made for a very entertaining few months in the Vile household, culminating in this rather sweet strip with even Horace rising to the occasion in helping them get to the hospital on time.  The final full-page panel there is another I certainly remember from all those years ago, but don't be thinking that's the end of it.  Nor should you be thinking that Horace is going to go all slushy on us.  There were plenty of adventures for this baby to look forward to and writer Mark Rodgers and artist Ian Jackson would lavish us with unique tales you'll just have to read to believe.  Hadrian + baby = completely unexpected goodness!

The next couple of pages I'm going to include I'm skipping on a bit for.  I'll come back to a few tidbits afterwards, but I wanted to put these three larger strips up front-and-centre as they're the real stars of this issue.  The Butcher Watch updates had long ago become all about one particular baddie - Jimmy 'The Cleaver' Smith.  He'd feature quite predominantly in the weekly comic, as you'll see next year, but for now he was an irregular regular, if you catch my drift.  His appearances were always highlights and they were certainly getting more creative and, dare I say, gory:


As ever Jeremy Banx delivers the goods here and there's a real sense that this maniacal butcher is ramping up his campaign against the good pigs of the world.  Whether this was all building to a certain weekly series from #45 onwards is another thing, but looking back now it certainly feels that way with the gift of hindsight.

You know, when you think about the comic strips which caused uproar with some people I can't think of any time when these strips were the subject of those complaints.  Maybe they were too afraid.

As a kid these really caught my imagination and he was that classic comic villain - the type we loved to hate.  I can vividly remember reading Jimmy Smith strips in bed with nothing but a lamp on in the dark room and the atmosphere was palpable, even if I'd already read them during the day or was rereading old issues - something I did a lot of with Oink!  But with the comic cancelled long before due we never got a resolution to his tale... he could still be out there.  So "look out for your snout and mind your rind".

This issue has many highlights which make it worth tracking down on eBay or elsewhere, but maybe wait until the end of the year as you may end up wanting all of these particular fortnightly issues and it'll save on postage to get them all at once.  There's even a competition to win a trip to the real Timperley and spend a day with Frank Sidebottom, appearing on one of his radio shows, playing some songs with him and getting the grand tour which, according to the competition, would include the greengrocer on the corner which inspired his song called (strangely enough) 'Greengrocer On the Corner'.  I'll keep an eye out for any news on the winner of this competition as hopefully this is one which was shared with the rest of us unlucky enough not to go.

UPDATE: I've since discovered it was indeed shared with us in #59!

Speaking of competition winners, this issue contains two mini-strips from the runner-up in a competition run by Oink! and an ITV programme.  I'm including the first one here to show you how talented this young individual was and to see if anyone can shed any light on whether he became a cartoonist or artist of some sort in later life.  His name was Ian Marshall and here's his creation, Professor Foible:


The last strip I'm going to include, but not the last scan, is this little preview of a new character to appear from the next issue onwards.  Given the nature of this next three-panel preview I did skip on to see if this was an actual, real serial or whether this was just a spoof advert.  You'll see why:


Drawn by Rubbish Man's Haldane, I do remember the character now I've confirmed he is indeed in the next issue and have seen what he's capable of, but I couldn't for the life of me picture him in my mind from that preview.  For now though, I'm not going to go into any more detail until the next issue so, if you're like I was, you can rack your brains for a couple of weeks first.

But to finish off I wanted to share a couple of pages of non-strip material with you.  Who remembers this?:


The Oink! 45 was, unlike the flexidisc given away with #1, a proper record the size of a single.  It came in a proper cardboard sleeve and everything!  As I only came to the Oink! party with #14 I was unaware of there having ever been songs written by the creative team behind the comic, so the contents of this was all brand new to me.  In reality, the two songs on side A were taken directly from the original free gift in the premiere issue.  However on side B, with Chris Sievey as Frank Sidebottom now part of the team a brand new song appeared for the very first time - The Oink! Get Together Song.  I can't for the life of me remember it right now (I will be doing a feature on these songs at some point) but I can recall it featured a lot of character voices and I remember listening to this particular song more than the others - I absolutely adored it!  Though the "Don't eat pigs, 'Cause they're made from hhhaaammm" chorus of The Oink! Psycho Rap really did get quoted a little too much by my friends and I!

Yes that's Snatcher Sam... well, Marc Riley, with Frank.  Before Oink! Marc was a member of the groups The Fall and The Creepers, so had plenty of musical pedigree which he brought to the Oink! songs, though I never knew any of this at the time.

Unfortunately my record was to meet an untimely end.  The next springtime, with the weather getting hotter, I was to rush out of my house one day to play after listening to the songs one morning.  It hadn't been played in a while and I just fancied doing so.  But it was a decision I would soon regret - dun dun dun!  I lived in the bedroom at the very top of the house with a skylight window and the sun would beam in there on warm days and heat up the bed and part of the floor, which was great when playing indoors!  But not so great when I left the Oink! 45 lying without its cardboard sleeve on the bed.  I came back later that day to find it completely warped.  Destroyed.  I think I hid it from my parents though instead of asking for another.

Oh well.

That and the mug were the only bits of paid-for Oink! merchandise I owned I think.  My memory is fuzzy as to whether I did get the t-shirt or not, so I'll have to check.  The mug got left in an old workplace's kitchen when a few of us were unceremoniously let go when I was 19 - I was in such a rush to get out and away from the people that were doing that to us that I forgot to go and get it!  To this day I still scour eBay daily for it...

Finally, part of the Grunts spread, which also took up two pages this time around.  The reason I'm including this particular piece is because of the recent information I told you about with #35 and the takeover by Fleetway of IPC's comics.  There I touched upon the sales groups and how it would be this more than anything which would lead to Oink!'s own eventual demise, rather its own sales figures. Here, over a year after the comic launched (though not too long after that year anniversary, remembering these issues were prepared a good while in advance of their release dates) it was getting great publicity in many publications and Oink! took the time to show some of these to us readers:


Another example of how the editors treated us all as equals rather than talking down to us, the comic gave us the intelligence to know why these were important after the hoopla surrounding the complaints about the Janice and John strip (newcomers to the blog you can read the story behind this in #7, #28 and the Crash magazine interview).

After a year of great sales Oink! was really gathering pace, attention and good publicity.  It was being read by people of all ages, was becoming a hit with students and adults alike, on top of the large target audience.  Other publications aimed at adults would also feature articles about how good it was and we'll see them in due course right here in the blog.  It also had its first annual out, had its own computer game, was featuring on radio and, as detailed above, was appearing on TV.  However, a seemingly unconnected event took place elsewhere around this time which would see trouble on the horizon, but I'll cover that soon.

For now, look forward to the next issue going on sale on Friday 3rd October (October already?!) and if you're good piggies something else before then!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

NEXT ISSUE: THE PIG THAT LAID THE GOLDEN PLOP

The golden age of Oink! returns to strut its stuff with #37 this coming Friday 19th September.  In case you missed it I also posted up something in the way of a personal introduction to these marvellous issues which you can see here, right after enjoying the first of these perfect piggy periodicals with #36 which you can also read right here.

Monday, 15 September 2014

THIS ONE'S JUST FOR ME



I've never been so excited by this blog.  When I started it in April of last year I knew I was going to have some laughs with these comics and there have been many surprising milestones for me as a fan so far.  #6, the Animal Crackers issue saw it all gel together in a way that proved this was the comic I remembered loving so much as a child.  #15 saw a kind of relaunch, with new favourite characters introduced and the title as a whole really hit its stride.  The mid-20s saw a confidence from issue-to-issue as well as the first Holiday Special and the Crash special pullout, all combining to give the impression this was a successful comic which (at the time) was here to stay.

Then with #36 it hit a much more personal milestone, i.e. not because of the change of publisher as detailed in that issue's post.  No, this was the start of my very own favourite period of the comic's whole run!  To be honest I'd forgotten about just how much these issues in the latter four months of 1987 were enjoyed by my younger self until recently.  I always knew I remembered this time the most from my childhood, but I'd put that down to simple selective memory as I got older.  It was only when covering #36 and glancing forward (only to check my instincts were correct - I wasn't reading, don't worry I'm not cheating) to the remainder of this year that I remembered these issues were just simply awesome.  Without compare.  That's the real reason I can still remember them more than any other!

Tightly scripted, superb talent on display, all the regular characters now present and correct and an overall design and editing style which crammed so much goodness into each and every issue.  They really did feel like bumper editions of what had went before, they felt like there was more to read, more to enjoy and in the midst of all this of course was the first annual too, The Oink! Book 1988, which stood out head and shoulders above the other humour comics annuals that year.  It wasn't hardback, it was better!  The glossy, bendy cover truly shone out in my local newsagent, the paper inside was of a superb quality and it still remains as my favourite childhood book of any kind:


Each of these issues contains personal memories for me and I'll be reliving them as we go along, right through to the new year.

If only the comic had continued in this format.  But in the new year the seemingly great news of Oink! going weekly at last was coupled with the loss of not only the themes, but also of eight pages out of every issue.  We'll get to that stage in early 2015/1988 but in the meantime I just wanted to make you aware you are about to enter the golden age of Oink! in my opinion.  Actually, my realisation of what these nine issues and the book represent just got me all so hyped up I just had to say something before Friday's next issue!

So sit back and get ready to enjoy the the VERY BEST this comic had to offer!


100% classics coming in a few days!

Next issue on sale this Friday 19th September!

Friday, 12 September 2014

RESET WRITER??

You may have noticed a logo has appeared on the left there under my introduction.  Well I hope you have or else you're obviously not paying attention.

This is a link to my new blog, which is going to be following me as I branch out into writing of a different sort - the career sort, as I've always wished.  But I'm starting this blog right at the very beginning instead of waiting until I've finished anything, even before I've actually finished the pitch for my first title to be honest.  But that's the whole point you see, to document this attempt at something I've tried numerous times before but never followed through on.  It's a way of seeing a growing 'diary' or sorts of what I'm doing, but in making it public it allows not only for feedback as I go along but also acts as further motivation.

Things have definitely changed this time though, partially thanks to this blog right here.  There's a cliché which states you're never too old to follow your dreams and that's exactly what Reset Writer is all about - resetting my life, restarting and following those hopes and working hard at those dreams to make them a reality.  Dreams don't just come true on their own, you know.


Along the way the blog is going to cover not only what I'm working on, but also my own development, the people who have inspired me, events of interest, amongst other topics.  It's going to be a very organic blog and only time will tell how it'll evolve but in the meantime there's a few posts up there at the mo.  These include an introduction to the whole thing, as well as the first post about the big resetting of my career which concentrates heavily on The Oink! Blog and how it's helped bring this all about - so thanks to all my readers, pig pals, cartoonists and commentators both here and on the Facebook group.

By all means please leave feedback via any posts you wish or through email, as I actively encourage it on this new blog even more than here!

See you in a few days for that promised post about the current run of Oink! issues, right here.

UPDATE: Yes, Reset Writer only lasted a few months and in May 2017 I decided instead to expand The Oink! Blog to contain all of the above instead.  You can read about that by clicking here.

Friday, 5 September 2014

#36: A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A REST


He's not wrong you know, that Percy Plop fella.  As I mentioned last issue Fleetway Publications had taken over printing and publishing duties on the comic from IPC Magazines and one issue later changes were afoot.  Gone was the shiny, glossy high grade paper, replaced with newsprint and the pages were indeed of a slightly different size (slightly shorter and less wide, creeping towards A4 for you completists out there).  But, Oink! being Oink!, it came up with a superb excuse:

Peculiar Steve Gibson

Instead of just carrying on regardless and ignoring the changes, the creators saw the chance to really go wild with this issue, even coming up with a story behind the paper change which you'll see below. In reality Oink! had been printed on much higher quality paper than its fellow IPC comics such as Buster and Whizzer and Chips and with larger pages too.  When Fleetway took over it began streamlining as I've mentioned before and, after the introduction of sales groups (again, see last issue) some comics wouldn't see it through to the end of the year.  Another way it streamlined was by changing the paper stock across the board so that all titles would now be printed on the same sized pages and same grade of paper.

To give you some idea of the differences, below you can see the original sizes of Oink! and Whizzer and Chips circa 1986, with this newest issue of Oink! in the middle representing how all the comics would be printed from September 1987 onwards:


To be fair, the quality of the newsprint used from this point on for all of Fleetway's humour comics was a hell of a lot better (stronger, thicker) than the original stuff used in the Whizzer and Chips above and the reproductions of shaded greys still worked really well.  On previous newsprint there'd been no chance of this and everything was simply black and white or block colours, with Oink!'s different, shiny (and more expensive) paper lending itself brilliantly to glorious artwork.  Thankfully though Oink!'s art style transitioned well to this new paper thanks to it being of much better stock in terms of newsprint options, and though it wasn't quite as good as the original glossy stuff the web offset printing process used also helped.

Thanks to Lew Stringer for the inside info on the processes by the way.

I can remember picking up the next issue, #37 and being slightly disappointed the paper hadn't changed for just one issue to heighten the 'Oink! Goes Peculiar' theme of #36, but on the other hand my young brain (for whatever reason!) liked the fact it was more familiar to other comics readers now, maybe thinking more people would read it.  I don't know, it doesn't make sense but I can just remember thinking it!  Probably though, it was more to do with a change to the comic.  I always liked 'new looks' and refreshes in my comics as a kid (Transformers would do it every hundred issues or so and when it went to its version of newsprint it seemed to soak up the inks beautifully) and with the new-ish logo - now reduced in size and in a yellow band every issue - it kind of felt that way with the new paper etc.  Other Fleetway comics would get a brand new logo every-so-often but thankfully Oink! retained its iconic title while also freshening it up a little.

At least for now.  But more on that next year!

There's a sense of a comic with a 'new look' inside in the same way as #15 had.  That is, nothing had really changed but yet it felt like it was welcoming new readers, with Uncle Pigg introducing himself, and the first of three sets of free stickers in much the same way as the three-part poster in that earlier issue lured in readers too:

Free stickers and new cover designs ahoy

The free stickers with this issue

Hence the title of this post.  It feels brand new, an exciting new start not just with the cosmetic changes but the issue as a whole feels kind of similar to #15 - fresh, vibrant, a new beginning, as if the team had taken a well earned rest and come back ten times stronger!  Not that they needed to mind you.  But, these issues for the rest of the year (#36 to #44) hold a special place in my heart but I'm going to leave that for a separate post for now, so strong are the fond memories I have.  So as we get to the inside of this 'new feel' issue Uncle Pigg greets us on page 2 for the first time in a while, introducing us to him and the comic as I said above.  It sets in motion the changes brought on by the publisher quite brilliantly for us young readers at the time.  Imaginatively written by Mark Rodgers and hopefully introducing more young eyes to the skills of Ian Jackson as artist, off we go then:


Remember #8 when the "skeleton crew" took over the running of the comic for one issue while Uncle Pigg and his staff were on holiday and all the so-called errors that occurred during it?  Well that same idea resurfaces here, with strips printed upside down, the Grunts page having everything at a strange angle, wrong colours being used on stories etc., and at the bottom of such pages we had a little quarter-page panel with the Plops commenting on what was going wrong (that picture at the top was taken from the first one for example), with their frustrations growing as the issue went on.

Uncle Pigg would also infiltrate the strips as you'll see below in one example and which also resulted in Pete and his Pimple turning into Peter and his Perfect Complexion on the advice of Mary Lighthouse!  Other peculiarities have Rubbish Man battling against his deranged artist as the strip randomly changes from panel-to-panel, Mr Big Nose at his most original yet and a poster of the Mona Lisow by Leonardo De Pigci.

But first Tony Husband and Chas Sinclair, who have teamed up for some wonderful spoof adventure strips before (such as Lashy the Wonder Pig), collaborate again on a great piece.  One which definitely sends out a great animal conservation message for kids, whether that's in 1987 or the present day, albeit it in their typical Oink! way(!) - Tarzham the Apeman:


I suppose for new readers this whole issue could be seen as peculiar if they weren't used to its usual sense of humour and the spoofs it'd trot out every fortnight.  Speaking of trotting out a spoof:


That's got to be the worst setup for a pun I've yet used on this blog and I apologise whole-heartedly, but hopefully you can forgive me since it did give you a chance to read that by Ed McHenry, after all.

Now in the last issue in a strip I simply didn't have the space to include, The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile - Aged 8 5/8 (years) had the oft-disgusting little troublemaker's mother go "into Laybour!" and it was left with the family racing away in their car as "There's not enuff rume to tell you orl the exciting things wot happen neckst, so you'll hav to wate 'til neckst issyoo!".  So, what did happen next?  I've mentioned this exciting event before on the blog here and here, and it certainly wasn't the kind of thing we'd ever see in a kid's comic, never mind expect it in one as rebellious as Oink!  But then again I suppose it's just something else to set it apart, and it never talked down to its audience about such real-world subjects.  While I expected it to happen a good while later in the run, when it appeared at the end of his strip last time I thought this was it.  Surely this issue (written and drawn as ever by the usual Rodgers and Jackson team) with the changes that had happened, it'd be the perfect issue to see such a big change in the life of a favourite character?:


Perhaps not then.  For regular readers this is a great addition, completely undercutting the cliff hangar from last time!

There are two big, main highlights for me in this issue which had me giggling like a child of 9 all over again, although quite possibly moreso in my adult age if I'm honest!  These are the next two to be featured right here.  They're not only "big" highlights because they're some of the finest strips so far from two of my favourite characters, but also because they've taken over two whole pages each!  First up it's Banx with Burp.

For a while there Burp was featuring in nearly every blog post, simply because it made for fun reading how he was getting unintentionally gory.  Not unintentionally on the part of Banx obviously, but on the part of Burp himself.  As always, he's forever trying to find ways of being accepted but he'd somehow end up doing the exact opposite with whatever random human being he tried it with.  This particular strip starts strange enough and then just gets weirder as it goes along.  The double-length story affords Banx the time to really go to town and between this and Mr Big Nose he must surely be the king of surrealism.  Quite a feat for a children's comic - surrealism just wasn't something we were used to.  Yes, Oink! was enjoyed by people of all ages but it still had its target audience and we adored having such original humour strips as this!:


How do you make an already peculiar character amid peculiar situations even more peculiar?  Well there's your answer above.

Another creator who came out all guns blazing with the theme of this issue was Lew Stringer, who gives us two pages as well and this time it's Tom Thug's chance to shine.  Shine he does, even taking over cartoonist duties, and Lew gets to brings us even more plops.  This issue really is coming down with them, which is no bad thing at all as I always loved having them about.  In the comic I mean.

Now like I said earlier there were many pages in this issue where Ian Jackson's plops would get the bottom quarter (no pun intended this time I swear) to critique what Uncle Pigg was doing to the comic and they were getting more and more desperate as the issue went on.  So now here we are with Tom's strip and at first glance it looks like the same thing has happened here, with his strip coming a cropper too and the smelly assistants looking on from the bottom of the page - albeit drawn by Lew now.  The fact this was on an odd-numbered page (i.e. on the right hand side of the spread when the comic is open) cleverly helps give this impression, but in actual fact upon reading it you discover that's not the end at all!

Here then is both this and what we were greeted with upon turning the page over.  Enjoy!:


I say this far too often with Lew's work but that's genius!  I especially love the 'stock footage', as it were, that the plop tries to use to end the story - something quite a lot of our favourite American 80s TV shows did now and again.  It's a hard choice but if pushed that's my favourite strip in this issue and the best Tom Thug yet!  How do you better that?  I'll look forward to finding out.

Hmm... how to introduce this next Roger Rental, He's Completely Mental strip from Ian Knox...?:


Yep, that's right, sometimes you just got to let Roger speak for himself!

Before we wrap up the Uncle Pigg tale and say goodbye to this fabulous issue, we get to see the Plops and one of the piggy staff members trying to calm down our good editor to no avail.  Now with a crazed look in his eye they're screaming that he's messing everything up and how they can't stop him!  What follows this is a brilliant 'error' as we see none other than J.T. Dogg himself take over cartooning duties for Marc Riley's creation Harry the Head!  How brilliant is this idea!:


Ah but I can't leave it there!  What's about to happen?!  Well, turn over the page and you get this!:


Any issue that gives us a multi-page Uncle Pigg strip from Mark Rodgers and Ian Jackson is always going to be right up there as a favourite, with this issue's many additions of mini-strips for the Plops highlighting these fun characters and the highly original art style even further.  However, add in all those other strips above and you've got one of the very best issues to date!  Seriously, there's so much more brilliance here than I can possibly include without breaching rules over scanning whole issues in!  If you see this issue on eBay or elsewhere snap it up immediately!  It's worth the asking price - whatever it is.

I'm so excited by this issue and the ones to come and like I said I'll be putting up a special (for me anyway, it might bore you) post about them before the next issue.  My very favourite period from Oink!'s entire run has started and how!

The next issue goes on sale Friday 19th September, but just before I go I had to include one more thing and that's this drawing from the Grunts page, which was sent in all those years ago by a certain J. Sampson from Essex.  Who just so happens to be a member of the Oink! Facebook group these days!  Well done Jon and if anyone reading this ever got anything printed just let me know and I'll dig it out for you:


Speak to you soon.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

NEXT ISSUE: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

On this day 27 years ago we were one day away from #36 of Oink! and that one more day would certainly make a difference alright, a big difference, to the comic.  Join me tomorrow as we see what's changed: