Thursday, 9 April 2015

#58: FROM 1988 TO 2015 VIA 2000AD

Just last year I bought my first issue of the legendary anthology comic 2000AD and have become a huge fan (and needless to say a subscriber too) of the title.  As a child Oink! had already spoofed Judge Dredd before I started reading it, but now it's the turn of the issue which I remember so well from those times, like showing it to a friend who was a huge fan of Dredd and he thought it was fantastic.  I have to agree.

Steve Gibson is the perfect artist to bring the rugged and hard-edged style to the character, making this joke even more reminiscent of the original strips that inspired it, especially those Dredd stories from the early days of 2000AD back in the late 70s and early 80s.  To show you what I mean I'm going to do this issue a little bit out of sync and pull forward the Judge Pigg page, written by Mark Rodgers (who else?) to the top of the post.

Now as I said Steve's artwork gives that punk-y feel we'd associate with early Dredd and in fact comes up with a strip style which feels in part like a heightened version of the likes of early Brian Bolland Dredd.  Of course that may not have been Steve's intention, as this is his own style anyway but the end result is simply (here's that word again) perfect:

Keep your peelers peeled for the second half of the 1988 Oink! Holiday Special too for more Judge Dredd shenanigans with none other than Psycho Gran.  In the meantime part one of the special can be read here.

Jeremy Banx returns this week to the blog with two full pages being included and the first is the continuing adventures of Hieronymous Van Hellsong in the pits of hell looking for the soul of singer Raoul McCurtney.  (My Mac's autocorrect just loved that sentence!  Time to teach it a few new words before next week's edition I think.)

Before you get going, take a quick glance at the fourth panel and just imagine how that picture could be taken out of context.  Terrifying right?  Ha.  Oh I can just imagine how The Daily Mail could have a field day ignoring the attached caption.  Terrific stuff from Banx yet again:

Just one turn of the page later and you'll be greeted with the second highlight from this artist and a wonderful full-colour Burp page.  The occasional cover aside it's been a long time since we saw the slimy one in glorious, goopy green (the last time a strip appeared here in colour was way back in #33) and speaking of things we haven't had the pleasure of in a while it's a splendid return to his Pet Specimen from Uranus.

Finally.  I always enjoyed this questionable little fella in the jar who would usually be seen attached to Burp's belt, but he's been missing in action for quite a while now.  Here he makes his return as the real star of the strip which has a gloriously surreal ending the likes of which Jeremy is so, so good at. Enjoy.  You will:

From full-colour pus and slime to partially coloured pus and pimples.  Lew Stringer's Pete Throb is still looking for that suggestion from a reader which will cure him of all his problems.  Since all his problems centre around that one zit he has you'd think finding a solution would be a piece of cake.  Well of course us readers weren't simply going to suggest a strong bottle of Biactol, were we?  That wouldn't be very comical so the ideas sent in were somewhat less practical than that.

Everything from trouser presses to helium could be up for experimentation with and in this issue a simple coat of paint was picked out.  How would that work?  In a rather brilliantly thought out way by reader Kelly Moore as it happens, and Lew's story based on it leads to a surprisingly happy ending for our Pete:

Now that actually sounds like a solution to more than one problem - no more worrying about the pimple and a very understanding girlfriend to boot.  But of course it wouldn't be as simple as that and the last panel there is lining up a story to come (Lew is certainly liking his multi-part stories at the moment) so try not to burst with excitement, Pete will be in another spot of bother very soon.  I'll stop.

The recent issues have really gone overboard with the one-offs and I don't mean 'overboard' as a bad thing at all.  The balance seems to be perfect for a 24-page weekly trough-full of what this comic does best.  Yes my favourite times in Oink! will still be the fortnightlies, especially the later ones, but to get a slightly smaller comic twice as much was fantastic, regardless of what some might say about the weeklies in comparison.  It never stopped being a novelty as a child, running to the newsagents every single Saturday to pick up the next Oink!  It was always the one thing I looked forward to the most every week and it may be strange reading each issue now on a Thursday night but it's still great fun.

One person who brought a raft of one-off treats our way from the moment his work appeared and then right the way through to the end of the run was Kev F Sutherland.  From quick quarter-pagers to double-page spreads his unique sense of humour, coupled with his very recognisable art style, were fantastic late additions to the comic.  For example, below is a very simple idea taken to the nth degree over a whole page instead of what others may have summed up on a smaller scale over less space.  It's classic Kev F all the way and one which the inner ten-year old in me fondly remembers:

Bit thirsty now, hang on a sec...

Ahh that's better.  Though Asda's own brand blackcurrant and apple dilute juice isn't quite cutting it as much it must be said.

To finish off with this week another cartoonist who'd more often than not be brought in to fill the pages with some inspired one-off comedy was Dave Jones.  He did do a few Rotten Rhymes but mainly he added something different and unique every time he popped up.  My absolute favourite of his, and one of my very favourite strips of the entire Oink! comic so far, was The Phantom Moose-Napper way back in #27, or as I like to call that story, 'Monty Python - the Comic'.  Seriously, if you've come to the blog since that issue and haven't had a chance to catch up yet please go check it out for some of the very best pages Oink! ever produced.

One strip which appeared a little while ago and which I mistook as another random addition to one issue was The Kingdom of Trump.  It did resurface a few issues later but disappeared again, however now it's come back and I couldn't be happier to discover it's one of those semi-regulars which I hope with both of my funny bones makes a return at some point again.  The King in the strip below has featured before but really it's more along the lines of Zootown and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth which both featured the same setting every issue but with different characters and scenarios each time.

With highly imaginative artwork please take your time and savour each panel and facial expression of this quality little tale:

It's been another fun issue and by this time I feel, in hindsight, Oink! had really established itself as a new weekly title.  Different to what had gone before but now, with new talent coming on board and the balance right like I mentioned above, it feels more like a natural evolution rather than an enforced change.  Still attracting more of the older audience than the target which brought about the change, this fact would see it change again (less of an evolution the next time and more of an outright transformation) but if Fleetway had just accepted they had a hit with a different audience which would I have preferred:  the fortnightlies or the weeklies?  It's a tough call and sounds like a topic for another post and for another time.

For now the next issue will be on sale next Thursday, 16th April and I hope you'll join me again then, or even before then for some exciting Oink!-related news regarding one of the characters featured above...!

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