Saturday, 18 April 2015

#59: SNUGGLE UP WITH AN OINK! (BUT NOT TOO CLOSE, YOU MIGHT CATCH SOMETHING)

Broadband up and running again, it was actually a problem with a wire about a mile from my house!  But anyway, back to it:


Jeremy Banx sure is prolific with the covers during the weeklies isn’t he?  Not a complaint, obviously, his was the first cover I ever laid my eyes on as well you know.  Here Kid Kidney guest stars along with his owner (or transport) and his fellow organs to gather round and read the latest edition of Oink!  Looking at the cover it seems our piggy pink ‘paper could be taking on 2000AD as The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic and this week’s it’s certainly a close call.

Burp would also return in just a fortnight’s time for his last cover.  As you’ll see.

But to Banx's other strip first and it's a belter!  In the penultimate page for Hieronymous Van Hellsong our hero finds himself trapped in the pits of hell, pulling a trick Doctor Who would be proud of, then... well, there's just no way of building up to this:


Now there's a cliffhanger and a half.  The last ever strip from Van Hellsong is here in seven days (edit: 5 days) but how can Jeremy possibly top this one?  Hieronymous may be about to leave Oink! and us for good but I think he's just made the best exit in comic history already.

Now let’s spare a thought for the cartoonist.  In general I mean, not Jeremy.  The cartoonist is a lone artiste working hard over many long hours, often into the early ones of the morning, with the one goal of making others laugh.  There’s no such thing as trying to get away with as little as possible while watching the clock, no such thing as spending a bit too much time discussing the previous night’s television with your colleagues instead of typing up your work, and there’s certainly no such thing as pulling a sickie.

Rain, hail, sleet or snow… or rather colds, flus, sniffles or coughs can’t stop the cartoonist from working on his or her latest creation.  You can’t allow being sick to slow you down when you’re a freelance writer or artist and recently, at the time of writing this, the one and only Lew Stringer is currently under the weather but continuing to turn out magical cartoons for the likes of The Beano, Toxic and Doctor Who Magazine amongst others.  It seems like this time of the year could have that affect on him:


Okay, yes this would’ve been drawn a good while ahead of this issue’s release date and so the ‘time of the year’ bit there doesn’t make sense when you think about it, but it was a nice way to segue into it.  Also in this issue if you can get a hold of it yourself you’ll find little green blobs over the Tom Thug page too…

The strip above follows on from last issue but it appears that’s it from the great romance and the jealous love rivals, though I could’ve sworn it was an ongoing tale for a while.  Oh well, what’s to come from Pete over the next while is going to either make for easy choices of what to include on the blog, or make it a painstaking task to leave something else out!  Just wait until you see the plops make a return at the suggestion of a reader, although not looking as delightfully happy as the one above on the ice skate (isn’t that just the funniest little shit you’ve ever seen?).

Just a quick aside here for the Grunts page.  While the next issue is the one which would actually go on sale on the second anniversary of Oink!’s preview issue, just as with the first birthday it’s the issue leading up to it which celebrates it.  Unfortunately, unlike last year where we had a themed birthday issue to mark the occasion and wrap up the first full year of the comic, this year the top quarter of the Grunts page is the only acknowledgement.  Such a shame.  Not that a reader-drawn naked Uncle Pigg would normally be an understated thing, but in this case it very much is.

Back to the cover star and do you remember that poor teddy bear who had the misfortune to turn up in Burp’s strips during Banx’s particularly gory phase?  Well he’s returned upon occasion and now resides with The Smelly Alien From Outer Space onboard his spaceship and makes a little cameo in this week’s strip.

There's been some beautifully scripted wordplay in Burp’s stories at times, usually in the form of the anonymous narrator but this time it’s the star himself who steps up to the plate and delivers a beautiful little speech.  Then naturally it all falls apart when he tries to do a good deed for us humans.  Naturally:


Back in Oink! 37 Frank Sidebottom ran a competition like no other - to meet him in the showbiz centre of the world (or perhaps the galaxy) that is Timperley for the day.  While the joke with Chris Sievey’s Frank character was always that he would boast of being a megastar and being friends with all the greatest celebrities, it was of course all a farce.  However for fans of the papier-mâché one this would’ve been like meeting Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Michael Jackson (coincidentally enough) all rolled into one!  Not only was he a radio and TV star but much more importantly a bonified Oink! character! 

Three other very lucky readers got to meet both Frank and Marc “Snatcher Sam” Riley for Oink!’s first anniversary issue and here the pleasure fell to Sue Sharples, an older reader this time who I’m sure had a blast and got to see a lot more than the railway station and a signpost:


I’m wanting to finish off this post with a couple of belter quick jokes so we’ll skip forward to the back page and another edition of the Vidiots series, or to give it its full name Hadrian Vile’s Interleckshual guide to Tellyvision.  This week’s gets included because it in particular takes me back to my childhood as the subject of Hadrian’s wrath this time is none other than children's TV.

If you were an Oink! fan growing up what were your favourite TV shows?  Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends was still great fun for me and around this time The Real Ghostbusters was shaking us all up too.  I also remember this time period for Count Duckula, the short-lived shows Tugs and Visionaries, Saturday morning favourites No.73 and Motormouth, and of course Duck Tales (woo-oo) amongst many others.  So while none of the ones featured below were regular views of my own they’re still fondly remembered as ones I’d catch now and again or ones my friends loved.

(Though Pob always did freak me out a bit, especially when he spat over the TV screen to wipe off each section of his end credits.)

The name of the main celebrity featured here is escaping me at the moment and while I usually like these sorts of memory tests to be played out without the use of internet research, even that isn’t helping either as I just can’t find him!  I can’t picture his actual face but yet this Ian Jackson drawing is so, so familiar.  Do you remember?  If so please get in touch!

Curse you Ian and writer Mark Rodgers, you're playing with my 37-year old mind!:


Finally for now we've just enough time to quickly dip back inside for two excellent gags from Ed McHenry’s current regulars, Wally of the West and Igor and the Doctor.  You’ll either thank me or curse me for their inclusion pun-wise, so prepare yourself:



Fantastic stuff and out of the whole issue these two mini gems were the strips which definitely produced the loudest reactions from me this time around.  Trust me, my friends know what my laugh can be like when I get going or when something funny takes me by surprise.  They’ll be glad I was alone when reading these.

Folks my internet being off for a week has meant the extra special post I promised last time has also had to be postponed.  I’ll stick it up in a few days so check back soon (once again).


In the meantime enjoy your weekend and next week is celebration time!

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