Monday, 6 April 2015

HOLIDAY SPECIAL #2 (PART ONE): HOG ROASTING ON THE BEACH


Welcome to the second Oink! Holiday Special, another big fat porker of an issue, or at least at this point it was.  Give it another month or so and it'd only be four pages bigger than the regular issues but for now it's a double-length whammy of all that is good about Oink!  It's also refreshing to have it on large-scale, glossy paper once again and apart from one or two very noticeable exceptions (Mr Big Nose is sacrilegiously absent for example) it's a treat of an issue.

It all begins with a superb wraparound cover poster, the backside of which you'll see when we come back for part two soon.  Drawn by acclaimed illustrator Paul Sample it's a fantastic way to start off an issue filled with very unique content, just a shame this is the only piece of Paul's work we'd have been subjected to.  But what a piece to be subjected to!  I've added his website to the Sausage Links section on the left, do make sure you check it out as it's a fun selection of magazine and newspaper illustrations very much in the style of the above.

Inside this issue we also get to meet the cartoonists responsible for some of our favourite creations in special little fact-files.  Well, when I say 'meet' them, we do so in a very Oink!-way and it's not very debatable whether we actually find out anything about them - we simply don't!  I'm going to be including all of these over this and the next post for this special, coupling up those with the strips by said artists wherever possible.

By way of example here's Uncle Pigg introducing us to the issue, but first how about meeting those responsible for his strips, which have been few-and-far-between these recent weeks and continue to be elusive here too unfortunately.  Always written by one of the three real-life editors, Mark Rodgers and drawn in the unique style of Ian Jackson here's your chance to see what they have to say about themselves:



While Mark has appeared as the Captain of the Enterpies in Star Truck (see issue #3 and The Oink! Book 1988) the above drawing is the closest you're going to get to seeing Ian in the flesh.  He has appeared in one photo story I've included but the make-up somewhat masked his true appearance.  These are a great introduction to this issue's main highlight (i.e. all the profiles) so you can look forward to the rest, starting further below.

But first, behind those two rather crazy fact-files are some of the greatest creative minds to ever grace a kid's comic.  While they didn't do a strip together this time it's still nice to see Uncle Pigg introducing us to the issue outside of the Grunts page and from the pen of these two gents.  So here he is and just below him a random little one-off from writer Howard Osborne and artist Mike Green which was so ridiculous and - again - random that I just had to include it too!:


I also get to share two more creator profiles for the next strip I want to include.  We've seen many crossovers in the pages of our regular Oink!s, mainly involving those from the same artist but below we get a great, unique Davy Francis take on Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins who's usually drawn by his own artist Tony Husband.

In it Horace takes a break from all of his ongoing footballing hero shenanigans and fighting radioactive players (such is the way in his life at the moment in the comic) and heads out for lunch with his pal Greedy Gorb.  I absolutely love the way Horace is drawn here and this is a quality strip indeed from the opening pages of the issue.  It all sets you up for a very special summer edition and as the comic continues you're not left disappointed with any page, except for maybe the fact there's no Herbert Bowes of course.

So here's the people responsible for the two starring characters in this strip laying bare their innermost thoughts for you, the humble reader, followed by Davy's story itself:




Before we go on I should apologise.  I did kind of mention there'd be a Judge Dredd-inspired strip in this post but that's actually to come in the second half which'll be covered on the blog on 6th June.  The same strip also features Psycho Gran so you know it'll be worth the wait to see those two go up against each other, but you can definitely look forward to a version of Joe on the cover of the very next weekly issue coming this Thursday!

By way of an apology, may I offer you a snack?:


No I didn't think that would smooth things over.

Now something we've been getting a lot of in Oink! recently are those multiple choice quizzes to determine what kind of person you are.  In this very issue you can take part in one such quiz if you're a plonker.  I'm not judging you on wanting to take the quiz, it's actually entitled Are You A Plonker?  As entertaining as they are they're not a patch on the fully illustrated Ed McHenry quizzes we used to enjoy on a semi-regular basis.

Well to celebrate this porker of a special Ed returns to brings us no less than a mega two-page spread!  Joy of joys.  These were always a fun part of any issue of Oink! they'd appear in and would always leave me giggling as a kid.  Now as an adult I find myself trying to guess what the 'proper' answers are, though predictably I can never come up with anything remotely like the ones given.

Below is the whole spread pasted together as one picture so you can scroll down easily to the answers and back again instead of having to skip between two different images:


That is just superb and takes me right back to those shiny fortnightlies and the special of last year.  Ah good times... but how do I top that to round off the first half of this year's bumper mid-year treat?  Well the first twenty-four pages end with a boy called Weedy Willy, another guaranteed favourite.  But before I lead you to the beach to join him what else is there in these pages that I've had to leave out?

Frank Sidebottom creates a unique board game based around his mum's grocery list, Pete and his Pimple show you their holiday snaps, there's lots of little random Charlie Brooker gags, Grunts, another helping of Greedy Gorb (making up for his disappearance from the weeklies?), a Dead Fred pin-up from Wilkie and some great little new additions you'd never have seen coming, such as the Steve Gibson-drawn Albert Messer the Mad Hairdresser written by Griffiths and Kane.

I just can't fit it all in while showing off all of those wonderful fact-files, but aren't they just worth it?  So as way of compensation here's what Frank and Steve had to say about themselves:



So just Willy to go to round off the post but just as I did last year (and then on a bigger scale with The Oink! Book 1988) I'm going to wait a bit before putting up the second half, after all these specials were to do the whole holiday period and it's only Easter at the minute.  It'll be June before you know it and you'll have a handful of weeklies and the first chunky monthly to keep you going until then.

I'll be back on Thursday with #58 but until then I'll leave you in the couldn't-be-less-capable hands of Mr Weedy Willy, as written by Vaughan Brunt and drawn by the master of the thin ink tip, Mike Green:


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