|Traditional Eggnog Latte|
to kick things off...
This has always been my favourite part of every year, it turns me into a big kid, I look forward to it from around October (though the decorations don't get lit up, the presents don't start getting wrapped and the special Starbucks coffees don't start being drank until 1st December), I love spending time with my friends and family, spoiling my loved ones and seeing their faces when they open their presents... I even love the weather! Probably because it reminds me of Christmas, but there's something about huddling up in a nice warm house in front of a fire (flame-effect stove fire, but nonetheless) with mince pies, Shloer and a movie. Wonderful stuff.
As a child I've so many fond memories of my big family Christmases, everything from the presents (obviously!) and the wonderful dinner on the big day, to the TV specials and sharing the coffee creams from the big tins of sweets with my mum as we were the only ones who liked them. Of course one tradition was receiving the annuals of the comics I was collecting at the time, something which almost feels like it's continuing to this day for me with the 100-page Christmas edition of 2000AD which appears mid-December every year.
The Oink! Book 1988 was not only my favourite annual from my childhood, it was my favourite book of any type. Getting that big, shiny, heavy tome with that grinning pig on the cover is still one of my top Christmas memories and I simply adored covering it last year here on the blog over three posts. If you missed out, correct that straight away by clicking here to get yourself all into the spirit of things. But what have I got in store this year?
Well the obvious thing is the second, and unfortunately last, Oink! annual, The Oink! Book 1989. Unlike last year this won't be appearing on Christmas Day on the blog and there's a very good reason for that. Way back in April 2013 and in only the second post I wrote (the preview issue) I mentioned a strip which wouldn't appear on the blog for over two-and-a-half-years and here we are, that Burp strip is in this very book! It's a mammoth story from Jeremy Banx and one which actually taught me at exactly the right time a thing or two about growing up. Originally I was going to split the book over two updates and have the second part between Christmas and New Year, but with my birthday also being at Christmas on 21st December I thought that'd be the perfect time to post it up. Since it was mentioned right at the start of the blog I also thought having that strip round off the coverage of the comic itself would be nice, coming full circle right back to the beginning of this project.
So you'll see the 1989 book over two posts on Monday 14th December and Monday 21st December.
Now I remember Christmas as a child when the comics bug bit me and I loved all the annuals, books and special festive editions of the regular comics, often collecting more than usual at this time of the year. Those titles continue to this day but unfortunately there are some out there who'd have you thinking differently. Not all kids' titles are a magazine with a toy attached, and even those that are shouldn't be written off as they often have stories and strips inside. It's a wonderful time of the year to introduce your children to the wonders of comics, enchanting them with these special editions they may wish to carry on collecting after the new year arrives. Comics were a huge part of developing my reading skills and they got me interested in drawing, writing and other creative ways of expressing myself which I put to good use in school. But for whatever reason there's grown men out there who wish to belittled and moan about the UK comics industry today (even though the very titles they bemoan aren't aimed at them in the slightest) and all for very selfish reasons.
The truth is very different to what these trolls would have you believe, but you know what it's like, they're the ones who shout the loudest. Belfast isn't a huge city but having a dander around I quickly saw their arguments were ridiculous and they're only denying the children of today from enjoying choosing from a vast array of titles across many formats. So I'm going to counter their argument and hopefully inspire you to go out there and buy some for your own kiddies or even yourself this Christmas and show your support for the UK comics industry.
This extra post will pop up on Monday 7th December.
At the very end of the year I'll also be taking a look back at the last thirty-three months I've been doing this blog, covering all of the regular Oink!s twenty-seven years after the fact, with just three specials to be 'released' yet, but they'll be spread over the next two years. In the new year the blog will be changing direction but I'm not giving anything away until then, so it's the perfect time to have a look back at the Oink! run and this site. I'd always every intention of carrying on at least until this point but I'm not sure if I truly believed I'd do it. Looking back now at those early posts I'd no idea where this would all potentially lead me and I sometimes cringe at how I worded things back at the beginning, but that's what happens. I like to think both the blog and I have developed as things have carried on and with a bright future ahead I thought it'd be fun to take a personal trip back over the completed Oink! Prog Slog as I called it back in that very first post.
A fun way to end the year and the coverage of the original comic, coming on New Year's Eve.
Add to this a little extra treat on Christmas Eve, showcasing something I received last Christmas but for whatever reason I didn't share on here.
I've been getting all excited the closer we've got to December, now with it finally here I'm ecstatic and I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas pig pals!