Saturday, 17 December 2016


Buy a copy or Angel Tom Thug will duff yer up!

What a brilliant stocking filler this could be for the Oink! fan in your life.  Or indeed for yourself!  Lew Stringer is synonymous with the piggy publication thanks to his creations Pete & his Pimple, Tom Thug and Pigswilla amongst a multitude of semi-regulars and one-off strips, as well as writing the scripts for none other than Ham Dare, Pig of the Future.  But as a child he was literally everywhere for a lot of us.  So much so it was strange to come across a comic his work didn't appear in as far as this pig pal is concerned.

Transformers, Action Force, The Real Ghostbusters, Secret Wars... just a few of the titles I'd pick up and find a familiar cartoonist's work inside, though my first exposure was obviously Oink!  But here's a 1980s character I wasn't aware of until this year.  Derek the Troll was created for role-playing magazine Warlock before coasting across to White Dwarf when the former title folded.  Now White Dwarf I've heard of and I know it's a huge deal to the likes of Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer players, but none of that is for me and so this was one of Lew's creations that passed me by.  If you're the same as me never fear, for a wonderful reprint comic has just hit the 'net:

The comic begins with a
never-before-published strip

Trolls are a breed of character in these games which are generally overlooked, grunts in the bigger battles and cannon fodder for the enemy.  But here one takes centre stage as a "likeable troll with obnoxious habits" to quote Lew himself, which sounds like a perfect character for Oink! fans to get behind, doesn't it?  He certainly is and the strips are highly imaginative given the almost limitless scope of the tabletop games universes he's meant to be set in.  Expect groan-worthy puns, plenty of spoofs of the other character types, another of Lew's rhyming strips we liked so much previously on this blog and a cheeky and very funny dig at the White Dwarf readers who wrote in to say they didn't like his inclusion after the cancellation of Warlock.

Originally created for a reader competition for the original magazine, the editors thought he'd make for a great regular character instead.  The first strip which appeared was a half-page story but the original one submitted by Lew was a full page and this is included here for the first time in print alongside the published version and the whole of the nine-issue run.  Also here is a strip created especially for the You are the Hero book in 2013.  My personal favourite?  The one based around those "choose your own ending" adventure books is a brilliant take on those interactive novels with some hilarious consequences for Derek!

But that's not all.

Just as with this year's Brickman Returns comic there's a load of backup material, this time in the form of Rock Solid, an egotistical, self-centred space hero whose ego is a lot more evident than any actual talent.  Lew does explain in this comic how Rock was difficult to write as he was deliberately created to be unlikeable, yet the readers had to enjoy the strip and want to see more.  Lew does a brilliant job of this and handles this balance perfectly.  In the strip below Earth is being invaded by the evil Grots and they've called for help but this was answered by the one person they didn't want, Rock Solid.  This final page of the three-page opener begins after Rock has kicked a military commander out of his way (that's him falling out of the window in the first panel) so he can take centre stage:

Rock Solid, another of Lew's creations I
hadn't read until now

Rock was created for independent comic Swift Sure and all five three-page strips are present here.  It's a fun adventure and a shame he never returned but it's great to discover lost gems like this and it's limited run makes it all the more unique for us now.  Definitely worth it for the enemy leader alone, the gross Lucas Mucus!  A complete contrast to Derek but a perfect fit nevertheless for this fun Lew Stringer comic.

Rounding off the package are two half-page Combat Colin strips (yey!) from the pages of Marvel UK's Transformers, a comic I grew up with and had the pleasure in recent years of collecting and reading right through.  Lew does mention here he'll be collecting all of Colin's adventures from the 80s and early 90s together into an ongoing series of comics in 2017 and that news is just the best way to finish this off for me!:

Now there's a new comic series that'll be simply unmissable!

There you have it folks, don't let this brilliant title slip you by, click here to go to Lew's shop and order up your issue for a measly £3.50.  A bargain no doubt and one any Oink! fan will just love.  Get going folks, you've a comic to buy!

Back here on The Oink! Blog I'll be back on the morning of Christmas Eve (which is this Saturday!) with some children's tales... of a sort.


John Pitt said...

Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas, Phil!

PhilEdBoyce said...

Thanks John, that's very kind of you! Have a very Merry Christmas!