It's all good saying these things of course, so I thought I'd do a little preview for you.
First up the The Comics page at the top-left there has been a constant since day one near enough. It's a quick and easy way to find any issue of Oink! that I've covered, in order and separated into different categories so you can read back over the highlights. However, right from the very beginning there were extra posts dedicated to The Street-Hogs and the Oink! Superstar Posters, then as the years have gone on I've written more and more posts with extra content, behind-the-scenes information, loads of Christmas goodies, new material etc. Add to these the fact the blog is going "beyond" and covering more than just Oink!, it's important to me to have all of the content for the star title be accessible from one central place. So you'll see a completely redesigned section (yes, a full section not just one page anymore, there's a lot of Oink! stuff in here now!) where you can relive the greatest humour comic of all time to your heart's content. This has taken longer to organise than I thought as it requires some HTML programming beyond Blogger's standard layouts and it doesn't help that Photobucket have decided they're no longer going to host photos to be used on other sites. So I'm going to have to move a whole sty full of images from all over this blog to another host too. But it'll all come to pass soon!
'THE BEYOND OINK! COLLECTION'
During the monthly issues of Oink! I wrote a series of Beyond Oink! posts about the other comics I placed a regular order for in my comic-reading youth of the mid-80s to the mid-90s and I found some of these stood up really well today. I'd kept a few issues here and there from the days I first read them, but for the majority I had to chase issues down on eBay. I was pleasantly surprised how some could be enjoyed just as much, or even more, now as an adult in the same way as my Marvel UK The Transformers collection which I'd read through about eight years previous. When the blog series was over I sold some of the titles off again but kept a few, knowing in the back of my mind I wanted to know how these stories panned out and that I'd eventually get around to collecting them. Now that time has come so there'll be dedicated sections not only for the aforementioned Robots in Disguise in both their 80s and current movie forms, but also three titles rarely (if at all!) covered online, namely Ring Raiders, Wildcat and Dark Horse's UK comic of Jurassic Park. Throw in the yearly annuals for Big Comic Fortnightly and Funny Fortnightly and fans of the popular Beyond Oink! series should all have something to read as I put the pieces together for each of these collections, with the aim of covering them in a similar way to Oink! once complete.
In that initial Beyond Oink! post I mentioned the fact there were other comics I'd maybe bought an issue or two of but never actually collected regularly. It wasn't because they weren't any good, it was simply the fact there were so many great comics being released around that time. Of course not all were terrific but the ones I read I really loved, but having so many titles being released it simply wasn't possible to collect them all. There were new series I read about in my other comics which sounded amazing but I couldn't get because I was only allowed so many at once (I can understand that now!), some I bought an issue or two of before my attention was grabbed by something else on the shelves, or sometimes there were just too many comics to choose between that there'd be some I'd wanted but would never read. The UK industry was releasing so many comics sales were thinned out across the board and it meant there were some stunning comics which unfortunately simply got passed over by the kids of the day. Now I have the chance to become even more ridiculously addicted to eBay and build up that dream comics collection I never had, now with the very best material I missed out on first time around. What will this section include? How does Transformers spin-off Death's Head, Dragon's Claws, The Sleeze Brothers, Visionaries, Super Naturals and Judge Dredd sound?
Contrary to some dark and dingy corners of the internet, the UK comics industry is alive and well and offering a massive variety of different kinds of comics for different kinds of readers. Mainstream, graphic novels, independent publishers, digital comics, small press... What I've become very interested in recently for my own reasons are self-published comics. This has exploded in the UK in recent years thanks to modern technology and I've already been able to sample some simply superb examples; at the Enniskillen Comic Fest this year I bought Vampire Free Style from Jenika Ioffreda and recently on the blog I've covered a few various comics from Oink! alumni Lew Stringer in the form of Combat Colin #1, Brickman Returns and Derek the Troll. I've taken a look online and the work being produced by some of the small press creators is exciting stuff. Perhaps the fact Oink! was an independent comic (albeit printed by a mainstream publisher), was so original and took risks with creator-owned content is the reason I'm so interested in these. Or perhaps it's because self-publishing is something I'm interested in myself! Either way I've decided collecting some of this will make up another section of the relaunched blog and I can't wait to see what I can get my teeth into. I've already got the 2000AD-inspired Sector 13 and some David Leach titles to write up and plenty more to come after that.
I'm not turning my Oink! Blog into a general comics review site, not at all. The site is expanding beyond its original remit because my own comics collection is growing beyond that one slice of anarchic 80s humour, so the blog will be adhering to those headings above... at least until I cover them for a while and it evolves again. Who knows what the future holds after all, I certainly didn't expect all this from this silly little blog! It's evolved naturally over the years of covering the piggy publication, now I'll also be collecting some of the comics I read as a result of Oink!, as well as those I wished I'd collected and now the intriguing small press comics I personally want to look into. This will very much be my own personal comics blog so you won't see any negative reviews here simply because I'm only going to be collecting those I already know I'll like. That doesn't mean I won't be honest with praise or criticism though, of course I will (just as I have been with Oink! all along).
I'd better get finishing off what I've started then, but I hope you'll return with me soon and enjoy the new material and take part in comments sections etc. See you later!