Monday, 19 March 2018


What is this from Psycho Gran creator David Leach then?  Your guess is as good as mine right now, because this image is all we've been teased with so far on the little old dear's very own Facebook page.  Well, okay she did have this to say too:

"Er, I know I've been somewot quiet of late, but that's cos me grandson 'as been busy, e's been working on sumink new and here's a sneak peak.  More to follow...".


If you'd like to be kept in the loop stay tuned right here, or you could of course always follow Psycho Gran herself on her Facebook page.

I'm sure she'd also love it if you'd check out her very own comics too, both her own publications and her adventures in the pages of Aces Weekly.  You can find out everything you need to know about all of these on the New Material page of the Relive Oink! section of the blog.  Also, while I've piqued your interest (or rather, David has) check out my recent write-up of #1 of his David Leach Conquers the Universe comic with #2 to follow shortly, I promise!

David is also editing a brand new comic based on the classic television show The Prisoner.  Due for release in April I'll bring you more on that closer to the time too.

Sunday, 18 March 2018


A couple of Christmases ago this appeared on the blog:

You can still check out the write-up about this one-off special of Derek the Troll reprints from Lew Stringer, collected together from the pages of Warlock and White Dwarf magazines, as well as his complete Rock Solid series.  It was a really fun, very funny comic and I thought it was a real shame the character had been consigned to the UK comics of history.  But with a recent post on his own blog Lew has given fans some terrific news.

That's right, Derek is on his way back.  Though details are scarce Lew does tease he'll be appearing in a new digital comic, which I for one hope isn't in the too distant future.  Make sure you check out Lew's blog for more news by clicking here and saving it in your bookmarks!

Monday, 5 March 2018


He's back at last!  Last July I wrote up the premiere issue of Combat Colin from Oink!'s very own Lew Stringer, a 40-page collection of classic capers from the pages of Marvel UK's Action Force (G.I. Joe) from the 1980s.  Having never read that comic as a kid the vast majority of Lew's strips were completely new to me, with only four having been read in issues that had crossed over with Marvel's Transformers title, when I'd read the whole series about ten years ago.  For #2 Lew has again filled up 40 pages to bring us one hilarious comic from beginning to end.

This time it's the first strips of Colin's and Semi-Automatic Steve's to have appeared in the now-merged The Transformers and Action Force weekly after the latter had been cancelled at #50.  Apart from a very rare occasion, Colin would appear in every issue from #153 right through to the final one, #332.  Eventually he'd return to the full-page format Action Force readers had become accustomed to but he began his time among the warrior robots from Cybertron with half-page adventures, all of which appear here.  That means there's almost 70 weeks worth of content from the original comics in this one issue!  That's a hell of a lot of superb content for the price, all wrapped up in a glossy package complete with an editorial and letters page too, which we'll get to below.

The first few months of strip have quite a few stories based around robotic menaces of some sort beginning with the following, the very first to appear in Transformers:

While the strips are now in black and white instead of full-colour like they were originally, to have this amount altogether in one package more than makes up for it.  Reading through these my memory did pick out the odd detail and punchline from my last read-through but it was so long ago now it was like reading new material for the majority of the time.  One thing that's clear is how Lew has now given the serialised stories their own, modern titles.  Most of these stories had the same 'Codename: Combat Colin' banner until later in the run, but here the multi-part tales have each been given a brand new banner, such as Robot on a Rampage! above.

Below you can see another example which would have made it clear he'd done so, even if you hadn't known beforehand.  A brilliant play on the title of a Bond movie released in 2002, either you'd know it was a new title or you'd be thinking Lew had some amazing kind of foresight back in 1988:

There's four strips which aren't included here because unfortunately they simply couldn't be.  They featured The Gwanzulum, shape-shifting aliens which were created by other Marvel writers to be used across many different titles.  They debuted within Combat Colin in The Transformers but due to copyright Lew can't reprint them here, but then again neither can Marvel because the rights to Colin belong to Lew.  Thankfully Lew has given us a little synopsis here of each of the missing episodes and after reading them I can remember they were indeed funny additions to the series.  You never know, maybe someone who is currently taking photos of his Transformers UK comics collection for Instagram could show you a quick highlight of the missing action when the time comes.  So stay tuned in, um, April 2020.

I wanted to show you this next strip as a perfect example of what's on offer here, but be warned it's part four of a story so, you know, "SPOILER ALERT" and all that.  I just think it plays brilliantly today.  I went to see Man of Steel at the cinema with a friend when it was released and while he loved it I came out feeling both very bored and bewildered.  The city had been destroyed, tens of thousands of people had been killed and they were meant to be thankful to Superman?  It's by far not the only film to be guilty of that kind of thing today and when I read this I thought it was a brilliant take on that, albeit decades earlier!:

There are two full-page entries, the first was for the 200th issue and co-starred King No-Nose and The Robot Inventor from Lew's previous Transformers humour strip, Robo-Capers (which has appeared already a couple of times in the aforementioned Instagram series, rounded up here monthly on the blog) and then there's Combat Colin's Fun Page!.  This was full of cut-out badges and a "tatty bit of cardboard" which acted as a fan club membership, but for this fan of the comic the funniest part was, "For extra-bonus fun, colour 'em yourself?".  This was at a time when the middle 8 or so pages of the comic had just recently become black and white to save on production costs and some readers (not this one I might add) were up in arms after having had a full-colour comic for almost 200 issues.  In that regard it was a nice gag to have and that's the context behind why I found it particularly funny reading the page now, though Lew does confirm it wasn't in response to any criticism; he'd known it was going to be in black and white and was just putting a positive spin on it.  In the end the joke worked out even better than expected then!

There are so many classic moments throughout this second issue, like Bigfoot actually having one big foot for example.  So many moments it'd be criminal to not buy this if you're in any way a fan of humour comics.  For anyone who grew up on the Transformers comics in the UK it's simply unmissable and you'll love reliving these hilarious misadventures all over again in one place.  To complete the classic comic feel it even has Combat Correspondence, a letters page which is worth the price of admittance on its own, but I may only be saying that for my own biased reasons:

Costing only £3.50 plus postage head to Lew's website for more details or just nip straight to his online shop and buy!  Lew has also written up #2 on his own blog so for more details you can check that out also.  #3 is due early summer this year and you can still purchase the first edition on its own or in a bundle along with this new issue, or even with both of them and Brickman Returns which also stars Colin!

So yes, you've probably surmised I'd highly recommend Combat Colin #2, or rather I'd highly recommend the whole series.  Then again this is a very personal comics blog, so if a comic appears here you'll know already I like it, otherwise it just wouldn't be included.  But this 6-part series in particular I can comfortably say is going to be a classic run that you won't want to miss any of, and that's with us only one-third of the way through.  That should tell you all you need to know.

Lew Stringer Comics on this blog:

Thursday, 1 March 2018



One month, four issues and one classic story from beginning to end.  Welcome back to my monthly photographic Instagram journey through my collection of the Transformers comic from Marvel UK, with February 1986 building up nicely to the sublime 50th issue.  Celebrations are kept to a minimum compared to the ones which would occur for the 100th, 150th etc. issues, but you can't argue it's got a very special cover and an exciting conclusion to the story currently being told.

During February I took time to read back over this series of posts so far and I realised I kind of lost my way and ended up waffling on for far too long about each story on Instagram.  That's not what this project is meant to be about, it's all about showing off the actual comics through photographs with a small caption to give them some context.  It's Instagram after all and not a full-on write-up, that'll come later when I've plugged the gaps in the collection from the first year of the comic.  So I caught myself on and I'm back on track again, so hopefully from #48 onwards below you should see a change back to the original idea in that regard, including some more dynamic photos focussing on specific bits of the sublime artwork, rather than just full pages.

A fun month and this story is definitely worth hunting out and buying, folks!

1st February 1986

#47: 32 years ago the Dinobot Hunt was on!  This would lead to a fan-favourite cover in a few weeks and indeed the same could be said of the whole story.  I can see why.  I've included the first three-and-a-bit pages here to show you the brilliance of the writing which builds up a superb atmospheric tension.

Snarl is on the rampage, his internal circuits badly damaged from being buried in a tar pit for an age and he's the first target for the hunt by the other Autobots.  But what I love the most here (once again) are the humans, their interactions being our eyes into the battle and lending it a real size and scope!  Thompson may only be in the one issue but he makes an impact and saves the day.  More great human characters to come in this story I'm very happy to say.

Then there's a little snippet from Soundwave's letters page to end on.

Cover by David Lloyd
Dinobot Hunt!: Part One art by Will Simpson and colours by Stuart Place

8th February 1986

#48: The Dinobot Hunt continues with a story that was both sweet with Sludge and his new friend, as well as rather gruesome for a kid's comic with the trail of death left in the wake of the Decepticons as they make their presence felt in the story.  It's all building up to #50!

Also here is a cool extra in the shape of the latest rundown on the Deception ranks, plus a guest appearance from Daredevil in the Iron Man backup.  An issue certainly worth tracking down.

Cover by Jeff Anderson
Dinobot Hunt!: Part Two pencils by Barry Kitson, inks by Marc Griffiths with colours by Jeff Anderson and Stuart Place (unknown who did which pages)
Iron Man: From the Ashes art and colours by Ken Steacy

15th February 1986

#49: 32 years ago at the time of this post (on Instagram, blog-readers) Transformers fans were just one week away from #50 of Marvel UK's top-seller and the action in Dinobot Hunt didn't let up one bit.  My personal favourite Dino, Slag, faced a rodeo of epic proportions with the newly-defected Jetfire while Soundwave hinted at what was to come.

He was also on top letter-answering form again.  As always.

Cover by Geoff Senior
Dinobot Hunt!: Part Three art by Will Simpson and colours by Stuart Place

22nd February 1986

#50: What a cover!  This must've excited many youngsters across the UK at the time!  John Higgins' stunning painted artwork marks this celebratory 50th issue of Transformers UK, containing the conclusion of Dinobot Hunt, another classic early mini-epic from this brilliant, top-selling comic.

Fans were also poked with the hype stick about the "Special Teams" to come, which were just magical toys back in the day and the return of a certain maniacal madman, erm, mad robot.

Also there's the launch of a rather unique Marvel UK comic title!

Cover by John Higgins
Dinobot Hunt!: Part Four art by Barry Kitson and colours by Stuart Place

Today's roundup coincides as always with the next issue popping up on my Instagram feed (no need to sign up) so nip on over there if you'd like to see what #51 had in store for 80s kids all over the country.  That'll be updated with more photos of these comics every Thursday throughout March before they're all brought together like this on the blog on Thursday 5th April.