This issue of OiNK attempts to mark a celebratory milestone too early, while marking a sad one that we weren’t aware of at the time. For the former, Uncle Pigg tells us OiNK is two-years-old this week. However, not only is there nothing else in the issue to celebrate this but he’s also got his dates wrong. The first birthday issue (#26) marked the end of the first year after the release of the preview issue, rather than the beginning of the second year and the anniversary of #1, as traditionally celebrated in other comics.

This issue we’re now reading went on sale today 35 years ago, 14th April 1988. #1 wasn’t on sale until 3rd May. Even the preview issue wasn’t bundled inside other IPC Magazines comics until 26th April. #60 will be on sale five days before even that anniversary. I’ve no idea why this happened. Anyway, as I said it also marks a sad milestone, namely the last ten regular issues. Of course, because it goes monthly those final ten will stretch all the way to October but still, it’s sad to know we’re inching closer to the end. Better show some comedy to lighten things up then, hadn’t I?

Ed McHenry’s mini-strips hit the giggle factor every time, which makes it all the more surprising that it’s taken so long to give him the chance to have regular characters, although his semi-regular puzzles were always a highlight. For example, check out the double-page spread in the recently released (in respect to this issue and the real time read through) second Holiday Special. Saying all this, Igor and the Doctor only appeared in eight issues, and just the one monthly after this one, so here’s a look at what they had to offer.

On the next page is the penultimate chapter to Hieronymous Van Hellsong’s prequel tale in which he finds himself in the pits of hell looking for the lost soul of pop singer Raoul McCurtney, who is putting on a concert for the demons. Given this outlandish set up I loved how the solution to getting inside is something so clichéd and simple.  But it’s when they make their escape in the final panels which really stands out here. I’m not going to say a word about it yet, you have to read it for yourselves.

Well now, there we go. After this many issues of OiNK it’s become something of another cliché to say here’s something else you wouldn’t see in other humour comics, but I think it just has to be said again here. Jeremy Banx in particular liked to push his strips beyond what we’d expect even in OiNK. They were never unsuitable for children but their humour always felt more grown up when I was a kid, when in actual fact looking back now it was just that his sense of humour really spoke to the new generation of more savvy, cheeky children of the 1980s.

I can’t remember how this story ends and if it were anyone else I’d struggle to believe they could top this final cliffhanger, but Van Hellsong is in great hands and I for one can’t wait to see his final showdown and final farewell. At the top of the review I looked forward and mentioned we’re now within the final ten regular editions of the comic, what’s even worse than that is we’ve only three more with Jeremy in them! We’ll come back to that but for now let’s keep things cheerful with a quick glance at other highlights of the issue.

“Sorry about the nose drips, but the artist has a cold!”

Lew Stringer (Tom Thug)

The aforementioned message from Uncle Pigg is actually drawn by a reader, the one and only time this happened, so kudos to Craig Els of Liverpool. Nigel and Skrat the Two-Headed Rat makes a sudden reappearance, keeping to their regular schedule of popping up every dozen issues or so(!), the age of competition winners was definitely on the increase when you compare who met Frank Sidebottom in this issue to #26 and Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins’ spoof football drama continues with its ridiculously far-fetched kidnapping plot.

The life of a freelance cartoonist isn’t as glamorous as some may think, especially when it comes to sick leave, or rather the lack of it. So let’s spare a thought for one of OiNK’s own this week. At the beginning of Tom Thug’s strip there appears to be a green blob randomly drawn on the page with a teaser of “What’s this? Find out later” alongside it. As his page comes to an end it’s revealed his cartoonist, Lew Stringer, was feeling rather poorly at the time, something he slips into the credit at the end of his Pete and his Pimple strip too in an equally funny manner, having a little laugh at his own expense.

Isn’t that just the happiest little shit you ever did see?

Last week Pete met Spotless Suzie, who was the target of a misogynistic idiot harassing her into giving him a snog. Through a series of events this idiot ended up the worse for wear thanks to Pete’s pimple, and when Suzie thanked Pete by giving him a kiss his zit burst all over her. But here’s the twist, Suzie is on a Y.T.S. course (do your 80s research, kids) about ‘compost analysis’ so pimple pus was a doddle to handle. Thus, Pete now has his first girlfriend, aww.

However, in previous issues Lovely Lucy was the object of Pete’s unrequited affection. Even though she made it abundantly clear she had no interest in our unlikely hero, ridiculing him in front of people, it becomes clear she’s not the type to take being passed over for anyone else either. Add in Suzie’s own nemesis Harrison and you’ve got the makings of a pair of recurring villains. Well, let’s hope so anyway.

Isn’t that just the happiest little shit you ever did see in the fifth panel? Another of the plops takes on a starring role in a future Pete and his Pimple strip and from memory it’s because of a somewhat icky pimple solution sent in by a reader! I’m sure you can draw your own ghastly conclusions to what that may be. It’s one of my faves though, so there’s a good chance you’ll see it in a future review.

Jeremy Banx and Lew have both been rather prolific with the OiNK covers during the weekly stage of the comic, with this issue’s from Jeremy even featuring a cameo from one of Lew’s characters. Better than that, it reunited readers with some of Burp’s internal organ characters we’ve come to know and love, even Kid Kidney. This issue’s Burp strip features some of that glorious wonders-of-the-universe storytelling Jeremy likes to include, beginning with some well-meaning educational moments from the smelly one before it all descends into utter chaos as per usual.

We even get another cameo in the final panel! If you’re not a regular blog reader (why not?) you should scoot off and read #32’s review, followed by #46 and you might understand why that teddy bear popping up makes my day every time. As mentioned above though, we’re approaching the end of Jeremy Banx’s time with OiNK and that’s just heartbreaking. I don’t think I realised he wasn’t part of the make up of the monthlies, he or Ian Jackson!

This isn’t a slight against either of them; I was very young and being bombarded with so much from others in each bumper monthly, and Burp came back for an epic story in the second annual later in the year, one which I have very personal, very formative memories of. That’s all I’m saying about that one for now though. Just wait and see.

We’re racing towards the back of this edition of OiNK and a lot of the mini-strips converge on the final few pages including another of Ed McHenry’s, the always lovable, always funny Wally of the West

Even when OiNK’s strips aren’t being rude or surreal or satirical, even when they could be deemed more ‘traditional’ they hit the funny bone more than any other comic’s strips did for me. Wally’s are the perfect example of this.

We arrive at the end of another issue, the apparent second birthday one at that, although arguably that could be either of the next two issue, but still, we’ve covered two years of the world’s funniest comic on the blog. OiNK has come a long way in this time (as has the blog!), it’s constantly evolved and grown, going from strength-to-strength and yet it feels like no time at all since this all began. We may be only a handful of issues from the end, but they are packed with content! It’s going to be a great summer and autumn, believe me.

So with your coupon filled out and handed in you’ll not miss out on any of the fun over the coming months. Just a few weeklies to go and then we’ll take a look at the change in format and preview what pig pals could expect. Ultimately those changes would lead to the end of an era, but I really enjoyed them as a kid. Will I enjoy them as much now as an adult?

The next issue’s review will be here from Friday 21st April 2023, see you then.

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