Category Archives: OiNK Crossovers


No, the OiNK real time read through hasn’t merged into Buster already. Instead, on this day back in 1988 another of OiNK’s sister publications ran a special promotional crossover strip featuring one of our favourite characters. Two weeks previous Tom Thug appeared in Whizzer and Chips trying to force himself into the gangs of either Sid or Shiner to no success. The story continued into OiNKs #54 to #56 and now, while that was still ongoing, another of Lew Stringer’s creations was meeting Buster.

Pete Throb of Pete and his Pimple fame ‘popped’ in to help push OiNK to younger readers. Again, I never knew about this strip at the time. In fact, the first Buster I ever read was the issue when OiNK merged into it, taking Pete, Tom and Weedy Willy with it. That was also the last issue I read until all these years later when writing the blog, so this is rather exciting because for me it’s my first brand new Pete strip after 35 years!

On his own blog, Lew seems surprised he was asked to contribute. “Not only did they let a then-relative-newcomer like me loose in the pages of this fine, well-established comic,” he says. “But I even got to co-star Buster himself in the story – although as you can see, I didn’t show him a lot of respect!” Of course by this stage our piggy publication was no longer called ‘OiNK Weekly’, having fully settled into its new frequency. Also, I think Pete saying he partakes in lots of pimply pranks sounds like he enjoys having the huge zit to cause chaos with, which as we know isn’t the case. But it’s a fun little strip nevertheless.

Fleetway knew OiNK was already performing better than the others and had real potential

I’ve had it confirmed by OiNK co-editor Patrick Gallagher that the comic was by no means failing at this stage. Yes, sales had declined since it went weekly and had to change a lot of what made it ‘OiNK’ first place (as well as lose eight pages per issue) but sales were down across the industry. These crossover strips were a well-meaning promotion by Fleetway Publications, who could easily have cancelled OiNK before now but decided to keep it running.

As I’ve explained before, when Fleetway bought IPC Magazines’ comics they organised them into different sales groups, for example Buster and Whizzer and Chips were in one, OiNK was in another alongside Nipper and others. If the combined sales of a group didn’t perform as well as Fleetway wanted then all of the comics in it would be canned. All of OiNK’s group were cancelled except OiNK itself, showing they knew it was already performing better than the others and had real potential. So instead they turned into a weekly to try to increase sales. Perhaps if it had remained in its fortnightly guise with more pages, its themes and all of its characters present (things that really set it apart), perhaps sales wouldn’t have fallen as much and these promotions could’ve helped more. We’ll never know.

This isn’t the first time Buster has featured on the blog. While the edition which contained the free preview issue of our own comic didn’t exactly promote OiNK within its pages (unlike Whizzer and Chips), the week before it did contain this advert for the craziness to come and a little promo for it on the cover.

Interestingly, that Ricky Rainbow character on the cover of the comic containing Pete’s strip is from Nipper comic, one of OiNK’s group mates who had already merged into Buster. Apparently Ricky could change colour at will, as well as being prone to changing colour based on his mood. I’d like to read more about him in particular but am unable to read the issue at the moment; these images have very kindly been donated to the OiNK Blog by Lew as I don’t have this issue myself yet. (Hopefully I’ll rectify that soon. Two weeks ago the Whizzer and Chips post used Lew’s images, but then a very kind pig pal was able to send me a double they owned of that issue, so the post has now been updated with my own images).

You can read more about this Pete and his Pimple promotion on Lew’s very own Lew Stringer Comics blog.


On this day 35 years ago in 1988 this comic appeared in shops across the land but little was I to know, as I went into my local newsagent’s to collect OiNK, that a special additional Tom Thug strip by Lew Stringer was hiding inside Whizzer and Chips just a little way down the shelf. Back when OiNK was fortnightly and it had just started to open my eyes to the world of comics, if the family were going anywhere and an OiNK wasn’t due Whizzer and Chips would usually be my second choice. The set up, pretending to be two separate comics (16 pages of Chips in the middle pages), seemed different enough to appeal to me.

I’ll admit it wouldn’t have had me laughing out loud like the piggy publication that introduced me to the medium, but it did make me smile and I’d have the occasional chortle to myself. It felt like it had tried something different years previous but without rocking the boat too much, whereas OiNK was tipping the boat upside down and daring the waves to crash into it. This particular Whizzer and Chips came with a free gift, always enticing for new readers, and inside they’d be met with a special crossover strip as a promotion for its sister title, itself having recently turned into a weekly.

The stars you see here are Sid of Sid’s Snake fame from the Whizzer half and in the stripped top is Shiner, a classic character from Chips (which was my favourite half by the way), plus Odd-Ball of course. Found on page 30 of the issue, this was in the Whizzer half of the comic. Interestingly, the end of this strip led directly into a mini-series for Tom which began in OiNK #54 the following Thursday. #53 had gone on sale one day before this, so the “on sale now” is actually incorrect, but I’m guessing this was more of an error on the part of editorial planning rather than Lew’s.

IPC had been very happy with OiNK’s average of 100,000 copies sold every fortnight, but Fleetway forced it to increase its numbers

Tom was one of the few OiNK characters that could be mistaken for a more traditional comic star, although obviously the humour was much more original; the fact a bully was the star of the strip for example, although he was never the hero and always got his comeuppance. Indeed, Tom was one of three OiNK stars to transfer to Buster comic when OiNK folded and would continue to appear in that title until it ended over a decade later!

The intention with this strip (and a Pete and his Pimple one to come in Buster in a couple of weeks) was to increase OiNK’s sales. IPC Magazines had been very happy with its average of 100,000 copies sold every fortnight, but when Fleetway Publications took over they forced it to go weekly to increase its numbers. As a result ,the OiNK team had to reduce the amount of pages to keep up and the winning formula of every issue’s contents being themed had to be dropped, as were some regular characters. All of this resulted in sales dropping rather than increasing (slow clap for Fleetway there), hence these promotions.

The Tom Thug crossover was Lew’s sole contribution to this legendary comic (a title which itself would fold into Buster a few years later) and you can read about his being asked to contribute to it in a post on his Lew Stringer Comics blog. Of course, this wasn’t actually the first time an OiNK character featured in Whizzer and Chips. Sort of. I say “sort of” because I think it’s safe to say Uncle Pigg didn’t really co-star on the cover to the issue published on 26th April 1986, making Tom’s the first true crossover as far as I’m concerned.

The issue above came in a piggy pink bag also containing the full-sized preview issue of Mark Rodgers’, Tony Husband’s and Patrick Gallagher’s masterpiece. Buster also came in the same bag but didn’t mention OiNK in any way on its cover, once again proving to me Whizzer and Chips and OiNK were kindred spirits of a kind, the former having tried something different but unfortunately had failed to move with the times. It’s still a fondly remembered comic to this day though and rightly so.

As mentioned above Pete Throb would also get the chance to promote OiNK in Buster which you’ll see on Sunday 19th March 2023. With these two Lew Stringer creations chosen it’s already clear which characters Fleetway would deem most suitable for the merger to come, although of course at this time no one knew OiNK would no longer be a regular comic by the end of the year. How sad, but there’s plenty to enjoy before then!


“What?!”, I hear you exclaim. “Why didn’t I hear of this before now?” Indeed, a crossover between two comics is always a big deal, but between an action and a humour comic and between two different publishers? That’s unheard of. Well, while pig pals were enjoying IPC Magazine‘s OiNK #18, the first Hogmanay issue at the end of 1986, over in Marvel UK‘s The Transformers #94 was hitting shelves.

Back in the 80s it seemed like every comic I picked up had a Lew Stringer humour strip inside. Whether that was in funny comics themselves or in the likes of Transformers, Action Force (G.I. Joe), Marvel Secret Wars or early issues of The Real Ghostbusters. When Action Force folded into the pages of Transformers Lew’s Combat Colin character would come along for the ride but before that Robo-Capers gave readers a good giggle every week.

While there were some regular characters, for the most part Robo-Capers were random little gags about the future of automation and robotics, a hot topic in the 80s. (In fact, early issues had news articles about the topic.) In this issue a suitably New Year-themed strip quite literally rang in 1987 to finish off the issue. Enjoy, but take your time and savour the little details.

Did you spot him? In the last panel, below the big reveal, on top of the letterbox, have a look. Yep, that’s Satan the Cat, none other than Tom Thug‘s little kitty! So does this mean this strip was set in OiNKtown to keep it canon? No, it’s just a daft comic strip, silly! You didn’t really expect a full blown crossover with the Robots in Disguise did you? This is OiNK! You should know better by now.

Lew has shared this post on his own blog and adds, “Making an unofficial guest appearance in the strip is Tom Thug’s cat Satan from IPC’s OiNK comic (sitting on the postbox) and in the corner, it’s Loose Brayne, Brickman himself holding the sign. All part of the Lewniverse! The shop sign refers to Marvel editors Richard Starkings and John Tomlinson who sometimes did the colour separations for the strip. (All of my Marvel strips were coloured by the staff.) I’ve forgotten who ‘Hindmarsh’ was, so apologies for that.”

Tom himself would even make a cameo in a later issue which you’ll see when I get to that one in the Transformers’ real time read through over on the blog’s Instagram. For now, I just wanted to share this little bit of fun to kick off 2023, I think it’s going to be a good one. Happy New Year everyone.