Category Archives: Personal Post


Something a little different for you today on the OiNK Blog. The mother of one of my best friends is about to release her first ever book, Crescent Witches. In fact, the book launch takes place in Belfast on Sunday 2nd April and I’ll be there. It sounds like it could be a great read, and I’m not just saying that because she’s Emma’s mum! Witchcraft, monsters, dark secrets and the return of great evil, all set in identifiable locations across the north of Ireland, this sounds right up my street.

Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Just over a century since the Great War had ended, witches and wizards had defeated the evil Johnagock and banished them to a hell dimension forever.

Many years then passed with all magical creatures living in peace across the veil hidden from the human world.

Then one dreadful night the young witch Amelia Crescent’s worst nightmares returned to haunt her once more, the Johnagock were back.

It’s now up to Amelia, with the help of her sister Georgette, to uncover the dark secrets of their family’s past and discover the truth behind their parents’ deaths in order to defeat their evil foe once again.

Author Margaret McMahon is from the heart of Belfast city. She has a daughter and a son. Margaret trained and worked as a professional florist and also worked in an Irish language school. This is her first novel.

Anyone who has watched movies or TV series filmed in or around places near their home will know the thrill of seeing them on the screen. For me this has included TV series such as The Fall, Derry Girls and Line of Duty (and Game of Thrones, but I’ll admit I’ve never seen it) and movies Dracula Untold, The Lost City of Z and (unsurprisingly) Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. But a fantasy novel set in places I know so well is a new one for me and an aspect of the story I’m particularly looking forward to.

For example, there’s a gateway to another realm inside the famous leaning Albert Clock in the centre of Belfast. This is something I’ve walked past hundreds of times, not noticing the spooky intricate details that would suit a story like this so well until I saw the images used for the cover of Maggie’s book! Elsewhere, Carrickfergus Castle (another famous filming location for many a flick) is a school in the other realm and I bet you didn’t know all those tiny octagonal rocks that form the Giant’s Causeway along the north coast are actually dwellings in a magical hidden city!

“I’m hoping that this book will give people with dyslexia and other conditions, especially young people, the courage to get up and do it.”

Margaret McMahon

Just to add to the local magic, the spells and incantations in the story are all Irish which I think is a lovely touch. The book sounds like great fun and has already featured in the press, most notably the Belfast Telegraph, Andersontown News and North Belfast News, and the Derry News where more of the story is also set. You can see a selection of these write-ups below.

Margaret (or Maggie as I know her) was always creative but due to dyslexia in her school days she never really fulfilled that dream of writing a story for publication until now, encouraged by her children. (Knowing Emma the way I do, that encouragement may have been difficult to ignore!)

“Technology is amazing,” Maggie says in a newspaper interview. “It has allowed me to write this book, something I never thought I’d be able to do after years of struggling. I couldn’t understand why everyone else could understand all the words on the page and they just didn’t make sense to me. It was only years later that I realised I had dyslexia. I left school with no education but I was always creative and artistic. I ended up becoming a florist and I’ve worked as one for most of my life. I also worked as an assistant at Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain for a number of years.”

The book launch will take place in McHugh’s bar in Belfast right beside the aforementioned Albert Clock, next door to the Laganside bus depot if you’re travelling into the city and a short walk from Lanyon Place train station (formerly Belfast Central). It kicks off at 2pm and I’ll be there along with Maggie and Emma, so please come along if you can.

As Maggie herself put it, “I’m hoping that this book will give people with dyslexia and other conditions, especially young people, the courage to get up and do it. If I can do it, anyone can. Don’t let your disabilities hold you back.”

Crescent Witches can be ordered now on Shanway Press’ website at this link.


I’m hugely excited about the rest of this year on the blog, especially in respect of OiNK itself. When this all began in the spring of last year I knew I was going to enjoy this, I knew I couldn’t wait to read my favourite comic, the funniest ever created in my opinion, in real time for two-and-a-half-years. There have been a few defining moments so far, such as #6 where it all came together and the comic settled into its run, #15 introduced fan favourite characters and recently with its first Holiday Special and the Crash special edition it was expanding further. It was surely here to stay.

OiNK is my very favourite comic and these are my very favourite issues

Now we’re about to hit another such moment in the life of OiNK, at least for me. While it’ll be highlighted with a different paper stock and a redesign to the front covers, these next few months are a special moment for me personally. Yes, it had changed publishers (as highlighted in #35’s review) and there are the cosmetic changes but issues #36 to #44 are the ones which I remember reading the most as a kid and there’s a reason for that.

I’d forgotten just how much I’d enjoyed these issues originally until I covered them for the old blog about seven or so years ago. Not having read them since I’m eager to get stuck in all over again. All my favourite characters and cartoonists were present and correct, the subjects were perfectly chosen, there were fun extras, the best Christmas issue and of course it all culminated in that superb first annual, which remains my favourite childhood book to this day. It still makes me laugh out loud!

Everything felt tight, from the scripting to the editing. With so much crammed into every issue these OiNKs showed what was possible to every other humour comic of the day. Every single one of these issues is a classic and each one brings with it personal memories which I’ll be reliving as we go along.  If only the comic had stayed in this format instead of changing things up again in the new year, but we’ll get to that when the time comes.

For now, I’m super excited for what’s ahead. OiNK is my very favourite comic of all time and these issues are my very favourite of its whole run. I like to call this OiNK’s Golden Age.

It all kicks off with #36, the ‘OiNK Goes Peculiar’ issue, the review of which will be here from Monday 5th September 2022.


I know we should never give in to the bullies, the trolls, the people who think they own the things we talk about and attack us when we have an opinion that doesn’t match theirs. But sometimes we just have to look after our own mental health, you know? Last night I announced on socials I was taking a break from the blog, and initially this morning I was ready to walk away permanently. But now an outpouring of support has changed my mind. So I’m not going to let the bullies win. There’ll be no break, no walking away and I’m truly touched and feeling rather emotional today.

Let me explain what’s happened.

Yesterday I wrote about the Zzap!64 review of the OiNK game, which was all very positive, as was the one in C&VG magazine, and I myself had a fun experience with the game too. Because it didn’t tie in well (or at all) with OiNK it’s been disregarded in the decades since. I wanted to offer up a different opinion.

This was not met well on the OiNK Facebook Group.

It started off as only one individual, who saw how I liked something they didn’t and proceeded to break down every element of the thing I liked and tell me why it was terrible, and what games I should be praising instead (they know better). If you’re active on social media sites like Twitter you’ll be familiar with that scenario I’m sure. I’m of the ilk that if someone likes something I don’t I’ll either just move on and let them continue to enjoy it, or I’ll engage and have a friendly chat and swap opinions and discuss like adults.

But hey, that’s just me.

I tried to explain we’re all entitled to our own opinions but they continued. Then they started to twist what I was saying, making it out like I was the one stating they couldn’t have a different opinion to mine! Talk about projection. I clarified several times, but they continued to the point where the praise they’d previously offered up about the blog itself suddenly changed; now the blog was “condescending” and they told me not to share it on the group anymore because I’m “thin-skinned”. In reality I was simply clarifying yet again (and again) that the way they commented wasn’t necessary in order to offer up a different opinion.

Then the personal attacks came.

They continued on to the point where I was so angry I left the group (and I’ll admit I swore in one of my final comments), the group I was admin of. I was upset and angry that now my writing, my blog and my person were coming under attack after several comments from this person, and all because of a difference of opinion over a 35-year-old computer game?! I explained how it had all made me feel and their reaction was a laughing emoji. Says it all, doesn’t it?

But here’s the thing, this morning I’ve woken up to “anonymous” comments on the blog (which obviously failed moderation), as well as DMs in my FB and Instagram accounts (ironically, not Twitter) and from a few different accounts. Whether the person on FB meant for this to happen or not is not the point, the fact is that it’s happened and they started it, they opened the door to like-minded individuals who have now started on me with horrible personal attacks.

The thing is, these are meant to be pig pals! I thought our fanbase was better than this, that our fanbase was too small for this kind of thing! Well apparently it’s not. But the fanbase is definitely far too small for this to be ignored, for it not to affect me personally.

So I was originally coming on here to tell you all I was taking a break. I wasn’t even sure if the blog would return if these were some of the people who had been reading it, waiting in the wings to tear it all down when I like something they don’t (or maybe just to get their kicks now I’ve dared say all this). That’s what gets to me, they may only be a small handful of people, but they ARE some of the people that have been following the blog up to this point, because this blog isn’t anywhere near big enough in the grand scheme of things for it to be randomers.

But as I said, I won’t let them win, so the blog isn’t going anywhere and it’s not taking a break either. Their pathetic, childish, impudent comments will continue to be blocked on the blog, I wasn’t for returning to the FB group if certain people weren’t removed but speaking with so many wonderful people today who want me back, I am. It’s important we all look after our own mental health and I’ve thought long and hard about this, but when I looked past the trolls I saw all of the supportive comments, thank you so much everyone! You’ve really brought a load of joy to the day, I’d no idea the blog was loved so much by so, so many of you! Three or four trolls versus the dozens and dozens of you who took the time to reach out in support, it’s no competition!

This blog and the decent people following it (the vast majority minus a few numpties) have helped me through some really tough times this past year and a bit. So to those who attacked me just because I dared voice an opinion that differed from yours, or because I stood up to one of your ilk, you’re not welcome here and I think I can comfortably say Uncle Pigg would feel the same. There’s a reason Tom Thug was the butt of the jokes in his strips and not the hero.

As for everyone else, see ya around >real< pig pals.

(Quick update: The person that started this is now online saying he’s a victim of bullying because of this post, that I’m fragile and need mental help. I didn’t need any more proof of what I’m dealing with, but there you go. Onwards and upwards, time to mute, block and move on. There are funny comics to write about!)