I have distinct memories of showing this issue of OiNK to some friends of mine a few years after its publication, when I’d moved on to grammar school and met some huge 2000AD fans. Their reaction to the cover and the strip inside was one of laughter, naturally. One of them had also collected OiNK, for the others it was something new and they were gutted not only at the fact Judge Pigg wasn’t a regular strip, but that the comic itself was no longer being produced.

The lack of colour on the cover is a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, with the strip inside being in black and white, and a spoof of the earlier days of Judge Dredd when the majority of 2000AD also lacked colour, it does seem to suit the subject matter. But still, I can’t help but wonder how much better it would’ve looked. Interesting to note the comic is committing to ‘satire’ now too, after writer Graham Exton previously went to lengths to explain OiNK focussed on parody instead of satire and the difference between them . Perhaps this was another sign of the changing age of the audience mentioned in #51 (more on that soon).

Steve Gibson is the perfect artist to parody the hard-edged style of classic Judge Dredd, making the joke of the whole thing even more reminiscent of what inspired it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there’s something quite Brian Bolland about it, like Steve was spoofing that particular Dredd artist. It’s written by Mark Rodgers (of course it would be), someone who had worked for IPC Magazine’s humour comics for many years and who would’ve been very familiar with their stablemate sci-fi comic.

Also, as a regular cat sitter myself and someone who can’t walk past a kitty without trying to befriend them I just love that ending! This is one OiNK strip that’s even more enjoyable to me nowadays than it was when I was a mere ten-years-old. Not just because of the cat though. I think I appreciate the work Steve has put into the style of the strip overall more these days, I’ve read a good bit of Dredd in the intervening years, whereas originally I don’t think I even knew of the character when I read this the first time.

Frank makes tabloid headlines the butt of his jokes with the actual story being very different to the assumption the headline produces

Since going weekly co-editor Tony Husband has contributed a hybrid full-page/mini-strip to each issue. Containing only two or three panels each but taking up a full page, there’s a chance those unfamiliar with OiNK and the freestyle drawings of Tony might initially think these pages are light on content, maybe even rushed as one friend put it at the time. Not true of course, and when each and every one of them produces a good laugh who cares anyway?

Those of us used to two years of Tony’s award-winning style and his Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins strips enjoyed these bold full-page gags every week and they’re a defining part of OiNK’s short but memorable 18-issue stint as a weekly comic. Tony also created one of my favourite non-regular characters, the multi-named Wonder Pig who this issue goes by the name Lazzie. They were getting a four-issue run (quickly followed up by one more in the first monthly) and the repetition of the predicament that would befall his owner continued to raise giggles.

Other highlights of #58 include Frank Sidebottom’s Little Bit of Show-biz (sic) Gossip at the bottom of his page. As per usual Frank makes tabloid headlines the butt of his jokes with the actual story being very different to the assumption the headline produces. Then Hieronymous Van Hellsong is in the pits of hell looking for the soul of singer Raoul McCurtney and it appears even in that dark place there’s always that one person.

I’ve mentioned before about being surprised at how little certain characters actually appear in OiNK because they’d formed such a strong part of my memories of the comic from childhood. Perhaps the very fact some of my favourites weren’t in every issue helped make their appearances all that more memorable and I think this applies to the following series too, which I’m very surprised to discover had only six episodes.

Charlie Brooker’s The Swinelight Zone popped up in #44 as a one-off strip and then reappeared three weeks ago in #55. It’s been in each issue since as well as the recent Holiday Special but it disappears after this, never to return. Even though I only read these about seven years ago for the previous blog, in my head I still thought it was a regular fixture all the way through to the last issue. What a shame, but at least they go out on a high. Quite literally in this case.

One strip which would remain with us until the very end was Kev F Sutherland’s Meanwhile… series. Each had a completely different scenario with nothing to link them other than the title and the cartoonist’s unique sense of humour. Kev would take a seemingly trivial locale or event and create a guaranteed laugh from it in his own unique way, such as ‘Meanwhile at the Fun Fair…’ back in #49. That was a properly funny mini-strip and I’m very happy to say the return of the series for the first time since gets a full page.

There’d be at least one (more often than not more than that) in each of the monthlies and they really were a constant defining highlight of those later issues. The Meanwhile… in this issue is the perfect example of what we could expect so much of. It takes a simple idea, a simple joke that could’ve worked in a smaller capacity, and takes it to another level, making it as crazy and as funny as possible before the pay off. So, after Kev’s pun-packed March of the Killer Breakfasts last week comes something completely diffferent.

That was the beauty of the Meanwhile… series; on the surface they were more like a series of one-offs by the same really talented cartoonist, every single one felt completely different, yet that idea of taking a joke and getting as much value out of it as possible was key. The example above still pops into my head today whenever I hear someone utter those words, “Say when”, and I have a little chuckle to myself every time.

From strips I thought were regulars but weren’t, to one I thought was a tiny little one-off when it appeared in the previous Christmas issue but then was delighted to see return just a few weeks ago in a delightful full-colour, full-page strip, it’s The Kingdom of Trump. This is another last appearance unfortunately, but then I didn’t expect more than one in the first place so I’m just happy to see it again. This is also the most memorable of the trilogy.

I’d loved to have seen what else Davey could’ve come up with

Davey Jones’ King isn’t the main character in this one but the silliness of his kingdom and all those that dwell within it is every much front and centre. Davey’s sense of humour is completely insane; go and have a look at #20’s war spoof Bridge Over the River Septic if you need any more proof of that! He’d later become a hit in the pages of Viz and you can clearly see why in his OiNK work.

From the wooden stick masquerading as a horse, to the dragon living in a cave right next to the throne with a polite little doorbell, there’s so much that made me laugh on this half-page. Funniest of all is that first silent panel, the penultimate one in the strip, with that facial expression! The Kingdom of Trump really should’ve been a regular, the three examples we got were so funny, each one better than what came before. I’d loved to have seen what else Davey could’ve come up with.

On that note we come to the end of another review. We of course finish with co-editor Patrick Gallagher’s newsagent reservation coupon as usual, moving from the already random Great Moments in History to the completely daft Great Moments in the Height of Good Manners (number 76 no less). April is the last month full of weekly issues so make sure to come back next Friday 14th April 2023 for #59 as we inch closer to the next big evolution in the life of OiNK.


This issue’s cover is one of my very favourites from all of OiNK’s issues for two reasons. The first is obvious, it’s a Jeremy Banx cover featuring Jimmy ’The Cleaver’ Smith, the comic’s villainous butcher baddie in a pool of glistening blood on a splattered background. You wouldn’t have got this in other humour comics, that’s for sure. The other reason is its audacity, that the issue’s cover, its selling point on the shelves, states clearly it has absolutely nothing to do with the contents inside. 

This is actually a bit of a sticking point with me as far as some modern American comics go. They can have lovely elaborate covers, yes, but they don’t always relate to the story inside. If this issue of OiNK was released today I’d swear they were taking a shot at those. Inside, it’s also the Easter issue, with Uncle Pigg chowing down on a mountain of chocolate eggs while he cracks (sorry) puns, but apart from Lew Stringer’s two strips no others shell out (sorry again) on eggy scripts. Tom Thug’s title panel also seems to follow the theme from the cover, of having nothing to do with what follows.

The fact the egg (or rather Tom) appears to be asking for “Ralph” or “Hughie” is a great gag; we know exactly what’s happening to the dim-witted one inside and the panel showing us the results is convincingly disgusting! Having once stupidly gone on an amusement ride after eating ice cream and the result of that I almost feel sorry for the dolt. Almost. The limited colours given to the page really help highlight the main plot device (the egg) and the one splash of green makes for a funny moment in itself.

Did you also spot the ‘School Rules’ on the wall? At the time of the comic’s release I could definitely empathise with the kids at Tom’s school with that, finding it very funny in the process. This and Pete’s strip (a highlight is further below) being Easter themed makes the whole issue feel extra special in 2023 too, what with the Easter holidays happening almost at the same time as in 1988. With this quality no wonder Tom carried on for so many years in Buster comic!

This particular issue contains something of Kev F Sutherland’s that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time

Kev F Sutherland first contributed to an issue of OiNK in #38. Having proven himself with that mini-strip his work has finally become a regular fixture and this particular issue contains something of his that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time in this read through, March of the Killer Breakfasts! As a kid I loved my various cereals and their advertisements on TV promising toys and surprises. I can understand why things have changed (for the better) today, but this next strip takes me back to that time and laughing at all of the references to those adverts, never mind the onslaught of over-the-top puns.

There’s something quite genius right there on page one, when Kev perfectly lays down two future jokes when he names his protagonist. To the reader it’s initially just a funny name tied in with the cereal theme, but later two perfectly timed puns in the same caption tell us why ‘Dr Brek Sugar’ was really given that name. This is one of Kev’s best and one of the funniest strips in OiNK. Out of all of his contributions I think it’s tied for first place with his time travelling professors we’ll meet in a monthly later in the year. It’s comedic genius, and it’s inside a children’s comic.

Right from the start OiNK wanted to give a chance to young, new talent in the world of children’s comics and hired accordingly. This commitment rubbed some long-time professionals up the wrong way but the comic stuck to its guns. Now, with Kev centre stage in each issue and the likes of young Charlie Brooker producing so much material, OiNK had evolved a lot since its early days and it makes me wonder what other new talent it would’ve discovered if it had continued for longer than the two-and-a-half years it ran.

There’s the Pete and his Pimple strip I mentioned earlier, when Pete discovers after eating too many Easter Eggs that his pimple’s pus takes like delicious milk chocolate. Of course it runs out just as he tries to impress Lovely Lucy. The Wonder Pig (this time called Laffie) is back in the first of a series of weekly adventures, with the usual predicament, and then on Mercury a rather familiar looking royal family have summoned Burp to help with the sweltering heat on the first planet next to the sun. This leads nicely on to one of two GBH Madvertisements in this issue.

Are you sick and tired of your job? Don’t you just wish you had the ability to leave it, perhaps by winning the lottery? Well GBH has just the thing for you. Their special offer of two free (not free) books will teach you everything you need to know to do just that. In fact, all you need is a lot of privilege and being born into the right family. Surely this isn’t something you can teach, right? Well that kind of detail never stopped these gangsters from try to hock their latest scam idea.

While OiNK’s humour for the most part has not aged, when it spoofs celebrities of the 80s it’s inevitable that kids reading it today (as some blog readers have told me their own kids do) may not appreciate those particular strips as much as us who grew up with them. Of course, this particular Madvertisement has aged but for a whole other reason, however let’s not shut down the whole country again and just move on, shall we? I do like Steve Gibson’s very Spitting Image-esque drawings though.

A couple of mini-strips before we round off this week’s review and Ed McHenry’s Wally of the West continues to entertain. This week it’s not Wally himself that’s acting on the silly side though, he’s actually the innocent victim of someone else’s ridiculousness. Then Marc Riley’s Doctor Mooney He’s Completely Looney has two scriptwriters this week, Marc himself and Mick Peek. It’s silly, gross-out humour and one which made me chuckle because I’m still that big of a child.

At this point in OiNK’s run Marc was spending a lot more time on his music career which included spending time in America, so more and more of his strips are being written (or co-written) by others from the team. As I mentioned above OiNK had evolved somewhat and it would continue to do so, never standing still or resting on its laurels. Sometimes this was for the best, sometimes not so much. As you’ll see in the months ahead it can be both of these extremes even in individual issues, when newer talent gets to contribute more while we have to say cheerio to some of the originals.

That’s us at the rear of another porker. Just time to ensure the young readers reserved their copies at their local newsagent’s with co-editor Patrick Gallagher’s usual weekly nonsense in the Great Moments in History coupon. To paraphrase it, I’m hoping the blog is still to all of your tastes and in case you missed it (somehow) make sure you check out the extra review we had this past week for the OiNK! Holiday Special #2! When you’re all caught up make sure you’re back here next week, on Friday 7th April 2023 for #58 and have a Happy Easter (even though the next issue will be out by then)!


This gorgeous cover by renowned illustrator Paul Sample is sadly his only contribution to OiNK but what a contribution it is. There are a lot of intricate details my young eyes loved pouring over when this came with me on an Easter family trip to the Scottish highlands in 1988, whiling away the long train journey from the Stranraer ferry. Among the sea and adoring OiNK fans look harder and there’s a ‘Porkman’ instead of a Walkman, Crackling Oil and a rather dark strip on the OiNK Uncle Pigg is reading. It looks extra gorgeous on the large, glossy paper after the comic moved to matt with #36 last autumn.

This is also a wraparound cover poster and I’ll show you rest of it, complete with another comical shark, Icarus and even the sun itself getting in on the OiNK sensation, at the end of the review. The way the crowds are swarming the comic’s logo adds to the feeling of a Holiday Special crammed full to bursting. Inside, the first half in particular is stuffed full of reading material, really giving us superb value for money for a measly 70p. This would actually be the last special of any type with no reprints, so let’s enjoy it!

We get introduced to the comic with a big Uncle Pigg panel written by co-editor Mark Rodgers and drawn as ever by Ian Jackson. While it’s nice to see such an introduction again I can’t help but be disappointed that there’s no strip featuring him and Mary Lighthouse (critic) like we had last year, but then again they stopped a while back in the regular comic. Beneath this is a funny little one-off strip written by Howard Osborn and drawn by Mike Green and thus the tone is set for the special.

I was very happy to see Hadrian Vile’s Hollydaye Albumm here

I’m going to dedicate a full post to one of the main highlights of this issue soon. There are lots of little artists’ profiles, each taking up a quarter of a page. They’re all created by each individual cartoonist and the information in them isn’t exactly reliable, let’s just put it that way and it’s also fun to see how they draw themselves. There are ten altogether and I simply couldn’t have choosen which ones to leave out if I was going to select some for this review, so watch out for that additional post containing them all.

In the previous regular OiNK review (#56) I lamented the fact Hadrian Vile’s diary had more or less come to an end by this point in the comic’s lifetime so I was very happy to see his Hollydaye Albumm here. It’s not a full diary, however it’s a special version for the holiday issue and a fun read. His long suffering dad is front and centre and again is Hadrian’s unintended victim over and over as they set off on their trip to France. A trip we end up seeing nothing of in the whole strip. As always he’s written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by Ian Jackson.

The best thing about this is there’ll be aspects of it that’ll feel familiar to most readers, even if it’s exaggerated somewhat. Although I’m not sure how many families would’ve taken photos of these incidents back in the 1980s. Not when we had a limited number of photographs we could take on our cameras, paying to get them developed. Today though, it’d be much more likely, with the photos likely ending up on social media. Maybe Hadrian was just a trailblazer.

Weedy Willy began life in OiNK as a regular character in the earliest issues, however after several months he would only pop up every few issues or so and even then as mini-strips most of the time. You wouldn’t know he’d been reduced to semi-regular status in this Holiday Special though, with two strips only a few pages apart. The first is a full page while the second, funnier one is this half-page, the winning joke coming from a cowpat!

Written by Keith Forrest and drawn by the master of the thin ink nib, Mike Green, this issue really brings Willy back to his former glory. In the first strip (written by Vaughan Brunt) we even find out Mandy and Willy are now a couple! In that first story he gets the upper hand thanks to his weediness while above the joke is on him, but just in a silly way, not a cruel way. That cowpat being so particularly chuffed in the third panel genuinely made me laugh out loud too. 

The biggest highlight of this issue has to be Frank Sidebottom’s board game, Frank’s Timperley Bike Racing Game. The board takes up the centre pages but several pages earlier up pops two pages rammed with rules, player pieces and cut out cards. As always Chris Sievey has clearly put a lot of thought and work into his latest creation. The game is well thought out, unlike a lot of comics games which usually feel like filler. This one feels suitably special.

I actually like the sound of the game, with the players speeding back and forth across the board trying to hit a specific selection of squares given to them by the random shuffling of the shopping list cards. There’s a good bit of strategy to go along with the luck of the dice rolls, with players choosing the order in which they’ll attend to your list and the routes they’ll take. Chris’ attention to detail even stretches to telling the kids plain card backs should be used to ensure there can be no cheating.

I do have one complaint though. Surely buying a copy of that week’s OiNK should’ve been on every list? Oh well, you can always make more or make that part of the rules yourselves. It might just be me, but some of these (rather random) shopping list items also bring back some happy childhood memories! No, I never had to phone Paul McCartney but bike clips, puncture kits and returning videos? Yes. Just remember to rewind those tapes first. The board itself has had just as much attention paid to it.

From the train to the sunbather on the barge, from people hanging their washing up to the roads having drains, Chris has clearly poured over every inch of these pages as he usually does, adding in as many tiny little details to capture the imaginations of the young readers as possible. Also, you just know that lots of things on this board will have been based on actual buildings Chris knew from his real life. You can see why I think this is the ‘fantastic’ headline feature of this OiNK.

Let’s take a quick snack break, shall we? The snacks this next Madvert is aiming its sights at were a childhood favourite, but it’s been proven that our tastebuds change over time and mine appear to have turned against these little pillows of… well, I’ll let this next highlight describe them to you.

Honestly, I don’t know what I ever saw in them! (Nothing apparently, according to Kev F Sutherland.)

Jimmy Flynn (the boy who “Jumps Out of his Skin”), who had a mini-series at one point in the comic, gets an origin story taking up a few separate pages, yet main character Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins only gets one page and it’s a simple three-panel gag strip rather than what we’re used to. Other highlights (below) are better, such as Moth Person in Hijack at 2000 Feet, 13 1/2 Inches taking pot shots at people I’m sure a lot of us really can’t stand on public transport, followed by Tom Thug living up to the clichéd English holiday maker I’m sure we all can’t stand either.

Charlie Brooker brings us the multi-part Sam Mackay Private Eye, the first part of which is full of visual gags based on typical private eye story wordplay, but unfortunately the other chapters don’t match this first page. Billy Bang gets his one and only full-page strip and his one and only in full colour. Finally, David Haldane’s regular look at the strange world we live in takes on Strange, Bizarre Folks Customs of our Funny Old World and it’s some of his funniest yet.

When we went on long family trips there were always puzzle magazines brought along to kill time on various planes, trains and automobiles. At such a young age very few of them kept my attention for long, unlike OiNK. Luckily, OiNK had its own puzzle master in the form of Ed McHenry, who’d contributed many a puzzle to the regular comic by this stage. However, here we get a larger than normal selection with a full double-page spread of impossible conundrums. 

As ever, everything looks incredibly easy on the surface. The reality of course is that the actual answers are not what you’d expect. The fun with these became trying to work out what the completely ridiculous correct solution actually was. I don’t think I ever got one of them right. This particular spread starts off strong with The Sea Wall conundrum, while my favourite is number seven because given time you might just be able to work it out, depending on how loony you are I guess!

There have been a few occasions over the past year when Jeremy Banx has taken the random and often surreal nature of his Burp strips and given us more wordy, narrated instalments. These heightened the alienness of his existence and the unpredictability of his pages, while also adding in the vast unknowable universe and the apparently untamed imagination of the OiNK cartoonist! Told solely through elaborate narrative captions rather than speech bubbles and slapstick (along with unique out-there visuals), check out Burp’s vacation planet from #41 as the perfect example. 

The strip in this edition gives us the best of both worlds, the first page playing out like a typical Burp strip for the most part. Well, not that there’s anything like a ‘typical Burp strip’ but you know what I mean. Then from the final panel on that page we see it change into something else entirely, somewhat like the creatures at the heart of the tale. Just like the example I gave above, the wonders of the universe are laid out and then suddenly juxtaposed against the silly alien we’ve come to know and love.

While this issue isn’t quite as full of classic strips as the first Holiday Special, this is a very worthy follow-up and I can remember being very entertained by it on that family trip all those years ago. It feels extra special now we’re used to reading the 24-page matt paper weeklies. Although, in a couple of months the regular comic basically becomes a monthly Holiday Special so I wonder if these extra editions would’ve become bigger too if the comic had continued. As it stands, the two Holiday Specials so far are among the best examples of OiNK the comic had to offer.

To round off I just have to show you that wonderful wraparound cover poster by Paul Sample. My copy has curled a little at the spine over the years since it was first printed but you can still get a sense of the lovely image as it continues over the staples and on to the back page, where you can see those extra details I mentioned at the top.

That blurb on the rear perfectly sums things up.