WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: SPECKY HECTOR

If you’re not already following Lew Stringer‘s blog then let this be your official instruction to do so. Not only will you be kept up to date on the latest comics work of Lew’s seeing publication in titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Beano, The Dandy Annuals and Rebellion‘s Cor!! Buster Specials, followers also get a look into his extensive back catalogue, glimpses into how some fondly remembered creations came to be and, in the case of OiNK and Buster character Specky Hector, a look at what some characters are up to these days.

Specky first appeared in #20 of OiNK and popped up now and again in both it and the comic it merged into after its run came to an end. Well, fast forward a couple of decades to the present day and Lew has shown us how Specky is doing. I’m very happy to see he hasn’t changed one bit.

Drawn as an A4 piece to help raise money for the War Child charity via an auction run by Enniskillen Comic Fest organiser Paul Trimble on the Battle Comic Fans Facebook page, it shows everyone’s favourite comics collector is still very happily collecting comics. In the end this one drawing raised £105 for the charity which is great news too!

Fans of the character may like to know he also made an appearance in 2020’s new Battle (of Britain) Special where Lew brought back one of his classic strips in a new colourised form. The special is still available on the 2000AD online shop at the time of writing.

Thanks to Lew for his kind permission to share this image here on the OiNK Blog.

REMEMBERiNG ANDY ROPER

This month the very sad news reached me of the passing of OiNK cartoonist Andy Roper. Andy’s intricately detailed strips were always a highlight of any issue he was involved with. While he only contributed a handful of different stories they’re fondly remembered to this day, a testament to his unique art style.

He first appeared in the pages of #11 with Scruff of the Track, written by OiNK co-creator/editor Mark Rodgers who is also sadly no longer with us. On the surface it’s drawn in a style that wouldn’t have looked out of place in action adventure comics of the day, at least until you start reading it that is. Upon closer inspection it’s so jam-packed with background detail and visual gags that it pays to take your time and relish every single panel.

Over the course of OiNK’s run Andy’s artwork graced the cover twice, such as with this brilliant parody of King Kong for #31. For me personally, having only collected the comic since #14 the first time I saw his art was when I went to the newsagent to pick up #22. It was wrapped up in a fittingly spectacular poster cover to mark part one of a special two-part story called The Spectacles of Doom!

Prince Endor and his amazing eyewear returned two more times, for a much longer story in the regular fortnightly comic and then in the second (and final) annual, The Oink! Book 1989. While Scruff of the Track was gorgeous to look at in its own right, when Andy applied colour the result was nothing short of amazing. Just take a look at this double page spread from the aforementioned annual to see what I mean.

Just like the late, great J.T. Dogg, Andy may not have appeared in every issue but when he did he made a huge impact on the readers, there’s no doubt about that. Given the intricacy of his work these epic strips must’ve taken so long to complete that I doubt he ever stopped working between his appearances.

The fact my memory, which isn’t great at the best of times, had held on to Andy’s pages for decades shows how much of a highlight they were of OiNK for me. I hope this little website can do its part in holding on to the memory of his stunning creations for future readers.