Tag Archives: David Haldane

OiNK! #30: THE SPiTTiNG iMAGE OF FUN!

This cover really takes me back and I’m not just talking abut OiNK itself, I’m clearly referencing the classic puppet satire show Spitting Image, whose characters were used in this edition. I was also a big fan of the series even if at that age a lot of the jokes went over my head. But there were always enough to keep me giggling for half an hour on a Sunday night. For our 30th issue they’ve collaborated with Uncle Pigg for the results of the OiNK Awards as voted for by pig pals.

We’ll get to that in a bit, although you can see from the front cover who won The World’s Biggest Wally. We kick off with our final set of free postcards, plonked in the middle of the award ceremony itself. Following up on Jeremy Banx‘s and Lew Stringer’s is Ian Jackson with these brilliant Uncle Pigg and Mary Lighthouse (critic) cards. I think both of these would’ve been great advertisements in other comics for OiNK, or made for very funny postcards to drop through the letterbox of unsuspecting family members waiting for a picturesque beach or mountaintop.

The issue itself begins with Mary’s own strip welcoming us to the subject of celebrities. Written as ever by Mark Rodgers and again drawn by Ian, she’s disgusted that respected famous people would be getting the OiNK treatment like this, but thinks the inclusion of herself on one of the postcards will send the right message. Naturally, it doesn’t quite work out as she planned and my favourite funny moment here comes right at the end with that poor policeman!

There’s another very important award to hand out this issue, the ‘Most Helpful Superhero Award’ so surely that means our resident high-flying, highly smelly Rubbish Man by David Haldane is up for a gong. Well no, apparently his whiffy antics aren’t award material. While he can make a hash of things, most times he does end up saving the day, but with that comes the pong and the mess left behind; not of destroyed buildings and terrified citizens but of mouldy mashed potatoes and cold spaghetti bolognese left everywhere. However, now he’s on a mission to prove he deserves recognition as a true hero.

This is one of my favourite Rubbish Man strips and contains nearly all of the elements that made David’s creation so enjoyable. We’ve got a ridiculous situation to begin with, an introduction of another completely random enemy character, an unsurpassed level of ever-increasing daftness in every single panel, our hero trying his best but failing epically and an ending you won’t see coming. In fact, the only thing missing is those aforementioned rotting foodstuffs he’d secrete from various parts of his body, with only his stench in the first panels reminding us of his unwelcome powers.

Even an old armchair can be a superhero in Haldane’s world, and even an old armchair that’s in the right spot by pure chance is a more welcome hero for the populace. Poor Rubbish Man! But Jimmy Bung (his alter-ego) isn’t the only character whose attempts at helping others regularly backfires, as equally (if not, more so) smelly alien Burp can attest. In this issue his latest invention teleports fast food straight into people’s stomachs so they don’t have to taste it but as always it doesn’t go quite as planned, as you can see in one of this issue’s many highlights. Also, check out Steve Gibson’s fruity version of Dustin Hoffman on the celebrity news page and our Wonder Pig gets yet another new name.

It’s time for the main event. With categories such as Worst Pop Group, Worst Dressed Person, Unfunniest Comedian and even Worst Comic, the readers of OiNK didn’t hold back in sharing what they thought of celebrities and 80s culture. There are quite a few on the shortlist, and even some I was a huge fan of at the time but it was all in good jest, giving the young readers the chance to take their own pot shots at the likes of those OiNK had targeted since the very beginning.

Taking up four pages in the middle of the issue we first get a chance to see each of the ten categories and the top three contenders in each. This opens out into the spread in the middle of the comic with those glorious Spitting Image Workshop puppets accepting the awards (a printed piece of card on a lanyard), although there was a particular recipient who looked incredibly lifelike as you’ll see! Tony Husband organised the photoshoot with the programme and Ian Tilton was the photographer (as an aside, Ian’s brother Mark was in the band The Creepers with OiNK’s Marc Riley), with radio DJ John Peel presenting the Most Annoying DJ Award. John had already contributed to #16 and had even played the flexidisc on air.

Kudos to Steve Wright for going along to accept this. Tony told me recently Steve was great on the day and had a brilliant sense of humour about the whole thing when he found out. Given who helped with this it’s a surprise to see The Chicken Song take away the World’s Worst Pop Song Award, although let’s face it Spitting Image’s song was purposefully written to be very annoying; a parody of the string of summer pop entries that were filling the 80s charts. Bob Geldof and Ronald Reagan get well-deserved titles, although I can’t help but disagree with George Michael‘s and I’ve at least a few female friends who might take issue with the pig pals over that one!

The OiNK team would go on to work closely with the Spitting Image Workshop on their Round the Bend TV series

All British comics are eclipsed by Beano, a regular target of OiNK’s for its safe humour and out-of-date characters at the time so it had a good chance of winning the Worst Comic Award. It’s completely reimagined itself over the intervening years and today contains a lot of rebellious, anarchic humour that would make Uncle Pigg proud, not least thanks to some contributors who grew up with our piggy publication. It’s a great comic and if you’ve any kids yourselves then you should definitely take advantage of the superb online subscription offers they always run.

The OiNK team would go on to work closely with the Spitting Image Workshop on their Round the Bend TV series, the puppets of which were designed by co-creator/editor Patrick Gallagher, and later in the 90s he’d be a commissioned writer on Spitting Image for six years. What a shame this was the only awards ceremony the comic would do, despite these being labelled as the first. It’s brilliant fun and looked like it was a blast to be a part of. As far as this reader is concerned it remains one of the most memorable highlights of the comic’s whole run. For now, let’s move on to something more “interleckshual”.

Hadrian Vile’s unique perspective perfectly matches the subject matter here. Taking a fresh look at the royals, politicians and more from the viewpoint of a child is a good idea on its own, but Hadrian’s character elevates it. He always thought of himself as being intellectually superior to pretty much everyone around him, so his child’s viewpoint is presented very matter-of-fact, very seriously in his young mind. Of course this means it’s all completely bonkers, just perfect for 80s culture!

Written by Mark Rodgers and illustrated by Ian Jackson, it’s always funny to see Ian’s interpretation of famous people, his jagged, exaggerated style perfectly capturing personalities as well as looks. In a way this page seems to go hand-in-hand with all of the television puppets contained in this issue. It’s also not the only time that British Prime Minister popped up in this issue, in fact she gets a starring role in the origin story of a certain critic and nemesis of our editor hog.


Two legs bad. Four legs better.

Davey’s Jones’ Prime Monster

Davey Jones brings us Prime Monster (as ever with Davey it’s even signed in a silly way), which takes place a few decades before the 80s when we find two young girls by the names of Margaret and Mary down on the pig farm. The two little spoilt brats have reckoned with the wrong set of little piglets to bully because in amongst their number is one teeny tiny pig who has already got the prerequisite pencil behind his ear. Amongst all the chaos Davey has even seen fit to include a couple of very OiNK-like riffs on a famous George Orwell quote! A great strip. Here it is, have fun.

Of course these two women would’ve been the best of childhood friends! At least in OiNKtown anyway. Yes, the characters and their stories were set in ‘OiNKtown’, a basic take on Beanotown. In the earlier issues PORKsmouth was used a couple of times but more as a place to ridicule and, obviously, somewhere Mary Lighthouse loved to visit. Surely Porksmouth would’ve been a better name than OiNKtown though? Anyway, I digress (as I do). For now that’s the end of the review, with just enough space to tell you about what’s coming up next.

The next regular OiNK will be its all-American issue and its review will be here from Monday 13th June 2020 but before that there’s a special extra to watch out for in the shape of Crash magazine #42. Regular readers of the blog will know what this is in reference to, but if you’re not up to speed go and check out the post about Zzap!64 #26 from last month. Crash not only contained an interview with OiNK’s three creators and an original Frank Sidebottom page, there was also the small matter of a special, free, original 16-page edition of our favourite comic! Check out Crash from Saturday 25th June 2022! It was an exciting time to be a pig pal in 1987, I hope I can recreate a little of that excitement right here.

OiNK! #27: OFF THE LEASH

Last issue aside we’ve had an almost unbroken run of Ian Jackson covers (including the Holiday Special) and his latest introduces us to the Big, Soft Pets Issue. I’ve always loved pets, even though we never really had any when I was a child, but nowadays I look after a late friend’s cat regularly and if I’m out and about and come across one everything stops while I chat to them in the hope of a little pet on their head. With lavatory humour right there on the front page (quite literally) it’s a funny start to the comic’s second year. Unsurprisingly, there are no pet pigs inside, they were on an equal footing with us in the world by now.

Last month in #23‘s review I told you about a time back at school when a friend erupted in the middle of a class and narrowly escaped getting into trouble because of OiNK. Then just a few weeks ago I explained how a similar situation led to a great deal of embarrassment for me as an adult in a hospital waiting room. We’re continuing the trend here because I’d forgotten how the following Vernon the Vet page produced yet another moment like these back in my school days. There’s a theme here, isn’t there? Can you guess which part of this resulted in a friend going into an uncontrollable giggle fit?

Well of course it was the moment Vernon fed medication to the wrong end of a St Bernard! Vernon had appeared in three of the early issues in tiny little entries, sometimes squeezed in next to a strip with advice for pet owners. Obviously his tips were always terrible and very funny, so it was great to see him upgraded to a full page, drawn here by Wilkie (Eric Wilkinson), who wasn’t with the comic when the character originally appeared. Unfortunately, apart from this very page being reprinted in the final edition (the OiNK Summer Collection, released in 1990) this would be the last we’d ever see of Vernon.

The promo for this issue in #26 featured Roger Rental so it’s rather strange to see he’s not actually present. However, his artist Ian Knox certainly is as he puts his talents to use in bringing a Tony Husband script to life. The story features a one-off character called Neville Stockport, otherwise known as superhero The Amazing Crablad. Ian’s work is easily identifiable but in this particular strip there are instances where I felt like he could’ve been subconsciously channelling his inner John Geering, which is never a bad thing obviously!

I love Ian’s work, always have, and I’m not saying this was the case, it just reminds me of the toothless great white shark Gums created for Monster Fun and originally drawn by Roy Davis. I knew the strip from the pages of Big Comic Fortnightly which reprinted later stories which John drew and I get that same energy here. Neville wouldn’t make another appearance in OiNK for obvious reasons.

This would be the last we’d see of these kinds of stories, and Daz himself, until the final issue

It’s been a while since we’ve read a nice, sweet bedtime story illustrated by Daz (Dave Skillin). These were such a common experience last year, the first appearing in the premiere issue. It’s a bit of a recurring theme with Daz for there to be some form of magical item (or this case an animal) and for the protagonist’s surname to rhyme with it, usually by just changing the first letter, resulting in a ridiculous name of course. In #1 we had Billy Bat and his Magic Hat, here we’ve got a magic kangaroo, so naturally Bangaroo is the person we end up with!

As usual it’s all told with rhyming captions and seems like a normal children’s story until about halfway through, when it suddenly takes a turn for the unexpected. To say the least! This would actually be the last we’d see of these kinds of stories, and Daz himself, until the very final issue, #68. So it’s just as well this one is so good and it’s all down to that very final caption where we find the traditional moral of the tale ( and I thought Graham Exton‘s puns were good/bad).

I hope you groaned and/or laughed as much as I did. This issue has so many highlights but I’ve painstakingly chosen a few to give you a sense of the issue as a whole. Frank Sidebottom’s guide to pets is as unique as you’d expect and his depiction of what’s really under the surface of those Loch Ness monster sightings is fantastic. Burp‘s internal organs’ independence takes a bold new leap and I’m not sure what’s funnier, his liver being a supervillain or the fact the disguise actually worked.

A rather strange addition is Daft Dog because it’s exactly the same joke as the Henry the Wonder Dog strip from #13, and there’s a lovely double-page spread for Zootown‘s pet show which contains this funny little gag below. Finally, Lashy the Wonder Pig from #18 makes a welcome return with his first of many name changes to Laffie. While it’s just as ridiculous as last time I adore this panel which brings a lovely little shadowy sunset atmosphere to the hilarity and a little sense of the heroic to the pig in question.

There’s a treasure trove of smaller strips here. While that could be said of every edition of OiNK, they’re of a particularly high standard this time with many memorable entries that have stood the test of time inside my ageing memory. The fact they’re so tiny and still stand out so much is testament to their quality and the genius of their writers and cartoonists. Out of all of these the largest is (suitably enough) David Haldane’s Hugo the Hungry Hippo. A disaster for all mankind, he takes a break from eating our cities this issue to show us just how lovable he could also be.

The quarter-page mini-strips this issue, those between one and three panels in length and guaranteed to produce a quick laugh, nail it so perfectly. Always a great addition to any OiNK, this issue by design or coincidence they’re all classics. I’ve selected just three of them to show you what I mean and first up is Davy FrancisDerek Blinge.

One panel, one line of dialogue, one funny facial expression and we’re done! Davy’s quick wit on full display

Originally written by Davy to be drawn by Ed McHenry, Ed was ill at the time and waiting for a triple bypass operation. With a few scripts written, when Ed became sick co-editor Mark Rodgers asked Davy to draw them instead. The name was also changed from ‘Plinge’ to the now familiar ‘Blinge’ to keep them separate but as it turned out only two of the scripts would see print, in this issue and the second Holiday Special and both drawn by Davy, so in the end we never did see any ‘Plinge’ strips drawn by Ed. This first appearance is very much classic Davy!

Below that is another Davy creation, Doctor Mad-Starkraving. First appearing in Greedy Gorb three issues ago this was the first time he got his own little corner of the comic. One panel, one line of dialogue, one funny facial expression and we’re done! Davy’s quick wit on full display here. Just brilliant. The doctor would reappear another six times, four of those towards the end of OiNK’s run in the monthlies. Then lastly for these highlights there’s a one-off which will have an air of the familiar for two reasons.

Anyone familiar with Whizzer and Chips (or indeed Big Comic Fortnightly where I knew him from) will remember Sid’s Snake, the regular cover star whose pet snake was a ginormous but friendly snake. For OiNK, Jake’s Snake makes a little fun of the premise, even including a pattern on the snake that’s a riff on the original. The art style may be familiar to some too, those initials in the second panel standing for Simon Thorpe who is best known today for being one of the editorial team behind Viz, which he has worked on since the time of OiNK. He’d contribute to 22 issues of our piggy publication altogether, most fondly remembered for his gorgeous spoof movie posters, so look out for some of them in future reviews.

OiNK writer Graham Exton talked to me once about the inspiration behind the strip, namely Sid’s Snake and how it would often be referred to as “that bloody snake” by writers because it was so difficult to come up with something original and genuinely funny for. As such, few liked working on the strip and so it would be given to new writers as a way of proving themselves, but mainly because no one else wanted to do it!

Steve Gibson returns with another very funny selection of little drawings and captions (see also his Watch the Skies from #25) and this time he brings us a fascinating selection of Amazing But True facts from the world of nature, the first example being my particular favourite. Expecting the cheetah fact to be reflected we instead get more information than we possibly wanted about an elephant “doing a ton”. Surprising, inventive and funny, Steve will return to OiNK more and more regularly I’m very happy to say.

That’s almost your lot from this issue but the back page had one more big surprise in store for pig pals. Finally, 16 issues after they last appeared came news of the next Street-Hogs story, Day of the Triffics (which had actually been referenced way back in #11). As a child I’d missed out on their first adventure so to me originally this may not have been the exiting return it was advertised as, but the artwork and the premise presented here was certainly enough.

Now in 2022 I can’t wait, both from the perspective of a Street-Hogs fan and of someone who has seen more than one version of Day of the Triffids in the intervening years. Take that story and place it into the hands of writer Mark Rodgers and artist J.T. Dogg and this could be the best thing OiNK has produced yet. Time will tell. The wait is sadly a little longer than we’d like though. The ‘Hogs wouldn’t be seen again until #31 with a special poster celebrating their return before the cliffhanging spoof kicks off in #32. I just know it’ll be worth the wait.

Before then we’ve got an ample supply of superb content coming up, with #27‘s (the Flying Issue) review here from Monday 16th May 2022. Watch out for a memorable spoof of a certain high-flying, building-leaping superhero as he hogs the limelight on the cover and in a brilliant strip inside. Don’t miss it, subscribe to the blog (click on the link in the bottom corner as you scroll) or follow along on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to be notified when there are any additions to the blog. See you next time!

OiNK! HOLiDAY SPECiAL #1: HAM-MOCK HOG

The first special edition of OiNK arrived alongside #25 and a fortnight before the first birthday issue. It was surely a time for pig pals to celebrate. An absolute treat, the 1987 Holiday Special is a “big, fat” comic made up of 48 pages and is chock full of our favourite characters and loads of one-off content all linked to the summer holiday vibe. It all kicks off with possibly one of my very favourite comic covers of all time; a brilliantly set up photograph of a model clay Uncle Pigg lounging in his hammock, cooled off by critic Mary Lighthouse who, along with everything else, is a cardboard cut out.

It’s a piece of pure genius from Ian Jackson and so distinct is it in my memory I can recall taking it with me on holiday a few months after I got it to read it all over again, the cover drawing attention and laughs from some of my older siblings. I think one or two of them actually read it as a result! Of course, this wasn’t the last time modelling clay was used to produce an OiNK cover. In fact, it would create the most memorable one of all, one that would be the face (literally) of what remains my favourite childhood book to this day, The OiNK! Book 1988. You’ll see that towards the end of the year.

Put these two OiNK titans together and you get Herbert Bowes, a man with a dog up his nose!

The first interior highlight for me is a double whammy of two strips featuring a character we’d only see in this Holiday Special. They’re written by Graham Exton, a writer who contributed so much to OiNK, especially in the early issues and who was instrumental in the creation of some of its characters. It’s barmy, completely ridiculous and so perfectly captured by one of my favourite cartoonists, Jeremy Banx. Jeremy’s artwork lends itself wonderfully to random one-off strips and he has a hilariously surreal sense of humour. Put these two OiNK titans together and you get Herbert Bowes, a man with a dog up his nose!

You wouldn’t have seen the likes of this in any other summer special on the shelf, that’s for sure. While OiNK would never fail to surprise us, regular readers were accustomed to the random nature of the comic and I do wonder what those who picked up the specials for a holiday trip, or who received the annuals for Christmas without having read the fortnightly would’ve thought. I’d love to have seen their reactions and, if my friends were anything to go by, hear their surprised laughter.

Speaking of surprising laughter.

Back when I was writing the previous blog I took this edition to the hospital with me one day to pass the time in the waiting room before my appointment. I had a little chuckle inwardly to myself over Herbert Bowes and moved on, but then a few pages later something rather embarrassing happened which I simply had no control over. Billy Connolly once spoke about what he called “real laughter”. Not the ‘ha, ha, ha’ kind, but the loud, involuntary noise that can erupt from our mouths when something surprising really hits our funny bone. Surrounded by a lot of very serious looking people in that waiting room, I was in completely the wrong place for that to happen. Then I turned the page and saw the title of the next strip.

I erupted. It was only for a second because I caught myself and tried to stop it coming out but it was too late. In hindsight I’d have been better letting it happen, at least everyone else would’ve actually known I was laughing! Instead, what came out was a loud honk before I closed my mouth, my body shaking a little from wanting to carry on with the laugh. I have no idea what they all thought of me, I could feel them looking but my gaze never left the comic, too embarrassed to look up. I’m not one to care about what other people think of me, but I can’t help wonder. I mean, you should’ve heard that honk.

The final reveal never fails to make me laugh, no matter how often I see this

It was worth it though. I quickly scanned the rest of the special to see if there were any other surprises in store from this character but alas there were none. Graham and Jeremy’s creation would unfortunately never reappear, even though Graham tells me a third episode was planned in which Herbert had the Starship Enterprise up his nose. Despite this being a one-time appearance he’ll remain a memorable addition to OiNK.

The same can be said of the next little treasure, a half-page strip written by David Haldane and drawn by Pete Dixon, this being his sole contribution to OiNK. This is also the first time I’ve noticed Rubbish Man and Hugo the Hungry Hippo‘s cartoonist Haldane writing for anybody else. I can’t help read this while in my head ever-increasing dramatic music accompanies each successive panel, that final reveal never (never ever) failing to make me laugh, no matter how often I see this.

Only in OiNK.

While the focus for me with this edition are very much the one-offs, the special strips and features produced to accompany us on our hols, some of the regular characters have some classic stories to tell. My favourite is The Hollyday Diary ov Hadrian Vile in which he, his dog and his parents head to the beach. Written as ever by Mark Rodgers and brought to life by Ian Jackson this is arguably the funniest strip yet for the eight and five-eighths-year-old and it’s a ton of fun.

It all starts off innocently enough. For once, Hadrian isn’t making mischief as the story begins. In fact, for the most part his intentions are actually good, apart from the outrageous lie he tells when those good intentions land him in hot water. So it begins with him spending some quality time with his dad, burying him in the sand as a lot of young children love to do while his dad catches forty winks in the sun. It’s after he returns from collecting his usual array of disgusting things that it all takes a turn for the worse.

My two favourite moments here are when Hadrian returns to find nothing but his dad’s hat and the worst thought that enters his mind is being sent to bed without supper. Then directly below is that hilarious panel of a passing stranger frantically racing the tide to free the poor man from the sand. The middle panel of his mum standing with folded arms glaring down upon Hadrian would become something of a running joke in the regular comic too. As the other family members became more prominent we’d see this expression often and it was funny every single time.

Time to have a quick look at a smorgasbord of highlights this special edition offers up. Rubbish Man is on holiday and even though we have a giant fried egg monster I can’t help but laugh at the jokes at the expense of English vacationers (and where they choose to holiday). When a young Tom Thug tries to bully a baby we get the origin of his bent nose and in Sgt. Barnpot and his Screaming Maniacs the lead character thinks we’re still at war with everyone because of comics, and Lew Stringer takes a little shot at the ever-merging titles of the day.

It appears even our resident alien Burp isn’t a fan of English tourists (both Rubbish Man’s and Burp’s cartoonists are English) and on his trip around the galaxy his holiday snap produced uproarious laughter in kids everywhere (well, it did for me anyway) and we’ve a Frank Sidebottom board game which could be played with some absolutely lovely player pieces. The Thunderbirds one is my favourite. Finally, Tom’s Toe made a very welcome return in a story about pollution and climate change which had a rather unique solution to the ever-growing problem.

As well as Tom there are a few other returning characters. In reality this would’ve been because work on specials always starts a long time in advance. Producing an extra, larger edition of a comic is great but working on it can’t disrupt the regular editions, so work begins very early. When it commenced here a lot of these characters were still regulars or semi-regulars in the fortnightly. Billy’s Brain is in here, even Bony Hart makes a reappearance and one of the more memorable early characters pops back up, Jim Needle‘s Pete’s Pup.

It’s strange for me to think this was my first encounter with the monstrous shaggy dog as a child. He would also appear in the birthday issue released two weeks after this special hit shelves but after that he’d only return for a reprint in the second OiNK Book. I became reacquainted with the comic in my 30s, but right up to that point in my mind he’d been a main character. Weird.

Readers will get plenty of entertainment out of this thanks to its manic pace, dark humour and chaotic atmosphere

Now, let’s move on to what would surely be the main event for many comics fans. At the time I was unaware of who Kevin O’Neill is but today I know the man as something of a legend in the industry. Drawing the image of Tharg on the cover of the very first 2000AD he would go on to produce incredible work for OiNK’s stablemate, most memorably for me the stunning Nemesis the Warlock. In 1986 his whole style proved unsuitable for the American Comics Code Authority but thankfully DC went ahead and published his Tales of the Green Lantern anyway. Later, he would create Marshal Law and team up with Alan Moore for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. For OiNK’s Holiday Special he drew a four-page parody called The Game is Greed, written by Mark Rodgers.

Lew Stringer was friends with both Kevin and Dave Gibbons, another legendary comic artist who’d appear in the pages of OiNK. They’d meet up frequently at London comic marts and when Lew found out Kevin was a fan of OiNK he asked him if he’d like to contribute. His first strip was actually a collaboration with Lew called The Truth About Santa for The OiNK Book 1988, then later he drew this brilliant script by Mark, but deadlines for specials and annuals being what they are this was the one that saw print first. I may not have known who he was but I adored the very unique art style and I can remember lying in bed late at night (having already read the comic that morning) pouring over all of the funny details for a long time. I’d never seen anything like this.

Kevin’s sharp lines, exaggerated action and gorgeous colours really pop, making the strip stand out in even the quickest of skims through the issue. This is no small feat for an issue of OiNK. My inner 80s child had a field day reading this and spotting all of the contemporary celebrities we were so used to seeing on our television screens back then. Younger readers today who may not know some of them will still get plenty of entertainment out of this thanks to its manic pace, dark humour and chaotic atmosphere.

Mark’s script gives Kevin plenty of opportunities to embrace the chaos and bring his kinetic energy to the art with aplomb. My personal highlights here are the caricature of Billy Connolly on the first page, the greed of Mr and Mrs Baldmoron, the moment he’s stripped to the bone by the piranhas and of course that hilarious alligator (oh sorry, “scaly amphibious ant”) complete with Ted’s assistant showing it off from inside its mouth and the purse handles on its back! I’ve said before how the humour in OiNK stands up so well to this day. Even though this strip features 80s celebs it hasn’t aged one bit and feels like a perfect modern parody of the period. One of the very best OiNK strips since I started this whole read through.

We finish off with that old tradition of the family holidays, the puzzles and in particular the word searches that were meant to keep the kids quiet. Being OiNK, this is a somewhat unique variant on the theme. The story behind the cover is that Mary Lighthouse (critic) has found herself stranded on the same desert island as Uncle Pigg and she’s going somewhat barmy. Well, more so than usual. There’s no list of words to find, you just have to try to spot as many as possible and one definitely stands out. In typical fashion for this comic the solutions to the puzzles are just as funny as trying them out.

There we have it, the first extra special extra edition of OiNK. There’ll be more of them to come, one very soon in fact. The year 1987 was the only one during which we’d have a regular comic from beginning to end, fortnightly all the way through, with some nice extras, merchandise releases, special pull-outs and more, all culminating in the book at Christmas. What a time to be a pig pal! You’ve only a week to go until the review of the Birthday Issue. That’ll be here from Monday 18th April 2022. Catch you then.