Tag Archives: David Leach

OiNK! #15: NEW PiGLETS

It appears I jumped on to the OiNK train at the right moment back in 1986. Last time I shared the memories of my first issue and just one week later came a kind of soft relaunch as the theme. OiNK had established itself, publishers IPC Magazines were happy, the readers were happy and it was proving to be a success, so the team decided to celebrate by bringing in a whole bunch of brand new regular characters.

Let’s not forget the fantastic free gift, the first of three Ian Jackson posters which combined into one giant calendar for 1987 featuring The 8th Wonder of the World: Mount Rushboar. I can remember pouring over all the little details in the swarm of people running across Harry the Head and Burp the Smelly Alien carved into the rock face and even the little bits of rubbish left behind on this apparently reverential site. How typical of us humans and a funny swipe at British tourists in particular.

On page two we find out how this glossy comic could afford such extravagances, with staff reduced to working naked, cartoonists and accountants alike shivering in the cold as Uncle Pigg looks on, wearing his Hawaiian shirt to boot. Christmas was coming early for him with all the money OiNK was raking in, and it was coming early for us too because the calendar poster freebies would continue up to the first festive issue.

Mary Lighthouse is back with her strip on page three. Normally this would be a way of introducing the subject matter of the issue but here it’s quite clear it has a bigger job to do. It’s introducing new readers to the character and the overall cheekiness and irreverence of the comic. Don’t get me wrong, Mark Rodgers and Ian Jackson still deliver the goods for the regulars too, it’s genuinely funny but it also reinforces the way the comic is reintroducing itself now that its readership is growing.

Coming on board just before this issue is probably the reason why I always assumed certain characters were in OiNK right from the beginning, when in reality this was their first appearance. Two such examples are Davy FrancisGreedy Gorb (He’d Eat Anything) and Jeremy Banx‘s wonderfully surreal and often very rude Hector Vector and his Talking T-shirt. The latter actually gets a proper origin story when a magical genie appears from Keith Disease‘s (I never remembered him having an actual name!) packet of crisps, but Keith is rude to him because his snack is gone. Poor Hector happens to be passing and Keith is forever confined to be a “tasteless print” on his t-shirt.

I remember his strip being one of my favourites so expect to see them soon. The only reason I’m not including them here is because there’s just too much I could include that I had to leave some real classics out. But I was always going to show you the beginning of OiNK’s second spoof epic. Hot on the trotters of The Street-Hogs comes Ham Dare: Pig of the Future, also stunningly illustrated by J.T. Dogg and this time the multi-part serial is written by Lew Stringer. IPC’s very own Eagle and 2000AD hero Dan Dare was the subject of OiNK’s style of parody, complete with sidekick Pigby and arch nemesis The Weakun‘!

This was my first exposure to J.T.’s artwork and it looked like nothing I’d ever seen before. Possibly because of this, as much as I love The Street-Hogs now, Ham Dare remains my favourite of all the OiNK serials. Lew’s script is fast-paced and packed full of gags, both for fans of the original space adventurer or those like me who learned of him through this. I especially love how Sir Hogbert has to show our heroes such a basic drawing to describe Earth being pulled out of orbit. Ham Dare may not be the sharpest pork scratching in the packet but he looked dashing as the hero and that’s what was important to him (and we loved him for it).

Elsewhere this issue Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins‘ own serial continues and a lot of the humour comes from the narrative by Tony Husband. Fan favourite Pete and his Pimple makes his debut after being the footer gag to a Tom Thug strip in #6. Hyperactive Harriet is the fastest girl in the world and a not-so-subtle take on The Beano‘s Billy Whizz. Then Billy Buzz gets the same ‘New Character’ treatment as the rest, but his saccharine personality annoys Uncle Pigg so much he swats him by the end of the strip and that’s the last we’d ever see of him!

Billy might not have made the grade but the next new addition certainly did. She quickly became a childhood favourite, so much so that I was certain she appeared in almost every issue I had as a kid. But surprisingly Psycho Gran was only in 20 editions of OiNK altogether including specials and annuals. Despite this, she became a true OiNK legend.

Created by David Leach (Brain Damage, Toxic Crusaders, Spongebob Squarepants) she was originally submitted as a one-off strip, so when OiNK’s editors introduced her as a new regular character in this issue it was a bit of a surprise for David. This explains why she doesn’t reappear until #21 because he hadn’t made any more! David tells me the guys would send him a list of upcoming issue subjects and he’d submit Psycho Gran strips for whichever ones he had an idea for. He never had a Psycho strip turned down and as a fan I can see why.

This strip might look familiar to anyone who has purchased the new comic series from David in recent years because he reproduced this as a gorgeous, heavily detailed, full colour strip. In fact, between contributions to Aces Weekly and Psycho’s own digital and print comics, David has now produced more work for the little old dear in the years since OiNK than during her time in her debut comic.

There are certain Psycho Gran strips, as well as individual jokes and images that stayed with me long after childhood was a distant memory. Whether she’s randomly throwing people into the ocean, making military preparations to pick her pension up at the Post Office or adorning a Wild West Wanted poster, she could terrify many in her little world but she was adored by pig pals.


“‘Sammy is getting old and worn out! I’ll have to replace him with a new engine!’, said the Controller.

Sammy the Steam Engine

Two new characters are up on the next page together, namely Sally Scowl (Her Temper’s Foul!) and Fatty Farmer (He’s A Whole Lot Calmer). Their titles may have rhymed like so many traditional humour strips of the time but that’s where the similarities end. Both were written by Mark Rodgers (of course) and drawn by Dave Follows and Weedy Willy‘s Mike Green respectively.

Both are enjoyable, even if we do already have a bad tempered youth in the shape of Billy Bang. But unlike Billy, Sally’s temper builds until she uses it to her advantage at just the right moment. She’s a lovable character and after that hilarious first panel I can’t blame her for being in a bad mood all day! She was also that rare occurrence indeed, a black character in one of our childhood comics. So why does Sally disappear after #16, totalling only two appearances? So much for a new regular character! What a shame and a waste of a great idea.

The message was clear, don’t let the bullies get to you.

Fatty Farmer was a larger than life country farmer who’d often come up against bullies and small-minded individuals making fun of his weight. However, he’d remain chilled out and deal with them calmly, often proudly using the very thing they were laughing at to his advantage. The message was clear, don’t let the bullies get to you. He’d go on to be a bit more successful than Sally with 11 strips in total, appearing in every issue for the first few months and then on and off during the rest of the fortnightlies. To have him and Sally on the same page for their first appearances was a great contrast and a great idea.

Back in #3 artist Ralph Shepherd drew OiNK’s brilliant take on The Transformers. As I said at the time, the comic would often take the hand out of things we readers loved and for me there was nothing I loved more than the subject of this next strip. It was so funny to see this as a kid. This was really the first many fans of the show would’ve seen a spoof of it (and it was even several months before the official comic finally launched). Over the course of the two weeks I had to wait for my next OiNK I reread this several times, laughing and loving the fact OiNK had its own version of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.

Looking at this issue as a whole I can see I was clearly spoiled as a kid with this as only the second comic I ever bought. Whether I realised that at the time is another matter. I got to experience the gorgeous work of J.T. Dogg for the first time, got to meet lots of new characters including many who would become lifelong favourites, the subject of my top book series and TV show was given that unique OiNK makeover and then on top of all that was one of only five Tom Paterson OiNK strips!

What a lovely surprise it was to come across this page when reading the issue for this review. Written by Mark Rodgers it’s already a funny script, but when it’s in the hands of Tom you just know there are going to be many more laughs added before he’s done with it. Mister Cheese would unfortunately be Tom’s final full page story for OiNK. After this his work would only pop up once more in a tiny quarter-page strip in The OiNK Book 1988, which I won’t be reviewing for another 13 months! Just as well this is so jam-packed with Tom’s trademark sight gags then isn’t it? Tom was just too busy to be a regular contributor and that’s such a shame because I believe he and OiNK were the perfect fit, perhaps more so than any other comic.

Before we wrap up with the back page, here’s a little bit of news about the next issue. While this edition may have introduced a wealth of new characters, #16 brings with it a true superstar, a megastar, a “fantastic” new addition to OiNK who I remember waking up to every Saturday morning on No.73. His creator sadly died back in 2010 and it was the news of his passing that brought me back into the sty after decades away. Next issue sees the start of his contributions which really have to be seen to be believed.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue! For now, I’m going to finish off with this full colour back cover from Lew Stringer. We got a glimpse on the Grunts page (at the top of this review) of what it was like to work in the OiNK offices. Uncle Pigg may have had all the right words to say to the readers but the reality behind them was somewhat different. Here’s Lew’s inside scoop on the real behind-the-scenes of creating the funniest comic ever produced!

For a much younger me these two issues were a strong start. Such a strong start! How could it possibly get any better? Be here on Monday 29th November 2021 to find out.

COMiC CUTS: NOW WITH ADDED LEACH

Last month one of OiNK‘s funniest contributors, Kev F Sutherland released his brand new podcast Comic Cuts: The Panel Show. In each weekly episode two guests each bring a panel from a treasured comic and the other guest has to describe it to the listener. Kev and the other guest (and you) will then try to guess what comic it’s from. It all ends up pretty chaotic and laughs are in plentiful supply.

As I mentioned in the original blog announcement about Comic Cuts, Psycho Gran creator David Leach was to be one of the first batch of participants and I can happily inform you his episode is now available. It’s a corker too.

David and Kev are joined by Laura Watton, a renowned Manga-inspired artist and the chemistry between the three makes for some genuinely hilarious moments. This episode features a Manga comic book series which sounds really fascinating and a panel from one of the most famous British cartoonists of all time. I just wish it had lasted longer than 30 minutes!

Listening to Laura describe the panel David brought is a real highlight. Her laughs and giggles at each new little detail she uncovers upon closer inspection brought a huge grin to my face. Plus, any interview of David’s I’ve listened to is always gripping, his enthusiasm and passion is infectious and when it’s all compèred by the nutter that is Kev F it becomes unmissable.

Some of my favourite guests so far have been Iszi Lawrence, Nigel Parkinson, Bethany Black, Nigel Auchterlounie and Laura Howell. At the time of writing there are nine episodes available with hopefully many more to come. So nip on over to wherever you get your podcasts from and search for Comic Cuts: The Panel Show now, you’ve a treasure trove of goodness to catch up on.

OiNK CARTOONiSTS ASSEMBLE!: NEW ACES WEEKLY STRIPS

Who wants some brand new Psycho Gran from David Leach and brand new Combat Colin from Lew Stringer? That made you sit up and take notice, didn’t it? Well that’s exactly what you can get by tapping those trotters over to the Aces Weekly website.

If you’re unfamiliar, Aces Weekly is the brainchild of David Lloyd (V for Vendetta, Wasteland, Knight Rider) and Bambos Georgiou (The Real Ghostbusters, Knights of Pendragon, Spider-Man) and is an online only anthology comic containing a variety of strips from across the spectrum of creators and genres.

Each volume consists of seven weekly issues and costs only £6.99. That’s only £1 per issue! The current volume is their 50th, meaning the title has clocked up a mighty impressive 350 issues to date. As ever, it’s chock full of brilliant content, not least of which are strips starring OiNK‘s Psycho Gran and Transformers/Action Force‘s Combat Colin. Both characters have appeared a few times before in Aces and have been invited back for this celebratory volume.

Below are the first pages of the two different Psycho strips from David Leach. A fan favourite since her first appearance in OiNK #15, these new additions to her story do not disappoint.

The first is called Dog Toffees and the little old dear is taking Archie for a walk in the park when someone approaches her to ask for a doggy bag. An innocuous tale to anyone not familiar with her appearances in OiNK perhaps, but for fans we know better and you won’t be disappointed. The second one is titled Fantastic Voyage II and as you can see it’s a rather topical outing. Believe me when I say even those of us who grew up with her won’t see this one coming.

Psycho appears in #6 and #7 of the current volume of Aces Weekly.

Currently over on the blog’s Instagram feed I’ve been reading Marvel UK‘s Transformers in real time (started on the old blog, these will be getting monthly round ups from the first issue this September) and one of the highlights every week is Lew’s Combat Colin. So it’s a thrill to read a brand new Combat adventure in the final issue of the volume.

Two of the madcap supervillains also return, namely Professor Madprof whose name I have always found hilarious, as well as Bankrobber Man. Anyone who grew up with these loonies will take one look at the preview above and feel right at home.

All three of these strips are three pages apiece and are only a small part of the quality reading material gathered within these issues. But that’s not all, because both Psycho Gran and Combat Colin have had their own series of independent comics released over the last few years from David and Lew. Look out for reviews of all of those over the coming months on the OiNK Blog.

So there you go, a quick preview of brand new strips from two OiNK legends, featuring fan favourite characters from two comics this very site covers. So what are you waiting for? Nip on over to the Aces Weekly website where you can buy the complete 50th volume for just £6.99. Hop to it!