Tag Archives: Davy Francis

OiNK! #19: SiX-PACK PORK BELLY

As sure as the sun sets at the end of each day, every January the great general public invest their hard earned cash in gym memberships, magazines with their promise of beach bodies, and so-called ‘detox’ juices. By February everything will be back to normal, the weight loss and fitness resolutions will be long forgotten and they’ll have come to the realisation that our livers will do for free what those juices proclaim to do for extortionate amounts of money. It’s oh-so predictable, but that can not be said of this issue of OiNK when they decided to take aim at this tradition.

The Keep Fit Special kicks off with this Jeremy Banx cover of Arnold Schwarzenhogger, who would “be back” in the first monthly issue over a year later. Look closely at Jeremy’s colouring and you can see the individual strokes, even where he’s leaned heavier at the beginning or end of each. When you look at the picture as a whole they merge together into a lovely shaded image. I enjoy seeing these old covers and the individual elements like this, much like the felt tip pens used by Chris Sievey on his Frank Sidebottom pages.

The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile kicks things off and our pint-sized menace finds himself in the situation of being forced to exercise. Heaven forbid. I loved swimming at school, but much like Hadrian it was less about doing lengths and more about just having fun in the water. His teacher isn’t having it, but soon finds himself in need of saving thanks to Hadrian, though to be fair he wasn’t wearing his glasses. I’d always assumed his eyes were roughly the size of his frames, to see them drawn by Ian Jackson this way is so funny.

But there’s something even funnier here, though it might not be immediately apparent. It certainly wasn’t when I read this as a child. OiNK’s co-creator/editor Mark Rodgers wrote the script as always and the name of one of Hadrian’s friends wasn’t simply plucked out of the air by the hugely talented writer. In real life Mark was Helen Jones‘ other half. In recent years Helen and I have chatted about those days and I even received Mark’s OiNK mug as a Christmas gift! (Helen also sent me some information on a particular event in OiNK’s history which I’ll be sharing later this year.) I asked her about those panels above and she told me, “Can’t say I’m surprised.” It does makes the strip even funnier!

Given the amount of food I’ve put away over the Christmas holidays this really speaks to me

In the 80s exercise routines were a regular part of breakfast television, most famously presented by Lizzie Webb and Mr. Motivator. While we sat bleary-eyed, eating sugary cereal, trying to get the energy for the walk to school, they’d be jumping up and down in their lycra and shouting towards the camera, urging us to do the same. Needless to say we just watched. OiNK’s take was much more accurate.

Given the amount of food I’ve put away over the Christmas holidays (not to mention the amount that’s still to be eaten) this really speaks to me. It’s an on-point spoof of what everyone is really thinking when they tell themselves they’re going to get fit in the new year. It’s also the first contribution from prolific OiNK cartoonist Eric (Wilkie) Wilkinson, whose most famous character was friendly zombie Dead Fred who also makes his debut this issue. Wilkie would go on to contribute to 39 OiNKs altogether, often giving us more than one strip per issue and in #20 you’ll see one of his best.


“Wha-? This isn’t a real pig!”

The Weakun

Alongside the workouts our breakfast television included repeats of the ludicrous 60s Batman series. While it always felt more like a spoof of Batman rather than an actual adaptation of the comic, OiNK took old cliffhanger serials such as it and others and spoofed them further. First we had the Street-Hogs, told over a whopping 12 parts, then in #15 was the first adventure for Ham Dare, Pig of the Future which comes to its conclusion here. It may have been a much shorter story but it was no less enjoyable. In fact, I’d say each episode has been packed with many more gags than the ‘Hogs had.

Last issue the penultimate chapter ended with The Weakun‘s soldiers gunning down our fearless hero, several lasers firing through his body. This scene is repeated in the first panel below. He must be dead. There’s no way even writer Lew Stringer could have him survive that, surely? Actually, no there’s not. He didn’t survive those blasts. The solution to the cliffhanger is even more ludicrous than that would’ve been.

Sight gags, puns, exaggerated British wartime gusto and one silly plot twist after another fill every panel in what is a hilarious conclusion to Ham’s first OiNK outing. (I particularly liked the repeat of the speedy entrance from the first episode.) I’m going to miss Ham and Pigby, but while they do return for three more adventures later this was the only one to be serialised across more than one issue. In fact, they don’t return to the regular comic at all. Instead they pop up in both of the OiNK Books and the third Holiday Special (released several months after OiNK’s cancellation), all of which are multi-page strips with plenty of gorgeous J.T. Dogg artwork to savour. Hurry back Ham!

Another character who debuted alongside Ham back in #15 was the fondly remembered Greedy Gorb – He’d Eat Anything, a creation of Cowpat County‘s Davy Francis. Food-loving comics characters were nothing new, with some examples that immediately come to mind being Garfield and Bash Street KidsFreddy. But Greedy Gorb took over-eating to new extremes. There were no lasagnes or slap up feeds of sausages and mash anywhere to be seen and that tagline was taken quite literally.

Gorb’s diet would get increasingly bizarre, surrounded by Davy’s trademark puns and background gags. He became a firm favourite of mine and I’d look forward to seeing what he’d eat next. This would mostly be to satisfy his hunger, but at other times he’d choose a specific item to eat for another reason (such as the kitchen clock so his mum loses track of time and he misses the start of school). He would appear in 33 issues altogether and would even give Davy the opportunity to draw his first comics cover.

In the middle of the issue is The OiNK Cross-Country Race, billed as ‘Excitingly Dangerous’ on the cover. OiNK would give us a few various board games over time, some favourites being one with a Pete and his Pimple theme, one drawn by Frank Sidebottom and a version of Happy Families. I’d forgotten all about this one though.

Drawn by John Geering, it’s definitely more rough around the edges than later games but I think that adds to the madcap nature of it all. It includes every excuse under the sun to stop the players or send them back several places. It’d take an awful lot of luck to reach the end of this one in any decent amount of time. It’s fun to see John let loose, unrestricted by the conventional drawing techniques he’d have to apply in the pages of the more traditional comics he worked for at the time.

A couple of other quick highlights from this issue has Weedy Willy doing a very good example of me when I’ve tried new ways of getting fit in Januaries past, and smelly alien Burp takes the start of a new year as an opportunity for a check up with his doctor.

There’s one strip in this issue that I’ve already shown you on the site. Mark Rodgers and Helen Jones wrote the very funny Wanda with the Wooden Leg as their take on the girls’ comics of the day (it’s presented by Bumty comic). The artwork looked like it was taken straight from those titles, so it worked perfectly. It was illustrated by the amazingly talented Les ‘Lezz’ Barton who sadly passed away in 2008. You can read about Lezz and read the full strip in the Remembering Lezz post here.

When Uncle Pigg‘s skeleton crew took over production of the comic for #8 some butchers sneaked their way on to the pages, beginning a new series by Jeremy Banx called Butcher Watch Updates, a spin on the Crimewatch television series. The updates told readers to “watch out for your snout and mind your rind” and soon they were sending in reports of seeing the crazed butchers in their local shops. One in particular was reported more than the others. In #14 Jimmy ‘The Cleaver’ Smith had made his first appearance in one of the updates and he immediately struck a chord with readers.

Rounding off this issue is the introduction of another new character. He would only appear sporadically and in eight issues altogether, but his debut is kind of a big deal with the gift of hindsight. That’s because the cartoonist behind him was none other than Charlie Brooker. He’d sent in some strips to Patrick, Tony and Mark and they were so impressed they gave him a regular gig. Not bad for a teenager! The strip below was something of a trial and we wouldn’t see his work again until #32, but after that he was part of nearly every edition, contributing to 37 altogether.

Of course you’ll all know Charlie now from his television work, having created such amazing series as Screen Wipe and Black Mirror. However, he was still at school at the time of OiNK so kudos to him for sending in some samples, and hats off to the team for recognising his talent. Charlie would go on to create such strips as Transmogrifying Tracey, Clint Gritwood the Trigger-Happy Cop and fan favourite The Adventures of Death. But Freddie Flop was his first and a strong debut.

I was always a fan of Charlie’s OiNK strips and as the comic continued he’d contribute more and more to each issue, particularly the monthlies where he’d often write for other artists too. He’d even write a Pete and his Pimple story for Lew Stringer. I always enjoyed his art style and his strips were consistently funny, Death often being a highlight for me. It’s exciting to finally see his work in this read through.

So 1987 was off to a great start and would only get better, culminating in my very favourite OiNK of them all. The next edition is a war special. I’d say this might sound like a strange subject for a kid’s humour comic but I’ve said that before and the team have shown how they can continuously pull these off with aplomb. So be back here on Monday 24th January 2022 for #20.

OiNK! #17: HO(G), HO(G), HO(G)!

It’s great to finally be reading the issues I enjoyed so much as a kid and this is one I’ve really been looking forward to, what with me being such a fan of the season. As a child I remember the TV Times magazine being a staple part of my television viewing, even though it only had ITV and Channel Four listed, and the Christmas issue was a bit of an event when it arrived. Today the only time I’ll buy a TV listings magazine is Christmas; there’s something wonderfully nostalgic about it nowadays . Back in 1986 OiNK‘s TV Tips sat proudly alongside the family’s TV Times in the magazine rack for the whole school holiday. I insisted upon it.

What a present the free gift turned out to be too. The third and final section of the calendar for 1987 came with this issue and when linked to the separate parts from #15 and #16 it dominated my bedroom for the whole of the next year. It was subject to many pen marks when crossing off dates and highlighting birthdays, but it was treasured. Below are photos of the final part and the finished calendar I’ve been able to acquire again, proudly taking centre stage on the wall of my office, impatiently waiting for a year the dates will match up.

The issue is packed with Christmassy strips, spoof toy adverts, cards and decorations to make, Christmas stories and more. I know it’s only going to get harder from here on to pick out a few highlights, this issue is proof of that but after long deliberations here’s the selection box of piggy perfection. To set the mood for the festive frivolities is Roger Rental, He’s Completely Mental drawn as ever by Ian Knox.

I think that sets things up for us rightly.

So a cover with a comical take on TV listings magazines just has to follow that up on the inside and we weren’t to be disappointed. Blog readers who were alive in the 80s will find this next page particularly funny with references to a lot of the shows we’d have enjoyed ourselves back then, as well as those during which we’d have retreated to our bedrooms to play with our toys but which were favourites of our parents.

So what was on offer for us on TV?  Some aspects really weren’t that much different than today.  Cartoon movies, The Snowman, as well as the inhabitants of Albert Square refusing to have a merry one even back then. We may have had a festive special of Knight Rider instead of Doctor Who but the clichés about the television schedules at this time of the year aren’t a new thing, as OiNK proves here.

To be fair I’m actually a fan of Christmas telly and I think no matter the amount of cracker (no pun intended) specials and film premieres are broadcast people will carry on with the same old complaints. Interestingly, that Roger Moore James Bond illustration by Tin Thackeray was drawn for the first OiNK annual, which wouldn’t be released until the next year! (You can just about make out the OiNK logo above Roger’s head.) Just goes to show how far in advance those books were created.

Let’s not forget about the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination but I’m a big kid for this time of year. To me, it’s all about those nearest and dearest to me and thanking them for being in my life for another year. It’s about presents of course but I get just as much of a thrill out of giving to those I love as I do in receiving from them. It’s a time to be grateful, to be happy, to feel loved and to share that love.

In other words, the true meaning of Christmas is ripe for OiNK to tear it to shreds.

Written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by Davy Francis, Blue Xmas takes the foundations of any good Christmas story and builds upon them with plenty of laughs along the way, before it’s all flipped on its head in the final panels. A poor boy who won’t be receiving any gifts for Christmas tries to raise some money so he can buy his mum a present and through it all he finds that the joy of giving is better than receiving, only for him to be punished for his goodwill!

You can also get a real sense of the amount of work Davy (Francis) put in.

From memory I could’ve sworn this was in one of the annuals but here it is in the regular comic. A good few years back now I had the pleasure of meeting Davy for a chat and had the chance of purchasing some of his original OiNK artwork. One of the pieces was the first page of Blue Xmas which is now up on my wall. At a future point on the blog I’ll show the other pages he gave me and go into more depth on them all but I thought I’d show you a few highlights of this strip now.

In the comic the strip featured two-tone colour, all the faces being quite aptly blue, but on the original drawing you can see it was a black and white piece. You can also get a real sense of the amount of work Davy put in; in the title box you can actually see the pressure put on the page by Davy’s colouring-in of this solid black first panel. Those groups of lines he always used for backgrounds look even more time consuming in full-scale (this is about twice the size of the pages of the comic) and you can also see some of the correction fluid used to change a speech balloon to one with frosty icicles.

A quick look at some of the other highlights of the issue next, starting with Harry the Head‘s big adventure taking him into space, The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile sees the school pantomime descend into chaos and this particular panel had me laughing aloud, and the Christmas Quiz has a real head scratcher for you. Then in Ham Dare, Pig of the Future there’s more parodying of the all-British adventure comics of the day and that image of Ham looks so much like Dan Dare I think artist J.T. Dogg could easily have taken over the strip in Eagle!

I admit that well into my adult life I’d always assumed Mrs. Claus’ name was Mary! I know this was mentioned in a Charlie Brown Christmas Special (thanks to Wikipedia) but I wonder if OiNK was where I got that idea from originally. Anyway, moving on.

The commercial breaks during those Christmas programmes are usually filled with Boxing Day and New Year sales adverts for all those people not happy with what their loved ones gave them the day before. Getting in on this racket is none other than OiNK’s in-house catalogue company, GBH with their very own Christmas Catalogue for the following Christmas! This is definitely the best so far, complete with photographs of children enjoying (well, in theory) the dodgy toys and that background image by Mike Taylor, complete with a very unhappy snowman and a very smug fox.

This particular madvertisement was written by both Mark Rodgers and Patrick Gallagher and this is Mike’s first contribution to OiNK. A renowned ‘zine illustrator, Mike would go on to provide more lovingly crafted work for 13 issues altogether, being most prolific during the comic’s weekly phase.

Patrick directed the photo session which must’ve been hilarious to be a part of. His brother James was the actual photographer and the Barbie toys belonged to his sister Bernie. The two children featured are Patrick’s cousins, Erin Claffey and her brother Patrick, the rest of the toys belonging to them. On a side note I remember having that Castle Greyskull toy myself and many years later being told by my parents they had to make the trip all the way from Belfast to Dublin in order to get it that particular Christmas!

A few issues previous to this Lew Stringer had introduced us to Tom Thug‘s mum. When it was announced she’d be appearing both Tom and his father were terrified. Who on Earth could do that to the two biggest wannabe bullies in OiNKtown? What kind of bully was the mum to make these men shake in their bovver boots? As it turns out Mrs Thug was the kindest, sweetest and most affectionate woman you could imagine and that’s what put the fear of god into them! It was a funny twist and here she’s putting Tom to sleep on Christmas Eve, the morning after which she’d end up very happy with what can only be described as a Christmas miracle.

One thing I always like about Christmassy comics is seeing favourite characters within that setting. We all have our own Christmas traditions for the big day itself and sometimes it feels like we’re getting an insight into the cartoonists’ traditions, maybe from their own childhood, or at the very least maybe what they think our traditions are. These were always extra special strips and one cartoonist who never disappoints with a snowy logo is Lew.

A few issues before this we’d been introduced to Tom’s mother. Her arrival was announced and both Tom and his father panicked at the idea. It made us think what kind of ferocious bully could have these two so scared, only for her to end up being the most loving and affectionate woman you could imagine. Overly so, in fact. It was this aspect of her character the two wannabe hard nuts feared. A little extra note, according to Lew he originally had Tom actually shoot Santa but Mark Rodgers said it should be a dream so as not to upset kids. Lew says, “Mark was 100% right and it worked out far better”.

While it only ever snowed once for December 25th when I was a child we expected all of our strips to be covered in the white stuff and Lew always seemed to go that extra mile in this regard. Whether it was Tom and Pete in OiNK, or Combat Colin and Robo Capers in Transformers, you could be assured of a white Christmas in the pages of your comics. Nice to see Satan the Cat back in his own little mini-strip too and to have it all finished off with crackers and holly, and that little man at the top keeping the pages clear is a very funny touch.


“I normally manage to cadge a free, slap-up meal at Christmas time!”

Mr. Big Nose

This issue is really making my Christmas all over again 35 years after it did the first time, and now it’s the main event, a wonderful multi-page Uncle Pigg strip, one of only two times this would happen in the whole of OiNK’s run. Written by Mark Rodgers and of course drawn by Ian Jackson this four-page story is spread throughout the comic, even appearing as a subplot in Rubbish Man.

The plot has our editor declaring he’ll take his staff out for a Christmas treat, but the free gifts and competition prizes have drained the piggy bank. But as luck would have it, at that exact moment a flyer pops up offering a £10,000 reward from Santa Claus if anyone can find Rudolph who has gone missing. Donning his best Sherlock Holmes-esque getup Uncle Pigg leads his team into the snow and immediately stumbles upon a clue. But not all is as it seems.

I can remember reading this back then and loving every panel of it, wondering why we didn’t get at least a full-page like this every issue. I don’t know how many times I read it, but it was so witty and the art so funny it was definitely more than a few! I even remember lying in bed on Christmas Eve reading it yet again (even though the next issue had already arrived by that point, see the bottom of this review for more on that) just before going to sleep, or at least trying to fall asleep with the excitement of the night, which this only added to.

As the story continues there’s one madcap mishap after another, such as above when Percy Plop makes a welcome guest appearance. It reads funny but Ian’s style heightens every piece of slapstick such as the policeman skidding on Percy, forcing him deep into the snow. In the end our heroes follow the trail right back to the OiNK offices which Mary Lighthouse (critic) and none other than Santa Claus himself have commandeered. Why is Santa working with Mary? Read on.

In hindsight it’s a bit strange to have Santa team up with Mary, but when you think about it he isn’t meant to bring toys to the naughty children, is he? Children who like rude jokes, bare bums on their comic covers, puns about plops and stuff like that. But in the end Uncle Pigg and the OiNK crew won through and showed him we were all just as deserving. The present he refers to is the cut-out mobile on the back cover “for people who hate Xmas”, which is a very strange thing to put in a children’s comic. It’s more revenge on Santa for the story, but still, I remember thinking even at the time it was a little weird. Surely no one in OiNK’s target audience would hate it!

So that’s us at the end of a superb issue, a very special Christmas treat and a great stocking filler in itself if you can throw a hint at any loved one to search for it on eBay in time. With everything wrapped up (again, no pun intended) in time for the holidays there’s just one last thing I wanted to show you and that’s Jeremy Banx‘s Mr. Big Nose, another highlight of this issue that has stayed in my memory for decades and it’s a joy to see it again.

The next issue of OiNK had an on-sale date of 27th December but as per usual with Christmas comics and magazines it was released earlier than normal, what with the comics publishers shutting for the holidays, distributors working limited hours and back then our shops actually shut for days at a time! So our New Years editions would always arrive before Christmas, but I’ve no way of knowing exactly when so I’m just going to stick to the on-sale date.

That means the Hogmanay (appropriately enough) issue of OiNK will be reviewed right here on Monday 27th December 2021. I hope to see you then!

OiNK! #13: FRiGHTFULLY FUNNY

A brilliant headline pun welcomes us to the Hallowe’en issue of OiNK and what a great piece of coincidental timing, having the thirteenth issue out for the spooky season. At a time when most other humour comics had a strip on the cover OiNK’s bold, colourful covers really stood out and I think you’ll agree that’s certainly the case here with Ben Turner‘s one and only contribution to the comic and co-editor Patrick Gallagher‘s shivering version of his classic logo.

Ben is a seriously talented artist who at the time worked for Cosgrove Hall Productions (Danger Mouse, Count Duckula) alongside other OiNK artists Andy Roper and John Geering. He was also involved in producing and directing and from 1997 to 2006 was Creative Director at Cosgrove Hall Films where one of his projects was The BFG. Now working independently as a freelance director and designer in animation he was Art Director on CBBC’s Chuggington, a show which Patrick actually wrote some episodes for.

What do you think happens when Roger Rental meets the Slithering Horror?

In addition to all the themed laughs inside there are two event strips, both of which involve Lew Stringer. The first is a character crossover between Lew’s Tom Thug and Mike Green‘s Weedy Willy, who was created by Graham Exton and written either by him or co-editor Mark Rodgers. It kicks off with their individual strips. Tom was drawn by a 27-and-three-quarters-years-old Lew (according to his signature) and also includes future star Pete and his Pimple‘s sister Zeta.

Embarrassed in front of a girl by his own ineptness he’s jokingly compared to Willy and, Tom being the dim-witted bully he is, naturally decides to go and beat up Willy as revenge for this slight. At the same time Willy is yet again falling foul of his own attempts to woo Dishy Mandy who compares his intelligence to Tom’s. Everything is now set for a Clash of the Titans! We even get to see Tom angrily cutting across a field to get to his nemesis in Davy FrancisCowpat County.

The idea for the strip was suggested by Graham as a battle “between the two cowards, Tom and Willy.” Mark then scripted and in the days before the internet the artwork was shared via post. Lew pencilled and inked his bits first, loosely indicating in pencil where Weedy Willy should be. According to Lew, Mike was free to change these of course and it was all achieved quite easily in the end, as he doesn’t recall any back and forth being necessary.

I love how in the end these two complete opposites are more alike than they’ll ever realise. Everything they say out loud is said by the other at exactly the same time. Lew’s and Mike’s different styles come together flawlessly so it’s unfortunate it’d be the only time something like this would be created for the comic. There would be crossovers between Lew’s characters and different artists would draw one another’s for guest appearances, but this is a truly unique strip and one of the classics of the whole run.

Moving on to the Hallowe’en hilarity and one of our favourite characters finds himself up against an unspeakable terror. So what do you think happens when Ian Knox‘s Roger Rental Meets the Slithering Horror?

Of course.

The next two strips are perfect examples of the little one-offs which made up so much of our fortnightly dose of OiNK, the first of which is also the debut of Davey Jones to its pages (and his first published comics work). Davey is best known for his work on Viz, which he was freelancing for at the time before joining their staff in 1990. Some of his most famous creations are The Real Ale Twats, Gilbert Ratchet and Major Misunderstanding.

Here he puts a new spin on an old dog trick in Henry the Wonder Dog. Davey would contribute to 17 issues of OiNK altogether but as for Henry he’d only reappear once in #29. Strangely, so would the joke in a different strip later in the run.

The second strip is another by Lew Stringer. (This issue’s review is turning into a Lew special!) Doctor Jeckyll’s Experiment could’ve been told over half as many panels, but with the extra space here Lew’s expert comedic timing really pays off with some hilarious facial expressions, especially from the newly furry Jeckyll.

Do you remember the Care Bears, the saccharin Sunday morning cartoon with garishly coloured teddy bears? Based on the toys of the same name they were everywhere in the 1980s and even had their own comic from Marvel UK. But this is OiNK, so take that name and think of an appropriately ghoulish (and piggy) take on sweet and cuddly soft toys and what do you come up with? The Scare Boars of course. I noticed there’s a little copyright line from IPC Magazines below this Madvertisement, so jokingly thought the publisher had considered they’d make for good merchandise.

As it turns out this wasn’t so far-fetched after all. Patrick tells me, “I think IPC recognised that the characters (mocked up to a finished standard) could be highly marketable and might draw the attention of potential investors, and therefore deemed it necessary to state ownership (which, incidentally, they’d already stated in the full imprint earlier on). Though, whether they own as much as they claim is another matter!”

Who wouldn’t have wanted to own one of these? Which one would you have picked? For me it would have been Hampire Boar but it appears he and Skele Boar could be out there terrorising unsuspecting kids if a video posted by Patrick on the OiNK Facebook group is anything to go by. Check this out.

I know from social media and the previous iteration of this blog that this particular Madvertisement is a favourite among many, so to see one of its creators with Hunchback Boar like this is brilliant! So funny. If you’re not already a member of the group you should really join because it’s a great place for pig pals to chat and OiNK’s contributors (in particular Patrick) are always sharing bits and pieces about the creation of our favourite comic. Unmissable.

At this point I’d normally select a few memorable panels from various strips to give you an inkling of the rest of its contents. Instead, for this issue I wanted to show off two little panels from the Golden Trough Awards which were now being drawn by Tony Husband. A Hallowe’en special wouldn’t be complete without a Dracula story and here the terrified villagers have hatched a plan to rid themselves of the Count once and for all, and it involves headphones.

This wouldn’t be the last time Steve Wright would be the butt of a joke in OiNK. In fact, just to show how he could laugh at himself and take it all in good jest he would appear in a later issue and collect an award for Worst DJ as voted for by the readers!

Over the past few issues Jeremy Banx contributed some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments with some very surreal one-off strips, the kind he does so well. If you’ve missed Mrs. Warsaw-Pact or Ian Nasalcavity Visits his Grandparents you can check them out in the reviews for #10 and #11 respectively before we move on to the last of this little series of random extra strips.

In The Curse of the Mummy we’re introduced to more impossibly-named individuals, Barty Pimple-Squeak and Mervin Vermin-St. John-Platt who are searching the tomb of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. Not to be outdone, the former ruler is none other that King Sir Alf Rameses III and all of that is just in the opening caption! Just remember this is a Banx strip, so clearly whatever curse is unleashed upon the archaeologists is like nothing you could predict.

Being fascinated with Ancient Egypt myself this was a very welcome surprise addition. In fact, maybe due to my interest in the subject matter and how this perfectly spoofs it (or maybe just because Jeremy is a genius) this had me laughing even more than the previous two I mentioned above. Every single panel has a brilliant gag so good any one of them could be used as the punchline ending in other humour strips! This is right up there with Jaws ’86 for me.


“Through the interaction of vile jellies and mushy peas, the dumped dinners came to life!”

Lew Stringer (Monster Mash)

The final highlight is the other event strip and it’s the introduction to a much-loved character who would only appear in a handful of editions, but who left a big impression. A very BIG impression. This was the issue before I originally started buying OiNK as a kid and it’s such a shame because as a child I loved watching those old rubber-suited Godzilla monster movies late at night on Channel Four, so this would’ve been right up my alley. It’s time to welcome Pigswilla.

Co-editor Mark Rodgers had the idea for a strip where a massive collection of discarded school dinners came to life. He wrote the first script and then handed it off to Lew Stringer to develop further before drawing it. Originally called “The School Dinner Monster” Lew changed this to Monster Mash and created “Pigzilla” to combat the sludge. In their collaborative effort Mark changed this to Pigswilla which is of course brilliant. Only appearing in seven editions of the comic (including two of the annuals) made every one of his stories an extra special treat.

Lew wrote about the creation of Pigswilla and this particular strip on his Lew Stringer Comics blog back in 2016 to mark its 30th anniversary where he mentions working with Mark and how the paper used to print OiNK made for some lovely artistic choices.

Lew writes: “As OiNK was printed on quality paper (as opposed to the newsprint of its companion comics Buster, Whizzer and Chips etc.) I knew we could be a bit more adventurous with the rendering of the artwork so I thought a grey wash would give it more depth. I was really pleased with how the strip turned out and it remains one of my favourite pieces 30 years later.” Head on over to Lew’s blog for more.

I hope you all have a horrific Hallowe’en in the best possible way. What a great way to mark the season this issue has been. No wonder it’s Lew’s favourite issue from the first calendar year of OiNK one of Patrick’s favourites from the whole run.

At the time of writing this post it’s a busy time on the blog with more real time read throughs beginning and bringing the current running total to six at once! The review of the first issue of the latest series will actually be up on 31st October, Hallowe’en itself, which is just perfect for that comic as you’ll see. Then just one day later the 14th issue of OiNK, the first I ever owned(!) will be reviewed on Monday 1st November 2021 or as I like to call it, the beginning of Christmas Eve Month.