Tag Archives: Jeremy Banx


With the latest issue of OiNK comes the return of Hieronymous Van Hellsong in a prequel mini-series by Jeremy Banx. We’d been introduced to the character in the first half dozen weeklies as he tracked down his ultimate target, Jimmy ‘The Cleaver’ Smith. It all ended in tragedy as our hero was made into sausage links and used by the butcher to escape the pig police. (Jeremy is nothing if not original.) This prequel tale is the last story for Hellsong, introduced by a sobbing Uncle Pigg on the Grunts page.

I remember part of this story revolving around him being in the nude, but it doesn’t happen this week so the cover is rather confusing. But nevertheless it’s good to have him back. The same can also be said of The Kingdom of Trump, a name which conjures different images today. At the time it referred to a family with a name that meant nothing more than flatulence. Hmm, maybe some things haven’t changed.

As good as this is, the characters only appeared three times in OiNK, back here for the first time since #43 and as a full-colour page instead of a mini strip. As ever with his pages Davey Jones gives himself a silly name in the credits and fills the strip with lots of funny little details, like the doctor’s tools hidden behind his desk and what looks like a cameo by Smiffy of Bash Street Kids at the public flogging. It wouldn’t be a Davey strip without some awful puns too, and this has one of his best in that final panel.

Beginning in Whizzer and Chips of all places and then continuing into last week’s OiNK, Lew Stringer’s Tom Thug and his Crude Crew reaches its midway point, starting with Tom and a baby, finishing with the complete gang. Surely everyone in OiNKtown will now be quaking in their shoes? Well, not quite. From Tom’s misogyny backfiring (as it should) and the cliché of needing a punk compared to what he ends up with, to a mention of one of my favourite TV shows at the time of OiNK (I can remember laughing at that bit in particular), this one had it all.

I always like it when a character acknowledges they’re living in the pages of a comic, so ending with Tom not only looking directly at us but also acknowledging that his pathetic little gang won’t be able to cause bovver for a whole week, I find particularly funny. That juxtaposition between the panel of the completed gang which catches your eye as soon as you turn the page, and the penultimate one where they all have their excuses is brilliant. It emphasises the difference between how bullies present themselves and how they really are. Classic stuff.

Last week saw a rare thing occur in the history of OiNK when a whole issue went by without a trip to David Haldane’s Zootown. A staple from the very beginning, skipping only occasional issues, I’m very glad to see the loveable, human-esque animals haven’t become a casualty of the page count since going weekly, returning with another quick gag in mini-strip form. Just the one panel this week actually, but that’s all David needed to deliver a good laugh.

Such a shame their continued inclusion can’t be said of some of David’s other creations. In #52 we were told Rubbish Man would be back in a mini series soon (which ends up contained in one of the bigger monthlies) but sadly Hugo the Hungry Hippo seems to have had his fill of chowing down on cities around the world, Godzilla-style. Last seen in The OiNK! Book 1988, his last appearance in the regular comic was way back in #35! We’ll eventually get one more laugh from his insatiable appetite in the third Holiday Special next year, but for now it would seem he’s taking a much earned rest between meals.

Thankfully there are a handful of Laffie (or whatever they’ll be called) strips coming up on a weekly basis very soon

Back to the issue at trotter and Hieronymous Van Hellsong’s prequel begins with a few Beatles gags during the assassination that starts his adventure, and then in Burp’s strip is surely one of the best names created for a funny comic! Lew decided to end his Pete and his Pimple strip with a random little image that, as you can see, had nothing at all to do with the page. However, according to Lew, OiNK’s editors decided to have a little joke themselves and added that cheeky little arrow to it before publication!

The final panel below is from the end of the Billy the Pig serial which comes to a conclusion this week. I haven’t included any of it before now because sadly I just didn’t like it, which is a shock when I think of all those hilarious Laffie the Wonder Pig strips Tony and Chas brought us. But unfortunately Billy reads like any other children’s western adventure story but with pigs in the lead roles, with only the occasional joke added in, rather than being a humour strip.

Thankfully there are a handful of Laffie (or whatever they’ll be called) strips coming up on a weekly basis very soon to redeem this wonderful pairing of writer and artist.

For a strip that would be one of only three to survive beyond the final issue (becoming part of the merge with Buster) recently Weedy Willy has only been popping up occasionally and even then as a mini-strip. Back at the beginning he was mainly seen in full pages and, because of his move into Buster, my memory thought this was how it always was. Written by a variety of talent over the past couple of years, new writer Keith Forrest and regular Willy artist Mike Green have brought him back to full strength again.

Well, as full strength as the character could ever possibly be.

Only appearing in roughy half of the issues in total, Weedy Willy wouldn’t even be part of the final one before the merge, strangely enough. But when he did pop up he was always a highlight. Yes, he could be the butt of the jokes but it was never in a cruel way, it was just exaggerated silliness. Willy had accepted his lack of any form of strength, and the things he’d do to compensate (such as above) were always very funny. Sometimes he’d even get the upper hand over bullies thanks to not being able to do certain things and having to think his way out of situations. He was simply a brilliant character.

In the middle pages is the first poster we’ve seen in quite a while (Simon Thorp’s spoof movie posters were only ever one page in size, meant to be read rather than put on our walls). This is Dave Huxley’s third and final contribution to OiNK, the first being a poster of the Mona Li-sow, then he returned with The Hamformers in the previous Christmas issue. His final piece takes an icon of liberty, of the end of slavery and of welcoming immigrants… and turns her into a cheeky-faced butcher-cooking colossus.

I always felt the name ‘The Statue of Piggery’ didn’t read quite right. While that is an actual word meaning either “a farm where pigs are bred or kept” or “behaviour seen as characteristic of pigs in greed or unpleasantness” so it might make some sense, this is OiNK and its piggy puns don’t have to make sense. So I always thought ‘Piggerty’ was right there to use and would’ve sounded better, but oh well. Given the look on her face I’m not about to argue the point.

Such a shame Dave wouldn’t contribute to any of the remaining issues. In a later interview with Crikey! magazine he says he thinks he was hoping to make a career out of historical pig parodies, but attributes his lack of further posters or Madvertisements to the comic being cancelled. We’re still a long way off from that though, so I don’t know why this was it for his time with Uncle Pigg, but it’s been a blast anyway.

This has to be one of my favourites just because of how stupid it is!

Elsewhere in this issue is a cut-out mask of our aforementioned esteemed editor, Uncle Pigg. This was actually the last in a series which began on the back pages after the weekly calendar had been completed between #45 and #50. Why have I not shown any of them? I thought I’d wait and show you them all in a post of their own, so watch out for that later in the year when we’ve got some time to fill between the monthly OiNKs.

This has to be one of my favourites of co-editor Patrick Gallagher’s coupons, just because of how stupid it is! Next week there’s much more OiNK to enjoy. Three times as much actually. Alongside the regular 24 pages of the weekly comic pig pals would find the second 48-page Holiday Special on the shelves too. So watch out for the full reviews of both next weekend. First up, #56’s will be here on Friday 24th March 2023, the special on Sunday 25th. See you then!

OiNK! #52: PiNK MiRROR

The first cover drawn by Chris Sievey, better known as Frank Sidebottom, is a delight of what must’ve been time-consuming details. As a kid I always loved his unique style but I don’t think I gave it the appreciation it really deserved. Look at the panelling in the wooden fence and each individual window in those distant buildings, never mind the brilliant colour work all completed with felt tip pens. I’ve already discussed previously that co-editor Patrick Gallagher told me how long Chris would spend perfecting his OiNK work, and you can see that right there on the cover to #52.

On the Grunts page, under a list of the most popular characters (every reader who wrote in was asked to include a coupon with their top three strips) is news that some of those listed will be returning in new mini-series soon, namely Street-Hogs, The Spectacles of Doom and Rubbish Man. In #50’s review I touched upon characters some cartoonists had rested. It’s interesting to see the once-regular Rubbish Man alongside two strips that were always mini-series. Perhaps this was how they’d get around having fewer pages for the large amount of characters readers wanted to see.

So, what about those showbiz scoops of Frank’s?

My favourite part of this is the difference between the Springsteen headline and what the story actually is; it’s very clever and very funny, reminding me of those headlines you’ll see from certain websites where every word has a capital letter. You know the type. Nice to see the Smokebusters still going strong after first popping up in #46 (and of course the special edition) and the huge headline on the cover is reduced to a tiny side panel with another hilarious non-story behind it all, aping the tabloid press of the day. (Of the present too.)

Elsewhere there’s a fantastic photo collage of Frank’s time recording a sketch for Saturday morning children’s TV show No.73. I loved that show and the page in question will be part of a special post later in the year. That’s all I’m going to say for now, other than it’ll be worth the wait. Back to the issue at hand and underneath a three-quarter-page Pete and his Pimple (backing up what I said for the last two issues about the return of a more varied layout to the comic) is the latest Cowpat County from Davy Francis.

Last week we had a full-page colour strip, now a quarter-page black and white mini-strip but fans wouldn’t have felt short-changed. This was the nature of OiNK; your favourites could pop up irregularly, in different formats from longer stories to quick gags such as this. It’s great to have that feel of the fortnightlies back again and to be enjoying it on a weekly basis. Davy is a master of the quick gag strips so that’s another reason I wasn’t disappointed to see Cowpat County in a much tinier space this time, because I knew I was guaranteed a good chortle.

The highlight of this issue for me is Jeremy Banx’s Burp. That shouldn’t be a surprise, I’ve never made a secret of the fact I’m a huge fan of Jeremy’s work, especially his strips for this particular smelly alien from outer space. But if you cast your mind back to the previous review, when I was delighted to see the return of Alvin and found the now-sentient coffin so funny, you’ll understand why this week’s strip was a particular thrill to read.

As always with Burp’s pages it’s very funny from the offset, giving us this surreal experience of a tax assessor coming to his UFO as if that’s a completely normal thing to happen in this man’s day-to-day working life. In fact, as he’s presented with ever more bizarre creatures he doesn’t run off as we’d expect, instead he just gets angrier, the “This is going to cost you, lad” response to the Pet Specimen from Uranus being a particular highlight.

It’s a great pay off that we didn’t even know we needed.

That surprise return is just one of three (well, more if you count his internal organs), having disappeared over the last several months. In earlier issues always seen dangling from Burp’s belt, here Jeremy even gives us an answer to where he’s been. In what must be one of Burp’s many inventions the specimen can now go anywhere he pleases, giving us a reason as to why he hasn’t been seen dangling. But it’s the other two characters I loved seeing again the most.

Alvin popping up again was a hoot, so certain was I that we’d seen the last of him (I’ve been wrong on that before, right regular readers?) but then to see the coffin, after I said how funny it would be to see these two even just hanging out in the background of future strips, is just hilarious! The coffin even has a name now. I know I’ve said this before but this is one of my very favourite Burp strips, but only because it works so well after reading all of the previous instalments. It’s a great pay off that we didn’t even know we needed.

Cherry-picking some other highlights from the issue I’m not sure how I feel about the word “crap” in The Slugs. While according to Uncle Pigg last week the audience for OiNK was changing from what was originally intended and it was always meant to be the punk rock of children’s comics, it was still a children’s comic. Can you imagine if Whizzer and Chips used this word? It’d have been all over the tabloids. So yes, I’m not sure how I feel about that. We’ll see how the comic evolves over the next while and come back to this I think.

Elsewhere, there’s a wonderfully dark yet silly moment as Billy the Pig continues his search for his rustled family, and in Tom Thug there’s a surprise return for big brother Ernie who first popped up seven days ago. This time he’s off for good though, when we find out he’s charged with being AWOL and in his final panel the character we’ve come to know for these two issues disappears completely! Speaking with Lew, he’d forgotten all about Ernie. He was never mentioned again, even in all the years Tom was a regular in Buster.

This is a phenomenal feat for someone still at school, to be writing so much for a mainstream comic.

Billy Bang, Brian Luck He’s Really Unlucky, a quiz called Are You a Compulsive Liar?, Transmogrifying Tracey, The Adventures of Death and a GBH Madvertisement all have one thing in common in this issue. They’re all written by Charlie Brooker. This is a phenomenal feat for someone still at school, to be writing so much for a mainstream comic. We obviously know of his incredible talent and genius comedic writing in later years but one look at this GBH Azid page and you can see even as a teenager he was already there!

This is simply a brilliant page, Charlie’s excellent script expertly brought to life by Eric ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson and his unique textured style. Obviously the OiNK editors saw something in the young Black Mirror creator to give him his first paying job in the first place, but with how many times I’m seeing his name already (I knew he contributed a lot to the later monthlies) it’s clear they were impressed with him from the offset and were asking him for more. This is becoming a fascinating look into the early career of one of my very favourite television writers.

We’ll stick with Charlie for one more strip I think and the return of The Adventures of Death, one of those favourite not-as-regular-as-you-remember regular characters. Death was in every edition for six issues to begin with but as Charlie’s repertoire expanded the Grim Reaper became one of several of his creations he had to split his time between. Remember folks, he was still at school! It appears he’s now becoming one of OiNK’s main contributors though. Personally, Death is still a favourite character after all theses years.

I found myself lingering on that penultimate panel. That’s genius comic timing in a comic strip. I can’t help but wonder if OiNK had continued on in this guise and lasted longer than it ultimately did, would Charlie have continued as a contributor, and more so would he have continued with a cartooning career? We’ll never know. What we do know is what Charlie did after OiNK’s eventual cancellation. He produced cartoon art for CeX before moving on to writing for PC Zone magazine, including a comic strip.

From here it was a natural progression into TV’s Games Republic, which led on to his writing for such shows as Channel Four’s The 11 O’Clock Show and the infamous Brass Eye paedophilia special. At the same time he created his TV review column Screen Burn for The Guardian. These career paths would culminate in Screen Wipe, a BBC series I adored and really miss. A phenomenal career which all began with our piggy pink publication.

Patrick’s reservation coupon rounds things off as usual and it’s been another fantastic read this week. I’m even getting used to the 24-page format. There’s more crammed in as the team get used to the frequency increase, so it taken longer to read than the first handful of weeklies. Great stuff. The next OiNK has one of the best covers of the whole run. If you thought what Lew Stringer did with the logo last week was something special, just wait ’til you see what he does with it in just six days on Friday 3rd March 2023. (1988 was a leap year, so we’re missing a day.)


The latest cover from Lew Stringer is one of my most memorable simply because of how inventive it is. Surely OiNK’s was one of the best comic logos ever created, right? Of course I could just be biased, but the logo co-editor Patrick Gallagher created always seemed so bold, so different and so joyful as a kid. It still gives me all the feels today. Tom Thug appearing behind a sea of ‘OiNK’s is a great idea and you can take a look at the original artwork and the overlaying of the logos in a post on Lew’s own blog from 2015 when it was up for sale.

On the Grunts page Uncle Pigg tells us how the audience reading OiNK is rather different from the one it was originally created for, apparently now mainly made up of teenagers and young adults. How he knew this I’m not sure yet but it’s a theme we’ll return to as we inch our way closer to the biggest change in OiNK’s life in the spring. For now let’s concentrate on the issue at hand and inside Tom had a page-and-a-half to cause chaos with and a cut-out mask on the back cover (which you’ll see in a future post) so he’s very much the star this week. His strip has a new guest star too, in the shape of his newly created brother.

Like all the best Tom Thug strips it moves into brilliantly scripted slapstick, only it’s not Tom who’s the main recipient of Lew’s penchant for comic violence this time. Well, apart from the front door, with that funny little detail of the wall going down to the brick from the force of Ernie’s entrance. We’d never see Ernie again but can you blame him for not wanting to return? It’s always fun to see their mum though, what with her being the complete opposite of everyone else in this little dysfunctional family.

“Today’s the day we discover the teddy bear’s graveyard.”

Burp, Jeremy Banx

Reading this now in this digital world we find ourselves in I can’t help but think, given Tom’s attitude towards the army and what he thinks his brother actually does, that our resident bully would definitely have a union flag or a football top as his Twitter profile avatar. Lew has said before Tom would definitely be a cowardly internet troll today. Also, is it just me or does Tom’s mum remind anyone else of their own mum in the 80s? It’s uncanny. Just don’t tell her I said that.

Moving on to Jeremy Banx’s Burp and I was delighted to find out I was wrong about having seen the last of a certain character. Back in #32 in a bid to fix a little girl’s broken teddy bear our friendly smelly alien mistakenly created sentient life. Puzzled by the toy’s lack of organs, skeleton, brain or in fact anything he thought this was the cause of the girl’s heartbreak, so he brought Alvin to life, only for us to see his owner tear him limb from limb in a game of doctor and patient. He returned in #46 and ended up sizzled like a well done steak.

It’s always fun to see another ludicrously-named gadget Burp just happens to have either lying around or invented, with appropriately hilarious results. Will Alvin reappear in the remaining issues that include Burp? Well I’m not going to try and answer that since I was so wrong last time, but given how some of his internal organs have become recurring characters I’d love to see the bear and the coffin pottering about in the background of his spaceship!

I showed the punchline from last issue’s Billy Bang and then realised I haven’t showed a full strip of Billy’s since way back in #4’s review when he was drawn by Shiloe (Viz’s Simon Donald). Nowadays Eric ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson has the duty of exploding the bad tempered lad every week and the puns, which had started to become a little repetitive, are now fresh and funny again thanks to a mixture of writers taking on the task. This week it’s the mysterious ‘Griffiths + Kane’. Also watch out for the facial expression of the fish in the water which I just love.

Billy’s original creator, Mike Knowles, even admitted he never thought the character would last because of the limited premise but he did, passed on to other creative teams as the comic evolved over time. This ever-shifting roster of talent defied odds again and again and he’d remain a regular all the way through to the end. Well, when I say “regular”, even before the reduction in pages (with #45) OiNK’s roster of regular characters was too big for any one issue.

While all other humour comics had a set amount of regular strips which would neatly add up to the amount of pages needed each issue, OiNK was (as always) different. It still had those strips which would appear every fortnight/week, but there were a load of characters that were still deemed regulars who didn’t appear all the time. It was always exciting when your favourites popped up and it kept things fresh, and if OiNK had continued for years and years I’m sure we would’ve seen the return of some of those absent from these weeklies so far.

Here’s a perfect example. Two strips we’d all agree were main OiNK strips. Horace Watkins continues with his ever-more-ridiculous spoof football drama, a strip which appeared in all but one issue. Then we have Cowpat County, which appeared in each of the first 14 issues (plus the preview) but as new characters were introduced it began to appear irregularly, sometimes every issue, sometimes there’d be a gap. Its length also became more fluid, appearing as mini-strips as well as full pages.

I don’t think any pig pal could argue this made Cowpat County any less of a regular strip, it was just the OiNK way of doing things. In fact, it’s been a while since we got a full page from Davy’s Farmer Giles and it’s an extra special treat to see one in colour, complete with what has to be described as a ‘classic’ joke, surely? Speaking of regulars though, the absence of The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile Aged 8 5/8 Years is glaringly obvious! This is the first regular issue he hasn’t appeared in. Some good and bad news about that in a few issues’ time.

I’m sure we can all agree with the trouser press in this situation.

One of those characters introduced back in #15 which OiNK’s line up got a shake-up was Lew Stringer’s Pete and his Pimple. This issue sees the first of the reader suggestions for a solution to Pete Throb’s massive spot problem. First asked for in #45, these ideas came thick and fast for the rest of OiNK’s run, starting points for the majority of Pete’s strips to come. I’ve included this one here for two reasons. The first is simply because it’s the first one and I wanted to mark the occasion, the other is for its co-star, the trouser press. Read it, enjoy, and when you get to the final panel you’ll understand.

I’m sure we can all agree with the trouser press in this situation. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.) The colouring might seem a bit odd on first glance but I think it works. There were a few pages which would feature two set colours on this thinner matt paper instead of the various grades we got even in black and white strips on the glossy pages (up to #35). A lot of traditional comics had examples of one colour being used to make certain pages stand out, usually red.

OiNK’s contemporaries like Buster and Whizzer and Chips had a lot less colour than OiNK despite being eight pages longer, and would still use the one colour to set some of those apart, but mainly they were in black and white. Billy Bang and Tom Thug also use just the two tones in this issue to produce the feel of a colour page. I think Wilkie does it best since he has a lot of water in his strip, and in Tom’s look closer and you’ll notice only the small tub of water and the inflatable ring are coloured. But the effect works, cleverly highlighting these items before they became part of the slapstick.

It was rare for Psycho Gran to get a full-colour strip. Fans are used to seeing David Leach’s gorgeous technicolour in her stories today in new digital and physical comics he releases now and again. Well, when I say we’re used to it, his artwork and colours never fail to wow us. In OiNK, her strips would be of varying length but always in black and white so it’s a lovely surprise to see her latest in colour, albeit limited due to the page stock (just wait until you see David’s colouring today). Also, for once, she’s acting in self defence and not inflicting her unique sense of humour upon others.

I’ll be covering the little old lady’s post-OiNK life later this year on the blog but in the meantime it’s a bit of a shock to realise that after this she’ll only appear in one more regular issue before the comic’s cancellation! She’ll also feature in this year’s Holiday Special and then in The OiNK! Book 1989 in which she has a few pages all to herself, some in colour. Apart from her very first appearance back in #15 it’s those pages to come I remember the most. So there may only be a few more times to enjoy her company in this read through, but I’m looking forward to those final ones!

If there was ever an OiNK cartoonist who liked to make sure readers got plenty of value it was Davy Francis. Some of the biggest laughs have come from the backgrounds in Davy’s strips, the incidental moments happening behind the main characters, the little gags squeezed into spaces usually left for scenery by others. While little one-off Mabel the Model doesn’t have as many as some of his previous, this particular one had me giggling with its nod to a favourite TV show.

Davy would of course elaborate upon the script in his art, and Mabel’s script was written by Hilary Robinson (2000AD, Mindbenders, The Worm: the longest comic strip in the world) who you can read all about on her page of the Women in Comics Wiki, including details of her scripts for 2000AD and what ultimately happened to that working relationship. Just like Davy (and myself), Hilary is a resident of Northern Ireland and I assume a friend of Davy’s, asked by him if she’d like to contribute to OiNK. Unfortunately, this would be her only contribution to the comic.

Another newsagent reservation coupon by co-editor Patrick Gallagher rounds off another review. I can confidently say last week’s issue (the celebratory 50th) wasn’t a fluke, OiNK really has settled into its weekly guise; it’s back to its random nature, as evidenced with Tom Thug’s larger than normal strip above most of all, some missing characters have popped back in and best of all, until it changes format again we have another 11 weeks of this to go! The next one of which will be reviewed in seven days on Saturday 25th February 2022. See you then.