Tag Archives: Kev F Sutherland

OiNK! #38: A FEAST OF FUNNiES

A cover that would surely stand out on the shelves, a full-page photograph of Frank Sidebottom (aka Chris Sievey) and Marc Riley as his alter ego Snatcher Sam getting into what appears to be a food fight, with a promise of a full story inside. Frank never seemed to be off our television screens at the time, so having him in OiNK was a major coup for the comic, having him on the cover even more so. Well, it would be if his face wasn’t covered with those wonderful stickers, of course.

Our third and final set includes the same ‘Stick with OiNK’ on the back as previous issues and an array of stars with Burp, Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins, Harry the Head and Frank himself on the good quality, bright yellow stickers. The butcher one in particular I remember, I think it ended up on our fridge back in 1987 but not for very long. We wouldn’t get any more free gifts until the final issue, a gift that would lead me directly to my next comic obsession.

The Story Behind the Cover strip was the first time we’d seen Frank and Sam in a photo story since #26 (something which used to be a regular occurrence for Sam in the early issues) and here it’s split up into three small chunks, with the conclusion on page 31. However, the first two parts are also split up over the opening pages, the bottom half on page two and the second at the top of page three. Why? Comic timing (no pun intended).

Have you ever turned over a page of a comic and something towards the end of the strip catches your eye? Or have you ever been reading a page and your eye happens to wonder just for a split second when something further down comes within eye level, revealing the big gag early? (Just me?) I love how this stops the strip at the point where Frank’s turn of phrase suggests something very different to what actually happens, then the gag lands when we start on the next page.

That pie thrown in the final image would be seen throughout the comic thanks to co-creator/co-editor Patrick Gallagher as it wings its way to the inner back page. The pie isn’t the only addition to some pages, there are little plops here and there with suitable puns, much like we had in the very earliest issues, in particular the preview issue. These were added to the previous two OiNKs too, adding to that feeling of newness I described during #36’s review.

We’ll get back to that at the end of the issue, as intended. As I mentioned in the OiNK’s Golden Age post this was my very favourite time in OiNK’s run, mainly because all of my very favourite characters, writers and cartoonists were present in almost every issue. One character who’d I’d always thought was a regular from the moment she first appeared was Psycho Gran by the insanely talented (and all round decent feller) David Leach.

Old Lady Psycho appeared seemingly randomly from #15 up to this point, partly because David didn’t know she was to be a regular character until that issue was published. Her Maniacal Majesty was at her most prolific in these latter fortnightlies, in fact apart from the next issue she’ll be in every one until OiNK turns weekly, when she unfortunately disappears, only popping up in three of the regular issues after that. Although her appearance in the second annual is not to be missed! So she’s another reason to enjoy the rest of this year’s issues.

A loveable character, often the subject of body shaming his cheery demeanour would see him get one over the bullies

Also introduced in #15 and advertised as a regular was Fatty Farmer, normally written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by Mike Green. Farmer appeared in five issues, then this is only his third appearance since and he’d only have three more after this. He was a loveable character, often the subject of body shaming he’d never let it get to him and his cheery demeanour would see him get one over the bullies every time.

Here however, he’s eaten a load of cream cheese just before bedtime and, playing on the old tale of cheese giving you nightmares if you eat it late at night, he drifts into a disturbed sleep in Fatty Farmer’s Nightmare! A Blubbery Bonus. This time the script has been written by new OiNK scribe Vaughan Brunt, with Mike as ever providing the art. Written as a rhyme it starts off silly and just gets sillier.

I’m a sucker for a comical shark and Mike doesn’t disappoint here. For a start trying to strangle a shark is funny enough, never mind the giant, crazy eyes, lack of pectoral fins making it look like a long, silly sausage and the little “Dunslop” sign on the front of its rubber body! This was the only time Fatty Farmer got a full page to himself and I think it’s Mike’s art that really makes it. It could’ve been written for any character but Mike brings such ‘character‘ to the lead it feels like a perfect fit.

Other highlights of this issue include Burp making a perfect political statement three decades early, Death’s hilarious reaction to an unwelcome visitor, our dense-but-buffed Endor and his magical spectacles being woken from their apparently cuddly sleep when the Monocle of Mayhem is stolen by a ghost and Pete giving us a hint as to why he may have that pimple in the first place.

A quick note on those last two panels. This was the first appearance for new serial Jimmy Flynn, a boy who was “bathed in a weird light from a flying saucer” and ever since could make his skeleton jump out of his skin to go and investigate spooky goings-on. Each strip would hype a ‘Special Guest Star’ in the title too, only for that special guest to appear inconsequentially in one panel, as Larry Hogman (Larry Hagman, Dallas) does here.

This issue saw the very first contribution from none other than Kev F Sutherland. A prolific cartoonist in OiNK’s weekly and monthly issues (his work would make up about a sixth of the final issue!) this was the only time his art would be seen in the fortnightlies but it’s great to see him join the fray at last. A small, quarter-page three-panel Madvertisement riffing off the McDonald’s TV adverts of the time, not only is this Kev’s first OiNK strip, it’s his very first published work.

So a little bit of comics history right there. Kev went on to be a cartoonist in titles as diverse as Beano, Toxic, Doctor Who Adventures and Red Dwarf Magazine. Today he also visits schools to teach comics creation, performs with socks puppets as The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre and you can check out his 17-part podcast series Comic Cuts – The Panel Show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

When you’re a heavy, building-sized robotic pig there’s no way you can’t make an impact

I’ve been looking forward to Kev’s time in the comic and forgot all about this little strip. Having proven himself we had to wait until #49 to see him again but it’ll be worth the wait. Some of the very best strips in the monthlies are from Kev; The March of the Killer Breakfasts and a simply brilliant strip about three scientists discovering time travel are stand outs from those final issues. Kev also had a series called simply Meanwhile… which would have a completely different scenario every time, all linked together by nothing more than his unique art style and even more unique sense of humour. You’ll see some of those next year.

One character who didn’t appear too often, showing up for just five regular issues and both annuals, but who made a huge impact with readers and remains a fan favourite to this day was Pigswilla. Then again, when you’re a heavy, building-sized robotic pig there’s no way you can’t make an impact. He returns this issue in Beware the Bread-Beast from Beyond. As you can see Lew Stringer’s gorgeous colour work has returned, as has his rhyming storytelling.

It’s all very funny, that exclamation by the Bread-Beast at the top of the second page along with his facial expression made me genuinely roar! You know you’re in for a treat when you turn a page and find Pigswilla is in the issue and we were never let down. The strip ends with cut-out finger puppets and by the initials it appears Mark Rodgers had a hand (boom! boom!) in those. It wasn’t the first time OiNK featured such things and Lew would do something similar to brilliant effect with his Combat Colin strip in Marvel UK’s Transformers a few years later.

The next strip takes up two pages, although it’s not a double-page spread, instead we turn over for the second half. This isn’t for comic timing this time, instead it means they can be presented as the front and back covers of a spoof comic. When I read this issue for the first time since childhood I was surprised to see it because the first annual had a superb, multi-page spoof of The Beano and The Dandy and it would’ve been on sale at this time (although most of us didn’t get it until Christmas, of course). Nevertheless, here’s the first time OiNK took a direct swipe at DC Thomson’s best-seller with The Deano.

This was all a well-meaning jest, a parody of the long established comics. As OiNK writer Graham Exton once told me parody is when you poke fun at something you admire, satire is something different, and these were always intended as parodies. For example, this was written by co-creator/co-editor Mark Rodgers who (according to Graham I should add) would always have a Beano Book next to the loo for guests in his house to read while they did their business.


“There’s a new butcher in town, gang! Let’s splat him!”

Scramble

Brought to life by Les ‘Lezz’ Barton, it emphasises the running gag that the comics were tired and had been going on too long with the volume and issue numbers, and it all goes rather dark on the second page. I’m not referring to the lights being turned off, let’s be clear Dennis has just minced and eaten his pet dog! Then again, we are reading a comic which advertised burgers made of butchers in its preview issue so the precedent was set.

Percy Piglet turning the light out will actually get mentioned in our final highlight from this issue but just before that here’s the winner of Granada TV’s Scramble competition as promised. I actually prefer runner up Ian Marshall’s Professor Foible but I wasn’t judging and when the winning strip is that of a gang of punk pigs it’s clear this was always going to be the winner. After all, co-editor Tony Husband was (and still is) a huge fan of punk music and always saw OiNK as the comic equivalent.

I’m sure Michael Spencer of Poynton was thrilled to see his work in the comic, introduced by Uncle Pigg and the plops on the previous page. You can’t fault the imagination on show and it reminds me of the comics my friend Roger and I made for each other in school, which were usually riffs on Marvel UK comics such as Transformers and The Real Ghostbusters. From memory, Roger created The Battleoids and School Busters, while mine were called War-Bots and The Real Smokebusters. Hmm, definitely not as original as Michael’s strip.

Time to round off this issue’s review with the conclusion of our photo story starring Marc Riley as Snatcher Sam and Chris Sievey as Frank Sidebottom. The custard pie has made its way through the comic to end up splattered all over Sam so the OiNK photographer finally gets their shot. In response the reluctant cover stars plot revenge and this is where the reference from earlier comes back to funny effect.

The lucky young star here who got to meet some of the OiNK team was Scott Steward, neighbour of Patrick Gallagher‘s. Thanks again to Patrick for the info and as always he’s sent along a recent photograph to show us Scott as he is now. Hello Scott!

That’s our feast of an issue at an end and it’s been a belter from start to finish. It should come as no shock that I think the same of the next one, at least from memory anyway. After that will be the Hallowe’en issue which (along with the Christmas edition later on this year) I seem to recall was one of my very favourite OiNKs of all time. So good times ahead then! The next OiNK review, of the Games and Puzzles Issue will be here on Monday 17th October 2022. See you then, pig pals!

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.

KEV F SUTHERLAND CUTS COMiCS: NEW PODCAST

Appearing mainly in later issues of OiNK, Scottish cartoonist Kev F Sutherland (known simply as ‘Kev F’ in the comic) made quite the impression with his first published work. He went on to contribute to everything from Beano to Doctor Who Adventures via Toxic and Red Dwarf Magazine, and today performs as The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre and teaches masterclasses on creating comics in schools across the country.

In OiNK he drew some brilliant Rotten Rhymes as well as a selection of pun-filled one-offs such as The March of the Killer Breakfasts. But the strips he’s probably most fondly remembered for are the Meanwhile series, a random selection of stories of varying length with mundane titles such as Meanwhile in the Kitchen, Meanwhile at the Party, Meanwhile at the Ball or even Meanwhile at the Fish Market.

As you can see the end result was guaranteed to be anything but mundane. Each story would be set up in a similar way; a simple, quite plain setting which soon spirals out of control towards a hilarious final panel. Always energetic and containing a great gag Kev himself mirrors his work, and its this enthusiasm that’s at the heart of his brand new podcast, the recently launched Comic Cuts: The Panel Show.


“Every episode, the guests reveal a panel from a comic, we try and guess where it’s from, then we chat about it. Half an hour later hopefully we’ve learned something, or just shown off and had fun along the way.”

Kev F Sutherland

The premise is both original and wonderful. In each episode two guests bring along a favourite panel from a comic. It could be any comic from any genre, any publisher, any title and from any year. The other guest has to describe it to the listener, who then tries to work out if they can identify the comic it came from. Kev and the guest describing the panel are trying to work it out too and the banter along the way is always funny.

At the time of writing three episodes are available and all are as enjoyable as each other, whether you’re familiar with the contributors or not. Episode one has Kev discussing panels chosen by writer, comedian and historian Iszi Lawrence (Netflix‘s The Lost Pirate Kingdom, BBC Radio 4‘s Making History) and comedian Doug Segal.

In episode two the guests are Manga artist Sonia Leong (Marie Curie: A Graphic History of the World’s Most Famous Female Scientist, Doctor Who: The Women Who Lived) and Beano artist Nigel Parkinson (Dennis, Bash Street Kids, as well as Thunderbirds The Comic and Stingray). Then Resident Alien co-creator Peter Hogan (also 2000AD and The Sandman Presents) and comedian & actor Bethany Black round the current crop of episodes off nicely.

Kev brings an unbridled sense of joy to the proceedings

Kev has also released details of the forthcoming schedule (the man has been recording like mad, clearly) and guests I’m particularly looking forward to hearing include Beano‘s Nigel Auchterlounie (far too many Beano and The Dandy strips to count, including Dennis) and Laura Howell (Minnie the Minx, Beano Manga, The Bizarre Adventures of Gilbert & Sullivan).

But surely the biggest news for pig pals is that Psycho Gran‘s very own David Leach (OiNK and everything from Dinner Ladies From Hell to Spongebob Squarepants) has already taken part and I personally can’t wait to hear these two OiNK behemoths in action together. I’ve heard both in podcast form and they’re equally entertaining to listen to, so having them both together should make for quite the show! David will be appearing alongside anime artist and founding member of Sweatdrop Studios, Laura Watton in an episode due in early July.

Kev brings an unbridled sense of joy to the proceedings and to say things can get rather crazy at times may sound like a cliché but that doesn’t make it any less true. I mean, are you expecting anything less from this man below?

To quote Kev, “Happiness is lining up guests for my new comics-based podcast. Tomorrow I start recording with guests you won’t believe. I’m looking at their CVs and we’ve got everything from Beano to Netflix, from Radio 4 to Channel 4. One guest drew the cover of a Kaiser Chiefs record and another was in a Fairy Liquid advert directed by Ken Loach. When they were five. I’ve got a mixture of comic creators and comedians (and RSVPs from a couple of invitees I thought would never say yes, and I’m blown away that they have). I hope this podcast works and I can get round to getting all these guests on it, cos they’re amazing.”

From the initial few episodes I’d say it’s working very well indeed Kev. The format lends itself to a long-running series and I hope this will be the case. It certainly deserves to be a success. Kev seemed to announce it and then have the first episodes up within days, then to have so many more people recorded and their episodes in the bag so quickly just shows the professionalism and dedication he’s putting in to his new project.

Comic Cuts: The Panel Show is available now on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts and you can also check out Kev’s official website right here.