Tag Archives: Lew Stringer

OiNK! #40: HAM-MER HORROR

In 1986 OiNK’s timing was impeccable when it came to the spooky season and the relevant issue ended up being #13. A year later another happy coincidence saw the release date of the 40th issue as Saturday 31st October, perfect for their second Hallowe’en special. Kicking things off is the triumphant return of Ralph Shephard (not seen since #23 and who wouldn’t be again until the second annual), an artist who drew so many great spoofs of childhood favourites in the early days of the comic. What an incredible cover this is!

Ralph’s bewitching front page is a fondly remembered classic, a gorgeous piece which takes advantage of the little bit of extra space the new smaller logo gives, and that background colouring effect is just beautiful, adding plenty of atmosphere and really making it stand out on the shelves. (It’s also the second cover in a row for Harry the Head.) From now on we’d get one banner along the top instead of several, the cover images no longer needing gaps. I think it makes for a bolder, clearer cover for the rest of the fortnightlies.

For me the stars of this issue are the smaller mini-strips; there are just so many of them this time out and every one is a cracker. This does make my job of select only a few choice highlights incredibly difficult of course but it’s a nice problem to have. On the inside front cover is Roger Rental, He’s Completely Mental as ever drawn by Ian Knox, now written by new OiNK scribe Vaughan Brunt.

May has passed away in recent years and it’s been nice to relive memories of reading OiNKs at her house

It’s strange to think how tiny little strips like this, with just two panels and two lines of dialogue, can stick in the brain for decades to come. This one certainly went on to do just that. Then again, Roger was such a memorable character. Ever since his first appearance in #3 all his strips have been genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, the premise letting the writers’ imaginations run completely wild. The job of writing Roger’s ability to turn any everyday situation into the complete opposite was in good hands with Vaughan.

This issue is very memorable for me as a whole, I can remember reading it over and over again that Hallowe’en and in particular at my Aunt May’s house, a lovely lady who wasn’t actually related but was my mum’s best friend and so got the honorary title of ‘Aunt’. May has passed away in recent years and it’s been nice to relive memories of reading OiNKs at her house (see also #37). This strip of The Adventures of Death I can remember giggling about while tucking into the plate of biscuits and juice May had brought out while I read.

Charlie Brooker’s Death was a great little character and a firm favourite from the moment he first appeared. Having been the star of the half-page Next Issue promo in the previous issue I was surprised to see he wasn’t given more than a quarter page here, but that’s all the space Charlie needed. Both young me and older me loved this particular entry. I am aware of how it might seem, describing how this particular character brings back a specific memory of a late friend, but I also think there’s some kind of lovely poetry about that.

Not something Charlie would’ve considered about the character when he created these strips I’m sure. The Adventures of Death is the perfect OiNK twist on a traditional comic character. We’d had fun monsters before in other comics but to turn the Grim Reaper himself into a funny little character like this is very much in keeping with the comic’s ethos. We loved him! Unfortunately, unbeknownst to his fans this was his last regular appearance after first appearing in #35. He’d pop back for just six more sporadically over the next year.

Another character perfectly suited for the theme is Dead Fred, the friendly undead zombie created by Eric Wilkinson (Wilkie). He contradicts my previous comments about memory though, because I thought he was a regular in nearly every issue, but instead he only rose up from the grave every now and again. Maybe he was comfy down there. But he couldn’t miss the Hallowe’en issue. I’ve only shown a couple of panels of his before so he’s well overdue for a full strip, one which reminds me of the attendant at the Ghost Train in Barry’s Amusements in Portrush as a child!

Just like Death, Fred would appear in twelve issues altogether although his were spaced apart in the expanse between #19 and #64, which boggles my mind. I know I did reread many of my OiNKs throughout the time it was being published and that must’ve messed up my memories somewhat. I always loved Wilkie’s art in Fred’s strips, his detailed textures conveying rotting flesh, clothes and bones perfectly. Under any other artist I don’t think the jokes would work quite as well, the contradiction between his friendly nature and his rotting corpse are what makes it funny.

What a delight to turn the page and see a J.T.Dogg (Malcolm Douglas) poster. It’s been far too long since we enjoyed those OiNK Superstar Posters of his in the very first issues so it was a lovely surprise to see this ‘Superswine’ poster of an OiNK take on the classic Dracula, complete with his own Hell Hog? The colouring here is as ever stunning. I love the skin tones and cloak which give a lovely gloomy yet somehow colourful finish. But just look at those gravestones and the finish Malcolm has given them. Simply stunning work.

The only negative I can think of for this poster is that it wasn’t the return of the poster series. In fact, it would be the last poster by J.T. Dogg, although the original ones would be reprinted in the first few monthlies which is when I enjoyed them all for the first time as a kid. This Hallowe’en issue isn’t short of other highlights too, Hadrian Vile has me thinking about my friends’ latest addition to their family (and her older brother), and after Burp‘s tractor beam (#37) he has more inventive weaponry to show off. The biggest laugh of the whole issue comes from a background gag in Rubbish Man, and Jimmy Flynn’s strip plays up to an old horror moving staple.

Back in July the free Crash magazine edition of OiNK ran a special competition. The Mutant Space Barbarian Magic Warriors of Doom strip ended with the readers being asked to send in drawings of what they thought had turned hero Macho Mike into a big pile of blancmange. Suitably enough the editorial team have decided to use the Hallowe’en issue to show off the winners, taking over one half of a Grunts spread. There were ten altogether, each of which received an OiNK t-shirt and a copy of the OiNK computer game for their chosen format.

The strip they were drawing the conclusion to was illustrated by J.T. Dogg, so no pressure, right? You can’t deny the pig pals had skills. My favourites are ‘Squirty Bogweazel’ by Glenn Taylor of Gwynedd and ‘Molly Slocombe Intergalactic Mother-in-law’ by Michael Firth of Wolverhampton. Just a shame they’re so small on the page really. Special mention to ‘Uglay’ by Plymouth’s Danial Garside who dare I say is obviously a fan of Tom Paterson. Also, have a look at Noel Watson’s fantastic multi-headed beast on the other page! Quality reader contributions all round.

Lew Stringer’s Pete and his Pimple gets a half-page this issue but just across from him on the opposite page (right beside said strip when the comic is opened out) is Night of the Vampire! written by Lew and drawn by the ever entertaining Steve Gibson. With OiNK’s artists having such a wide range of styles I always like it when they take on each other’s characters, and Steve’s interpretation of one of Lew’s ‘popping’ up here in a particularly Steve-like fashion is great!

Little did I know the very next issue would bring a lot more of this sort of thing as different artists would take on Pete Throb in a special pull-out comic dedicated to the fan favourite, as advertised in the Next Issue promo here. That’s something you won’t want to miss so make sure to follow the blog.

On the same spread is this little treasure from Jeremy Banx. Regular readers of the comic (or of this blog) will know all about the surrealist humour of Jeremy’s strips, in particular Mr Big Nose. From toothpaste squeezing competitions and starring as Rambo in Little Bo-Peep to the famous Keith the dolphin, there’s been a lot of memorable strangeness and he appears to be upping that with each new appearance. (Ploppy puns throughout the comic drawn by Patrick Gallagher.)

Where would you even begin if you attempted to describe this to someone who hadn’t seen it? The poltergeist idea itself is a brilliant one and looks hilarious in that final panel, complete with the one who let go of the globe I bet you didn’t notice was floating. In those first images using Mr Big Nose’s face on the planet and the globe to tell us the story is weird but it works. Brilliantly. It’s heartbreaking to think this character will disappear from the regular comic after the next four issues!

But let’s not think about that yet, let’s enjoy the rest of the year and these simply perfect issues of OiNK we were getting every fortnight. This one ends with a truly classic OiNK back page, the latest spoof movie poster. Written by Charlie Brooker and again drawn so perfectly by Simon Thorp, it’s one which I particularly enjoyed at the time. In fact, while I hadn’t seen the original movie when I first saw this, it would become my favourite of Simon’s mini-posters as a child because the next year I became obsessed with the cartoon and Marvel UK comic. Take a butchers at this.

I can remember re-discovering this many months later after I’d eventually seen the movie and thought this was hilarious. Somehow, Simon has perfectly captured Bill Murray in pig form. It’s just a genius piece of work. Believe it or not, despite how great this is, as an adult it isn’t even my favourite of Simon’s pieces any more. That honour goes to a certain Half Pig, Half Machine hero who I’ll definitely be showing off when we get to that issue.

As we tear ourselves away from page 32 that’s a wrap on the latest OiNK and it’s been a genuine pleasure to relive every single thing this has had to offer. Seriously, if you haven’t read a full issue since the 80s (or perhaps never have) then I’d heartily recommend #40 as the ideal starting point to your inevitable collection. The next issue, complete with pull-out Pete comic, is the Health & Fitness special and its review will be here on Monday 14th November 2022.

Just to finish off this superb Hallowe’en feast here’s a suitably terrifying mini-strip from Mark Rodgers and Ian Jackson. See you next time.

OiNK! #39: GAME FOR A LAUGH

We’re in the midst of OiNK’s Golden Age now and the Great Games and Puzzles Issue is another corker, kicking off with Ian Jackson’s cover where he gives us his take on some favourite characters by other cartoonists, namely Jeremy Banx’s Burp, David Leach’s Psycho Gran, Marc Riley’s Harry the Head and Chris Sievey’s Frank Sidebottom. The colourful banners seem to be doing the job of covering over the empty space normally reserved for the logo before the redesign in #36, but they work, hyping some of the contents inside.

A few years ago a pig pal by the name of Becky Armstrong shared a photograph of this cover on social media and it was only through this that David Leach saw it for the first time, not previously aware his creation had made the cover or indeed been drawn by the incredible Ian. Becky kindly sent David the issue as a result! The OiNK community really is the best three-and-a-half decades on. Let’s open this up, shall we?

Once again we get a Frank Sidebottom and Snatcher Sam (aka Marc Riley) photo story, albeit a much smaller one than last time, but when it’s so brilliantly crafted and as funny as this it doesn’t need any more space. Every time these two get together in the comic their friendship really does shine and I think that sets these apart, they’re always just so much fun!

More strips than ever kept to the themes, giving each issue a really unique identity

A few pages later Marc brings us a little puzzle corner for his character, although it appears it’s more of a suggestion box than a competition and his other creation Harry the Head also takes a starring role in this issue. He’s got an important part to play in the competition promoted on the cover and sliding onto page two he hasn’t had a chance to get there yet, so Uncle Pigg gives him a boot and we see him flying through the issue. We’ll get back to him further down the review.

During this period of OiNK more strips than ever kept to the themes, giving each issue a really unique identity to every other OiNK (never mind compared to more traditional comics on the shelves). You’re completely aware of the theme running throughout, somehow making each issue feel even more jam-packed with content. One exception to the rule is the ongoing serials such as The Spectacles of Doom Vs The Monocle of Mayhem, part two of which is in here.

During part one it looked like our inept hero Endor, his singing sword and glasses were going to be vastly outnumbered by the evil Gash and his hordes, so this chapter is all about evening the odds in that traditional fantasy adventure movie fashion of meeting allies along the way with ever more ridiculous names, from ever more ridiculous places. More than ever this strip feels like the spoof of 80s magic and fantasy films The Spectacles of Doom was always meant to be, thanks to the fertile imagination of writer Tony Husband.

The quick succession of gags that really land is quite surprising. We shouldn’t really expect any less from Tony but even for him this is on another level. Known for his freeform art, here Tony’s scripting shines through, his character descriptions are original and hilarious and it must’ve been a hoot for Andy Roper when he got the script and got to bring them to life. The laughs come thick and fast and this is just one part of five! If we ever get a reprint book of OiNK the collected Monocle of Mayhem story would definitely be a highlight.

David Haldane’s Rubbish Man has been with us since the very beginning and he now seems to be accompanied by Boy Blunder every issue. From memory this wouldn’t last but for now it’s two-for-one as they battle their version of Batman’s eponymous Riddler, The Puzzler. I remember watching the 60s Batman show as a very young child and while my siblings and parents hated it for how silly it was, I was the target audience and I loved it.

There’s another myth surrounding OiNK that can be put to bed

In particular I remember the puzzles that had absolutely nothing to do with the final solution and the completely unbelievable way Batman and Robin would solve them. David has obviously been inspired by these scenes and parodies them perfectly. So perfectly in fact, this one page is umpteen times better than the television series that inspired it. As an adult Rubbish Man definitely stands up better today!

There are lots of little gems throughout this issue and not just from our usual mini-strip cast, the random one-offs are all top notch too. Standing out from the crowd is Time for A Game of Scrabble by the comic’s resident youngster, Charlie Brooker. There’s another myth surrounding OiNK, this time about Charlie and how he’s embarrassed by his early cartooning but this is yet another tall tale that can be put to bed (alongside the well-worn ‘Viz for children’ rubbish). Who could be embarrassed by making us laugh so much?

Some other highlights include perfect posh pronunciation in The Slugs, a puzzle section from Pete Throb that had all of us copying the side panel as kids (and adults) and there’s some genuine laugh out loud moments as we take a look at our Puzzling, Mysterious, Unexplained, Amazing World (including another comical shark which I had to include).

Below, a close look at a panel from Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile – Aged 8 5/8 (yearƨ) may raise some eyebrows with pig pals. What’s that he’s eating? It can’t be! Not in OiNK! I’m not the only one to pick up on this as a future Grunts page will attest. Anneka Rice made a guest appearance on the letters page in an issue of Super Naturals and she’s now popped up in one of its sister comics, complete with a cheeky caption from Uncle Pigg.

Finally, ace OiNK (and Frank Sidebottom’s official) photographer John Barry created a page of fully mocked up fake board games for a funny GBH Madvertisement (“Well beyond the call of duty!”, as Patrick Gallagher told me). Take a closer look at that Plopopoly panel and you’ll see the board, cards and even the strange die (with an 8 side) have all been crafted to great detail! All for just one small photo.

This issue contains the very welcome return of Frodo Johnson, otherwise known as the Dice Maniac, Lew Stringer’s parody of fantasy role players and 2000AD spin-off magazine, Dice Man. It’s somewhat bittersweet because this was his last of only two appearances, but at least unlike his previous adventure (in #22) this time he’s in full colour. For the uninitiated, to Frodo life is the ultimate adventure and no matter how mundane the task how he goes about it is up to the throw of his dice. Of course, his trusted dice should not actually be trusted.

This is OiNK, so naturally with it being set in the countryside it had to have a cowpat and an accompanying pun at the end. What a shame the character would never return, he had the potential of being something of an OiNK spin on traditional strips, but alas this would be all we’d ever see of any potential he had. With the Dice Man magazine only lasting five issues Lew tells me he didn’t think Maniac would be relevant anymore and thus he was created as a limited character.

Last but certainly not least you may have noticed Marc Riley’s Harry the Head flying past one of Rubbish Man’s panels above. You saw him on the cover then on page two our esteemed editor gave him a kick to get him to his own page near the back of the comic. It was a hell of a kick because he makes a cameo in (or beside) no less than four other strips and the Grunts page.

Harry appeared alongside Jeremy Banx’s Burp, his creator Marc Riley’s own Doctor Mooney He’s Completely Looney, Mark Rodgers’ and Mike Green’s Blank Sinatra and Davy Francis’ Cowpat Country only this time it’s just a quick strip as an excuse to have Harry land as he does. Uniquely, it was by Marc and Patrick Gallagher instead of Davy, Patrick credited as ‘Calorgas’. According to Patrick, “Marc was pretending to be really pissed and trying repeatedly to pronounce my surname ‘Gallagher’, but all he could manage was ‘Calorgas’”.

The reason for Harry’s harrowing journey? A special competition to promote, with no less than 100 of Matchbox’s memorable Madballs to give away to lucky pig pals. I remember having one but I’ve no idea which one it was, although I don’t think it was any of these three below. I believe I also had a teeny tiny squishy one too, or maybe that’s just my mind playing tricks on me. Below you’ll also see OiNK co-creator/co-editor Mark Rodgers with one of the Madballs he took on a camping holiday at the time.

The photo of the rugby ball sitting on top of this issue is fellow pig pal Ross Murdoch’s, one of the lucky 100 winners! I think most of my friends had at least one Madball and I even recall spotting a Marvel UK special in a newsagent at one stage too. They were really fun to kick and throw about since they’d bounce and roll in such unpredictable ways, but they were incredibly well made and were more than up to the battering they took! Even though the competition ran in other Fleetway comics too, looking at them they’re the perfect fit for an OiNK contest, aren’t they?

This is a brilliant issue! Again. OiNK was going from strength to strength but elsewhere in Fleetway’s range something had happened that would affect our treasured piggy publication. When they had taken over IPC’s comics, Fleetway grouped all the titles into various sales groups. Because there were so many of them and the market was shrinking, tracking individual sales was out. Instead, if any particular group’s combined sales weren’t up to par every comic in it would be cancelled.

The likes of Buster and Whizzer and Chips etc. were selling over 200,000 a week and were placed in one group. OiNK was unfairly (in my eyes) placed into a different one alongside the likes of Nipper. OiNK was selling 100,000 a fortnight, far beyond the others in its group and in September the last of its siblings was canned which left OiNK on its own. By Fleetway’s rules OiNK should’ve been cancelled at this point, but its own sales saved it. However, the publisher wanted more and so they forced a big change on the team which would take effect in the new year. We’ll come back to that then.

For now, that’s us for another issue and I’m really excited for the next one to come. A glorious Ralph Shephard cover that takes full advantage of the extra space from the smaller logo is one of the very best in the run, which is rather fitting because #40, the second Hallowe’en edition is one of the very best issues! I’ve got particular memories attached to it and I can’t wait to read it again. Fittingly enough its review will be here on Monday 31st October 2022.

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!