Tag Archives: Mark Rodgers

OiNK! #25: IT CUTS ME UP!

What’s this, a price rise? It had to happen eventually, but it’s crazy to look back and think about our comics costing only 35p for all of that hard work that went into them. OiNK was already more expensive than its peers and as the likes of Buster and Whizzer and Chips went up 2p each to 26p, our piggy publication went up by 5p to the grand sum of 35p. OiNK was independently produced and printed on lovely large, glossy paper, both of which made it more expensive to produce but they also made it worth every extra penny.

This is the Toys and Hobbies Issue and it’s full of interactive elements for the young readers. By that I mean things to cut out and make. In fact, there’s so much here the comic would be nothing but a pile of twisted paper if the reader did them all! I’ll show you one further down the review. To kick things off, apparently for Hadrian Vile and his artist Ian Jackson the theme has conjured up an image of voodoo experiments. As you do. The surprises continue inside with a memorable strip involving killer playthings and the insane artwork of Jon Langford in The Terrible Toys.

Written by Mark Rodgers, this should conclusively show that even such a safe topic could be completely turned on its head by OiNK. Jon’s art always made an impression and this is no exception, especially the fang-toothed Santa Claus at the end. (This wouldn’t be the scariest Santa we’d see in OiNK.) His use of thick, heavy lines, as if he’s leaning furiously on the page as he draws, and a lovely loose freehand style bring complete chaos to anything he crafted. You can also just about see a couple of edits around copyright names, the most obvious being “Borbie Dolls” where the ‘O’ has been changed. I’m not sure what Hasbro would’ve said!

Back in #20 Lew Stringer introduced us to a new character called Specky Hector, the Comics Collector by way of a funny three panel strip. I was delighted to see his return in this issue with a full page all to himself, in which he shares his tips for what he sees as the correct way to collect and store comics, complete with ink stains and finger prints which are very unbecoming of someone who prides themselves on their mint collection. After this I looked forward to future instalments from Hector in whatever form they would take but unfortunately the character never returned to this comic. However, for pig pals who followed some of the characters to the pages of Buster after OiNK folded he would pop up on occasion and you can even read this previous blog post to find out how he’s doing today.

There are a lot of great gags here and I particularly like the front cover of The Beany. Look closely and you’ll see the strip has someone ask for credits and the star of the strip says, “Jings! We don’t run credits!” This was a dig at the comics which never credited their writers and cartoonists; something else which set OiNK apart from the very beginning. This was a specific point of difference for its creators Mark Rodgers, Tony Husband and Patrick Gallagher, that everyone should receive on-page credit for their work and it was a hot topic in the UK industry at the time. So I particularly liked this joke.


“I’m even giving up my old hobby of collecting squashed hedgehogs!”

Tom Thug

Just as a point of interest, I don’t personally protect the comics I collect and read for this blog in carded plastic bags or store them away out of sight. Mine are all proudly displayed on shelves around the small office in my house (I say office, it’s the spare bedroom with a desk instead of a bed) and can be picked up and instantly flicked through. I remember a friend years back would go to painstaking lengths to keep his comics and novels pristine and the way he’d hold them while reading looked so uncomfortable. To me, a bookshelf full of novels with cracked spines shows they’ve been loved. The same goes for my comics. Don’t get me wrong, I look after them, but comics are for consumption, to be read over and over, and most importantly loved. I don’t think Hector would really disagree with that sentiment.

Also in this issue is the second part of that Tom Thug story which began last issue. To recap, Wayne Brayne tricked Tom (not a difficult thing to do) into thinking he was seeing his older self as a decrepit pensioner spending his last days in prison, and it terrified him. Determined not to end up that way we saw him reformed, prancing down the road barefoot with bunches of flowers and a shiny halo above his head. Originally I’d thought it was just a funny ending for that issue and things would be back to normal this time. But that’s not the case and the strip kicks off with his dad getting the shock of his life.

This is a great strip, from the question mark beside the title, to his idiotic attempts at being nice and his eventual return to form. There’s even a quick reference to a hobby for the theme. I particularly like the panel where he swings at Wayne and punches the tree, the exaggerated punch and the pain in his eyes are perfect. In the end he hasn’t even returned to his normal thuggish ways out of his own choice. Instead he’s once again been manipulated by Wayne, this time at the encouragement of the locals and even Tom’s own dad. It’s a great end to a very funny two-parter.

In the pages of OiNK Wayne always reminds me of a younger version of Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye and team captain on Have I Got News For You. Interestingly however, when Tom’s strips became regular full-colour pages in Buster we found out Wayne is actually black, which was sadly a rare thing in our comics at the time. Speaking to Lew, he tells me he imagined Wayne as being black at some stage before the colour strips, however at one point OiNK gave him pink skin when someone at the office did the colouring.

Here are some of the other highlights of the issue, with Dead Fred taking on a handy new hobby, in The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile the young lad’s completely normal pastimes get him into trouble, Rubbish Man uses some of his memorable superpowers to great effect and in the strangely named Blow Peter co-editor Tony Husband takes aim at the very random things the programme would’ve built and encouraged their young viewers to copy.

So on the front cover we’re told there’s a “fantastic cut-out zeo-trope” inside. It’s a name that flew over my head as a kid but when I saw the page I instantly recognised the device used to produce basic animation. The fact it was billed as “fantastic” could only mean one thing, that this was going to be on Frank Sidebottom‘s page. I wasn’t wrong. Chris Sievey‘s imagination and ability to come up with unique ideas for his character’s pages never ceased to surprise.

I remember versions of this on children’s television at the time. The correct spelling is “zoetrope”, originally named when its inventor William E. Lincoln took the Greek words meaning ‘Wheel of Life’ to describe his new toy, which produced animated drawings before the days of film. As Frank explains, once assembled and spun the user looks through the holes, each one flicking by to show the frame on the opposite side, one by one. When spun quickly this gives the illusion of motion.

With the zoetrope, a cut-out stage and finger puppets depicting Uncle Pigg, Snatcher Sam and Mary Lighthouse, as well as a DIY Harry the Head which involved cutting out his features and gluing them to a pink balloon, there wouldn’t be much left of this issue if we’d actually created everything included! I don’t remember doing any of them, or indeed any of the board games or other models which required cutting my precious OiNKs. I may not have stored them in big plastic tubs away from sunlight, but I didn’t cut any of them up! Well, apart from coupons for the merchandise, of course.

Always a great character with consistently funny strips, Jeremy Banx‘s Burp was hitting a stride about this time in OiNK’s run that would continue without faltering all the way to the end of the weeklies when he’d disappear from the comic. Between now and then he’d even get a few two-page strips and some stories so surreal they could make Jeremy’s other regular character, Mr Big Nose look positively sane (almost). This issue’s strip is a favourite of mine and shows just how out of control things can get in a Burp story.

My favourite part is the large panel showing our planet zooming through the cosmos, the speech balloons at various points in its trajectory conveying the speed at which we’re hurtling about, culminating in Burp’s brilliant line, “You’re brutal, you are!” This broke me. In an issue of OiNK it’s always going to be very difficult to point at a page and say it’s the funniest, but even though it’s a closely run race as always, this had me in stitches. It’s even signed upside down to match the final panel. Simply brilliant stuff.

Written by Tony Husband and drawn by Clive Collins, Maggie Pie Collector of Weird Things had been a semi-regular in the early issues of the comic but her most recent appearance before now was back in #14. She would only appear a few more times (twice more in the comic and once in the first annual) and given how the theme includes hobbies she just had to be present in this one. Not only did she get her usual (well, unusual) story page, she also presented us with this guide to stamp collecting.

There’s some special news in the middle of the comic.

I particularly like the Penny White and the Latverian ‘Big Brother’. At ten-years-of-age I wasn’t really aware of any world events and had never been bitten by the stamp collecting bug, but enough of my friends collected them and I’d seen enough episodes of The A-Team freeing villages that I still found them funny.

There’s some special news in the middle of the comic. Throughout its life (and after) OiNK’s team would produce four holiday/summer specials, two annuals, the Smokebusters issue for schools in the north of England and the Crash computer magazine edition. The first of these was the 1987 Holiday Special and it went on sale along with this issue as the advert below by co-editor Patrick Gallagher announced.

This was exciting as a child! I also have some very distinct memories of this particular edition, both from my childhood and from later on in life and I’ll share these with you when I review it in just seven days from now. But this wasn’t the only reason for pig pals to get excited and I’ll explain that right after our final highlight of the issue.

Drawn by Steve Gibson, Watch the Skies takes inspiration from the Highway Code’s road signs to create a symbols guide for airplane spotters everywhere. Reading just the first two had me laughing! This is the final interior contribution to the issue (the back page had a script to go with the finger puppets I mentioned earlier) and was just below the Next Issue promo, which is where the further exciting news could be found.

The next issue of OiNK is the birthday issue! That’s right, can you believe it’s already been almost a full year since this read through of the world’s greatest comic began? The issue marks the end of the comic’s first year rather than the beginning of the second as would be traditional (typical OiNK), and marks a year since the release of the preview issue. This might seem strange at first but remember the preview wasn’t a shrunk down, miniature sneak peek of what was to come, it was a full-sized issue and worthy of celebration.

But wow, a full year has passed already. There’s still plenty to look forward to over the next year-and-a-half of OiNK and next up is that Holiday Special on Monday 11th April 2022, followed swiftly by #26 on Monday 18th April. Extra rashers all round. See you all soon.

OiNK! #24: TiME FOR LAUGHS

As both an OiNK and a Doctor Who fan, seeing our editor Uncle Pigg dressed as the Doctor, swirling about through time being chased by angry butchers and all drawn by Ian Jackson is an absolute treat for my eyes. What a way to start an issue! As a kid I only began watching Doctor Who the following year and by then Sylvester McCoy was already in the role, but I was fully aware of who this parody was based on. At the time of its publication Colin Baker had finished his final series but had yet to be replaced, his character’s horrid dress sense perfectly captured here by Ian.

As we had with the first Christmas issue, this Time-Travel Special sees Uncle Pigg leave the OiNK office and set out on a multi-page strip throughout the issue, courtesy of writer Mark Rodgers. Running late, he stumbles upon butchers unloading livestock and makes a run for it, mistakenly assumed to be one of their escaped pigs. He dives into a rather familiar looking police phone box to hide and the adventure begins.

I love the fact the disguise he’s grabbed in a haphazard hurry from the local fancy dress shop is a dead ringer for the Sixth Doctor‘s eyesore of a costume and the fact it’s his trotter that gives the game away and not his piggy face! He rematerialises three more times on separate pages in the issue, the first set in prehistoric times where cavemen with butcher aprons and hats are chasing down wild boars.

He quickly sets course for home. He wants to stay because the hogs looked underfed and miserable, but he can’t change the past, it would be too dangerous. Unbeknownst to him, his sudden appearance scared the butchers so much they now worship the very animals they were trying to eat! Then it’s off to 2987AD, exactly one thousand years into the future, and suitably enough for how he got there he bumps into familiar-looking future versions of butchers, the most terrifying of all! Have a look.

I love this theme of simply adding an apron and hat, and in the case of the Daleks actual weapons (or rather, butcher’s tools) instead of their 80s sink plungers. It’s such a simple idea but absolutely hilarious. Uncle Pigg gets out of this tight spot by sharing copies of OiNK, its humour overloading their circuits and freeing the people from their tyranny. As he leaves he tells them if they need more copies for the fight they should place a regular order at their newsagents. We then see the people later worshipping a statue of him while asking, “What’s a ‘newsagent’?”

Uncle Pigg’s TARDIS pops up at various points in the issue

It’s imaginative, original and genuinely very funny throughout. Mark is nothing short of a comics writing genius and Ian’s artwork brings these ideas to life in a way that completely matches their crazy nature. It’s such a shame this would be the last time they’d create a long strip like this for the character. It’s definitely the highlight of the issue and indeed one of my favourite moments from the whole run, not least because he’s not just confined to the pages of his own story.

Much like Star Truck in #3 (and the forthcoming OiNK! Book 1988) which saw our heroes appear among the stars of other strips, so Uncle Pigg (or his TARDIS at least) pops up at various points in the issue and it was fun to spot these as a child. Heck, let’s face it, it’s fun to see it pop up now as an adult, whether it’s in the background or in a way that actually affects the plot of another story.

We can see the TARDIS floating about in Lew Stringer’s Pete and his Pimple strip after Pete accidentally fell into a time warp and also ended up in prehistoric times, then in Dick Tater, Dictator of Time written by Tim Quinn (his one contribution to OiNK) and drawn by Ed McHenry he causes a pile-up in between time zones and in Spotticus the Slave he saves the title character from being eaten by a lion. This last strip was (and I quote), “Writed and drawed bi Davey Jonsey, Pillock-of-the-Year 1981“.

The conclusion is right at the back of the comic and the solution is a simple one; just land on the butchers’ heads and free all the captured piggies. A happy ending all round! We even get a little cameo from the Doctor and this isn’t the first time Colin Baker has been immortalised in an Ian Jackson drawing. Check out #3‘s review for his earlier appearance. What a fantastic strip this has been!

The rest of the issue is just as good, with the vast majority sticking to the theme either by including time travel or being set in the distant past or future. But my first highlight is neither, it was just too funny and too memorable to leave out. It’s the first time I’ve shown an entry from this series on the blog and it might surprise pig pals to know there weren’t that many overall.

In my head the Rotten Rhymes series was in nearly every issue, particularly during the later fortnightlies but in reality there were only 13 of these funny takes on nursery rhymes, and mainly during the monthly issues towards the end of OiNK’s run. Taking a traditional nursery rhyme and changing the last line, often throwing away the need to rhyme at all, they’d be written and drawn by a variety of contributors and Humpty Dumpty by Davy Francis is one of the very best.

My memory may have let me down insofar as how many Rotten Rhymes there were, but I can actually remember reciting this in school to several of my friends. It’s strange the little random memories this blog has brought back to the surface. There are others in this series I loved but this always remained the most memorable, simply because of how brazenly it dealt with the main character! But that’s not all from Davy I want to show you from this issue.

Sometimes in humour comics a character could become a one-trick pony, their regular antics basically playing out exactly the same way every issue but perhaps in a slightly different setting. This was certainly the case with some of the other titles I dipped into back then to see if any would interest me in the same way as this one. None of them really did, so I stuck with OiNK for the time being. Some of OiNK’s own characters could appear on the surface to be examples of these repetitive strips, but in reality they were far from that. Take Davy’s Greedy Gorb for instance.

A boy who eats everything, food or otherwise, is a simple idea that could’ve run dry very quickly in lesser hands. But thanks to Davy every episode was fresh and funny, and he never failed to raise a laugh. The brilliantly named mad scientist Doctor Maddstark-Raving would also get spun off into some strips of his own now and again, such was his potential in Davy’s crazy mind.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Snatcher Sam in the comic and this issue puts that right, although not in his usual photo story format. Instead, Mike Taylor does a superb job of drawing Marc Riley as the clueless thief (and I think Pat Healy as the guard, previously seen in #7‘s Swindler Sid story). It suits the Olde English theme of the page a lot better than photographs ever could and I think the style Mike has used here is very inventive, giving it a unique feel.

As if reinventing Marc as an actual comic strip wasn’t good enough, that final pun is just brilliant. All of the ridiculousness, the seemingly random pratfalls and idiocy is all for a reason, all building to the name of this Dick Turpin-inspired highway robber. It’s nothing short of genius, in both Mark’s writing and Mike’s illustrations, hiding behind what on the surface is just plain silliness. Surely that’s the very essence of OiNK?

Chas Sinclair‘s artwork is perfect for stories such as the next one, written by Tony Husband. He has a knack of making a strip look more mature, a little more like something I might have seen in my brother’s Roy of the Rovers or something. For me this works perfectly because given OiNK’s track record so far, the more it looks like a story we’d find in a non-humour comic, the more insane and funny it usually is. Check out Scruff of the Track, Janice and John and Watery Down for instance. I’m very glad to say No News Is Good News keeps to this tradition.

I really thought the strip was going to end with James Fishpond being hit by the bus and it’d be an OiNK version of The Twilight Zone, the prediction in the newspaper actually causing the event. (The later regular strip, The Swinelight Zone would do strips like that.) But not only is it completely ridiculous how he’s able to talk aloud about how the bus is going to kill him and devise a plan to stop it from happening, all before the bus actually does so (when he clearly had time to jump out of the way), but the poor chap who does get hit is even worse! A brilliantly funny strip that uses the subject of the issue in an original way. Great stuff.

Next to this page is the first of a two-part Tom Thug strip. You might think it’d all return to normal by the next issue, but I can remember the final panel here being picked up on in #25. We welcome back Tom’s nemesis, posh clever kid Wayne Brayne who was first introduced in #10 and who would normally outsmart the dimwitted numbskull with ease, but here he’s decided to be proactive in an attempt to stop Tom’s bullying for good. As you’ll see, in a surprise twist the person punished at the end isn’t the one you’d usually expect.

Remember kids, never lower yourself to the level of the bully, even if your intentions are good. I recalled the panel of an elderly Tom but I thought I remembered it being some kind of time travel where an actual older version of himself terrified him. Nope, it’s all a ruse, but it has the same effect. Another incorrect assumption on my part was thinking it’d all simply be back to normal next time, but you’ll see I was wrong about that too.

Of course, the world sadly did lose Mark in the early 1990s, so this little gag of his is a bittersweet moment.

Back in the 80s I can remember one piece of primary school homework when we were asked to imagine what our lives would be like in the year 2000. Cue lots of moving walkways and flying cars. It seemed so far away and it’s scary to think that futuristic date is actually further into the past now than it was into the future when we were imagining it!

We weren’t the only ones to dream of life in the future and here writer Mark Rodgers and artist Ed McHenry have created this brilliant back cover to finish the issue. Using the logo of the famous sci-fi comic, a stablemate of OiNK’s from the same publisher, there’s a lot to love here in the little details. Ed is friends with Davy Francis so check out the little desk inscription next to the Cowpat Planet strip, the name of the robot churning out the art, the huge computer monitor layout still using a fiddly indoor aerial, the piggy bank and even a standard office-like holiday rota but for plops!

One little detail here stands out though. At the bottom you’ll see Mark has written in that his brain is being kept alive in a jar hooked up to a script computer. Of course, the world sadly did lose Mark in the early 1990s, so this little gag of his is a bittersweet moment. However, Mark would still want us to laugh and it is funny to think of how his own creation would still expect him to keep on churning out the story ideas.

That’s all the time we have for this time-travel issue and it’s been a blast from the past from page one to 32. Mark and the entire team pulled out all the stops for this one and the fortnightlies only get better and better from here on. My own favourite point in OiNK‘s lifespan will be towards the end of the year and I simply can’t wait. Next up though is the Toys and Hobbies Issue, the review of which will be here from Monday 4th April 2022.

OiNK! #23: ELECTRiFYiNG COMEDY

So what exactly makes up an “all-electric” comic? Context is key here. This was the 1980s and electronic entertainment of every description was taking a hold in our daily lives. Things we take for granted today were in their infancy and it was an exciting time, especially for kids. I can clearly remember being very young indeed, possibly five or six years-of-age when our family bought our first VHS recorder and an engineer had to come out to instruct us in how to use it. I was fascinated. I ended up being the only one who could operate it after he left!

Video recorders were brand new and completely changed how (and the amount of) television and films we watched, with video shops popping up for the first time. Computer games were fast becoming the biggest form of entertainment for children, something which just hadn’t been predicted. Interactive television in the shape of Teletext and Oracle was revolutionising how we kept ourselves up-to-date on the latest news. 3D movies, portable music, digital watches… everything was brand new. All perfect material for an OiNK subject, and that’s before we’ve even touched upon 80s movies and TV!

So first up here’s a particular fan favourite, Lew Stringer‘s Pete and his Pimple. First appearing in a tiny strip underneath a Tom Thug story in #6, he became a regular character from #15 onwards and Pete and his giant exploding spot were a highlight of every issue he appeared in. Tom and Pete were always (and remain) my very favourite OiNK characters and I’m not alone. Later in the comic’s run during its weekly and monthly phases, Lew asked readers to send in suggestions for cures for Pete’s problem and the pig pals really responded!

However, when OiNK folded into Buster towards the end of 1988 Pete’s strip had to be sanitised somewhat. Panels full of pus, covering everything and everyone, just weren’t something you could show in that comic. After six months the strip disappeared from its pages but while OiNK was being published Pete was a superstar. So much so a Sylvester Stallone-alike was going to play him in a new TV series and even his pimple was going to be played by an actor. This strip contains everything we came to love about a Pete story and I like the little details such as the “advanced technical stuff” which of course now looks lovely and retro, the panel that dramatically reveals Fatty Beltbuckle and the skin and pus holding the strip’s name together.

The first caption almost saw my comic being confiscated by our Latin teacher when my friend, who was reading it, burst!

Moving on and the next strip is one I clearly remember from the time because I had to ask my dad what a TV Licence was. There were a few of these strips in OiNK’s lifetime which acted as a kind of Public Service Announcement (there’s a second one further below), albeit in the comic’s usual style. There would be anti-smoking messages and another one about looking after our teeth which terrified me as a kid (you’ll see it in a later issue’s review). With the way the world of entertainment is evolving these days I can’t see the TV Licence being a thing in the next ten years or so (but the BBC will survive) so this Tony Husband strip will be very much of its day. Another piece of lovely 80s goodness.

Now, there are certain 80s movies which are simply deemed classics.  They don’t necessarily have to be Oscar contenders, I’m talking about the fun films we grew up with and left an indelible impression on us. I think 80s films have a certain feel to them that just screams that decade and one particular film is the next to get the OiNK treatment. I only saw it recently for the first time and, while it didn’t enthral me in the way it would’ve at the time, it still had a lovely mix of 80s stars and big chunky keyboards when a computer game nearly results in thermonuclear war, as only an 80s film could.

I am of course talking about WarGames starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy, which writer Tony Husband has decided to take aim at in a strip drawn by Chas Sinclair. Whereas in the film the kids almost accidentally start a war, here they accidentally stop one and this doesn’t go down well with the world’s leaders who want nothing more than to obliterate all life on the planet so they can feel superior. The message in this strip is clear and it’s hilariously presented, right down to that 80s movie cliché of just how easy it apparently was to hack any computer in the world.

“We’ll find out who did this terrible thing”, says the American, referring to the children who have actually stopped the world’s populace from being annihilated. I laughed at how he and his enemy are on the phone, angry at having been stopped from destroying each other. Some things in the world have not changed and yes, this is a highly exaggerated spoof, but as far as the tensions of the Cold War in the 80s I think it summarises that time perfectly.

A couple of issues ago the back page of the Valentine’s OiNK had another of those superb full-colour Ian Jackson contributions, one of which (back in #4) remains to this day as my very favourite page out of all of OiNK’s issues. I remarked in #21 how it would’ve been wonderful to see every issue of the comic end with one of these, a serial of completely unconnected strips, all hilariously illustrated by Ian. Imagine curious kids picking up an issue from the shelves and turning the comic over to see these. How many would’ve been instantly won over? This issue’s isn’t on the back cover, instead it’s tucked away inside but it’s still just as funny.

It almost feels a shame to have it inside the comic but when you see what’s on the back page you’ll understand. So let’s have a quick look at some of the other highlights of the issue. There’s a photo story made up of a series of mini-strips running throughout the issue which combines the best (worst?) of American and British television, in the King Solomon’s Swines serial Sir Herbert Quarterbrain‘s attempt at pleasing the enemy backfires and Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins makes a stand against some new friends. Also, Burp gets to enjoy all those fantastic 80s 3D feature films in the comfort of his own home and The Spectacles of Doom makes a funny reference to a song which at the time was actually banned.

OiNK finished its regular run in 1988 but a couple of years later I was in my second year of grammar school and a new kid had joined our class. Because he hadn’t been taught Latin in the first year of where he came from he had to sit out those lessons, and officially was meant to use the 35 minutes in that classroom to study. On one occasion however, I happened to have the OiNK! Summer Collection with me, the final special released after the comic had finished it was made up almost entirely of reprint material. The next page from this issue was one of those reprints.

How Radio Sound Effects Are Produced was written by co-editor Patrick Gallagher and Marc Riley who put it together from plundering an old book of Victorian illustrations and creating brilliant captions to completely change their meaning. The first caption almost saw my comic being confiscated by our Latin teacher when my friend, who was sat right behind me, burst! A huge “HA!” erupted uncontrollably from him before he was able to stop himself. He quickly hid the comic inside a text book and said he’d seen something outside as the teacher glared him down! Have a read for yourself and see if you can spot the moment which produced this outburst.

Of course, the official meaning of the word you’ve probably spotted is “a tube made of fur or other warm material into which the hands are placed for warmth”, which you can clearly see in the illustration. However, the dictionary also lists the word as ‘vulgar slang’ and, being an immature 12-year-old boy at the time (as we all were) it took him rather by surprise, to say the least. I can remember being physically sore trying to hold my breath to stop myself from laughing after this happened! Just another fantastic OiNK memory.

Before we see that back page I mentioned it’s time for a Public Service Announcement from new OiNK writer Howard Osborne. Howard would contribute to 19 editions of the comic altogether, often writing a few strips per issue. Here he’s partnered with Weedy Willy artist Mike Green to teach the kids about looking after their teeth and it includes a comical shark, so I was always going to include it.

I crease up every time I see that shark sitting on top of the shallow waters with its cheeky grin and crazy eyes. I’ll admit I was a somewhat lazy kid when it came to brushing my teeth and generally looking after myself, but that would all change with a later strip in OiNK which we’ll get to eventually (it’s the one that scared me that I mentioned above). But for now, I do love the moral at the end of this particular strip, with the usual wording flipped on its head.

So it’s Lew Stringer who brings the issue to a close with a full-colour strip on the back page. But it’s not just any strip, it’s all told in rhyme, something Lew seemed to really enjoy as he’d do it quite a few times during OiNK’s lifespan. This particular strip focusses on one of the truly great pieces of 80s technology, the personal stereo (or ‘Walkman’ as most of us called it after Sony’s name became ubiquitous with the devices). So with music playing a central role here the rhyming captions are the perfect way to tell the story.

According to Lew the rhyme at the bottom was an addition co-editor Mark Rodgers asked for (and wrote). The idea behind the strip was to shock children into paying attention when they crossed the road, but he believes Mark may have thought it could be misconstrued as making fun of road deaths, hence the Green Hog Code being added. It’s a great addition and after the ending I think it’s funny to have a pig come in with their stern look and tell us off. The strip itself is brilliant and this wraps it up as if the whole page was spoofing those Green Cross Code videos and leaflets we saw so much of as kids.

It also wraps up the issue. It goes without saying this is another top edition of OiNK. The comic really could do no wrong at this stage and this will continue with #23, the Time Travel Special. Complete with an 80s Doctor Who themed cover and multipage Uncle Pigg strip it’s one of the very best! Its review will be right here on the blog from Monday 7th March 2022.