Tag Archives: Mike Green

OiNK! #18: HAPPY HOGMANAY!

Growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland I’d never heard of the word ‘Hogmanay’ before so initially thought this was an OiNK pun on some Scottish word about the New Year. But really it’s just the best possible way to celebrate for this comic, so much so that both of the issues published to celebrate the New Year in OiNK’s run would have the same theme. The cover by legendary cartoonist John Geering sums it all up rather perfectly; this is a celebration of Scotland and its culture just as much as it is the festivities.

A new character who might like to think he’s cultured is new addition Barrington Bosh he’s incredibly Po$h, brought to the page by fellow Northern Irelander Ian Knox. Given how much I remember of this particular posh little git I was surprised to find out he only appeared in nine issues of OiNK altogether, normally with long gaps between strips. To say he was posh is actually a huge understatement, the whole point being to push this to the extreme every time. This debut story is the perfect introduction.

Bosh did absolutely nothing for himself and this was the basis for his entire life and thus every appearance. Everyday tasks were something he’d never even consider doing himself and the creative ways he and his staff would get around them were hilarious to us kids. The strip was also a biting satire of the difference between upper and lower class people in the UK and that old saying “How the other half lives”.

Back in #7 I showed you a brief glimpse at Hugo the Hungry Hippo‘s cameo appearance in cartoonist David Haldane‘s other creation, Rubbish Man. There, Hugo popped by to do what he does best, to eat. He also inadvertently saved the day for our smelly superhero and it appears he’s a bit of a fan because he’s dolled himself up in very familiar garb for a fancy dress party for the New Year.

One of my favourite additions to any issue of OiNK was also written and drawn by David. Little quarter-page entries of animals just living their normal anthropomorphic lives always had me in stitches, especially when this would be mixed with their abilities as animals. So some would appear in clothes, others would be more wild. By all means Zootown made no sense but I don’t think any part of it was ever meant to!

Before we move on to some of the multitude of Scottish strips and gags here are a couple of other highlights in this issue. As ever Burp has another strong entry and to be honest it’d be so easy for me to include his page in every single review! Here he’s been invited to a Hogmanay party and it all kicks off with this funny invite. One of Banx‘s other strips is the always hilarious Hector Vector and his Talking T-Shirt, though surely he should’ve had a coat on this time.

I mentioned Scottish culture earlier and we can’t do that without mentioning Robbie Burns, surely? OiNK thought so. The poet’s work is described as “spontaneous and direct” and it fell upon Steve Gibson to conjure up a suitable parody. He knocks it out of the park. Taking Burns’ To A Mouse as his inspiration he renames it The Beastie. Complete with typical Gibson art, unmistakable in the beastie itself, here’s Hoggy Burns.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing was sacred to OiNK. This was especially true when it came to those bastions of the comics world, the unstoppable forces of The Dandy and The Beano (well, at least Beano is still unstoppable). A favourite target of Uncle Pigg’s, the two comics were held in high regard by editor and head writer Mark Rodgers who had great fun in sending them up quite regularly. For the Scottish issue there was no better strip ripe for this treatment than The Dandy’s Jocks vs Geordies.

The strip was still running in 1986 and involved two schools situated across the Scotland/England border from each other. The boys who made up the gangs from each school were deliberately clichéd, already parodies of sorts. They’d play ever more violent tricks on each other but would always end up being punished for it by their teachers. Neither side was immune either, winning or losing roughly the same amount of times as the each other.


“Ay, weel, there’s mony a mickle maks a muckle!”

Teach Yourself Glaswegian

Mark took the concept behind the original strip and decided to poke fun at its repetitive nature and the fact it had been running for so long. (The pupils had been duking it out on a weekly basis for 11 years by this stage.) This was a regular theme to OiNK’s parodies of these comics and here it’s played out particularly well in the ending, with art by Marc Riley.

It’s time to take a closer look at the country providing the laughs. What we need is an expert in the subject matter. Failing that, how about a young lad who simply thinks he’s an expert in all subjects but in reality is the master of none. Of course, bringing in Hadrian Vile has at least one benefit, it means Ian Jackson will be providing the art.

With Hadrian’s information it’s clear he’s read the names of the places throughout the country and taken them to mean something completely different. Every single time. Take your time to appreciate all the little jokes and references as you take your tour around the highlands and lowlands. There are too many here for me to pick out a definitive favourite but the town of Dornoch and the hamlet of Inchadamph get particularly funny entries for me.

I have a soft spot for Scotland most definitely but at age nine I wasn’t aware of most of these real places, however it was no less funny. You’ll have spotted some of the best gags come from Hadrian’s grasp of Scottish words. Just a little later in the comic Mark took this a step further with a full page dedicated to helping the readers Teach Yourself Glaswegian, drawn by Mike Green.

Expect plenty of dialogue with each sentence accompanied by an asterisk pointing towards the apparent English translation. It doesn’t take long before it gets completely ridiculous of course and I personally believe certain parts of England are also being subjected to a little gentle teasing here, as some of the translations sound overtly stuck up. I remember showing this to my sister’s Scottish husband once and he roared laughing, particularly at the fifth panel, which is my particular favourite too. Enjoy.

We’re down to the final few pages and I’ve broken away from the subject matter to show you the first entry in a semi-regular series of comedy adventure strips. We all know which television series this was based upon which starred a famous dog. But take that dog, replace him with a pig, make his owner completely useless, exaggerate the already far-fetched skills of the animal hero and then have one more funny twist in the final panels. Written by Tony Husband and drawn by Chas Sinclair here’s Lashy the Wonder Pig.

A genius piece of scripting and loveable art make this a highlight of the whole issue. He proved popular too, returning several times throughout OiNK’s run, although with a selection of different names. Known as Laffy, Lashie, Lattie, Laxxie, Lammie, Lazzie, Laggie, Lappie and Larry the series would keep certain staples running such as his owner always falling down a pit (even when he was nowhere near one), the ever more ludicrous feats of daring by our pig and the constant reminder that his intelligence wasn’t on par with his bravery! Hilarious every single time.

I just want to show you the back page before we finish off. The team decided to run their own awards, mimicking the likes of the Oscars and BAFTAS, the hype for which always begins as soon as each new year does. But this wouldn’t be just any old awards. We weren’t being asked to vote for our favourite characters or cartoonists from within OiNK’s pages, oh no. Biggest Wally, Worst Pop Group, Most Irritating DJ and even Worst Comic. This would be fun to take part in.

It was even more fun when the prizes were given out. Tony and Patrick would call upon the crew at Spitting Image for a photo shoot and one of the winners would even be on hand to accept their award in person! That’s still some way off in #30 in 2022.

The first issue of 1987, the only calendar year that OiNK would be on sale regularly from beginning to end, would have a Health and Fitness theme. It is the season of good intentions after all. So don’t just walk back here, run to the donut shop first and then settle down to more hog highlights on Monday 10th January 2022! See you then.

OiNK! #15: NEW PiGLETS

It appears I jumped on to the OiNK train at the right moment back in 1986. Last time I shared the memories of my first issue and just one week later came a kind of soft relaunch as the theme. OiNK had established itself, publishers IPC Magazines were happy, the readers were happy and it was proving to be a success, so the team decided to celebrate by bringing in a whole bunch of brand new regular characters.

Let’s not forget the fantastic free gift, the first of three Ian Jackson posters which combined into one giant calendar for 1987 featuring The 8th Wonder of the World: Mount Rushboar. I can remember pouring over all the little details in the swarm of people running across Harry the Head and Burp the Smelly Alien carved into the rock face and even the little bits of rubbish left behind on this apparently reverential site. How typical of us humans and a funny swipe at British tourists in particular.

On page two we find out how this glossy comic could afford such extravagances, with staff reduced to working naked, cartoonists and accountants alike shivering in the cold as Uncle Pigg looks on, wearing his Hawaiian shirt to boot. Christmas was coming early for him with all the money OiNK was raking in, and it was coming early for us too because the calendar poster freebies would continue up to the first festive issue.

Mary Lighthouse is back with her strip on page three. Normally this would be a way of introducing the subject matter of the issue but here it’s quite clear it has a bigger job to do. It’s introducing new readers to the character and the overall cheekiness and irreverence of the comic. Don’t get me wrong, Mark Rodgers and Ian Jackson still deliver the goods for the regulars too, it’s genuinely funny but it also reinforces the way the comic is reintroducing itself now that its readership is growing.

Coming on board just before this issue is probably the reason why I always assumed certain characters were in OiNK right from the beginning, when in reality this was their first appearance. Two such examples are Davy FrancisGreedy Gorb (He’d Eat Anything) and Jeremy Banx‘s wonderfully surreal and often very rude Hector Vector and his Talking T-shirt. The latter actually gets a proper origin story when a magical genie appears from Keith Disease‘s (I never remembered him having an actual name!) packet of crisps, but Keith is rude to him because his snack is gone. Poor Hector happens to be passing and Keith is forever confined to be a “tasteless print” on his t-shirt.

I remember his strip being one of my favourites so expect to see them soon. The only reason I’m not including them here is because there’s just too much I could include that I had to leave some real classics out. But I was always going to show you the beginning of OiNK’s second spoof epic. Hot on the trotters of The Street-Hogs comes Ham Dare: Pig of the Future, also stunningly illustrated by J.T. Dogg and this time the multi-part serial is written by Lew Stringer. IPC’s very own Eagle and 2000AD hero Dan Dare was the subject of OiNK’s style of parody, complete with sidekick Pigby and arch nemesis The Weakun‘!

This was my first exposure to J.T.’s artwork and it looked like nothing I’d ever seen before. Possibly because of this, as much as I love The Street-Hogs now, Ham Dare remains my favourite of all the OiNK serials. Lew’s script is fast-paced and packed full of gags, both for fans of the original space adventurer or those like me who learned of him through this. I especially love how Sir Hogbert has to show our heroes such a basic drawing to describe Earth being pulled out of orbit. Ham Dare may not be the sharpest pork scratching in the packet but he looked dashing as the hero and that’s what was important to him (and we loved him for it).

Elsewhere this issue Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins‘ own serial continues and a lot of the humour comes from the narrative by Tony Husband. Fan favourite Pete and his Pimple makes his debut after being the footer gag to a Tom Thug strip in #6. Hyperactive Harriet is the fastest girl in the world and a not-so-subtle take on The Beano‘s Billy Whizz. Then Billy Buzz gets the same ‘New Character’ treatment as the rest, but his saccharine personality annoys Uncle Pigg so much he swats him by the end of the strip and that’s the last we’d ever see of him!

Billy might not have made the grade but the next new addition certainly did. She quickly became a childhood favourite, so much so that I was certain she appeared in almost every issue I had as a kid. But surprisingly Psycho Gran was only in 20 editions of OiNK altogether including specials and annuals. Despite this, she became a true OiNK legend.

Created by David Leach (Brain Damage, Toxic Crusaders, Spongebob Squarepants) she was originally submitted as a one-off strip, so when OiNK’s editors introduced her as a new regular character in this issue it was a bit of a surprise for David. This explains why she doesn’t reappear until #21 because he hadn’t made any more! David tells me the guys would send him a list of upcoming issue subjects and he’d submit Psycho Gran strips for whichever ones he had an idea for. He never had a Psycho strip turned down and as a fan I can see why.

This strip might look familiar to anyone who has purchased the new comic series from David in recent years because he reproduced this as a gorgeous, heavily detailed, full colour strip. In fact, between contributions to Aces Weekly and Psycho’s own digital and print comics, David has now produced more work for the little old dear in the years since OiNK than during her time in her debut comic.

There are certain Psycho Gran strips, as well as individual jokes and images that stayed with me long after childhood was a distant memory. Whether she’s randomly throwing people into the ocean, making military preparations to pick her pension up at the Post Office or adorning a Wild West Wanted poster, she could terrify many in her little world but she was adored by pig pals.


“‘Sammy is getting old and worn out! I’ll have to replace him with a new engine!’, said the Controller.

Sammy the Steam Engine

Two new characters are up on the next page together, namely Sally Scowl (Her Temper’s Foul!) and Fatty Farmer (He’s A Whole Lot Calmer). Their titles may have rhymed like so many traditional humour strips of the time but that’s where the similarities end. Both were written by Mark Rodgers (of course) and drawn by Dave Follows and Weedy Willy‘s Mike Green respectively.

Both are enjoyable, even if we do already have a bad tempered youth in the shape of Billy Bang. But unlike Billy, Sally’s temper builds until she uses it to her advantage at just the right moment. She’s a lovable character and after that hilarious first panel I can’t blame her for being in a bad mood all day! She was also that rare occurrence indeed, a black character in one of our childhood comics. So why does Sally disappear after #16, totalling only two appearances? So much for a new regular character! What a shame and a waste of a great idea.

The message was clear, don’t let the bullies get to you.

Fatty Farmer was a larger than life country farmer who’d often come up against bullies and small-minded individuals making fun of his weight. However, he’d remain chilled out and deal with them calmly, often proudly using the very thing they were laughing at to his advantage. The message was clear, don’t let the bullies get to you. He’d go on to be a bit more successful than Sally with 11 strips in total, appearing in every issue for the first few months and then on and off during the rest of the fortnightlies. To have him and Sally on the same page for their first appearances was a great contrast and a great idea.

Back in #3 artist Ralph Shepherd drew OiNK’s brilliant take on The Transformers. As I said at the time, the comic would often take the hand out of things we readers loved and for me there was nothing I loved more than the subject of this next strip. It was so funny to see this as a kid. This was really the first many fans of the show would’ve seen a spoof of it (and it was even several months before the official comic finally launched). Over the course of the two weeks I had to wait for my next OiNK I reread this several times, laughing and loving the fact OiNK had its own version of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.

Looking at this issue as a whole I can see I was clearly spoiled as a kid with this as only the second comic I ever bought. Whether I realised that at the time is another matter. I got to experience the gorgeous work of J.T. Dogg for the first time, got to meet lots of new characters including many who would become lifelong favourites, the subject of my top book series and TV show was given that unique OiNK makeover and then on top of all that was one of only five Tom Paterson OiNK strips!

What a lovely surprise it was to come across this page when reading the issue for this review. Written by Mark Rodgers it’s already a funny script, but when it’s in the hands of Tom you just know there are going to be many more laughs added before he’s done with it. Mister Cheese would unfortunately be Tom’s final full page story for OiNK. After this his work would only pop up once more in a tiny quarter-page strip in The OiNK Book 1988, which I won’t be reviewing for another 13 months! Just as well this is so jam-packed with Tom’s trademark sight gags then isn’t it? Tom was just too busy to be a regular contributor and that’s such a shame because I believe he and OiNK were the perfect fit, perhaps more so than any other comic.

Before we wrap up with the back page, here’s a little bit of news about the next issue. While this edition may have introduced a wealth of new characters, #16 brings with it a true superstar, a megastar, a “fantastic” new addition to OiNK who I remember waking up to every Saturday morning on No.73. His creator sadly died back in 2010 and it was the news of his passing that brought me back into the sty after decades away. Next issue sees the start of his contributions which really have to be seen to be believed.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue! For now, I’m going to finish off with this full colour back cover from Lew Stringer. We got a glimpse on the Grunts page (at the top of this review) of what it was like to work in the OiNK offices. Uncle Pigg may have had all the right words to say to the readers but the reality behind them was somewhat different. Here’s Lew’s inside scoop on the real behind-the-scenes of creating the funniest comic ever produced!

For a much younger me these two issues were a strong start. Such a strong start! How could it possibly get any better? Be here on Monday 29th November 2021 to find out.

OiNK! #13: FRiGHTFULLY FUNNY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Lew Stringer (Monster Mash)

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

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

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

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

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

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