Tag Archives: Patrick Gallagher

OiNK! #11: ON YER BiKE!

This issue of OiNK contains the conclusion to the first Street-Hogs story, the spoof adventure strip which began right back in #1 (and a prelude in the preview issue) and they’ve taken over. Not only is their strip three pages long inside but we also get this gorgeous wraparound cover poster by their incredible illustrator, J.T. Dogg and the general theme of the issue is biking. There’s even a free motorbike model. Sort of.

Things kick off brilliantly with a parody of a very famous children’s character in Nobby Gets a New Set of Wheels, credited to Ena Blighty, a riff on Enid Blyton who would continue to pop up in comedy takes of other books. Written and drawn by co-editor Patrick Gallagher it looks like a traditional children’s picture-panel comic story and his art style suits it perfectly. The real Noddy may be pushing on a bit now but I doubt he’s grown up quite like this version.

Motorbikes are all over the first few pages. Uncle Pigg runs over Mark Lighthouse who was out in the middle of the street with placards campaigning for road safetly, after which our esteemed editor reminds the viewers to never “stand in the middle of the road waving your arms about!”.  Zootown, the Golden Trough Awards, even the Plops and a new superhero Hedgehog Boy (his first and last appearance because hedgehogs, roads and motorbikes do not mix) all hit the mark with the theme and the funny bone.

One of the regulars getting in on the action is someone I haven’t introduced yet. Created by David Haldane he was a big hit with readers. In fact he was a big hit with everything, from skyscrapers to airships to whole armies. Basically, take the concept of Godzilla but change him into a friendly but ginormous hippopotamus and you have Hugo the Hungry Hippo.

No relation to the creatures in Milton Bradley/Hasbro’s tabletop game, Hugo was a complete pacifist and would only accidentally terrorise humans along the way. While the strip was basically the same set up every issue he was a fan favourite, going on to appear in 33 editions of OiNK altogether. It’s funny how our memories work sometimes, isn’t it? I was sure I remembered reading Hugo right to the end of the run but he actually disappeared not long into the comic’s second year, only reappearing randomly a few more times after that.

The main event is up next, the three-page finale to The Street-Hogs which takes over the middle of the comic. It might be initially disappointing to see this two-colour page below. It is beautifully grey-scaled though, something OiNK could do on its glossy paper that other IPC comics couldn’t on their newsprint. But anyway, this is only page one and the others are presented with the usual full-colour spread which brings the tale to a suitably crazy end.

This episode really does pack it all in. There’s even a cliffhanger for turning over the page. Between the over-the-top sound effects right out of the silly 60s Batman, to the clichéd evil lair being an underground apple sauce factory, to the final battle coming down to a faulty wig. There’s a piece of comedic genius in every panel thanks to the incredible writing talents of Mark Rodgers and the way J.T. Dogg brings it all to the page.

That next adventure alluded to in the final panel, Day of the Triffics isn’t coming as soon as readers may have hoped, we won’t see it until around this time next year. It’ll be worth the wait though and in the meantime from #15 there’ll be a brand new adventure from another much-loved porky personality, Ham Dare: Pig of the Future for all those Dogg fans!


Attach handlebar/light attachment (N) to discombobulator attachment (O) at attachment attachment point (M) attach the attachment with anything you like, as long as it doesn’t smell.

Uncle Pigg’s Road-Hogg!

From Dogg’s Hogs to the Road-Hogg, it can’t have escaped fans’ attentions that two of the superb bikes with all of their exaggerated abilities were destroyed in the strip above. Unceremoniously dragged off at the end, later in the issue came the chance for readers to build one of their own. Advertised on the cover as “a free cut-out motorbike”, in typical OiNK fashion even this had a punchline as you’ll see if you take a look at the page below. All you need to do is follow the instructions.

The person responsible for this fiendish extra was Daz, aka Dave Skillen who had already contributed some great spoof children’s stories in these early issues, such as The Wonderful Adventure of Billy Batt and his Magic Hat which I featured in #1‘s review. Brilliantly, just last year a pig pal (probably in the grip of lockdown craziness) decided to try and actually build it! Here’s what Sue M. Hall said about attempting this seemingly impossible task:

“I have spent recent weeks making the cardboard cut out motorbike, ‘Uncle Pigg’s Road Hogg’. Like Mount Everest, because it’s there. However, it was drawn with parts that did not actually fit together. You had to use your imagination, and make additional parts. I challenged myself to use as many of the parts in the drawing as I could. I also added a V- twin engine where the panels labelled Oink! were. I had to shrink the Oink lettering so as not to obscure the engine, or the pattern on the fuel tank.”

Sue shared this on the Oink! Comic Facebook group and has kindly given me permission to show it to you all here. I think you’ll agree this is a fantastic piece of model building, especially given the fact it was never actually meant to be built!

Also in this issue you’ll find Scruff of the Track which was drawn by the late Andy Roper. You can check it out in all its glory on the obituary post for Andy posted earlier this year. Both The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile and Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins have strong anti-bullying messages delivered with plenty of laughs, Burp’s attempts to befriend us humans once again go awry after his window cleaning (via his gigantic tongue) doesn’t account for one small detail, then Billy’s Brain partakes in some Highland Games for gentle mocking.

None of these four highlights may involve the subject but it was never a hard and fast rule, more of a suggestion. I’m sure behind the scenes there would’ve been back and forth between the editors and the contributors to make sure enough of the contents matched the overall theme, but even this could vary from issue to issue so we never knew what to expect.

Two weeks ago we were treated to not only one of the best Mr. Big Nose instalments from Jeremy Banx, but also Mrs Warsaw-Pact who was sick and tired of her son making a fuss when it was time for school, so she had him put down and stuffed. Really. Well, I’m very happy to say another unique one-off can be found here, this time called Ian Nasalcavity (where does he get these names?) Visits his Grandparents. The title alone leads us to believe we’re in for another surreal treat and I was certainly not disappointed.

From stuffing a child so he’d behave in school to decapitating someone from tying a tie and leaving his body to wander aimlessly in the streets, I think it’s safe to say none of our other humour comics were producing anything remotely similar to these. What I love the most is his family’s complete lack of worry at what they’ve done; they just either stick his head back on or push him out the door, shirking all responsibility, forever leaving poor Ian to live his life without a head rather than own up.

The Hallowe’en issue of OiNK (which will be reviewed in four weeks from the time of writing) will contain more of these Banx gems so watch our for them. While I can only show a few selected highlights I think it’s a safe bet at least one of them will be included.

I often wondered what on Earth passersby would’ve thought if they saw the OiNK guys out taking photos

We’ve made our way to the end of another issue and on page 31 is the first full-page GBH Catalogue to feature in the comic. The dodgy mail order company had a hand in every pie and future issues would see them promote everything from book clubs to holidays. All contained products which were atrociously poor quality and sold for vastly over inflated prices. This BMX catalogue is certainly no exception.

I often wondered what on earth passersby would’ve thought if they saw the OiNK guys out taking the pictures for their photo stories, but what about this one? The poor fella on the bike is Patrick’s younger brother, Mike Gallagher. Patrick kindly sent me another photo of Mike to try to make up for the one above. He said it was of him at home, but actually Mike is on stage in a production of The Playboy of the Western World at The Wilmslow Green Room in Cheshire. I wonder if the GBH Catalogue is on his resume?

So that’s us, another issue of OiNK comes to a close and gets placed back onto the shelf. The next issue is the Movies Special and you’ll find the review right here on OiNK Blog on Monday 4th October 2021. But to finish off here’s one final little strip from this issue with a name that’s a play on words on my favourite novel of all time and some of my own very favourite movies and television shows. Until next time, enjoy Ian Jackson‘s War of the Worms.

OiNK! #8: SKELE-TON OF FUN

I had a particularly pleasant time reading this issue of OiNK. It’s always a positive experience but blue skies, a beer and a furry feline friend for company heightened it even further. It was a different reading experience for what is a very different issue, kicking off with co-editor Patrick Gallagher‘s anarchic front cover.

As mentioned last time, after what must’ve been an exhaustive summer special Uncle Pigg and his staff were off on holidays, leaving issue eight in the capable hands of his skeleton staff. While their hands would be anything but capable, the second part of his description was more accurate. That’s right, actual skeletons make up the skeleton staff (of course they do) and the front cover pretty much sums up what’s to come with its slapdash approach and apparent mistakes.

Inside we meet Boss Bones and some of the hilarious substitutes for the humans that normally put the comic together. Brilliantly, the artists’ signatures have even been changed throughout to match these pseudonyms; some have clearly been edited after the fact but some have been changed by the artists themselves.

Throughout we’re treated to the skeletons printing whole pages upside down, spilling jam and bursting their fountain pens as they make a general hash of putting an issue of OiNK together. Here are two such examples from the Grunts letters page and Marc Riley‘s Harry the Head.

Two of the artists who really embraced the chaos were Jeremy Banx and Davy Francis, or rather their substitutes ‘Bonex’ and ‘Bony Hart’, the latter named after Tony Hart, the famous 80s children’s TV artist. Mr Big Nose‘s strip is made up of completely random panels with no correlation to each other, the star telling us it would’ve all made sense if the skeletons had remembered to include speech balloons. Jeremy later brings us three comic-invading butchers, a one off surprise that evolves into the ongoing Butcherwatch series, which in turn will introduce us to the comic’s arch nemesis, Jimmy ‘The Cleaver’ Smith.

I’m reminded of a stand up comedian (I want to say Lee Evans) who noticed how everyone loves their local butcher, they comment on how friendly and trustworthy they are, they chat away while ordering their food, and this all happens despite the fact the butcher’s apron will invariably be covered in blood from the carcasses of dead animals they sawed into little bits just moments before. I remember laughing at this and I’ve never forgotten it to this day when I visit my local shop and see that play out in front of me.

This just reminded me of that.

Davy’s alter ego wasn’t in the same league as his namesake, as evidenced with his How to Draw page written by Mark Rodgers, or rather ‘Jolly Rodgers’. Bony’s advice was to cheat at every possible opportunity. This could include only showing the backs of heads because there are less features to draw, only having buildings very far away so they are nothing more than dots on the horizon, and never showing still figures. He claims this final tip is because they’re boring for the reader, but the real reason is so he can draw them running out of frame, their body replaced with nothing but zoom lines.

Naturally before any of us would’ve pinned her up on our bedroom walls she had to be the butt of a joke.

The OiNK Superstar Posters make a welcome return this issue, or rather a generic ‘OiNK Poster’ is included. The reason a word is missing from the title is the subject matter. In the previous issue Ian Jackson (who had taken over poster duties from J.T. Dogg) drew Uncle Pigg as the subject of the only OiNK MEGAstar Poster, so with it being the turn of Mary Lighthouse (critic) the bland title this time is a joke in itself.

Mary’s a surprising pick so naturally before any of us would’ve pinned her up on our bedroom walls she had to be the butt of a joke. This is brilliantly explained in a full page strip by Mark and Ian in which the skeleton crew try their best, which of course means the worst possible outcome will inevitably happen.

Moving on, the gorgeous lady below played the role of Terry Wogham in an early photo story series, one of which I’ve already shown in issue five‘s review. This would be her final appearance, shot all out of focus after the skeletons handed the role of photographer to Weedy Willy. Tony Husband told me he went on all of the photoshoots for this particular series including the last one, during which the farmer told them they’d completed their story just in time because she was due to go to the slaughterhouse the next day!

Having gotten to know her over a few years the team’s hearts were broken and they even considered buying her and renting a field in which she could live out the rest of her life, but unfortunately they weren’t able to in the end. Terry lives on though in the hearts and minds of pig pals everywhere.

Towards the back of the comic Uncle Pigg’s loyal assistant Percy Plop (named for the first time) telephones his boss to inform him of how the issue is panning out and the response is so loud it flings Percy across the room where he sticks to the wall! We get a brilliant strip showing our editor’s return to the office which acts as a full page Next Issue promo. You’ll see it on Friday 20th August, a few days before issue nine’s review. With the comic back in his capable trotters it was time for a more traditional ending to the issue.


“We really got the drop on him, didn’t we?”

Eustace the Underpants

Do you remember Jimbo & the Jet Set?  Were you a fan?  Are you singing the theme tune now?  Oh dear, sorry. Premiering on BBC One in the early weeks of 1986 the show was at its height when OiNK came along, making it perfect fodder for the team’s own spin on the idea of anthropomorphic objects. If you watched the cartoon you’ll know Jimbo was joined by various talking trucks, helicopters and even a set of airplane steps, all chattering away on the tarmac. Patrick Gallagher decided to run with that idea.

This wouldn’t be the last time a popular talking form of transport would get the OiNK treatment. If you think back to the 1980s I’m sure if you try to guess who I’m talking about you’ll be on the right track. It’s a favourite of mine so I’ll definitely be including that one too.

Let’s finish this issue with the back cover, where we find Tom Thug and his dad have made it to Blackpool after setting off last issue. It’s not only the first time we get to see a colour strip from Lew Stringer in OiNK, it was the first one he’d produced to ever see print. Readers of The Transformers would’ve seen coloured Robo-Capers by Lew before now but those were coloured in-house at Marvel UK using overlays for flat colours.

IPC Magazines printed OiNK on high grade paper and everything was hand coloured for more depth. To be fair, the early editions of Transformers contained hand coloured artwork on the main strip and cover too. In the case of this Tom Thug strip Lew used water colour inks and the result is lovely. Even that final panel.

Speaking of which, according to Lew the final panel had some dialogue edited by one of the comic’s editors; the word “sink” was originally meant to be “bog”. It was rare for something like that to be changed in OiNK.

Having a full colour back page surely shows how well regarded Tom was with the editors. He was certainly appreciated by the fans, including this one. To this day Tom is my favourite comics character of all time and I’ll be looking forward to each of his instalments in this read through.

So that’s us for another issue. OiNK may be safely back in the trotters of Uncle Pigg but I don’t think Mary Lighthouse will be as safe, not with the next issue’s theme being that of revenge. You can check back in two weeks to see exactly how that’s enacted, the next review is published on Monday 23rd August. Ta-ra for now.

OiNK! #5: PERFECT PiG PALS

While the main event of this fifth issue of OiNK is the Unfair Funfair adventure game and there’s no theme as such, there’s an overall feeling of celebration inside, a celebration that the comic was proving to be a hit among its target audience. It contains the first contributions from readers, with a few small jokes and drawings scattered throughout, there’s a photo story showing us the kind of kids who were reading OiNK and reference is made to their letters in some of the strips.

Things begin with Mary Lighthouse on page two as per usual and something stood out in its last panel. The image of Mary and the words Uncle Pigg is shouting were definitely not by strip artist Ian Jackson, so I asked Patrick Gallagher about it. In Mark Rodgers‘ original script the mass of letters was meant to be hate mail for Mary but IPC Magazines didn’t like this reference and asked for it to be toned down. It was changed to reference fan mail for the comic which I think is actually funnier. You can compare the two ideas below.

I love the set up with Mary receiving three complaints and calling it an outcry. It all feels very contemporary. After all, that’s how The Daily Mail still operates today, isn’t it? This strip would coincidentally end up quite prophetic. While it’s obviously a joke, it’s strikingly similar to something the comic’s editors would face after a certain story is published in #7, but we’ll get to that later.

Directly below this on the same page is a character whose name is somewhat direct. In fact you could say it’s a bit on the nose. Mr. Big Nose would introduce surreal humour to the young audience in a way that really shouldn’t work in a children’s comic, but it did. One issue he could be showing us gravity is actually invisible creatures holding everything down, or he’d be ignoring an alien assassin by reading the newspaper, or playing Rambo in a school play of Little Bo-Peep, or having his vacuum cleaner turned into a dolphin.

Mr Big Nose’s strips followed no rules and the more absurd the situation, the more bizarre the juxtapositions, the more they didn’t make sense the funnier they were. With no barriers in his way, Jeremy Banx‘s imagination was on full display and this kind of humour would also start to spill over into his Burp the Smelly Alien strip in later issues too.

Appearing in almost every one of the fortnightly issues of OiNK Mr Big Nose would sadly disappear with #45, the first weekly edition. However, including specials Jeremy would end up crafting 42 completely different tales for us to enjoy, and enjoy them we did. That dolphin’s name often gets quoted by pig pals online to this day!

So as I said at the top of the review this issue brought with it the first contributions by OiNK’s readers. The regular space for these was the Grunts page but it only contains one drawing this time and some made up letters to Uncle Pigg from imaginary readers for a laugh. Soon enough it would be full to bursting with readers’ celebrity spoofs, photos, newspaper clippings of pigs in the news, poems and of course jokes for Nasty Laffs and Specs.

These two little panels aren’t on the letters page, instead popping up right at the beginning of the issue on page three. Rather than simply printing the written letters sent in OiNK would illustrate them too, which would just spur on the young readership more. Who wouldn’t have wanted to see their joke turned into a cartoon strip?


“You smell awful! You must be a City supporter!”

Random human to Burp the Smelly Menace from Outer Space

Interestingly, OiNK also printed input from readers in their holiday specials and annuals, something no other annual I collected as a kid ever did. While my Marvel UK comics had standard letters pages answered in very entertaining ways, IPC (and later Fleetway) would often encourage their readers to send something different. Barrie Tomlinson, editor of many action adventure comics was always asking readers to contribute to a wonderful variety of features on his letters pages. But OiNK went even further and just let them send in whatever they wanted!

So who were these young readers, these so-called “pig pals”? Time for Terry Wogham to investigate.

Terry Wogham was a series of photo stories in the earliest issues where a real pig interviewed a series of top celebrities. Of course, we’d often only see these special guests from his eye level, so the comic could get away with only showing their legs and torso. For this issue though we got to see the faces of those interviewees, a selection of Typical OiNK Readers.

Like looking in a mirror. The strip contains all three of OiNK’s creators. Mark Rodgers can be seen wearing the bald cap and bandana with a toothless mouth drawn over him, then that’s him at the bottom left of the final panel, with Tony Husband and his son Paul behind him. Patrick Gallagher is in the middle of the back row, with his former wife Ann to the right (his left), then Ann’s brother James who was also an OiNK photographer. In front of James is his wife Alanna and in the middle of the front row is Tony’s wife, Carole.

So who remembers those Make-Your-Own Adventure books? For the uninitiated I’m referring to children’s novels designed to be read in a non-linear fashion, very much like the text adventure games on home computers at the time. At the end of each page you’d be given a choice of where to take the story next and the corresponding page numbers for each choice, the idea being to make it to the end of the adventure alive. For example the character could be faced with a spooky house or a haunted forest and they could decide to turn to page ‘x’ to enter the house, or page ‘y’ to walk towards the forest. 

Whether it was intended or not, I remember Horace teaching me not to judge anyone by how they look.

The format was ripe for an OiNK parody. Bringing the idea of The Unfair Funfair to life was artist Ralph Shephard, fresh off his excellent riff on The Transformers in #3. He would also go on to draw one of my all-time favourite spoofs from the comic, but that’s a tale for another review. His previous colourful style is replaced with black and white for the most part which suits the setting perfectly with its lovely feeling of spooky mischievousness.

Just like the books this was based on, the cover proclaims “You are Barry the butcher”, but surely that’s the last thing an OiNK reader would want? How can a butcher be the hero of the adventure? Read on, try the game and find out for yourself.

After you’ve tried a few of the options I’m sure you can probably guess what the note on the Grunts page said. To quote Uncle Pigg, “You are Barry the butcher … and I am the fairground owner! Whatever choices you make, you’ll still end up in the swill!!! Told you it was an Unfair Funfair! Hurr hurr hurr!!” Well, the clue was in the name after all, but it’s still fun to try out all the options. Even though you know what’s going to happen next, making those different choices just to end up reading the same panel again and again is the whole point and what makes it so funny.

Besides the blockbuster main event, other highlights include Nigel and Skrat the Two-Headed Rat, Noel Ford‘s weird creations who only appeared in half a dozen issues believe it or not. I say that because I’ve very vivid memories of them! New thief on the block Swindler Sid pops up in Snatcher Sam, Uncle Pigg brings readers up to date on Hoggy Bear‘s predicament in The Street-Hogs before heading home, and while trying to make new human friends Burp‘s breath gets him into hot water.

The final highlight I’m pulling out of this issue’s hat is Tony Husband‘s lovable character, Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins. To anyone new to OiNK the title of this strip might give them the impression of a clichéd comics character with one certain feature or ability that would be played for easy laughs. But as always with OiNK, created as a reaction to such tired comics ideas, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Horace’s strip would alternate between funny, contained stories and ongoing serials showing his struggles at simply trying to live his life. The early stories featured funny scenarios centred around his appearance, but never in a cruel way. He could scare off a monster by complete accident and end up the hero for example and he never seemed to lose his upbeat outlook at life. This issue’s strip sees his parents try to hide his looks from his visiting wealthy uncle, only for it backfire on them and their assumptions.

As OiNK continued the strip matured into an ongoing serial involving Horace’s football career. At times he’d get down about his looks, his treatment by others and how cruel the world could be, but he was a strong individual and we’d cheer him on every fortnight. His story even had a proper ending when the comic finished and a very happy one at that.

Whether it was intended or not, I remember Horace teaching me not to judge anyone by how they look, a strong message for anyone but in particular for a child reading it and getting swept up in the laughs and the adventure. I never felt lectured, never thought Tony was even trying to do any of this, but it’s what I took away from it and as such I believe he was an important part of my development as a child.

On that note it’s time to place this fifth issue of OiNK back onto the bookshelves and look forward to the next edition in a fortnight’s time. Issue six is the Animal Crackers issue and it certainly is a cracker! There comes a time in any comic’s early life when it all just seems to click, to gel together and prove its potential and I’ll tell you all about that moment in OiNK’s run on Friday 12th July.