Tag Archives: Steve Gibson


I have distinct memories of showing this issue of OiNK to some friends of mine a few years after its publication, when I’d moved on to grammar school and met some huge 2000AD fans. Their reaction to the cover and the strip inside was one of laughter, naturally. One of them had also collected OiNK, for the others it was something new and they were gutted not only at the fact Judge Pigg wasn’t a regular strip, but that the comic itself was no longer being produced.

The lack of colour on the cover is a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, with the strip inside being in black and white, and a spoof of the earlier days of Judge Dredd when the majority of 2000AD also lacked colour, it does seem to suit the subject matter. But still, I can’t help but wonder how much better it would’ve looked. Interesting to note the comic is committing to ‘satire’ now too, after writer Graham Exton previously went to lengths to explain OiNK focussed on parody instead of satire and the difference between them . Perhaps this was another sign of the changing age of the audience mentioned in #51 (more on that soon).

Steve Gibson is the perfect artist to parody the hard-edged style of classic Judge Dredd, making the joke of the whole thing even more reminiscent of what inspired it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there’s something quite Brian Bolland about it, like Steve was spoofing that particular Dredd artist. It’s written by Mark Rodgers (of course it would be), someone who had worked for IPC Magazine’s humour comics for many years and who would’ve been very familiar with their stablemate sci-fi comic.

Also, as a regular cat sitter myself and someone who can’t walk past a kitty without trying to befriend them I just love that ending! This is one OiNK strip that’s even more enjoyable to me nowadays than it was when I was a mere ten-years-old. Not just because of the cat though. I think I appreciate the work Steve has put into the style of the strip overall more these days, I’ve read a good bit of Dredd in the intervening years, whereas originally I don’t think I even knew of the character when I read this the first time.

Frank makes tabloid headlines the butt of his jokes with the actual story being very different to the assumption the headline produces

Since going weekly co-editor Tony Husband has contributed a hybrid full-page/mini-strip to each issue. Containing only two or three panels each but taking up a full page, there’s a chance those unfamiliar with OiNK and the freestyle drawings of Tony might initially think these pages are light on content, maybe even rushed as one friend put it at the time. Not true of course, and when each and every one of them produces a good laugh who cares anyway?

Those of us used to two years of Tony’s award-winning style and his Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins strips enjoyed these bold full-page gags every week and they’re a defining part of OiNK’s short but memorable 18-issue stint as a weekly comic. Tony also created one of my favourite non-regular characters, the multi-named Wonder Pig who this issue goes by the name Lazzie. They were getting a four-issue run (quickly followed up by one more in the first monthly) and the repetition of the predicament that would befall his owner continued to raise giggles.

Other highlights of #58 include Frank Sidebottom’s Little Bit of Show-biz (sic) Gossip at the bottom of his page. As per usual Frank makes tabloid headlines the butt of his jokes with the actual story being very different to the assumption the headline produces. Then Hieronymous Van Hellsong is in the pits of hell looking for the soul of singer Raoul McCurtney and it appears even in that dark place there’s always that one person.

I’ve mentioned before about being surprised at how little certain characters actually appear in OiNK because they’d formed such a strong part of my memories of the comic from childhood. Perhaps the very fact some of my favourites weren’t in every issue helped make their appearances all that more memorable and I think this applies to the following series too, which I’m very surprised to discover had only six episodes.

Charlie Brooker’s The Swinelight Zone popped up in #44 as a one-off strip and then reappeared three weeks ago in #55. It’s been in each issue since as well as the recent Holiday Special but it disappears after this, never to return. Even though I only read these about seven years ago for the previous blog, in my head I still thought it was a regular fixture all the way through to the last issue. What a shame, but at least they go out on a high. Quite literally in this case.

One strip which would remain with us until the very end was Kev F Sutherland’s Meanwhile… series. Each had a completely different scenario with nothing to link them other than the title and the cartoonist’s unique sense of humour. Kev would take a seemingly trivial locale or event and create a guaranteed laugh from it in his own unique way, such as ‘Meanwhile at the Fun Fair…’ back in #49. That was a properly funny mini-strip and I’m very happy to say the return of the series for the first time since gets a full page.

There’d be at least one (more often than not more than that) in each of the monthlies and they really were a constant defining highlight of those later issues. The Meanwhile… in this issue is the perfect example of what we could expect so much of. It takes a simple idea, a simple joke that could’ve worked in a smaller capacity, and takes it to another level, making it as crazy and as funny as possible before the pay off. So, after Kev’s pun-packed March of the Killer Breakfasts last week comes something completely diffferent.

That was the beauty of the Meanwhile… series; on the surface they were more like a series of one-offs by the same really talented cartoonist, every single one felt completely different, yet that idea of taking a joke and getting as much value out of it as possible was key. The example above still pops into my head today whenever I hear someone utter those words, “Say when”, and I have a little chuckle to myself every time.

From strips I thought were regulars but weren’t, to one I thought was a tiny little one-off when it appeared in the previous Christmas issue but then was delighted to see return just a few weeks ago in a delightful full-colour, full-page strip, it’s The Kingdom of Trump. This is another last appearance unfortunately, but then I didn’t expect more than one in the first place so I’m just happy to see it again. This is also the most memorable of the trilogy.

I’d loved to have seen what else Davey could’ve come up with

Davey Jones’ King isn’t the main character in this one but the silliness of his kingdom and all those that dwell within it is every much front and centre. Davey’s sense of humour is completely insane; go and have a look at #20’s war spoof Bridge Over the River Septic if you need any more proof of that! He’d later become a hit in the pages of Viz and you can clearly see why in his OiNK work.

From the wooden stick masquerading as a horse, to the dragon living in a cave right next to the throne with a polite little doorbell, there’s so much that made me laugh on this half-page. Funniest of all is that first silent panel, the penultimate one in the strip, with that facial expression! The Kingdom of Trump really should’ve been a regular, the three examples we got were so funny, each one better than what came before. I’d loved to have seen what else Davey could’ve come up with.

On that note we come to the end of another review. We of course finish with co-editor Patrick Gallagher’s newsagent reservation coupon as usual, moving from the already random Great Moments in History to the completely daft Great Moments in the Height of Good Manners (number 76 no less). April is the last month full of weekly issues so make sure to come back next Friday 14th April 2023 for #59 as we inch closer to the next big evolution in the life of OiNK.


This issue’s cover is one of my very favourites from all of OiNK’s issues for two reasons. The first is obvious, it’s a Jeremy Banx cover featuring Jimmy ’The Cleaver’ Smith, the comic’s villainous butcher baddie in a pool of glistening blood on a splattered background. You wouldn’t have got this in other humour comics, that’s for sure. The other reason is its audacity, that the issue’s cover, its selling point on the shelves, states clearly it has absolutely nothing to do with the contents inside. 

This is actually a bit of a sticking point with me as far as some modern American comics go. They can have lovely elaborate covers, yes, but they don’t always relate to the story inside. If this issue of OiNK was released today I’d swear they were taking a shot at those. Inside, it’s also the Easter issue, with Uncle Pigg chowing down on a mountain of chocolate eggs while he cracks (sorry) puns, but apart from Lew Stringer’s two strips no others shell out (sorry again) on eggy scripts. Tom Thug’s title panel also seems to follow the theme from the cover, of having nothing to do with what follows.

The fact the egg (or rather Tom) appears to be asking for “Ralph” or “Hughie” is a great gag; we know exactly what’s happening to the dim-witted one inside and the panel showing us the results is convincingly disgusting! Having once stupidly gone on an amusement ride after eating ice cream and the result of that I almost feel sorry for the dolt. Almost. The limited colours given to the page really help highlight the main plot device (the egg) and the one splash of green makes for a funny moment in itself.

Did you also spot the ‘School Rules’ on the wall? At the time of the comic’s release I could definitely empathise with the kids at Tom’s school with that, finding it very funny in the process. This and Pete’s strip (a highlight is further below) being Easter themed makes the whole issue feel extra special in 2023 too, what with the Easter holidays happening almost at the same time as in 1988. With this quality no wonder Tom carried on for so many years in Buster comic!

This particular issue contains something of Kev F Sutherland’s that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time

Kev F Sutherland first contributed to an issue of OiNK in #38. Having proven himself with that mini-strip his work has finally become a regular fixture and this particular issue contains something of his that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time in this read through, March of the Killer Breakfasts! As a kid I loved my various cereals and their advertisements on TV promising toys and surprises. I can understand why things have changed (for the better) today, but this next strip takes me back to that time and laughing at all of the references to those adverts, never mind the onslaught of over-the-top puns.

There’s something quite genius right there on page one, when Kev perfectly lays down two future jokes when he names his protagonist. To the reader it’s initially just a funny name tied in with the cereal theme, but later two perfectly timed puns in the same caption tell us why ‘Dr Brek Sugar’ was really given that name. This is one of Kev’s best and one of the funniest strips in OiNK. Out of all of his contributions I think it’s tied for first place with his time travelling professors we’ll meet in a monthly later in the year. It’s comedic genius, and it’s inside a children’s comic.

Right from the start OiNK wanted to give a chance to young, new talent in the world of children’s comics and hired accordingly. This commitment rubbed some long-time professionals up the wrong way but the comic stuck to its guns. Now, with Kev centre stage in each issue and the likes of young Charlie Brooker producing so much material, OiNK had evolved a lot since its early days and it makes me wonder what other new talent it would’ve discovered if it had continued for longer than the two-and-a-half years it ran.

There’s the Pete and his Pimple strip I mentioned earlier, when Pete discovers after eating too many Easter Eggs that his pimple’s pus takes like delicious milk chocolate. Of course it runs out just as he tries to impress Lovely Lucy. The Wonder Pig (this time called Laffie) is back in the first of a series of weekly adventures, with the usual predicament, and then on Mercury a rather familiar looking royal family have summoned Burp to help with the sweltering heat on the first planet next to the sun. This leads nicely on to one of two GBH Madvertisements in this issue.

Are you sick and tired of your job? Don’t you just wish you had the ability to leave it, perhaps by winning the lottery? Well GBH has just the thing for you. Their special offer of two free (not free) books will teach you everything you need to know to do just that. In fact, all you need is a lot of privilege and being born into the right family. Surely this isn’t something you can teach, right? Well that kind of detail never stopped these gangsters from try to hock their latest scam idea.

While OiNK’s humour for the most part has not aged, when it spoofs celebrities of the 80s it’s inevitable that kids reading it today (as some blog readers have told me their own kids do) may not appreciate those particular strips as much as us who grew up with them. Of course, this particular Madvertisement has aged but for a whole other reason, however let’s not shut down the whole country again and just move on, shall we? I do like Steve Gibson’s very Spitting Image-esque drawings though.

A couple of mini-strips before we round off this week’s review and Ed McHenry’s Wally of the West continues to entertain. This week it’s not Wally himself that’s acting on the silly side though, he’s actually the innocent victim of someone else’s ridiculousness. Then Marc Riley’s Doctor Mooney He’s Completely Looney has two scriptwriters this week, Marc himself and Mick Peek. It’s silly, gross-out humour and one which made me chuckle because I’m still that big of a child.

At this point in OiNK’s run Marc was spending a lot more time on his music career which included spending time in America, so more and more of his strips are being written (or co-written) by others from the team. As I mentioned above OiNK had evolved somewhat and it would continue to do so, never standing still or resting on its laurels. Sometimes this was for the best, sometimes not so much. As you’ll see in the months ahead it can be both of these extremes even in individual issues, when newer talent gets to contribute more while we have to say cheerio to some of the originals.

That’s us at the rear of another porker. Just time to ensure the young readers reserved their copies at their local newsagent’s with co-editor Patrick Gallagher’s usual weekly nonsense in the Great Moments in History coupon. To paraphrase it, I’m hoping the blog is still to all of your tastes and in case you missed it (somehow) make sure you check out the extra review we had this past week for the OiNK! Holiday Special #2! When you’re all caught up make sure you’re back here next week, on Friday 7th April 2023 for #58 and have a Happy Easter (even though the next issue will be out by then)!


Comic covers don’t come much more creative than this. Lew Stringer’s latest OiNK cover is definitely one of my favourites, right up there with those from #6 and #43 by Ian Jackson. The OiNK logo being pushed off the page was all Lew’s idea, who pencilled out a rough of the whole cover for approval by the comic’s editors. After it was approved he then drew the Pete part of the design, leaving the logo for Patrick.

Co-editor Patrick Gallagher was the famous logo’s original creator and told me he thought Lew’s cover was a “swell” idea, pun very obviously intended, and that it was a doddle for him to rejig the letters and complete this eye-catching front page, a highlight of the issue for sure and really makes the issue stand out in the collection. Just as well the inside is as good then. The first interior highlight comes from Davy Francis and Greedy Gorb, along with a special guest star.

Although he goes unnamed, that’s Doctor Madstarkraving (“He’s Bonkers”) who has appeared in his own strip a couple of times (#27 being one example) with more to come later in the run. Showing how uncontrollable Greedy’s appetite is, he shoots himself in the foot by eating the doc’s inventions when they could’ve fed him even more food! I particularly like the name of the shop, a little dig at how other comics seemed to have sweet shops on every street corner, a hang up from their more traditional (read: old-fashioned) days that OiNK liked to rib.

Speaking of old-fashioned tales, James Bond author Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang wasn’t a film I loved as much as my friends seemed to. However, I was certainly knew enough of its story that the following spoof by ‘Ian Phlegming’, with a funny illustration summing it up by Simon Thorp, was very funny indeed. Speaking with Patrick he thinks Simon may have written it too. It starts off silly and quickly escalates, culminating in an over-the-top ending that couldn’t be further away from the original saccharin tale. Then again, that’s the whole idea.

Spoofs were something unique to OiNK in the children’s comic market at the time, yet in the case of Twitty Twitty Bang Bang this wasn’t the only thing that set it apart. While comics such as Beano and Buster did have text adventure serials in their early days, it wasn’t something humour comics had any more, or any children’s comics outside of the nursery and very young children’s market. Later on in this year (1988) other comics such as The Real Ghostbusters and Thundercats would bring back the prose story, but for the time being pages like this really stood out.

Simon’s other contribution to the issue has plenty of panels of text packed with gags, this time as part of a full-page illustration in his usual entertaining style, but with a rather more dreary colour palette than usual that’s all part of the joke. This time of the year family holidays would be planned and paid for; I remember the TV listings magazines being full of them the first few months of the year. These were just ripe for a makeover, selling the Porkshire Riviera’s Outlet-By-The-Sea.

While it’s not a GBH Madvertisement their presence is still very much felt with their Spamtins Holiday Camp and Multi-storey Caravan Park. Growing up in the 80s and 90s I really found the caption for the Top Class Variety Acts very funny, even as a fan of the person at the butt of the joke. In the image itself there are so many funny little details, such as the quick sand, the periscope, a pair of socks that seem to have survived beyond their owner and the rigid man who I don’t think is sunbathing anymore.

This wasn’t the only time Simon would try to entice us away to sunnier climbs. Watch out for his special cruise ship cutaway later in the year. That particular contribution will definitely be featured in the highlights to come. This issue’s highlights are particularly good too, beginning with Invisible Charlie (who appeared in three issues) and Davy Francis’ trademark background gags. (Check out the posters.)

“Baby George! The Beastie Babies! And Paul Extremely Young!

Tiny Tots TV, Vaughan Brunt

On the Grunts page a reader must’ve had the fright of their lives on their high street, Tiny Tots TV suggests some more baby based television hits after the success of the 80s’ Muppet Babies, and Frank Sidebottom has two colourful pages this week. One is a competition, the other is his recurring Frank Sidebottom and his Fantastic Showbiz Gossip column which incudes his diary and, while he slips in a couple of joke entries, it’s an interesting look into the busy life of the man behind the mask, Chris Sievey.

The life of a superstar, eh?

There are a ton of mini-strips in here, including two full pages of them. Over these two pages alone we have the return of Uncle Pigg and Mary Lighthouse to strip form, Zootown, Harry the Head, Doctor Mooney He’s Completely Looney, a GBH Madvertisement, a one-off strip by Charlie Brooker called A Day in the Life of a Typical Schoolboy and the first strip of a perennial favourite, Wally of the West. Oh, plus the weekly funny newsagent coupon.

I want to show you a few of these in quick succession and it’s been difficult to decide which ones to pick out from this brilliant selection. I’ll begin with Charlie’s Typical Schoolboy, simply because it’s so daft.

GBH returns with a tiny madvert with big prices. Their special modelling clay promises plenty of “steaming” fun from the offset, so I’m sure you can draw your own correct conclusions as to what the product actually is. There are so many jokes following on from the theme of that ‘clay’, including the variety of colour schemes and even a special free gift and another dig at radio DJ Gary Davies (also see Outlet-By-The-Sea).

I’m not sure who wrote it but the couple of tiny illustrations are by Steve Gibson, so given past examples in the weeklies of his work with Charlie on quizzes and the like I’m going to assume Brooker wrote this one too.

My eyes lit up and I’m sure I had a great big grin across my face when I saw our next mini-strip, the first appearance of Ed McHenry’s Wally of the West. The character would appear in 12 OiNKs altogether, sometimes more than once in an issue and was a main staple during this final year of the comic. Often accompanied by his long-suffering friend Fungus, Wally was a series of short gags about a very dimwitted cowboy set in the American Wild West of the past.

The jokes revolved around his stupidity which might not sound that original, but Wally had two things going for him. The first was the setting, which gave it a unique feel and opened it up to new ideas. The second was the most important though, Ed himself. Creator of many quizzes and one-off strips, Ed was now beginning to move into his own serials having also recently created Igor and the Doctor which was an exciting prospect for any fans of his work so far in OiNK.

Back in 1988 Beano reached its 50th anniversary, after The Dandy had the previous year and the first combined celebratory book had been released in 1987. I actually received that book myself for that Christmas, when I also got the first OiNK! Book, although I do think the Dandy/Beano tome was originally for my brother but he’d grown out of comics by the time Santa came to town (as a lot of us mistakenly do at some point before correcting course again). In fact, at the same time I was reading DC Thomson’s book my other annual was making lots of jokes at its expense!

This wasn’t going to stop anytime soon by the looks of this week’s newsagent reservation coupon by Patrick Gallagher.

I’ve one more little mini-strip I want to show you but I’ll finish with it after I round up this review first. From the brilliant front cover which showed right there on the shelf OiNK didn’t follow any of the traditional comic rules, to its huge array of mini-strips and strong one-offs, this is by far the best of the weekly editions so far! In fact, it could easily be one of the best issues of the whole run up to this point. I remember being very excited at getting OiNK every single week from issue 50 onwards as a child and that remains true today.

Even though I know there are only nine weeklies left until we have to wait much longer between issues, I’m still just as excited at the prospect of those to come as I was 35 years ago. To wrap up this excellent issue we even get a tiny little Uncle Pigg and Mary Lighthouse strip, something we haven’t seen in the regular comic in a long time. They used to introduce every issue, or would pop up in multi-page strips now and again, but for a long time now have been relegated to the Grunts page, so it’s nice to see Ian Jackson bring them to life again. This time, however, it’s not written by Mark Rodgers as usual, but Kev F Sutherland. Thanks for bringing them back, Kev.

OiNK #54’s review will be here on Saturday 11th March 2023.