The name Tom Paterson is synonymous with British humour comics, his madcap style appearing in an eclectic array of titles such as Beano, Shiver and Shake, Buster and many more. His most famous characters include the fondly remembered Sweeney Toddler, Calamity James, Bananaman and Buster himself. There’s one other that will most likely have been forgotten by many though, namely The Wet Blanket.
By the time I started collecting OiNK I’d missed this strip but I had already been introduced to Tom’s work. While I found my brother’s Beano wasn’t really to my taste at the time (I was the perfect target audience for OiNK), there was one strip that most definitely was. I remember pouring over all of the funny background details in Calamity James, the incidental randomness in the visual gags often being just as funny as the story itself. This is the genius of Tom’s style.
Tom’s work may only have graced the pages of OiNK five times but he still made a huge impact. OiNK co-editor Patrick Gallagher told me they’d loved to have had Tom on board as a regular but his work load was just too large. One particular strip is of interest here and that came in #7. Written by co-creator/co-editor of the comic, Mark Rodgers, The Wet Blanket was a brilliant double-page spread featuring so many little jokes hidden away you could reread it several times.
A kind of super villain, Wet Blanket was a “miserable so-and-so” whose sole job was to ruin everyone else’s fun. He could’ve made for a brilliant regular character but alas that wasn’t to be and this was his sole appearance. This makes it even more surprising that he’d appear on the front cover of The Tom Paterson Collection, a new book coming later this year from Rebellion‘s Treasury of British Comics.
What a cover it is too! Tom will also be producing an exclusive cover for a special edition which will only be available from their web shop. Both versions will be released on 25th November 2021 for £19.99 and for 192 pages of Tom’s best work from across a variety of comics this is nothing short of a bargain. I wonder how many stinky striped socks that amount of pages will contain?
Featuring content from IPC/Fleetway comics such as Buster, Whizzer and Chips, Whoopee!, Jackpot and of course OiNK, along with new extra bits and bobs from Tom make sure you pre-book yours as soon as it becomes available. Or are you some sort of fun-hating wet blanket?
One final note. Since Rebellion bought the rights to the huge IPC/Fleetway back catalogue this is the first time we’ll see an OiNK strip being reprinted. Of course, a lot of OiNK’s content was creator owned so it’s potentially a lot more complicated to arrange, but it’s still exciting to see the first strip resurfacing for modern audiences. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.