Wednesday, 18 April 2018


Hi all.  There's a couple of posts that were due this week which will be delayed a little, but there's a good reason and it's an exciting one!  Well, a couple of reasons.  One is something I'm working towards in my private life and if it pans out I'll share it with you, but as far as the blog goes there's something rather big coming up!

I only realised a few weeks ago that next Monday, 23rd April 2018, is the fifth anniversary of this blog!  I can't believe it.  A full five years.  While the blog was shut down for a bit in 2016 it's still a big achievement for me, right up there with completing the original idea of covering every regular issue of Oink! every fortnight/week/month.  On the one hand the time seems to have flown in, on the other it's hard to imagine my life not involving this site.  You know what I mean?


So with the fifth birthday approaching what can you expect?  Well, as members of the Facebook group will attest I've recently announced I'll be deleting my Facebook account due to the recent revelations in the news (and personal research) but that was never going to be the end of my time in the social media sty!  I'd been planning new outlets to expand Oink!'s online presence further for a while and what I could do with possible additional Twitter and Instagram accounts:

It's all come together perfectly for the anniversary, so on Monday 23rd April the new accounts will start to officially post, though they are ready to be followed now by searching 'TheOinkBlog' on both services.  At the time of writing this the Instagram account has around 50 followers and the Twitter one has a whopping 200+ already after only a few days of it being online but not actually posting yet (mainly thanks to cartoonist Jamie Smart posting about the comic and tagging the blog).  So, I've decided the posts that were due last week and this week will be held back until after the anniversary so that there's a steady stream of posts for the new social media pigs to share (plus it'll give me the chance to work on this personal thing, which is due on Monday too).

So see you all then, both here and hopefully on social media too when they'll kick off!

Thursday, 12 April 2018


On 29th November 1986 Oink! readers (of which I had been for only two previous issues) welcomed to the pages of their favourite comic a certain celebrity from children's television:

Click the comic to see highlights and Frank's
first appearance

No, of course I don't mean the late and very, very great George Michael, but Frank Sidebottom, who would prove to be no less "fantastic" in issue after issue of inspired, hand-drawn and felt-tip-coloured strips by his creator, the man behind the papier-mâché mask, Chris Sievey.  Back in June 2015 I wrote a small post to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Chris' passing and in it went into more detail of my own memories of the character on TV and in the pages of Oink!, as well as how his unfortunate passing brought Oink! back into my life again for the first time in many years.

He was the megastar of his own making, embracing a very British form of celebrity lifestyle in his comic strips and in character, exaggerating to great comic effect his status within the music and showbiz worlds.  But today not only do we have a Holywood film inspired by the way he lived his life, but now the eagerly anticipated documentary film Being Frank has finally been completed and is nearing release.

Photo courtesy of Karin Albinsson of VIVA Lifestyle magazine

The film saw its premiere take place in Texas recently at the SXSW (South By South West) film festival and its creator, award-winning filmmaker and former collaborator with Chris, Steve Sullivan couldn't be happier with its reception.  Work began on the film six years ago, was quickly crowdfunded through Kickstarter and for anyone who signed up to email updates there's been a steady stream of teasing messages from Steve ever since.  Our very own Oink! co-creator/co-editor Patrick Gallagher is in the movie too in a section all about Chris' work on the comic and I've seen one small photograph of Patrick in his basement surrounded by his work, including copies of Oink! everywhere.  Exciting stuff so it's been an agonising wait.

But now it's here at last.  Or at least it will be.  Details on a UK release both in cinemas and for the home market through disc and digital are still to come but you can be assured that as soon as they do you'll find out about it here.  Of course, just waiting around here would do a disservice to the movie's website, where you can check out more details on the film, other contributors and its premiere.  Just click on the film poster below and off you go.  While there make sure to sign up for the newsletter and if you'd like to see the previous updates you can click here, and there's also a Twitter feed too.

From the website:

"Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story is the official documentary about maverick Manchester comedian Frank Sidebottom and the life and art of his hidden creator, Chris Sievey.  Frank Sidebottom, remembered fondly as the man with the papier-mâché head, was the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years, but only a privileged few knew the man inside.  Being Frank tells a twisted tale of split personalities - a suburban superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created, and eventually having to battle against being consumed by his alter ego."

Saturday, 7 April 2018


Do you know how tortured my brain became there, trying to think of a slightly more original pun that didn't use the word 'egg'?  Anyway, back to the topic at hand:

As regular readers will know, when Oink! ceased publication with #68 three of its characters transitioned themselves over to fellow Fleetway comic, Buster.  Namely they were Weedy Willy and two of Lew Stringer's creations, Pete and his Pimple and Tom Thug.  Tom would prove so popular with the readers of the long-running comic that not only was he the only one of the three to make it past six months in the pages of Buster, but he stayed within those pages right up to its final issue.

While the final few years of the title were made up of nothing but reprints, up until mid-1996 Lew kept beavering away on brand new Tom Thug, so there's a wealth of unseen Thuggish behaviour out there to clap our eyes on, if like me you've only read the Oink! strips.  With the Easter holidays just coming to an end I came back from my fortnight of cat-sitting out in the country to find Lew had actually shared one such strip on his own personal blog:

The Easter 1990 issue was quite a special one, it being the first to go full colour.  Even better, Tom was one of the few strips which became fully hand painted and it just looks gorgeous.

So click right here to head on over to Lew's blog and read another one of Tom's adventures not previously seen before on this blog, and which has escaped me all these years!