Monday, 5 December 2016


Burp, Frank Sidebottom and GBH are back in the second of my Twelve Posts of Christmas, which is taking in both of my blogs, The Oink! Blog and Recovering From a Scratch, my equally-retro Commodore 64 site.  It's been a while (about a year!) since I last scanned in pages from this classic comic for you and there's more to come!  For now though, here's another three pages from across Oink!'s two Christmas issues to help you prepare for the 25th.

As we get closer to Christmas Day you'll see the shops reduce their prices on decorations and even their gifts more and more.  I have to say on the decorations side of things I usually lose out on this as I like to have my place all Christmassy on the 1st December at the latest.  On the gift side of things though places like Debenhams are great for sales etc. throughout December that I can enjoy instead of braving the jungle that is Boxing Day.  Oink!'s own spoof mail order company, GBH was always known for poor-quality (to say the least) products and sky-high prices and if you haven't seen any of their Madvertisements before you should check out the previous Christmas Catalogues I've featured before here and here first.  Trust me, they're a hoot.

But here, one of the pages I never included last time is the GBH Christmas Clear-Out from #43 and while we don't get those imaginative homemade props and silly photographs, the spirit of the dodgy company is still clearly there.  So as part of my shopping guide, if you're still looking for those last-minute stocking ideas or haven't yet bought that new tree you've been promising your loved ones since last year, look no further.

Well, look for your credit card first and then look no further:

One TV channel I hadn't seen in many, many years until recently was QVC.  In fact I think the last time I saw it before this week was when I still lived at home and my mother was somewhat addicted to such channels.  You'll just have to trust me when I say that was a while back.  However, this week my better half turned on said channel one night.  I was less surprised that it still existed in pretty much the exact format as it had all those years ago, and more surprised that she knew exactly when the Yankee Candle hour was on!

But anyway, the reason I bring this up is because Oink! wasn't above taking the hand out of such enterprises and has done so previously.  But it didn't stop there.  To this day if you turn on some channels late at night (or indeed early in the morning) you'll find an endless stream of infomercials and QVC-like adverts filled with the same kind of over-confidence in the products.  I remember watching some of these infomercials as a teen when we were first subjected to them, as they could be so unintentionally hilarious!  Below is an Oink! take on the same phenomenon from Banx and his creation Burp the Smelly Alien from Outer Space.

Now I will admit from the hour of QVC I was subjected to the other night it does seem to be a lot calmer than the one my mum used to watch.  I should just get that in there before my girlfriend reads this all.  But also, I should point out I do think she'll read the first two story panels of this next strip and instantly think of me!  (Just the first two panels after the title one, just to be clear!)

Finally for this two-part shopping guide (the first part is available here) it's yet another cut-out Christmas card but this time from the hands of none other than Frank Sidebottom (or rather the man behind the mask, the late, great Chris Sievey).  Get this downloaded, printed off and then have your felt-tip pens at the ready and either a steady hand or a ruler to bring it to life in his colouring style:

That's it folks, but I'll be back here this Saturday, the 10th December with information on the latest comic from David Leach featuring Psycho Gran!  Before then my Twelve Posts of Christmas continues over on my Recovering From a Scratch blog with a review of a rather fine Commodore 64 coffee table book which also happens to feature myself on one page.  Obviously that page won't count towards the review (or else I'd have to mark it down!), so see you soon.

In the meantime you can read more about the two Christmas issues of Oink! by clicking on either of their covers below.

Saturday, 3 December 2016


Welcome to the first of my Twelve Posts of Christmas taking part across my two completely different blogs.  You can read more about this and what I'm covering by clicking here and also on my Recovering From a Scratch blog here too.

I must admit it feels good to be back on here, scanning in a few pages of the best comic ever crafted and sharing them with fellow pig pals both old and new.  You'll also be glad to hear in this post and the next I'm keeping my waffling to a minimum and letting these few pages do the talking!  I've covered the Christmas issues before in depth and you can read all about them and see many more pages by clicking on the two covers at the bottom of this post.

First up from #17 let's get all those "Bah Humbug" people out of the way first, shall we?  Do they not realise it takes so much more effort to be a Scrooge than it does to just relax and enjoy the season?  To hammer the point home, while we're hanging up our decorations that have been in the loft for eleven months, or popping out to buy some more merriment for our living rooms, the people who can't stand Christmas will have to make do with printing out the back page below, cutting it up and assembling their own anti-festive decoration themselves.  An unknown artist unfortunately but here's Oink's Xmas Mobile for People who hate Xmas:

At this point in the comic's life the late and great Chris Sievey, the man behind the famous papier-mache head of Frank Sidebottom had only just joined one issue previous, but he'd already made a big impression upon the readers.  Chris would write, draw and colour all of his own work throughout the rest of the entire run and his comic strips must've taken so long to complete, being intricately drawn and then coloured with felt-tip!  When you see some of the full-page strips you can't help but think they must've taken an age to complete and you'd be right.  For the first Christmas issue however we instead had his 3 fantastic xmas gifts page.  It may not be a strip but it still contains some beautiful hand-drawn artwork in his inimitable style.  Coming across as loose, free and rough, Chris spent hours on his pieces for Oink! to achieve that very look, while treating us kids to such vivid colours and unique and original images.  Double-sided sticky tape at the ready:

Finally for today another artist whose style was, and is, deliberately loose and freeform is Oink! co-creator and co-editor Tony Husband.  This time around though he left his own creations of the likes of Horace Ugly-Face Watkins and Kid Gangster at home and instead crafted some fun cut-out Christmas Cards from Lew Stringer's Tom Thug, Marc Riley's Harry the Head and Banx's Burp the Smelly Alien from Outer Space.  Thrown in for good measure is a snowman of our esteemed editor Uncle Pigg, who we were used to seeing drawn by Ian Jackson, though he'd be redrawn by almost every artist at one stage or another.  Another excuse to fire up your printers:

I'll be back on Monday 5th December with the second part of Oink!'s Christmas Shopping Guide, but new readers could see these few pages as a quick preview of the fun Christmas issues below.  Click on either of the covers to be treated to a whole world of frivolities including Ham Dare Pig of the Future, Mr Big Nose, spoof Christmas TV listings, The Hamformers, The Snowbloke and another cut-out in the form of a Tom Thug Christmas angel for the top of your tree.

See you Monday!

Thursday, 1 December 2016


Howdy all.  Well it's finally here, Christmas time is upon us and I hope you're all eager to get the festive season started.  Regular readers will know this is my very favourite time of the year and I eagerly look forward to it.  All of December is Christmas to me, not just the one day and this year it's even more special as I've decided it's the perfect time to kickstart my two blogs.

It's about time, as both of my sites have been somewhat neglected for a while now.  So, inspired by the blogosphere's current trend of writers dedicating a post to each and every day of the month for what's been named 'Blogmas', I'm doing my own Twelve Posts of Christmas.  Nope, I'm not doing thirty-one posts!  I'm not that crazy.

Instead this blog and Recovering From a Scratch will each have six posts apiece to get me back into the swing of things.  Sometimes life takes a hold and leads us off in other directions whether we like it or not and it's important to find a way back to what we love.  Setting deadlines for my posts with each and every issue of Oink! (and now the issues of Commodore Format on the other blog) was a great motivator to keep me going and I'm immensely proud of what I achieved here over nearly three years.  So with that in mind, what can you expect to see coming up on The Oink! Blog?


Oink!'s spoof adverts were always hilarious and while I've shared some of their Christmas-themed ones with you in the past, there's a couple more which I simply didn't have space for.  So on these two dates you can look forward to the GBH Clear-Out Sale (if the tat they were hocking before wasn't clear-out stock then what on earth are they getting rid of?) and Frank Sidebottom not only offers advice on the perfect presents but will also be presenting a classic card for you to cut-out and give to the special person in your life.  Speaking of cutting up your comics, there'll be Oink!'s own Christmas cards and a special decorative mobile "for those who hate Christmas" (whoever they are!) and Burp will be on hand for a bit of infomercial cheese.


That's right, the slightly mental pensioner is making yet another comeback in brand new material thanks to her exceptionally talented creator, David Leach.  After the success of the dear little lady's debut comic and her semi-regular appearances in Aces Weekly, David also released the special one-off Psycho Gran Vs...  back at the beginning of the year featuring special art pieces of her taking on superheroes and the like and, naturally, coming out on top.  Well now her second issue is here, collecting those Aces Weekly strips together in one volume and I'll be taking a look at it on the 10th.

But that's not the only Oink!-related new comic stuff coming up!


Now Derek the Troll may not have been an Oink! character, instead coming from the pages of Warlock and White Dwarf which are two magazines I've never looked at, but Lew was certainly one of the main creative stars in our comic.  After the success of his Brickman comic which I've covered before comes a special comic collecting Derek's classic 1980s adventures into one shiny 32-page volume.  That's right, it's another honest-to-gosh published comic and is available now, so check back on the 17th and be ready to order it up pronto for Christmas.


Taken from the pages of the comic's two Christmas issues will come three festive fables to pass on to your own little ones on the eve of Santa's visit.  The classic, poignant and cheery stories will be The Poor Woodcutter, Xmas in Toytown and, naturally, Personby Claret the Know-it-all Parrot.  Regale your kids with stories about spoilt brats, revenge-filled toys and a stuck-up bird before leaving them alone in bed in the dark.

Oink! certainly knew how to entertain us and you can enjoy the festivities as you prepare for the big day.  Then, on The Big Day...


Both the 1988 and 1989 annuals have been covered over the previous two years on the blog but there's still a huge archive of material in there and, while I've always said I scan material sparingly, I've picked a few more highlights to bring to you while the rest of the family watch The Queen's Speech.  Just try not to laugh too loud and interrupt HRH.  I'll leave it as a complete surprise as to what I'll cover, but needless to say it'll bring back those very fond memories of opening these books for the first time, after they'd been brought down the chimney to all of us pig pals all those years ago.

So there you go folks, hopefully plenty for you to look forward to with a revamped and lively Oink! Blog once more.  My decorations are up, the Schloer is on ice and I'm impatiently awaiting the release of the Christmas TV Times.