Friday, 12 July 2013

#6: IT'S A CRACKER!


You know something, this has been the best fun, updating the blog with this issue!  It's been harder than ever to choose what to scan in but that's just a sign of how brilliant this issue is.  For a start, this is one of my very favourite covers (by Ian Jackson) of the whole run and definitely the best so far in my opinion.  Beating issue 3 to the top issue in the blog at this point for me, Oink! really hit its stride here, there's an air of confidence about the whole issue, and on top of that a great theme running through nearly every single strip.

Of which, we'll start with a one-off written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by Weedy Willy's artist, Mike Green (don't worry, Willy will be making an appearance soon... erm...):


Every time I see that cat sitting on the windowsill in December it makes me laugh, I have no idea why!  I love how this starts off just as innocent as any other comic strip of the day, with the cat providing the grins, and then in the last few panels it all turns into, well, 'Oink!' again.  It's testimony to the comic that its one-off strips are as well remembered amongst some fans as the regular characters and this is one which has stood the test of time and the old grey memory cells.  The unpredictability of what would come with each issue would keep everything so fresh - you just didn't know what to expect every issue!

Mike Green is also one of only two Oink! contributors who'd continue on with their characters after the comic folded into Buster, but that's a tale for another time.

Unfortunately I can see no credit or signature on this next story and it's such a shame, not just for the sublime art but for the fact it's all one perfect big set up for a good ol' pun!:


Talk about a pay off!  Such fantastic artwork going into a piss-take of Watership Down is just brilliant and as the series continues you'll see more and more fantastic art being used to great effect on some fantastic spoofs.  And if puns like the above make you groan, just be warned about our last strip in this update(!).

UPDATE:  The superb artist behind this makes a welcome return in a much later post (the one for #60 no less!) and when it was published on the blog Patrick Gallagher informed us the artist behind these marvellous pieces of work was in fact his very own neighbour, one Ann Martin.  Fantastic artistry and some sublime pieces of work for a kids' comic.  Thank you Ann!

But first, a little educational break from Uncle Pigg's Amazing Facts About Animals, written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by Ed McHenry:


Children's favourite stories were never safe, as you've seen above, and even huge franchises such as Transformers could be the target.  But us kids loved that!  We loved seeing our favourite TV shows given the Oink! treatment (as I've mentioned before it was like seeing your favourite celebrity on Spitting Image) and while Rupert the Bear was never one of mine, he was just as loved back then as Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse... both of which would later also make an appearance within the pages of a much better comic than their own!:


I can remember this strip but I think it was from a later holiday special which ran some reprints, as I don't think I'd started collecting the comic at this stage.  Written by Mark Rodgers (you may be seeing a trend this issue!) and drawn by Cowpat County's Davy Francis, Rupert the Pear was the first of many child favourites that'd appear mimicking the actual way we'd see them in their own books and comics.  I remember at the time I was still into Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends alongside the more grown up boy's toys, but I appreciated the way Oink! would do this to them all and as you can see, Mark really didn't hold back!

Just wait to you see what happens to the aforementioned steam train...

Ian Hope is a name I'm not familiar with, nor is the character Young Igor, so I'm afraid I haven't got an awful lot to say about this next strip, but come on this is good stuff:


As it turns out this was the only appearance of the character but he does look familiar, so that's either my memory of Oink! and getting this as a back issue in the 80s (as the cover is very definitely familiar!), or he may just remind me of some of my neighbours.

Fact time again:


And now the afternoon film.  Yes, The Golden Trough Awards have featured just recently in the blog but the beauty of these is that they're all so different, and when I read this one and saw that dog how could I not want to scan this one in!:


Written by Tony Husband and, obviously, drawn by Ian Jackson, Laffie is everything a proper wonderdog should be - cool, collected, talented and is 'anti-establishment' too strong?  Yeah, I'll just go for 'naughty' instead.  I remember I could spend so long just looking at Jackson's artwork and roaring with laughter as a kid and the feeling hasn't dissipated as an adult, though I must say either this issue's track record of bad puns is sky-rocketing, or it's an indication of my sense of humour that I've picked these all out of the comic... hmm...

Another couple of treats this issue if you can pick it up on eBay are Roger Rental He's Completely Mental, a brilliant Hadrian Vile and a really top Tom Thug... below which was a little unassuming two-panel strip.  None of us knew what would follow after this(!):


Yes!  Excuse the excitement, and if you're new to Oink! you'll probably be wondering why this little strip is being given such prominence.  Lew Stringer's Pete and his Pimple is an Oink! legend!  One of my very faves and a top favourite among fans, Pete would continue from here all the way through the run and then into the pages of Buster alongside Willy and Tom.  This little strip would open up a world for a brand new character who'd sit alongside the others in his own full-page (or whatever Uncle Pigg allowed) stories and just you wait and see what'd happen to that pimple and those around it... something which unsurprisingly never did happen when he went to Buster!

But that, like Weedy Willy, is for another blog update and this is just a tease for the fans, and a look at how he was originally introduced.  I always thought he was there from the very beginning with his own regular pages so it's interesting to see he started off almost as a one-off addition to the Tom Thug page.

Ok, so I did warn you above, but if you're prone to the groans prepare yourself right now.  Never in the history of mankind have so many been brought together quite so eloquently (ha!).  Who's to blame?  That'd be regular IPC writer Graham Exton (well, I'm assuming so from the initials and Graham's work on Oink!) and artist Ed McHenry.  I accept no responsibility... even though I scanned it in two bits to get the whole A4+ page in, pasted them together to form the original piece, saved it to a quick-loading format, uploaded it and saved it here.  Nope, not my fault at all:


(For some more insights into the creation of this particular strip, and even some background into the main fish(!), see the comments section for some info from script writer Graham Exton after the post went live.  Thanks Graham!)

Aw I really don’t want this issue to end, it’s been a blast and I just want to share more of it with you, but restraint must be shown!  However...

Well, the next issue is on sale Friday 26th July but let’s just say come back next week for a special additional post.

8 comments:

George Shiers said...

Definitely your best post so far! Great stuff and a great issue!

I'm really fond of Mike Green's stuff in Whizzer and Chips. I particulary liked his Loony Martians strip - have you ever read that?

Graham Exton said...

I forgot all about this. I was new to the Bahamas and hunting fish in their natural habitat, so I was a bit fish - orientated at the time. Noel was originally "The Sophisticated Pilchard" in Mark and my "Germs" comic. He was a foil to "The Drunken Jellyfish", an amusing cove with whom we both identified. Weedy Willy was one of mine too. I'm amazed he lasted beyond Oink! Maybe because he's just Walter from Dennis, and a typical comic stereotype.

Phil Boyce said...

Hi George, FINALLY got around to following a couple of your blogs, including your Whizzer & Chips one. No I'm not aware of the Loony Martians, you got any scans?

Haha Graham, brilliant stuff! So you're definitley "to blame" for the puns then - surely a record for one strip! I'm not aware of Germs, but I loved Weedy Willy too, he'll be joining in the fun real soon!

George Shiers said...

Hi Phil - I've posted a Loony Martians strip on my Whizzer and Chips site for you!

http://whizzerandchipscomic.blogspot.co.nz

Phil Boyce said...

Just read it there now George, nice choice. Complete coincidence with the "oink" there? ;) HA, only joking!

Graham Exton said...

GERMS was a comic named after GSExton and MarkRodgers. We did it as part of our B.A degrees at Leeds University. I think we were unique in that. We learned a heck of a lot, but mostly that if you wanted to make money in comics you needed a mum like Mark's ma, who "sold" copies to unsuspecting British Legion denizens, then collected them up when they were "finished with them." Re the puns - I was always wasting months' worth of material on strips like this (AnimalLad and other horrible strips that begged for bad puns.) Mostly because I held them in contempt. This one is amusing because there are just so many of them.

Ross Murdoch said...

A bona fide classic issue of Oink! The funniest strip for me 27 years on is definitely The Golden Trough Awards. Completely hilarious! I have a feeling that I didn't quite "get" them at the time though - maybe the artwork was too busy for my 7 year old mind to take in. I love the gag with the guy in ground control echoing the words of the narrator while Laffie does his stuff.
I got a pile of early Oink!s on eBay recently and was hoping that the posters would still be present and correct (unlike the ones in my own collection). Most of them were but sadly the Uncle Pigg poster from this issue is gone. I'm looking forward to your next JT Dogg post so I can see it again as I have a vague memory of it being badass!

Phil Boyce said...

As a young kid I loved Ian Jackson's jagged artwork, I found it so funny even on it's own. Classic stuff!

The Uncle Pigg poster is actually one of his too, not JT Dogg, but it is badass!