Friday, 23 August 2013

#9: REVENGE - AS SWEET AS... BACON?


Another brilliant Ian Jackson cover starts off the oddly-themed "revenge" issue, following on from last month's fiasco in the Oink! offices which saw Mary Lighthouse in fear of retaliation from our good ol' editor Uncle Pigg.  Like even the most bizarre of covers there's a story behind this one on page 2.  Simply put, "it was all a dream", with Lighthouse falling asleep in front of a western movie... but ending with very little doubt that worse was to befall her later in the issue - the final panel sees a 'Splat-O-Pult (c)Uncle Pigg' flinging some swill in her direction, which we'll see the aftermath of later.

First up though, there's one of the three Oink! characters who'd outlast the comic who I haven't introduced to new readers yet:


Drawn by Mike Green, Weedy Willy was exactly as it said on the tin - a complete wimp, scarily thin and, in my head at least, with a very shrill voice.  Put down by bullies and forever in love with the out-of-reach Mandy, Willy would constantly come up with ideas on how to win her over.  They never worked.  There were occasions when we'd see him win out, but these were usually not because of his original intentions, and more to do with bullies getting what they deserved by something else incidental to his ideas.

Of course, the above strip (written by Mark Rodgers) saw this taken one step further and backfire on Willy!

You've seen some spoof advertisements on the blog so far, but the introduction of an actual brand would take this one step further.  Fans of Oink! will have very fond memories of the G.B.H. catalogues, with some taking up two or three pages in later issues, complete with photographs of useless tat which the joke company was selling off for hundreds of pounds through some rather inspired marketing.  This would start off with the below, the very first G.B.H. Madvertisement:

Illustrations by Patrick Gallagher

I can still remember the day I asked my brother what the initials stood for.

We'll be revisiting their much larger catalogues in later issues, particularly around the Christmas season, but for now why don't we take a little break and give our brains a little bit of exercise, as drawn by Ed McHenry:


As we venture forth into Oink!'s run you'll see some of the regular characters reappear.  This isn't because there's nothing else to choose from in any particular issue, or that I'm already having to fall back on them.  The opposite is true - the regulars have such brilliant strips on such a frequent basis I'm sometimes having to make hard decisions to leave them out to make sure there's variety in the strips scanned each issue.

But this latest from Haldane's Rubbish Man had me in stitches thanks to him (the real him) in the last panel:


While I always remembered Rubbish Man with fondness, he's one of the characters my adult brain seems to appreciate even more.  Either that or the memory's going.

And so back to Lighthouse and Pigg.  The following is the centre page spread (again as a photograph) and the half-page strips either side of it - the Mad Murder Maze from the front cover.  We pick up the story from page 2, with the strips drawn by Jackson and the two-page maze by Ralph Shephard:


So did you find your way out?  Some of those monsters now remind me of the 'Now That We're Men' ones from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie... worth checking out!

But anyway, on page 31 we'd see Lighthouse make it back to her house (complete with Dun Complainin' name plate on the gate) and, safe back at home, she makes herself sausages and bacon for supper and retires with a How To Make Pork Pies book.  It looks like for the first time she's got away with it, but just wait 'til you see the back cover below.

First though, back in the 80s He-Man was massive!  I mean properly, hugely, massive!  The Masters of the Universe toys had spun off into a comic and a TV series (and a rather weird movie) - it was ripe for the spoof treatment.  And Oink! stepped up to the challenge.  More specifically Mark Rodgers and Ralph Shephard stepped up.  Ralph seems to be the go-to-guy for these early piss-take strips, but this isn't the one I've already mentioned, that one is still to come(!), but for now enjoy:


Literally as I've sat here writing this I've just remembered re-enacting this with my actual Masters of the Universe toys as a kid!  I used my He-Man, Skeletor etc toys, along with an actual banana and, if memory serves me correctly, a ghost from my Real Ghostbusters collection.  Oh my word, this has taken me right back!!

Ok, been sat here reminiscing a bit too long now, gotta get the blog done!  This issue we'd also see Tom Thug finally tie his shoelaces.  Not from learning how, but by luck when he gets into a panic after Uncle Pigg threatens to transfer him to the Whizzer & Chips comic if he doesn't do so by the end of the page.  Naturally, we then see him in the bath with the boots on as he doesn't know how to UNtie them.  We also see the silhouette of someone who DOESN'T think Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins is actually ugly and the StreetHogs make their umpteenth narrow escape.  We'll have more on the 'Hogs very soon, that's a promise!

The final full story for this issue is a text one!  A spoof of the old fashioned text and picture stories older comics would've had (early Dandy and Beano for example) it looks so traditional on first glance...:


"Harry Poker"??

While it isn't stated on the page, Graham Exton and Patrick Gallagher were able to confirm Mark Rodgers wrote this particular story and it was Patrick himself who drew the pictures.  In fact, to regular readers of the blog it's worth checking the Updates page now and again as some of the creative team have been kind enough to comment on previous posts already!

So that's us for another issue.  Almost.  In two weeks it's the first "Back to School" issue and I'll have some exciting news (I think so anyway) for fans of porky heroes on motorbikes.  But first, did Mary Lighthouse escape this issue unscathed after all?  The back page tells a different story:


Patrick has again been most helpful and let me know this was drawn by one of Marc Riley's musical friends, Jon Langford, reknowned artistically in both fields and who became a semi-regular artist for the comic.

Issue 10 on sale Friday 6th September.

Monday, 19 August 2013

HAMMING IT UP ON YOUR WALL: PART TWO

You'll be glad to know this little update between issues will be very light on words from me and heavy on the poster goodness.  For more info on the superb J.T. Dogg and his work, see part one of the poster updates where you'll see the first four Oink! Superstar Posters.

Below are the 5th and 6th posters from issues 4 and 5 (and yes, I have that right!) with a suitably football-themed entry for that specific issue.  Then, Ian Jackson took over for the final two... when having a Superstar Poster wasn't enough one issue, then was too much the next!





Remember how that last poster came about?  If not, click here!

After crossing out the word "super" for "mega" I love that little sly joke by their complete omission from the Mary Lighthouse one.

So there you go, as promised the complete collection of the Oink! Superstar Posters from the early issues.  There'll be more random posters as we go along so keep an eye out and in the meantime I'll see you back here this Friday the 23rd for #9.

Friday, 9 August 2013

#8: GIVE THE PIG A BONE


A strange little issue this one, with the team sending away Uncle Pigg on a holiday and leaving the comic in the allegedly capable hands of his skeleton staff.  Which, yes of course are actual skeletons, as we saw last time.  The front cover here, with its slapdash approach and mistakes by the new crew pretty much sums up the issue as a whole, but let me set it up first, with this from the first inside page:


So yes, they're inept and, as far as my memory serves me, would never appear again in the comic, but after what happens to them I'm not surprised!

So this is pretty much the theme here, what happens to Oink! when Uncle Pigg isn't around... and some of the artists really leapt on to this big time.  I've mentioned him before and threw you all towards Twitter to see his first appearance, but if anything can sum up Mr Big Nose by Banx this one has got to be it:


Love it!  Surrealism at its finest.  It's not something you'd often see in kids' comics, but I loved the fortnightly look into this strange, strange world and now as an adult I really appreciate how Banx (and Oink! as a whole) never talked down to the younger readers.  Mr Big Nose was definitely one of my favourites and some of his strips stayed with me all the way through to adulthood, never to be forgotten.  You'll see as we go on just how memorable, because of the complete randomness, some of this really was!

As you saw the artists had their skeletal counterparts in the first strip, but for most of the comic they actually signed their cartoons with these alternative names too, such as Bank/Bonex there.  Davy Francis would sign his work as Bony Hart (after that bastion of 'The Gallery' and Morph, Tony Hart), so we'd see that name on this issue's Cowpat County.  And here's why - a little art lesson from Mark Rodgers, sorry, no I mean Jolly Rodgers and Bony:


To reinforce his point somewhat, the strip below this was about an invisible boy who, yup, we didn't see so Bony didn't have to draw him!

Did you like the first look at the Oink! Superstars Posters?  This issue has the eighth and final one and it's not what you'd expect.  Well okay it's exactly what you'd expect after the front cover gave it away but you get my point.  Next week I'll be putting up another post about the final four posters but here's how this last one came to be:


The Mary Lighthouse poster is also by Ian Jackson and is a great final outing for the series, so come back next week to see them all.  There'd be various random posters throughout Oink!'s run and I'll be sure to post up some of the best as we go along.

!!BLOG INTERRUPTION!!


Oh flip, sorry about that!!

You know I'm reminded of a stand up comedian (I want to say Lee Evans) who said how everyone loves their local butcher, he's always a friendly, trustworthy individual and people will stand and chat while ordering their food... even though moments before he was probably taking great pleasure in butchering up an animal and you've stood there talking to him with blood down his apron.  This, again from Banx, just reminded me of that...

Ahem, anyway.

So we're heading towards the rear of the comic and things surely have to return to normal sooner or later?  But Uncle Pigg's on holiday, Oink! is falling apart, with a big red splodge all over the Harry the Head strip (jam apparently) and even Hadrian Vile's diary being printed in full but upside down!  We need reinforcements, a man on the inside.  And if not a man, a dark smelly poop will do:


This was the character I mentioned last time, a regular and fan favourite who'd never actually get his own strip.  Percy Plop may have been about since day 1 for all we know, but this was the first time we'd been told his name which made him stand out from all the other little sh... helpers.  Percy would become Uncle Pigg's own personal assistant and I even took on the name myself on Facebook a few years back.

This was when I first joined the Facebook Group and decided I'd create an account as Percy when I kind of took over the running of it.  A few months later and the account was shut down, and I received a standard email telling me it'd been reported as not being a real person.  No shit Sherlock.  (Boom boom!)  I tried to explain to FB that I also had a real account, what this one was for and I'd spoken with some of the people behind the comic about using their character, and I also pointed out to FB various examples of people doing the same thing to run other groups.  No personal reply, no customer service, just the same standard email again, while others carried on doing the same thing.  Such a shame, as I thought it'd be fun to have Percy back sharing memories of Oink! but alas it wasn't to be.

But anyway, time to bring this issue back to earth with a bump, right after the aforementioned Hadrian Vile strip:


What an entrance.  But don't go anywhere yet, we're only on page 30 and the final two I've scanned in as well.  With the comic back in the capable trotters of its editor it was time for a little bit of traditional Oink! - the spoof.  Remember Jimbo & the Jet Set?  Were you a fan?  Singing the theme tune now?  Oh dear...:

Writer/artist unknown
With this and the front cover, is it any wonder Oink! appealed to Spitting Image fans - and I mean of all ages!

Now a couple of issues back we saw the legendary Pete and his Pimple by Lew Stringer introduced to an unsuspecting world and I simply assumed he'd be there from then on.  But not yet it would seem.  Again, I don't want to skip forward so we'll keep a beady eye out for his regular strip, but in the meantime let's finish this issue with the back cover and revisit everyone's favourite lout, Tom Thug.

Yes, Lew Stringer's Tom not only took pride of place on the back cover but was also seen for the first time in full glorious colour.  Maybe a sign of just how popular he'd become or maybe just simply down to the fact Oink! got shook up every single issue, either way it's a delight to see Lew's artwork in this form.  While I was also a fan of his Robo Capers, Combat Colin and Blimey! It's Slimer! strips from the Marvel comics, the colouring here in this IPC work had much more depth.  Basically, instead of solid colours we got shades and while I may sound like a complete geek for talking about it, I think it makes a world of difference and gave a real hand-coloured feel to the comics:


And that's your lot again.  Oink! is safe, though Mary Lighthouse certainly isn't, so check back in two weeks to see exactly what's going to happen next, with a brilliant cover too I might add.

Next issue on sale Friday 23rd August, but don't forget I'll be putting up the remaining posters sometime before then.  Bye for now.