Tuesday, 29 October 2013

THE STREETHOGS - PART FOUR (THE REVENGE)

Well here we are folks, the final post for those Hogs a la Street for quite a while.  Yes, it'll be next year sometime before we see them again, but artist J.T. Dogg's stupendous artwork would continue in Ham Dare from #15 onwards so maybe I'll do the same for him as I have for Emma Pig et all.  If you're nice pig pals, of course.

But for now back to the action as we race towards the finale, written as ever by Mark Rodgers:

Issue 9

Issue 10

So we're now at the final chapter and as you'll have read (and if not why not?) in #11's blog update the issue was a motorbike and travel special, with the StreetHogs taking over the cover as well as having a 3-page extended strip inside, including the middle spread.  As I said in that post the cover was a wraparound poster, which was a big event back in the 80s I'll have you know!  Comics like Marvel UK's The Transformers did them on special occasions such as #100, #150 etc, and used them as an excuse to get kids to persuade their parents to buy two copies so as not to damage one - "A superbly painted poster for only 30p?  Bargain!" they'd say... I wonder if anyone ever did get a second issue?

But anyway here now for your peelers are that special cover and the final part of the story:

Issue 11 cover
Issue 11 - Page 15
Issue 11 - Middle pages spread

So yes, they will be back, bigger and better than before, next year... in 1987.  But as of the time of writing I'm only a couple of weeks away from Ham Dare's debut, but I'll probably keep him in reserve to do a few parts at a time like I have here, or would you prefer them one part every fortnight right from the off?  Or all of them held back for one big whopper of a post?  If you've any preference leave a comment or email me sure!

So until this Friday, with a very, very special and personal issue of Oink! coming up for me, ta-ra for now.

Friday, 18 October 2013

#13: LUCKY FOR SOME!


"Chamber of Horrors" - brilliant pun in typical Oink! style and it welcomes us to a whoppingly good issue!  I've had to leave some true gems out but as you can see below this update is still jam packed this time, testimony to the comic really flexing its creative (and comedy) muscles!  Ben Turner is a name I'm not familiar with, either with Oink! or any other comic but this cover is superb, especially at a time when most other humour comics simply had a strip on the front Oink!'s pieces of art really stood out.

Now, way back in the mists of time (#7 to be precise) we saw a brief cameo from Hugo the Hungry Hippo in a Rubbish Man strip and I told of a future issue where we'd see two main characters come together in a very unique way.  Well here it is, the crossover to end all crossovers.  Doctor Who and Torchwood.  The Transformers and Action Force (G.I.Joe to you young 'uns).  The money printing franchise The Avengers.  None could compare to the time Weedy Willy met Tom Thug.

Both Tom and Willy would have half-page strips near the beginning of this issue, with their joint venture later in the second half.  With their individual stories drawn as per usual by Lew Stringer and Mike Green respectively, both artists would come together to draw the same strip together!  Brilliant.  Add in the talents of Graham Exton and Mark Rodgers and you've got a superb showcase of these two favourites, who would both go on to be stablemates in Buster for many more years after Oink! finished.

For now though, a true Clash of the Titans.  Well.  Sort of:


But that wasn't enough for Tom!  He even appeared in Cowpat County as part of a mob, perhaps on his way to bash Weedy Willy, but here drawn (in blood apparently) by Davy Francis:


Certainly one of the scariest images in this issue must be Marc Riley as Snatcher Sam, wearing an Oink! t-shirt and bow tie and not just in regular full colour, but an overly coloured strip which gives him blue eyes to make even Daniel Craig think "what the hell?!".  Add in assorted horror spoofs and even the dead rising from the grave (to read a discarded Oink! to remind you to place an order with your newsagents of course) and the theme is here on nearly every single page.

The team take real advantage of the nice coincidence of #13 also turning out to be the issue on sale for Halloween!

The kids today like to say things like "lol" and "lmao" instead of simply telling people they found something funny, or even instead of using a good old fashioned "haha".  Another one is "rofl", which is almost appropriate for the next one!:


But surely nothing could be more frightening, more bone-tinglingly terrifying as the special one-off poster featuring Tony Husband's very own Frankenstein creation:


It's okay, calm down, it's only a picture on your screen... but surely we should have something a little more light-hearted after such a fright?  That task falls to Dave Jones:


Calm again?

Good, good.  Then time to move on to a quick ad break again with some delightful teddy bears.  Cute and cuddly, nothing strange here at all, something every little girl would love to cuddle up with during the deepest and darkest of Halloween nights.  Plus a certain member of the Facebook group wouldn't forgive me if I didn't include these adorable little critters, naming no names {cough}Caroline{cough}, but they were going to be included anyway.  Always fun to hear of the wide variety of fondly remembered strips and so on from Oink! amongst the fans and I can see why this particular Madvertisement may have made such an impact to a young girl's mind:


This surely is a Lew Stringer special!  Not only did we get extra helpings of Tom Thug and a collaboration with another artist, but we also had the first appearance of a character who only appeared a handful of times in Oink!'s run but is very fondly remembered by readers.

I don't know about you but I was a huge fan of the Japanese Godzilla monster movies.  Yes they were daft but my young mind adored the destruction and the huge amount of imagination on show.  Such is also true of our very own piggy version, Pigswilla!  Written by Mark Rodgers and brought to life by Lew so brilliantly, Pigswilla was a gigantic robotic pig monster on the side of us humans.  Of course, he was also a lot more and had his own personality traits and while this particular strip below is new to me, I'm looking forward to the adventures to come that I can remember, especially from the first annual if my memory serves me correctly.

His irregular appearances made it feel like an event when he popped up and battling a monster made of discarded school dinners is surely as good a place to start as any:


Anyone else wishing for an action figure?  Anyone?  Just me?  Okay moving on.

Over the past couple of issues Jeremy Banx has been supplying some half-page randomness, accompanied by some equally bizarre names for the characters involved, such as Ian Nasal Cavity and here on the blog we've also seen Mrs. Warsaw-Pact.  This issue we've not only got the usual Burp and Mr. Big Nose but also these gems, who I'll leave to introduce themselves:




How can you not love names like that?  Also having an Egyptian-themed strip came as a great surprise for me as that's something else I'm really into.  So that's me now partial to Oink! comedy sharks and comedy curses, though I can see more of the former than the latter being in future issues.  That "hi hi hi" laugh always had me puzzled as a kid though, then I grew up and saw Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop for the first time!

But yes I can't remember any of these random Banx cartoons at all and I'm absolutely loving them and it makes you think isn't it a real shame we've no longer a comic like this which could appeal so much to the adults?  As much as the Beano and Dandy are classics (well, "were" in the case of the Dandy) they're very much for children, albeit it of extremely high quality.  Oink! was suitable for children and was very definitely a comic marketed at them, but by bringing in so many talented artists who'd never done anything really for kids before it brought with it an energy and sense of humour that definitely appealed to all.  Even those who had previously worked on children's comics, their work on Oink! comes across very different, more universal, though that's not to take away from the other more traditional comics of the day.  But as I've said on here before, after reading this I found even as a kid other humour comics just didn't do it for me after all.  And now as an adult I doubt they'd hold the same appeal as Uncle Pigg's creation.

But for now it's time to sign off.  The final part of StreetHogs will be up next week and after that the special crime edition which, according to this issue, will "disappear from the shelves, you'll find it arresting and it'll be judged to be excellent!"  We shall see.

Just a Roger Rental He's Completely Mental quickie to end with, drawn as ever by Ian Knox:


Next issue on sale Friday 1st November.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

THE STREETHOGS - PART THREE (NOT IN 3D)

Ok so when we left our heroes they were in a somewhat tame cliffhanger compared to previous issues, however Hoggy is STILL hanging around with rabid plastic bags chomping at his trotters, even after a visit from Uncle Pigg!  So onwards and, well, downwards then in the penultimate update for the 'Hogs' first adventure:

Issue 6

Issue 7

Issue 8

If you're only joining us at this stage that's just not good enough, I've been writing a lot of easily-ignored-for-the-strips tat for several months now!  Oh I suppose I should welcome you instead shouldn't I?  Well, the previous parts of the StreetHogs story (including information on those responsible) can be found below.  Now go read them and we'll call it even, yes?:

Part One:

Part Two:

The climax will be here within the next couple of weeks, but before that be prepared for the horror of #13 of Oink! next Friday 18th October - it'll give you goosebumps on your crackling.

Friday, 4 October 2013

#12: LIGHTS, CAMERA, SWILL, ACTION!


12 already?  Where has the time gone?  Recently a lot of people have been commenting on it being October and while I don't usually take part in such conversations I have to agree this time, the past few months have flown in!  But for me probably due in no small part to this blog and the Facebook group.  I never expected (though I'd hoped) the comic would be as popular today, and the amount of interaction with truly legendary creators continues to thrill!  And now here we are (again, already!) a full dozen issues in, or a baker's dozen if you count the preview issue and going strong, with some "fantastic" new additions due soon.

But enough of that for now, let's concentrate on Uncle Pigg's movie special and while the first 16 pages includes content such as Rubbish Man The Movie, the Pignocchio poster and Swindler Sid meets E.T. (Extremely Thick), it's after the staples that this issue kicks into high gear and we start off with a Flash Gordon spoof which, not unlike the StreetHogs, takes its cue from those Saturday morning serials.  Oink! presents, Flashy Gordon:

Creator unknown

Maybe the joke would've worn thin but I'd love to have seen this come back a few more times but alas it was not to be.  To be truthful even as a kid I wondered how anybody could take Flash Gordon seriously and this kind of shows why!

With so much random content in each issue and different strips taking up different amounts of space from one fortnight to the next I have no idea how Oink! was ever organised enough to get it to the printers on time.  It must've taken a lot of serious organisation to turn out something which seemed so naturally unorganised, for example a three-quarter page Hollywood news section over there, or a little random half-page strip from Banx over here...:


We had the best toys in the 80s didn't we?  I'm sitting here writing a blog about an 80s comic, listening to Absolute 80s radio and about to put up a Madvertisement about an extremely popular 80s toy range.  Feeling a bit nostalgic.  Transformers, Real Ghostbusters, Ring Raiders, Visionaries, He-Man, Knight Rider... and while my sisters are a bit older than me (they don't read this do they?!) I do remember some of my female friends having those ugly Cabbage Patch things, Barbie/Sindy and silly multi-coloured My Little Pony things.  My young brain never understood why girls weren't always bored!

Most of the above got the Oink! treatment at some stage (Transformers and He-Man have already featured for example), and those ponies are renamed here too - My Little Horsies:

Writer/artist unknown

The night before this post went up I was going to place up on my own personal Facebook page that last panel to lure some of my friends this way, but it's such a good final gag I couldn't separate it from the Madvertisement, so instead I shared this little caption to show off the issue's humour - question 5 in Oink!'s special movie quiz by Ed McHenry:


So funny!  If that doesn't lure them nothing will!

Back to the issue and I've moved on from toys back to movies again, and now this next piece will remind you of just how good movies were too... though to be fair I'm a huge movie fan of any era.  Mary Lighthouse on the other hand isn't such a fan.  You'd expect her to hate anything with a smidgen of violence, no matter how comic book it is, but E.T.?  Sleeping Beauty?  The Sound of Music?!:


Cinderella's "review" has got to be my favourite there!  In a later interview with Patrick Gallagher, Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers in Crash! magazine we'd find out the real Mary Whitehouse's people were checking Oink! regularly for libel.  I know of no point when they complained about it, but I do wonder if at times those that worked with her ever raised even a little grin at things like this.

My word!  There's a voucher here for 2p off a Milky Way!

Anyway, moving on swiftly before I dwell on that for too long, The Golden Trough Awards return to the blog.  A favourite amongst some of you judging by comments and correspondence I've received this issue we'd a double feature!  Well it is a movie special after all.  Most of these were drawn by Ian Jackson (he responsible for Mary above there), but occasionally Oink! creator/editor Tony Husband would take the director's chair and he did this issue too.  We'd two stories as I said, the first being a western called Howdy, Stranger, Bang Bang! but I've chosen the second, Death by Murder starring Basil Ratbone as the great Sherlock Gnomes.  Enjoy:


On the left of your screen you'll find at the bottom of the column of info a list of Pig Pals.  These are blogs/sites run by some online friends of mine, whose work I'm following but which aren't directly linked to Oink! and you'll notice one there dedicated to another IPC comic, Whizzer and Chips.  The blog is run by George Shiers and, when I was collecing Oink! as a kid and would be going somewhere with my parents one of the 'back-up' comics of mine (when there wasn't a new edition of the comics I was getting every week/fortnight) was always Whizzer and Chips.  It felt like two comics in one, which appealed and made it just that little bit different.

Not 'Oink!' different mind you.  It was still a very traditional comic but was certainly good fun and I heartily recommend George's blog.  However as we all know Oink! was anything but traditional and at times it'd poke some harmless fun at its stablemates, but none were quite so obvious as this one, Tom's Toe.  Written by Tony Husband and drawn, amazingly, by John Geering.  John's work on traditional comics is (to put it mildly) well known!  Not only did he draw such stalwarts at DC Thompson as Dennis the Menace but he's also the creator of none other than Bananaman!

As such it's absolutely brilliant that he contributed his signature artwork for this strip which was a joke on all those traditional strips!  And unlike his work on The Beano, Dandy etc. he was given full on-the-page credit for his work:


Unfortunately John is no longer with us, having passed away in 1999.  He worked on The Beano right up to the end and below is a link to an obituary to this great talent at The Independent:


A lovely surprise strip there which rounds off this issue nicely.

As the curtain draws and the soda-soaked popcorn gets stuck on our shoes on the way out of the movie theatre what coming attractions can we look forward to?  Well we've got part three of the StreetHogs coming up so keep your porky peelers open for them over the next week or so, and after that the horrific #13 will pounce on Friday 17th October.

See you then!