Friday, 27 June 2014

#31: "WE'RE THE PIGS IN HAMERICA (WHOA)"


This issue has made me do something terrible.  Something horrific.  Something akin to the most delicate of medical procedures.  I had to take the issue apart!  Not just the middle two pages that we may have done as kids, nono.  No, this made me take apart the whole damn thing!  Why?  You'll see.

But first, how about that cover, eh?  Andy Roper returns after his superb The Spectacles of Doom from issues #22 and #23 with this take on the legend of King Kong - King Pong.  But as great as the cover is (and we'll return to Andy's artwork for the character a little down the page here) it's that logo which obviously stands out!  Despite the colour pink being symbolic of everything 'girlie' when I was a boy the Oink! logo was the exception and was a bold move by Patrick Gallagher, but it was the one thing in pink us fellas loved.

It was always fun back then to see something different being done with it though.

But I still won't wear a pink shirt to this day.

Now I know Mr Burp has featured quite a lot recently but the alien is on a roll, simple as that!  After his gory escapade last issue here he is again just casually helping by... well, you'll see how... I don't want to ruin the surprise.  Maybe his creator Banx was working through some anger issues at the time, or maybe he just wasn't a fan of Ronald Reagan, our special guest:


Yes, somewhat surprised me too!  But I do have vague memories of this one and the casual way in which Burp chainsaws the top of his head off.  You wouldn't see that in any other kids' comic!  But it was just funny, it didn't feel shocking or gory, it was just Oink!  A superb strip though.

Another character reappearing in this post after having only appeared on the blog a fortnight ago is Hadrian Vile, but instead of a look at vacuous celebrities he's taking on an altogether more serious subject, albeit in his own inimitable style...:


Mark Rodgers and Ian Jackson's creation is getting a baby sibling and we'd see the build up over the following months, with Hadrian doing his best to make his mark on his mum's pregnancy.  We'd also finally see the big day itself and the arrival of his potential protege in a special 3-page strip a bit later in the run, so keep an eye out.  In the meantime we'll check in now and again to see how it's all going, though I dread to think what kind of things that baby would hear from the outside world!

I've said it before but I'll ask it again - I wonder if Oink! had kept on running how this strip would've changed?  With the small act of Hadrian's age increasing by 1 in the title (with the comic's birthday issue) Mark and Ian committed to Hadrian growing up with the readers which in my view was a brave move.  It was certainly unique and I'm struggling to think of any other children's comic character that's aged in real time like that.  With the addition of a new baby it was now more than just the joke of changing the age for the anniversary issue and it's just such a shame the comic didn't last a few years longer to see where they would've taken this idea!

The Golden Trough Awards have featured randomly at times in the comic itself, never mind the blog and have produced consistently brilliant strips.  In fact one of my favourite strips so far in the whole comic has been one of these - the one from what is probably my favourite issue so far - and now they're back in full throttle once more, as ever written by Tony Husband, but this time drawn by Pete Dredge who many may remember for the Master T strip in early issues and who seems to have taken over as Awards artist from Ian Jackson and Tony himself from #28.

You have to admit, his art style just seems the perfect fit for a shady gangster tale somehow:


Take some time away from the blog and check out Pete's own website, full of fantastic galleries of his other work including 1-panels, comic strips and caricatures.  Be warned though, you'll want to read everything so make sure you've set aside enough time before Pointless comes on.

Pot shots are being taken all over the place in this issue against the Americans - nothing is safe.  From McDonald's in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, to seeing what the famous lady does in her spare time in The Statue of Liberty When No-one is Looking.  Pete and his Pimple go up against a Texan zit and superheroes are the order of the day in Hector Vector and His Talking T-shirt and The Incredible Hump, before the Americans celebrate meeting alien life when The Eagle has Landed (in Egypt!).

As superb as these all are, none sum up the attitude Oink! had towards the States quite like Banx's Mr Big Nose:


Could've been written today couldn't it?

The back page of this issue is actually upside-down but it's no simple printing error, it's a second front cover of sorts, as when you place the artwork the right way up having the staples on the left and the comic opening on the right just adds to this fake Time cover from none other than Frank Sidebottom:


Chris Sievey's strips under the guise of his alter ego Frank would always squeeze in famous friends and his celebrity lifestyle at every opportunity.  Of course as you'll have seen previously his "celebrity lifestyle" wasn't quite how many others would've described it and in real life Chris was happy to do small gigs and never craved the spotlight in the way his creation did.  But Frank's endeavours to become a global sensation had already proved successful - in Frank's mind anyway!  Hence the above 'cover'.

Okay, big news coming up but first we need to get back to that real front cover and that "giant ape-like pig"... bit of a stretch but go with it because the strip to follow features some brilliant Andy Roper artwork matched up with a snappy Mark Rodgers script.  The level of detail from Andy raises an already brilliant 2-page story to that of a real "event" strip and look out for the return of his The Spectacles of Doom soon!

But first, there's nothing quite like a biplane-skating giant ape-like pig monster to fill the gap:


Now, what's that big news?  Why did I have to take apart this issue so completely for this update?  Well the answer lies in the 2-part "giant" (to our small hands at the time anyway) poster we got with it.  One part lay inside the middle pages as posters normally do, however the other part was inside the covers, across pages 2 and 31.  So, yes, this meant undoing staples and taking it all apart and, if you were particularly ambitious, threading those staples back together again to keep the remaining 24 pages together.  Or not, as the case probably was in most cases.

The subject of this unique DIY poster?  None other than The Streethogs!  Which also means we get to welcome back the artwork of J.T. Dogg!  Asides from the Crash special we haven't had the pleasure of his work since #19's final Ham Dare chapter, so it's a very welcome return because we now get to see his work every single fortnight for the foreseeable future, as this poster is a way of getting the porky pals' fans all 'geared up' for the next issue and part one of The Day of the Triffics!

I'll be putting them up in parts like the previous adventure (which you can read in four previous posts - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4) but first here's that complete poster and a closer look at the individual parts, with brilliant technical information (kind of) on the bikes at last:


Lots of people comment that the humour in Oink! is still very much relevant today, all these years later.  It's still making people laugh, even those who are too young to remember some of those celebrity references or to have seen the movies or TV shows the comic spoofs.  But for our last strip this fortnight, starring everyone's favourite angry critic Mary Lighthouse, this feels particularly true because while she's very clearly talking to then-US President Ronald Reagan, it could just as easily be Dubya!:


Couldn't it?  Timeless strip there from the mind of Mark Rodgers and the hand of Ian Jackson.

In a fortnight we'll be back on these shores again for the sports issue which goes on sale on Friday 11th July.  Until then I'll be busy trying to piece this thing back together again........

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CRASH: SPECIAL OINK! ISSUE & PULL-OUT COMIC!


Eh?  Probably got you a bit confused to see Timothy Dalton on a Spectrum computer gaming magazine (as ever drawn by the talented Oliver Frey), but have a closer look because I haven't made a mistake... yup, there's that same pig silhouette used in pre-Oink! advertising and on the plastic bags the preview issue was wrapped in and it's completely suitable here because this issue of Crash contains a special 16-page pull-out sample issue!

THE COMPUTER GAME

And it's not as random as you might initially think, as in the summer of 1987 CRL released the Oink! computer game for the Commodore 64/128, Spectrum and Amstrad CPC ranges, on cassette tapes and those 5 1/4" inch floppy (as in actually floppy, kids) disks.


Three years later the game would be given away free on the covertape of #2 of Commodore Format so that's how I came to play it a few years back when I indulged in a bit of retro gaming on the C64.  Strangely renamed 'Pig Tales' inside the actual magazine, the game boasted the usual Oink! logo and character names upon loading.

The game itself was okay taken on its own merits with an overhead flying game which was titled Rubbish Man, a Breakout clone called Pete's Pimple with the pimple as the ball and a zombie chasing game for Tom Thug.  Yes, really.  As a licenced product it had very little to tie itself in with the comic.  The overall theme was that by playing the three mini-games you'd collect panels of comic strip and as Uncle Pigg you'd put these into place, up against a time limit to play all this and get it to the printers.  As you can see it wasn't the best thought out of tie-ins and no one who worked on the comic had any input into the game, with the humour sorely lost in translation.  Still, as a game in its own right it seemed to do well at the time critically, garnering respectable 7 or 8 out of 10 scores, and even full marks in Computer & Video Games magazine!

You can read a review of the Commodore version from Zzap!64 magazine right here.  Make sure to click to the next page for a couple more opinions on the game.

More screenshots of this version are also available on the Lemon 64 website's page for the game.

So to celebrate, Crash magazine did an extended preview and arranged to have a specially commissioned comic to give away free.  First up, the preview in the magazine itself.

CRASH

The preview was mainly made up of a fascinating interview with Patrick Gallagher, Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers, Oink!'s leading men, during which they'd touch upon the creation of the comic, the very reason behind its existence, its sense of humour and popularity and sales, the real Mary Whitehouse, the future and the furore around the Janice & John strip which appeared in #7 and which was followed up on in the comic itself in #28.  But you don't need me to tell you about it, you can read it all here for yourself:

Who says you have to take your job seriously all the time??

Also in this issue Frank Sidebottom would be in charge of the production of a competition for readers to win a copy of the game, which involved trying to find the word "Oink" as many times in a hand-drawn wordsearch, as well as his own "Top 5 Computers" which were (and I quote, hence no capital letters too) "the very big super crazy MKIII, a mega amiga, come through the door 64, the one with the rubber keys and the spectrum 3".

With the comic I've got into the habit of mentioning some of the contents I haven't included and in this issue of Crash I've certainly had myself transported back more than usual!  While I was a Commodore 64 person, this issue of the magazine contains a great feature on the "new Bond" Timothy Dalton (my own personal favourite after Craig I have to say) and the stunts from his first film The Living Daylights alongside the preview of the game.  And there's a quaint feature on the new "Nintendo gaming console from Mattel" which is summed up with a conclusion which states that while the games are fun for arcade conversion fans, the price of the machine and its games and the fact you can't do anything else with it means it's a novelty and won't be a success, as people will continue to come to the Spectrum because of what it can offer.

Bless.

THE COMIC

There's that mug again!  Grr....

Yes here it is, a very rare little bit of Oink! history, it's a strange little title, not only in its tall and thin shape but also with some of its strips.  Don't get me wrong, we've got a great mix of regulars and a special one-off strip as well and for the most part they wouldn't look out of place in an issue of the fortnightly, but for three of the strips they just don't feel..... 'right'.

This is because they had to tie in with the tie-in.  Confused?  Well, the only way Haldane could tie in his brilliant Rubbish Man character to the game's plot was to actually have his characters play the game and get interrupted by a baddie.  Lew Stringer's Pete & his Pimple became simply 'Pete's Pimple' as the Breakout clone was all about the pimple itself and not Pete (and the pimple was seen bouncing about town taking out billie in the strip) and Tom Thug was dreaming about the zombie attack in his strip.  With the lack of thought going into the actual 'tie-in' part of the computer game itself, these were simply the best ways to try to tie the characters back into the characterless games.

In fact, Lew has talked about his strips on his Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics blog which you can read here.  Hence why I've not included them here as you can visit Lew's great blog for those and find out from the man himself (who does a better job than I) about what was asked of these strips, his creation of them and, most interestingly, his thoughts on how the game turned Tom into a heroic good guy when the comic always made sure he wasn't - he was after all a bully!

But back to the remainder of the 16 pages and what have we got?  Well obviously with this being read by many, many new readers it needs an introduction from Uncle Pigg and Mary Lighthouse naturally, doesn't it?  Remember this guy?:


Well.....


Written by Mark Rodgers (who else?), having such a good cover (to the game and comic) and then the first inside page drawn by Ian Jackson I wonder how the impact with Crash readers compared to those of Buster, 2000AD, Whizzer & Chips etc in April the previous year when the preview issue first appeared.  But whatever it was, it set this up brilliantly for regular readers too as it gives it all a feeling of familiarity before the changes to Pete and Tom.  But then we get to the middle pages.

It's been a while since we've had a double page spread from the amazingly talented J.T. Dogg so you can imagine my delight when reading this and my eyes glanced upon the below!:


Nicely subverted story at the end there but then again this is Mark Rodgers writing again after all.  So two questions remain here - how exactly was this an "interactive comic strip" and what was it that stopped our hero dead in his tracks?  Surely they can't just leave us not knowing the answer to the latter one?  Well, actually, yes they can and they can also have the cheek of getting the readers to tell the creators!:


Yup, another competition!  Now that's the Oink! postal address, not Crash's, so I can only assume (hopefully correctly) we'll find out what the winning entry was at some later point in the run of the regular comic.  I'll keep you posted.  I'm sure you're at the edge of your seat.

Banx was another to contribute to this special, though it seems like a more natural fit for Burp to appear here as we've had a lot of science fiction elements already by this stage.  Here though he's treated to a page and a half and in full colour too.  The colour only makes me miss his internal organs though and there's no sign of the pet specimen from Uranus... maybe not suitable for Crash?  Anyway, it's still a good one for fans of the Smelly Alien from Outer Space:


In case you're interested in trying to track down this issue, it also contains strips from Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins, Harry the Head, Billy Bang and Mr Big Nose.  Also this little treat from Haldane's Hugo the Hungry Hippo which made me smile:


Now as we all know this is certainly the year of Frank Sidebottom and this special pull-out contained a surprisingly text-heavy double-page spread from the man himself.  But not only is it a delight to read, it also contains some actual working type-in programs for the Spectrum user of the late 80s.  He might have been a bit weary of computers if the 'how to make 1' segment is anything to go by(!), but these little gaming programs are not only working but are funny in their own right for what they actually are and what they do.

Complete with cassette covers which had nothing to do with what was on screen, just like a lot of games back then (but none for Little Frank's game, naturally) one is basically a game which would randomly select a point on the screen and you had to use your cursor to find it in a trial-and-error fashion.  The other, even more basically, was a linear romantic story (it was a game for girls you see) where all you'd do is hit a key to read the next line and it'd give you a couple of choices to get slightly different compliments about what a nice young woman you are.

Oh and Little Frank's "game" prints "l.f. is better than f.s." at random points on the screen.  That's it.

Here it is, in all it's glorious glory:


To finish, what else could be on the back page but a GBH madvertisement?  For the younger readers of the blog it might seem strange to think that around the time of Oink! video gaming was still very much a hobbyist's lot.

It was a very exciting time, with innovation every step of the way, games made by individuals not huge teams and thus these people became household names, home coders creating their own games and selling them, the beginnings of a multi-million pound industry... it really was in its toddler years here and while games for home computers such as the Commodores and Spectrums were selling massively, these games were anything between £1.99 for a budget game and £9.99-£19.99 for an 'expensive' full-price one.  We didn't know where it was going to go, but we knew it was the start of something.

By the end of the 1980s more powerful computers and gaming consoles started to appear and it began to grow beyond its beginnings, but it was a wonderful time and GBH saw an opening in the market for the kind of computing accessory no one knew they even needed:


So there you go, a rather lengthy post this time around but then again I was kind of covering two publications I suppose.  I hope you've enjoyed this, it's been a great trip down memory lane for me and makes a great addition to anyone's Oink! collection and I don't just mean the comic but the Crash magazine itself too.

To finish off, inside the pull-out there's a small advert you might like to see!!!:


Ooooh!!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

THE NEW OINK! AWARDS 2014 - RESULTS

Here we go then!  Thanks to everyone who responded with their nominees for the updated 2014 Oink! Awards!  If you're just joining us you can catch up on the original 1987 ceremony by clicking here to see the fantastic celebrity turnout for the original event.

For those in the know, you'll remember the Oink! readers were asked to nominate in some very dubious categories and those who 'won' each would be safe in the knowledge of knowing exactly how the youngsters of the time felt about them!  The categories were as follows:


Well recently I thought it'd be a fun idea to ask readers of this blog and members of the Oink! Facebook group to vote in the exact same categories but for today's celebrities, songs (Worst Pop Record of '13/'14 for example), TV shows etc.  I've had a great reaction to this and so now here come the results as voted for by you!

I've spared no expense in setting this up, inviting back H.R.H. herself as you can see:


So without further ado, here's YOUR list of winners and, in some cases at least, those that received more than a handful of nominations but didn't quite make the big leagues...

WORLD'S BIGGEST WALLY 2014
WINNER - KIM JONG-UN
Honourable Mentions - Justin Bieber, Russell Brand

WORLD'S WORST POP GROUP 2014
WINNERS - ONE DIRECTION
Honourable Mentions - no one else came close!

WORLD'S UGLIEST PERSON 2014
WINNER - MILEY CYRUS
Honourable Mentions - Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Rebekah Brooks

WORLD'S WORST POP RECORD 2013/14
WINNER - BEST SONG EVER by ONE DIRECTION
Honourable Mentions - Happiness by Pharell Williams (awww no way!), many other One Direction songs

WORLD'S MOST IRRITATING DJ 2014
WINNER - CHRIS MOYLES
Honourable Mention -Sara Cox

WORLD'S DIRTIEST FOOTBALLER
(will take your word for this, I'm lost in this category!)
WINNER - DIEGO MARADONA
(Maradona is the only person to win in both 1987 and 2014!  Seems some people are holding on to it - bit like he did...)
Honourable Mention - Ronaldo

WORLD'S WORST COMEDIAN
WINNER - RICKY GERVAIS
(Could not agree more, folks!)
Honourable Mentions - Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr

WORLD'S WORST TV PROGRAMME
WINNER - THE X-FACTOR
Honourable Mentions - The Wright Stuff, Millionaire Matchmaker, Game of Thrones

WORLD'S WORST DRESSED PERSON
WINNER - MILEY CYRUS
Honourable Mentions - Lady Gaga, Grayson Perry, Eric Pickles

WORLD'S WORST COMIC
WINNER - THE DAILY MAIL
Honourable Mentions - Superior Spiderman, The Sun

Well it looks like you've all got a great sense of humour!  So there you have it, now who's going to tweet the results to the Mail...?

Thanks again to everyone who took part, was good fun compiling this, and I'll see you all on the 25th for that extra special extra issue of Oink! (and more!), then just two days later for #31.

Friday, 13 June 2014

#30: THE SPITTING IMAGE OF A GOOD COMIC


I've mentioned the old 80s TV show Spitting Image before on the blog and here we are at the ripe age of 30 issues and the programme makes a starring appearance (though not mentioned as such) on a wraparound cover poster and across the middle pages of the comic.  Even though it was only rarely that the programme would do something not really suitable for kiddies, it was still broadcast after 10pm on Sunday nights but I think almost all of my friends and I were allowed to stay up to watch it... though in our own bedrooms as our parents usually couldn't stand it.

The occasion in Oink! is the announcement of who won the 1987 awards which readers had been voting on since the start of the year and don't forget you can still vote in the 2014 version of the same awards right here on the blog.  The categories are below and I'm extending the deadline until the end of Sunday 15th June so that they can have their own post all to themselves and not take away space from this brilliant issue.  So if you'd like to take part here's what you can vote for:


Let me know by emailing me your submissions at percyplop@gmail.com or by sending me a private message on Facebook through my page here (and don't worry you don't have to befriend me first ha!) - https://www.facebook.com/Chainclaw.Phil

Anyway, back to the present, well the past really.  We'll leave the awards results until the very end and begin with Mark Rodgers' and Ian Jackson's Mary Lighthouse unwittingly introducing us to the theme of celebrities.  Am I weird for finding the puking policeman so damn funny?:


Mary is also the subject of one of our final free postcards, with the mantle being handed to the above artist to bring his own unique blend of jagged edges to the postal services of the world:

Free postcard #5
Free postcard #6

Wouldn't that last one make a great viral marketing campaign, dropping through the letterboxes of the country?  Much better than free copies of vile tabloids!  Uncle Pigg may look like a very rough and angry character for a kids comic there to the uninitiated, but to those of us in the know he was just a cuddly plump loveable pig.  Ok, um.. time to move on....!

Sometimes I wonder how well received Oink!'s celebrity parodies are in this blog when it comes to younger readers who may be reading all of this for the first time.  Recently Dazed & Confused magazine ran a series of articles on Frank Sidebottom (which you can now read here) and one of the pieces was about our favourite porky periodical, in which Patrick Gallagher stated how relevant the humour of the comic is to this day and pointed towards how popular this wee blog has become as proof of that.  I agree!  Over 20,000 hits at the time of writing this just shows how much everyone is enjoying this comic these days.  So maybe I'm not giving "the kids" enough credit when it comes to pages like the following one, which packs in more digs at celebrities than a whole episode of Spitting Image!  With artwork by Steve Gibson to match:


Makes me think things like that E! channel are just crying out for Oink! to have a go at them.  Indeed, on a similar note, while even back in the 80s the 'celebrity gossip' culture was ripe for this kind of parody, these days it seems like there's a whole industry built around it.  One title that is unbelievably still going strong after all these years in The Weekly News, a magazine I can remember my mother buying all those years ago and one which deserved the following rightly:


Also unbelievably, it's been 21 issues since I scanned in a Rubbish Man strip!  Well I'm about to rectify that right now with a long overdue tale from Haldane which sits in the issue right next to a great Burp from Banx.

Take any comic from any decade and most of the time it's full-page strips from front to back.  It was rare for this to happen for more than a page at a time in an issue of Oink! and if you show this particular double-page spread to any kid today I guarantee they'd be hooked!  Bold, different artwork for a kid's comic and surreal stories grabbed us back then and it'd work perfectly again today.  Particularly Burps's rather comically graphic page!

Go on, show them these two pages, just as they're presented in the issue, and see what their reaction is:

We've had a gossip column expert's opinion on 80s celebrities and a gossip mag's headline grabbing stories, but let's face it we're missing out on the one person who can truly give us a proper expert analysis of celebrity culture, a look into what constitutes being a famous person in the modern world, their daily live, how fame shapes these people and how in turn they shape the world around them and the lives of those they touch.

You know, something actually intellectual.

Or at least interleckshual:


Another Ian Jackson masterpiece there and fun to see his versions of these public figures.  Actually this isn't the only time the now-late Margaret Thatcher would appear in this issue as she'd star alongside Mary Lighthouse as childhood friends (naturally) in the story of how the critic and the editor first met.  Dead Fred appears in a special edition of TV show This is Your Death and the Wonder Pig, this time going by the name of Lattie, would yet again come to the disastrous rescue when his owner fell down another pit.

Nearly at our awards ceremony now, but before the main event I just wanted to put up this from an unknown artist.  Earlier in the issue we'd a funny half-page profile of Hamadonna along with a small picture of her, but here we're treated to this rather lovely full-page painting randomly in the midst of all the strips.  I've asked about with the Oink! crew and no one seems to know or remember who drew it and for once the internet doesn't seem to hold the answer either.

If you know the artist please do get in touch via the comments section so that I can give the credit where it's most definitely due, but in the meantime not knowing who is behind it is no good reason not to share this:


Lovely.

Anyway, it's time to name and shame.  Readers' votes were counted and verified and here's Uncle Pigg (as drawn by Patrick Gallagher here) with the top three nominees in each of the not-at-all-sought after categories.  Shouldn't come as a surprise to see Maggie getting more mentions here too!  In fact more mentions than anyone else:


Now obviously the cover poster gave some of it away, but who has won the rest?  Well I'll put it off no longer.  The above page was page 15, with the whole awards ceremony taking over the middle 4 pages of the comic and an actual appearance by two actual celebrities!:


John Peel had already contributed to an issue of Oink! with his A Day in the Life of a DJ back in #16 so go check that out if you haven't already.  But kudos to Steve Wright for coming along to accept the award for The World's Most Irritating DJ - I'll have to share this on his Twitter feed!  Shows what a great sense of humour he must have about himself and it's so unfortunate that Oink! never did do these awards the following year, despite these being described as "the first".  A brilliant idea and must've been huge fun to collate the results since they were from kids.  Let's face it kids don't hold back on what they think!  I'm sure this photo session must've been a riot to be part of.

But we've a few other categories to go, so to finish off our 4-page special section here's the remainder of the winners.  Given the masks used above it's funny to see what won the first one of this lot:


Then again, I don't think Spitting Image's song was ever written to be anything but annoying!  It was taking the piss out of such awful summer holiday songs after all.  Can you imagine what fun Oink! would've had in the early 2000s with that bloody Crazy Frog thing?!

Now I know my older brother collected The Beano when I was a kid and I did read and enjoy it but once I got into Oink! it seemed so 'safe' by comparison and after a while I stopped reading it.  Obviously a lot of readers must've agreed that pigs spoke more to their sense of humour... or rather Oink! was shaping us!  Pretty good to convert us from such a long-time read!  But I just wanted to say as a side note you'd do a lot worse than to buy your kids today's Beano as, just like back then, it's a quality read.  But, these days it contains some superb input from the likes of Oink!'s very own Lew Stringer, as well as those who read Oink! as kids such as the superbly talented Andy Fanton and Jamie Smart, as well as the highly original Stu Munro amongst many others.

But for now it's time to wrap up and look forward to the next issue which is the American-themed one with the funky stars and stripes logo.  The 'next issue' part of this issue starts off with declaring "America, the Beautiful... (... but not when we're finished with it!)" so it should be one to look forward to!

ALSO before the next issue there's that special edition of Oink! I've promised you which became available on Thursday 25th June 1987 when I was but a young buck, but which I'd no idea existed until about 5 years ago!  What is it?  Not telling, it's a surprise, but it'll cover the Spectrum of Oink! characters, so it doesn't take a genius to compute it's not to be missed, so it'll be here in twelve days for your enjoyment... as long as Blogger doesn't Crash!

In the meantime don't forget to vote on the 2014 version of the awards above (by this Sunday night at the time of writing) and the results will be up in a few days, then #31 will be on sale on Friday 27th June.  Happy days.

I'll leave you with this from Marc Riley's Doctor Mooney.  He's completely looney, you know:

Monday, 9 June 2014

NEWS: ORIGINAL TOM THUG ARTWORK UP FOR SALE

Don't be as stupid as the subject, place your order today!

That subject is none other than Tom Thug and at this very moment there are some original pieces of artwork - the actual pieces worked on by hand by creator Lew Stringer when working on them for Oink! and Buster - up for sale on eBay, that bastion of all "Damn it's far too easy to spend money on this" websites.

Lew currently has two Buster strips and one Oink! page up for grabs, the latter one of which you can see below:


From the description on eBay the page is 380mm x 480mm approximately, including margins and is drawn using black ink on Bristol Board.  This time it also includes the plastic overlays (seen above) which were used to indicate to the printer where the colour should go.

The strip is also signed and Lew states on his auction that he'll also add a dedication in the margin if the buyer wishes and all will be securely packaged for posting.

Interested?  How on earth could you not be interested??  Bidding starts at £30.00 and ends this Sunday, which is the 15th June, just after 7pm.  Click on this link to take you to Lew's page where you'll also see two more Tom strips from the pages of Buster as well!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html?_nkw&_armrs=1&_from&_ipg&_trksid=p3686



Good luck folks, and happy bidding!