Tuesday, November 15, 2011
One of the enjoyable things about working for Oink! comic back in the 1980s was the opportunity to do numerous one-off or short run strips as well as regular characters. Monster Mash appeared in Oink! No.13, the Halloween issue for 1986, and was a collaboration between editor Mark Rogers and myself.
Mark had originally sent me an idea for a story called The School Dinner Monster and asked if I had any ideas to add to it. I added a few bits and bobs to the plot and dialogue, and thought the title Monster Mash was catchier. I gave the name 'Pigzilla' to the giant robot pig, although Mark changed that to the much more inspired Pigswilla.
As Oink! was printed on quality paper (as opposed to the newsprint of its companion comics Buster, Whizzer & Chips etc) I knew we could be a bit more adventurous with the rendering of the artwork so I thought a grey wash would give it more depth. I was really pleased with how the strip turned out and it remains one of my favourite pieces 25 years later. The artwork is a bit rough in places but I'm still happy with it.
I felt that with Monster Mash and some of the other material that myself and other contributors did for Oink! that we were stepping outside the usual conventions of British humour comics and moving away from the standard schoolkid-with-gimmick that had dominated IPC's comics since 1969. And we were all having great fun doing it. This comedy-adventure, comic horror stuff was what comics should have been doing more of in my opinion.
As it turned out, it seemed most readers still preferred the more traditional schoolkid strips, and Oink! folded after just two and a half years. Then again, Whizzer & Chips folded a few years later, and that was the most traditional "safe" comic in IPC's stable. Perhaps it was just a sign that readers were being distracted by video games.
Pigswilla returned for two or three more complete stories during the run of Oink! and I'll show them here at some point in the future.