Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Comics: OINK! (1986)

On sale 25 years ago, the first Christmas issue of Oink! unusually featured a photo cover spoofing the design of the TV Times as it was then.

A few issues earlier, the comic had received a boost with the addition of new characters. Therefore this issue featured the final section of a three-part free gift in the form of a giant poster calendar illustrated by Ian Jackson.

Ian Jackson was always very prolific in Oink! and I'd consider him their main artist. He designed Uncle Pigg and Mary Lighthouse and also contributed numerous other strips such as Hadrian Vile. Underneath this example is Weedy Willy, drawn by Mike Green. Both strips were written by one of Oink's editors, Mark Rogers, who sadly passed away years ago. A fine bloke and a great loss to comics.

I contributed a fair bit to the run of Oink! myself, appearing in every issue, both as a writer and artist. One of my most enjoyable tasks was creating the Dan Dare parody Ham Dare, Pig of the Future, illustrated by the late Malcolm Douglas. Here's episode three (read across the spread, not one page at a time). I'd considered that this chapter would appear at Christmas so although it wasn't set around that season I managed to write a frozen Swinefleet HQ building in the opening shot...

The same issue also featured the third episode of my Pete and his Pimple strip. I enjoyed using a grey wash on this strip as it gave a mono page more depth. Incidentally, a mistake in the production department deleted the dialogue in the penultimate panel, but all you're missing are a few "Aarghs" and "Yuks"...

Davy Francis lent his distinctive and always funny style to the complete story Blue Xmas written by Mark Rogers.

On page 27, the hilariously inventive Hector Vector and his Talking T-Shirt by Banx.

Finally from this selection box, the very first Christmas with Tom Thug. As with Pete and his Pimple I always provided both script and artwork. In my original script I'd had Santa blasted out of the sky for real, but Mark Rogers suggested, quite rightly, that it might be too traumatic for the younger readers so it all turns out to be a... well, see for yourself...

At the foot of the Tom Thug strip you'll notice a spin-off strip starring Tom's cat Satan. When Tom Thug moved to Buster in 1989 I thought Satan wouldn't be an appropriate name to use (as Buster was a far less edgier comic) so he appeared anonymously a few times in the background then I phased him out of the strip. Don't worry though readers, Satan is still out there somewhere (the cat that is).

Another snow-topped festive comic soon!

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