Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Tom Thug... in Whizzer and Chips!?!
As some of you know, Tom Thug (The Brainless Bully) was a strip I created that appeared throughout the run of Oink! in 1986-88 and then transferred to Buster for many years.
What you may not know is that a Tom Thug strip once appeared in Whizzer and Chips as well. In fact I'd forgotten about it myself until I chanced upon this issue whilst looking for something else.
Oink! was always an alternative style comic compared to the rest of IPC's publications but with its sales faltering in early 1988 the intention was to try and attract some new readers to the comic. Tom Thug was always quite popular, and with him probably being the closest to the type of character seen in the traditional comics I was asked to create a new half page strip advertising Oink! that would appear in Whizzer and Chips.
Having never worked for IPC's flagship humour title before then I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to have Tom Thug meet the legendary Sid (of Sid's Snake fame) and Shiner (Chips' lead character), and throw in Odd-Ball (a childhood favourite) as well. Here's the result...
I might be mistaken but I think this is probably the first time a story in an IPC humour comic continued into another title, excluding mergers.
I believe the promotional strip helped Oink's fortunes a little bit, but as Oink! was still being deliberately placed away from other children's comics in WH Smith there must have been numerous kids who just couldn't find it. Later that year, Oink! merged into Buster and I became a regular artist on that comic (working for Allen Cummings, a very good editor) but I never did any more strips for Whizzer and Chips, which folded itself a few years later. This then was my sole contribution to that long-running comic, but I'm still pleased to be a small part of its history.
(Incidentally, the cover artist of the issue as shown at the top of this post was Sid Burgon, drawing the long-running Joker strip.)