Friday, August 08, 2014

The Case of the Kidnapped Celebrities



Oink! was an excellent comic. For the readers it offered a refreshing change from the relatively rigid formula of other comics of the time, and was wildly unpredictable. For those of us who were lucky enough to contribute to it, the comic gave us the opportunity to develop our abilities and at the same time have a great deal of fun with its flexible format of varying themes and one-off stories. 

One of those one-off strips was The Case of the Kidnapped Celebrities which I scripted and Mike Higgs illustrated. I'd been a big fan of Mike's The Cloak in Pow! in the late sixties, and was fortunate to become his assistant for a year or so in the 1980s. Mike had left children's comics for a while because he'd refused to conform to the restrictive formula of the IPC weeklies of the 1970s. He'd been constantly busy though, producing numerous children's books, commercial illustrations, and his Moonbird newspaper strip for his local paper and abroad. 

Mike liked Oink! because it was fresher than its contemporaries. I felt it was high time Mike's talents were seen in British comics again so I suggested to him that we could collaborate for the comic. We worked on a few strips that were published, and I think Mike did a few of his own things for it too. (This later led to him drawing Thundercap for Buster in the 1990s.) 

Anyway, here's one of the strips we did. The Case of the Kidnapped Celebrities was good fun to write, and Mike did a fantastic job on the artwork in his own distinctive style. Even Mike's lettering is great!

This strip is from Oink! No.34, dated 8th to 21st August 1987. If you'd like to see a few other pages from this issue, head over to Phil Boyce's fantastic Oink! Blog now!  

8 comments:

mj said...

Oink passed me by at the time. Too old i think i was. Time to get my hands on a few copies i think!

Lew Stringer said...

Oink! had quite a wide age group in its readership although it was primarily aimed at children. If you want to read more examples of what it was like take a look through Phil's Oink Blog that I linked to. He's covered 34 issues so far.

Anonymous said...

Lew,
I did not recognise the artist at first, he really put a lot of time into those 2 pages! you also did a good job with the fast-paced writing. But, Who are the celebrities? I think one is Bruce Forsythe, but the other three???
(Marko)

Lew Stringer said...

The others are spoofs of Jimmy Tarbuck, Max Bygraves, and Leslie Crowther. Glad you liked it.

paddykool said...

Excellent Lew ...I saw Oink on the stands but I suppose I felt too old at the time. That's afine strip though. I remember Mike's artwork from the old 1960's Power comics of course.His spotting blacks are really good and as you mention his lettering was very distinctive. I bet Hunt Emerson got some of his style here , don't you? I'm also old enough to recognise those old Showbiz horrors so that works for me too ...I must have a look at those old Oink pages though...

Lew Stringer said...

That's an interesting point about the styles of Hunt and Mike. It might just be that they both had the same influences from comics they read in the 1950s. They've both known each other a long time though, being part of the Midlands comics scene.

John Pitt said...

I bought every copy of Oink! I came across and I was iny thirties! I found it just as funny as Viz. But I guess I don't need to tell you, do I?

Lew Stringer said...

Good man John. It's always nice to hear from another Oink! reader. A lot of us were starting out when we worked on the comic so I think it brought out a lot of fresh ideas, which was the intention of course. It was a joy to work on and I consider myself very fortunate to have had such freedom on a comic so early in my career.

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