Thursday, 14 January 2016


LION, EAGLE, TV21, TIGER, and - well, I could go on and on, but
I'm sure you get the point.  The afore-mentioned periodicals were, in the
main, quality comics, but that's not always why we miss things from our
past, sometimes we miss them mainly because they represent a happy
and carefree period when we were young and thought we had forever.
However, kids my age were lucky in that the comics on sale in our
day were usually produced to a high standard.

Such nostalgia must surely explain why anyone would look back
with any degree of fondness on a weak title like OINK! 'though.  What
a putrid pile of pish it was, with badly-drawn strips and puerile humour
by adults trying a tad too desperately to be anarchic and down-wiv-the-
kids.  There were some good artists working on the comic as well, but
sadly not enough to elevate it above where it belonged - in a pigsty
along with all the other sh*t to be found there.

Believe it or not, there are some deluded individuals out there
who claim that Oink! was a success and one of the all time greats,
but here's a few facts to consider.  Back in the day when this country
actually had a comics industry (a real one that is, not the pale, shrink-
ing shadow that clings on today by its decaying fingertips), it took a
publisher around two years to recoup the expense of launching
a new comic onto the market.

Basic, repetitive art, overwhelmingly bad lettering.
H'mm, now I see where The Dandy took its cue from

However, Oink! only lasted for 68 issues over a two and
a half year period.  It started as a fortnightly, changed to a weekly
at the end of its second year, then turned into a monthly before being
merged into Buster.  Newsagents didn't like the comic, but neither did
enough kids, otherwise it surely would've lasted longer than it did.  The
fact that the page count was soon reduced and the mag switched to
cheaper paper after only around 26 issues seems to indicate that it
was struggling pretty early on, so claims of it being a success
should be regarded with some degree of skepticism.

However, if you liked the comic, don't worry - you're allowed
to.  Nobody will come to your house and arrest you, although it
could be argued that bad taste should be a chargeable offence - with
capital punishment as a possible option when it comes to sentencing.
So your memories are secure, but face the facts - a crime was
committed and the comics-buying public was the victim.

So - Oink?  Ouch!  Perhaps that was when the decline set in.


TwoHeadedBoy said...

I was too young for it at the time (being less than a year old when the first issue was out), and I'm not saying it deserves its Sacred Cow status... But when I finally DID get to read Oink when a friend of mine introduced himself to me by handing over his collection of the first sixty-odd issues (plus summer specials and annuals) in 2008... I really liked it!

I can't read too many in one sitting but I always enjoy what I read - but then, you know the kind of comics that I favour, right? I enjoyed Round The Bend on CITV when I was a youngster, and that was from the same writers as Oink, so maybe it spoke to me on that level. And I'll defend the page you highlighted there, as it was meant to have been drawn by Frank Sidebottom himself (if you've heard his music you'll know the kind of deluded-yet-fun character Frank's supposed to be).

I await my arrest with a heavy head...

Kid said...

Less than a year old, THB? I was less than half the age I am now, so I'm feeling really old by comparison. I bought Oink! when it came out and may still have a full set up in my loft somewhere, but I felt it was just trying too hard to be controversial. I don't remember getting one laugh from it. Given your tastes, I can see why you'd like it, but I'd been spoiled by growing up in the '60s and reading comics whose only intention was to entertain, not be anarchic, subversive, radical, or tick any other kind of box. As for Frank, 'supposed to be', but failing miserably in my book. But hey, you gave me a good IPC Annual so I'll let you off with a fine and I'll pay it myself.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I agree I think "OINK" was around the time that the rot set in on UK comics, but nothing to do with Oink itself (personally the few issue I picked up I thought it was quite funny). To be fair to the publishers I think they saw the writing was on the wall and UK traditional comic was well on its way out by then -(imho not even Baxendale etc would not have been able to save the traditional UK comic format it never evolved ) OINK I assume was aimed at an older age group than the Beano etc and I thought it was a brave attempt to change things about and I can see why some folk loved it so much but for me it was more a cult comic than a classic like Wham , Smash etc ( no disrespect to any creators involved).

Kid said...

I remember Bob Paynter (IPC group editor of the humour dept) telling me about Oink! when it was being developed, McS, and describing it as 'sort of a junior Viz, but not so rude'. I could never get 'into' it to be honest, and although there must surely have been a laugh in the mag from time to time, I think its alleged 'classic' status (in some people's minds) is completely undeserved. Also, I think the fact it was trying hard to be 'different' was what inspired even lesser imitations to foist some total mince onto the (dwindling) comics buying public.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I agree those "imitations" were a major low point in UK comics history and played (imho) a big part in finally killing off the traditional UK comic.

Kid said...

'The traditional UK comic' - yeah, whatever happened to that, eh? Thank goodness for back issues.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Imitations of Oink... I can think of perhaps Acne, Fizog and Triffik?

Triffik was a complete disaster, Fizog was good but limited and I really enjoyed Acne. Fizz was another one, but that was just Acne's editor re-using Acne's stuff to compete with Fizog. Confusing, yes.

Meanwhile, I knew sending you that book would "save my bacon" at some point (ha. ha. ha.).

Kid said...

Oh, you're on sizzling form tonight, THB, you big ham you. (But don't make a pig of yourself.)

HomeMadeComix said...

Oink! was a strange one for me. I was pretty much a humour comics addict from a very early age and I felt obliged, somehow, to buy every weekly or fortnightly comic as it appeared. The first Oink! had a strip by Tom Paterson in it, which was worth the asking price on its own.
After that, though... Jeez. For all its 'anarchic' posturing, it remained several levels below the rest of IPC's output, and there was infinitely more humour in the background details of one of Paterson's Buster strips than there was in the average Oink! - and the 'ironic' bad artwork annoyed me no end.

Kid said...

I bought it because it was a new comic, but it was never one I looked forward to. I thought the pig theme was just too laboured and limiting - although it was very nicely printed (he said, in an attempt to say something vaguely positive).

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