Torture and a bare belly button on the
front cover... I dread to think what's inside!!..."
was a creative swill of cartoons, satire, toilet humour and subversion
at young adults and described by one of its creators,
Graham Exton, as a sort
of 'Junior Viz'. Which is the perfect description.
Here was a bold step on from the
likes of Buster and Whizzer & Chips. Gone was
the tight lined panelwork of those
weekly titles, the uniform speech bubbles, the clean-living
characters from safe
middle-class households. Instead, we had acne-ridden
Pete And His Pimple,
malicious Tom Thugg, the noxious alien Burp,
Harry the disembodied head and
a sty-load of grunting, snorting, farting pigs.
Many strips appeared to have been
scrawled 'on the hoof' by new comic talent giving
the title a vibrant, anarchic
feel. The leader of this teenage Animal Farm
was Uncle Pigg, who encouraged
us to revel in the filth on display in each issue.
He also consistently poked fun at
those who sought to censure such material from
impressionable minds. This
manifested itself in the form of Mary Lighthouse
- a take on conservative
campaigner Mary Whitehouse. Ironically though,
it was that very same
conservative campaign that contributed to Oink!'s
demise. After several
complaints from 'concerned' parents, the title
was moved to W H Smiths'
top shelf, cutting sales dramatically. Add to that
the takeover of IPC/Fleetway
by Robert Maxwell and - well - the slaughterhouse
loomed large. Oink! was
hamstrung (sorry) by indecisive publishing. Over
its eighteen month run it
switched from fortnightly to weekly to monthly issues,
from glossy paper
to cheap newsprint. Readers didn't know what to expect
each issue, or indeed,
when to expect it!...
Oink! was the brainchild of cartoonists Mark
Rodgers, Tony Husband amd
Patrick Gallagher. They took the idea of an alternative
to the overly-familiar
Fleetway titles to then editor Bob Paynter. Cartoonist
Graham Exton also
tossed some ideas into the swill of creation,
which appeared to be featuring
a number of pig-related strips and - lo - Uncle
Pigg was born, and a comic
title revealed itself. Graham talks about his
particular contribution in our
Other Oink! creatives included Lew Stringer, Jeremy
Banx, Mark Riley, Ian Jackson and Haldane -
all shaking off the restrictions
of their regular weekly strips and letting their
pens run free. Some of it worked
splendidly, some of it was wide of the mark, sometimes
it felt a little too
hurried, a little too loose, but it was always
a stimulating read...
On the left there above is a scan of Oink!'s preview
issue, given away free
in copies of Buster, May 3rd 1986. Oink! was also
previewed on the cover
of Whizzer & Chips in a strip which had the comic's
stars and guest star
Buster encountering a half-drawn Uncle Pigg in a
fictional Comic Characters
Club. How ironic that, after Oink! folded, three
of its stars were taken under
the wing of Buster - Oink!'s anarchy thus well-and-truly
tamed and shamed..
Well, not quite. Because Oink! was able to break
out of its comic confines
before departing. The title was changed and
its star character transformed
into a crocodile called Doc Crock, but tv's
The Bend was just as
anarchic, off the wall, and irreverant as its printed
parent. Oink!'s Tony
Husband wrote the scripts too...
Toonhound talks to Graham Exton...
Tony's tidy site profiles his
cartoon output and his shift into script-writing
too now, plus cartoon samples,
contact details and more...
Lew was a regular contributor
Now here's a treat. Thomas' site
looks at Oink!'s tv spin-off, with pics
and info on Doc Crock and the gang...
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