Oink! (comic)

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Oink!
Publication information
Publisher Fleetway
Schedule Weekly
Format Children's
Genre
Publication date 3 May 1986-22 October 1988
Number of issues 68

Oink! was a British comic for children which was published from 3 May 1986 to 22 October 1988. It set out to be deliberately anarchic, reminiscent of Viz but for children.

Part of its difference in the marketplace was that it attracted writers and cartoonists from a wide range of previous disciplines. It was devised, launched and edited by Patrick Gallagher, Private Eye regular contributor Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers; although within the fiction of the comic it was "edited" by a character called Uncle Pigg (similar to 2000 AD's Tharg the Mighty). Other featured artists and writers were Husband's Private Eye colleague David Haldane, ex-The Fall member and future BBC Radio 1 radio host Marc "Lard" Riley, Malcolm Douglas, future Viz contributors Davy Thorp and Chris Donald, future Beano writer/artist Kev F Sutherland, future Marvel artist, writer and editor & current SpongeBob SquarePants Magazine editor David Leach and satirical media commentator-to-be Charlie Brooker.

Oink! proved somewhat controversial, with various conservative groups and a chain of newsagents branding it offensive and unsuitable for children and succeeding in having it top-shelved in newsagents away from other comics, thus damaging its sales potential to its young target audience.

Originally a fortnightly publication, it became weekly and finally monthly and was finally wound up after 68 issues, merging with Buster after the comic's founders, Patrick Gallagher, Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers, were offered a TV deal.

In 1987 Oink! was made into a computer game of the same name.[1]

Mark Rodger's archives relating to Oink are held by Archive Services, University of Dundee.[2]

Notable strips[edit]

Some of the most popular recurring characters in the comic were:

  • Uncle Pigg, whose staff were known as the Plops (apparently, sentient mounds of faeces) and who had an ongoing battle with conservative critic Mary Lighthouse (an obvious parody of Mary Whitehouse)
  • The Streethogs
  • Harry the Head (he was only a head)
  • Billy's Brain (he was only a brain)
  • Horace "Ugly Face" Watkins
  • Weedy Willy
  • Pete and his Pimple (the Pimple was on Pete's nose and was bigger than he was)
  • The Secret Diary of Hadrian Vile (an obvious parody of Adrian Mole)
  • Tom Thug (who spent most of the first six months of publication attempting to tie his shoelaces)
  • Mr Bignose
  • Burp The Smelly Alien (who could talk to his internal organs, many of which could talk back)
  • Rubbishman (a superhero)
  • Hugo the Hungry Hippo
  • Cowpat County
  • Frank Sidebottom
  • Psycho Gran

Aside from straightforward comic strips, the comic would also include spoof news items, adverts and so forth. There were also regular photo stories, with photography by James Gallagher, often starring Snatcher Sam, who was 'played' by Marc Riley.

For most of the comic's run, each issue had a theme (e.g., Christmas, holidays, family etc.) which often allowed the comic to experiment. One issue (dubbed "Oink! goes Peculiar") showed everything going wrong in the Oink! offices, leading to strips being printed upside down or being drawn by the wrong artist etc., as well as the whole issue being printed on a smaller size of paper than usual. In another issue, Uncle Pigg and the Plops all went on holiday, leaving a skeleton staff to produce the comic.

Real-life personalities often appeared or were parodied, such as Radio 1 DJs Steve Wright and Janice Long. Russell Grant and his horoscopes were also parodied as "Russell Grunt's Hogoscopes". An item on how the poll tax meant people owning parrots had to pay tax unless they were members of the Conservative Party was read out in the House of Commons.

Some items aimed slightly over their target audience's heads - in one strip, Weedy Willy wandered around moaning whilst being followed by a shadowy stranger who was writing down everything he said - for example, "Oh, I would go out tonight but I haven't got a stitch to wear," and "Heaven knows, I'm miserable now." At the end of the strip, the figure was revealed as Steven Morrissey, getting ideas.

The first issue came with a free flexi-disk single called "Poo Poo Tinkle Tinkle Parp Parp Oink Tiddly Widdly Widdly Widdly Plop."

References[edit]

External links[edit]