Saturday, 29 March 2014

Music Mad Jo

Having written and/or drawn thousands of pages over the past 30 years it's perhaps understandable that some strips slip the mind. Such was the case with Music Mad Jo and Her Personal Stereo, a one-off character I did for Oink! No.23, back in 1987.

Thanks to Phil Boyce's Oink! Blog I was reminded of that strip today, so I thought I'd share it here. I remember now that editor Mark Rogers suggested the advisory at the end of the strip, therefore turning it into something of a public health warning. That was fine with me, as perhaps the ending was too brutal and abrupt without it. 

Looking at it now, the colouring is a bit raw and undisciplined in places. I much prefer colouring with Photoshop, but of course it wasn't around back in 1987! I hope you enjoy the page anyway.

If you want to see more classic pages from Oink!, check out Phil's excellent blog which he updates regularly with a posting on each issue: 


  1. I was wondering if you'd remember the strip before seeing it again! That's quite a few times some superb back cover strips have been by yourself, surely a great place to have your work published in a comic, great exposure. Did you ever know where your strip would be before you created it? Or how long it'd be? I know a lot of the regular characters had different size strips from issue to issue, was this something pre-determined by the editors?

    Oh and I love the colouring! I know I've said it before but I'm a big fan of the hand-coloured strips from back then, when individual strokes were visible, feels like my own actual copy was individually coloured!

    1. Thanks Phil. No, we never knew which page the strips would appear on, but it was always a nice surprise to be on the back cover. (Oddly, a couple of readers I know thought being on the back page meant you were bottom of the bill. Not quite how it works!)

      We were always told the length of the strip though, whether it be a half pager, full page or whatever. That was an editorial decision. It was easy enough to adapt to any size of strip, but full pagers were better of course as it meant more money. :)

  2. So your one-offs or returning specials such as Pigswilla, were they asked for or pitched independently by yourself? Always curious about how this comic worked! But yeah the back page is a great spot, it was always the first AND last strip I'd read, as it'd be glanced at as I walked back from the shop and then read in-depth at the end. And of course was always the one read when browsing in the shop at various comics! Good memories.

    1. In the case of the one-offs I'd pitch the script at the length I thought it'd work. I don't recall editor Mark Rogers changing the length. I'm sure a couple may have been turned down flat though. I'll have to check my old notebooks one of these days. (I always rough out ideas in a notebook first, before I write the full script. I've kept all my books, and I think they date back to the Oink days.)

      In the case of Pigswilla, Mark may have asked for them. Can't remember. Mark wrote the original Pigswilla story and I rewrote/altered bits, - a reversal of the usual writer/editor system! (Mark asked me to do this I hasten to add. I'd never normally rewrite other people's scripts of course.)

      In the case of Ham Dare and Hog of the Baskervilles, I pitched the ideas to Mark and he told me what length of a serial he wanted. I had no idea who'd be drawing them at that stage but I was delighted with the results. I must find my original Ham Dare sketches one day (they're around somewhere). I'd designed him more as a traditional fat cartoon pig, but Malcolm Douglas nailed it by making him more like the human Dan Dare but with a few porcine features. Perfect!