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As it's been 30 years this week since this strip appeared I thought it'd be good to post an updated version of an article I wrote about it for my Blimey! blog five years ago...
One of the enjoyable things about working for Oink! comic back in the 1980s was the opportunity to do numerous one-off or short run strips as well as regular characters. Monster Mash appeared in Oink! No.13, the Halloween issue for 1986, and was a collaboration between editor Mark Rogers and myself.
Mark had originally sent me an idea for a story called The School Dinner Monster and asked if I had any ideas to add to it. I added a few bits and bobs to the plot and dialogue, and thought the title Monster Mash was catchier. I gave the name 'Pigzilla' to the giant robot pig, although Mark changed that to the much more inspired Pigswilla.
As Oink! was printed on quality paper (as opposed to the newsprint of its companion comics Buster, Whizzer & Chips etc) I knew we could be a bit more adventurous with the rendering of the artwork so I thought a grey wash would give it more depth. I was really pleased with how the strip turned out and it remains one of my favourite pieces 30 years later. The artwork is a bit rough in places but I'm still happy with it.
I felt that with Monster Mash and some of the other material that myself and other contributors did for Oink! that we were stepping outside the usual conventions of British humour comics and moving away from the standard schoolkid-with-gimmick that had dominated IPC's comics since 1969. And we were all having great fun doing it. This comedy-adventure, comic horror stuff was what comics should have been doing more of in my opinion.
As it turned out, perhaps most readers still preferred the more traditional schoolkid strips, and Oink! folded after just two and a half years. Then again, Whizzer and Chips folded a few years later, and that was the most traditional "safe" comic in IPC's stable. Perhaps it was just a sign that readers were being distracted by video games?
What's heartening is that, three decades later, the kids who grew up reading Oink! still remember it with so much affection. I meet many of those readers (now in their 30s and 40s) at conventions and online and they still speak of the comic with enthusiasm. (One such fan, Phil Boyce, even set up The Oink! Blog and did stirling work in reviewing every issue:
The comic really made an impact with readers and I'm proud to have been associated with every issue.
Pigswilla returned for a few more complete stories during the run of Oink! and I'll show them here at some point in the future.