Thursday 3 May 2018

Tom Thug is 32

On this day in 1986, Oink! No.1 arrived in newsagents across the land. It had been preceded by a 'Preview Issue' (composed of material we'd done for the dummy issue) which was given away free with other IPC comics the week before. Now, on May 3rd 1986, it was time for Oink! to prove it could stand on its own four trotters.

IPC may have wanted a junior Viz type comic, but what we delivered was a cheeky comic inspired by Mad magazine, Wham! comic, and a general irreverence. It ran for two and a half years, which was longer than many comics that had preceded it, and wasn't considered a failure by IPC. 

I've previously shown in detail the origins of my Tom Thug character and his strip from the Oink! Preview Issue (click here) so this time I'm showing the first regular Tom Thug strip from Oink! No.1. 

The idea behind Tom Thug wasn't for him to be yet another Dennis the Menace anti-hero but to portray him as the thick bully he was. Tom was the villain, and readers could enjoy seeing his bullying backfire every issue. My hope was it'd be some sort of catharsis for any readers who were bullied at school... and give them a laugh at the same time. 

They were happy days, working for Oink!. I contributed to every issue, special and annual. Not just with Tom Thug, but later with Pete and his Pimple, Pigswilla, various one-offs, and writing scripts for others to draw (such as Ham Dare with Malcolm Douglas, and Hog of the Baskervilles with Ron Tiner). I was fortunate that Tom Thug proved popular enough to transfer over to Buster when Oink! ended, and continued there for many years. 

Does it feel like 32 years ago since I bought this comic from my local WH Smith? Yes, of course, considering all the things that happen in one's life it feels like a very long time ago. Happy memories though!  

You can find out more about Oink! by visiting Phil Boyce's fantastic Oink! and Beyond Blog right here:


Manic Man said...

32... so what age was he created to be at first? say around 10? doesn't look a day older ^_^

Lew Stringer said...

He was 14 in this strip because I had him leave school in 1988 when he was 16. All that had to be retconned when he moved to Buster though, where he became a child of about 11.

PhilEdBoyce said...

Always fascinating to read your insights into working on Oink! I didn’t jump into the sty until #14 but Tom made an instant impression. I think my favourite story of his was the three-part tale of him trying to get a gang together. Classic stuff.

Oh and thanks for the plug!

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Phil. Yeah, that was a nice opportunity to do a continued story. A rarity for Tom. Glad you liked it!