Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas, smell fans!

As a special Christmas treat I am commencing with the great Burp Project. My aim is to scan all the episodes of Burp from Oink! comic and post them up on this here blog. I have extolled the genius of this strip before, and now it's time for you to see all of it.

Jeremy Banx' strip began in the preview issue of Oink! which was given away for free, if memory serves, with Buster comic. Flicking through the pages of the first few issues, I note a few forgotten characters, 'New Wave Dave', 'Mike and Spike', 'Master T' by Pete Dredge, 'Tiny Dumpling and Big Nan' by Ian Knox, and a two page strip called 'The Revenge Squad' by Tom Paterson who was never really a regular Oink! artist.

Number 0 also features strips that would appear in virtually every issue: Harry the Head, by radio's Marc Riley, Hadrian Vile, by the artistic genius Ian Jackson, Rubbish Man by Haldane, and Horace 'Ugly Face' Watkins by Tony Husband.  One thing that stands out as I look back, is that Oink! was a mixture of quite bad and quite blinding artwork, but that never mattered much to me back then in the 80's. The attitude was the thing. It felt bolder and more dangerous than 'Sid's Snake' or 'Pup Parade' and that's what mattered.

In the first 5 Burp strips, Burp's head is yet to take on it's fully realised shape, which came just a few issues later and basically stayed the same until the end of it's run. You can also see some pretty odd colouring choices (strangely, Burp seems to be the only page in those early issues with these weird colours). The premise of the character is established from pretty much the word go; He's hideous, he stinks, he can take out his internal organs (and they have their own personalities), but he just wants to be accepted. The strip would become far more sophisticated later on, but first it became more hideously anarchic as his internal organs started to develop bizarre personalities.

The Pet Specimen from Uranus which Burp carries slung in a jar at his waist, later develops from a sidekick into more of a way to crowbar an extra punchline in in the last frame. The first couple of strips play with a similar idea across the bottom, but that is quickly abandoned. You can also see some drawings of 'Mary Lighthouse' in the title picture. She was Oink's in-house critic who would shriek about how disgusting the strip was. Enjoy, the first five Burps of Christmas!

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