DONALDSON, Chris. Editor. Viz: Issue 38.

(London): Viz House / John brown Publishing, 1989. Earlyish issue of this this cult comic. The comic was started in Newcastle upon Tyne in December 1979 by Chris Donald, who produced the comic from his bedroom. Inspired by and following the spirit of the punk fanzines, the comic used alternative methods of distribution, such as the prominent DIY record label and shop Falling A Records, which was an early champion of the comic. The first 12-page issue was produced as a fanzine for a local record label ‘Anti-Pop records’ and the run of 150 copies had sold out within hours. The comic’s style parodies British comics of the post-war period, notably The Beano and The Dandy, but with incongruous language, crude toilet humour, black comedy, surreal humour and either sexual or violent storylines. It also sends up tabloid newspapers, with mockeries of articles and letters pages. It features competitions and advertisements for overpriced ‘limited edition’ tat, such as a cat which “shits its own weight in gold”, as well as obsessions with half-forgotten celebrities from the 1970s and 1980s such as Shakin’ Stevens and Rodney Bewes. Occasionally, it satirises current events and politicians, but has no particular political standpoint. Its success has led to the appearance of numerous rivals crudely copying the format Viz pioneered; none of them has managed seriously to challenge its popularity. It once enjoyed being the third most popular magazine in the UK. This particular issue includes the World War II board game as well as the usual assortment of hilarity. A good plus copy in stapled wrappers.


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