Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Getting Ziggy With It

A general warning before going any further - Ziggy may well be the most "offensive" out of the whole lot of the Viz clones. Within its pages is humour based around AIDS, cot death, child abuse, the IRA, racism, mental illness, genocide... Pretty much any "taboo" subject you can think of, Ziggy went there and rubbed it in your face until you were unable to think about anything else for days afterward. Vile and obscene and - in the right frame of mind - hilarious (in a childish sort of way).

But there's bound to be some fun stuff in there too, so read on, if you're up for it.

Ziggy was around from 1990 to 1992 (ish), done mostly by one Stuart Blair, one of those people who seemed to enjoy seeing how far he could push someone before getting into trouble. This is mostly "achieved" through the news stories that make up around a third of each issue of Ziggy, with such headlines as:

-Jimmy Tarbuck Is A Gap-Toothed Cunt Shocker!

-Rippers Wife Is Evil Satanist Who Caused Waddle To Miss World Cup Penalty!

-Simon Bates Is An IRA Informant

-Street Star Gail Tilsley Is An Ugly Fucker Shocker

-Matthew Corbett Makes Sooty Wank Him Off

One such headline which I don't have access to, but is apparently what Ziggy got most of its exposure from was a story about Ann Diamond's cot death incident. Classy stuff.

Celebrity deaths, natural disasters and terrorist attacks provide most of the material for the "Sick Jokes" page that was another Ziggy regular, whilst the rest of the magazine resembled a sub-gutter level MAD Magazine, filled with fake adverts:

Ideas for party games:

Fairly-clever puzzles:

Is that by Charlie Brooker? Looks like, no credits though.

And odd little pieces, such as this detailing the events of the Discharge Olympics:

Apologies for the sloppy scanning on a lot of these pages, by the way - I really couldn't be bothered doing "justice" to this one.

What Ziggy excelled at was thinking up the most outrageous, insensitive things to say about anyone and everyone. A regular feature being 20 Things [someone] Has Never Denied. This is the Simon Bates entry in that series:

Another semi-regular feature is Telephon '90, in which numerous situations are proposed in the name of charity:

And then there's Wouldn't It Be Funny If, which is mostly just plain cruel:

Pictures of topless women seem to be splashed around Ziggy at random.

Of course, there's comic strips as well. Even a few that follow the formula of having a character's name rhyme with their defining characteristic, such as Billy Bannel (He Turns Into a Flannel):

Fetch, the World's Most Confused Dog wouldn't seem out of place in any other comic, save for the odd bit of swearing:

The ever-present Nigel Maughan's here too:

And here's Nick the Knicker-Sniffer, appearing in exactly the same way as he appears in Ziggy's "sister" title, Pulp, which will be looked at some other time:

Ninja Skoda Destruct by Rob Yuppies (?) has your Chinese stereotypes on a mission to destroy every Skoda they can find:

This one looks like it was done by Charlie Brooker, but his name doesn't appear in the credits - who am I to tell?

Seemingly the only "regular" comic strip concerned the adventures of the prostitute known as Camille Hump, by Jackie Smith:

And of course, by law every "alternative" comic in the 1990s had to have at least one Rainbow parody:

The parodies continue with this duet of Fleetway skits:

A sudden cameo from the pen of Jim Petrie in the penultimate panel?

And this one having a stab at Oor Wullie:

One final feature that sets Ziggy apart from the rest of its ilk is the pin-up in the middle of each issue, which places a well-known face on a different body. These range from the deranged:

To the, frankly, highly disturbing:

And with that final image on your retinas, that's it from Ziggy. Now go and have a shower.


  1. That's definitely not Brooker. I think it was one of Ziggy / Pulp's staff artists, as I remember the same bloke doing a Three Musketeers parody called (wait for it...) The Three Must Be Queers. Pretty sure Rob Yuppies is a pseudonym - he also did some strips for Gas (another Viz-a-like) including a Roy of the Rovers spoof and a strip about a lad with massive eyeballs. They were obviously intended for Viz but rejected, because they contained references to 'Fulchester' and the F had been very visibly removed with Tippex, leaving 'Ulchester'.
    Your overall summary of Ziggy is spot-on. Funny if it hits you in the right mood, intolerably nasty and crude if it doesn't.

    1. Yeah, I've seen other stuff by "Rob Yuppies" elsewhere, but never credited - pseudonyms can be mildly annoying at times.

    2. Especially in the realms of electronic music (if by "annoying" you mean FABULOUS).

    3. Only just accidentally stumbled upon this blog entry and I'm not sure quite why I'm holding my hand up to this(several months later), but I'm afraid I am the person who illustrated the "Ninja Skoda Destruct" script and who used to sign strips under "Rob Yuppies". The writer Neil Nixon had the kudos of previously having some small pieces published by Viz in their early days(around issue 12 I think)and got me the job on "Ziggy" after reading my own Viz-cloned comic called "Filth" which I worked on before going off on to "Pulp" comic.

      Mr Straightman is ALMOST right, I also used to also draw a tiresome Roy Of The Rovers parody for "Zit" Comic too called "Roy of the Red Lion"(and also later for "Spit" comic), but "The Man With Big/Massive Eyeballs" (as I think it was called also in Zit Comic) was most definitely NOT me but another artist.

      I was commissioned by the comic titles in question to illustrate both of these strips and they were never originally intended for submission to Viz comic or indeed were Viz rejections, however much of the contents of the "Viz-a-likes" were indeed recognisably previously rejected Viz submissions.(glaringly so in Zit and Gas Comic)

    4. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Rob!

      Cheers for clearing up a few things there - it's all one big education, going through these massive piles of semi-forgotten rudeness.

    5. Hi TwoHeadedBoy, well this has given me an excuse to login my largely unused google+ account at any rate! It's good to see someone else remembers Doodlebug however!

      The only one of the Viz-clones which I remember Charlie Brooker working on was "Elephant Parts" which had formerly been "Brain Damage" rebranded(I think) with a strip entitled "Horny Estelle" which was scripted far better than it was illustrated.

      If you're interested in investigating early Viz-clones, my own crappy contribution Filth comic has been undergoing a restoration process(a bit like Poot has)of being digitally colourised and is available to read online here:

      It's not exactly scholarly or inspiring stuff and the humour looks incredibly tired, old and second hand nowadays, but back when it was first written and published in 1986/7 not even Viz was the huge mainstream success it later became and producing a comic with swear words had enormous novelty, shock-value and impact compared to the largely sanitised mainstream IPC output.(excluding Oink of course!)

      The earliest Viz clones I remember were chiefly Filth, Doodlebug and Poot! which was the largest one before the more widely distributed titles came along like Brain Damage, Gas, Smut, Ziggy, Pulp, Zit etc.

      Most of the glut of poor quality Viz-clones seem to come along after 1990-91 point which was when the market hit absolute saturation and there were just far too many of them for there to be any kind of quality control or impact(not that there was much of that in evidence in the first place anyway).

      Along with "Ziggy", I also worked as a regular on "Pulp", "Zit", "Spit" and "Top Banana" and did occasional one-offs for "Smut" and "Elephant Parts"

      I once had a theory that if you took the best two pages from each of these titles, you may end up with a comic which was possibly as good as Viz, but it meant ploughing your way through about 20 titles of largely piss-poor stuff until you compiled that comic.

      The "tasteless" Ann Diamond joke in "Ziggy" was funny in that somehow the magazine got away with it after News of the World jumped on them and then "Zit" got sued by Ann Diamond for a far far lesser joke the following month.

      Apparently Mike Reid was also thinking of suing the magazine describing it as the worst thing he'd ever read and the editor was a bit worried because of Mike Reids supposed underworld/mafia connections.

      I didn't particularly think my own contribution to "Ziggy" that impressive, but I do have fond memories of the magazine out of all of the Viz-clones and found it's brutally anti-cult of celebrity status quite inspiring. In many ways it was a forerunner to Sickipedia...

    6. I've got a few issues of Filth (with a free Sugar Puff, no less), currently preparing an "article" on that one - didn't know it was "back" though, so consider youself "Liked" on that Facebook!

      Charlie Brooker's definitely appeared in Gas, and POSSIBLY also in UT - Kev Sutherland's titles all tend to blend together mostly, but they're still amongst my favourites.

      Piss-poor or not, I do miss these comics (or ANY form of "alternative" publication). The closest I can find nowadays are in the small press sections of comic shops, and even then it takes a lot of digging and patience to find anything that isn't either slap-dash pencil scratchings or wannabe manga stuff...

      Hence, most of my comic-shopping these days is in second-hand places, which is happily where I'm finding most of the titles I'm sticking on this blog!

      Again, cheers for all the info there - it's highly appreciated.

    7. Yeah, Kev F Sutherland was a nice guy, far too good an artist and writer to have been working on Viz-clones. I attempted to get my own rubbish in to UT but unfortunately approached him on what was sadly his last issue otherwise he kindly assured me he would have used some of my material... I think maybe he was just being nice....

      I agree, it IS a shame there aren't underground comics with a distinctly British flavour to them any more, but at the time I don't think anyone who worked on these kind of comics were under any illusion that they would last indefinitely, in fact it was a wonder that so many titles were produced and some of them lasted as long as they did or got the circulations some of them received.

      Filth comic was like Doodlebug in that it was very much a self-published and distributed effort, and initially on a VERY cheaply produced shoe string budget of about £80. Contrary to what is reported on the cookdandbombd forum board Filth did not cease publication because of legal threats of copyright infringement from Viz. A 5th issue was produced and almost ready for print and abandoned at the last hour when it was realised there was more potential for money to be made by farming out the material to the more widely circulated Viz Clones which had suddenly cropped up, prior to that the comic just about clawed back it's print and production costs.

      There WAS a legal threat from Viz's publisher over the swipes Filth took at them in Issue 3(which were probably down to Filths more Punky cheap DIY fanzine type ethic), but it was all a bit of a storm in a teacup and apparently I was told afterwards that the creative team on Viz were a bit bemused that John Brown Publishing had bothered to waste their money on the cab fare across the Thames to hand deliver the threat. It was on a very nice posh bit of stiff card that they printed it on however, perfect for framing and hanging over the mantelpiece and a bit of bad-boy kudos never hurt anyone.

      Thanks for liking the Filth facebook page, I'm hoping some more content will struggle it's way up there eventually and keep up the good work with the blog.

  2. This makes FHM look like The New Statesman.

  3. I dropped by to thank you for joining us here at the "Crypt"...
    You have an interesting blog here yourself.... I will have to come back and read more of your past posts... the Doctor

    1. You're welcome, and likewise!

      I've seen you around since finding Green Plastic Squirt Gun, and have been meaning to see what you were all about ever since. Now I know!

  4. I hope that he is well these days... I enjoy his blog "Green Plastic Squirt Gun"... the "Crypt" is about "Horror" and a bit of "Fun... "We put the "Fun" in Funeral"... the Doctor