Thus runs the tagline for Blag, and it's a fairly accurate one too - this could possibly be one of the most pen-crunchingly, ridiculously violent Viz-type comics that there is! All seems well on the cover, if not slightly odd, in a "we-are-here-for-you" kind of way:
Your basic information here is that Blag lasted for about a year from August of 1990, it was edited by Craig McDonald, published by Sceptre Marketing, and features several familiar faces we've already met.
And with that... Let the catharsis begin?
As with most of these comics, Blag has its "main man", as in, the one who does the most pages, and in this case even the covers. Ty Dalby is his name, and he's also the assistant editor - we previously met Mr. Dalby in the pages of Gutted. For Blag, he gives us, amongst other things, the standard "psychotic skinhead" character in the form of Knacker Knutt:
Along with odd little one-off bad jokes like this pair here:
Italian stereotype and DC Thomson-baiting The Firm is a funny one, if you try and do the voices while you're reading it. If you don't know what an Italian accent is like, just think like the puppets in the Dolmio adverts:
Whilst this parody piece here just might've been a favourite of the Blag staff, seeing as he appears in every issue (or at least every issue that I have). His name is Dr. Pugh, and this particular timelord tends to vomit, frequently. This particular adventure here, I SHOULD be saving, but it's just too bloody bizarre to wait until Christmas to show this one, so here you go:
Ah, for the days when you could get something sold in WH Smith's and not have copyright lawyers banging down your doors...
While we're being all festive here, it's worth showing the cover to Blag's festive edition, in which they really did go all-out, with EVERY strip having a seasonal theme:
One last bit of Dalby's stuff before moving on - he drew rhinos on the back of each issue. Here's two of them:
And now, we meet the rest of the Blag staff, using this page here, which is highly useful...
Self-portraits! If ALL of these comics did this kind of thing, there'd be a lot less pondering involved as to who did what when confronted with an unsigned strip. The more observant reader might recognise a few faces there from previous rude comics, and naturally we'll be getting to them. First, a few folk who only seemed to appear in one issue a piece, at least two of whom appear to be operating under a pseudonym.
First up, presenting the "thick character" and drawing in a somewhat unsettling manner, is John Dakin's Benny Fik:
There's some more of that wonderful violence! Keeping with the theme is, I THINK, Jacqueline East, with Tommy Two Tabs:
If that really is by "Jacqueline", then she's the first female contributor to these comics I've happened across so far. So hey, benchmarks and all that.
By someone going simply by "Jason" is this odd little number:
And continuing with the phallic dismemberment is "Tom Sawyer II" with this cautionary tale:
As you can probably tell by now, there's a consistent "feel" running through Blag, something that's missing from a lot of these comics. However you feel about the theme here, at least it gives less of the impression that the whole thing was just thrown together to make some quick money. What Blag DOES have in common with a lot of the other ones, however, is the offer of T-shirts from the outset. The second issue offers this lot:
Whilst by the sixth issue, the designs seem to've improved somewhat:
Right, let's meet some more characters, firstly courtesy of a Mr. Michael Salter. Salter's drawings are BIG, and he likes his violence of an equal size, as evidenced here by "pathological liar" character Bertie Bullshit:
And here, with superhero serial Bogieman - of which this is the third episode:
And that leads us tentatively on to another caped-type, and the first of several by the next "featured artist", and personal favourite of mine, Phil Baber. It's Catman:
Phil Baber, then. We've previously seen him here within the pages of Gutter, Gutted, the never-published Oh No!! and the soon-to-be-covered-fully UT, along with many other titles (not limited to Gas, Talking Turkey and Gag, to name three off the top of my head). It was within the pages of Blag that Phil's signature Funny Bunnies made their debut - and here are two of their adventures:
He likes drawing animals, does Mr. Baber:
Indeed, Blag as a whole seems to be friendly towards the plight of the animals. We've already seen Baber's rabbits and Dalby's rhinos, and now here's a "political piece" courtesy of Guy Denning:
Also in residence within Blag is Bill Greenhead (or StiK, to go by his preferred name), who has also appeared in Gutter. Here's one of his Blag pages, a Rapunzel variation for all ages:
Oh, StiK got to draw a cover as well, so that they're not ALL done by Ty Dalby:
Notice that every one of these covers has a Swastika on it? They all belong to Knacker Knutt, but it's still an "interesting observation", no?
There's also Dave Colton, another Gutter guy and later on, a frequent contributor to Acne. He's got stuff in Poot as well, but I didn't think to scan any of his stuff at the time. Ah well, hindsight and all that. This is one of the pages he did for Blag:
Along with Anthony Smith, again, here with another character that could be any of his many other creations:
Fun fact: Just this week I realised that Anthony Smith is the one who does those terrible Learn to Speak Cat things that are in the Metro every day. Well, at least he's still working.
And finally, there's the ever reliable Kev Sutherland, who does LOADS of stuff in Blag, almost as much as Ty Dalby. By way of example, he does his usual tricky wordplay gags:
A violent one, so that he can fit in with the rest of Blag's characters:
And... This one. Remember that one good thing that was in the otherwise terrible Smut? As in, the "ironically" self-mocking mock-up of a Viz mockery? I'll post it again here, just as a refresher:
Well, Mr. Sutherland does a similar thing here, sort of, only in a more "clever" way - in that rather than backfiring and highlighting how terrible the comic actually is, it's more of a "satire" of the obvious thought process that goes into the creation of these many, many Viz-type comics. Here it is:
And with that, that's Blag. Mostly well-drawn, mostly amusing, different enough to be distinguishable from the rest of them... Certainly an appropriately convincing enough title.