Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Fishmas!

Speaking honestly, 2013's been a bit of a shitter mostly. There were some good bits, definitely, but it's all been downhill since around September-ish, hence the general Scrooginess I've been feeling throughout December. HOWEVER, over the past two nights I've been visited by three spirits (well, two good friends and a sibling), and that "festive feeling" has finally arrived, sort of. So let's have one last thing before the 25th happens - The Trout Xmas Special!

How appropriate! One of those terrible Viz wannabes that's also Christmassy. This being the only issue of Trout that I have, it makes sense to look at it now, otherwise it'd mean waiting a whole year for the opportunity to arise again. And a lot of things can happen in a year - what if something should "happen"? The world would be denied knowing about the contents of this particular comic! And what a tragedy that would be etc.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Look behind you and all that

Six more sleeps till "the big day", and somehow, despite all my efforts, I'm not feeling "Christmassy" in the slightest. I'll be blaming recent real-life events for that, but am still endeavouring to get at least a BIT festive. This might help:

Yeah, a pantomime! The Hoot pantomime no less. I've talked about Hoot before, and I'll be talking about it again - it's far too good a comic to be as neglected as it is. It was completely left out of the otherwise excellent Classics From The Comics (it's not even mentioned on the cover), and last year, when DC Thomson put out a book collecting several pantomime-themed stories from their archives, Hoot was left out once more.

In my ongoing heroic quest to right such wrongs, here's the whole thing, in full...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Twenty days left, not like anything's going to happen

So we may as well do this "year in review" thing that everyone else started doing in September. Let's see now...

On a purely cultural level, it's been a bit of a bugger. We've lost Bob Godfrey, Ray Harryhausen, Lou Reed, Richard Briers, Mel Smith, Charles Grigg, Marcia Wallace, Patti Page, James Gandolfini, Richard Griffiths, Felix Dexter - more or less everyone that anyone's ever cared about is now dead. It's not that nice, really.

What with all the death and disaster, there hasn't been much good "new" stuff around either (at least not that I've noticed). The fact that my favourite album of the year is a compilation of forgotten indie bands from the Nineties that Ben Baker put together could be considered "evidence" of this, but it's more likely I'm just not paying enough attention.

But just like last year, at least there's been that one constant to hold onto and laugh at/with. Viz is what I'm talking about, and it's never going to go away and that makes me and several other people GLAD. Here's the twenty-seven best bits of Viz from 2013, in roughly descending order. How happy we shall be!

27 - Cover of the Year - Lichtenstein Fartpants

Ooh, look at that etc. I'm thinking I should get a bigger scanner soon, it'd be easier than trying to convince Dennis Publishing to reduce the width of Viz slightly. The problems this brings to freeloading folk such as myself shall become evident as this list progresses...

Friday, 6 December 2013

Putting the tinsel up.

Hmmm... Nineteen days to go, I got my first card today. Been selling trees to people for two weeks now, A Spaceman Came Travelling has been on the radio at least twice a day this week, and I feel like watching Scrooged. Suppose something "festive" should be done here?

Okay, the Christmas issue of Viz is out now. Everyone should go and buy it. We Blight Christmas will warm your heart like nothing else, and you get a free 2014 calendar. This is what you're looking for:

Well hey look, it's the return of Norbert Colon as well!

Here's something of a "Christmas Cracker" from December of 2002, and from the pages of the NME no less. Everyone goes through that "NME phase" at some point in their life - my phase, fortuitously, included this nice little two-pager by Viz man Alex Collier, written by NME staffer Mark Beaumont. It stars the Cooper Temple Clause, a band I'll still have time for today (this is them, in case you don't know them), and they're visiting various other musical folk dressed up as Father Christmas. If you weren't into the whole "new music" thing in 2002, it's doubtful that any of the jokes here will make any sense, but here you go anyway:

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Willy the Third

Anyone who's taken their enjoyment of comics beyond the "casual" level is surely aware of Leo Baxendale's Willy the Kid books, right? Mr. Baxendale , creator of the Bash Street Kids, Grimly Feendish, Minnie the Minx, Little Plum, Sweeny Toddler and so on, working only for himself, free of any editorial restrictions - the first book's an absolute masterpiece, and the second one's not too shoddy either.

But how about... the THIRD Willy?

Cover image taken from Kid Robson's blog, for reasons soon to be made clear.

See You Jimmy!

I've received several "comedian-based" annuals over the years - from Lenny Henry's Well Hard Paperback to Harry Hill's Fun Book. None of these (well, perhaps excluding the Spitting Image Book) have made as much of a lasting impression, however, as Russ Abbot's Fun Book.

Why was the five-year-old version of myself gifted this? Was I a junior Russ Abbot's Madhouse fanatic? Were things getting desperate on the 24th of December in 1990? Those are questions I'll probably never get around to asking. It's still a book that lives up to its "fun" title, though.

Friday, 29 November 2013

The REAL Annual (can't think of a snappy title for this one, sorry)

Next on the pile... This one!

It's the 1990 (as in, 1989) Real Ghostbusters annual, and this one actually DID arrive on the 25th day of December, all those years ago. Ghostbusters and its related media seems to be one of life's constants, at least in my experience. Early exposure and all that. And out of the four Real Ghostbusters annuals I've got over the years, this is the one that stands out for some fairly unique reasons...

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Annual from the Future

A curious thing I realised a couple of years ago - I was reading 2000 AD BEFORE I was reading the Beano. Well, not actually reading it, just looking at it. As the previous post mentioned, monsters are all I've ever really cared about for large portions of my life, and the particular issue of 2000 AD I remember having as a youngster was filled with the things. If I describe the setup, could someone point me in the direction of whatever issue it was? No? Well I will anyway. A load of monsters standing around having a discussion (about what I do not know - it's not like I was "reading" the thing), and one of them, a green-skinned woman, eventually gets a sword thrown through her. She carries on talking and removes it like it was nothing...

Well, over the years I've acquired and then got rid of THREE big stacks of 2000 AD comics, and that issue I remember was in the first pile. Why I got rid of them? Who knows? They're probably the ONLY comics I've ever let go, which is just not right. Anyway, I remember having 2000 AD comics at least a year before getting my first Beano or Dandy (and THOSE comics actually helped me learn to read!), so with that in mind it's only fair that a 2000 AD annual should be one of my favourites. This one, specifically:

Oh, and I definitely WON'T be getting this "top twenty" finished before Xmas, so it'll run over into June probably, but that's fine. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Marvellous Book

Bear with me here - this is a festive "mini series" sort of thing that I wasn't planning to do until December, but the reality is there probably won't be enough time in that month to do much... So it's being brought forward a bit. All the adverts have been on telly since March anyway, so I may as well.

RIGHT. The "theme" goes like this: What happens on the 25th December, usually? If you're aged between five and twelve, maybe beyond? You get ANNUALS, that's what. Nice hardback books, to keep you busy throughout the festive week. Some people grow out of them, most don't and end up with hundreds of the things stacked in the corner of the room twenty years down the line. Like the majority of people, I fall into the latter category, and so... Well, it's my Top Twenty-or-so Most Favourite Annuals Ever. In no particular order, and I probably won't get that many done by Christmas, but it's worth a go. And we're starting with a bloody Marvel book of all things.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Another "plug", why not?

Here's where I pretend I'm a "proper journalist" that gets things sent to him all the time for reviewing purposes, but the truth is just that a certain Mr. Adam Smith is an all-round nice person. Back when I first started "doing" things about the various Viz-like comics that've been and gone over the years, he sent me a near-complete run of Northern Lightz, for absolutely nothing. And this week, what's he send me? He sends me this:

It's one of those small-press things which are always interesting, if not always good. This one would've been "in the shops" now, except Mr. Smith got the cover the wrong way around before sending it to the printers, the silly bugger. So we'll call this the dodgy BETA-version, yes? Some stuff about Northern Lightz when I find the time, but for now a bit of plugging - my way of saying "Thanks" for the undeserved freebies.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

If you're happy and you know it, give a honk.

Here's something new... As in, something that's available right now, and isn't a relic of the 1980s or 1990s. And I'm reviewing it! How interesting. It's two comics of the "small press" variety, which is what "underground" comics are called nowadays, I think. And they're both by a certain Mr. Turnock.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Continuing Diseases

Next on the pile is one that took a fair while to find... I only knew about this one through a now-missing post over on Lee Turnock's blog, but find it I eventually did, and what do you know - it's from the same part of the world as I am! Here it is, it's called Igor.

Is it any good? Of course not, but that's all part of the fun... Right?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Every year since 1995, or at least whenever I've remembered or been able to, I try and find/purchase Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, an annual anthology of "spooky" Simpsons comics. This year's was a bitter disappointment (in that it wasn't funny at all), but that's par for the course with The Simpsons these days.

Anyway, in that very first issue eighteen years ago, this page was in it:

That's Matt Groening listing a load of things that spooked him during his developing years. I'm going to have a go at doing that now! Probably the last opportunity I'll have to do something "thematic" for this month, so it's back to the comics after this. But just for now, here's as many things as I can remember that frightened, confused, perturbed or caused mild discomfort to me over the years...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Monster! Monster!

Don't suppose anyone remembers around this time last year? When I did a "feature" on the Children's Britannica Book of Ghosts? Well, I did, and now here's its counterpart/sequel - and it's all about monsters!

The REAL monster here is my inability to properly scan a hardback book held together with Sellotape, so expect slap-dash levels of image quality throughout.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A comic not of sight or of sound but of mind

Seeing as it's October and all that, here's something slightly "spooky" yet still in fitting with the "main" theme of the "project" that's "been" going on "here" for the "past few" months. Sort of. It's an oddity, that's for sure - something that from the cover looks like a parody of The Twilight Zone, but is actually several outdated parodies of cult TV shows and a handful of Zit reprints.

It's... The Twilight Clone, from 1991, and helmed by Spit! contributor, Mr. Michael Hingley. I can't find ANY information on this one, anywhere, and found it by chance in a box full of 2000AD back issues in a second-hand "collector's emporium" in Manchester, sometime last year. Something tells me that The Twilight Clone had big ambitions, and maybe something came of it, who knows? If that "something" ever DID happen, it didn't survive up to the Internet age, so here it is.

And then later, when it gets dark, we go home.

I know I like to dream a lot
And think of other worlds that are not
I hate that I need air to breathe
I'd like to leave this body
And be free

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Specialist Adult Humour Periodical for the Lonely

Well look at this, more than one post in a month! Makes a nice change, a bit. This one's about a terrible, terrible, terrible comic called Spit! - I don't feel like smiling anymore.

Carry on, make yourself miserable...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Oops, and suddenly it's October. I was planning one more "rude" comic, then a clever segue sort of thing into some seasonal "spooky" stuff... If I get my arse into gear, it COULD still happen, but something presented itself this morning (or yesterday?) that couldn't be left languishing on the hard drive. It's this thing here:

An unpublished comic from Fleetway! Not the kind of thing any sensible comic-enjoyer should ignore, certainly not. According to a Mr. McScotty of the Comics UK forums, this was a mock-up of sorts, tried out on the kids of several Glasgow primary schools, around 1991-ish. It never went any further than that, but ask and you shall receive...

Over to Lew Stringer:

Oh No!! was the brainchild of cartoonists Dave King and Ian Ellery (hence the alias 'Ellery King') who had met with Fleetway to discuss packaging a new humour comic for them. Fleetway okayed the idea and Dave and Ian put together a 32 page dummy issue with contributions from many other creators including myself. 

Fleetway printed a very small run of the comic (perhaps about 200, I forget) and did some market research at schools. The reactions were very positive indeed. Oh No!! was totally different to any children's comic of the time. It had no house style, no adherence to formula, and was closer in style to Oink! but without the rude bits or pig theme. The fact that it did have its own identity is one thing that the kids liked. (For example, when asked to put the comic on top of other comics they thought were similar, the kids created a new space for it.) 

Everything was looking good. Dave and Ian even booked a hotel for us to have a pre-launch get together with all the other creators. Fleetway were keen to do this new comic. The mood at the pre-launch was very optimistic. 

And then things went pear-shaped. A change of management (I think this is when Egmont took over, - not 100% sure) suddenly put the project on hold. And it never happened. Not attributing any blame. It just wasn't the sort of comic the new owners wanted to do. They wanted licensed properties, not creator-owned new characters. 

It came so close though...

If copies are in circulation they must be the ones given to the school for market research or contributor's copies. It was never distributed to shops or to anyone outside of Fleetway & the research team. 

And now, just under a year after I first enquired about this oddity, along comes someone by the name of Alfie. He kindly scanned in his entire dummy copy for the folk of the forums to take a gander at, and now he's only gone and sent me some super-high-quality scans of it all. And here it is!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

This Is Not Who We Were

If there's anyone still "out there" in Internetland, my apologies. It's been a long, weird Summer. They could make a film out of it, maybe. It wouldn't be a very good film, but it'd involve extreme emotional opposites - dizzying heights of happiness, nauseous lows of depression, love and heartbreak, lies and deceit, scary gangsters, threats of every kind imaginable, death, courtroom dramas, some good music, a lot of booze...

But that's not what we're here to discuss. This is a "fun" and "happy" place where fun and happy things are looked at. Normal service will resume shortly, but for now (just to "tide things over"), here's some cultural sensitivity courtesy of DC Thomson, circa 1993. Enjoy in an "Oh we're so much more enlightened twenty years later" sort of way.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Beano Boys

Just something quick here - I was going to save it until February but odds are I'd've forgotten about it, or even lost it by then, so it's here now instead. From a 1987 issue of Escape ("The Modern Guide to Comics and More") is this obituary piece on Mr. Ken Reid, with tributes from Leo Baxendale, Pat Mills, Savage Pencil, Davy Francis, Kevin O'Neill, Robert Nixon, Alan Moore and Lew Stringer.

From the same two page spread, there's also a mini interview with Leo Baxendale, talking about taking DC Thomson to court, and a few of his other (at the time) current projects.

Just in case anyone's interested, like.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pus-filled unwelcome blemish

Right, here we go again! A trite observation about all these sub-Viz comics is that the bad ones seem to do a lot better than the good ones. Titles like Smut can carry on for almost two decades, whereas something like Adroit might disappear after two or three issues. On a similar merciful level, utter garbage like Jockstrap seem to've been wiped from the memory of all but a handful of people, so at least there's that.

Which brings us to Zit, a comic that seems to fall somewhere in between the "good" and the "awful" definitions - mostly to do with what was going on behind the scenes. Yes, we're looking at Zit today!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Low cost school trip, Ramraid Oxfam, "Christ that sun's hot", Yes that's right sir

I'll admit - it's been too bloody hot to be sitting in scanning comics and then writing about them. And somehow I've got a more active social life than I did this time last year, so that's why there's been nothing here for the past five weeks. I am (slowly) working on a "thing" about Zit, one of the more successful (as in, long-running) Viz clones, but I couldn't let this week pass un-noted, oh no. It's been 368 days since I started this blog thing, and in that time it's gotten thirty-four more "followers" than I was expecting, and around 28,000 more "views" than I was expecting, so thanks a lot to everyone, even if you've just stumbled across here whilst looking for something else.

If we all went to the same pubs, I'd happily get a round in, happily!

Meanwhile, just to tide things over (a weird bit of news last week led a handful of people into believing I had died), here's the Beano from the week I was born, in its entirity. Once the rain makes a return, I'll get back to "archiving" all those smutty comics.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Nasty little skank

Now here's an interesting one - a race-based comic. Not as in who-can-run-fastest but as in the "race" term that separates folk by their country of origin. This one here's made by and for British folk of Jamaican descent, and it's... not that bad really. It's called Skank, by the way, and it's from 1994-ish.

It's still bad, but nowhere near the levels of badness seen in Smut or Jockstrap. The covers don't do Skank many favours, mind - seeing these in a shop (or indeed, on my bedroom floor), you'd be forgiven for thinking they were a "different" kind of publication:

So, read on for humour based around drugs, violence, sex, homophobia, xenophobia, racial supremacy, rape, wife-beating and orally-satisfying cars, if that's your thing...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Something appalling

Here we have it now - POSSIBLY the absolute worst out of all the Viz knock-offs. There's still a couple of contenders in my possession, and there's bound to be about a hundred and twelve others that I don't yet know about, but for now, this one's pretty dreadful.

From that Scotland place, claiming to be "Scotland's very own adult comic" - no acknowledgement for the superd Electric Soup there (soon to be "covered" on this very blog).

In terms of "history", Jockstrap's a fairly late arrival to the rude comics party, being from around 1998-ish (no dates are given, but frequent mention is made of the World Cup in France - helps to pay attention to football sometimes). The paper's nice and shiny, but that's about the only praise this one'll be getting. No artists are credited either (if you could really call them that), and no jokes or structure is to be found either. Just so you know all that before carrying on...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Naughty Nigel & The Imaginatively-Titled Comic

Here's a fairly "unique" title - from the publishers of the Sunday Sport (when it was all about alien loveslime killing petunias or the Loch Ness Monster being a Nazi U-boat, rather than the softcore tabloid it is today). It's the Sunday Sport Adult Celebrity Comic!

The first issue there's from 1997, so it's fairly late to the party in terms of jumping on Viz's bandwagon, but it DOES include work from some VERY talented/famous comics-folk. Comics-folk you wouldn't usually expect to draw smutty stuff. Ignore the labels at the bottom of this post if you want a surprise. But then, if you're under eighteen or at work, maybe you should just read the labels anyway. This IS the Sport after all, so be warned...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Adroit - "Clever or skillful in using the hands or mind", apparently.

Summed up by fellow rude comic "connoisseur" Mr. Turnock thusly:

"Hell's teeth, I only ever saw this once, when I was on holiday in Lowestoft! I always used to check out local newsagent's shops when I went on holiday and the only thing I remember about this was its title, so the contents couldn't have been that memorable."

Well I've found an issue of it, and it's certainly... different?

Straight away, the cover's different to the usual Viz-a-like "bunch of characters standing around swearing at each other", so it's a start. Let's see what's inside, yes?

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.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Just saying, like.

This isn't a political blog, nor is it all that much concerned with current affairs. But wouldn't it be great if she'd've been drowned in milk or sealed into a coal mine or something?

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ah, Poot! is here

Bit of a delay in proceedings there, sorry about that. Accidentally got a "social life" for a few weeks, whoops. Anyway, enough of that sort of nonsense, here's another rude comic from a couple of decades ago. This time it's a GOOD one, and it's called Poot!

Birmingham-based, this one - done mostly by a couple of students from 1985 to 1990. Tim Westall and Jon Marks are their names. It's a bit of an odd one, is Poot!. Very silly, almost childish, but definitely a refreshing change from the violence and misogyny-fuelled Smut. As such, it stands out from most of the Viz clones in that it's still an enjoyable read today (as long as your senses are  subscribed to a certain form of humour).

The fun begins by clicking below:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Charity gubbins

Just taking a short breather from the Viz knock-offs, just for a moment. That Smut thing was depressing, and I've spent most of today reading Ziggy, which has got me verging on the suicidal (you'll see what I mean when I eventually get around to covering that one).

The "breather" is for a reason other than reminding myself that good comics exist - for on this approaching Friday, it's Red Nose Day. Raising money for all sorts of good causes (and ignoring the salaries taken by BBC folk), it's mostly a "fun"-based charity. This year has the Beano getting involved, and to be frank, it looks horrendous. Jessie bleeding J, One Direction, Olly bloody Murs, Harry Hill and David Tennant all done in Nigel Parkinson's caricature style.

Yech! Is this REALLY how far imagination can take the Beano these days? Just sticking the obnoxious faces of Saturday evening's television into the otherwise wonderful worlds of Dennis, Minnie and the rest of them? Why not celebrating the medium itself and doing something special with regards to UK comics as a whole? Well, probably because hardly anybody cares about comics anymore, but still.

Let's go back 22 years instead, and take a look at something that seems like it's had a LOT of effort put into it - the Comic Relief Comic.

Comic Relief has several different faces to it - there's the BBC show, in which folk from all over television-town come together and make tits of themselves. There's Sport Relief, where sports personalities do similar. And now there's the Beano, but instead of bringing together a load of comics folk, they just got the X-Factor crowd instead.

In 1991, people DID buy and enjoy comics a lot more than they do now, and of course that means there was more of them around - hence we have this wonderful publication, bringing together DC Thomson's Beano and Dandy crew, along with Judge Dredd, Doctor Who, Dan Dare, Captain Britain, Superman, Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Hunt Emerson, the Young Ones, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, the cast of Fawlty Towers, Edmund Blackadder, the Sleeze Brothers, and hundreds more. All framed around a central, somewhat bizarre Christmas Carol-esque story about red noses conspiring to turn the world population's faces into doorknobs or something.

Want to read the whole thing? Go ahead then, just click on the "Read more" button...

Friday, 8 March 2013

Smut - It's all in the name

Well, THIS was a depressing post to put together. Anyone who's ever read Smut will know it's not exactly the pinnacle of comedy. Anyone who's read Smut recently will know that the Sun is a more tasteful read.

Created by misters Tom Fulep and Clive Ward sometime around 1990 (or possibly very late 1989?), it does everything that Viz does, only without any of the satire, wit, subtlety or all-round readability.

Regardless, it lasted for bloody ages, so someone must've liked it. And it DID have occasional good bits, courtesy of a few fairly "big" names, mostly - but more on that later.

Oh, don't carry on reading if you're at work. Or if you're under 18. Or if you've got any ounce of "political correctness" on your mind. Or if you're on dial-up (there's a lot of stuff here!). Or you could just disregard all those warnings, get off your high horse and enjoy some smutty fun, takes all sorts!

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Up next from the teetering pile of smutty comics is this one, called DoodleBug. The last ever issue of it, from 1989, as it happens. I've decided to "do" these things in a roughly chronological order, but that plan'll definitely fall to pieces straight away as I find newer/older comics as I go along. Won't really make any difference in the long term, so it's MORE likely I'll be alternating between "good/readable" comics and "absurdly horrible" comics.

DoodleBug, you'll be (possibly) glad to know, is of the former:

It looks cheap because it is cheap, for DoodleBug is a self-published, mostly one-man-job comic - that man being Royston Robertson (currently working for Private Eye, amongst other things). So, despite looking about 2% more professional than the first issue of Viz even though there's a ten-year gap between them, at least there's an excuse for it.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Duck Soup - The beginning of a large thing.

In the year of 2005, a mister Graham Kibble-White put out a book, called The Ultimate Book of British Comics. It's a good read, detailing the histories and contents of most British comics one could care to think of. There's a few dozen exceptions, obviously - neither the Bog Paper or Zig and Zag's Zogozine are mentioned, along with piles and piles of early story papers. Fair enough, it'd be a massive book if it included EVERYTHING, so by aiming the book at the 30 to 40-something market, it keeps things easier... 

There's one fairly massive area of UK comic history that's left out entirely, that being the towering mounds of "alternative" comics that sprung up in the wake of the success of Viz. Graham passes them off with one paragraph in his book:

"Although they were everywhere for about two minutes in the mid-Nineties, they weren't ever intended for kids, nor did they grow out of the lineage of children's publications. Besides, all bar Johnny Fartpants' rag were bloody awful."

Well, yes - a LOT of them were terrible, but not "all" of them. And seeing as there's no big compendium of these adult titles out there ("Viz-A-Likes" is what I call them sometimes), why shouldn't I have a stab at doing a little bit about as many of them as I can? At a push (on a somewhat pretentious level), it could be argued that they're almost as important to the history of UK comics and the underground "comix" are to US comic history (although probably not). They're definitely an acquired taste, and reading too many of them in one day is a depressing jaunt, but I'm going for it anyway.

And here's the one we're starting with:

Here we go, it's called Duck Soup and it's from 1978 (pre-dating Viz by a year). I'm sure I read somewhere that Chris Donald cited Duck Soup as an influence on Viz, but no amount of Googling can currently bring me that information again. Ah well.

As can be seen from the opening page, it's a bit of a home-made affair, with no computer-aided type of any sort to be seen:

Some recognisable names in that list of credits - get excited!

This is the format that the comic mostly takes throughout - pages full of single panel cartoons following a particular theme. This issue's theme as a whole is "the media", with pages based around television, newspapers and the radio.

There's a few full-page strips as well, such as this one from Bryan Lawrence Reading:

This one from Ed McHenry:

And this one from Steve Bell:

Plus a page of short "strips", the three-panel variety, free to break away from the issue's theme, apparently:

And just to add to the whole "DIY" charm of the thing, the adverts are all hand-drawn as well:

Looking at the addresses in the adverts, this was obviously a London-based publication - and considering I found this issue in a used book shop in London, it hasn't travelled much over the last thirty-five years (until now!). 

That's one of the most interesting things I find about these "alternative" titles - they're all so LOCAL. Cheaply made, which obviously means not much would be spent on distribution, so you'd be finding different titles in different parts of the country. That's Duck Soup anyway, incredibly tame when compared to what's to come - consider that a fair warning!