Released: 01 October, 2004

'We pride ourselves on the fact that you're no cleverer when you've read Viz. You might have had a few laughs but you've not learnt anything.' Chris Donald.

Does the same hold true with this book? Well there are a few laughs, but you DO learn things too! Even if you're not a fan of the magazine there's still plenty to enjoy here. The book's been divided up into three main chapters – The Story, The Characters, the Art, and every glossy page of it is chock full of artwork – roughs, unfinished scripts, preliminary sketches, abandoned concepts, character designs and final artwork (the highlight for me is the work of Simon Thorp with his intricate black and white work and outstanding colour cartoons.)

Aside from the cartoons there's a detailed history of the magazine from its beginnings as a local comic handed out in youth clubs to selling a million copies per month nationwide. Of equal delight is the small details found in the book – the letter written by Alex Collier and the rejection he received is reproduced (Those of us who met Alex at Nottingham will know how successful he became at Viz) and Chris Donald's obsession with forms is also addressed (and signed and dated).

Amazon.co.uk have this for £14 (hardcover – including free delivery – see link at the top of this review), and if you're a fan of Viz give it a go.

Tim Harries

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