Forty-one years later that comic is still going strong as Viz, having soon found an army of eager devotees and building a circulation rising to over a million copies a month in the early Nineties.
One of only 150 copies of Viz No1 printed by creator Chris Donald, with its free gift ice-cream (a sketch of an ice-cream stapled inside the back cover), is estimated at £700-900 in Comic Book Auctions’ timed online sale closing on November 22. Two further printings were made of 250 copies each.
Malcolm Phillips of CBA says: “Our vendor was a student at Newcastle Polytechnic at the time and he frequented the Jesmond pub [The Gosforth Hotel] where early Viz copies were intermittently offered for sale.
“Having got hold of most of the issues from No 4 onwards, he finally found No 1 in 1995 at North Shields Books where it was advertised in Book and Magazine Collector for £40. He tells us they even sent it to him ‘on approval’ so he could check its authenticity. He then ‘reluctantly’ sent them the money as he thought it such a high price in those days.
“As a long-time buyer at our auctions he finally decided to offer his Viz collection for sale this November. Typical of many of our customers, we had no idea that he had owned this wonderful group of comics until now.”
The vendor bought Viz No 4 (the following lot to No 1 in the CBA auction, estimate £500-700) at The Jesmond from a popular punk rocker called Arthur 2 Stroke who, along with his band The Chart Commandos, had their ad on the front cover.
CBA has sold three Viz No 1s since 1999, with the latest one making £425 in 2004.
Also sold in Newcastle...
The first printing of the ‘Free Ice Cream’ in Viz No 1 was in red and the rarer second printing in black. Newcastle auction house Anderson & Garland holds the world record for the latter at nearly £1000 hammer.
A&G sold a Viz No 2 (dated April 1980) for £1400 in July 2018 (see ATG No 2352) and a No 4 (October 1980) took £900 in 2016. In September 2017 a comprehensive complete collection of Viz comics, Viz publications and ephemera, including No 1 with red-ink ‘Free Ice Cream’ and the rare nos 2, 3 and 4 sold for £2900.