Many Viz characters have featured in long-running strips, becoming well known in their own right, including spin-off cartoons.

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Fulchester was originally the setting of the British TV programme Crown Court before the name was adopted by the Viz team. A significant number of strips, most of which centre on child characters, are set in the fictional Barnton.

One of the most pun-based strips was "George Bestial", about famous footballer George Best committing bestiality.

The strip was discontinued after the death of Best, but has since reappeared.

Viz also lampoons political ideas – both left-wing ideals, in strips such as "The Modern Parents" (and to an extent in "Student Grant"), and right-wing ones such as "Baxter Basics", "Major Misunderstanding", "Victorian Dad" and numerous strips involving tabloid columnists Garry Bushell ("Garry Bushell the Bear") and Richard Littlejohn ("Richard Littlecock" and "Robin Hood and Richard Littlejohn"), portraying them as obsessed with homosexuality, political correctness and non-existent left-wing conspiracies to the exclusion of all else.

Others are based on stereotypes of British culture, mostly via working class characters, such as Biffa Bacon, Cockney Wanker and The Fat Slags.

In addition to this, the comic also contains plenty of 'in jokes' referring to people and places in and around Newcastle upon Tyne. These very often have extremely surreal or bizarre storylines, and often feature celebrities.

In 1987, the Virgin director responsible for Viz, John Brown, set up his own publishing company, John Brown Publishing, to handle Viz.

Sales exceeded a million by the end of 1989, making Viz for a time one of the biggest-selling magazines in the country.

The most he can remember is: at the time, he needed to come up with a proper name for it, and he considered the word "Viz" a very easy word to write/remember, as it consisted of three letters which are easily made with straight lines.

It came about at around the time, and in the spirit of, the punk fanzines, and used alternative methods of distribution, such as the prominent DIY record label and shop Falling A Records, which was an early champion of the comic.

For example: "Paul Daniels's Jet-Ski Journey to the Centre of Elvis", and "Arse Farm – Young Pete and Jenny Nostradamus were spending the holidays with their Uncle Jed, who farmed arses deep in the heart of the Sussex countryside...".