They are the publishing phenomenon of the minute: the 17 comic titles have sold more than two million copies since they were launched this time last year.' was 2015's Christmas number one and there was a national shortage of the books during the last festive season after migrants in Calais jumped on the truck carrying new stock and it was impounded. For much of this year, Hazeley and Morris books have squatted in up to eight out of 10 spots on the hardback bestseller chart.
The interior is an homage to its eccentric patron: it is crammed with breweriania and cigarania from the Sixties and Seventies and every inch of the ceiling is covered in beer mats.The characters were given carefully chosen and often very funny names, such as Ned the Third and Tiswas, which would become a feature of all the titles.The new books copied the form of the originals: 56 pages, small enough to fit in a child's hand, a full-page photo-realistic colour illustration on the right to catch the eye, text on the left. "We wanted it to be Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut-y, like an alien observing from great distance.On the way to the toilets, you pass posters revealing winners of "The glove wearer of the year" competition.Hazeley and Morris fell in love with it when they came in for the second time and the barmaid said, "The usual, boys? "Or they'd say, 'It's really nice to remember Ladybird books.' And we thought, 'Oh, you'd forgotten them?"As a comedy writer you have no audience, so I stood by the biographies and watched people pick our books up, then laugh out loud and hand them to a friend.