Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Charley's War The Definitive Collection Volume 1

As a child growing up in the 1960s I used to avoid war stories in comics. They often seemed too gung-ho, treating war as a great adventure. To be fair, IPC's Battle Picture Weekly portrayed a grittier side to war, but I was already swerving it because I thought it'd be like previous war comics. Plus I was in my mid teens by the time Battle arrived on the scene so had eschewed most British comics in favour of the adolescent power fantasies of Marvel and DC.

Somehow or other though I did pick up Battle (by then renamed Battle-Action) in 1980 and was immediately hooked by Charley's War, clearly an anti-war strip, there in the middle of a war comic. The fact that it had the superb writing of Pat Mills and art by Joe Coloquhoun (whose Football Family Robinson I had admired in Jag back in 1968) made it even more compelling. This wasn't the light-adventure style he'd employed on the Robinsons though. This was a more brutal and realistic approach. (I've since bought the first 250 issues of Battle as back issues and can now appreciate what a great comic it was in its early years.)

Charley's War quite rightly won the admiration of thousands of readers, and has been reprinted a few times over the years. Now, Rebellion are to collect the entire World War One saga in three chunky volumes as part of their Treasury of British Comics line, and Charley's War The Definitive Collection Volume 1 will be published on April 18th.
The 320 page first volume is certainly true to its definitive title. The artwork has never looked as sharp and clear as this. It's also been re-lettered by Jim Campbell, as the original printing used typeset (Battle's only real mis-step was that use of typeset). The few pages that were in full colour were greyscale in previous reprint books, but here they are in colour as intended. 

There's also a couple of bonus items at the back of the book in the form of full colour Battle covers that featured Charley, and seven pages of Pat Mills' commentary on the stories.

Charley's War is the war story for people who hate war stories... but it's also for those who love war comics too, because it respects those soldiers who endured so much suffering and made great sacrifices. It's a war story that champions bravery and condemns cruelty, whether that be the sadism of the enemy or that of some British officers Charley encounters. It's a true epic of British comics, starting with Charley Bourne as an idealistic, very naive 16 year-old and taking us through his journey of hardship and courage. There's humour too, - the black humour of the trenches that was part of the necessity to survive such conditions. 

Charley's War is an essential read. Buy it.

Here's the PR from Rebellion...

    •    CREATIVE TEAM: Pat Mills, (w) Joe Colquhoun (a) John Aldrich, Jim Campbell (l)
    •    REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
    •    RELEASE DATE: 18th April 2018
    •    PAPERBACK, 323 pages
    •    PRICE: £19.99 (UK) TBC (US)
    •    ISBN: 9781781086193
    •    DIAMOND: FEB181726

Considered by many as the most important war story to appear in comics, Charley’s War follows the working class Charley Bourne who eagerly signs up to fight on the Western front in 1916. The idealistic sixteen-year-old experiences a hellish world of trench warfare where every day is a bitter fight for survival. Charley and his friends soon realise they have been thrust into a conflict where ordinary people are expected to throw away their lives to serve the selfish interests of those in power! Written by British comics legend Pat Mills and featuring the breathtaking artwork of Joe Colquhoun, this first volume of Charley’s War includes Charley’s harrowing participation in one of the bloodiest encounters in human history - The Battle of the Somme.

As a taster, here's the first chapter, originally published in Battle-Action No.200, dated 6th January 1979...

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Beano No.3927 preview

D.C. Thomson have released the cover to this week's Beano, drawn by Nigel Parkinson. There's a preview of some of the contents over at which you can see by clicking here:

There's also another Big Eggo strip by me. Can Eggo escape from Terry Tuff?

Beano No.3927 goes on sale on Wednesday 21st March. £2.50.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Busy day at Bath

It was a very busy day at Bath Comic-Con last Saturday. If you haven't already seen my con report you can read it here:

Commando comics on sale March 22nd

Here's a preview of the four issues of Commando that will be out later this week...

5107: Home of Heroes: Toe to Toe

Trading one fighting field for another (of sorts), our Tommy heroes, Jake Reilly and Tony Parsons, may appear allies, but when they’re captured in North Africa and taken to an Italian POW camp, old feuds flame up. Bitter rivals, Reilly was a top striker (and penalty pusher), while Parsons was a hard-headed goalie for a rival team. When the war broke out, they thought their playing days were over, but they were wrong…

In a perfect pairing, George Low combines two great British favourites, Commando and football, in a charming satire of European rivalries, transposing the battlefield for a football pitch. Janek Matysiak’s cover also adds credence to this, showing the pivotal match through the barbed wire of the the POW camp fence.

|Story | George Low | Art | Morhain | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5108: Gold Collection: They Flew by Night

J-for-Jig or J-for-Jinx? The RAF were notorious for their superstitions, but when one Lanc. bomber caused the death of every pilot who flew her, everyone agreed the aircraft was hoodoo.  Everyone, that is, except Titch Bradbury. A daring pilot, who was maybe just a tad too cocksure, Titch didn’t believe in that tommyrot, and he’d prove it or die trying!

Penned by the editorial team at DC Thomson, who certainly knew a thing or two about the RAF, with Commando’s own editor Chick Chetley flying with them from 1941-46, and interior art by Gordon C. Livingtone, this Golden Age reprint will delight new and old fans alike.

|Story | Staff | Art | Gordon C. Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C. Livingstone |
Originally Commando No. 488 (July 1970).

5109: Action and Adventure: Doctor’s Orders

Captain Tom Stewart never thought he’d find himself stranded in Iraqi-occupied territory in Kuwait, bleeding internally, closer and closer to death each second. He never thought his only chance of survival would lie in the hands of US Navy Captain Doctor Jane Daly, or that she would save his life with the only tools at her disposal: a torch, a pen tube, and a penknife. It was going to be one long night…

Iain McLaughlin’s Gulf War story is one of survival, as time and terrain pose as much of a threat as the Iraqi soldiers who track our heroes. This exhilarating cat and mouse tale is then combined with an effectual cover, featuring our trio of heroes, and pristine interiors by Manuel Benet.

|Story | Iain McLaughlin | Art | Manuel Benet | Cover | Manuel Benet |

5110: Silver Collection: Fools’ Gold

Mike Barclay signed up to fight for his country – not cook for it! He only wanted to see combat, but after his squadron was attacked by Jerries, Mike was forced to flee with a group of Tommies led by Sid Blacke. Mike was in for another shock though, as he discovered that Sid wasn’t leading them back to Allied lines – but to hidden treasure, buried deep in ruins in the North African desert. Now, surrounded by deserters, with war crimes mounting, Mike’s chance of escape was dwindling, as friend and foe raced towards the fools’ gold!

With stunning interior illustrations by Keith Shone, highlighted by the white lettered captions on the deep blacks of the tomb interiors, Anthony Knowles’ treasure hunt adventure is full of twists and turns, as greed turns everyone against our hero.

|Story | Anthony Knowles | Art | Keith Shone | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 2730 (January 1994).

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Preview: Judge Dredd Megazine No.394

It'll be in the shops next Wednesday but here's an advance look at Judge Dredd Megazine No.394, courtesy of the publishers...

UK & DIGITAL: 21st March 2018 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21st April 2018 $13

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

LAWLESS: BREAKING BADROCK by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie DeVille (l) 

CURSED EARTH KOBURN by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)

DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse(l)

Features: Charley's War and interview with Robert Bliss

BAGGED GRAPHIC NOVEL: Outlier by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...