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Monday, 4 April 2011


This is a personal list and is not intended to be an indication of the best characters ever created in British comics, although many of those in my selection undoubtedly are.
I started reading comics in the 1970’s and stopped sometime during the mid 80’s. 
Of course I would return to comic book reading and these days regularly read several titles. 
However the top ten (in no particular order)  that follows is heavily influenced by that first burst of 
comic book reading and as such reflects the style of comics 
that were my personal preference.  

4 - D Day Dawson - this character as his strip which appeared in Battle Picture Weekly was one of my all time favourites - indeed the central premise of the story  influenced my forthcoming Black Horse release, The Ballad of Delta Rose. The story told of Sgt. Steve Dawson who was shot on the Beaches of Normandy during the D-Day landings. However he survived but has a bullet lodged close to his heart, that will eventually kill him. With nothing to lose Dawson vows to fight on.

3-Dredger- I loved the Dredger strip which first appeared in the controversial, Action until the comic's demise and then made it's way over to Battle. The later creation of Judge Dredd owes a lot to Dredger - even their names were similar.

2 - Judge Dredd - You've got to love Judge Dredd, even if he is the biggest fascist in a fascist state. The character is perhaps the UK's only comic book character able to challenge the dominance of the American's hold on comic book action heroes. He's something of a mystery - we've never seen what he looks like beneath that helmet - well as long as you ignore the dreadful Stallone movie version. Created in the mid 1970's, during a period of great unrest between the British populace and the government, a time when there was the very real feeling of revolution in the air, a time when Britain was sliding towards total anarchy, the strip was a clever satire on state control. Set initially in a future New York which eventually morphed into Mega City One- a sprawling metropolis that covered most of the Eastern United States, Dredd has gone on to become a true institution - So great is the character's name recognition that his name is sometimes invoked over similar issues to those explored by the comic series, such as the police state, authoritarianism and the rule of law.
1-Charley Bourne - created by Pat Mills and drawn by Joe Calquhoun, Charley's War is far more than a comic strip. It can hold its place amongst all of the great literature and films dealing with the first world war. Charley's War tells the story of an underage British soldier called Charley Bourne. Charley joins the British Army during World War I at the age of 16 (having lied about his age and told the recruiting officers that he was 18, and is quickly thrust into the Battle of the Somme.Everything about this strip was different to the usual war strips - it didn't rely on square jawed heroics, but rather presented the conflict in a realistic way and tackled subjects that were never previously covered in comic strips. So important is the strip in the evolution of comics that is has often been called, the greatest comic strip of all time.

The strip is currently available in a series of deluxe hardback graphic novels from Titan Books.

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