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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Major Easy: Heart of Stone (Titan Books hardcover collection of strips from Battle Picture Weekly)

Titan Books are doing the classic strips from Battle Picture Weekly proud with their handsome hardcover editions of collected strips. Heart of Stone bundles together the first run of strips featuring Major Easy, a character created by writer Alan Hebden and artist, Carlos Ezquerra. The character became a popular addition to Battle and was soon a reader favorite - So populart,and so fondly remembered in fact, that the character has been updated and reinvented for modern day 2000AD as Cursed Earth Koburn.

Back when I was a kid Easy was one of my favorite characters but reading these strips as an adult I realize that the strip doesn't contain as much nuance as say Charley's War or H.M.S. Knightshade both of which can be put up against the very best war novels,  but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. The Easy strips were standalone tales with only the slimmest of continuity between strips, and Easy is in reality a cartoon character - he is able to survive any attack and his bullets never miss their target. and the enemies he faces are cartoon versions of the stereotypes that served British war comics well for a great many years. The Germans are all vile Nazis, the Italians are cowards and the Americans are loud mouth and foolish, but none of that matters since it always comes down to Major Easy, the hard-arsed Brit who can defeat any enemy and always find time for forty winks amongst the chaos and carnage of total war.

Production wise the book is every bit as good as Titan's Charley's War collection. The strips are printed on high quality paper and bound between rigid boards. The books are a must for any serious collector of British comics as well as those wanting a trip down memory lane.

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