It's back for a five issue mini-series from Rebellion Publishing.... Battle Action, 2000AD publisher’s relaunch of the title inspired by two classic British weekly comics, Battle Picture Weekly (aka Battle) and Action, returns as a five-issue miniseries, with writer Garth Ennis playing a principal role in its latest incarnation.
Battle Picture Weekly, still holds an exalted position in my
memory - in fact it is probably my favourite comic book ever. But
besides that Battle displayed a stunning use of the medium over its run
and of course gave us a genuine comic book masterpiece in Charley's War -
but more on that seminal strip later.
was launched in answer to rival D C Thompson's successful war strip title, Warlord and although born out of imitation
Battle did better Warlord and is perhaps one of the, if not THE, most
important British comic titles ever.
answer to Warlord's main character, Lord Peter Flint was Mike Nelson
codenamed The Eagle - however readers preferred the more gritty strips
in Battle and Mike Nelson, although featuring in several series of
adventures, was soon dropped.
Early stars of Battle Picture Weekly were D-Day Dawson, The Bootneck Boy
and the truly exceptional Rat Pack which was based very much on the
popular movie, The Dirty Dozen.
So well remebered are The Rat Pack that Titan Books have a trade
paperback collection that collects together many of their
most popular stories.
|which one is Lee Marvin?|
"We were looking to movies like Dirty Harry and the
spaghetti westerns for inspiration," writer Pat Mills said in his
introduction to the story in Titan's Best of Battle. "And with Rat Pack
we got it from the movie, The Dirty Dozen. It's an archetype that will
never go away."
Another early strip that was hugely popular was D D Dawson - it told of
Sgt. Steve Dawson who took a bullet during the D-Day landings but
survived. However the bullet moved closer to his heart with every
adventure and he knows that it will inevitably kill him. And so he vows
to fight on until his own personal D-Day finally arrives. And arrive it
did in the issue dated 22 Jan 1977 when the character finally went down.
The next two scans depict D Day Dawson's last adventure - click on the
images for a bigger readable version.
The comic merged other titles into it during its long run and the
- Battle Picture Weekly (8 March 1975 - 16 October 1976)
- Battle Picture Weekly and Valiant (23 October 1976 - 12 November 1977)
- Battle Action (19 November 1977 - 20 February 1982)
- Battle (27 February 1982 - 1 October 1983)
- Battle Action Force (8 October 1983 - 29 November 1986)
- Battle (6 December 1986 - 17 January 1987)
- Battle Storm Force (24 January 1987 - 23 January 1988)
When the Battle itself began to fail it was merged into the new
relaunched Eagle but by then the glory days of British boy's comics was
The world of Battle was a non-PC world where the Americans were Yanks,
the Japanese were Japs, the Germans were Nazis and the British were
Limeys, but it wasn't always as clear cut and one strip in particular,
Charley's War created by Pat Mills with almost photographic artwork
from Joe Colquhoun, was an anti-war strip in a boys war comic and today
stands as a true masterpiece of British comics. Titan have published
several deluxe hardback volumes collecting the stories with still more
|True depth in the comic book medium|
|TITAN'S CHARLEY'S WAR COLLECTION|
It's a bleak and terrible story, but despite the
overwhelming cynicism and negativity that surrounds the trenches,
there's just a grain of faith in the human spirit. Not enough to ever
make this remarkably sad tale ever attractive to Hollywood, but there's
something genuinely moving in Charley's letters to his parents and the
real friendships forged among the men in the front line. Like most of
the great comics Pat Mills created during his most vibrant period of,
say, 1976-89, the power of humanity is greater than the power of the
"authority" which commands it to do terrible things in the name of
royalty, nation or planet.
Battle truly was an exceptional comic book
and it's great that the legacy is still remembered and felt even today.
It may have started off as a typical gung ho style comic book but the
skill of the creators soon led it into avenues previously unexplored in
the comic book medium. It was incredible reading for a young kid to be
presented with war in a realistic fashion in strips such as Charley's
War and Johnny Red. to be presented with the unglamorous truth and to
discover that bullets really did hurt and that the glory of fighting for
one's country soon becomes secondary to surviving when the reality of
war is felt.
|Oh you are awful but I do like you!|
On a lighter note Battle had the popular
Airfix Modellers Club page which was presented by British comedian, Dick
Emery. And the letter's page was supposedly edited by Captain Hurricane
that hangover from the days of Valient Comic.
To fully cover the importance of Battle would take more than one, two or
even several blog articles - indeed a full scale book would be called
for, but the article here is merely a taster of a time when British
Comics really were a formidable creative force.
Now bring on the new version