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Battle picture weekly - Terror Behind the Bamboo curtain 
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Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:41 am
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I wonder why Bamboo Curtain was not popular at the time? It is no stinker. Pat reckons it was because boys didn't like mystery (hmm, they like Sherlock Holmes, don't they?) and wanted straight out action. John Wagner thinks it was because the good guys were less proactive. Or maybe it was too different? What do you think?


Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:24 am
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There is a new blog entry for Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain up at https://jintycomic.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/the-terror-behind-the-bamboo-curtain-1975/


Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:54 am
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Tammyfan wrote:
There is a new blog entry for Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain up at https://jintycomic.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/the-terror-behind-the-bamboo-curtain-1975/

Good entry Tammyfan!

Villain Sado was a huge caricature and pretty darn racist -- not like most people would have worried about that at the time but it does make it harder for me to take it seriously nowadays. It sounds like quite an intriguing story generally, though.

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jintycomic.wordpress.com/ Excellent and weird stories from the past - with amazing art to boot.


Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:53 pm
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Left my reply on the blog. Nicely done article and well worth the read.

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Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:54 pm
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Is the anything in the Battle letters page about Bamboo Curtain? Any comments from readers? If so, they might give some indication as to the reasons for the story's unpopularity, or even reasons why some readers liked it. There must have been some readers who did like it, surely?


Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:38 am
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I read your article, Tammyfan; found it interesting. I've yet still to venture beyond Battle issue 2. So much overtime to accommodate :snoring: i'm finding little time to read. My weekly 2000 ad was last read at issue 1927. I bought this week's, which is issue 1948! As regards Bamboo Curtain, would I have found it so engaging had I bought it as a nine year old boy? I'd like to think yes. But, at the same time, I remember stories from that era that I raved about and now... I think: "Hmm... not like I remember." I first came across Battle when it merged with Action, so I can't comment on the earlier stories from childhood. But I do remember when Charley's War started, I thought: this is different and I like it. I was about 11 or 12 then. So, had I read Bamboo at the same age, I'm I would have felt the same. As a side note, the early Judge Dredd stories didn't really engage me until the mega epics started with Judge Cal and Cursed Earth stories.


Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:27 am
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read the third issue of Battle today and Bamboo Curtain has slipped to second position as regards the stories in this issue. Bootneck Boy grabbed it for me in this issue. While on leave, he rescues proper marines from a mine but, in doing so, loses his cap badge which results in his punishment on returning back to barracks. This poor boy, fighting against all the odds, really does engage the reader. Big Jim Blake returns to face off Sado in Bamboo Curtain, leaving the mystery of British soldiers in Japanese uniform unquestioned. The Golden Hinde and Lofty's one-man war fought for third and fourth place, stories that proved a good read. Rat Pack was next, now commanding the coloured centre pages but, for me, still not sufficient to rate a favourite. The Day of the Eagle is quite pedestrian. While outmanoeuvring the Germans with a motor cycle, Mike Nelson does not engage the reader at all. D-Day Dawson ended up the least favourite. He blacked out in this issue with the bullet lodged in his heart... unfortunately, he recovered just in time to survive for his next one-man mission which leaves his fellow soldiers thinking: "the sergeant will eventually be awarded a Victoria Cross for his incredible heroics."


Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:11 am
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Read a further two issues of Battle and, while the mystery of Bamboo Curtain endures, I can now understand why the series didn't work. Considering the action stories such as Rat Pack, Day of the Eagle and, even, D-Day Dawson, boys of such an age just would not have had the patience to persevere with a story like Bamboo. As an adult, I am far more curious over Bamboo than the other stories but then, the comic wasn't aimed at adults. I guess a female readership would have been enthralled but then, girls were always more mentally mature than boys. Boys are driven in the main with high-octane visuals whereas girls perceive things beyond the curtain (excuse the pun). A bit like sex. Give man a naked female body, and he's good to go, whereas a woman looks way deeper beyond the object in her midst no matter how well its hung.


Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:18 am
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geoff42 wrote:
Read a further two issues of Battle and, while the mystery of Bamboo Curtain endures, I can now understand why the series didn't work. Considering the action stories such as Rat Pack, Day of the Eagle and, even, D-Day Dawson, boys of such an age just would not have had the patience to persevere with a story like Bamboo. As an adult, I am far more curious over Bamboo than the other stories but then, the comic wasn't aimed at adults. I guess a female readership would have been enthralled but then, girls were always more mentally mature than boys. Boys are driven in the main with high-octane visuals whereas girls perceive things beyond the curtain (excuse the pun). A bit like sex. Give man a naked female body, and he's good to go, whereas a woman looks way deeper beyond the object in her midst no matter how well its hung.


A bit slow moving for them, you think?


Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:17 am
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Yeah, Tammyfan, it was more slow but, at the same time, racked up the mystery element. The other strips were more or less self-contained action strips. I've now read the first seven issues, and Bamboo Curtain is the only series with a substantial ongoing story. That speaks volume in itself. With hindsight, the Bootneck Boy comes closest where readership engagement is concerned. You can really root for Danny Bud... as for the Eagle, the Golden Hinde, Lofty's one-man war and Rat Pack.... they are ho-hum stories where you can jump upon any issue and feel like you haven't missed anything beforehand.


Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:35 am
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So, back in 1975, I would have Bamboo and Bootneck Boy tied as favourite stories. Interestingly, i'm aware that Pat Mills figures in both stories. I reckon Bootneck Boy gave inspiration to Charley's War... am I wrong? As for Bamboo, an ongoing mystery story had only so much mileage, anyway and, therefore, had a finite end somewhere along the line unlike the other strips that could be extracted indefinitely.


Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:52 am
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I've finished reading the Bamboo series; it was a bit wishy-washy at the end. In the same issue, Golden Hinde and Day of the Eagle ended. In summing up, Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain sadly lacked stamina. It really paled to a ho-hum end and one that which deserved better. With hindsight, I guess the creators just wanted it wrapped up to give way to newer stories. From an earlier post, I believe it was reprinted in a Tornado Annual. Other than that, it didn't deserve much more. It really had potential but, in the end, lacked substance. Of course, most other stories within Battle at that time was no better except for Bootneck Boy that certainly flourished with character.


Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:56 am
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geoff42 wrote:
I've finished reading the Bamboo series; it was a bit wishy-washy at the end. In the same issue, Golden Hinde and Day of the Eagle ended. In summing up, Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain sadly lacked stamina. It really paled to a ho-hum end and one that which deserved better. With hindsight, I guess the creators just wanted it wrapped up to give way to newer stories. From an earlier post, I believe it was reprinted in a Tornado Annual. Other than that, it didn't deserve much more. It really had potential but, in the end, lacked substance. Of course, most other stories within Battle at that time was no better except for Bootneck Boy that certainly flourished with character.


They were probably under pressure to wind up the story as quickly as possible because it didn't prove to be one of the more popular stories. I've seen other stories where endings looked like they were rushed to a conclusion that was so fast the story suffered a bit, such as Jinty's "Worlds Apart".


Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:10 am
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geoff42 wrote:
I've finished reading the Bamboo series; it was a bit wishy-washy at the end. In the same issue, Golden Hinde and Day of the Eagle ended. In summing up, Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain sadly lacked stamina. It really paled to a ho-hum end and one that which deserved better. With hindsight, I guess the creators just wanted it wrapped up to give way to newer stories. From an earlier post, I believe it was reprinted in a Tornado Annual. Other than that, it didn't deserve much more. It really had potential but, in the end, lacked substance. Of course, most other stories within Battle at that time was no better except for Bootneck Boy that certainly flourished with character.

As I recall, Golden Hinde wasn't a success either. I think Pat said something about ship stories not being popular.


Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:42 am
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True, the Golden Hinde literally limped home and yielded a predictable ending, although vanyo's art remained gorgeous throughout. Bamboo remained my second favourite strip from the original offering that Battle gave us, that's no mistake. As for the stories that followed - Coward's Brand on Bradley, Faltrose Falcon (again, beautiful art from vanyo) and Badge of Bravery; neither premise bettered Bamboo. Again, without sounding too repetitive, Bootneck Boy had an advantage on its contemporary strips because, as a reader, you truly engaged with Danny Budd's misfortune and all the cards that were seemingly dealt against him. As for Bamboo, after thee mystery of the strip was unearthed, there was really nowhere else for the strip to go. Still, I'm sure it could have been handled better in the last two episodes.


Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:24 am
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