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Battle picture weekly - Terror Behind the Bamboo curtain 
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If anyone is interested, my ongoing reading of Battle (just finished the 21st issue) yields a so-so appraisal. Lofty's One-Man Luftwaffe has ended and replaced with another airplane serial, "King of the Yanks". D-day Dawson, Rat Pack, and Nelson "the Eagle" follow a standard format. The newer strips - Faltrose Falcon, Battle Badge of Bravery, and Coward's Brand on Bradley aren't ground breaking and, even, Bootneck Boy, has now stagnated since he was removed from his hometown and his domestic problems, thrown into war with little backdrop on his actual objective that doesn't involve heroism. It would have been nice had he a sweetheart at home, awaiting his return - may have engendered something more engaging other than his ongoing "John Wayne" mentality.


Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:05 am
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I have been reading Battle from its inception; now upon its 82nd issue where the publication did reach a period of greatness - not yet near its purple patch... still, there are some good solid stories. The one that stands out head and shoulders of not only its contemporary strips but also what has preceded it is Darkie's Mob. I'm currently about 2 months into this strip and it has eclipsed every story in Battle up to this point. It is very dark, gritty and portrays an anti-hero that wasn't prevalent back in 1976. Not even Major Eazy, another anti-hero at the same time, would have staked one of his men out in the jungle to die. Reading this now and very much aware that "Action" was about to meet its fateful suspension only a few weeks later, i'm surprised the censor didn't tackle this strip. After 80 issues, I can say unequivocally that Darkie's Mob was the greatest strip in Battle to that point. Major Eazy ran a far distant second; an unkempt maverick officer whose antiques ran against the stolid heroism of D-Day Dawson. His stories ranged from the comical to the sublime; he would eagerly raid a German base for its vintage brandy alone, and then he would liase with a captured German general to engineer a raid of an American munitions depot in order to feed Italian civilians. Brilliant! The Eagle must Die was an improvement on Mike Nelson's previous Bond-esque exploits - this story actually deals with espionage and, without a doubt, the art chores of Pat Wright compliments this series. In my mind, Pat is the definitive artist for Mike Nelson. The Bootneck Boy, unfortunately has stagnated. Once an enduring character, he has become quite ho-hum. Gerry Finley-Day should have taken him back to Blightey for leave and have a few rounds with his uncle and cousin "Piggy" for light entertainment. A couple of formulaic stories combine at this time; Unknown Soldier - a sergeant aims to kill an amnesiac soldier who would reveal the sergeant to be a coward - every issue the sergeant would fail in killing his would-be nemesis; then there's Yellow Jack, a coward who will fight courageously when his ambition to reach a plunder of gold is threatened - hence, after every issue, he is regarded as a hero from his colleagues. Operation Shark concerns a group of school boys on the occupied Channel islands who are in cahoots with a hooded terrorist known as "shark". Again, Darkie's Mob stands out and, at the same time, centres attention on Mike Western's art. Beautiful and apt - a long way from Leopard from Lime Street :lol:


Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:10 am
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geoff42 wrote:
I have been reading Battle from its inception; now upon its 82nd issue where the publication did reach a period of greatness - not yet near its purple patch... still, there are some good solid stories. The one that stands out head and shoulders of not only its contemporary strips but also what has preceded it is Darkie's Mob. I'm currently about 2 months into this strip and it has eclipsed every story in Battle up to this point. It is very dark, gritty and portrays an anti-hero that wasn't prevalent back in 1976. Not even Major Eazy, another anti-hero at the same time, would have staked one of his men out in the jungle to die. Reading this now and very much aware that "Action" was about to meet its fateful suspension only a few weeks later, i'm surprised the censor didn't tackle this strip. After 80 issues, I can say unequivocally that Darkie's Mob was the greatest strip in Battle to that point. Major Eazy ran a far distant second; an unkempt maverick officer whose antiques ran against the stolid heroism of D-Day Dawson. His stories ranged from the comical to the sublime; he would eagerly raid a German base for its vintage brandy alone, and then he would liase with a captured German general to engineer a raid of an American munitions depot in order to feed Italian civilians. Brilliant! The Eagle must Die was an improvement on Mike Nelson's previous Bond-esque exploits - this story actually deals with espionage and, without a doubt, the art chores of Pat Wright compliments this series. In my mind, Pat is the definitive artist for Mike Nelson. The Bootneck Boy, unfortunately has stagnated. Once an enduring character, he has become quite ho-hum. Gerry Finley-Day should have taken him back to Blightey for leave and have a few rounds with his uncle and cousin "Piggy" for light entertainment. A couple of formulaic stories combine at this time; Unknown Soldier - a sergeant aims to kill an amnesiac soldier who would reveal the sergeant to be a coward - every issue the sergeant would fail in killing his would-be nemesis; then there's Yellow Jack, a coward who will fight courageously when his ambition to reach a plunder of gold is threatened - hence, after every issue, he is regarded as a hero from his colleagues. Operation Shark concerns a group of school boys on the occupied Channel islands who are in cahoots with a hooded terrorist known as "shark". Again, Darkie's Mob stands out and, at the same time, centres attention on Mike Western's art. Beautiful and apt - a long way from Leopard from Lime Street :lol:



Hi Geoff

I haven't commented on your thoughts but I'm reading them with interest! Just wanted you to know that they were appreciated.


Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:44 am
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I'm now into the second issue of Battle and Valiant; it's a great issue - the Battle stories are rattling on great: Major Eazy just wants to stock up on beer; Bootneck Boy has a new adversary - his own captain; Darkie's Mob: what can I say - Captain Darkie amputates Meeker's gangrene-riddled arm before a raid and brings back Meeker a hook. Arnie Sharp - rat of the rifles: there was a three panel spread wherein Sharp, after being asked for help, picks up a corpse and starts throttling it to obviate any real combat that made me drop my comic and burst into absolute laughter that carried on for many minutes. Joe Colquohoun's art made this an undiscovered classic. D-dDay Dawson brings his bullet closer to his heart (please!) in this issue. Black Crow is so-so... but I love the art of Eric Bradbury who went on to draw some issues of Invasion from 2000 ad... and One-Eyed Jack from John Cooper is, again, so-so.


Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:46 am
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By the way, thanks, Adam.


Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:56 am
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The very next issue of Battle and Valiant from my last post throws up various disconcerting issues; where do I start? My favourite strip at this present time: Darkie's Mob, deserves dubious attention. The strip opens with the whole mob, apart from Darkie, captured after an aborted attempt to blow up a Japanese ammo dump. The commanding officer of the base dictates that every member of the mob will be decapitated with the sword within an interval of two minutes between each execution until one of them reveals Darkie's whereabouts. Colsten is the first to suffer - then Darkie appears to compromise further executions. My take is this: why didn't Darkie show before Colsten's execution? Of all people, Darkie knows the full extent of the Japanese's threats and brutality. He must have known that they would have delivered Colsten a swift kill without "smoke and mirrors". Unless he was involuntarily delayed from unexpected jungle undergrowth, Darkie should have appeared earlier and saved Colsten's neck. Just an observation, on my behalf. Secondly: Soldier Sharp - from my laughter over the last issue, this episode grimly reflects Arnie's utter contempt in profiteering and staying alive in war and, somewhat, stifles my previous mirth. Volunteering to transport a badly injured soldier (one who would reveal Sharp to be a villain) Arnie drives an ambulance for the invalid so that he can dispose of him on the way until he drives into a Russian ghetto, desperate for food and medical supplies. His initiative for making money takes over, and he is selling medication for the likes of gold teeth from the poor people and will not take anything less despite the appeals for mercy. Accompanied with the gritty, real-life art of Joe Colquhorn, this strip portrays an abhorrent undercurrent that, perversely, I love. I just cant imagine the likes of "Tiger" getting away with this. There was one strip in "Victor" that, I believe, preceded Sharp: Cadman - who would kill and undertake any villainy to maintain his good name and promote his heroics. While I have the issues at hand, I have yet to research them; but, i'm sure Cadman's actions weren't as gratuitous as Sharp's - of course Cadman didn't have such a brilliant artist as Joe Colquhoun that could illustrate the absolute horror of war. The other strips? Rattling along, you could say. Nice to see Jim Watson on D-Day Dawson.


Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:23 am
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Mr Valeera
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geoff42 wrote:
The very next issue of Battle and Valiant from my last post throws up various disconcerting issues; where do I start? My favourite strip at this present time: Darkie's Mob, deserves dubious attention. The strip opens with the whole mob, apart from Darkie, captured after an aborted attempt to blow up a Japanese ammo dump. The commanding officer of the base dictates that every member of the mob will be decapitated with the sword within an interval of two minutes between each execution until one of them reveals Darkie's whereabouts. Colsten is the first to suffer - then Darkie appears to compromise further executions. My take is this: why didn't Darkie show before Colsten's execution? Of all people, Darkie knows the full extent of the Japanese's threats and brutality. He must have known that they would have delivered Colsten a swift kill without "smoke and mirrors". Unless he was involuntarily delayed from unexpected jungle undergrowth, Darkie should have appeared earlier and saved Colsten's neck. Just an observation, on my behalf. Secondly: Soldier Sharp - from my laughter over the last issue, this episode grimly reflects Arnie's utter contempt in profiteering and staying alive in war and, somewhat, stifles my previous mirth. Volunteering to transport a badly injured soldier (one who would reveal Sharp to be a villain) Arnie drives an ambulance for the invalid so that he can dispose of him on the way until he drives into a Russian ghetto, desperate for food and medical supplies. His initiative for making money takes over, and he is selling medication for the likes of gold teeth from the poor people and will not take anything less despite the appeals for mercy. Accompanied with the gritty, real-life art of Joe Colquhorn, this strip portrays an abhorrent undercurrent that, perversely, I love. I just cant imagine the likes of "Tiger" getting away with this. There was one strip in "Victor" that, I believe, preceded Sharp: Cadman - who would kill and undertake any villainy to maintain his good name and promote his heroics. While I have the issues at hand, I have yet to research them; but, i'm sure Cadman's actions weren't as gratuitous as Sharp's - of course Cadman didn't have such a brilliant artist as Joe Colquhoun that could illustrate the absolute horror of war. The other strips? Rattling along, you could say. Nice to see Jim Watson on D-Day Dawson.
I have got to disagree with you on the artist for Cadman as that was Mike Dorey aka J Clough who did some amazing work for Fleetway such as Invasion. MACH Zero, Victor Drago and Ro-busters not to mention Sgt Rayker, Wolverine, Iron Annie and Code Name Warlord for Warlord and Is It Cricket, Morgyn The Mighty and Alf Tupper for the Victor.

For my money, Mike Dorey was one of the better grittier styled artists that you could find. His dark style in Wolverine and Rayker were so moody and evocative, you could not help but be amazed by his work.

And I am enjoying your thoughts on the early Battle Run.

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Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:34 am
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colcool007 wrote:
I have got to disagree with you on the artist for Cadman as that was Mike Dorey
As far as I can tell, Col, Geoff didn't give the name of any artist for Cadman so there was nothing for you to disagree with.


Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:45 pm
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colcool007 wrote:
Mike Dorey aka J Clough who did some amazing work for Fleetway such as...Victor Drago.For my money, Mike Dorey was one of the better grittier styled artists that you could find

I've always been far more interested in the writing than the art but I make an exception with Victor Drago. It had that all-encompassing noir quality that one might find in Nosferatu or Unknown Pleasures. Dark, menacing, otherwordly and totally absorbing.

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Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:50 pm
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Phoenix wrote:
colcool007 wrote:
I have got to disagree with you on the artist for Cadman as that was Mike Dorey
As far as I can tell, Col, Geoff didn't give the name of any artist for Cadman so there was nothing for you to disagree with.
I take it that you missed this bit then?
geoff42 wrote:
of course Cadman didn't have such a brilliant artist as Joe Colquhoun that could illustrate the absolute horror of war.

In my view, Mike Dorey is on a par with Joe Colquhoun and Mike demonstrated that time and again over the span of his career in comics. Mike even managed a Commando cover or two.

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Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:48 pm
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colcool007 wrote:
I take it that you missed this bit then?
No, I didn't miss that bit at all. I reiterate that Geoff did not at any point mention the name of the Cadman artist. You did. Geoff merely said that the Cadman artist was not as brilliant as Joe Colquhoun. So, I was perfectly correct in noting that as Geoff had not given the name of the Cadman artist you had nothing to disagree with.


Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:16 pm
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Phoenix wrote:
colcool007 wrote:
I take it that you missed this bit then?
No, I didn't miss that bit at all. I reiterate that Geoff did not at any point mention the name of the Cadman artist. You did. Geoff merely said that the Cadman artist was not as brilliant as Joe Colquhoun. So, I was perfectly correct in noting that as Geoff had not given the name of the Cadman artist you had nothing to disagree with.

Well on that we will have to agree to disagree. Geoff did not name the artist, so I provided it for him and this gave us a point to disagree upon as the comparison made was that the Cadman artist was not as brilliant as Joe Colquhoun. So I believe you are incorrect in stating that as Geoff had not given the name of the Cadman artist, I could not disagree with him upon the Cadman artist, Mike Dorey, being the less talented of the two. Or does Geoff not providing the name somehow stop any of us disagreeing that Joe Colquhoun's work shows more talent than Mike Dorey's work on Cadman?

Next time should I just disagree with Geoff and say that the artist that worked on Cadman was as talented but I cannot name him as providing additional information somehow invalidates my point?

The whole point of these forums is to discuss and share what we know about comics. While what I know is definitely a lot less than Ray Moore or Steve Holland, I go out of my way to provide additional information where I can, otherwise what is the point of these discussions?

Now I know that you are not a fan of the pictorial comics as you are of the text papers, but even you must admit that if you are going to discuss the differences in style, it is better to discuss Colquhoun's work when compared to Dorey's work or is it better to say that guy that did the really gritty snow scenes in Iron Annie was as good as the bloke that did the jungles scenes in Darkie's Mob?

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Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:21 pm
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Couldn't agree more, Colin. As for Victor Drago, a wee shiver went up my spine when I read your mention - and Starscape - as it's all Starscape says. I read a collection of the strips recently, for the umpteenth time actually. Awfy good.
Sorry this isn't to do with Battle. As all of you should be aware by now, I'm not a big war comic fan.


Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:30 pm
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colcool007 wrote:
Well on that we will have to agree to disagree.
That's fine, Col. I'm too tired to argue anyway.
colcool007 wrote:
Now I know that you are not a fan of the pictorial comics as you are of the text papers
Well yes I do prefer the text story papers but that is because I grew up with them, but that fact does not imply a rejection of the picture story papers. In fact, as we speak, I am hard at work writing a source book on the serials in Judy. I have currently reached the end of 1974, nearly half way through the run therefore. Watch this space.


Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:04 pm
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Hi, Col, Phoenix was right with respect me not naming Cadman's artist as I really didn't know. I'm aware that Mike Dorey drew the later Cadman strips but did he draw the first serial in 1976? I originally thought Cadman started in 1977, of which I have the issues. But, on checking, I find that Cadman preceded Soldier Sharp in 1976 and I don't have any Victors from that year; so, I can't verify whether or not Mike Dorey drew them. On a personal note, Dorey's style was more gritty but Colquohoun added a helluva a lot detail in his art that kind of wings it for me. But, of course, art is subjective. Sorry for the earlier misunderstanding, anyway. In addition to Dorey's art, from Steve Macmanus' book "My Life in the Nerve Centre", I recall Steve reflecting on Dorey along the lines of: He should have done a lot better than he did which, I imagine, suggests that he didn't follow the likes of Bolland and his contemporaries across the pond to America. That isn't a criticism on my part, just an observation from what Steve implied.


Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:44 am
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