Reply to topic  [ 228 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 12, 13, 14, 15, 16  Next
Battle picture weekly - Terror Behind the Bamboo curtain 
Author Message

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
After eight months, Carver was the first new series to emerge in 1979. However, it was a low key affair that lasted only six episodes. The premise was intriguing where a major of the special investigation branch, Carver, was assigned the task of investigating the death of Captain Walsh in the Middle-East and who had Roman gold coins on his person. With five prime suspects of Walsh's unit, Carver found himself not only in the midst of a murder inquiry but also the target of the murderer's next victim. The trouble was that, with each episode, Carver's prime suspect was eliminated from friendly fire. Of course, the longevity of this series was heading for a shortfall. It was a simple "who-dun-it?" case that wasn't intended for an enduring ride. The narrative evoked the strands of a girl's, mystery story, which the girls in general loved. The boys didn't. With hindsight, this short series would have disgruntled the boys. Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain most certainly did. Despite the tragic-drama of Charley's War and HMS Nightshade, which almost turned the boys to something different, Carver was a bridge too far - they just wouldn't accept this form of narrative no matter how engaging it was. Where a mystery lied, they wanted it to remain buried... literally. The boys wanted action and it's a testament to both Wagner and Mills that they delivered what the boys wanted while, at the same time, offering a deeper alternative if required. Unsurprisingly, Carver wasn't recalled for future investigations. At least the artist, Eduardo Vano, was recalled after a long absence from the pages of Battle. As to the writer of Carver - that remains a mystery... unless anyone is able to shed any light on his identity.


12 Jan 2018, 01:19
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
The intricacies of Charley's War pivoted a narrative on comics that was all but an alien process back in 1979. Not even 2000 AD, at this juncture, had yielded such a complex, ongoing series. After a long stint during the Battle of the Somme, Charley and the rest of his unit retired from the front for rest and recuperation that lasted for six issues. Of course, during this time, there was plenty of conflict - namely with the police Sergeant Bacon, aka "The Beast" who enjoyed subjecting soldiers to harsh disciplinary measures in his "Field Punishment" where the unfortunate victim would be staked out on a wooden wheel. Yet, pushing aside the internal strife that was necessary to maintain a reader's interest, there resided an underlying sub-text with regard to how the soldiers spent their time away from the trenches.

This was a magical touch from writer, Pat Mills, wherein he still could engineer great empathy with a brand new character "Weeper" who was named for his continual tears that were a result from a previous gas attack in the trenches. From his former carnival days, Weeper had the ability to throw his voice, as in ventriloquism and which ultimately led him to the mercy of the aforementioned "The Beast", and also had the gift for escapology that proved invaluable for his and Charley's escape when the "Hun" reappeared to remind the reader that a war was still ongoing.

Another heart-breaking sub-plot, during these issues, resulted in Charley's commanding officer - Lieutenant Thomas - being shot for desertion of duty when he ordered the retreat of his men from annihilation. Charley was actually selected as a member of the firing squad before renouncing his duty when he realized who he was supposed to shoot. In a typical traditional comic, Lieutenant Thomas would have somehow escaped the firing squad. In Charley's War, he was executed by his own men and would leave Charley's unit under the command of Schnell who was an egotistical, ruthless officer and had no regard for the welfare of his men: cue plenty of conflict for the future.

Essentially, within this horrendous period of warfare, Charley's War epitomised what this strip was all about - a tragic, anti-war theme that pitted the unfortunate soldier against a glorified establishment that was prepared to win at all cost, no matter how many lives were taken. With hindsight, the reader of the time may have been considering: stow the war, let's have more of Charley's internal strife away from the frontline. Fanciful thinking, perhaps. But Pat Mills knew that he would have to send his most famed protagonist back to the trenches because... a war was still ongoing - win or lose, it still had to be fought. The establishment had dictated so, and the readers always wanted action. However, for a short time, Mills hoodwinked them all with a mastery stroke that, in time, would garner an unforgettable legacy. He actually distracted the reader from the war and for him/her to engage with the despairing humanity of it all that bucked its pointless tragedy.


21 Jan 2018, 02:43
Profile

Joined: 10 Jul 2017, 15:29
Posts: 42
Location: Leicester
Reply with quote
geoff42 wrote:
The intricacies of Charley's War pivoted a narrative on comics that was all but an alien process back in 1979. Not even 2000 AD, at this juncture, had yielded such a complex, ongoing series. After a long stint during the Battle of the Somme, Charley and the rest of his unit retired from the front for rest and recuperation that lasted for six issues. Of course, during this time, there was plenty of conflict - namely with the police Sergeant Bacon, aka "The Beast" who enjoyed subjecting soldiers to harsh disciplinary measures in his "Field Punishment" where the unfortunate victim would be staked out on a wooden wheel. Yet, pushing aside the internal strife that was necessary to maintain a reader's interest, there resided an underlying sub-text with regard to how the soldiers spent their time away from the trenches.

This was a magical touch from writer, Pat Mills, wherein he still could engineer great empathy with a brand new character "Weeper" who was named for his continual tears that were a result from a previous gas attack in the trenches. From his former carnival days, Weeper had the ability to throw his voice, as in ventriloquism and which ultimately led him to the mercy of the aforementioned "The Beast", and also had the gift for escapology that proved invaluable for his and Charley's escape when the "Hun" reappeared to remind the reader that a war was still ongoing.

Another heart-breaking sub-plot, during these issues, resulted in Charley's commanding officer - Lieutenant Thomas - being shot for desertion of duty when he ordered the retreat of his men from annihilation. Charley was actually selected as a member of the firing squad before renouncing his duty when he realized who he was supposed to shoot. In a typical traditional comic, Lieutenant Thomas would have somehow escaped the firing squad. In Charley's War, he was executed by his own men and would leave Charley's unit under the command of Schnell who was an egotistical, ruthless officer and had no regard for the welfare of his men: cue plenty of conflict for the future.

Essentially, within this horrendous period of warfare, Charley's War epitomised what this strip was all about - a tragic, anti-war theme that pitted the unfortunate soldier against a glorified establishment that was prepared to win at all cost, no matter how many lives were taken. With hindsight, the reader of the time may have been considering: stow the war, let's have more of Charley's internal strife away from the frontline. Fanciful thinking, perhaps. But Pat Mills knew that he would have to send his most famed protagonist back to the trenches because... a war was still ongoing - win or lose, it still had to be fought. The establishment had dictated so, and the readers always wanted action. However, for a short time, Mills hoodwinked them all with a mastery stroke that, in time, would garner an unforgettable legacy. He actually distracted the reader from the war and for him/her to engage with the despairing humanity of it all that bucked its pointless tragedy.


I love this point in the story. Up to this point the story how ever graphic still had the edge of a gung ho yarn with and bit of reality spaced here and there sometimes for comic value. The shooting of lieutenant Thomas and Charley getting field punishment for refusing to shoot his own officer was a brilliant bit of writing.
From this point in the story you started to care more about the cast and and what they are going through rather the the war.
The only comic I can think of now that does this would be The Walking Dead where as it started out all about the Zombies but is now mainly all about the lives of the cast with a few zombies sprinkled in.


22 Jan 2018, 16:39
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
Charley and Ginger were brought back to the trenches after a deserved rest from the Somme. Poor old Weeper was left blinded and bound for the medic base on a truck, bidding his colleagues a bitter-sweet farewell. Charley and Ginger went on to meet an old friend "Smith 70" who inadvertently drove one of the new tanks through a French farmhouse. Such black humour preceded a tragedy that was far from expected. On arriving to the new trench, Charley witnessed the sudden death of his friend, Ginger - blown to bits from a shell. Such a death impacted with an unnerving realization: even the lucky talisman wasn't spared a grim death. Up to this point, Ginger had, despite his perennial pessimism, always escaped many a strife. Ginger was primed as a character who would walk out of a blazing fire without a singe. And then, with hindsight, he would lament on something that was inconsequential - even to the extent that he would berate on a singed uniform.

After this shocking occurrence, the reader must have been left thinking: "This shouldn't happen!" In Charley's War, it did. Ginger was a sarcastic, cynical foil to Charley's heroism and, at the same time, he provided an everyman's viewpoint on war that far more outpointed Charley's naivety. To kill such a pivotal character was certainly a brave decision for Pat Mills (the writer); the death would have told the reader that in no uncertain terms that the trenches favoured no man. Charley's War extended well beyond Gingers death but, and this is a testament to Mill's writing, the strip still endured. Charley would fight on for many more episodes without his dear friend wherein war was unforgiveable in its nature and, for better or for worse, Mills protracted the pain and drama for his endearing protagonist. In the end, Ginger was dispensable.


07 Feb 2018, 00:21
Profile

Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41
Posts: 1738
Reply with quote
Does anyone have the issue numbers and dates for “The Nightmare” please? It ran in Battle 1985.


19 Mar 2018, 22:53
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
Hi, Tammyfan, "The Nightmare" began in the January 19th 1985 issue and ended in October 11th 1986. Very few Battle issues were actually numbered, so the above dates is your only available reference for the series. Hope this helps.


20 Mar 2018, 08:22
Profile

Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41
Posts: 1738
Reply with quote
geoff42 wrote:
Hi, Tammyfan, "The Nightmare" began in the January 19th 1985 issue and ended in October 11th 1986. Very few Battle issues were actually numbered, so the above dates is your only available reference for the series. Hope this helps.

Thank you, Geoff.


20 Mar 2018, 19:47
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
The Gladiators, protagonists of The Spinball Wars, finally hung up their sling sticks within Battle's cover-dated issue of October 6th 1979 and embraced liberty. Naturally, many Battle readers would have cheered in jubilation at the prospect of their comic reverting to an all-war format. For the Action readers, the game was up other than summer specials and annuals. However, Battle was in no rush to scuttle its inherited "Action" master head; rather, it accommodated the powerful sub-title that not only complemented its own but also reaped the impact of an overall denouement. In fact, Action's masthead was juxtaposed to garner, if not an equal billing, a mutual solidity that delivered a resounding kick. There was no need for a preposition or even a hyphen to distinguish the two titles. Battle had unashamedly morphed into Battle Action and boasted a play of words that were made for each other, engendering a period that was most fondly remembered during Battle's legacy to the point that, at the time, a new reader would have assumed that the title was an original, ongoing publication rather than the remnants of a past merger. Dave Bishop's e-book "Blazing Battle Action" summed up the cosy pairing of these synomonous words. "Blazing Battle Valiant" or "Blazing Battle Storm Force" simply would have paled in comparison. Battle Action held the cards for a vibrant title until late in 1981 during which the legacies of both Johnny Red and Charley's War thrived.


27 Apr 2018, 23:19
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
I'm back treading a little here as I've just discovered something I wrote quite a while ago but simply misplaced and forgotten. This piece concerns Parsons, the trouble maker of HMS Nightshade:

The trouble with Parsons... Parsons was a trouble maker and bully over whom Geordie Dunn had previously stood his ground and triumphed. Thereafter, the bald-headed thug remained in the background, cursing and griping. John Wagner (writer) had dealt accordingly with this character that belied typical tradition. Though far from subdued, Parsons wasn't allowed to claim centre stage as an ongoing villain to undermine the protagonist. However, he would deliver a tragic, bitter-sweet encore for Wagner's discipline had wavered and his quivering pen needed victims among Nightshade's ensemble cast. Having sustained damage from a plane crash (Battle - cover-dated: August 18th 1979), Nightshade was in dire straits; the ensuing explosions instantly killed off Tich (Parson's whipping boy) and injured Handsome John. But worse, for Parsons, the hatch of the magazine room wherein Parsons resided was wedged shut. And, as the flames intensified, the magazine room was in danger of blowing Nightshade sky high. The magazine room needed to be flooded along with a trapped Parsons. Grudgingly, Parsons accepted his fate and dutifully flooded the magazine room. But then, as the water level began to rise, Parsons was informed that he could turn off the tap for the room had cooled enough to stave off any threat. The trouble was... the trouble with Parsons, rather... in turning on the water, he'd had to shear off the frozen tap - so, there was no tap to turn off the water! Refusing to lament on this cruel predicament, Parsons began to sing as his watery grave swamped him. And, for all his ugly sins, this was the point that a reader would have pro-offered Parsons a degree of empathy and even forgiven his dubious past. Yet, had Parsons survived, he would have simply reverted to his former self and further antagonised the readers. And there, conversely, Wagner knew exactly how to create a hero from a villain while never compromising the villain's true character. Parsons could and would never be a hero... circumstances had dictated his final act of "heroism". Still, as Wagner had intended, the denouement yielded a host of conflicted emotions on the readers' part. In the end, it was a case of... the trouble with Parsons...


15 May 2018, 22:29
Profile
User avatar

Joined: 05 Dec 2014, 01:05
Posts: 1058
Location: Southampton/London
Reply with quote
Thanks for the update Geoff! I've missed your Battle updates and moved on my own reading to other comics. I must go back to my collection as I stopped after the first 100 and after just reading the Charley's War recent publication, I need to catch up!


15 May 2018, 23:41
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
Hi, Adam, 100 issues, you say? If my memory serves me well, it's around then when Johnny Red burst on to the scene along with the quirky team-up of Major Eazy v Rat Pack, and then there was Joe Two Beans to accompany John Wagner's brooding Darkie's Mob. Former Valiant personnel (Joe Colquhoun, Eric Bradbury and John Cooper) had more than established themselves within Battle's solid line-up of artists by then. A golden era was on the verge of flowering... don't give up on it indefinitely, Adam, now you've got this far.


18 May 2018, 15:27
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
Whatever happened to The Sarge?

After its initial Gerry Finley Day/Mike Western arc (75 episodes), The Sarge lost its co-creators in one swoop: Western joined John Wagner's Atlantic front with HMS Nightshade while Gerry went AWOL with Gory Rider. But The Sarge was too popular to drop and forged ahead with Scott Goodall (writer) and Phil Gascoine (artist). While Western's art possessed a natural quality that complemented a British war strip, Gascoine had to work hard to maintain a gritty edge to the strip and clearly struggled in certain episodes. Nevertheless, he managed to grant various members of the Sarge's fresh ensemble cast with an admirable quality, enriching the strip with character. Whether Gascoine had other commitments or that he was simply unable to deliver every week, Matias Alonso was invariably summoned to fill in for the first few months with his breezy strokes that could have been overlooked if it were not for the fact that The Sarge had already emerged from an identity crisis with regard to its art. In terms of script, Scott was at least conscious to remain faithful to his predecessor's narrative whereby the Sarge's methodical, avuncular demeanour would resolve flaws within a new, fragile recruit. To a degree, Scott's early attention to an engrossing interplay among the cast had threatened to eclipse the camaraderie that Gerry had implemented during his stint. Then, something curious happened - Geoff Campion was assigned the art duties for five episodes. Though efficient, Geoff's art was always geared up for an economic turnaround, a talent that delivered prolifically throughout his career. Yet, such a gift compromised the actual art. A classic example resided with Mike Western's strokes on HMS Nightshade wherein he accommodated four pages per week as opposed to the usual three that he had generally afforded Darkie's Mob and The Sarge. And it showed: his usual craftsmanship deteriorated alarmingly in Nightshade's latter two pages almost every week. He couldn't sustain the high standard to which he was accustomed whereas Geoff wisely delivered consistency with less effort. But, a problem arose with Geoff's take on The Sarge - the cast, apart from the Sarge, were now indistinguishable and only identified when addressed, which washed away both Gascoine's and Alonso's groundwork over which they had fostered an engaging cast: simply put, the endearing character had been ripped out of the series. Then, to make matters worse, Gascoine returned with an altogether different style that almost paid homage to Geoff Campion. Had Dave Hunt (editor) had a quiet word with Gascoine and dictated that this is how The Sarge should look from now on? Perhaps, with a view of delivering a weekly strip, Gascoine had elected to take the "economic" route with his art. Whatever the reasons, Gascoine had certainly buried what he had previously sown which, ultimately, served the series no benefit. Additionally, as he if were sympathising with the contrived art (wherein Battle's perennial journeyman "Jim Watson" was hauled in for a five-week run) Scott Goodall was less inclined to build on a foundation that he had earlier constructed; the interaction of the cast was now overshadowed with gung-ho action that stripped the series of drama. I've currently reached Battle's November 3rd 1979 cover-dated issue and, on flicking through further issues, I'm aware that The Sarge still has a good run to the latter months of 1980. Undoubtedly, Gascoine finally stamped his presence on the series... but at what cost? Now I understand why so many former Battle readers cite the Finley-Day/Western arc as the best - it had consistency. With the second arc, it's becoming apparent that both writer and artist lost focus. Whatever happened to The Sarge? For now, his soul was removed and, unfortunately, Dave Hunt (editor) had exited Battle's bullet-riddled doors in the Summer of 1979 and was unable to arrest the situation.


12 Jun 2018, 23:47
Profile

Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41
Posts: 1738
Reply with quote
What happened to Ian Wilson of “The Nightmare” and his Nazi nemesis Grappner please? The story ended Battle 11 October 1986.


14 Jun 2018, 02:17
Profile

Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
Posts: 652
Reply with quote
Hi, Tammyfan, I'm afraid my Battle collection only leads up to the end of 1981 but, from memory, I'm pretty certain that Adam Eterno has a complete collection... so, if you're out there, Adam...


14 Jun 2018, 11:49
Profile
Online

Joined: 03 Jun 2008, 16:57
Posts: 243
Reply with quote
Tammyfan

Ian and Grappner have a showdown fight on top of a cliff. Grappner tries to shove Ian off the cliff but Ian, in self defence, grabs Grappner's foot. Grappner falls off balance and over the cliff to his death.

Some British soldiers blow up a lab and the Nazi weapon in it.

Ian returns home to find that his parents, who he thought were dead, had survived, and is reunited with them.

The end.


14 Jun 2018, 19:33
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 228 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 12, 13, 14, 15, 16  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software.