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Battle picture weekly - Terror Behind the Bamboo curtain 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2008, 16:57
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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, 19:40
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Joined: 05 Dec 2014, 01:05
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Location: Southampton/London
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geoff42 wrote:
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...


davidandrewsimpson has the it sorted!


14 Jun 2018, 21:03
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Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41
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Thank you for the information! :D


14 Jun 2018, 21:33
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Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
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Between Battle's cover-dated issues of October 27th & November 17th 1979, John Wagner (writer) decided to give Nightshade and her crew a deserved break for four episodes on the coast of South Africa, Freetown. While engaging with patrol duties, the crew indulged in a couple of off-the-wall leisurely activities: a cockroach championship race and a mismatched boxing duel that would both involve a new recruit - "Muscles" Thomson who quickly earned the tag "Crusher" in view of his on-board, extra curricular duty on crushing cockroaches. And Crusher was also blessed with "unusual muscle development" as he liked to inform everybody. But, another new character, Tubby Grover, countered these light-hearted ventures when his nerves shattered and spurred him to desert the ship. Despite the bleak ramifications of the latter storyline, Wagner had seemingly blessed the series with a breath of fresh air wherein Crusher stamped on Herman Goering (Jock's cockroach) after it had lost a race against the champion cockroach from Nightshade's sister-ship "Lupin". An aggrieved Jock then hastily arranged a boxing match between Crusher and Lupin's amateur champion boxer - Tizer Johnson. Jock's attempt to take Crusher down a peg or two backfired when Nightshade's incensed skipper insisted on his ship's pride and assigned Jock as Crusher's coach with a warning: "Crusher had better not lose... or else!" And Jock knew all too well that no amount of "unusual muscle development" could outpoint a boxer. The ensuing outcome provided much hilarity when a battered Crusher swung one last "haymaker" in desperation and accidentally clashed the referee's head against Tizer's, knocking them both out cold and claiming a technical draw. The day was saved for Nightshade's dignity but, for Tubby Grover on capture, there was a sobering stain: admitting to cowardice, he was sentenced to seven year's imprisonment and boarded Nightshade's return journey in shame and chains. Throughout this mirth and sobriety within these four episodes, there was an integral problem - the latter day Geordie Dunn, who was relaying his adventures to his grandson and had stamped a quirky, pivotal step on the series from the beginning, was largely non-existent. With regard to Crusher's exploits, the younger Geordie was basically a bystander and although he featured to a degree in his bid to save Tubby from his fate, he simply wasn't granting Nightshade with an erstwhile protagonist. As mentioned in earlier commentaries, Nightshade yielded a complex narrative with a colourful ensemble cast; it was on the cusp of something that was magical. Yet, without a rudder, a ship is open to wayward direction. Something was amiss... and Wagner had neither the energy nor the inclination to resolve his "classic-in-the-making" strip. Of course, at this juncture, 2000 AD was whistling a fine tune to which he had more affinity... to be continued.


28 Jun 2018, 00:30
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Upon its 48th and final episode, Nightshade ground to an abrupt and unsatisfying end. With Darkie's Mob, John Wagner systematically killed off cast members one by one and an inevitable climax was all but signposted but, nevertheless, the end was appreciative. Conversely, Wagner treated Nightshade's crew with more consideration but, with hindsight, a shadow was cast on the series a month or so before its watery grave. Shunted to the latter pages from its long time supporting role behind lead strip "Charley's War", Nightshade was also to lose a page from its nominal four, which at least benefited Mike Western's art. Despite the issues with art, Wagner's scripts had woven an epic-feel to Nightshade and an engaging cast that could even afford to relegate the supposed protagonist (Geordie Dunn) to the role of an occasional onlooker. The main protagonist was Nightshade. Wagner had determined from the beginning that his ship wouldn't simply serve as a prop to navigate a sprawling narrative whose weight of riveting drama was sufficient to capsize most ships - but not Nightshade. Even though Wagner was naturally derailed to focus on the crew and its internal conflict as well as the combative action, he triumphed in magnifying Nightshade the ship. In a couple of episodes when aerial attacks in daylight, torpedo strikes in the night, and the ever present arctic conditions that threatened to inflict a "top-heavy" deck all combined to usher away the crew on to the periphery and personify a hunk of metal whose isolated vulnerability was starkly depicted, the readers could actually identify with and embrace Nightshade the ship with a great dose of empathy. But, as with Pat Mills on Charley's War, Wagner couldn't languish on either the subtext or the semantics of what he truly desired to relay; there was a war strip with which to proceed. Yet, Wagner faltered. Had he lost interest in warfare and decided to throw in his "lot" with 2000 AD and it more enticing sci-fi premise? Had the departure of Battle's former editor, Dave Hunt, impacted on his morale? Whatever the reasons, Wagner was certainly allowing no opportunity for any other writer to mess with his ship. Perhaps he had taken note of how the contemporary strip "The Sarge" had declined after losing its initial creators. In the end, Wagner ensured that Nightshade would literally sink. But there was more than a niggling sour taste to this sudden denouement - essentially the final two episodes wherein the series was wrapped up in a hasty fashion as if Wagner no longer cared about what he had created. The death-throes of Smiffy who was still lamenting the death of his recently-wedded wife and Jock who had provided much hilarity in the previous episodes were short of scandalous; a panel or two at most to mourn these well-established characters. For heaven's sake, Parsons - the bully - was afforded two episodes to die in a heroic fashion! Crusher and his "unusual muscle development" wasn't even mentioned. Something was amiss... as if Wagner were suddenly a petulant child who, five minutes before the end of a great, enduring game of football with his pals, picked up his football and declared: "I've had enough and I'm going home - it's game over and I don't care how you feel about that." He certainly didn't care about the readers who had followed Nightshade every week and regaled in the rich drama that was inexplicably fostered to a sense of flippant disregard. Even Nightshade, the protagonist that Wagner had always wished to depict, was summarily washed away with little remorse. And here's the clinch - the ending should have engendered a great remorse but, in its impetuous need to "finish", it undoubtedly would have left the reader to feel that he or she was robbed and rock with shock rather than with tears. Why spend so much time and sublime skill in setting up an intricate story to suddenly kill it without much compassion? Nightshade and her crew deserved far better... and Wagner sold this series very short in the end. Why am I scathing? Simple - I cared about the series and the characters and, in the end, Wagner didn't.


02 Jul 2018, 00:29
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A new year and decade dawned on Battle's January 5th 1980 cover-dated issue. After nearly five years of service and, despite the recent loss of its flagship editor (Dave Hunt), Battle was still relatively in good shape with regard to its content and financial viability. During Battle's early-mid thrust on the newsagent's shelf, IPC had spawned and waved goodbye to a number of titles: Monster Fun, Lindy, Vulcan, The Wonderful World of Disney, Donald Duck, Toby, Action, Starlord, Tornado and Krazy. DC Thomson were more robust and had fewer failed titles: Spellbound, Bullet, Magic (Vol. 2), Plug and Emma. Marvel UK had bombed with Savage Sword of Conan, The Super-Heroes, The Titans, Rampage Weekly and The Complete Fantastic Four. With so many titles that had nosedived in Battle's early years, 1980 didn't seem too unkind considering that Thomson's long established The Hornet and The Wizard had bitten the dust along with Marvel UK's The Avengers, Planet of the Apes and Dracula Lives! More pertinently for IPC, Disneyland and Valiant had also fallen. Polystyles' Target and Byblos' Tarzan had also both lived a short life. At the beginning of 1980, Battle could have perused the shot landscape of doomed publications and nodded in self-satisfaction and thought: "We're still here and primed for action." Battle's golden period was just about still shining but then consider its newest offerings for this new year - Kommando King, War Dog and Cooley's Gun as opposed to the previous year when Charley's War and HMS Nightshade debuted. Though not far removed from a comfort zone, Battle had coped admirably after Dave Hunt's departure... yet, time was running against any great counterattack. Terry Magee had assumed control after Dave Hunt but his hands were to be tied in the near future. Battle would slip into the control of a newly-formed department within IPC and eventually suffer. For now, however, Battle was still bristling while Thomson's The Crunch and Marvel UK's The Hulk were squirming in their death roes. Battle's Charley's War and Johnny Red were still shaking their hips with irreverence that, while fading against 2000 AD's enterprise, was still sufficient to gain a belated recognition to extend Battle's legacy.


13 Jul 2018, 01:20
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Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
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Charley's War has always attained a glorious legacy since its original run in Battle and has, deservedly, received many accolades. Yet, there are particular episodes that are largely forgotten within Charley's epic framework, which cry out for recognition. One such early episode involved Charley who selflessly ran out into no-man's land to support a dying soldier during which Charley engaged with a sing-along while exhibiting a family photograph. While a fleeting moment in the tragedy of war, this episode served up a chunk of pathos that would remain with the reader long after Charley's march into the Battle of the Somme. Many escapades followed thereafter and then, suddenly, Pat Mills (writer) assailed the readers and delivered another sublime "hit" that impacted with an unnerving thud. Essentially an incidental prologue for a larger narrative, this episode (within Battle's February 23rd 1980 cover-dated issue) not only commanded the readers' attention but also presided over a sense of futility that existed in the World War I trenches. Within four pages, Mills employed his magic pen to blend a pervading irony that met with a shocking and resounding denouement. Private Prunes, previously unknown in Charley's War was hit with shrapnel from an exploding shell and Charley endeavoured to take Prunes to the attending doctor - Doctor "No" as he was known for his reluctance to grant any soldier leave from the frontline whatever his ailment. Only a soldier with missing limbs might have escaped the dreaded "Number Nine Pill" that the doctor insisted on prescribing his malingerers - as he perceived them to be. Prunes told Charley that he was feeling better only to avoid this horrible pill of which he had heard, but Charley insisted that Prunes should wait for attention. During the wait, several "malingerers" were summarily dismissed with the "Number Nine Pill" and then Doctor "No" finally and smugly addressed Prunes: "So! Another scrimshanker who doesn't want to fight. What's his excuse for getting out of the trenches?" But Prunes, despite Charley's urgings, wasn't responding. In the final panel, a grimacing Charley announces: "He's dead... sir." There was nothing else to add. Pat Mills had succinctly hammered in a poignant nail; Prunes would not only avoid the "Number Nine Pill" but he would also leave the frontline... in a box. After reading that last panel, I almost heard a pin drop. I then took a draught from my can of cider to succour the lump in my throat... then I wrote this.


02 Aug 2018, 23:16
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