Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Preview: Charley's War, The Definitive Collection Volume 2

The next book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line will be the second volume of Charley's War: The Definitive Collection. Hot on the heels of Vol.1 which was released last week, Volume 2 will be published on May 17th.

Volume 2, subtitled Brothers In Arms, will be another chunky softback of over 330 pages, reprinting the classic WW1 story by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun. This edition covers the stories from Battle Action from late 1980 to mid 1982. The horrors of the war continue, and this time we're given the story of a deserter, the British mutiny, and Charlie's encounters with the sadistic British officer Captain Snell. 

When these stories first appeared in Battle-Action, the comic was sadly past its best, but Charley's War was a true gem. Indeed, it would even have stood head and shoulders above the contents of any comic, such was the high standard of the creative team. Pat Mills' dedicated research into the subject matter, combined with his skills of writing a gripping adventure story, made the strip unmissable, and Joe Colquhoun's powerful, detailed, and emotive artwork was the perfect match. 

Back in the day, I was buying Battle-Action solely for Charley's War, and would carefully cut out those pages in order to staple each story arc together into makeshift books. Now that we have these Definitive Collections, better printed than the original comics, I'll be replacing my yellowing old pages with these handsome books.

In short, not to be missed! Here's a preview of the first chapter in Volume 2...

CREATIVE TEAM: Pat Mills, (w) Joe Colquhoun (a) John Aldrich, Mike Peters, Peter Knight (l)
REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 17th May 2018
PAPERBACK, 320 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK) TBC (US)
ISBN: 9781781086209
Injured in The Battle of the Somme, Charley returns to wartime London and meets a deserter from the French Foreign Legion, Blue, who tells of his brutal experiences of the Battle of Verdun. All too soon Charley returns to the front line at Ypres where the threat from the German army is matched only by the inhumanity of his superiors! In the face of suffering and injustice, seeds of mutiny begin to grow among the ranks… This second volume of Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s masterpiece continues to tell the story of an ordinary soldier’s experiences in World War One, including the vibrant re-mastered colour pages from the original comic.

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

This week's BEANO...

Beano No.3932 is in the shops today, and comes bagged with gifts. The contents of the comic feature the usual fun-stars and there's another new Big Eggo strip by me. Here's a preview...
What's this? Has Big Eggo finally found his egg? Has Terry Tuff captured him at last? Find out in Beano No.3932, out now!

More Beano info here:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The debut of BILLY THE CAT (1967)

The Beano's famous crimefighter Billy the Cat first appeared in a 1/4 page teaser ad (above) in the Easter 1967 issue of The Beano (No.1288). His strip began the following week, in The Beano No.1289, dated April 1st 1967. Although this was the April Fool themed issue, there was no mention of that in Billy's debut strip.

The artwork was by David Sutherland, who had been drawing The Bash Street Kids since 1962 (and indeed still draws those Kids today). An excellent artist who is able to adapt his style from humour to adventure. Curiously, there's no origin story. We're not told how William Grange became such a remarkable acrobat or who made his costume and the funny looking customised biker helmet with the whiskers. However, years later, a fan named David Carman wrote his own origin for the character and published it online with the permission of D.C. Thomson. You can read it here:

Presumably The Beano had decided to feature a superhero in their pages because of the success of the Batman TV show, although Billy's premise was closer to that of Spider-Man (running at that time in rival comic Pow!). Billy the Cat became very popular with the readers and ran on and off until 1974, even joined by his cousin, Katie the Cat, for later adventures. He was later revived and rebooted as a slightly older character in Buddy comic in 1981, and you can read that story here:

The Beano has revived Billy the Cat on occasion, drawn by various artists including Wayne Thompson, Nigel Dobbyn, and Laura Howell. With the current popularity of superheroes, and this being The Beano's 80th anniversary year, it'd be nice to see him return again. My choice would be Steve Beckett as artist, as he's another creator who can switch from humour to adventure, and he has that suitable light adventure style that works well in The Beano. 

Will Billy the Cat return? I've no idea, but time will tell.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New graphic novel from Rachael Smith

Any new comic from writer/artist Rachael Smith is worth a look, and her upcoming graphic novel Isabella and Blodwen, a 200 page hardback, sounds like it'll be another winner. The project is currently looking for funding on Unbound and you can find out about the story, and how to pledge, here:

Coming up in 2000AD...

Thanks to Rebellion for the info on the next issue of 2000AD, on sale Wednesday 25th April, kicking off with a striking cover by the master himself, Carlos Ezquerra.

UK and DIGITAL: 23rd April 2018 £2.75
* NORTH AMERICA: 23rd May 2018 $6.75
* DIAMOND: FEB181725

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: FLAWS by Michael Carroll (w) Staz Johnson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
JAEGIR: IN THE REALM OF PYRRHUS by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

SINISTER DEXTER: THE DEVIL DON'T CARE by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: UNDERTOW by Emma Beeby (w) Mike Collins/Cliff Robinson (a) Jose Villarrubia (c) Simon Bowland (l)

STRONTIUM DOG: THE SON by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop ( , 2000 AD iPad app ( , 2000 AD Android app ( , 2000 AD Windows 10 app (

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