Sunday, August 15, 2010

Battle Picture Library 73 The Digger Breed

Australians! A pretty good story even though the artwork is a bit bumpy at times.
Take our friend to the left here. Despite the fact that he doesn't appear in the story and he's the only shirtless Australian to be found in The Digger Breed - look at his slouch hat! What the hell is going on there? That hat is an abomination. Now that I've got that off my chest - here's the plot.

The Digger Breed starts off with Australia's baptism of fire at Gallipoli. A young soldier (who we only get to know as "Rusty") is facing battle for the first time doubts his own courage. He survives his first encounter with the enemy and through the guiding hands of his comrades he manages to find his place. However he panics while out on patrol causing all his comrades to be killed.

Fast forward to World War Two. Three Australian veterans are disembarking in North Africa. One of them is "Rusty" - but which one? Is it Lieutenant-Colonel Bradbury or Sergeant Shaw or Private "Croc" Wheeler? There's a hint given early in the story and then followed up with a red herring or two.  I found myself saying "of course!" when his identity is revealed. But that is only my ego compensating for the fact that I didn't figure it out for myself. 

The Italians in North Africa receive a favourable treatment from the author. But the Australian slouch hats don't deserve the treatment they receive from the illustrator. They are just awful. There are also some very odd looking German tanks. Some of the panels appear incomplete and the composition at times is messy. However at the same time there is also some truly outstanding artwork. The illustrator obviously feels really comfortable when he (sorry for the assumption) gets to leave the ink in the well and sets out to convey the action in as few lines as possible.

The Digger Breed is a well written story and shows that a good drama can be achieved in 64 pages.

My oath sergeant what is wrong with that man's hat?

Why are those boots in the air?

A bad hat again. That really makes me mad!

Now this is a great panel. Feel the white space.

An unusual panel for a pocket war library comic. Having said that it looks unfinished.

This is a good one. Gives you an appreciation for the vastness of the desert.

Now that's an AAAGH!

Here's one for the good guys handbook. If you're out on patrol with a guy called Jimmy odds are you'll be coming back alone.

Feel the fear.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! How wrong are those slouch hats?

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